Far away, across the Pacific, in the remote region known only as “Australia,” a cryptic cabal of tournament officials calculates, calibrates, and conspires. From among their number a champion is chosen! His name: Fabian Peck.
Fabian, and Fabian alone, will have privilege of judging the world's first ever Conspiracy: Take the Crown draft, as part of a special preview event! Truly, Fabian must be the greatest of all the Australian judges. As such, I am incredibly pleased to have him as my guest for this week's Ask a Judge!
And, lo! Here Fabian comes now, garbed in luxurious burgundy, holding aloft 24 packs of Conspiracy and a glorious golden crown! Look how gracefully he walks! Look at the knowledge shining from his eyes! Look how he stumbles and falls to the floor, as the patient assassin strikes from the shadows! Look how Fabian gasps for his final, feeble breath...!
Well, I suppose that's life in Paliano. I mean, Australia.
Although Fabian is now unavailable, I'm pleased to inform you that I was able to find an alternative guest. Please welcome the only, the only, the illustrious...Simon “Fry” Freiberg! (Who definitely was not involved in the tragic accident that Fabian has suffered.)
Daniel “Ist” Schneider inquires: I control a Volatile Chimera and an Ill-Tempered Cyclops in exile. If I monstrous the Chimera when it's a copy of the Cyclops, then make it a copy of a new creature, then make it back into the Cyclops, can I monstrify the Chimera again?
(Fry) Daniel, I admire your dedication to only drafting emotionally unstable creatures. Unfortunately for you, once a permanent has been monstrosificated, it remains that way. Although it becomes a copy of a new creature, it's still technically the same permanent and thus ineligible for another course at Monsters University.
Michael Caffrey queries: I draft two Leovold's Operative and want to use them both on the same pack. Can I? What happens?
(Fry) You can! You are truly acting with the best interests of Trest at heart. This is what happens: You turn your first Operative face down and take an extra card. Then you turn your second Operative face down and take (another) extra card. Then, for the next two booster packs you open or get passed, you don't get to take any cards. Hope those extra cards were good.
Riva Arceol wonders: I copy an opponent's Custodi Peacekeeper with Stunt Double, what number do I use when activating its ability? Do I need to know what pick my Stunt Double was? Do I use my opponent's noted value, or is it just zero?
(Bearz) None of the above, actually. Custodi Peacekeeper's ability cares about cards you've drafted named Custodi Peacekepeer. If you picked up a Custodi Peacekeer yourself at some point, your Stunt-Peacekeeper will use that noted value. Otherwise, the noted number is considered to be zero. I guess Stunt Double is only good at imitating Custodi Peacekeeper if it has one around to learn from.
(By the way, this also holds true for copying other cards that care about information that needs to be noted as you drafted them, such as Animus of Predation or Smuggler Captain.)
Raoul Mowatt wants to know: Can Assemble the Rank and Vile name tokens?
(Fry) You can name any token you like, as long as it's also the name of a card in Magic. So “Zombie” wouldn't work, but “Illusion” would. Even so, this is unlikely to be useful, as Assemble the Rank and Vile cares about card names, not card types...and nothing in Conspiracy: Take the Crown makes Illusion tokens.
Archie has two Noble Bannerets that named different creatures and the different creatures on the battlefield. What are the stats on the Bannerets?
(Bearz) This one is a bit complicated. To understand the answer, you need to know that when a card refers to itself by name, it really means “this specific card here”, not “all cards with this name.” As such, each Noble Banneret only buffs itself -- not every creature named Noble Banneret. However, each copy of Noble Banneret will apply individually to the other named creatures.
Putting it all together, if all four creatures are on the battlefield, each Noble Banneret would be a 4/4 (with lifelink), and each noted creature would get +2/+2 (and lifelink).
I drafted Animus of Predation. I next draft Illusionary Informant and remove it from the draft with the Animus to give Animus flying. Can I also turn the removed Informant face down to spy on someone?
(Fry) Nope, the other players are protected from your espionage. As per the Release Notes, “if a card you remove instructs you to draft it face up, it has no effect while face up and can't be turned face down to use an ability.”
Can I escape the curse of the Archdemon of Paliano by feeding it to an Animus of Predation?
(Bearz) Insolent fool! Weren't you listening to what Fry just said?
Ahem. Sorry, I don't know what came over me. If you use Animus of Predeation to remove Archdemon of Paliano from the draft, the Archdemon is, well...gone from the draft. Its curse will have no power over you.
Okay, okay, jeez. Well, what if I draft an Animus of Predation first, and then draft an Archdemon of Paliano? Can I feed the cards I randomly draft to the Animus?
(Bearz) Insolent...actually, yes, you can use Animus to remove those randomly-drafted cards from the draft. That's very clever of you. Have a cookie. (This is because, even when you're cursed by the Demon, you still must look at the cards you're drafting, and you must reveal them or use their abilities if applicable.)
(Fry) Ah, the wonders of Paliano's electoral system. Your opponent will decide your first vote. Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos. Then, you'll choose whether or not to vote again. Vote early, vote often is what I always say. If you do choose to vote again, they'll also get to decide the outcome.
How does the Monarch work in Two-Headed Giant?
(Bearz) Only one player can be the monarch; the monarchy isn't shared between a team. If Brago and Selvala are playing Two-Headed Giant together, and Brago is the monarch, he will draw a card at the beginning of his end step...but Selvala won't. Rough.
Combat becomes pretty interesting in Two-Headed Giant as well. Let's say that Brago and Selvala are playing against Grenzo and Daretti, and Brago is the monarch. Combat breaks out, and Grenzo and Daretti both deal combat damage to Brago at the same time. You might think that Grenzo or Daretti squabble among themselves for the crown, but you'd be wrong!
The ability that passes the crown reads: "Whenever a creature deals combat damage to the monarch, its controller becomes the monarch." One instance of this ability triggers for each creature that damages Brago. Because Brago is the current monarch, he controls the triggers, and he gets to put them on the stack in the order he chooses. This means that the crown could change from Grenzo to Daretti several times before finally resting on one of them. But, ultimately, Brago gets to choose his successor. Flavor win!
What happens when my opponent and I both control an Exotic Orchard?
(Fry) If those are the only lands on the battlefield, and their mana abilities were activated, no mana can be produced. Not so exotic after all.
What happens when a player leaves the game?
(Bearz) A lot of things!
Let's suppose Brago is playing a friendly game of Commander with his good friends, Grenzo and Selvala. If Brago leaves the game for any reason (concession, decking himself, assassination from a spectral planeswalker, combat damage…), he follows the following steps in order:
First, all the cards Brago owns leave the game -- even if they're currently being controlled by other players. They aren't exiled; they simply cease to exist.
Second, Brago gives back anything that he's taken control of.
Third, anything that Brago controls that's still on the stack ceases to exist.
Finally, after all that's done, if Brago happens to still control anything, the remaining cards are exiled forever.
This usually means that a player takes everything with them as they go, leaving nothing behind. However, a few things will slip through the cracks and end up in exile instead. Bribery will cause this situation pretty often, such as if Brago cast Bribery to steal (for example) Royal Assassin from Marchesa's deck. (Huh, maybe that's why the King Eternal ended up dead.)
What happens if the player who leaves the game was the monarch?
(Bearz) There must always be a king. As such, once someone becomes the monarch, there will always be exactly one monarch...until the game ends, of course.
As such, we need some rules of succession for determining who becomes the monarch if the current one becomes...indisposed. If the departing player lost from combat damage, the person who dealt the killing blow will become the monarch, as normal. Otherwise, the active player becomes the monarch. If the dearly departing monarch was the active player, the next player in turn order becomes the monarch. It's good to be (to the left of) the king.
Is there any way that the judge of the event can become the monarch?
(Bearz) As a judge, I can use my vast powers to manipulate time, space, and the very fabric of reality at a whim. What need do I have to be the monarch? Titles are nothing but vanity.
More seriously, it's totally okay for someone to both judge and play an event, so long as it's run as a Casual event or at Regular Rules Enforcement Level. And since Conspiracy: Take the Crown Drafts are always Casual events, you'll often see a judge playing in the event as well. Cards that make a judge the monarch work just as well for us as they do for everyone else!
New Eternal Cards!
So, what formats are these cards legal in? Can I play Daretti in my Modern Jund deck?
(Bearz) Cards that are being printed for the first time Conspiracy: Take the Crown are legal in Legacy, Vintage, and Commander, because you can use cards from any sets there. Take the Crown doesn't add any cards to Modern or Standard.
However, if a card was already legal in a format, you can use its Take the Crown reprint in any format where the original card was legal -- such as Inquisition of Kozilek in Modern.
The exception is cards with the conspiracy type. Those are illegal in all sanctioned formats.
How does the monarch work in Legacy?
(Fry) You can become the monarch in any format where Take the Crown is legal, including Legacy! All hail the new monarch! Please nobody play Unscythe, Killer of Kings!
Can I use Regicide in Legacy? If so, how? What if I traded for this Regicide and the original drafter noted white, black, and green for it? Can I destroy a Dark Confidant with it?
(Fry) All of the draft-affecting cards are legal in Legacy, but few of them are very useful. Regicide is especially useless: as you weren't drafting, there are no colors chosen. Since you can never choose a legal target for Regicide, you can't even cast it. It won't even kill colorless creatures. (Eldrazi don't believe in kings or queens.)
What about Archdemon of Paliano? Can I use that in Legacy?
(Bearz) Conveniently, the Archdemon's curse doesn't affect Constructed formats. Outside of drafts, Archdemon of Paliano is a 5/4 flyer for four with no drawback. Maybe that'll be useful!
My Miracles opponent draws for their turn, and reveals Terminus. I have an Aether Vial on the battlefield and Sanctum Prelate in hand. If I Vial in the Sanctum Prelate, can I stop them from casting Terminus? What number should I name? What if, instead, my Miracles opponent reveals Entreat the Angels?
(Fry) You can certainly stop them from casting their spells. Regardless of if it's cast miraculously or not, Terminus has a converted mana cost of six - so that's the number you need to choose.
Entreat the Angels is harder for the Prelate to shut down, as its converted mana cost changes. You can try to Work out how many angels they're likely to entreat, and name twice that number plus three...but then your opponent can just pick a different number for X. The Angels work in mysterious ways.
Questions for Fry
Who are you?
I'm a Level 3 judge from Australia!
What's your non-Magic job?
I work at one of Australia's largest banks doing cybersecurity stuff, keeping people's money safe.
When did you start playing?
I was taught to play while at University, during Odyssey block (I feel old). According to planeswalkerpoints.com, I competed in a PTQ back then! Also according to planeswalkerpoints.com, I did terribly.
When did you start judging?
Just after the release of Return to Ravnica. This was also around the time that I moved to Canberra (the capital of this fine country), and I was quickly welcomed into the existing Judge community there.
What's your proudest accomplishment as a player?
I made the Top 8 of a GPT once….I don't play that much Magic. Usually for Prereleases, my regular other-headed-giant builds a deck that durdles around and draws cards and I have to try to win the match before he mills himself out.
What's your proudest accomplishment as a Judge?
I have many proud moments as a Judge: Head Judging the largest in-store event in Australia, making L3, getting accepted to the Pro Tour for the first time… but really these are all due to other people putting their trust in me. Judging doesn't happen in a vacuum, and my moments of pride have all been shared with my mentors and peers.
Sovereign's Realm has to be my favorite. The mana system of Magic is often debated (and sometimes criticized), and other games have toyed endlessly with the concept to attempt to “fix” it. Now we can find out what Magic would be like in this alternate universe!
What's your favorite (non-Conspiracy) card in Conspiracy: Take the Crown?
My first instinct would be to say Illusion of Choice. Because when you're the monarch, democracy can take a back seat!
But really the choice is obvious: