The real conspiracy of this past summer was that Wizards tried to fit three sets into a three-month period.
In June, we had Eternal Masters. That set was reasonably designed to include some great reprints as well as being a fun draft format. So far, all the Masters sets have been really fun to play with, and I hope that continues.
Before we could even get a grip on this Legacy-, Vintage-, and Commander-focused set, they released Eldritch Moon in July. Second sets have been doing much better in sales and playability lately than in previous years, and Eldritch Moon is a good example. All of the Emrakul-based cards, including the newly banned queen herself, were interesting and powerful. The problem was that players were still recovering from funding their $10-plus packs.
Then in August came the casual-favorite set Conspiracy: Take the Crown, or as we like to call it around here, Conspiracy 2.
With three summer sets, what ended up happening is that none of these sets sold as well as they should have. Players were simply stretched too thin from the releases bunched together at that time of the year. Were these products more spread out, I think all three of them would have been more successful. Because Conspiracy 2 was the last of the three released, I think it was hit the hardest.
One of the other factors that contributed to its low sales total was the target audience. This set draws the attention of a more casual crowd, but most of the reprints are aimed at the Legacy crowd. Even with the sequencing of summer releases, I would have though the inclusion of Legacy-playable cards would have generated more sales. Because the set didn’t sell as well as it should have, the prices of cards from this set are creeping steadily upward. The price of boxes couldn’t be lower, but the value of the cards in the set has continued to increase since its release.
The other day, I was thinking about all of these puzzle pieces and fitting them together. I decided to act upon these thoughts and open a box of the set to see how much information its contents would contain. Here’s what I pulled.
The first pack started off with Show and Tell, and I was pumped. As I opened more and more packs, I got some decent cards and some of the more expensive ones in the set. I didn’t get either of the two most expensive cards in the set, though, and there were no high-end foils either. One of the most valuable parts about these types of sets is that their foils have insane multipliers. Some cards in sets like these will have multipliers of three, four, or five (or more!) for the foils.
Take Council's Judgment, from original Conspiracy. I actually opened this card in a draft at my friend’s bachelor party. Right now, the normal printing is $5 and the foil is $30! When I opened it, the card was as high as $60. I may not have opened any high-end foils in this particular box, but many boxes out there contain foils that will drastically help pay for your investment.
My box ended up worth under what I paid for it. I only opened one box, so that’s not a lot of information to go off of. It seems like unless you open one of the two highest-value cards in the set or a high-end foil, you may be out of luck with your investment.
What about singles, though? Let’s break down the value in the set and go from there.
You’ll note I included uncommons in my list of good cards above. Sets like this always have great uncommons to help boost the price of packs. Conspiracy: Take the Crown gave us a much-needed Serum Visions reprint for Modern players. Additionally, it also contains Beast Within, Ghostly Prison and Explosive Vegetation. All of which are worth nearly a dollar or more. These uncommons really help boost the value of your boxes.
The other uncommon that should stick out is Inquisition of Kozilek. This black hand-hate card is another Modern Staple and is worth more than most rares in the set. The fact that I opened zero in my box is disconcerting, but this uncommon slot should help raise the return on a box of this set. Even with the reprint, Inquisition still goes for $7-plus each.
As I stated above, the first pack I opened had a Show and Tell, and I was ecstatic. I had no clue that this reprint had this drastically altered the price, however. Under $15 for this Legacy staple seems crazy to me. I guess not that many players are building Sneak and Show these days. This seems like a great long-term investment, though. Who knows if this card will ever be reprinted? Nearly every cube wants one, some Commander decks will play it, and Legacy players will need it as well.
Berserk may not be a highly sought after card, but its effect pairs so well with Wizards's card-printing philosophy that casual players should start looking for copies of this pump spell. Even the Standard format these days seems like it usually has a linear aggressive strategy that utilizes pump spells to make a giant dude to kill your opponent quickly. Right now we have GR Energy to fill this role, and previously we had UW Heroic as well as many others of the same ilk.
Sitting at $10 right now, I love this card. It makes tokens, interacts with artifacts, and its ultimate is so cool! What other time do you get to make multiple copies of artifacts? I doubt this version of Daretti will drop lower than this price point, and as a casual favorite, I think he could generate some future value.
In addition to the sick, extremely limited alternate art foil, this planeswalker is new and different than any other we’ve seen before. The closest we’ve seen to something like this is Sarkhan the Mad. I don’t think that Kaya’s abilities are potent enough for most Commander players to want her in their deck. Even with 100 cards that all have to be different, her effect seems minimal. Sure, you can drain your opponents for some life and then gain two yourself. Sure you can make everyone discard a card and then you draw one. How much is that really helping you, though? A $10 price tag is good for Kaya, but I don’t expect her to increase in value anytime soon.
Recruiter of the Guard is another sweet Legacy-playable card. The red counterpart, Imperial Recruiter is $200 to $400! Even though the effect isn’t used that much in Legacy, the printing of this creature opens up some really interesting deck design space. No innovations have happened just yet, but this is a card that could double or quadruple overnight if a deck gets made that is viable in these older formats. I like this card a lot in the long term.
Selvala, Heart of the Wilds is definitely not a Legacy-playable card, but it sure is a casual favorite. Most of the time, cards that make multiplayer games more fun like this, also carry a decent price along with them. Selvala follows that model because players want this card to be good, so they keep playing it. The mana ability is no joke. You can add insane amounts of mana pretty easily with a Commander deck. Even if she’s the only creature you control, you still get a normal plus-one mana each turn. I’d say with such a unique card design, this creature is a safe investment, but I don’t know if casual demand will be a great enough factor here.
The main reason I included Expropriate on this list is because I had no idea this card was in the set or that it was valuable at all. This nine-mana mythic at minimum grants you another turn or steals a permanent. It may be extremely expensive, but what you get out of it is crazy powerful. Think about when it’s copied too, like in a Riku of Two Reflections deck. Expropriate might have an awkward name and mana cost, but it’s well worth your investment.
We’re getting down to the best of the best with Sanctum Prelate. This white creature has given Death and Taxes another playable creature. Most players name one on its trigger, but with knowledge of the format and your opponent’s deck, you can more specifically name the number that does them the most damage. We don’t see effects like this very often. You can shut down Legacy’s best one-drops like Brainstorm and Swords to Plowshares, or hose a combo deck by choosing their win condition's mana cost. Either way, the price of this card isn’t going down anytime soon. I’d say $15 is cheap for this card. I need a copy of this guy for my cube before it goes up, frankly. Almost $80 for the foil shouldn’t surprise me at this point.
Lastly in our value exploration is Leovold, Emissary of Trest. Some players think this guy was printed on the demand of the Tiny Leaders format that fizzled, but it could just be to give Legacy Sultai some more potent creatures to choose from. There are many players who have adopted Leovold into their Legacy strategies – and with good reason. He shuts down opponents and generates value when they try to disrupt what you are doing. This creature perfectly fits with what Sultai is trying to do in the format. He is already up to almost $50 and is single-handedly making the price of packs worth more and more. He hasn’t affected the value of boxes just yet, but in time I think that increase will happen too.
To close, I want to call out a couple groups of cards that are worth a little money but aren’t really worth talking about individually. All of these cards will help, at least in some small way, towards whatever you invest in this set.
That’s all for me this week. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this look into what’s going on with Conspiracy: Take the Crown. The finance community may be focusing on Leovold, but there’s a lot more going on with this set than just his insane increase in price. Stay tuned next week, when we'll dive into the new Standard and see what’s happening in the competitive and financial aspects of this format.
Until next time,
Unleash the Conspiracy Force!
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