Conspiracy: Take the Crown – 75% Set Review
Conspiracy: Take the Crown is fully out and it looks good. It’s more fun to draft than its predecessor and Monarch, as a mechanic, executes what they tried to make happen with Dethrone and make people do something other than turtle. The conspiracies are all well balanced and fun and everyone I’ve talked to who has drafted both this and the original Conspiracy has been very impressed with how this plays. While I’m not exactly a slouch at Limited (you’re talking to the #3 ranked Two Headed Giant Sealed player in the state of Michigan, at least last time I checked the “meaningless achievements” tab of my Planeswalker points account) you didn’t click on this link to get my take on how to draft this silly set — you want to know about the cards we got in this set and how they’ll interface with future 75% deck-building. You’re in luck because even though the set has officially come out and everyone else is moving on to talk about Kaladesh spoilers, I’m still very much excited about this set and I have found a lot of gems that can slot into your 75% decks or even have new ones built around them. Here’s my take, anyway. Enjoy!
Adriana, Captain of the Guard — This forces you to play a lot of doofy creatures with Melee, but it also rewards you for going wide and attacking everyone. I see a lot of synergy with cards like Assemble the Legion (Easily in my top 10 favorite 75% enchantments) and Master Warcraft. I think this may be a bad Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer but I think you can distinguish this as a separate, unique commander. You can basically jam almost anything in this deck and it is going to be 75% because your card pool is limited to cards that synergize with the same old Bore-os “Attack and that’s about it” mentality.
Avatar of Woe —This card was good before but it’s still good, now. It was printed in the spot in the set that could easily have been Damnation which disappointed a lot of people and made them forget how back-breaking this guy is to play against. This is a great reanimator target or just a silly assassin to hard cast and start murdering with. I love creatures like this in a 75% deck.
Beast Within — Play removal. Some people get frustrated when their attempt at a 75% deck is losing more than it should, and think they need to increase the absolute power level or consistency level of the deck to win. A lot of the time, your 75% deck runs just fine and you could have won if you’d hampered them a little. This is a good removal in a color that doesn’t typically get any. You could wait for Desert Twister on 6 or you could run this guy, which should be getting more affordable.
Birds of Paradise —For my money, mana fixing doesn’t get much more fun than this. I wish they would one day pay what it takes to go back to the iconic Mark Poole art, the art that inspired the card in the first place. These will be $3-$4 soon and if they get any cheaper, I’m a buyer even at retail. These do a lot of work and I like seeing them in my opener as much as Sol Ring.
Burgeoning— Ermagerd! Burgeoning! This card is silly but its price prevented it from being a first choice in a lot of decks. With a lot of land-matters commanders like Mina and Denn, Wildborn and The Gitrog Monster,c being about land pays off and this card makes you about it. Get these now for cheap and marvel at how much work they do. You win games with a 75% deck by cheating (legally) so be unfair and Burgeoning all over the place.
Capital Punishment— Council’s Dilemma is a much better mechanic than Will of the Council in my opinion. I think this may be a bit slow for a Browbeat effect and it’s certainly not great when compared to Expropriate but this is certainly playable, especially in decks with Snapcaster Mage or Eternal Witness. This is especially good at getting rid of a few pesky Hexproof guys — and your opponents can vote with that in mind. Political cards are very 75% and this is pretty political.
Coiling Oracle — I mention this because in 75% decks, I tend to prefer cantrip effects stapled to bodies rather than just spells. I’ll play Brainstorm or Ponder in Melek, Izzet Paragon or Talrand, Sky Summoner but for the most part, I want creatures like this rather than spells like those.
Custodi Lich— Introducing the Monarch token to the game means you essentially added a Phyrexian Library that anyone can use. The more aggressive players benefit most and that prevents people from turtling (to an extent). I like the effect attached to this creature on top of making you the Monarch. Maybe this will get Deadeye Navigator banned.
Custodi Soulcaller— This is an interesting card. There are a lot of creatures you can get that are very good where X=3 and this has melee to boot. I like this, especially with something like Whispersilk Cloak on it.
Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast — This is just going to do tons of work in commander. Shattergang Brothers is the obvious first destination but there are dozens of other decks where this will do work. This solves a lot of problems for one measly deck slot.
Dragonlair Spider — I can’t think of a card that more embodies the principle of “It’s better to punish them for doing things” than this guy. I mean, obviously I can; Ruric Thar, the Unbowed. Still, though. This goes in all of the same decks.
Exotic Orchard — These are going to get cheaper and they’re solid fixing for cheap.
Explosive Vegetation — Play fixing and ramp. This is a good choice.
Expropriate — No words . . . should have sent a poet. Seriously, what card is more 75% than this one? It’s a political Treachery Warp. This card gives me goosebumps.
Followed Footsteps — I like clone effects, especially ones that make tokens that we can double. This is just a solid card.
Ghostly Prison — I love this in all kinds of pillow fort decks and I think it’s about to be very affordable for a while. I choose to interpret this card as “We’re punishing them for swinging with so many creatures by taxing them” rather than “we’re preventing them from swinging with 1,000,000 Pestermites” for the purposes of our 75% rules. We’re not preventing them from doing anything, just winning cheesily.
Gratuitous Violence — This is what we want to be about in a 75% deck. If your strategy involves killing them with damage, kill them faster with lots of damage.
Hallowed Burial — I like dealing with creatures permanently. Paying extra mana for upside on your wrath is very 75% since we usually don’t run that many copies of wrath effects. This one gets the job done.
Horn of Greed — Everything I said about Burgeoning is true of this card and then some. This is a very, very good card and it’s very 75% to benefit them a little and you a lot since you’re set up to play around the card and they only get value incidentally. These will be bulk rares and I’m going to snatch them up like the card inspired me to be my greediest.
Kaya, Ghost Assassin — This card could get its own article. It’s going to enable a lot of blink stuff in color combinations people don’t expect and do some work. I will wait until this tanks in price, though.
Keeper of Keys — What? This card is insane. It creates the Monarch subgame and makes your side unblockable? Seriously? A lot of people are overlooking this card, but why?
Marchesa’s Decree — I think it took people a few times swinging into this to appreciate how dirty it is. I am in favor of stuff that makes you the Monarch and this powerful pillow fort effect is just gravy. I’m windmilling this into Daxos the Returned.
Palace Jailer — This card is a lot of fun and you can use it to flicker friendly opponents’ stuff or as pseudo-removal, especially if you don’t plan to get attacked much. This isn’t as good with flickering as you might hope, but it’s still going to do work with Eldrazi Displacer if you can get enough creatures that you can’t lose Monarch status, I guess.
Phyrexian Arena — Don’t forget to include one of the best cards ever printed in your decks, everyone.
Platinum Angel — I don’t have a problem with preventing them from doing things if that thing is “win the game”
Psychosis Crawler — This card is very good. That is all.
Recruiter of the Guard — It’s hard to imagine anything with this much raw power not being a great 75% inclusion. I shy away from tutors but this tutors face-up, gets creatures and seems pretty narrow to me. I think this will be a great toolbox card. Play this until it bores you and just know that it started to bore you playgroup even sooner than that - exercise caution in other words.
Regal Behemoth — Seriously one of my favorite cards in the set. A mana doubler than makes you the Monarch? I’m all about that.
Rogue’s Passage — Hitting them is useful.
Sanctum Prelate — Again, we run into friction concerning preventing them from doing things and how we tend to try not to do that. This isn’t Iona, Shield of Emeria. This is going to allow them to play a lot of cards and stop them from playing a small amount of cards. Imagine how much work you’ll do setting this at 3 or 5 or 6 in Commander. They can play a lot of things so they can still play Magic. They just can’t do a specific thing until they deal with this. Seems fair to me.
Selvala, Heart of the Wild — I like this card a little more every time I look at it. This ramps a ton and I can’t wait to see what people build around her.
Show and Tell — This doesn’t get played a ton in Commander but it sure is fun.
Spy Kit — This card is so ridiculously fun, I can’t even. Think of the possibilities!
Throne of the High City — I think this card is currently a little underrated. Making yourself the Monarch in any deck, repeatedly with cards like Life from the Loam and Crucible of Worlds (which could easily have been in this set!) is nothing to sneeze at. I think this will be a thing.
Wild Pair — Easy to build around and worth doing! I’ve been on the receiving end of a Wild Pair beatdown in Limited before and it wasn’t pretty. Imagine how good it is when you’re built around it. This isn’t just for Slivers.
There we have it! I think I found a few underrated or overlooked cards that will be perfect for our non-traditional deck-building approach. I also think it almost seems like WotC R&D thinks like a 75% builder sometimes when they give us cards like Expropriate. I love it! I am looking forward to jamming these new cards in a bunch of my decks. Stay tuned next week where we may have a juicy Kaladesh spoiler to get us started on an entirely new tangent. And I was just starting to fully appreciate Conspiracy! Until next time.