Conspiracy EDH Review: Red and Multicolor

Hey guys, Evan here.

With Conspiracy on the horizon, we here at CMDTower have felt the need to take a more detailed look at the set to give you, our readers, a more in depth look into the cards you could potentially be playing with in the near future. Some are reprints, some are brand new, and some are even immediately banned in the format we so cherish, but all in all, this fun, supplemental product has turned out to be a bit of and EDH goldmine.

Chris Stephen has already taken the initiative to begin reviewing the set, covering White, Blue, and Black in his first three articles, but today its my turn. Chris isn’t much of a Red player. As a matter of fact, its easily his most disliked color. He nearly refuses to touch a Mountain and only plays Red cards if they’re mana cost is hybrid and he can get away with not producing Red mana, so after a very short conversation, I’ve taken the task of reviewing Red myself. In my experience, Red isn’t the most popular color in the format. In almost every deck that runs red, omitting the mono-red decks of course, it always seems to be overshadowed by the other colors with which it’s combined. But there are always going to be Red cards that are played. You can’t just cut out an entire fifth of the color wheel.

We’ll also be covering Multicolored cards in this article. Which of the not-so-splashable cards deserves to be in your list, which should you pick up specifically for value, and which of them deserve to go in your bulk? Keep reading to find out.

So without further ado, lets get started with Red. We’ll start with the commons and work our way up the ladder.

 

COMMONS:

  • Brimstone Volley: Typically, single shot burn isn’t the kind of thing you’re looking for in Commander–especially when the better half of the card is conditional–and if you are, there are significantly better options for three mana.  Brimstone Volley is a card that finds its home more so in tournament formats and drafts.
  • Chartooth Cougar: Chartooth Cougar isn’t without its uses. Cycling is a wonderful mechanic, especially land cycling, allowing you to avoid those missed land drops, but overall, this Cat is still a “no” in my book. The Cycling ability is really all he has going for him. As an actual creature, he’s very bulky and slow. The lack of any form of evasion or a way to push damage through makes this card a placeholder at best.
  • Cinder Wall: This card is a one-drop 3/3! Which by normal standards sounds fantastic, but it has defender…and while it profitably blocks small aggressive creatures in the early game, it can only do it once before he goes bye-bye. Generally, this Wall is going to be a waste of a one-drop spot in your curve, no matter what deck you’re playing.

  • Enraged Revolutionary: This guy wields the new mechanic Dethrone, and while that mechanic is fun and helps keep the game balanced and fair by giving you incentive to spread the love with your attacks, this gentleman is not the best example of the mechanic’s power. He would be better as a two-drop, or possibly if he just had haste, but that’s competitive talk. In Commander, he may as well be a Vanilla creature because he’s just going to get eaten. Yet again, you can fill your curve with something better.
  • Flowstone Blade: Enchantments are fun in EDH, including Auras. Decks like Uril, the Miststalker are a blast. And while this technically could go in a deck like that, it’s just not worth it. The fact that it lacks inherent benefit and requires constant input to produce results is a big downside. Fun for limited, not for Commander

  • Grenzo’s Cutthroat: Another creature packing the Dethrone mechanic, but still not all that Commander worthy. This little goblin is still significantly better than Enraged Revolutionary, but still not worth saving a spot in your deck to play. This guy’s not seeing the field in any Commander pod’s any time soon in my opinion.
  • Lizard Warrior: Vanilla creatures have no place in Commander. It’s plain and simple. You simply want more value for each card you play.
  • Mana Geyser: Quite possibly the only Common you’re going to hear me say anything good about, Mana Geyser is a card that actually has some decent potential. While it may cost 5 mana, and it may be Sorcery Speed, I’ve personally played this card, on turn 5, to gain 15 mana and hard cast an Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre. People tap out a lot in Commander, so this card can get you pretty far. While it’s not something I would recommend running out to waste your quarters on, if you grab one in a draft, I’d recommend at least giving it a shot in your Red Commander decks.
  • Orcish Cannonade: Another three-drop burn spell like Brimstone Volley, but this one’s even worse. It’s only benefit is that it cantrips. Reminiscent of Psionic Blast, except you take more damage than your target. Not worthy of Commander.
  • Power of Fire: Paying two extra mana to turn a creature into a Goblin Fireslinger just seems bad.
  • Pitchburn Devils: A cute little creature to play as sac fodder, but a little heavy on the mana cost and of no use to you alive except for blocking. Perhaps a placeholder until you can afford a better creature, but certainly not a creature that should make the final cut in your lists.
  • Skitter of Lizards: Multikicker is a great mechanic, and easily abused when you can produce infinite mana. But still, this little lizard’s benefit doesn’t scale well. A one-drop 1/1 is par for the course, but from that point on things only get worse. Three mana for a 2/2, five for a 3/3, and so on is a downhill spiral. There are much better outlets for you to utilize.
  • Torch Fiend: Torch Fiend I have seen hit the table once or twice. Red always needs solid sources of removal for problem permanents, and while it can easily handle creatures in most situations, removal of other permanents has always been an issue. In creature heavy decks and those that run Grave Pact like effects, Torch Fiend is acceptable, not the greatest, but not the worst. A two drop 2/1 with added utility can find a home, especially in decks that want their creatures to die. Paired with Commanders like Kresh, the Bloodbraided, Torch Fiend’s activated ability basically says “Destroy target artifact. Put two +1/+1 counters on Kresh, the Bloodbraided.” Which overall is not a bad deal.
  • Trumpet Blast: There are better, more mana efficient combat tricks you have access to, but +2/+0 to all of your creatures is still not bad value. If this card cost one less colorless mana, I would be much more inclined to play it. In aggressive decks, this could find a home if you’re trying not to break the bank, as it can dish out some serious damage with enough attackers, and token decks are always looking for ways to pump their guys. A cute and decently solid card for little to no money. Not really worth paying for, as almost any player will have some sitting at home.
  • Vent Sentinel: Defenders aren’t necessarily the best in Commander, save a select few like Wall of DenialPlumeveil, and Wall of Omens, but if you build around the idea of defenders, this little 2/4 could deal some decent damage. Its ability is conditional, and scales decently well when supported. A deck of all defenders could be pretty hard to win with, but this could be a fun win condition for some of the more casual players out there.
  • Wrap in Flames: This is one of those cards that I really wish was just slightly better. If it were instant speed, it could be a nice way to really mess with your opponents. Four mana to essentially give three of your creatures evasion, or force your opponents into unprofitable blocks, is a cool little combat trick. The downside is it’s Sorcery speed, giving your opponents time to prepare for your attacks. At instant speed, it would be a curve ball, but as a sorcery, it’s just a little too cute for me to advocate playing it.

UNCOMMONS:

  • Barbed Shocker: With a decent amount of support, this creature could be really fun. Everybody loves windfall effects, right? Slightly worse than Dragon Mage, but still fun. And if Spawnwrithe has shown anything, its that 2/2 tramlplers can do some work. Personally, I like him because you have at least some control as to who’s discarding their hands, while Dragon Mage effects everybody. Sure the additional card advantage from Dragon Mage is nice, but in the event that you can screw over a single opponent, Barbed Shocker could be fun. Not something I would tell you go out and pick up immediately, but it could be a fun card to consider playing around with.
  • Boldwyr Initimidator: I find this card very flavorful. I’ve played Tribal Giants before, and this guy was certainly fun to play with, as his ability is undeniably unique. There are a lot of creatures that are inherently Warriors in type in Magic: The Gathering, so you can almost forget about his second ability and utilize the first one as a source of evasion for a lot of your creatures. A fun card to play, and something I would seriously consider running again.
  • Deathforge Shaman: Unlike Skitter of Lizards, Deathforge Shaman has a multikicker that actually scales well. Paying one additional mana for an extra two damage, or two mana for four, is much better value. His base stats aren’t phenomenal, but if you can dump all of your mana into him in the late game, he can pack a punch. If you enjoy mono-Red commanders, and you run the typical mono-colored ramp package (Extraplanar LensCaged SunGauntlet of Power) then this guy could just be worth your while.
  • Flaring Flamekin: In the right decks, this guy could be a serious threat with things like Eldrazi ConscriptionEthereal Armor, and Daybreak Coronet. With an Ethereal Armor, your investment of four mana gets you a 4/4 trampling, first striking, fire breather, and that sounds decent enough to see play. Another fun uncommon to consider, but only in Aura heavy decks. uril, the Miststalker players, I’m looking at you.
  • Heckling Fiends: One of the few uncommons in the set that I simply won’t play. The stats on this one are sub par, and the activated ability is far too expensive for the result. I won’t play it and I don’t think you should either.
  • Treasonous Ogre: This gentleman is borderline in my opinion. His stats aren’t quite what I would like them to be, but Dethrone can help counteract that, and the ability is so close to being great. If the ability was even “Pay 2 life: Add (R) to your mana pool” I would be much more likely to add this gentleman to a list. Perhaps in a list with a lot of lifegain, I could see this being of use. Its a decent way to avoid getting mana-screwed as well. Having access to even that one additional mana you need can be very important. Yet another for the maybe list, but I could be very wrong about this one.
  • Uncontrollable Anger: Flash enchantments are always interesting, and this one is no exception, though its CMC is a little clunky. A permanent +2/+2 to a creature can be relevant, especially at instant speed, but for four mana, I’m not so sure. The other half of the card is that the creature has to attaack every turn if able. If you can put this on a flying or trampling creature, you might be okay. Not quite aggressive enough for my tastes though.
  • Volcanic Fallout: Probably my favorite Uncommon from the set, Volcanic Fallout is a card I’d almost always recommend playing. Despite the fact that it only deals two damage to each creature and each player, that’s often just what you need. The fact that it’s uncounterable is another big plus. Control is always a problem, and being able to get around that is key in a lot of situations. This one I recommend picking up, even if its just to hold onto for future decks.

 

RARES:

  • Grenzo’s Rebuttal: Now we’re getting into the interesting cards. Grenzo’s Rebuttal is an odd one, but played at the right time, has the potential to put you ahead. Essentially, this card goes against the mechanic Will of the Council premiering in this set. Instead of coming to a consensus, everybody just gets to do what they want to the person on their left. No questions asked. It also has the added benefit of giving you a 4/4, which most likely won’t be the creature your opponent destroys. However, played at the wrong time, and you’ll end up wishing you hadn’t. This is a removal spell that everyone controls in essence, meaning your opponents could very well leave you out of luck. An interesting card to say the least, but I’d wait to see what other people make of it before making an investment.
  • Heartless Hidetsugu: A reprint from the Kamigawa block, Heartless Hidetsugu tends to make games end quickly, as he combos perfectly with all of the double damage effects in red like Furnace of Wrath. This card has proven itself already in a few lists, and is well known enough that I don’t feel the need to go in depth. If you haven’t already picked one up, you probably don’t need to unless you really want it.

  • Ignition Team: The red creature in this cycle of Conspiracy cards, Ignition Team seems interesting. The way I see it is he produces 4/4s for three mana, and that sounds awesome, but the downside is that doing so turns your opponent’s creature removal into land removal. Its a risky move, but could potentially pay off if you play it right. The biggest downside to this card is it’s CMC, but at worst, I would expect this creature to be a 5/5 for seven, taking into consideration artifact ramp. As he’s more than likely going to be a bulk rare, I’ll grab one just to have fun with, but I don’t expect them to become a staple.
  • Sulfuric Vortex: This card has a decent reputation. Not a single part about his card is one-sided, so players are more likely to let it slide into play. A solid way to speed up those slow Commander games, and it completely shuts down Oloro, Ageless Ascetic. I already have one, and it’s gone into almost every Red deck I’ve ever played. I find a place for it in my lists all the time, and I’m of the thought that you should as well. You can grab one for a little over a dollar.

 

MYTHICS:

The only mono-Red Mythic in conspiracy is Scourge of the Throne. I’m not sure which it reminds me of more, Ancient Hellkite or Aurelia, the Warleader, but regardless, I still see this dragon as being very playable. In the late game, if your life total is low, this creature is a great way to bring your opponent’s down to your level. Depending on how you attack, Scourge of the Throne has the potential to get bigger and bigger every time it attacks. This card fits wonderfully into either the high end of aggressive decks, or just in those “good things” lists like Riku of Two Reflections. This card has a lot of potential, especially if you can make copies of it. Rite of Replication kicked could potentially net you a total of 7 combat phases, including you initial combat, in one turn if you swing correctly. Trust me, I checked.

 


 

Now we’ll be discussing the Multicolored side of Conspiracy. We’ve already discussed in depth the five Legendary Creatures being released in the set, so I’ll link to our articles about those below. What we’re more concerned with today are the other Multicolored cards being released, and boy are there some good ones.

Five Legends of Conspiracy

Brago, King Eternal
Selvala, Explorer Returned
Marchesa, the Black Rose
Grenzo, Dungeon Warden and Muzzio, Visionary Architect

 

With those five out of the way, lets dive head first into the other Multicolored cards we have at our fingertips. The lowest they go rarity wise is Uncommons, so we’ll start there.

UNCOMMONS

  • Deathreap Ritual: Sporting the Morbid mechanic that debuted in Innistrad, Deathreap Ritual is a decent source of card advantage. If you play a deck that packs a lot of removal, or you enjoy sacrificing your creatures to your cause, then this card can essentially act as a one-sided Howling Mine. Not necessarily a card everyone will want to pick up, but if you enjoy benefitting from creatures dying, this card is for you.
  • Extract from Darkness: This little gem is a definite pickup for those Mill players out there, as rare as you may be. In a format where Eldrazi go into almost every deck, this card could just be an answer, but by itself, its all based on luck. I’d pick one up if you have cards like Leyline of AnticipationVedalkan Orrey, or in a BUG deck running Alchemist’s Refuge in the land base.
  • Fires of Yavimaya: A personal favorite, Fires of Yavimaya is a great way to give your creatures haste or push a bit of extra damage through. However, this card has been around for quite a while, so you’ve probably heard of it, probably picked one up and probably played with it at this point. If this card is new to you, its worth playing. Grab one from a pack of Conspiracy, or grab the single from your Local Game Store and give it a whirl.
  • Flamewright: This is an interesting little card, and while at first its somewhat unassuming, I feel like there’s more to it than meets the eye. The fact that it can make instant speed, disposable blockers is a nice little ability, but its second ability is where my skepticism comes into play. Sure the ability is neat, but it’s not really all that effective in the end. You have one-mana 1/1s that can’t even swing, and the second ability isn’t going to be killing anything or anyone any time soon. The reason I say this is a cool little card is because I feel like there’s a combo somewhere in Magic that will make this guy fun. For now, I’ll say not to bother, but give it time. Maybe there’s just something I’m not seeing.
  • Marchesa’s Smuggler: I’ve always been a fan of cards like this. Its not what Marchesa’s Smuggler does by himself, but what he allows you to do later on. Three mana to give a creature Haste and Unblockable until end of turn is a big deal because lets be honest, some creatures would just be too good with both. This little guy also gets bigger and bigger as time goes on. This guy is a fun little card, and I intend to give him a shot, and I would recommend doing the same. Sometimes the littlest things can make the biggest difference.
  • Mortify: This is another time-tested reprint that I just love. Both Mortify and Putrefy are wonderful sources of removal in the Commander format because they have versatility. Even if there aren’t any creatures on the field, if there’s a problem Enchantment, Mortify can handle it. A good card for any deck capable of supporting it. If its not already in your list, consider it. And if you don’t like the art, there’s even a FULL ART PROMO!!!

 

  • Sky Spirit: This guy’s a bit of a French Vanilla Creature. Three mana for a first strike, flying 2/2 isn’t a bad investment, but I feel its just not good enough. A fun card for limited formats, but I think it’s going to stay out of my 99.
  • Spontaneous Combustion: This card seems pretty good. Similar to Volcanic Fallout, but it nets one more damage per creature. Three damage may not seem like all that much, but it takes care of a lot of creatures, and a card like this shuts down token decks in a heart beat. Sacrificing something like a Gravecrawler or Bloodghast to this card isn’t bad value, as they would have died in the process anyway and recur themselves naturally. A lot of decks can find room for a card like this, and I’ll be doing the same.
  • Wood Sage: The fact that this creature aims to reveal multiple of the same creature when his ability is activated automatically makes him a no in any list I write. This one was specifically tuned for other formats, despite only being playable in Vintage, Legacy, and Limited formats outside of Commander. Two mana for a 1/1 with an activated ability that might draw me a single card seems terrible. If this card put the creatures into play, first of all, it would possibly be a rare, and second of all, it would actually be a playable card with the right deck manipulation. Not worth picking up though, for multiple reasons.
  • Woodvine Elemental: Now this is an uncommon that could actually see some play. Its stats aren’t the worst for its CMC and it does have trample, but the fact that it can potentially pump your entire team by up to +4/+4 in your standard Commander Pod is ridiculous. I feel like I wouldn’t have too much of an issue finding a slot for this creature in a list. There’s a lot of potential to be found here, so I’d look into him.

 

RARES:

  • Basandra, Battle Seraph: Basandra already sees a little bit of play from time to time, which is a sign that she has her uses. Forcing opponents to swing unfavorably into either yours or an opponents superior board state is a powerful ability, and she negates their chances of being able to stop any of the creatures from dying should this happen. She has decent stats and can find a home in specific lists, so if you’re looking for a decent creature for your Red/White list, give her a shot. You might just surprise yourself.
  • Edric, Spymaster of Trest: I hate this creature, not because he’s bad, but for quite the opposite. In most pods, anybody who’s never played against Edric falls into his trap, swinging at opponents other than Edric’s controller. This Elf gives incentive for your opponents to swing at each other instead of you, and does a damn good job of it too. Edric already has many homes, but if you’ve never given him a chance, pick one up and toss it in a deck

 

  • Dack’s Duplicate: This is actually one of my favorite new cards from the set. I’ve always loved the idea of clones. Why should your opponent be the only one with a Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger? You want one too, right? Well this guy gives you just that without even playing Green. The biggest difference is that yours has haste, and he gets bigger every time he attacks. I’ll be picking one of these up because I love clones, but you should pick one up too because he’s fun.
  • Decimate: Decimate is an amazing card. Not only does it eliminate four different types of permanents, it can eliminate them at the same time. Four mana to blow up four different permanents is simply good value. This card is one of my automatic pickups, especially because I love the new art. If you play Red/Green, I can’t think of a single reason not to pack one of these in your 99.
  • Dimir Doppelganger: This card falls into the same category as Dack’s Duplicate in my book. I’ll reiterate the fact that I love clones. However, this, yet again, isn’t just a simple clone. It also works to thin out your opponent’s graveyards. This creature can net you some serious value. I would recommend it if you plan on playing any kind of mill, discard, or heavy removal build.

  • Magister of Worth: This was the card that set it all off. When it was first spoiled, we had nothing to work with, and people were honestly confused. There was no set announced previously so we had no idea what it could have possibly been intended for, but now we know where it’s from and it looks pretty sweet. The Will of the Council mechanic is an oddity for me, but it plays to the politics of the Commander format, and in that sense, I’m a fan. I’m not much of a Black/White player, but I can see reasons for wanting to play this. Depending on how the vote swings, it’s either a board wipe that leaves you with a creature, or a Twilight’s Call. Either way, I can’t imagine this being in a deck where it would actually mind if the vote didn’t go in their favor. If you like either control or reanimation strategies, I would pick one of the up.
  • Spiritmonger: I don’t think I can find a single reason to dislike this card. It has great stats, and it’s abilities are phenomenal. Not only does it get bigger and bigger as the game goes on, you can also regenerate it and it can get around creatures with Protection, changing itself so it doesn’t fit the criteria to be evaded. This card is a relevant threat, and one I feel can easily find a home in decks that love big fatties.

MYTHICS:

Dack Fayden, a planeswalker I had been anticipating in paper for quite a while. For formats other than Commander, I don’t see him having much use, but in Commander, he’s a boss. Not only does he allow you to filter through your cards, but he can steal someone’s Sol Ring, their Grim Monolith, any number of equipment, even problem Artifact Creatures like Blightsteel Colossus should the need arise. There aren’t many targeted spells being played in Commander, most spells hit everything they possibly can, making his Ultimate seem a bit underwhelming. Overall, Dack Fayden can do some serious work with his +1 and his -2. However, I wouldn’t bother picking one up unless you feel like your deck absolutely needs one.

 

Mirari’s wake is a staple of the format. I don’t need to say much about this card, it’s very straightforward. If you don’t have one, you should get one, and hopefully this reprinting will drop the price just a tad.

 

This is another undeniable staple of the format. It destroys nearly everything, and you can control when it happens. It’s power is proven, and makes it a worthwhile card to include in any Black/Green list you may decide to run.

Author: Evan Erickson

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