Thursday, August 25, 2016

You Best Not Miss

So the new Conspiracy full spoiler is out, Take The Crown and you know what they say about comin' after the king...

First things first: I think this is the biggest risk that WotC has taken in years. The reprints of Show & Tell, Inquisition of Kozilek and Berserk alone show a genuine if tentative willingness to address the rising costs of popular cards in the Legacy and Modern formats. Add in Serum Visions, Burning Wish and even Birds of Paradise-which I've never heard anyone complain about-and the evidence points to Wizards being willing to introduce some necessary cards into the available pool.

While I can't agree with everything said by SaffronOlive, (notably, I think reprints in Standard are fine and people just like to complain) I am certainly on board with the notion that Take The Crown represents a genuine step forward. It is not be the step WotC ought to take, because there are still some big issues revolving around the reprint policy and the shunning of younger or more impoverished players, not to mention the flat out gouging of consumers that was Eternal Masters/Modern Masters 2. But Take the Crown is at least pointed in the right direction.

Now, looking at the rest of the set:

I think the Monarch idea is an interesting one and allows for some rapidly shifting power dynamics in multiplayer. That's a good thing and the implementation doesn't appear to be overpowered.

White is so clearly the bees knees in this set it's hard to overstate it. And this comes down to two cards: Recruiter of the Guard and Sanctum Prelate. Even reprints like Berserk and Show & Tell haven't gotten as much attention as those two cards and with good reason. Nothing I'm seeing in this set has the same level of impact on Legacy.

In draft? Well, that's a horse of a different color. It looks like a whole lot of OK.

Blue's cards seem overcosted to me-at least for draft. Making sure you hit 4+ mana is going to be important but even if you do, what's the payoff? Probably a solid support color and Desertion is always an interesting card for multiplayer. The shiny shiny that is Show & Tell doesn't really distract me from the fact that there doesn't seem to be a lot to do.

Black provides some interesting stuff: first, the Archdemon of Paliano, as difficult as it may be to use in draft, in Constructed offers a 5/4 flier for four with zero drawback in black. This is better than Mindwrack Demon. That could make it a contender for a finisher in a lot of decks. Even in draft, if it's a pack 1 pick, the drawback is really zero. After that, there is a lot of removal here; Murder and Death Wind are at common, Infest at uncommon; if you can get it to work, Black should go a long way for you.

Red gets a bit weird; I really like Grenzo but Subterranean Tremors feels out of place. It doesn't fit thematically (there are only 10 artifacts in the set) but as a solitary flavor win, I dig it. What remains to be seen is how mechanics like Goad work in practice. It's a weird political mechanic for multiplayer and I suppose that fits in with Red's general themes. I'm just not sure how strong it is. The removal isn't as awesome as Black's but it looks like there's enough to keep you in the game.

I don't have much in Green to get excited about. Sevala is the nuts and of course Berserk's reprinting is cool but it's just 'make more mana than you to win' and feels pretty linear.

The artifacts are a pretty sorry bunch, with only Spy Kit doing something unusual but even that oddity doesn't have much payoff. Sure, there's the bridge to the Conspiracies and "note" cards but the advantage seems so incremental for four mana. I can't get excited about Platinum Angel and would rather have seen Platinum Emperion. The lands do a little better, having more obvious functionality but it's a cold day before anyone is hyped about Dread Statuary.

The Conspiracy tactics have an interesting new slant to them, requiring colored mana to offer more variety. Nothing groundbreaking but at least there's some room in that mechanic to breathe which makes me hopeful for Conspiracy 3: Revolution (or whatever they call it).

Lastly, of the six new multicolored cards, only three really catch my eye: Leovold, Kaya, and Daretti II. The reprints aren't terribly exciting, if reasonably curated for multiplayer but I'm glad to see Dragonlair Spider, since that card was only really available in the Planechase set.

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