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Commander Review: Conspiracy 2

Conspiracy 2: Take the Crown has been fully spoiled! Now it's time to dive into the card pool and select the best cards for the Commander format. HOLY CRAP this set is so good for our beloved format! Okay, okay—let's begin!




Ballot Broker

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Both Conspiracy 2 and the original Conspiracy set had a voting mechanic. The first set had will of the council (e.g. Council's Judgment) and the new set has council's dilemma (e.g. Expropriate). By combining the voting cards from both sets, we have enough cards to finally make a Voting deck that builds around these cards!

The Voting deck is a fun, casual, political deck that coaxes your opponents to vote favorably for you so you get maximum value out of your voting cards. Most of the voting cards are incredibly powerful if you can consistently get the outcome you want from them. Plea For Power can be a Time Warp for a mere 4 mana instead of the standard 5, which is insane . . . if you can convince your opponents to votes for time. In actual playtesting, this scenario happens more than you'd think, because with some choice words you can usually convince an opponent to help you out so you can deal with a mutual threat. "If you vote X, then I can deal with Y problem for us." You'll be shocked how often it's successful!

Sometimes, though, politics fails to convince your foes. Maybe you're way ahead of the rest of the table so nobody wants to vote in your favor, no matter what you say. Luckily, Ballot Broker is here to help you in those situations. She, like Brago's Representative from the original Conspiracy set, lets you vote additional times, so you'll probably get the result you want even if the rest of the table is against you. These two creatures, plus Illusion of Choice, are going to be the failsafes in your Voting deck.

I'm super excited to play a Voting deck! Politics is my favorite part of the Commander format and is criminally underrated when evaluating cards. I love the look of surprise on people's faces when they realize "bad" cards like Steam Augury end up drawing 5 cards more often than not when you use a bit of politics!


Custodi Soulcaller

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Custodi Soulcaller's ability to reanimate a creature per combat is incredibly potent in the right deck. You want to be playing an aggressive deck with a good chunk of creatures (6+) that cost 1, 2, or 3 mana. Just sticking to White, we've got plenty of good targets, like Serra Ascendant, Weathered Wayfarer, Stoneforge Mystic, and so on. Adding more colors to the deck increases the pool of creatures.

If I were to guess at the Soulcaller's best home, it would either be in an aggressive Boros Weenie list or possibly even Naya. Adding Red gives you access to haste so the Soulcaller can get value the turn he's cast, plus possible extra combat steps for more triggers. Green has a ridiculous amount of top tier, low converted mana cost (CMC) creatures, namely mana dorks like Birds of Paradise, which you can fill up with, giving the Soulcaller no shortage of creatures to return.


Protector of the Crown

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

While I can't be too picky about card draw options in Mono White, Protector of the Crown still doesn't meet my expectations. The giant is actually kind of small; it lost two toughness compared to Palisade Giant. Sure, you can do cute things like give it indestructible with Darksteel Plate, but I expected more here. Either its toughness needed to be significantly increased or the converted mana cost should've been lowered.

If there's any deck that wants Protector of the Crown, it's probably Giant Tribal. Even then, it's not exciting.


Recruiter of the Guard

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Before this year, White barely had any decent creature tutors. Ranger of Eos is great but it's incredibly niche. Then recently we got Thalia's Lancers, an excellent creature tutor. Now we've received Recruiter of the Guard, which gets my pick as one of the best tutors ever printed for White.

This card is crazy good in the same way that Imperial Recruiter is great. Even in a big, flashy format like Commander, there are tons of small-bodied utility creatures that do a ton of work. Recruiter of the Guard is about as good as its Red brother. In White, you can tutor up Karmic Guide, Academy Rector, and Containment Priest. In multicolor decks it gets even better: Oracle of Mul Daya, Blood Artist, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, Phyrexian Metamorph—yes please!

Of all the new cards printed, Recruiter of the Guard is the one that will be played the most in Commander. It's a new staple card that is good in pretty much every White deck. Get it, run it, love it.


Sanctum Prelate

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Sanctum Prelate is a lockdown piece for creature-heavy decks that punishes decks that don't focus on creatures. The card is getting the most chatter from Vintage and Legacy formats right now, but it also can do work in Commander.

In a typical Commander playgroup, where noncreature spells cost anywhere from 1 CMC all the way to 12, Sanctum Prelate is going to be very inconsistent at locking down opponents. However, in a super competitive playgroup where decks are pretty much "Legacy-lite" and average converted mana costs of decks are under 3, Sanctum Prelate can seriously mess up noncreature decks. Locking a Storm deck out of 1 CMC spells means no Vampiric Tutor, High Tide, Dark Ritual, and so on, while making it immune to being removed by Swords to Plowshares.

So if you're in a super competitive playgroup, have a creature-heavy White deck like Karador, Ghost Chieftain, and want to hose noncreature decks, Sanctum Prelate is a perfect candidate.


Spectral Grasp

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Pacifism for multiplayer! Neat! This aura reminds me of the Vow cycle (e.g. Vow of Flight), which I prefer a bit more because you're "befriending" an opponent and encouraging them to deal damage on your behalf instead of mildly annoying them, but it's still cool. I can see myself running Spectral Grasp in my more political decks.






$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Wowee! Double Time Stretch or Blatant Thievery + Time Warp, or anything in between! Expropriate is insane value any way you slice it. It's well worth the 9 mana casting cost since it just about wins you the game when you resolve it. In Commander, we can abuse Expropriate further since we have numerous ways to cast it without paying the full mana cost. The two most popular methods are Narset, Enlightened Master and Mizzix of the Izmagnus, which will gladly add this new staple to their decks.


Illusion of Choice

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Everything I said about Ballot Broker applies here. Illusion of Choice is a failsafe in Voting decks, making sure you get the outcome you want. It's incredibly powerful in the right deck.


Stunt Double

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

"Clone with upside" has become the standard for good shapeshifters in modern times. Stunt Double is definitely one of the better ones, as gaining flash allows for all sorts of powerful shenanigans. Of the various Clones available, this one is probably my fourth-favorite in Commander and more budget-friendly than something like Phyrexian Metamorph.




Capital Punishment

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Capital Punishment is a tricky one to evaluate without actual playtesting. If it read, "Each opponent sacrifices two creatures and discards two cards," would that be worth 6 mana? Probably, considering Unnerve and Barter in Blood are each 4 CMC. So would a card with a bit more variation be worth it? Also probably. It's a fun card regardless, and I see myself playing with it.

Also, I love that artwork. You'd think all three of them would've voted for taxes!


Custodi Lich

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Would you play a Zombie that kills a creature and draws you a card for 5 CMC? I probably would. It's not a new staple or anything, but it's worth testing in Zombie Tribal decks, which is what I plan to do.


Deadly Designs

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Deadly Designs is a fun card. No, it's not mana efficient. Spending 12 mana to kill two creatures is way overpriced compared to a three CMC Reckless Spite, but it's very interesting in a multiplayer environment. You can convince your opponents to help pay the cost to deal with mutual threats, while promising not to destroy any of their creatures in the process. Your opponents will also have to play around Deadly Designs when it hits the table, holding back on casting their best creatures until the enchantment leaves play, or even paying to put counters on it so they can safely play their creatures.

Deadly Designs encourages the type of atmosphere in mutliplayer that makes me love the game. Politics, looming threats, janky cards that end up dictating the flow of the game in interactive ways. It's not a competitive card but I love it all the same.




Grenzo, Havoc Raiser

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

New Grenzo brings a ton of value at just 2 CMC! Grenzo's second ability offers Red decks card advantage in what was, up until now, a Blue way of "stealing" your opponents cards (e.g. Daxos of Meletis, Nightveil Specter). I think it fits right at home in Red as well. 

While Grenzo, Havoc Raiser doesn't have any form of evasion to help trigger his abilities, he more than makes up for it by letting all your creatures trigger the ability. This is great for decks that go wide, most notably everyone's favorite Goblin Tribal leader, Krenko, Mob Boss

Grenzo, Havoc Raiser is a great addition in Krenko decks. He's also a fine candidate as the commander of his own deck too!


Skyline Despot

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Would I spend 7 mana to make a 5/5 flyer that draws me a card? No. What about if it made me another 5/5 token if it survives an entire turn and draws me another card? Maybe. Skyline Despot is a decent card, maybe even a good card, but I need to see it in action first. I do like that it generates big flying creatures to defend your crown at least, and if it's not answered within a few turns it will certainly win you the game.


Subterranean Tremors

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Earthquake minus dealing damage to players, along with Creeping Corrosion if you spend 5+ mana, along with summoning Godzilla if you spend 9+ mana. Lots of value here and very fun. Subterranean Tremors works best in Gruul decks that ramp through sorceries like Rampant Growth. Decks low on artifacts and grounded creatures will love this inclusion.

I also love the flavor of this card. The big Godzilla creature emerges from the ground, causing an earthquake, killing smaller creatures on the surface and smashing artifacts. Wonderful!




Regal Behemoth

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Regal Behemoth is a very powerful but inconsistent card. It's a good beater, draws you at least one card, and offers potent mana ramp + fixing if you're The Monarch. Lose the crown and that all goes away, though you still have a 5/5 trample creature to get it back. The high variance makes me wary but it's certainly fun.


Selvala's Stampede

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Stompy players, rejoice! Selvala's Stampede is a super fun card for Timmy players that cram their decks full of giant permanents. Both voting options cheat stuff into play, and in a deck like Mayael the Anima, you're putting some huge stuff on to the battlefield! Selvala's Stampede gets noticeably worse in decks that run a lot of small mana dorks like Llanowar Elves for ramp, as wild votes may reveal those cards instead of your sweet Terastodons. If you're running Rampant Growths and mana rocks, then you've got nothing to fear.


Selvala, Heart of the Wilds

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Like the original, Selvala, Explorer Returned, new Selvala offers you two things: card draw and ramp. Unlike the original version, Selvala, Heart of the Wilds cares specifically about big creatures, which should please Timmy players. New Selvala accomplishes what she sets out to do, being especially amazing at ramping and mana fixing. She's a fine commander on her own, but will also be an easy inclusion in the 99 of other Stompy decks like Mayael the Anima and Xenagos, God of Revels.


Splitting Slime

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Splitting Slime costs a ton of mana to get going, but once it does, watch out! If you have a ludicrous amount of mana available then you can overwhelm the board with this super flavorful ooze.





Spy Kit

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Spy Kit begs for clever synergies to be discovered with it. The two great ones that I've heard so far is using Evil Twin and Cornered Market with it. What neat synergies have you discovered?





Adriana, Captain of the Guard

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Another Boros legendary creature that encourages going wide with attacking creatures. Adriana, Captain of the Guard buffs your creatures. Hooray, the same boring, ineffective strategy Boros usually gets. At least they tried something different with Kalemne, Disciple of Iroas and accidentally gave us something sweet with Archangel Avacyn.

I could talk more about Adriana, but if Wizards doesn't put any effort into making good multiplayer Boros cards, why should I bother?


Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Black traditionally doesn't really do anything with artifacts, so it came as a bit of a surprise to me when Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast showed up in Rakdos colors. By himself, however, new Daretti is quite powerful. His -1 can potentially be used three times in a row as repeatable removal, and his +1 and ultimate are both flexible. He's a strong inclusion in RB Artifact decks.

The question is, where does he fit? The only deck I can think of is Shattergang Brothers, which he'll be sweet in.


Kaya, Ghost Assassin

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I love Syphon Mind. Kaya, Ghost Assassin is a mini-Syphon with more flexibility tacked on. You'll often cast her and use her -2 ability two turns in a row, then reset her loyalty with her 0 ability. Sometimes you'll even use her -1 to drain your opponents or her 0 ability to exile a problem creature or re-use one of your creature's enter the battlefield (ETB) abilities. There's a lot going on with her and I love the flexibility.

Kaya, Ghost Assassin can easily be slotted into many different decks, including Orzhov Stax or Superfriends. Great flavor too!


Leovold, Emissary of Trest

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

There's been a lot of buzz surrounding Leovold, Emissary of Trest in the Commander community, and for good reason: this elf is powerful! 

Lore-wise, Leovold might be a complex and secretive figure, but mechanics-wise he's incredibly straightforward to build. Play Windfall cards, forcing your opponents to discard their hands, while Leovold prevents them from refilling their hands. And if an opponent dares mess with your stuff, you draw cards! Leovold is as mean as he is efficient.

Expect a lot of people to be building Leovold decks soon. Some will try to play "nice" Leovold decks that don't mess with peoples hands (much), but those will be mercilessly crushed by opponents who rightly fear the standard Leovold shenanigans. Then those "nice" Leovold decks will go for meaner tactics in order to survive the hate, which leads to more hate from the group. It'll be wonderful.

The competitive Commander community is just as excited about Leovold as everyone else. BUG has long been considered the strongest tri-color combination, but we've never had a particularly good multiplayer commander for the color wedge up until now. More Stax and Combo for everyone!


Queen Marchesa

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

The poster girl for the set hasn't received the same level of attention as our dashing elf advisor, unfortunately. Queen Marchesa is a sweet card that can be built a number of ways, from a casual, monarchy-themed political Control deck to a more cutthroat Stax list, as I've discussed over here. She has a subtle power and her mechanics don't shoe-horn you into a very specific playstyle, which might not make her the most popular, but I find her quite interesting.




Throne of the High City

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Pay 5 mana and sacrifice Throne of the High City to become The Monarch, drawing a card, and hopefully drawing more cards in the future. This land can be great in Lands decks like Titania, Protector of Argoth, where the ability cost is negligible and sacrificing a land might even be beneficial. Throne of the High City may also be a help in decks that are really hurting for card draw, like Mono White lists.




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Equally jaw-dropping for Commander players were the list of amazing reprints coming our way! Since Conspiracy 2 has a huge print run, the prices of these cards are going to take significant hits, which is great news for folks like myself who want to see format staples kept at a reasonable price. Here's my quick list of notable reprints for Commander:


Next Up: Budget Commander!

Conspiracy 2 is a small set full of value for us Commander players. We've got a lot of high value reprints and tons of exciting new cards. What do you think of this set? Which cards are you most excited to play with and which deck will they go into? Let me know in the comments section below or tweet me @BudgetCommander. 

Expect to see some of the new legendary creatures featured soon in my upcoming Budget Commander articles!

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