The Phyrexian’s were an inside job and WotC’s plot to steal your wallet.

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It’s a conspiracy. They want your money and they know how to get it. They are mad with power you see, they have even begun to manipulate how will we draft our cards together. Them. They. You know. Big TCG. Wizard’s of the Coast is a front for the Illuminati with a complex plan to make drafting into a new experience, one where they break all the rules.

Conspiracy: The Conspiring

Worldknit
The Command Zone in action

Personally, I’m not a big fan of multiplayer Magic. I’m a competitive guy so I like a good one on one confrontation. Naturally this extends to Commander, a format I find boring and somewhat pointless. I don’t play Magic unless there are some stakes on the line. Casual games hold no appeal for me anymore. This is why Conspiracy is so interesting to me. It brings something brand new to the metaphorical and actual drafting table. Wizard’s has created a set that gamify’s the draft portion of the draft. It’s kinda like the pregame game. In Conspiracy drafts, you can spy on other player’s packs, incorporate new packs into the draft, take cards out of order, as well as occasionally trade cards with player’s once the draft is complete(!). This will also be the first set to really utilize the Command Zone outside of Planeswalker emblems in a very deliberate way. It will also be the first set specifically designed for the draft format and with multiplayer being the default mode of play.

The set’s new namesake card type Conspiracy is a kind of card that starts in play at the beginning of each game either face up or face down. The face up cards take effect immediately under certain conditions whereas the face down cards operate somewhat like trap cards. The hidden agenda Conspiracy’s have you name a card at the beginning of each game and can be flipped over to surprise your opponents with their effects.  Cards like Worldknit can completely change your draft strategy entirely. Worldknit allows you to play everything you draft without the possibility of getting mana screwed with the caveat that you must play everything you draft. The best part is that Worldknit doesn’t take up a slot in your deck, nor does it even have to be drawn in order to have an effect on the game. It begins in play in the command zone with all your other Conspiracy cards. Unlike combo pieces or mana fixing in a typical draft, there is a 0% chance of not having this card just when you need it. Bonkers.

The Draft

Cogwork librarian
Why wait indeed

One the most fun ways to enjoy Magic, the draft, is undergoing some drastic changes inside Conspiracy. Cards like Cogwork Librarian will be warping the way cards move around the draft table in ways that we have never seen before. One of many cards that affect the way you draft, Cogwork Librarian allows you to take a second card from a particular pack where you just can’t decide and have to have both. All for the low, low price of letting one of your potential opponents do the same. An extension of the politics usually seen during a multiplayer game of Magic, bargaining and trade have been made part of the rules. Threats and coercion could potentially be just another tool to get your opponents to do your bidding.

Since the intent of Conspiracy is to be drafted in 8 player pods and played in 4 player matches, the dynamics of each draft and the subsequent games will always be different. The number of combinations and effects that could alter the progression of each draft in drastically higher than a typical Magic set. Combined with the different personalities of each player and how they approach the political aspects of a wacky multiplayer format I would guess that no single Conspiracy draft will be like another. Each one will be a wildly different experience, and I for one can’t wait to try it out.

Paliano, the High City
Wait, what about after the draft?

The one drawback that I have seen so far can be exemplified by cards like Paliano, the High City. So let’s walk through this one. We open this card in a draft, sweet. We name our primary color and the players next to us name whatever they want depending on how much they know about what we’ve drafted so far and how much they want to help us or hinder us. Very cool, this card is another way we could potentially gain some allies or enemies during our matches and we’ve got some mana fixing for our deck.

Now we’ve played our games and the draft is over. What exactly do cards like Paliano, the High City do outside of the draft you opened them in. The answer at least for this card is almost nothing. Paliano does literally nothing, not even tap for mana. Even Cogwork Librarian and cards like it have essentially no text in their text box. The only way cards like these will see play again outside of the first draft they are opened in is Cube. This makes me wonder how much the packs of Conspiracy will ultimately be sold for if a number of cards in the set will be worth virtually nothing after being opened. Anything that is opened will also only be legal in Legacy thus making the set even less desirable. We haven’t yet seen the full spoiler for Conspiracy so maybe the remaining cards will push it over the edge in terms of value but that remains to be seen. I for one hope that Conspiracy holds more value beyond an en excellent draft format. I want a good reason to play this set often this summer.

Oh, and Dack Fayen is cool.

Dack Fayden
The greatest thief ever is literally red handed.

What do you guys think about Conspiracy? Is it a hit or just a waste of your potential pack dollars? Share this and let me know in the comments. Also check out some of my other posts and subscribe for more. Find me on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter and connect with me.

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Thomas Traplin
@tomtraplin
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