Cube and Conspiracies PT1 The Good Ones

This was supposed to come out last week but I got caught up with Baldur's Gate, so I opted to delay it. With another multiplayer set incoming now would be an okay to touch on the OG multiplayer draft set. I'm more focused on the conspiracies this time around. In time, I do want to touch on multiplayer mechanics for a multiplayer cube.

     Conspiracy, CNS, and Conspiracy: Take the Crown,CN2, (WotC, I want my third conspiracy set) were released in the mid 2010s as the first multiplayer limited environment. Personally, I really like these two sets and ended buying a lot more of CN2 at the time when it was available. The set introduced more multiplayer aspects to the game that began with the commander series. The game play had players engaging more with each other whether it be through voting or trying to steal the Monarchy. The cards in these sets were relatively average, though there were some standouts like Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast and Selvala, Heart of the Wilds. I have been working on trying to incorporate the ideas found in these sets into my EDH cube to try and encourage interactive gameplay.

    One of the most unique aspects of a Conspiracy draft was the draft matters theme. Many of the cards allowed you take a look at other peoples packs and drafts, change their value based on how you drafted, and alter gameplay. One of the ways WotC did this was through introducing the conspiracy card type. These were cards you had to draft and they altered not only the draft environment, but also the power level of certain cards. If you have ever scoured through the cube forums(reddit, mtgsalvation, etc.), occasionally you will see mention of a sticker cube. These are cubes that had a separate set stickers that you can put on your cards. Each sticker has a keyword on them and will apply that keyword onto the card. The conspiracies from these 2 sets function the same way. This post will be exploring the conspiracies in EDH cube environment. If you were curious about keyword cubes, you can probably use that search term to find them.

The power levels of conspiracies are not for everyone. The biggest complaint is that drafters can just take them without worry. Since there is little cost to running a conspiracy, you will almost always be running them.

The List
As of the time of this post, there current 25 conspiracies availabe. I will be looking at this from the lens of an EDH cube since I do not run them in my main cube. I will not be addressing every single card since I think it is excessive.

To begin we'll appropriately make Power Play the starting card. In cube, it functionally will decide who will go first in a game rather than leaving it up to a dice roll. Experience players will understand the importance of going first as it is a huge tempo advantage. In the multiplayer setting, this is a nice addition. It creates an interesting dilemma when spotted whether to take it so that you can go first or leave it be to take a card that fits in your deck. For the most part, the effect has been negligent so far and this might be due to the multiplayer environment. In a 1v1 environment, this card might be way stronger since each play you make in 1v1 is more impactful, which makes going first a big deal. Because of how negligent the card can be, it is a card I can easily swap out for something else with more power.

Overall, alright card.

Now this is a really spicy card and a strong indicator of the power behind these conspiracies. Iterative Analysis let's you staple on a draw card effect onto any instant or sorcery you're running. Any card that this is applied to now will at minimum replace itself. One of the other things to note is that the draw trigger applies the moment you try to cast the card, so even when the actual card gets countered  you will get at minimum a card back. This alone pushes it to first pick territory. What makes this card insane would be attaching it to flashback cards. Being able to trigger the cantrip twice is just too good because the second cast will generate card advantage. Imagine combining this card with Deep Analysis or Lingering Souls, way too good. 

I would recommend this card in almost every cube. One of the few reason to not run this card is because it's too powerful.

Double Stroke continues the insanity found conspiracy cards. This functions almost the same Iterative Analysis. You trade the universal upside of drawing a card for doubling up on a spell. In most cases, this is way better. This card does not function well with board wipes or counterspells, You will also need to keep track of cards that make you lose life since those spells will make you lose double the life. 

Same recommendation as Double stroke.

Moving away from instant and sorceries, Summoner's Bond is the creature equivalent of the previous two cards. This functions the same as Iterative Analysis, but instead of drawing a card you're tutoring for one of the 2 creatures. On that merit alone, this card is good. Going further, you can use it to fetch combo pieces like Kiki-Jiki and Pestermite. This card might be better than Double Stroke since you have more option that will trigger it, but you would still run both if you could.

Same recommendation as Iterative Analysis.

Finally getting away from those conspiracies, we'll touch on this wacky one. Advantageous Proclamation changes the rules of deckbuilding by reducing your minimum deck. In EDH cube, this means playing with a 55 card deck. The smaller deck size will increase the consistency of your deck. This card will find a  home in combo and aggro decks. One of the small things about this card is that your players might have a little bit of trouble deckbuilding since they are not used to figuring out a 55 card deck.

I would mostly recommend this card dependent on your players. The confusion around deckbuilding is my main concern and I have seen my players just opt back to 60 card decks since they were easier to build. If you're players are doing this consistently, I would cut the card and replace with something else.

Backup Plan gives you the option of picking your starting hard. The consistency it gives reminds me of the controversy of when WotC decided to swap over to the current mulligan rules : the London Mulligan. They are both similar in that you are always seeing 7 cards no matter how much you mulligan. The added consistency was thought to be too much with the existence of combo decks in other formats. The community fears weren't far fetched since combo decks started slowly winning more in modern. In the end, the added consistency was appreciated and made popular among the community. 

My recommendation for this card is dependent on how your play group handles mulligans. The tighter your playgroup is on mulligans, the more I recommend this card. 

Immediate Action might be more impactful than it looks. This card is great with creatures that have tap ability especially the commanders ,like Prime Speaker Vannifar or Arcanis, the Omnipotent, who want to start being as active as possible. In this same vein, cards that benefit off attacking like Geist of Saint Traft and Hero of Bladehold offset their weakness of having to wait a turn when combined with this. This is also a source of colorless haste similar to Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots with the benefit of always being active at 0 cost to the drafter.

I recommend this card since it pushes cards without overdoing it. This card is as strong as what you allow to happen. If you don't want to run conspiracies, then this won't matter.

Muzzio's Preparation is similar to Immediate Action in that it alters the power levels of a creature. It adds a +1/+1 counter as the creature enters meaning the counter is already there and not an ETB effect. There are often times when I am evaluating cards where I think to myself, if this card has just slightly higher stats, easy slam dunk. This card allows that dream to be true. One other interaction is that it gives a +1/+1 counter. Cards that interact with counters are going to have a blast with this card (Atraxa). 

This has the same recommendation as Immediate Action. 

Brago's Favor is absolutely broken in any deck and is probably the best first pick ever. When evaluating cards, I often run into the mindset of the effect is good, but it costs too much mana. This card being able to make anything cost less helps make the card better to play with. Going further, cards that were well costed are now just busted. Deep Analysis becomes a draw 4 for 4 mana. Mana Leak is now 1 mana. The possibilities are wild. 

This card might be too strong for your play environment. In lower power environments where you want to spruce up the power a bit, this might be fine. In strong environments, this might push a bit harder.

Secrets of Paradise is a card I'm currently still trying to figure out. Mana ramp is something you want relatively early, however in my edh cube environment, I am not running that many low drop creatures to make this card useful early. To make matters worse, green decks are the only decks that have the early drops because of the abundance of mana dorks at MV 1,2,3. Outside of green, this is not consistent or redundant enough for the sake of consistency. If you can manage this by have an early drop commander (1 or 2 MV) available then I can see the merit in running it.  My players have not been using this card as well as I thought they would and this is leaving me concerned.

Currently thinking about cutting it from my cube. In a non singleton format I might be able to recommend it, but in the EDH cube environment it hasn't shined yet if ever.

Hymn of the Wilds is the type of card I would like to see them explore more of. It is powerful but it requires a certain deck build to reach its potential. This shares a lot in common with companion which demanded that certain deckbuilding requirements be met before you can use those cards as companions. This card disables any use of instant or sorceries in exchange for being able to reduce the cost of your 1st creature every turn. You are still allowed to run enchantments, artifacts,creatures, and planeswalkers, but only creatures have the cost reduction benefit. 

I like this card a lot as it forces your players to rethink their drafting choices the moment they pick up this card. I would recommend it as long as you don't mind the power it brings.

As I continue writing about these conspiracies, I am coming to appreciate the design of the conspiracies from CN2. Weight Advantage is another example of the better design of them. This one in similar to Hymn of the Wilds in that it does alter your card evaluations. This goes a step further in cube as this card is not a universally strong as Hymn. It asks the cube designer to integrate a toughness matters archetype (I.e. Doran the Siege Tower and Assault Formation). Unlike the cards mentioned and in line with other conspiracies, there will little cost associated with playing this card. The toughness matters archetype is balanced around permanents affecting this property and this card takes away that balancing factor.

I will only recommend this card only if you're supporting toughness matters, even then its a matter of whether or not you want them to run a free permanent effect. I currently am not and do not have it in my cube.

Wrap Up
This is going to wrap up part 1 of my review of conspiracies.  Overall, conspiracies are generally powerful and the best ones require very little set up to make it effective. Part 2 should be coming Thursday and that one will be more critical since those cards are more questionable. Those conspiracies discussed will be the one that are more specific as well as the ones that are straight up unplayable in cube.

Thanks for reading and check back in on Thursday.