Thursday, 6 October 2016

Yet another late set review, it's a conspiracy!


This is my 'Conspiracy: Take the Crown' Highlander review.

Lots of reprints in this set, so it won't be the soul crushing marathon review that Eldritch Moon was.

First off the line in no particular order we have:

If your opponent becomes the monarch, this card is terrible...
Skinrender and Flametongue Kavu are playable sideboard cards. This guy has a much worse body but he exiles, which more than compensates. I still think this is a sideboard card though.
This guy will be particularly effective in Birthing Pod decks, especially the ones with blink sub-themes utilising cards like Restoration Angel, Flickerwisp and Eldrazi Displacer:

If anyone in the Melbourne area has this for trade, contact me, seriously.
A good addition to some creature based combo decks. The 1/1 body is too small for anything other than chump blocking.
Been a while since my Hermit Druid combo deck got a new card. This finds all three: Hermit Druid, Nomads En-kor and Cephalid Illusionist.
Recruiter of the Guard most famously performs the same role as Imperial Recruiter in the Aluren combo deck, which I haven't seen played in Highlander for many years and have never seen be successful. In case you were wondering how that combo works, you have Aluren and cast Recruiter of the Guard to find a Man-o'-War or equivalent, which bounces the Recruiter, which you recast to find Cavern Harpy, which bounces Man-o'-War, which bounces Recruiter again to find Parasitic Strix and now you have an infinite combo to win the game. The trick to this deck is having enough Aluren and Recruiter tutors.
Not scooping to instant exile removal is a huge boost for this deck.
Other combo creatures which Recruiter finds:
The list could continue until you couldn't be bothered reading it.

Grenzo! This card is fun. Similar ability to Edric Spymaster. Evasion creatures obviously go up a little in performance with Grenzo in your deck.
The double red casting cost restricts your mana base a little; means you'll want two red dual lands to find with each fetch land you play.
Grenzo is 'aggro deck only' and the more aggro the better, so that you can make use of the goad trigger when you want.
Most of the time you'll be using the exile trigger for the sweet value. You can't play any lands you flip and there will be times when spells aren't useful but it's still great. Did a Gatherer search to see if there were good ways to set up the ability:

Blue goblin deck anyone? In Highlander that can definitely be a thing. Noxious Revival and Memory Lapse aren't typically aggro cards though. 
Unfortunately for Grenzo. some of the best cards to put on top of their deck are pointed instants and sorceries, which the remainder of those cards can't target.

A decent sideboard card in control decks. Good for killing off pesky equipment. Note that Skullclamp will be destroyed before the creature dies from state-based effects, so they won't draw the two cards.
I wouldn't play this in a deck with it's own artifacts, e.g. Vedalken Shackles.

I like this guy. I can imagine him in a Recurring Nightmare strategy or maybe aggro dredge with Bloodghast, Bloodsoaked Champion and Gravecrawler.

What happens if I equip this to Graf Rats? Or what if I have this on a dude and activate Hanweir Battlements?
Can I get Spirit of the Night if I equip this to Urborg Panther and just sac itself?
I doubt any of those work. Even if they did they wouldn't be good enough. I just wanted to mention them.

Interesting card to evaluate. He can't just win the game all by himself like most planeswalkers. Daretti requires you to play some artifacts, otherwise you're just banking creature removal effects, which often won't be enough when your opponent is ticking up a planeswalker of their own, hitting you with a True-Name Nemesis or comboing off.
Also, black is not a great support colour for artifacts. It has The Abyss and that's about it (one day I'll make a deck with Soldevi Adnate and Priest of Yawgmoth). Artifact decks like to play a few colourless lands like Ancient Tomb to overcome high mana costs. Three colour artifact decks may not be able to afford those colourless lands. Red blue is a combination with a lot more support for artifacts than red black.
In conclusion, Daretti has the power level to work in an artifact control deck but red black artifacts isn't as good as blue red or mono.

Oh boy, Leo is da man. That Chains of Mephistopheles-esc first ability shuts down so many highlander staples: Treasure Cruise, Brainstorm, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Skullclamp and all the cantrips.
Any Sultai deck which isn't running sweepers, should play this guy. Sultai decks are already excellent, this is yet another payoff.
I wonder how the rules work with Spellskite and this guy; could you draw a card each time you make their thing target Spellskite?
Leovold doesn't have a huge body, so it won't be uncommon that he can't attack or block, but eventually your opponent will run out of cards which don't get screwed by Leo and then you will "come to an arrangement" which suites you nicely.
If you're going deep, Leovold can combo with Timetwister, Jace's Archivist, Windfall, Whispering Madness and a few others.
Worth noting that he can be Green Sun's Zenith'd.

Obviously best in creature dense decks but she's powerful enough against combo to have in the sideboard of any white deck. 
Choosing the cmc of their removal spells is a good idea when you're choosing without much information. 
Having effects which let you see their hand will improve Sanctum Prelate's performance. If you make them creatures like Tidehollow Sculler then you can avoid screwing yourself if Prelate is already out.
The earlier you get Prelate down the better. Mox Pearl is a good one. Mana elves work well too, especially the ones which tap for white. You can get away with other mana guys but you'll need a land which taps for green and white.

Ghost Ass-Ass-In. Apparently you can assassinate ghosts now rather than just old fashioned exercising.
Like most planeswalkers, she's awesome if your opponent has no pressure.
Her blink ability is still good enough at defending that I'm happy to play her maindeck but she probably gets sideboarded against really aggressive decks.
Her blink ability can be bad against creatures with 'enters' triggers but it's awesome against tokens.
There will be the occasional scenario where you'll want to blink your own creature, which is cool.

Wow, that does it for Conspiracy: Take the Crown. Only nine playables. I liked Matt Sperling's likening of all the 'when you draft X' cards to Chaos Confetti. The good mythic rares of this set are going to be hard to find cause there won't be many opened. If you see one in a folder, grab it.
No format-shaking cards here, just a few nice additions to niche strategies.
My pick for best new Highlander card of the set is Leovold, Emissary of Trest.
I didn't feel like creating any decks for this review like I did in my Eldritch Moon Review, probably because I don't need to justify these cards, they're all clearly playable except maybe Borderland Explorer (Spy Kit was a joke). There also weren't enough cards that all go in the same deck.

Kaladesh set review is up next. Hopefully I can get around to finishing that before your next Highlander tournament. Speaking of which, if you live in Melbourne and have nothing to do this Saturday (8th October), come play sanctioned (no proxy) Highlander with me at General Games, Caulfield.


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