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Ten New Brews For Murders At Karlov Manor!

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Warning!

The decks you are about to see are mostly untested first drafts! They were played Tuesday on the release day of Murders of Karlov Manor on MTG Arena and are my first stabs at the new Standard format. Most are brews jam packed with Murders of Karlov Manor cards, while there are also a few updates to previously established archetypes, but it's important to note that these are the first steps and not finished products! Use them as stepping stones for your own deck brewing process, but play them card for card at your own risk!

Murders at Karlov Manor is a very unique set.

It's a Ravnica set, but not the usual guild and multicolored focus that we're used to. Rather, the murder mystery backdrop presents a number of very flavorful but also intensely gameplay-interesting mechanics. We've got a new look at morph, the always scary graveyard mechanic in collect evidence, as well as a new card type in cases, and of course more game objects than you can shake a fist at!

And to top it all off, Murders at Karlov Manor is entering a Standard format that is phenomenal. This is the best Standard format in years, with both a ton of playable decks as well as variety within the decks, that has seen new decks pop up consistently over the last few months even late in each set's cycle.

Sending an exciting new set into an excellent format is a great formula for fun!

Today we are going to go over all ten decks I played as part of my Ten New Brews on YouTube and stream, briefly going over each list and my thoughts on how it was, giving it a letter grade, and talking about what kind of potential it has going forward. I played three matches with each deck on the ranked ladder on MTG Arena so each deck's record will be included, but note that because it was release day for the set most of our opponent's were playing already established metagame decks, not like the usual content creator brews on Early Access.

Let's go!


Deck's Record: 0-3

Deck's Grade: C

Deck Potential: Medium to High, With A Lot Of Work

Standout Card: Insidious Roots

Starting out with a wild one!

Insidious Roots

Insidious Roots is a very powerful new enchantment, capable of making an entire army as well as a lot of mana in a manner that's pretty hard to interact with. Amusingly, a lot of common graveyard hate like Graveyard Trespasser // Graveyard Glutton, Agatha's Soul Cauldron, or other effects that remove cards one at a time are actively bad against Insidious Roots, to the point that we're playing many of them in our deck!

The question is what exactly do you want to do with the deck, as well as what do you do when you don't draw Insidious Roots?

Snarling Gorehound
Blossoming Tortoise
Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler

Snarling Gorehound was a standout as far as helping to dig and fill the graveyard, and of course has excellent synergy with Insidious Roots allowing for fast refills, while old standbys like Blossoming Tortoise played very well as well. Restless Cottage was a decent plan B that is just a good card that plays well with Tortoise, as well as being a mana sink for plants making mana. Lastly Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler was also a nice one to both return creatures as well as give all your mana-plants haste so they can tap for mana immediately.

However, there are a lot of moving parts here, which makes this an extremely difficult deck to build. Do you want more generically good but less linear cards like Mosswood Dreadknight? How much removal can you afford to play? How do you either find Insidious Roots or have a good gameplan without it? These are questions that need answering, because as built this deck is clearly not ready for the big time.

Colossal Skyturtle

One cool idea I saw from Yoman5 was to play Colossal Skyturtle, which can be a little bit of interaction, return an Insidious Roots in the mid-game, and then later in the game form a loop where you just keep returning a pair of Colossal Skyturtles over and over again, making a plant each time.

More work is needed!


Deck's Record: 2-1

Deck's Grade: B

Deck Potential: Medium

Standout Card: Case of the Crimson Pulse and Fugitive Codebreaker

After the brain-melting experience of the first deck it was time for something a little simpler, Burn!

Lightning Helix
Lightning Strike
Heartflame Duelist

It's the return of Lightning Helix, OH MY GODDD! Lightning Helix joins Lightning Strike, Shock, and Play with Fire for a pretty decent amount of burn that can go to the face, as well as Heartflame Duelist which doubles as another Lightning Strike or solid creature.

However, Shock and Lightning Strike aren't exactly Lightning Bolt and Boros Charm, so there's a concern we're not going to have enough material to end the game. Enter the real new cards!

Fugitive Codebreaker
Case of the Crimson Pulse

It was easy to see that both Fugitive Codebreaker and Case of the Crimson Pulse were awesome in this deck, because after turn four they were both literally the only card that I wanted to draw every single game. Fugitive Codebreaker is a more than reasonable 2-drop, able to get in for some quick damage, but also phenomenal in the mid to late game as a way to recoup cards by morphing and flipping it. In the same space is Case of the Crimson Pulse, which draws you two cards straight up if you're empty handed, and once you solve the case provides you with an astounding three cards per turn.

Both of these cards are excellent sources of card advantage for a deck looking to expend all if it's cards quickly and deserve a serious look in Standard and elsewhere.


Deck's Record: 3-0

Deck's Grade: A-

Deck Potential: High

Standout Card: Reenact the Crime and Conspiracy Unraveler

We've seen reanimator decks in Standard before, but with pretty much every reanimation spell costing 5 mana they're never that fast. Well, we have something on a different axis here.

Reenact the Crime

Reenact the Crime is a very powerful spell, allowing you to cast any spell for four (somewhat challenging) mana with no restriction; creatures, instants, sorceries, and more are all fair game, which is an amazing deal for four mana. You can even get your opponent's stuff! However, there's a catch.

Rona, Herald of Invasion // Rona, Tolarian Obliterator
Likeness Looter
Liliana of the Veil

You must cast Reenact the Crime on the card you want basically as it is going to the graveyard. There's no "dump this stuff early and get it later" happening here, as is usually the case with Reanimator decks. This requires a unique and somewhat odd set of enablers, as you need to be able to discard the card you want while spending zero mana (otherwise just play a five+ mana reanimation spell). Looters like Rona, Herald of Invasion // Rona, Tolarian Obliterator can accomplish this, as can planeswalkers that force discard like Liliana of the Veil and Kaito Shizuki.

Well once you've set it all up, what big thing do you want to do?

Breach the Multiverse
Atraxa, Grand Unifier
Conspiracy Unraveler

Breach the Multiverse is perhaps the most powerful single spell in the format, often leading into you getting Atraxa, Grand Unifier as well as something else that's big. You can also chain them together and potentially deck your opponent. However, the real gem here was the new Conspiracy Unraveler. While Conspiracy Unraveler looks like a silly commander card, playing spells for free is a big deal, especially when you're already playing a bunch of other big spells. Breach the Multiverse is also kind enough to put a bunch of cards in your graveyard as well!

Despite being a rough draft, this deck was very impressive, with some truly disgusting turns as early as turn four.


Deck's Record: 2-1

Deck's Grade: C-

Deck Potential: Low

Standout Card: Rite of Oblivion

This deck played out like a deck from 2007.

Treacherous Greed
Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor
Knight-Errant of Eos

The idea is simple enough. Treacherous Greed is a pretty powerful new card that can drain your opponent for three and draw three cards for only three mana, meaning you want to deal early damage with an expendable creature and go wild. Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor and Knight-Errant of Eos also play well with a bunch of crappy evasive creatures, which leads us to...

Ruin-Lurker Bat
Miner's Guidewing
Faerie Dreamthief

...16 Flying Men. Now don't get me wrong, when your draw lines up well, say triple one-drop into turn three Gix or Knight-Errant of Eos, you can do some pretty good stuff, but it's 2024 not 2007. Magic cards are just far too good these days to want a bunch of Suntail Hawks in your deck, because when you don't draw your payoff cards or cards in the right order your card quality is too low and clock is just too slow.

Treacherous Greed also didn't play out great, as diminishing your own board in an aggressive deck just to draw cards did not feel good. This deck is certainly passable, but below the bar for serious Standard play.


Deck's Record: 1-2

Deck's Grade: B-

Deck Potential: Surprising

Standout Card: Forensic Researcher

Merfolk combo? Yes please!

Forensic Researcher
Deeproot Pilgrimage

Murders at Karlov Manor introduces a new infinite combo to the Standard format with Forensic Researcher and Deeproot Pilgrimage. With two Forensic Researchers in play (more on this later) as well as a Deeproot Pilgrimage, each one can untap the other infinitely, which produces a 1/1 merfolk token each time for as many as you would like.

Agatha's Soul Cauldron
Deepfathom Echo

Now, having two copies of the same 1/3 creature in play is a bit of a tall order, but there are multiple ways to bypass this restriction. The best is Agatha's Soul Cauldron, as putting a Forensic Researcher under the Soul Cauldon will grant every creature with a counter on it the ability and make for an easy combo, and many of your creatures explore and will naturally get counters. You've also got the solid Deepfathom Echo which is a fine card that can also copy a creature in play.

This is your classic creature-combo deck, a deck that plans to combo but is also capable of just playing a normal creature game and winning that way too, and was surprisingly impressive. There's just enough decent merfolk in the format to field a deck, and all the explore stuff plays really well with Agatha's Soul Cauldron and finding your pieces.

This is a cool one with some potential!


Deck's Record: 2-1

Deck's Grade: B-

Deck Potential: Scrappy

Standout Card: Krenko, Baron of Tin Street

Goblins! Murders at Karlov Manor brings us a new version of the beloved Krenko, and it's a good one.

Krenko, Baron of Tin Street

Krenko, Baron of Tin Street is a beefy 2024 goblin, with a very respectable 3/3 haste body for three mana, but it's also packing some very nice, artifact-adjacent abilities. However, he does ask a bit more of you than a normal goblin card, needing artifacts to pump up the squad and produce tokens.

Breeches, Eager Pillager
Goblin Tomb Raider
Exuberant Fuseling

Luckily there's a pretty good squad of goblin-adjacent things already happening in Standard, with cards like Goblin Tomb Raider and Exuberant Fuseling caring about artifacts and Breeches, Eagar Pillager just being a good card that can produce artifacts. This little pirate sub-theme is also helped by Enterprising Scallywag.

Experimental Synthesizer
Gleeful Demolition
Sticky Fingers

The issue is that there's just barely enough artifact stuff happening here to get by. Experimental Synthesizer is decent but hard to cast early in a deck with 3-drops, and trying to get by with some treasure and blood tokens for Gleeful Demolition as well as everything else is tough.

This one is definitely close, as we won some pretty awesome games, but it does really feel like it's missing a good artifact or two. I wish Voldaren Epicure was a goblin!


Deck's Record: 1-2

Deck's Grade: D

Deck Potential: Low

Standout Card: Brazen Upstart

There are three awkward cards in Murders at Karlov Manor that are not in the main set, were only prerelease promos (that you couldn't play in your prerelease deck), but are legal in Standard. Confused yet? And one of them is Voja, Jaws of the Conclave.

Voja, Jaws of the Conclave

While obviously a commander plant, Voja is a pretty solid Magic card. The stats are good, it protects itself, and it rewards you handsomely if you get to attack with it and having some elves and/or wolves in play. However, the issues here are twofold. One, you need to attack with it successfully, and two, you need to have a good number of elves and wolves in your deck.

Brazen Upstart
Fleetfoot Dancer
Llanowar Loamspeaker

Now there are actually a surprisingly number of solid elves in Standard, mostly from the Cabaretti clan from New Capenna, as both Brazen Upstart and Fleetfoot Dancer are very solid beaters with lots of upside. Llanowar Loamspeaker is also a totally reasonable mana dork. But beyond that it thins out very fast, and there are very few bonuses for actually playing a lot of elves in your deck.

Reckless Stormseeker // Storm-Charged Slasher

And boy does it suck that Reckless Stormseeker // Storm-Charged Slasher is a werewolf and not a wolf! There's just not enough meat on this bone sadly.


Deck's Record: 3-0

Deck's Grade: B+

Deck Potential: Medium to High

Standout Card: Kellan, Inquisitive Prodigy

Putting stuff in play is very powerful, and there are a bunch of cards from the new set that excel at putting stuff in play.

Kellan, Inquisitive Prodigy
Ezrim, Agency Chief
Sharp-Eyed Rookie

Kellan sure gets around doesn't he! Our newest Kellan card, Kellan, Inquisitive Prodigy is an excellent one, curving into himself with an Explore effect and then giving you a solid body that plays offence, defense, and can kill your opponent artifacts or be a card draw engine and turn your random tokens into cards for free. Ezrim, Agency Chief is more of the same, providing a huge body and material that can be tough to beat. Even the 2-drop Sharp-Eyed Rookie can make some material and grow, leaving you with an abundance of clues in play so you pretty much never run out of cards.

Teething Wurmlet
Regal Bunnicorn
Sentinel of the Nameless City

Piggybacking off of this are Teething Wurmlet and Regal Bunnicorn, both of which get huge very fast thanks to putting an artifact token into play basically every turn. Sentinel of the Nameless City fits right in as both a threat and an enabler, and once you mix a few other threats and a splash of interaction like Get Lost and the excellent new sleeper counterspell Repulsive Mutation, you've got a really nice midrange deck.

While you've gotta have a plan for the decks that go really big like Domain, this deck should be able to hang with any midrange pile in the format, while also being solid against aggro.


Deck's Record: 2-1

Deck's Grade: B?

Deck Potential: There's Something Here

Standout Card: Aftermath Analyst

Whoa boy.

Undergrowth Recon
Aftermath Analyst
Worldsoul's Rage

There's a lot of weird but powerful recursive land cards in Murders at Karlov Manor - Undergrowth Recon is sort of like a Crucible of Worlds that ramps you every turn, while Aftermath Analyst is a solid creature with Splended Reclamation stapled too it. And then you've got the very odd Worldsoul's Rage, which is an inefficient removal spell but quite the powerful ramp spell.

However, what makes all of this work is the simple common New Capenna fetchlands:

Riveteers Overlook
Cabaretti Courtyard
Titania, Voice of Gaea

Once you've got a single copy of these in your graveyard, all of the sudden you've instantly turned on Undergrowth Recon forever, as well as turbocharging Worldsoul's Rage and the activated ability of Aftermath Analyst. And that's to say nothing of Blossoming Tortoise returning them over and over again and Titania, Voice of Gaea gaining three life each time.

Light Up the Night
Chandra, Hope's Beacon
Restless Ridgeline

Then once you've got an absurd amount of mana in play you can just Fireball your opponent with some combination of Light Up the Night, Chandra, Hope's Beacon, and/or Worldsoul's Rage.

How exactly to build this deck is certainly up in the air, but there's some pretty awesome stuff happening here.


Deck's Record: 1-2

Deck's Grade: C-

Deck Potential: Low

Standout Card: Intrude on the Mind

Okay, Dopplegang probably isn't going to end up being a big Standard card, but I had to try right?

Doppelgang
Mindsplice Apparatus
White Sun's Twilight

At five mana, Doppelgang copies something. At eight mana, you get four total copies, two each of two different things. At eleven mana and up, things start to get a bit crazy. To help produce this amount of mana I turned to old friend Mindsplice Apparatus, which is currently in a pretty good spot right now with so little artifact removal in the format.

No More Lies
Sunfall
Not on My Watch

The end result was a pretty decent Azorius Control deck splashing for Doppelgang as a big time win condition, but it's probably just not necessary or optimal overall. Mindsplice Apparatus is still a very intriguing card, especially with other X spells like White Sun's Twilight and Blue Sun's Twilight, but you need to make sure you build the deck in a manner where it functions if you don't have an Apparatus in play.

Intrude on the Mind

One standout card however was Intrude on the Mind, perhaps the most interesting Fact or Fiction variant we've ever seen. Adding a creature token into the mix completely changes the math on the card, making 4-1 and 5-0 splits potential options, and it was impressive overall even despite not being able to pick the pile you wanted.

File this one under "mostly just for fun."

Pro Tour Murders At Karlov Manor

The Lost Caverns of Ixalan went by somewhat quietly, as it was the first set in quite a while not to have a Pro Tour or Set Championship attached to it, but the Pro Tour returns in a few weeks with Pro Tour Murders At Karlov Manor!

It is Pioneer, not Standard, so the new set won't likely have a huge impact on the Constructed portion, but the Limited portion will be two full MKM drafts, which should be super exciting to see on the big stage!

I'll be there, so this season of Bronze to Mythic is a big one!

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