Is it hard to keep up with MTG releases lately or what? Sets are coming out at such a milling pace, there’s barely time to play with a set before the next one’s getting spoiled.
So we’ll do a condensed overview of Conspiracy 2, the much-anticipated draft set that’s the sequel to the outrageously popular Conspiracy. But alongside the way, we’ll talk about card prices and the reprint situation.
Wizards of the Coast has always been in a precarious situation when it comes to reprints. On the one hand, Magic is a card GAME, so they have to keep it cheap enough that a reasonable percent of the population can afford the hobby. On the other hand, Magic is a card COLLECTIBLE, so they don’t dare just print a storm of the most expensive cards or they’ll crash the market. Add to that the factor of having to be conservative about what’s in Standard – they can’t flood Standard with Modern-strength cards because the meta would be strangled. So sets like Conspiracy, which will never enter Standard, are one place with leeway.
The professor at Tolarian Community College is all atwitter about Conspiracy 2 when it comes to reprints…
Yes, good point. Conspiracy 2 is the better Modern Masters than Modern Masters. Why on Earth they thought to do it this way is, in hindsight, baffling. In a limited-print set with an inflated price tag, they made only the most token nod to the target format at all, and the rest of the set’s cards seemed to be picked by trolls. They gave little reason for anyone to buy the set, hence no reason to limit its availability at all.
Eternal Masters fared better. As of this writing, at least the top 50 cards in Eternal Masters price-wise are still over $2.00, even after the set has been out for some time, which means these cards were sorely needed. I’ve been at least satisfied with every pack of Eternal Masters I’ve opened, and when I pulled a Force of Will, I was ecstatic. (Yeah, I’ll brag this time. It’s damn seldom I get to do it!)
Anyway, on to Conspiracy 2: If you’re still going out to draft this set, here’s the cards to watch out for in what formats, be they reprints or cards that happen to be good in formats like Legacy, Vintage, and Commander (the only sets they’ll be legal in).
New cards with potential:
Recruiter of the Guard – Hysterical in Commander, and seems tailor-made for Alesha, Who Smiles at Death.
Sanctum Prelate – AKA Chalice of the Void on a stick. Well, not quite, but dangerously close to it. My guess is it may be worth a try in Commander, but will probably eat removal anyway.
Grenzo, Havoc Raiser – What were they thinking? Any Commander player can immediately see that this is broken to the point of needing a ban. Goblin tribal will have a field day with it. Getting to steal a card per attack is nuts, and making every creature you have into a copy of Daxos of Meletis without the downsides is just psychotic. Even if you don’t cast the cards, big token swarms can mill your opponent to death.
Grenzo’s Ruffians – Dangerous in Commander with Voltron equipment running around.
Splitting Slime – Normally I don’t give the time of day to cards with ‘monstrosity’ on them, as the mana never seemed to be justified. Polukranos, World Eater was the only one that even saw major play in Theros Standard. But this bugger is a payload for infinite mana combos, which is a rare treat in green, so it gets a pass here.
Leovold, Emissary of Trest – Already so busted in Commander that it’s threatening to be banned. This doesn’t seem so bad until you Windfall the table and leave everybody hellbent while you’re in colors that are good at ramping mana and drawing lots of cards.
$$$ Cash Reprints:
Ghostly Prison – Cross-format staple in Legacy, Modern, and Commander. Reached an all-time high of $17.45 just last February, so this was a dire need.
Hail of Arrows – Not at all a needed reprint, but for Commander it’s just worth pointing out this obscure card that not many people seem to know about. With all the instant-speed damage red gets to do, it’s rare enough you can dump mana into a surprise one-sided board wipe for your opponent, let alone in white. Try this card as a late-game upset, you’ll swear it’s unfair.
Hallowed Burial – Was creeping up to $7.00 and higher for the original Eventide print, so this was pretty good timing. Commander staple, and a tiny bit of Modern play in UWR Control sideboards.
Serum Visions – Good golly miss Holly Wolly, can you people ever shut up about this card? Ponder, Preordain, and Brainstorm spit on it. Anyway, the Fifth Dawn printing spiked to $15 when it wasn’t included in Modern Masters, so now it’s less than $3.00 and you can dive into a big Scrooge McDuck swimming pool full of Serum Visions. There, you’re all happy now, right? You, now, happy? Staple in Vintage, Legacy, Modern, Pauper, Commander, Blackjack, Texas Hold ‘Em, and Caribbean Stud.
By the way, I like this art…
I mean, it’s serum visions. It’s a vision of serum. So that’s serum all around her face and she’s looking through it into the beyond. Half of you are sitting across from little kids at FNM with naked hentai anime sluts all over your playmats and sleeves, so you have no place criticizing this card for whatever suggestion you think it makes. It’s only dirty in your squalid little hobgoblin mind.
Show and Tell – Staple in every deck desperate enough to use Serum Visions to dig for it so it can play Emrakul. This stunning reprint previously saw a peak of $80 for the Urza’s Saga version, so it’s knocked down to a reasonable price below $30.
Inquisition of Kozilek – A shocking reprint that’s a staple of at least Modern and Legacy, and has seen play in French Commander and even a rare Vintage deck. Even after the Modern event deck printing this was $28.00+, so snap these up before they spike again. Right now, after two reprints, they’re still at $9.00.
Phyrexian Arena – Staple in Commander, some moderate Modern play. This card has been printed six different times now and is still hovering around $3, so it can only go back up.
Burning Wish – The original Judgment print saw price tags as high as $22.00, so this is a justified run. Legacy and Vintage staple. By the way, how come nobody has an issue with Burning Wish’s art? That genie’s hand is hovering in some very intimate territory there.
Beast Within – A staple in at least Modern and Legacy, mainly because green doesn’t get to just haul off and kill something very often. Also a surprisingly versatile card – play against green and you’ll always be caught off guard when they pull stunts like Beasting their own land so they can block and kill your Goblin Guide. Climbed as high as $14.85 for the Planechase print alone, so the new price tag of a bean and a half is pretty worth it.
Berserk – For those of you wondering, this is a staple in Legacy Infect, and handy to have in Commander besides. Note that it can also be played on your opponent’s creature, so if you have a Fog in hand this is a cool one-mana spot removal. Prices have climbed as high as $312 since this was an Alpha card, so even now at ~$24 this card won’t stay that low for long. No relation to the video game. (Got the humanoid! Got. The. Intruder!)
Birds of Paradise – One of the most reprinted cards in all of Magic history, and yet the price for it rarely goes below $7. This reprint makes it dip to $4.57 as of this writing, and bet your fur it’s going back up again. Cross-format mega-staple. Who doesn’t want to make any color mana for one mana, on a flying blocker to boot?
Burgeoning – Commander staple, was as high as $29.96 for the original Stronghold print – and can’t you just see some poor sap opening packs of that janky set praying for a Burgeoning? Now dipped to $5, catch your breath.
Horn of Greed – Commander staple, albeit with niche decks, whose price climbed to a ridiculous $8.52 when some nut speculated on it. Now down to a reasonable $1.50. Pssst, the secret combo is Retreat to Coralhelm, Walking Atlas, and this.
Overall, this is one blowout set. The problem is that it’s also half-full of cards only good in Conspiracy – I know, there’s lots of people clamoring for making ‘monarch’ a thing in Commander, but forget it, it’s not going to catch on. So you might as well draft Conspiracy 2 while you’re at it. It’s a fun time for all and you’ll still walk away with a pocket full of reprint value anyway.
But that’s all the love this set gets, because we’re about to don our goggles, scarf, and racing gloves for a little tool through Kaladesh. Since I’m a freak for both Izzet and artifacts, this set is basically Christmas for me.