Dack Fayden – Conspiracy
Date Reviewed: February 1, 2024
Commander [EDH]: 4.38
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Dack Fayden has some emotional heft for me, mostly unrelated to in-game issues. He used to see a lot of play in Vintage, because of the sheer efficiency of stealing some of the format’s powerful artifacts that are otherwise hard to answer, and that’s a format where he can come out earlier than turn 3 even in a deck that doesn’t use green. I haven’t played an enormous amount of Vintage, so I don’t have any personal “crazy play” stories about him in that setting. No, my positive memories of him are from his turn as the star of a comic published by IDW between 2012 and 2014, before he even had a card. It was a Magic: the Gathering-branded magical adventure romp of the type you’d think would come naturally in the multiverse. It lasted for four story arcs before being cancelled. This was one of the things that made me realize Wizards of the Coast has a serious problem with only trying certain things once, and the reason why people were angry that Dack was canonically killed in War of the Spark.
But Dack’s legacy lives on in many of the places people play Magic; in particular, his card seems to get better and better in Commander as time goes on. He’s a cheap-to-cast source of card filtering and graveyard stocking, and the ability can even be used politically thanks to the needs of Conspiracy‘s multiplayer draft environment. We’ve covered the stealing ability, and since new sets still tend to provide more support for artifacts than enchantments, it gets more relevant almost every release – not to mention Commander decks’ tendency to load up on cards like Sol Ring and Coalition Relic. He’s a surprisingly successful design, considering the niche nature of Conspiracy as a design, and the comparatively obscure or forgotten origin of the character.
Commander [EDH]: 4.5
While he met with an unfortunate death experience off-screen in War of the Spark, the red-handed thief known as Dack Fayden, part of several of the 2010s Magic comics, has a pretty interesting singular planeswalker outing. Introduced in Conspiracy, the intention was actually explicitly to make a planeswalker with a suite of abilities and a power level both suited for eternal formats, while not being too overbearing. Overall, I’d say it was a success; Dack Fayden isn’t a format-warping menace, but he is a strong part of Legacy and Vintage all the same. Due to the nature of his skillset, though, he actually sees more play in Vintage.
And when your -2 lets you steal an artifact, with barely any strings attached, that’s already a strong selling point in Vintage, a format made in part by the powerful mana artifacts (like Moxen), and it’s worth three mana to both wreck your opponent and further your board state. On paper, it seems pretty narrow, but there’s often something worth stealing. And if there’s not, he has a pretty potent +1 that lets you dig deeper for more fuel. His ultimate is a threat, though I’d say it’s the least-interesting part of him and mainly serves as an incentive for opponents to not leave him alone.
While Dack Fayden doesn’t protect himself well, he does what he does well enough and cheaply enough to make him a good play in a lot of decks. Interestingly, his role in Legacy tends to more make use of him being a repeatable, fast looter effect with the threat of yoinking shinies in his back pocket. I feel like he’d be an interesting wrinkle in Modern if he ever were to be released there, but there’s a risk that the fuel he adds to some fires might burn a bit too hot.
Constructed: 4 (depends heavily on format, but he has a role in most of them)
Limited: 4 (won’t win you games in either of his Limited outings alone, but being able to dig for the things that will win you the game is a good approach)
Commander [EDH]: 4.25 (turns out that mana rocks are also one of the backbones of Commander, and Dack does love misappropriating those…)
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