The upcoming Magic: The Gathering — Conspiracy: Take the Crown releases Friday, and it isn’t your typical Magic expansion. There are high-profile reprint cards, exciting new prospects for Vintage, Legacy, and Commander, and perhaps best of all a crazy, new experience in drafting. If you aren’t already familiar with how Conspiracy works and with some of the new mechanics in Take the Crown, check out the Wizards of the Coast article “Conspiracy: Take the Crown Mechanics.”
While expansions since Mirage‘s 1996 have been designed with drafting in mind, it’s always been with the expectation that players would separate out into duels to resolve their magicians’ conflicts. Now with Conspiracy, you can expect drafting for multiplayer Magic games.
The powerful cards seeded in the boosters of Conspiracy will sell plenty of packs on their own, but how can you capitalize on the casual nature of the set? Who is the target audience for enjoying the multiplayer nature of the format, and how can you make sure those players have a chance to experience it?
If your store has a draft night, it makes sense to offer Conspiracy during that time. Many players will be thrilled to try out a different type of experience while still engaging in the drafting they enjoy. Some players will sign up just for a chance to open a reprinted card like Berserk, Burning Wish, or Inquisition of Kozilek.
However, many players draft in part to build collections for their Standard or Modern play, and Conspiracy won’t have a lot to offer them. In addition, the multiplayer nature of the format won’t appeal to competitive, duel-centric players. That’s all right. Make sure your draft night continues to offer the formats your players are looking to draft.
Determining prize payouts for your Conspiracy event on draft night offers a challenge. Eight is the perfect number of players for a draft, as always, but since the players separate into one or two pods after drafting, you can make it work with three to eight players. However, each pod will yield a single winner. If you normally offer high payouts to winning players on draft night, consider sticking to that pattern with Conspiracy—even though it’s a casual format, your competitive players are the ones playing.
Even though Conspiracy is a draft format, it’s even more so a casual format. Your Commander players are already playing multiplayer games all the time, so they’ll be right at home with the multiplayer politics and flashy plays of Conspiracy. With all the cool new cards the set has to over, there are plenty of incentives for them as well, such as Kaya, Ghost Assassin, Queen Marchesa, and Adriana, Captain of the Guard.
Conspiracy also offers a great opportunity to offer some laid-back organized play to kitchen-table players. Make sure to advertise your casual night and that you’ll be running some Conspiracy drafts. Focus on the fact that competition won’t be the primary drive of the event. Adjust your prize payouts so players can feel comfortable with their entry fees and feel rewarded for playing regardless of the games’ outcome.
Here are some payout options you can consider to support a casual vibe:
- Each player receives one booster pack and a snack or drink for playing. The winner of each pod receives an additional booster pack.
- After the games, the prize packs are all opened up and laid out. Starting with the winners, players take turns picking one card at a time from the entire pool. This way, each player will have options when choosing a rare card, players with color preferences in casual play can focus on their favorites, and the winning players are still rewarded with prime prize-draft picks.
- Use a system like the Armada League Point System for players to earn points during gameplay. (Who won? Who was the first monarch? Who had the creature with the highest power? How many opponents’ creatures did you kill?) Instead of prize packs, offer other merchandise, such as card sleeves, dice, play mats, and desirable single cards. After the games, items from the prize pool are put up one at a time, and players can use their points to bid on those prizes. Consider offering snacks or drinks for small numbers of leftover points players may have after the auctions.
Also, you may want to focus on the experience to draw players in, as described in the “Growth Built on Experience” article on the Wizards Play Network. Playing Conspiracy is an experience in and of itself, so use this opportunity to bring players into the store, to keep them playing, and to keep them telling stories of the format’s unique and crazy situations.