This past weekend I did 8 Conspiracy drafts in one day—for a total of 14 hours—by the end of which my brain was about mush. A local store in Washington was offering all-you-can-draft Conspiracy: Take the Crown drafts for $45 starting at 10 a.m., and ran all the way until midnight. This deal was clearly insane, so my friend Adam and I took advantage of it (though I think he was able to sneak in a ninth draft over me).
During the day I definitely got a good feel for the set and which cards happened to really stand out. Of course there are the obvious choices, like removal or bombs, but there are also a lot of obscure cards, or new cards even, that play quite differently in a multiplayer environment. Today I’m going to give you 3 of the cards that really stood out in their games and why you should take them highly if you have the opportunity.
3. Rogue’s Passage
“Oh, yeah, awesome, a land that needs four other mana to activate. Cool story, bro.”
-Everyone, when reading Rogue’s Passage.
No, but seriously, take this card. This is a very slow format, and this card does everything you want. It lets you help other opponents attack (how altruistic of you!) It allows you to sneak in and become the monarch. It lets you kill players. If there was one thing I learned, it’s that there are a good number of ground stalls in this format, and Rogue’s Passage is able to break them all. Instead of working out how many creatures you can attack with, or how many you need to hold back, or who’s going to counterattack you if you alpha strike, simply activate your Rogue’s Passage and send one single dude over.
This also interacts favorably with a lot of the conspiracies, like Hired Heist, Natural Unity, or Incendiary Dissent, allowing you to really take advantage of some of the abilities that could otherwise be stifled by such pedestrian things as “blockers.”
Don’t forget, the names of the game are diplomacy and deal making. Conspiring, if you will. And making your opponent’s creatures unblockable is a pretty good bargaining chip.
2. Weight Advantage
This card is insane and it quickly becomes evident why it’s a rare, even though I did end up opening it about 3 times this weekend. This card changes the entire dynamic of the draft… exclusively for you. Interestingly enough, this format is actually rife with creatures that have huge butts, more so than other formats, it seems. All of these creatures are usually good by themselves, as they have deathtouch, or allow you to become the monarch, or have an ability like goading or flight. But they all get infinitely better with Weight Advantage.
The following is a list of creatures that I was completely happy to play this past weekend without Weight Advantage. As you can imagine, they were miles better with the rare conspiracy: Palace Sentinels, Canal Courier, Jeering Homunculus, Illusionary Informant, Garrulous Sycophant, and Thorn of the Black Rose. I’m talking about 3/3 flyers and 4/4 ground guys for 2 mana here!
Also consider that Affa Guard Hound is an absolute blowout. It basically gives a creature +3/+3 at instant speed for 3 mana while also dropping a body into play. This is a Briarpack Alpha on steroids.
There were so many times where I kept worrying about my opponents being able to destroy my Weight Advantage—until I realized that wasn’t even possible! You just get so used to effects like this being on artifacts or enchantments and not untouchable factors from outside the game. Weight Advantage is basically going to allow you to draft an entirely different way from everyone else in your pod, and suddenly 4/4 Jeering Homunculuses for 2 mana become almost bombs.
There are two things that stand out for me about this card that I think might give you pause: it’s a mythic, and it costs 9 mana.
So here’s the thing. Yeah, you’re not likely going to open this very often. But when you do—please take it. 9 mana is not a lot in this format, it’s relatively slow, and I only heard of one instance this past weekend where someone had Expropriate and was unable to cast it. Considering I posted a few images from ridiculous Expropriate situations to my Facebook and Twitter, I heard quite a few stories about the card.
Everyone (yourself included, likely) is going to want to give the person time. Because no one wants to lose their permanents—especially not permanently. It’s just instinct. How bad can one extra turn be if I get to keep my 3/4 flyer? Well, you see, that’s the problem.
When I cast this card I took one creature—and 4 additional turns. Admittedly, I had Ballot Broker out at the time, allowing myself to vote for time twice. I won the game on the spot. Well, not “the spot,” per se, but more specifically after the 4 additional turns I took. Do you know how many turns 4 is? Not including the one you cast Expropriate on? Don’t say “four.” It’s a lot! You can literally spend each turn killing a different opponent, and they don’t get to untap their mana or their creatures or draw cards. Nothing! They just get to sit there and watch you dominate the rest of the game. Which lasts approximately 4 turns.
Are there going to be times where you cast Expropriate and don’t win? Sure, of course. But those times are going to be few in number, and I assume those will be times where people more frequently chose money. Just think about it is all I’m saying: yes, you’ll likely lose a creature, but then you can go on and take your turn like normal. In fact, everyone at the table can now choose to focus their efforts on the Expropriate player! Because if you choose time—you likely won’t get another turn.
All in all, Conspiracy was a blast to play this weekend and I enjoyed all of the drafts. I was never even trying to rush to finish them just to jump into another queue, which says a lot I think. Just keep in mind that life totals are 20 and not 40 like Commander (which the format most resembles). Thanks a ton for reading guys, and feel free to share your Conspiracy experiences in the comments. I’d love to hear them!