The release of the new side-set, Conspiracy: Take the Crown, ushered a new mechanics that might appear in Commander, and possibly even other constructed games. Cards with this mechanics are legal in eternal formats such as Vintage, Legacy, Commander and Tiny Leaders. Without further ado, certain Knights of the Black Rose provide you with a power pull straight to Monarch. Nikita Tarima explains the mechanics of the new Monarch ability from Conspiracy.
You knew the man. The king is a stranger to you.
“A game of thrones” by George Martin
What kind of knights are those? A white and black 4/4 Human Knight creature for five mana. Quite a convincing force as your guarantor of staying on the throne.
Their first ability is triggered. It goes off when the Knights enter the battlefield (an EtB-trigger). The ability doesn’t care how the Knights get there. You may cast the creature, or
pull it out of your sleeve put onto the battlefield with a related effect.
“When Knights of the Black Rose enters the battlefield, you become the monarch”.
Thus, you become a Monarch as the trigger resolves. You won’t feel any particular superpowers flowing through you, so you will undoubtedly need to consult with the rules. Here’s what you can find there:
716.1. The monarch is a designation a player can have. There is no monarch in a game until an effect instructs a player to become the monarch.
716.2. There are two inherent triggered abilities associated with being the monarch. These triggered abilities have no source and are controlled by the player who was the monarch at the time the abilities triggered. This is an exception to rule 112.8. The full texts of these abilities are “At the beginning of the monarch’s end step, that player draws a card” and “Whenever a creature deals combat damage to the monarch, its controller becomes the monarch.”
It sure is cool to be a Monarch, but first let us figure out the rights and duties… err, the abilities.
Thanks to the first one, you may draw a card at the beginning of your end step each turn. How does it actually work? After your second main phase you go into your end phase, and the end step begins. That’s when all triggers “scheduled” for this moment go off, including the Monarch first trigger.
Those who aren’t familiar with the turn structure need to know that this trigger resolves before the cleanup step. Which means, if you draw a card at the beginning of your end step and their number then exceeds your maximum hand size, you will have to discard something.
Game of Thrones
We-ell, the first trigger related to the Monarch designation is rather useful, but the second one seems to turn you into a living target. Any other player’s creature damaging you in combat will suffice to steal your crown. Let me remind you that combat damage can be dealt to a player only by attacking creatures as a result of them attacking. It’s not enough to just “ping” an opponent with one’s Mogg Fanatic, even during combat.
But we won’t have any diarchy here:
716.3. Only one player can be the monarch at a time. As a player becomes the monarch, the current monarch ceases to be the monarch.
This transfering of the Monarch title will be reminiscent to some players of the times of “Mirrodin Besieged” set and the land Contested War Zone. A player who takes combat damage parts with the Monarch status just as it was with this turncoat land.
If your opponent manages to take away your right to call yourself a Monarch, the second ability of Knights of the Black Rose will trigger only if you were the Monarch at the beginning of the current turn. This trigger has a so called intervening if clause, which checks the condition as the triggering event occurs, and does not trigger the ability in case of a negative answer, so nothing is put onto the stack. If someone else was a monarch as the turn began, the opponent won’t lose life and you won’t gain any. But you were the Monarch at the beginning of the turn and you control multiple Knights of the Black Rose, each will trigger, and the opponent won’t be too happy about the newly-acquired designation.
Since more than two players may be playing at one table, a Monarch may leave the game before it ends, especially if there are multiple candidates to claim the right of drawing an extra card. How do we split the throne? Even in the case where the Monarch is killed through combat damage, the trigger that player would control will simply not appear on the stack.
The king is dead, long live the king!
716.4. If the monarch leaves the game, the active player becomes the monarch at the same time as that player leaves the game. If the active player is leaving the game or if there is no active player, the next player in turn order becomes the monarch.
After having dealt with one monarch you always get another, and so once this designation appears in the game, it will be with one of the players for the rest of it. Although, if you restart the game through Karn Liberated, there won’t be a monarch in the new game until an effect explicitly states so.
However, aside from the triggers guaranteed by the Monarch position, there are also cards that are concerned with it in different instants of the game.
Queen Marchesa will keep providing you with Assassin tokens only as long as an opponent of yours is a Monarch. If for some reason you control Queen Marchesa, but there is no Monarch in the game, or you already have the crown, you won’t be getting the tokens.
In a Free-for-All game, if you attack multiple players at once, they are all defending, but Crown-Hunter Hireling may still only attack the player with the Monarch status, because the defending player is determined for each attacking creature individually.
Anyway, if you aren’t afraid to claim the title and are ready to defend your claim, you will like the new mechanics!
Translated by Witas Spasovski