The Archetypes of Conspiracy: Take the Crown

You can snag Conspiracy: Take the Crown this Friday, August 26th and begin drafting it with your friends, or nemeses, that night at FNM. Before then, however, you might want to check out the card image gallery for the set so you know what you’re getting into. What better way to rule the throne of Paliano than to scheme ahead of time?

As a draft-matters set, Conspiracy: Take the Crown is (obviously) built around limited play. Like any other limited experience, scheming will be easier if you know what the colors want to be doing in these multiplayer games. You’ll ideally be drafting a two-color deck (plenty of caveats apply in this set), so today I’ll be going over how each two-color pair wants to seize control of Paliano. This is a fairly loose set, so these archetypes are far less focused than most expansions. Take them with a grain of salt, using them more like guidelines than actual rules.

White/Blue: Skies

Ascended Lawmage by Ryan Yee

Skies decks are the same in every limited format; you bolster the ground and strike in the air. The idea is that if you play a defensive game, you can pick at your opponents with your evasive threats over the course of many turns. If your fortress is impregnable, you’ll eventually win through attrition.

This is a little trickier in multiplayer, since you have to defend against multiple enemies at once. White and Blue are full of creatures with high toughness, however, so make sure to pick some of those up to go with your fliers. Spells that make it difficult for your opponents to attack you help as well, from defensive cards to bounce to tapping down creatures.

Key cards: Wings of the Guard, Hundred-Handed One, Coveted Peacock, Vertigo Spawn

Blue/Black: Group Thug

Duskmantle Seer by Kev Walker

This color combination is doing what it does best: grind out a long game by having the most resources. Both Blue and Black have a number of controlling cards, meaning this archetype wants to play defensively and patiently. Even when it seems like it’s being helpful, Blue/Black is just secretly stabbing you in the back.

Group Thug is a play style filled with cards that affect all players/opponents. Those effects tend to be negative, but incremental so that they don’t get too annoying. You’ll eventually wear your opponents out and be able to win with some evasive threats. Limited decks are only 40 cards, however, and long games could see some opponents lose for drawing their entire libraries.

Key cards: Capital Punishment, Unnerve, Jeering Homunculus, Kami of the Crescent Moon

Black/Red: Destruction

Carnage Gladiator by Ryan Barger

Things that happen in a regular game of Magic happen much more often in a game of multiplayer Magic. This archetype aims to take advantage of one of those things: death. Death happens a lot, from combat to removal spells to board sweepers. If everything is dying, but you’re the one benefitting from the deaths, you’ll come out ahead in the end.

Black/Red decks can be on the faster side, aiming to trade creatures in combat; or play a slow game utilizing removal spells to craft a board state in which your creatures have the best attacks.

Key cards: Custodi Lich, Harvester of Souls, Besmirch, Havengul Vampire

Red/Green: Monsters

Subterranean Tremors by Phillip Burburan

In a world where players are building walls, you may want to be the one aiming to knock ‘em back down. Red/Green focuses on the returning monstrosity mechanic. While these creatures are decently costed when you cast them, they are downright frightening when you make them monstrous later in the game.

The key to victory here is to have the biggest and meanest creatures on the board. Turn them sideways and watch your opponents struggle to defeat them in combat! Hold them back as impenetrable guard-monsters! You’ll win through pure power in this color combination.

Key cards: Volatile Chimera, Stoneshock Giant, Domesticated Hydra, Ravenous Leucrocota

Green/White: Beatdown

Menagerie Liberator by Michael Bierek

While Green/White is also built around creatures, it’s more concerned with curving out early-drops into late-drops. You’ll want to pick some small, aggressive White creatures and follow them up with some beefy Green creatures.

In fact, just play as many creatures as you can. The more creatures you control, the easier it will be to both attack and defend against multiple opponents. If you can produce enough creatures, even three opponents will be able to muster enough removal to stop your stampede!

Key cards: Fang of the Pack, Overrun, Paliano Vanguard, Windborne Charge

White/Black: Monarch

Throne of the High City by Titus Lunter

Seizing, and keeping, the crown is the goal of White/Black. This archetype features the new monarch mechanic. At the beginning of your end step, if you’re the monarch, you’ll draw an extra card. An opponent can steal your crown by dealing combat damage to you however, so you better protect your noggin at all costs!

This is a defensive, controlling strategy. You’ll want high-toughness creatures, lots of removal, and cards that make your opponents not want to attack you. All the extra cards you’ll draw will let you bleed your opponents’ life totals down and get in a few attacks here and there. You’ll amass so many resources that your enemies will have no choice but to bow in submission.

Key cards: Protector of the Crown, Ghostly Prison, Garrulous Sycophant, Public Execution

Blue/Red: Spells

Kiln Fiend by Adi Granov

Flashes of aether! Crackles of lightning! Spellslinging the is the name of Blue/Red’s game. Cast powerful instants and sorceries in order to control the game as your creatures lay down some sick beats.

Your Red spells are going to be doing a lot of damage, while your Blue cards should focus on drawing more cards and removing blockers. Both colors also have access to the goad mechanic, which can direct attacks as your opponents instead of you (I wrote all about goad on Monday.) Your flurry of spells should dazzle and confuse your opponents, leaving you victorious when the smoke clears.

Key cards: Arcane Savant, Mnemonic Wall, Garbage Fire, Guttersnipe

Black/Green: Good Stuff

Regicide by Chris Rallis

These colors don’t really have a specific archetype. You’ll play Black/Green when the colors are open, taking all the best cards you can find. It’s not an awful color pair for a Good Stuff deck either; most games of limited are won on the backs of efficient removal and powerful creatures. Guess what Black and Green excel at?

You’re not really looking for synergistic cards here, just raw power. Tutors becomes very good, as you can just dig up your haymakers and call it a day. Black has some graveyard manipulation, ensuring you always have the best creatures ready to rumble. Kill things, beat faces in, and smile while doing it.

Key cards: Sinuous Vermin, Diabolic Tutor, Leovold’s Operative, Beast Within

Red/White: Melee

Adriana, Captain of the Guard by Chris Rallis

Aggressive decks are difficult to build in multiplayer games, but the melee mechanic makes it possible. By attacking all your opponents at once, your creatures gain huge boosts to their power and toughness. You’ll be able to dash out early, prevent your opponents from developing their defenses, and finish them quickly.

You want to priorities cheap creatures, fliers, and combat tricks here. Anything that lets your creatures attack without being blocked is a good thing to draft. If you can find a few really good defensive creatures, they can help you stay alive in longer games as your evasive attackers finish the job.

Key cards: Deputized Protestor, Goblin Tunneler, Custodi Soulcaller, Gods Willing

Green/Blue: Ramp

Birds of Paradise by Marcelo Vignali

Card advantage is the key to the Green/Blue archetype. If you see more cards than your opponents, you’ll hit more land drops. If you hit more land drops, you’ll be able to cast more and better spells.

Green ramps your mana so that you can cast your creatures while also using Blue spells to draw cards and control the board. Cards with repeatable effects that cost mana will be very useful to you. You’ll be able to generate incredible value over the course of a game due to your overwhelming abundance of resources. Your deck will snowball and become unstoppable.

Key cards: Splitting Slime, Explosive Vegetation, Skittering Crustacean, Sphinx of Magosi

Ten Devious Schemes

One road leads to the top: conspiracy. Stab your friends in their backs, plot elaborate misdirections, and claim the crown of Paliano as your own. Each color combination has its own strategy to become the rightful heir to the throne, from stalwart defensive to blitzing assaults to earth-shaking stampedes.

Which path will you skulk along in your quest for greatness, planeswalkers? Head to your local game store this Friday night and find out!

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NEW KEYWORD: INTEGRATE


This is something that I’ve thought about a lot, and I’ve always had trouble implementing it. Sort of. Cipher is interesting, but it feels like so much is spent sitting on a creature that can’t really get through to your opponent. With a higher cost, the rewards for integrating these cards are also higher, and can go into any kind of deck at various levels of play.

Topi’s Daily Card #732:  Disciple of the Ring

Things that are similar to morphling can be seen has having a lot of potential.  Disciple of the Ring though unfortunately did not see too much play in standard, mostly due ot the restriction  of having to exile an instant or sorcery as well as paying a mana.  Though with that extra cost, a few of the abilities got a little more potent.  Being able to counter a spell for the cost of exiling a card from your graveyard is pretty good by any means, especially if your opponents forget and tap out for a big spell.  Other than that the card is largely mediocre in EDH, and is probably best in a wizards tribal shell.  Still, it’s a card I’m glad to have, and the idea of using this card eventually is really appealing.