I love sets like Conspiracy and the annual Commander decks. Wizards gets the opportunity to print some new cards and introduce some new mechanics. Eventually, the Conspiracy card pool all falls into the Commander formats (and rarely Legacy and Vintage). Since Conspiracy cards don’t go into Standard or Modern, Wizards can play around with the power level without being afraid of breaking formats. Additionally, they can print more copies of important cards like Serum Visions, Inquisition of Kozilek, and Show and Tell to make them more accessible. Also, lore can be expanded. Though most cards in the set are tied to Fiora, other planes are featured through flavor text and art. My favorite is definitely the new Phyrexian Arena, which depicts Koth on New Phyrexia.
A lot of cards have unique abilities that rely on the draft, so those are irrelevant to constructed formats. However, The Monarch, Melee, and Goad are new mechanics that transfer to Commander just fine. The introduction of The Monarch is quite interesting. It only takes one card to make a player The Monarch, and that causes the whole game to change. It rewards combat and creatures, which could be nice, potentially breaking up the pillow-forts and stalemates that often occur.
Melee rewards aggression. It could help accelerate kills on multiple players. However, all the benefits of Melee rely on you attacking multiple players, so I think that cost is too high for a few extra points of damage. Even if all your creatures have Melee through Adriana, Captain of the Guard, the politics of the table will just shift against you. I don’t predict Melee to be that good, but we’ll have to wait and see.
I do think Goad is a strong mechanic. It forces your opponents to fight while you are unharmed. I can see Grenzo, Havoc Raiser being a strong, aggressive commander. His abilities are triggered when you deal combat damage to opponents, and Goad forces most creatures to become tapped, making it easier to get damage in and repeat the cycle. Also, it’s nice to see red’s version of card draw implemented in Grenzo as well.
There’s a good number of new cards from this set that will be great in Commander. Recruiter of the Guard is a riff off of Imperial Recruiter. It can’t get Painter’s Servant, but it can find Flickerwisp, both Thalias, and a lot more. A cheap creature tutor, it should see a lot of play. Subterranean Tremors is a very versatile X spell. Sometimes you just need an early game sweeper, and later on there are always pesky artifacts flying around.
Expropriate is so greedy. It looks like more fun than a kicked Rite of Replication. This kind of card is what a lot of people think of when they think of EDH. In Duel Commander, it’s obviously too expensive, and there are only two players, so the effect is less good. Selvala’s Stampede is also a huge bomb but at only 6 mana. It’s not great if you have no permanents in hand and everyone else chooses free, but other than that, it seems amazing.
It’s always nice to see new planeswalkers. Kaya, Ghost Assassin, one of the only planeswalkers without a plus ability, has a clever way to set her loyalty counters back to 5. That first ability also has good synergy with the many creatures with enter the battlefield effects. I expect Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast to be good. He’s got all the qualities of a good planeswalker – he’s cheap, he can protect himself with a plus ability, and he’s got some other strong abilities.
Finally, we’ve got some new potential commanders to brew decks around. Queen Marchesa is great. She will always introduce The Monarch to the table, and even if you are not The Monarch, she rewards you. It’s very flavorful that she makes Assassins when you’re not The Monarch so that you can take him or her out. Leovold, Emissary of Trest is a lot like Rayne, Academy Chancellor, but with stronger stats and in more colors. He’s not flashy, but quite powerful. Selvala, Heart of the Wilds creates a fun little contest to see who can produce the biggest creature. Green should win. Also, her mana producing ability can give you huge mana advantage, making it even easier to draw off her first ability.
I’m officially excited to draft some Conspiracy: Take the Crown and to brew some new Commander decks!
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