The Devil is in the Details – I’ll Just Borrow This…

I thought I would try yet another new approach this week and talk about a single card. I am going to analyze why it is playable, why it makes a big splash on standard, and why you should have noticed this upon it being spoiled. The card I am talking about is Zealous Conscripts.

Zealous: filled with or inspired by enthusiastic devotion to a cause, ideal, or goal and tireless diligence in its furtherance

Conscripts: One compulsorily enrolled for service, especially in the armed force

Man does she look pissed! Zealous Conscripts was one of the cards that WOTC decided to feature as the figurehead of one of their Intro Packs to the set and has become a force in Standard. She has been showing up in many different decklists and has become a staple of Naya and RG builds. Why has it become such a force to be reckoned with? Let’s take a look.

Casting Cost

Zealous Conscripts has a mana cost that is easy to splash for. Four colorless and a red makes it very reasonable to be played or splashed in any deck. Five mana for a 3/3 with haste plus an ability is a decent deal by today’s standards. The standard for creatures has been elevated in recent years. In the game’s early days a 3/3 with haste for five would have been just about right. Add that to the fact that it only requires one colored mana to cast in addition to the four colorless and you have a bargain. However, just those stats alone don’t make Zealous Conscripts the nuts.



Zealous Conscripts has haste which means she hits the battlefield and can immediately go into battle. The majority of the time creatures have to sit around and spectate for a turn before they can rush into the red zone. This allows for your opponent to prepare for the eventual onslaught that she will bring forth upon them. Having haste can mess with your opponent’s math and make combat convoluted/difficult for them. Zealous Conscripts also has another ability. One that is backbreaking for your opponent most of the time. Zealous Conscripts enters the battlefield and allows you to gain control of a permanent, any permanent. This means you get to gain control of a Planeswalker, a creature, a land, etc. This ability makes it so your opponents have to deal with two attackers that they didn’t know about. Standard has become a tap out environment and that means that Zealous Conscripts can swoop in and take an opponent’s Titan, Birthing Pod, Planeswalker, etc. Many times Zealous can sneak onto the battlefield and activate your opponent’s ultimate on a Planeswalker or take a Titan and just win you the game with an alpha strike. Zealous is the perfect storm of abilities allowing a new creature to enter battle and making an opponent’s join your cause.

Creature Type

Zealous Conscripts is a Human. Humans have become one of the most influential creature types in Magic. Besides Titan, Human is the most powerful current creature type in Standard. Delver of Secrets, Snapcaster Mage, Champion of the Parish, Avacyn’s Pilgrim, and Zealous Conscripts are turning up in large numbers in winning decklists. Humans have become a force. The addition of Cavern of Souls has also allowed decks that are streamlined with a single creature type to become more powerful through its color fixing ability. Zealous Conscripts benefits by being a human in a human filled metagame.


Zealous Conscripts is a rare in a big set which means it normally is more difficult to obtain then a rare in a small set. However, since WOTC decided to place her in an Intro Pack she has become slightly easier to get then other rares in the set. Her rarity accurately affects her abilities and if she weren’t rare then she would mess with limited too much. Being a rare also means that she gets to be one of the chase cards of the set and thus holds value. In the era of Mythic Rares it has become increasingly more difficult for a rare to hold value.

Zealous Conscripts has become a flagship card of Avacyn Restored, although that wasn’t always true throughout her existence. Once spoiled, she was overshadowed by other cards in the set and flew under the radar for the first few weeks of release. While other cards like Vexing Devil and Sigarda were soaking up preorders, Zealous Conscripts hung out in the $3 range waiting for her opportunity. Much like her abilities she made a big splash and has settled as a tournament staple.

Knowing how to evaluate cards and the metagame allows you to be ahead of the curve. I hope I was able to provide some insight on Zealous conscripts and why she is a solid, powerful choice for Standard.

If you have any suggestions for future articles you would like to see, constructive feedback, or comments in general I would love to hear from you. You can email me at [email protected], comment below, or follow me on Twitter @fallfromhell.


Jeffrey McCoy

Team FallFromHell