Vintage Conspiracy Review

There has been quite a bit written about Conspiracy’s effect on Commander and Legacy, but what about Vintage? Today, Brian DeMars takes a look at the impact Conspiracy will have on Magic’s oldest format.

Conspiracy is finally on the shelves and from what I can tell, the set has been very positively received by Magic fans everywhere. What’s not to love? The
set is full of flashy Commander cards, exciting Eternal reprints, and lends itself to an extremely fun and different limited play experience. Basically,
Conspiracy is an all around A+ home run release from Wizards of the Coast.

While there are literally a dozen worthy article topics stemming from the release of Conspiracy, I will be doing my Conspiracy article about which new
cards from the set will shake up Vintage.

While the set may be small with regard to actual new printings (there are 52 new cards legal for Vintage and Legacy play), the impact that this release
will have on Vintage is likely to be more strongly felt than most complete sets! Obviously, a release that is meant strictly for Eternal and Commander play
ought to have a higher power level than most sets released in a Standard block–nonetheless, Conspiracy is going to have some real player cards in Vintage
moving forward.

The first card that I’d like to talk about is the one that has deservedly gotten the most hype out of the gate:

Right now I feel like I could take on the whole empire by myself!”

Let’s start with the obvious: Dack Fayden is a 3 cost Blue planeswalker with a +1 ability that lets its controller draw cards… Albeit, that player also
has to discard the same number of cards, still the +1 is a Careful Study. Right there, all by itself, the card fences itself in as a card that is

The -2 Ability is basically bananas.

Sorry Steal Artifact and Domineer, but you have been outclassed.

Basically, two-thirds of Dack’s starting stats are better than a 4cc card that is borderline playable in Vintage already. It’s been a while since I’ve
actually sleeved up a Steal Artifact, but I have, in fact, played it many times. The same can be said of Domineer.

The real key to why Dack Fayden will be a widely played Vintage card is that this planeswalker is an extremely problematic threat that blue decks can play
against Mishra’s Workshop decks. For instance, imagine this scenario:

If the blue deck can plop Dack Fayden into play on the first turn and +1 it right off the bat, the Mishra’s Workshop deck is really behind the 8-ball. The
blue deck is basically looking at two free Steal Artifacts sitting in play. Even if the Workshop player can produce two creatures to attack Dack Fayden,
the planeswalker will take the best one and be able to block down whatever the second one is!

Here is just a jumping off point for what I would probably play given the opportunity. As you can see, Dack Fayden gives a Welder deck an outlet to turn
Welders on via the +1 ability, but also gives the deck a strong defensive element by providing a plethora of “Steal Artifact.”

One thing I was thinking about when evaluating Dack Fayden was “how good is this card when it is played against a non-Workshop deck?”

The answer that I have come up with is that it ranges from bad to pretty okay. The worst case scenario is getting beaten down by Tarmogoyf and having a
lousy Dack Fayden that doesn’t do anything ghosting your hand.

Against opposing control style decks, the ability to steal opposing Moxen or Sol Ring for value is actually pretty sweet. Not to mention, stealing a Time
Vault or Blightsteel Colossus is basically living the dream.

Dack Fayden may be a card that brings back a revival of Goblin Welders since his +1 ability combos so nicely with my favorite little goblin friend. That
could spell really bad news for fans of Mishra’s Workshops.

More important now than ever.

If Dack Fayden and his friend Goblin Welder make a splash in Vintage, it may really be Phyrexian Revoker’s time to shine, as this utility two drop creature
is very good at shutting down both of these premier threats.

It is also worth noting that Mishra’s Factory is pretty good at striking down Dack and Jace from these UR based planeswalker control decks.

A Workshop Dark Confidant?

I can say for a fact that when I was playing Mishra’s Workshop decks back in the day that I played with both Mindstorm Crown and Grafted Skullcap when I
was looking for ways to draw more cards in a Workshop deck. Coercive Portal is clearly a better option than either of those two cards could ever hope to

While the card may not have a ton of flash, I believe that it could be a very solid add to a bunch of different workshop builds. Basically, the card will
always be a free “draw a card” at the beginning of one’s upkeep.

Is the two extra mana worth the upside?

Staff of Nin has already seen quite a bit of Vintage play in various Mishra’s Workshop decks. The question here is whether or not the extra two mana one
pays for the Staff of Nin is worth the ability to fling a damage somewhere every turn.

Honestly, I think I would rather play with Coercive Portal or play a split on the cards. Obviously, the card drawing is by far the better part of Staff of
Nin, and the ability to put the Coercive Portal into play on the first turn (especially in the Workshop Mirror) seems like a huge boon.

I also like this card as a draw engine against decks that are going to attack a Workshop deck’s mana. When an opponent is attacking Workshop’s mana drawing
cards (and particularly continuing to hit land drops) is of the utmost importance. The Coercive Portal is a card that can easily slip into play (whereas a
six drop Staff of Nin might get stuck in one’s hand).

Coercive Portal is the kind of card that I could see making a splash as a one or two-of in various Workshop decks across the board. I also think that this
card gets better the further on the Prison spectrum that a control deck falls. For instance, the version of Workshop where I would want this card the most,
and in the greatest quantity, would be a Smokestack deck.

It’s also pretty sweet that it can be welded out by a Goblin Welder.

Lastly, I was on the fence about putting Coercive Portal into my Welder Control blue deck earlier in the article. It is actually possible that a card like
this could have cross over success into artifact heavy blue decks.

Judge them unworthy.

Council’s Judgment isn’t going to be a huge player by any stretch of the imagination, but it is certainly a card that could fill a niche in Vintage. The
card allows a player (because they will always win the vote) to exile any non-land permanent in play regardless of whether it is hexproof or not.

The cost is a little bit prohibitive at 1WW, but the effect of the card is extremely versatile.

I would certainly consider putting this card into my deck as a one-of if I were playing Esper Control or U/W Landstill.

It is pretty fabulous that it can take out a True-Name Nemesis (a card that I have predicted is primed to see increased Vintage play), an Oath of Druids,
Jace, the Mind Sculptor, or even the indestructible Blightsteel Colossus.

Another element of this card that is interesting is that whichever card gets hit by the Council’s Judgment is out of the game forever. So, being able to
Judge away a singleton or restricted card that is pivotal to a deck’s strategy will leave that deck wanting. If you can hit a Time Vault, it is now
apparent that the infinite turns option is off the table for an opponent.

Basically, for a little bit more mana. Council’s Judgment offers mages playing white the option to eliminate multiple tutor targets with a catch all card
that can kill anything. There are not very many cards that answer Oath of Druids, Blightsteel Colossus, and/or a creature, and this card does it

There are quite a few big time cards in Conspiracy that will be making a huge splash in Vintage! I am very much looking forward to seeing these cards in
action in the coming weeks.