June 20, 2014

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Conspiracy Theories: How to turn that new box of Conspiracy into a Draft-Simulation Cube

I hope everyone had as much of a good time drafting and cracking packs of Conspiracy this weekend as I did. I actually managed to draft the set seven times and I really, really enjoyed myself.

Conspiracy is unique, in that it is a new product that is not legal in Modern or Standard. It was also meant to be drafted and used for multiplayer. So if you’re like me, and you have a box of cards from multiple drafts / buying a box, what should you do? My friends and a lot of players I’ve spoken to seem to like the idea of creating a cube / draft simulation so that we can experience Conspiracy and multi-player draft as many times as we wish to in the future. I searched the internet and found many people with the same desire, but no one who had a well thought out list. Today I’m going to provide you with the list I’ll be sleeving up for future draft simulations. I hope it will be of some use to you, whether you copy it card for card, or use it as inspiration for your own.

Is it a Draft Simulation, or a Cube?

The easy answer is that it’s both. Usually with a draft simulation, you include four of each common, two of each uncommon, and one of each rare or mythic. My issue with this is that you end up with 356 commons, 136 uncommons, 43 rares and 10 mythics for a total of 545 cards. That’s nearly twice the size it needs to be for an eight player draft, and I don’t want to store / transport extra cards. It also doesn’t fully recapture the experience of drafting the set as Conspiracy / Draft Matters cards really need to be in each pack, rather than randomly distributed. My solution was to trim the set down to 360 cards, by omitting certain chase / filler rares and uncommons and cutting the commons to three ofs. I was careful to omit cards that I thought would not change the overall experience and feel of drafting the set. The packs will be slightly more powerful, because a lot of the bulk rares have been cut and cards like Exploration and Stifle that are chase rares but don’t feel like they fit the set were trimmed. This list is meant to serve as a loose guide, and is by no means written in stone. If you disagree with my choices, feel free to change your cube as you see fit.

Conspiracy Cube Mythics – By Keith Ambrose

Mythis: (5)
Hydra Omnivore
Muzzio, Visionary Architect
Phage the Untouchable
Pristine Angel
Scourge of the Throne

Each one of these is a bomb in its own right, and I wanted to build a cycle of Mythics into the cube. One of each colour seems like the easiest way to go. Hydra Omnivore is probably the best of the bunch with Scourge of the Throne being a close second. Phage the Untouchable is a classic. While Muzzio, Visionary Architect is probably the weakest, someone who drafts artifacts heavily could make him do some work. There are 24 artifacts in the cube, and if drafted aggressively, I think Blue/Artifact Muzzio could be a thing. That is, if he’s opened early enough to be built around. Time will tell whether this works out or not. I’ll let you guys know in the comments if someone comes up with a good Muzzio deck. Besides, who does’t want to chain 14/14 Lurking Automaton into 14/14 Lurking Automaton, into 15/15 Cogwork Grinder? I hate artifact decks and that excites even me. I’m looking forward to trying to draft a Muzzio deck. While I am not known for tapping Islands (I usually hate blue, but I’m starting to give in) blue is my favourite colour in this set, with G/U Beef + Fliers and U/B Reanimator being my favourite archetypes so far.

Conspiracy Cube Rares – By Keith Ambrose

Rares: (19)
Altar of Dementia
Basandra, Battle Seraph
Brago, King Eternal
Dack’s Duplicate
Death Render
Dimir Doppelganger
Edric, Spymaster of Trest
Grenzo, Dungeon Warden
Heartless Hidetsugu
Magister of Worth
Paliano, the High City
Plea for Power
Reign of the Pit
Selvala, Explorer Returned
Silent Arbiter

* There are also a number of rare Conspiracies / draft maters cards

I wanted a cycle of 10 multicolour cards because they are only available at rare, mythic and uncommon. For the purposes of this cube, they’ll be available at uncommon and rare only. I also included 1 of each of the mono coloured rares I thought were strongest and rounded it out with three artifacts and a land. Paliano, the High City  is unusable outside of a cube, but is good in basically any deck in this draft format so I included one. Silent Arbiter, Altar of Dementia, and Deathrender were really fun / interesting this weekend, so I wanted to include them as well.

Conspiracy Cube Conspiracies – By Keith Ambrose

Conspiracies: (24)
Aether Searcher
Agent of Acquistions
Backup Plan
Canal Dredger
Cogwork Grinder
Cogwork Librarian
Cogwork Spy
Deal Broker
Double Stroke
Lurking Automaton
Muzzio’s Preparations
Power Play
Secrets of Paradise
Secret Summoning
Sentinel Dispatch

I wanted a Worldknit for sure, because it is an interesting and unique effect. I think it’s actually the strongest card in the set if you get it first pick. Just make sure you use Plains as your basic lands in order to dodge landwalk! Backup Plan is another interesting effect, but isn’t as strong as I originally believed it to be. There is only one Power Play because I wanted the person who drafted that card to know they were getting the first turn. I omitted Advantageous Proclamation, because it practice, it actually wasn’t all that advantageous. Milling is a real concern in multiplayer (I actually won a game by milling this weekend) with 40 card decks, so it was trimmed. Deal Broker and Cogwork Grinder were included because they had interesting effects on the draft itself that I think are fun. I decided to omit Lore Seeker because it would be costly to add a pack to the draft every time and we want to keep it sleeved. While it is a fun effect, it’s just cleaner to omit it. Lurking Automaton is a 4 of because it’s one that almost everyone seems to like.

Conspiracy Cube Uncommons – By Keith Ambrose

Uncommons: (72)
Air Servant
Bite of the Black Rose
Boldwyr Intimidator
Council Guardian
Deathforge Shaman
Deathreap Ritual
Extract from Darkness
Fact or Fiction
Favourable Winds
Fires of Yavimaya
Glimmerpoint Stag
Heckling Fiends
Intangible Virtue
Jetting Glasskite
Marchesa’s Smuggler
Mirrodin’s Core
Pelakka Wurm
Reckless Spite
Relic Crush
Runed Servitor
Selvala’s Charge
Skeletal Scrying
Sky Spirit
Spectral Searchlight
Spontaneous Combustion
Squirrel Nest
Swords to Plowshares
Treasonous Ogre
Volcanic Fallout
Wakestone Gargoyle
Warmonger’s Chariot
Wind Dancer
Wood Sage
Woodvine Elemental

I had to cut the uncommons to 72 cards. I wanted roughly two of each card, but with 68 uncommons in the set that wasn’t possible. My solution was to cut some of the less powerful cards in each colour and cut the multi-coloured cards to one ofs. If you disagree with this approach when building your cube, you could just as easily use one of each uncommon and double up on a few of your favourites.

Conspiracy Cube Commons – By Keith Ambrose

Commons: (240)
Aether Tradewinds
Ajani’s Sunstriker
Altar’s Reap
Apex Hawks
Brago’s Representitive
Brimstone Volley
Charging Rhino
Chartooth Cougar
Cinder Wall
Compulsive Research
Copperhorn Scout
Courier Hawk
Crookclaw Transmuter
Custodi Squire
Doomed Traveler
Dream Fracture
Echoing Courage
Elvish Aberration
Enclave Elite
Enraged Revolutionary
Flowstone Blade
Gnarlid Pack
Grenzo’s Cutthroat
Grixis Illusionist
Grudge Keeper
Guardian Zenikon
Howling Wolf
Hunger of the Howlpack
Infectious Horror
Kor Chant
Liliana’s Spectre
Lizard Warrior
Mana Geyser
Marchesa’s Emissary
Minamo Scrollkeeper
Moment of Heroism
Nature’s Claim
Necromantic Thirst
Noble Templar
Orcish Cannonade
Pillarfield Ox
Pitchburn Devils
Plated Seastrider
Power of Fire
Pride Guardian
Quag Vampires
Reckless Scholar
Rousing of Souls
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Scaled Wurm
Screaming Seahawk
Selvala’s Enforcer
Shoreline Ranger
Silverchase Fox
Skitter of Lizards
Sporecap Spider
Stasis Cell
Stave Off
Stronghold Discipline
Syphon Soul
Torch Fiend
Tragic Slip
Traveler’s Cloak
Trumpet Blast
Turn the Tide
Twisted Abomination
Typhoid Rats
Tyrant’s Choice
Unhallowed Pact
Valour Made Real
Vent Sentinel
Wrap in Flames
Wrap in Vigor
Zombie Goliath

I was determined not to cut any commons from the cube in order to retain the feel of the set. I wanted to make it three of each, which conveniently gives us 240 cards. Again, if you disagree with this approach, feel free to change it as you see fit. You could cut some of the underpowered cards, or the ones you just plain hate. This was a tempting option for me (I really hate Fog effects) but my friends convinced me to maintain the integrity of the set, because while I have drafted it seven times, R+D has drafted it more than that. We’ll see how it goes, and if I make any major updates, I’ll let you know in the comments.

So that gives us 360 cards. The cube will be arranged into twenty four “packs” with one rare or mythic, three uncommons, one Conspiracy / Draft Matters card and ten commons prior to the draft. They’ll then be randomized amongst the players and drafted as normal as many times as we like, or until we get sick of it. I’ve heard from other players that they plan to put Conspiracies and Draft Matters cards into their regular cubes which I think could be fun too. If you have any suggestions or feedback on the list I’ve posted here, please let me know in the comments. Otherwise, have fun drafting!

Until next time,