Milling for 53
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Milling for 53

How to Play Two-Headed Giant Conspiracy Draft

Reclaim the Throne. Together.

You’ve voted to push your agenda and conspired to usurp the monarchy. You’ve drafted each of Conspiracy and Conspiracy: Take the Crown as a sole representative on the throne’s council.

But what if you had a teammate? And you didn’t draft only one of the two Conspiracy sets but both of them in the same game? I present to you…

Conspiracy: Double Agenda.

What’s Conspiracy: Double Agenda?

Conspiracy: Double Agenda is a two-headed giant variant of Conspiracy draft.

Instead of drafting either Conspiracy or Conspiracy: Take the Crown, you draft both sets together. And instead of drafting and playing alone, you’re doing so with a two-headed giant teammate.

When whispering to your teammate during the draft or in the game, it feels like you’re conspiring together! If you have fun drafting Conspiracy and Battlebond, this might be a format you’ll enjoy!


You and a teammate collectively have three packs each of Conspiracy and Conspiracy: Take the Crown. As with other two-headed giant draft environments, you draft each pack with two cards picked at a time.

(Three packs of Conspiracy first followed by three packs of Conspiracy: Take the Crown. Pass direction, by draft round, is left-right-left-right-left-right.)

After drafting, you and your teammate each build a deck from your shared card pool. Then, unlike other two-headed giant games, you play one big game with all the drafters! This means eight folks playing together: four two-person teams.

Because Conspiracy cards assume you’re drafting and playing alone, I made a few tweaks to cards and mechanics. This is to help keep the cards functional and balanced and maintain fun gameplay.

Mechanic/Card Tweaks, TL;DR

Here’s a summary of all the card and mechanics tweaks:

The Monarch: each player on the monarch’s team draws during the end step instead of just the monarch

Voting: one per team, which matters for council’s dilemma, but Grudge Keeper counts each individual opponent as having voted.

Melee: checks for each team that is attacked instead of each individual opponent. Also count your teammate’s attackers— not just your own.

Draft Abilities: while drafting, treat cards with draft abilities that reference “you” and “player” as “your team” and “team”

“note how many cards you’ve drafted this draft round”: for cards like Garbage Fire, count the other card drafted at the same time as this card

Canal Dredger: pass to a team that drafted Canal Dredger “the last pick” of a pack, whether that’s one or two cards, rather than “the last card”

Cogwork Spy & Illusionary Informant: look at the next pick drafted from the pack, whether that’s one or two cards, instead of just one card

Leovold’s Operative: after drafting an additional card (drafting three cards instead of two), you don’t pass the next pack as instructed on the card. You instead draft one less card from the next pack.

Spire Phantasm: guess twice, resolving each guess separately. For example, you may guess Garbage Fire for the first guess. Whether you guessed correctly for the first guess, you may then guess Garbage Fire for the second guess or guess a different card name, like Regicide.

Read further for more detail on these changes, along with a playtest report at the end of this article.

The Monarch

“At the beginning of your end step, draw a card.
Whenever a creature deals combat damage to you, its controller becomes the monarch.”

“At the beginning of your end step, each player on your team draws a card.
Whenever a creature deals combat damage to you, its controller becomes the monarch.”

The monarch mechanic is great for pushing forward the game state in a multiplayer game. Without modifying how monarch works, the mechanic becomes half as effective at doing its job. Teams draw twice as many cards in a two-headed giant game each turn compared to a single player.

Modifying to reward both players on a team helps maintain the monarch gameplay. Other teams will still have a good to incentive to attack a team that holds the monarch.

It’s especially important to retain the “get the monarch” incentive in a multiplayer game. There are more reasons to “turtle up” in multiplayer and refuse to swing your creatures sideways. Having the opposing teams have two players’ worth of creatures to block with doesn’t help either.

The more attacking that occurs, the faster you can bring an end to an otherwise slower-paced multiplayer game.

Besides — it feels odd to have one player draw as monarch. Let’s rule together.


BEFORE: One vote result per player.
AFTER: One vote result per team.

The “will of the council” and “council’s dilemma” mechanics both utilize voting. The difference between them is that council’s dilemma cares about the number of votes. With eight players in a Conspiracy: Double Agenda game, council’s dilemma cards can get out of hand!

So here’s the change that will keep these cards functioning at expected power levels:

Each player on a team shares one vote. (It’s assumed that you and your teammate agree with each other. If not, that’s another issue altogether.) However, each player individually still counts as having voted.

This distinction is nuanced but important. This is because of cards like Grudge Keeper that don’t count number of votes. They instead count the number of voting opponents.

The example I like to use: there are four ballots in the box, but each team’s ballot has had two voters contribute toward it.


Melee (Whenever this creature attacks, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn for each opponent you attacked with a creature this combat.)

Melee (Whenever this creature attacks, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn for each team your team attacked with a creature this combat.)

The spirit of the melee mechanic is to reward you for spreading out your attacks. Each team consists of two opponents. This then creates odd behavior:

  • You’ll want to spend twice as many of your attacking creatures for each team. You might otherwise have sent an attacker to yet another team if it weren’t for the opportunity to double down on a team.
  • You’ll need to declare that you’re attacking the same team but a specific opponent for each creature

Furthermore, while you and your teammate are attacking, it’s odd that melee doesn’t care about your teammate’s creatures.

To help make things feel more natural, melee is modified to check for team entities. Whether you’re attacking teams or counting attackers from among your team.

Draft Abilities

BEFORE: Draft abilities refer to you, your cards, and other players.
AFTER: Draft abilities refer to your team, your team’s cards, and other teams.

This change doesn’t matter in most cases, but it can be helpful to keep in mind when getting into technical details.

For example, in a two-headed giant game, attacking creatures must choose an individual opponent. Because of this, Cogwork Tracker needs to nitpick on which player of a team passing you a pack is counted for its ability. However, with this change, you don’t need to a card-specific ruling to handle this situation.

Note, however, that templating would vary from card-to-card. Treat each card’s draft ability’s reference of players as reference of teams appropriately.

Noting Cards Drafted this Draft Round

RULING: When noting cards drafted, if another card is drafted at the same time as one of these cards, count that other card.

In two-headed giant, your team drafts two cards at a time per pick. As such, there needs to be handling for these cards that note cards drafted. Do we count the other drafted or not?

I believe that the “including Garbage Fire” specifier helps clear confusion and would have counted itself anyway.

For example, in Amonkhet block, some cards cared about discarding. To help make clear to players that cycling triggers these cards, the rules text mentions cycling anyway.

As such, the other card drafted along with Garbage Fire would have been counted anyway. By the time you’ve counted Garbage Fire as being drafted, the other card has also been drafted.

Canal Dredger

RULING: Instead of “the last card”, treat the wording as if it referred to “the last pick.” This means passing either the last card or last two cards to a player who has drafted Canal Dredger.

In two-headed giant draft, your team drafts two cards at a time. Due to draft abilities, you may end up with either one or two cards left in a pack.

Instead of specific handling for players deciding which of two cards to pass to a Canal Dredger player, instead pass both cards. This allows for easy handling of the last pick of a pack and increases Canal Dredger’s excitement.

Cogwork Spy & Illusionary Informant

RULING: Rather than looking at the next card draft, look at the next pick drafted, whether one or two cards.

In two-headed giant draft, two cards are drafted at a time per pack. This change lets you quickly view the one or two cards drafted by a team. Instead of coming up with handling that involve a team choosing which card to be looked at.

Leovold’s Operative

BEFORE: “…then pass the next booster pack without drafting a card from it. (You may look at that booster pack.)”

AFTER: “…then draft one less card from the next booster pack.

Leovold’s Operative’s rules text was written in such a way that assumes a draft environment where only one card is picked at a time. Two-headed giant draft involves two picks at a time, which puts into question the spirit of this card.

I don’t believe passing the next pack is what the card really wants you to do. Instead, it was a solution that was really trying to accomplish the following: pick an extra card now so that you pick one less card later.

Spire Phantasm

BEFORE: “The next time a player drafts a card from this booster pack, guess that card’s name. Then that player reveals the drafted card.”

AFTER: “The next time a team drafts cards from this booster pack, for each of the drafted cards, guess that card’s name, then that team reveals that drafted card.”

Oof, this one’s a bit of a doozy! Two-headed giant draft having teams picking two cards at a time from a pack makes things complicated for this card.

To stay consistent with other cards’ rulings with a similar situation, this meant allowing a team to guess for each card drafted. However, to make sure the guessing doesn’t result in a feel-bad experience, the reveals needed to happen between each guess.

Here’s an example scenario for why revealing after each guess matters.

Let’s say your team is drafting a white-blue fliers deck and a red-green “big mana” deck with multikicker and Mana Geyser.

You open the fifth pack in the draft. You see Grenzo, Havoc Raiser in the pack and decide the Spire Phantasm is a better choice. You draft Spire Phantasm and another card that isn’t black. You reveal the Spire Phantasm, as instructed. You pass that rare along with the rest of the pack. Notably, the pack contains Pharika’s Mender and Deadly Designs.

The next team drafts two cards, and Spire Phantasm triggers. Guessing time.

You’re pretty sure you were fighting over red with the team being passed this pack. And Grenzo’s no slouch. So, for the first card, you guess “Grenzo, Havoc Raiser.” The team then reveals Pharika’s Mender.

So this is a pivotal moment. Did the team pass up Grenzo? Perhaps they either gave up on red, or you were getting mixed signals? Is the other card Grenzo?

Knowing that Deadly Designs was also in the pack and synergizes nicely with Pharika’s Mender, your team changes course. For the second guess, you decide to guess Deadly Designs. …And, you were right!

This concludes the mechanical and card-specific tweaks!

Playtest Report

I was able to give this format a go at MagicFest Las Vegas! After all, there’s only so much theorizing one can do before putting the gameplay experience to the test.

Here were the teams:

Team 1: @madolaf & @RedGhostWriter
Team 2: @djbooba & @bradleyrose
Team 3: @TimFReilly & @GabyReilly
Team 4: @ChrisKMooney & @coreyjbowen

I unfortunately had forgotten to specifically gather feedback from the teams afterward. But here were the notable moments that had come up during the play session:

  • Noting drafted cards. I missed making a ruling for “noting drafted cards” like with Garbage Fire. Adam Viktor Klesh brought up the question about this before we drafted. The resolution to this felt very good. I decided to put the decision to a vote. The general consensus and agreed-upon ruling is the same as in this article.
  • Packs order and passing direction. Chris Mooney asked what order of sets were drafted and the pass directions. I didn’t think too much about this area leading into the event, but it’s nice to make a decision. The key here is that the packs of Conspiracy: Take the Crown following Conspiracy should be right-left-right and not left-right-left.
  • Monarch and drawing two cards. This rules tweak felt exciting! Even though the card advantage is on-par with a regular Conspiracy game, it still feels more dangerous having two people draw. Which is something that I’d want when we look to see what Conspiracy: Double Agenda is about. Even when a team had the monarchy, there were times when it wasn’t attempted to be taken. And it didn’t necessarily mean that team was unstoppable from that point on.
  • Parley was intentionally left alone from rules tweaks, even if it would be beefed up with eight players present. It seemed that parley played very well. Especially when you’ve played Conspiracy before and know that the limit of hitting a nonland was four. I could feel the excitement of checking everyone’s revealed cards. And things didn’t seem to get out of hand in regards to parley.
  • Melee. I played fliers and melee. Melee still ended up playing nicely and strongly in this format. And did encourage me to spread my attacks around the table.
  • Canal Dredger happened to be one of the two cards for my team’s Pack 1 Pick 1! With the first pack, this was a great test to see how “overpowered” the buff Canal Dredger got. Since packs still ended with one card left, in most cases, the buff didn’t really come into play. Still receiving one card per pack. And with only four packs present at a time per draft round, and with double the draft rounds — you still were given the same number of cards as regular Conspiracy. So, still a thumbs up experience.
  • Announcing cards Yu-Gi-Oh! style. This is the term Chris Mooney gave for saying out loud what cards you play as you play them. It also commonly followed that you read out what your card actually did. This is due to a large number of players means not being able to see others’ cards very well. It also didn’t help that the (thankfully round) table could be a little bit smaller. I’m a big fan of making clear what’s going on in the game!
  • Grudge Keeper was on the battlefield. Doubling the Grudge Keeper’s effectiveness in this format made it more potent than usual. Even with 30 life, since the single player world of Conspiracy has players at 20 life. Due to this, I was quite scared to get hit with the 4 life drain when we’d cast our will of the council card. This led to an interesting situation that also applies to a regular Conspiracy game: bargaining with players mid-vote. In that the bargain we gave was stated to be available to all players when really only some players still had a vote to put in. This really felt like underhanded politicking that’d happen at Fiora! (Sorry, Tim & Gaby.)
  • Conspiracy cards. Corey Bowen and Chris Mooney seemed to have the most conspiracy cards in the command zone compared to other teams. This looked like a great strategy. In a two-headed giant draft, you’re building two decks. It’s much more likely that even with the last few picks of a pack, you’ll hit cards you can slot into your deck. Thus, taking conspiracy cards wouldn’t be too much of a hit to your card pool choices during deck construction. Go for piling on the free effects!

In the end, the eight-player game didn’t seem to go too long! This is often the fear when it comes to games with a large number of players.

My team died first, followed quickly by the other teams that weren’t Chris Mooney and Corey Bowen. This is an ideal end-result! You don’t want a player or team to be thrown out of the game much earlier than when the game ends.

There was one thing I had to smack my own forehead with the palm of my hand about. Cards that care about other cards with the same name as it. While Conspiracies are great for enabling this with any card, I’m talking specifically about Howling Wolf and Screaming Seahawk. (I guess if you yell loud enough, your friends will come help you!)

You see, I had a plan…

The Howling Wolf Agenda

Here’s how the Conspiracy: Double Agenda format came into being:

  • I decided I wanted to draft both Conspiracy and Conspiracy: Take the Crown
  • However, I didn’t want to draft one pack of one set and two packs of another set.
  • The reason for this is because I kept in mind Howling Wolf. As well as the Conspiracies in general. I wanted to maintain the integrity of the frequency by which cards of the same name would show up.
  • This means compromising with two packs of each set was also out of the question.
  • So I had the idea to just go ahead and draft three packs of each set.
  • The problem then was that you’d have too big of a card pool to build from. So many playables! How do you choose?!
  • I didn’t like deciding on sixty-card decks because multiplayer games of Conspiracy meant fewer matches. Fewer matches means fewer chances to see specific bomb cards you drafted!
  • So, I decided on solving this by making it a two-headed giant format. It also gave a nice twist and distinct identity from drafting either Conspiracy set that is more than just “draft both sets”.
  • (I also got super excited to make a “portmanteau” of the two terms of “giant conspiracy” and “two-headed giant”. Two-headed giant conspiracy.)
  • However, that’s when I forgot about Project Howling Wolf. I had assigned three packs of each set to each team. But because there were four teams drafting, this still meant only twelve packs of each set were in the draft. This means all cards were only likely to appear half as frequently as in their own respective sets’ drafts. I had accidentally bamboozled the plan!


If I want to make sure Howling Wolf got enough love in a draft environment with cards from both sets, perhaps I can make a cube. Like Shawn Main’s Conspiracy Complete cube!

Secrets of Paradise illustrated by Tyler Jacobson

Of the Black Rose

Thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed the article, let me know on Twitter. No worries if ya skimmed it just to see the rules — that’s expected! Everything else is bonus content.

And if you tried out this format, I want to know about your experience!

Catch you next time! ’Til then, may you double your agendas.



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