While we’ve known for some time about the Conspiracy card archetype, we now have seven examples of this new card type. It will be a card type legal only in the Conspiracy draft format and be placed in what would ordinarily be the Command Zone for Commander, off to the right of your graveyard.
These cards, thus far, are split into two types: those that begin play face-up, and those that begin play face-down, which are also known as “Hidden Agendas.”
First off, we have Advantageous Proclamation. You begin the game with it face-up in your Command Zone. What this card allows you to do is reduce your minimum deck size by five. Being that Conspiracy is a Limited format, it means that you only need to have thirty-five cards in your deck, rather than forty. This can be a very good thing, especially as some draft decks find themselves needing filler cards just to make the forty. Having this Conspiracy available to you can help you turn a relatively bad draft into a decent one by reducing the number of cards you’re forced to play. While it’s not always advantageous, you could also choose to simply play one or two fewer cards than usual. I can see this Conspiracy definitely being a factor.
Another Conspiracy card that begins play face-up is Sentinel Dispatch. At the beginning of the first upkeep (it doesn’t have to be yours), you put a 1/1 colorless Construct artifact creature token with defender onto the battlefield. While it’s not necessarily quite as useful as being able to play up to five fewer cards in a deck, having a creature on board on the first turn is certainly an advantage. As it has Defender, it can’t attack, but it is an immediate +1 for you. As Conspiracy cards don’t count towards your deck, it’s hard not to simply take this card if you don’t plan to use any other Conspiracy cards.
The others revealed thus far all have the mechanic called “Hidden Agenda,” meaning that they begin play face-down in the Command Zone and can be flipped over later in the game whenever you choose. They also all involve secretly naming a particular card and the effects of these cards all relate to cards of that given name.
The first of these Hidden Agendas is Brago’s Favor. It reads “Spells with the chosen name you cast cost 1 colorless mana less to cast.” This means that you need to choose the card that you name wisely. Given the choice of the right card, however, especially if that card happens to be a part of your deck’s win condition, having that one extra mana being taken away from a casting cost can be a good advantage.
The next one is Double Stroke. Again, you secretly name a card that will be used for this Conspiracy, but this one is specifically for instants and sorceries. This one says “Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell with the chosen name, you may copy it. You may choose new targets for the copy.” Essentially, this Conspiracy gives you a free Reverberate effect for whatever card you choose, allowing for some cheap two-for-ones or potentially far more considering what that instant or sorcery might be. There are a few instants and sorceries already confirmed for Conspiracy that could take great advantage of this card. If the secret card is chosen wisely, this seems far more powerful than Brago’s Favor.
Immediate Action gives your chosen card haste, meaning that it can come in and attack or use any tap abilities it may have straightaway. Obviously, you will have to name a creature for this, and most likely it will be the most powerful creature in your deck. Given that you don’t have to flip this card over until after you’ve even cast the secret card in question, this could be a very sneaky way to make your bomb that much more powerful. And there are several already revealed in the set!
Muzzio’s Preparations puts +1/+1 counters on creatures you control with the secretly chosen name. This isn’t as powerful as copying a spell or giving a creature haste, or even it having cost 1 less. It would seem that this would be best played naming a card that you may run several copies of in your deck. This one is a bit underwhelming compared to the others revealed thus far.
The final Hidden Agenda card we’ll look at here is Secrets of Paradise. It’s a cute card that lets creatures of the chosen name you control be able to become Birds of Paradise, being able to tap for any color of mana. Like Muzzio’s Preparations, this card is probably best used for creatures that you assume you will have multiple copies of in your deck. The advantage of the additional mana and mana fixing is definitely something to consider. I really like the potential of this Conspiracy.
Overall, the Conspiracy cards look to be quite interesting little twists that could play a decent-sized role in the Conspiracy format. You’ll have to choose them wisely, though, based on what sort of deck you plan to play and what sort of “bombs” you may have drafted. This format is looking quite interesting, and we’ll wait and see if any other Conspiracies are released.
~ Elspeth for the Win