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The Top 8 Standard Cards from Murders at Karlov Manor (So Far)

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The Top 8 Standard Cards from Murders at Karlov Manor (so far)

8. Long Goodbye

Long Goodbye


One of the breakout decks of Murders at Karlov Manor Standard is Dimir Control. Long Goodbye is one of the key reasons.

Isn't this "just" a piece of point removal? And a fairly limited one at that? You aren't going to be saying goodbye to Atraxa, Grand Unifier for instance. The first point is that a great many creatures in fact cost three or less mana. So, while Long Goodbye doesn't hit everything, it helps to shore up the point in the game where the strategy is weakest.

FERMTG, for instance, played heavy creature removal like Deadly Cover-Up in the main; as well as a variety of other point removal in both the main deck and the sideboard of this deck.

Long Goodbye isn't "the best" card in Murders at Karlov Manor... But it's showing up in a variety of deck archetypes, for example Esper Mid-Range:


... And don't forget that a hot minute ago certain misguided people had Bitter Triumph in decks with no reanimation upside.

7. Case of the Gateway Express

Case of the Gateway Express

Curse of the Gateway Express is an interesting one. It's only really applicable in swarming decks; but in those it can provide you an outsized return.

First of all, if you have enough creatures, this card is just an efficient way to take out a potential blocker. The decks that play it all have 26-30 creatures, so this Case will often just be a kind of Doom Blade with upside.

I like it (and chose it for one of the best cards in Murders at Karlov Manor (so far)) because of its applicability in a variety of archetypes. Case of the Gateway Express is probably at its most natural in the new Boros go-wide deck:


This deck has 30 creatures, 4 Cases, and 4 cards that basically make twelve more creatures. If you're not drawing a land, you're drawing a card that makes Case of the Gateway Express good on the front-side... That will eventually benefit from the Solved version.

While not as purely about putting bodies on the battlefield, this uw version more-or-less can benefit from both versions of the Case as well.


In particular think about cards like Resolute Reinforcements or Wedding Announcement // Wedding Festivity that have low power naturally... But put multiple bodies into play. They can compact the time it takes to benefit from Case of the Gateway Express (and Solve it).

6. Aurelia's Vindicator

Aurelia's Vindicator


Spoilers!

We're going to look at a number of different uw decks in this article.

The exact version that will become the Standard Staple hasn't quite solidified yet, and we're in a zone where a lot of different cards might all make it to the ultimate version.

HKANFER played no creatures main deck. Victory here comes from Restless Anchorage, or the six-pack of Planeswalkers.

In a tale as old as time, that means that the opponent will often be shy of creature removal in sideboarded games. Enter Aurelia's Vindicator.

This card has Ward 2; meaning that even if the opponent does have a little creature removal, it can be annoying to deploy. The ability to hide / remove creatures from the battlefield (or potentially recover your own spent assets) is part of the full experience, but not the most important thing.

This card is a hard-to-kill, hard-to-block, 4 power lifelink machine for 4 mana. If all it does is trade with an oncoming beatdown creature on defense... Well... You're probably not going to be happy; but it might also have just bought you a few more turns to live.

As long as you're not actually getting into creature combat, Aurelia's Vindicator does a great Baneslayer Angel impression... But the Ward makes it a mite better.

5. Cryptic Coat

Cryptic Coat

What might not be immediately obvious is what an efficient "creature' Cryptic Coat is, fundamentally.

For three mana you get a 3/2 with a couple of abilities. It's never getting blocked, so toughness matters a little less than it does in most circumstances.

But it's not just one surprisingly efficient creature! Cryptic Coat can turn the random top card of your library into a threat; and then do it with the next card on top. And then again!

I can tell you from painful personal experience that this card is also a potential source of card advantage and value. In my Top 8 match from a few weeks ago, my opponent got a Chrome Host Seedshark with his Cryptic Coat, then flipped it almost immediately.

Now not everything is as bad as a Chrome Host Seedshark... But the unique kit of this card almost ensures that they don't have to be.

4. Deduce

Deduce


Deduce is just awesome. For two mana it's a terrible Impulse... But is still comparable. At four mana it's on the order of all kinds of cards that have seen play for years.

Inspiration
Glimmer of Genius
Hieroglyphic Illumination

The vital difference here is that you can pay four mana over the course of multiple turns. So, you don't have to have four all at once to get a two for one. You certainly can if you have four open... But not only is this a more convenient play based on your own resource draw, but you can potentially two-spell.

For instance at five mana you can cycle through your deck a little faster with Deduce... And cycle through your deck a little faster with Union of the Third Path.

Still there? I'd imagine, given the life you just picked up from Union of the Third Path. Meaning you'll have plenty of time later to crack a Clue.

3. Novice Inspector

Novice Inspector


The most important new deck of Murders at Karlov Manor Standard is Boros go-wide.

The tool that brought it all together? Novice Inspector (aka Thraben Inspector version 2.0). Like Thraben Inspector before it, Novice Inspector is a great creature on rate. Two cards for one 3 mana? That's about right, but best here because the down payment is so low.

Alongside Voldaren Epicure, Novice Inspector provides an extra artifact... Which is great for its own value, but ultimately a fantastic catalyst for Gleeful Demolition.

The Boros deck is largely low power. Yes, Knight-Errant of Eos is a bit bigger (and powerful); but in order to get a little extra oomph, it relies on spells like Warleader's Call.

Warleader's Call

Every single Gleeful Demolition token bonks the opponent just a little bit more after heeding the Warleader's Call.

Don't underestimate Boros!

The first few times I played against lost to it, I thought the opponent was just getting lucky with some meme deck. Nope! Whole new archetypes often get mis-identified or dismissed out of hand. This is an easy deck to do that with (because so many cards are under-powered in isolation). Just don't be surprised when Boros runs you over.

2. No More Lies

No More Lies


I warned you we would be looking at quite a few uw decks!

COOLESTRAVEN here is doing the contrarian thing; playing no Deduce, but rather the maximum number of Quick Studies to supplement Memory Deluge. I'm guessing that Deduce eventually becomes stock in Standard uw... But it is certainly a mana cheaper when drawing two cards.

But that's not why we're looking at COOLESTRAVEN's deck.

No More Lies is single-handedly revamping an archetype that had not yet even established its identity in Standard. Gone are Make Disappears that have been Control's constant companion for over a year. In addition, gone are other Counterspells (like Dissipate).

No More Lies is all about spending your precious deck-building slots of things that affect the battlefield, or can help catch up. No More Lies itself is so good it'll do some heavy lifting, acting like more than four slots.

But if it misses? No biggies. Your deck is chock full of removal; much of it two-for-one or better.

1. Lush Portico

Lush Portico

Lush Portico is the #1 best card in Murders at Karlov Manor?

What do you mean?

First of all, of all the uw decks we've looked at today, this is my favorite. It's my favorite because my friend and protege Roman Fusco once again qualified for the Regional Championship with it.

Like all the others we looked at, Roman's is a little bit different. The most telling to me? That Lush Portico!

Here, by "Lush Portico" I mean the cycle of surveil dual lands as a whole. I chose Lush Portico because Roman liked his surveil lands so much he played an off-color Green one rather than, say, a Restless Anchorage in that spot. This seems super weird to me as Restless Anchorage actually taps for a color Roman would like to have, whereas Lush Portico is mostly just a Plains.

I'm guessing I don't have to fully validate the popularity and impact of this card; as any number of decks cited elsewhere showcase the surveil lands. They're obviously best in a deck like uw with numerous ways to catch up after falling behind; and worst in aggro decks that need their first land to enter the battlefield untapped.

0. (and I mean zero)... Lightning Helix

To be clear, a wr aggressive deck is one of the top new decks of the format, but Lightning Helix has yet to crack the top tables. For shame. For shame!

LOVE

MIKE


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