M15: Goblin Kaboomist

Oh, those wacky Goblins! You really can’t go wrong with those self-destructive little maniacs. They come in various levels of insanity, but when one is called Goblin Kaboomist, you know you’re in for a treat! Other Goblins may have more normal job descriptions, like Bazaar Trader or Goblin Diplomats. So, what does a Kaboomist do for a living? Just what it says in the tin!

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To be fair, it’s a lot of text and it took a couple of looks to see exactly what is going on there, with the text of the token inside the text of the creature. What it boils down to is that every upkeep, you drop a Land Mine, and then flip a coin to see if the goblin explodes. If the Kaboomist does explode, you at least get to keep the Land Mine token.

The coin flip only takes place while dropping the mines, not while using it. The damage, should you lose the flip is easilly negated though. All it needs is a Goblin lord, like Goblin Chieftain to survive, and keep dropping mines.


As for the Land Mines themselves, they’re worse versions of Seal of Fire, but at least they keep coming, and they are artifacts. That means you can always Shrapnel Blast them instead, feed them to Krark-Clan Shaman or use them with Goblin Welder. You can even forge those Land Mines into something else with Kuldotha Forgemaster. What would a Goblin make from a couple of mines? A Volatile Rig maybe?

It seems like M15 is getting rather humorous, especially on the ‘designed by’ cards. That’s probably a good thing. I also like how tokens are now branching out to do other things than just creatures. First, King Macar and his Gold tokens, and now Land Mines. The “flip a coin” part wasn’t really needed on the card, since it’s easy to circumvent and makes the card text a little hard to follow. Goblin Kaboomist isn’t the most elegant of cards, but it does look like a lot of fun!

Posted under Spoilers

Conspiracy: Will of the Council

I’m fairly excited about Conspiracy. First of all, it amps up the drafting portion of the game and pushes Magic towards a full-fledged Deck Building Game. It might even inspire me to build a Cube. It has the potential to change the way the game is played completely. Even the makers of Magic don’t fully know the implications:

While I believe we have created something new, that doesn’t mean I know exactly what all of you are going to do with it. The draft cards, for example, are us playing around in virgin space. Yes, people will use the draft cards in Conspiracy Limited, but what about other formats? Will they become popular in Cube? Will they inspire a new format that doesn’t exist yet? I honestly don’t know, and that is exciting.
– Mark Rosewater

Outside the draft portion there are a couple of new mechanics on some of the cards to help multiplayer games flow better. Parley shows players parts of the strategy of their opponents, and more importantly it helps smooth over the draws so everyone gets a better chance at developing their strategy and reduce mana screw. Dethrone helps spreading out attacks evenly and gives some incentive not to beat someone while they are down.

My favorite part may be Will of the Council though. I wonder how that will work out. Some players will evaluate the situation wrong, and make irrational decisions. But at least it’s a chance for some banter and politics, and it’s banter an politics that make multiplayer games better than straight-up duels. Not that it’s a mechanic that is intristically good. You spend a card but opponents have a say in how it works. Worse still, you’re the first to vote, and the person on your right will have a final say. At least it’s clear who you’ll need to have as an ally. The only upside is that you get to choose when the voting starts.

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 Let’s start with the big destructive cards. Magister of Worth gives the players a choice between either half of Living Death. It’s nice to have when you have no board, and a graveyard that is better than all the other graveyards. Or if one player is getting really out of hand. Then at least you’ll have an angel, and solved the problem for the table.

Coersive Portal is stranger. Both carnage and homage help you out while you’re behind, a little, but it takes a full round of the table for it to do something (which is plenty of time to get seriously hurt) and once you have build up using the extra card draw, you’ll see your gains vanish before your eyes. It’s fun to have a continious political process though. On a full board with players that don’t want to lose their things, you can bide your time with this and Solitary Confinement, let them duke it out and watch things blow up when they grow tired beating each other up with their armies.

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More destruction comes from the Council’s Judgment. The interesting part is that it doesn’t offer a binary choice, but opens up voting for permanents on the table. And it doesn’t target, so shroud doesn’t help stop it. The most important part of the ability, which adds to the chaos, is the part where it reads: “the most votes or tied for the most votes.” Yes, there are situations where judgment will be passed to multiple permanents and more than one thing gets exiled.

Try to see the scenarios here. Someone plays a Council’s Judgment, and chooses to vote for one of your permanents. The next player chooses to vote for another one of your permanents, making it a tie, and potentially make you to lose two things to exile. Now what?

– You vote for a permanent another player controls. That one is now also tied. You lose some things, but hey, they do too. Or,
– You vote for one of your own doomed permanents. At least this breaks the tie, and you’ll have to exile only one thing unless someone else restores the tie on your permanent.

The more players, the more votes, and the more complex things become. Some clever political maneuvring is in order. The player who called for judgment just has to sit it out and watch the others fall over each other in the chaos that follows. And this is where Brago’s Representative really shines, as it adds another vote, for even more exiling fun. For people who love true chaos, just cast a Mirrorweave on the representative and see how things will escalate really, really fast.

8lIhaVWYFv_EN grudgekeeper

There are more cards in Conspiracy that use this mechanic. I can’t imagine Tyrant’s Choice is the most interesting one in Commander, because who cares about one-tenth of their life total? The good news is that it doesn’t hit yourself aside from the card and mana you spend. Grudge Keeper is black’s Brago’s Representative, getting you lots of votes or, when you vote last, let everyone lose life for your contrary vote.

Council Guardian will gain protection from the color(s) voted for or tied for, but this has the least potential for opponents to try and screw each other over. They’ll just gang up on you and vote for the protection that is the least relevant and deal with the problem together.

With Plea for Power you get to spend to have a vote on wether you get an extra turn, or 3 extra cards. Neither half is bad, have a more splashable Concentrate or a cheaper and more splashable Time Warp. Either half is good, the fact that you have the illusion of choice is even better.

Another blue council card is Split Decision, a instant spell which leads to a vote where you either counter an instant or sorcery, or you get to copy it with new targets. It’s a very reactive card, but it’s nice against spot removal, or for cards like the Plea above. You wouldn’t want to use it on your own spells in most situations, as it’s not very reliable.

All in all there is a lot to look forward to with this new mechanic. Some applications are better than others, and who knows there might be some hidden gems yet to be revealed. Generally, it could be all great if choices are made based on the current board state, or frustrating when votes are lead by grudges coming from previous games.

The oddest thing about it is that both Parley and Dethrone got their own legend associated with it, but Will of the Council doesn’t. It’s possible that King Brago filled that spot in playtesting, but ran into problems and they made him the blink guy. We’ll see what happens in a couple of weeks when the council finally goes into session.

Posted under Spoilers

Treasonous Ogre

Not that it’s a legendary card, but it is very multiplayer focussed. Paying life for mana is very strong, especially in Commander where you start with a high life total in the first place, and it might as well be Channel, even with the 3 life for 1 mana ratio. Treasonous Ogre can end things rather quickly. Care to pay 24 life for an Insurrection? Or 30 life for a  Kozilek on turn four? If you like didn’t like high risk and agression, you wouldn’t be playing red. And you wouldn’t trust your life with a Treasonous Ogre.


The life payment can be a boon of its own, if you want to Dethrone an opponent but you happen to sit on the throne yourself. By all means, take a seat! It’s even a bit of damage control with another Ogre, Heartless Hidetsugu, who somewhat halves life totals, and thus life payment after the fact. Or there could be a Havoc Festival in town.

Damage doublers like Dictate of the Twin Gods or Furnace of Rath even combo with Heartless Hidetsugu by killing everyone with even life totals. Paying 3 life can switch you from even to odd and survive.

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In multiplayer games, you could even risk paying as much as you can, and recoup the loss from your opponents. With 4 or more across the table, it could even result in a net life gain. Still not cruel enough? Use the mana to ramp into Worst Fears, and donate the Ogre with Bazaar Trader.

Life totals aren’t always the most important factor in the game, but most of the time you’ll want to have more mana. Short-term gains often outweigh long-term survival, so Treasonous Ogre offers an interesting deal. You’d probably won’t go all out of it very often, but sometimes the extra mana can actually help prevent  taking damage, so it’s always good to at least have the option.


Posted under Spoilers

Scourge of the Throne

Just after I wrote about my Game of Thrones themed Dragon Deck, the new Conspiracy spoiler shows a throne-themed dragon. Scourge of the Throne looks a bit like Aurelia, the Warleader or Hellkite Charger, although he lacks haste. There are plenty of ways to grant haste in the dragon deck, so that’s not much of a problem.

Usually, it will attack as a 6/6, unless you’re the meatiest chunk of planeswalker yourself. The other dragons even can go in other directions, finishing someone off, potentially. If you can’t use the Dethrone ability, well, you have a dragon and the most life, so you have no reason to complain. Then there is always Grove of the Burnwillows helping settle the difference.

Attacking the player with the highest life total can have interesting results. Even if they block your dragons, they blocked dragons and things are bound to die a fiery death. It also means they keep their precious life totals, only making the Scourge bigger and angrier.

Dethrone by itself is interesting, politically, as it should only worry the one with the most life. The rest don’t have to immediatly worry about the dragon, and are more likely to leave it alone until they become the juiciest dragonbait on the table. All in all it’s a great addition to any multiplayer deck.

Posted under Spoilers

Conspiracy legends, part 1

Conspiracy is coming, a draft format with cards specifically geared towards multiplayer. While some cards only make sense in draft, there is still plenty to love for Commander decks, as there are plenty new legends in the set to build decks around and to generally have fun with against multiple opponents. Let’s see what we know so far…


UKVMNPITB3_ENBrago will compete with (or comlement) Roon of the Hidden Realm. Who is the real king of blinking? Brago can give some pseudo-vigilance to your creatures, or maybe change what held by your Oblivion Ring.

His real power probably lies with enter-the-battlefield abilites. He might rule your humans through angels like Angel of Glory’s Rise, or Angel of Serenity. He might help reconcider the stance of players through Archangel of Strife.

Or Brago restores the loyalty of some planeswalker that dipped below his starting loyalty for any reason. Ajani, Caller of the Pride joins the battle, gives something flying and double strike, blinks during combat and hands out a +1/+1 counter in the same turn. Elspeth, Sun’s Champion destroy all creatues with 4 or more power, blinks, and creates some soldier tokens. Neat!

Another trick is that he can redistribute auras. That makes him an interesting companion to Bruna, Light of Alabaster.

There are so many possibilities, it’s almost endless. The downside is that he needs to actually hit someone to work, but at least he has flying, so that helps a little.

IldtzvGTaO_ENMarchesa seems good at making enemies, because whoever is the player with the most life, won’t have the most life for long. But when the others nibble at your life total, you won’t be the one who has the most life, and the Dethrone ability reactivates again, and your minions grow.

It’s nice that creatures get the counters when they attack, so they have at least grown before blockers are declared.

Her last ability is probably the juiciest, especially when using creatures that get +1/+1 counters all by themselves. Undying creatures become almost immortal, and for those who don’t have it, Mikaeus, the Unhallowed prolongs their unlife indefinately.

Making so many enemies means she probably should take all the allies she can get, so Thraximundar will probably side with her as well. And Carrion Feeder and Deathbringer Thoctar also have some synergies. Or Unspeakable Symbol.

All in all I think we’ll see a lot of Marchesa at the commander table, and a lot of dethronements despite being in the same colors as the popular Nekusar, the Mind Razer.

Zy5kxM3bDM_ENSelvala could create a lot of life and mana, but the latter suffers a little from the amount being somewhat random. Extra mana, life and cards is a good mix though. She gets things going for you early on.

The Parley ability has a bit of a group-hug feel, akin to Dakra Mystic. Together they’ll fit in a Phelddagrif deck for some political action.

With Spirit of the Labyrinth it’s even possible to pick a player who will not draw a card, further informed by Lantern of Insight.

There are a lot of legends in her colors, but maybe she’ll even show up in my Captain Sisay deck, so I can build up three resources at a time.

One thing that makes her great is the 2/4 for the cost. It’s similar to Courser of Kruphix, and Selvala works great with the ability to play land from your deck. Either you get a land and increase the chance that whatever you draw is worth while, or you get to draw something, hopefully revealing a land next.

Can she carry a deck on her own? It’s fun to try, as she is quick and explosive. The draw you hand out should make you some friends and keep the game fun and interesting for everyone.

Hopefully, Conspiracy will featyre more interesting legends like these. The promotional picture shows these three, and two more, so that’s an indication for things to come. It’s a crazy format, and the focus on fun is clear. I’ve got a good feeling about the set.

Posted under Commander / EDH,Spoilers
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