3, Mar, 24

New MTG Karlov Manor Mechanic Makes Waves in Multiple Formats!

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Article at a Glance

Murders at Karlov Manor cards have been out for a while now and players have had the opportunity to play with the new cards in a variety of settings. This set has a lot of interesting mechanics in it that lend themselves to interesting gameplay. For instance, navigating a game of Limited with multiple face-down Disguise Creatures out can be rather skill testing. Figuring out how and when to block without getting blown out is extremely important.

Beyond just Limited, we are starting to see different mechanics cement themselves in various Constructed formats. With regards to Disguise, Fugitive Codebreaker has become a Standard staple. Meanwhile, Deadly Cover-Up does a great job highlighting the Collect Evidence keyword in Pioneer Niv to Light decks.

Perhaps the most impactful new mechanic on Constructed play, however, is actually a new Enchantment type. Perfect for a murder mystery set, Cases require a bit of work to maximize. The goal is to Solve them to gain a benefit for future turns. Today, we are going to focus on exactly how these cases function and which ones in particular are the strongest in different formats.

How Cases Work

Case of the Stashed Skeleton

All Cases fit a rather similar theme in how they play out in a game of MTG. Cases are the third Enchantment type (after Sagas and Classes) to feature text designed to be read vertically and, much like Classes, provide some effect right away just for casting the spell. For example, Case of the Stashed Skeleton creates a Suspected 2/1 Skeleton token when it enters the battlefield.

From there, Cases have the potential to provide additional bonuses or abilities, but only if you meet a specified requirement. This criterion is labeled in the “To Solve” portion of the Case. For Case of the Stashed Skeleton, the requirement that needs to be met in order to Solve the Case is for you to control zero Suspected Skeletons. This can be done in a number of ways, such as removing your Skeleton token or using a card like Airtight Alibi to make your Skeleton no longer Suspected.

Once you have met the necessary criteria, your Case will become Solved at the beginning of your next end step. Now, you will have access to the “Solved” portion of the case, which in this example, lets you pay two mana and sacrifice the Case to tutor any card from your deck and put it into your hand. Notably, because this Case’s final ability can only be activated at Sorcery speed and the Case isn’t Solved until your end step, you won’t be able to use it until your next turn.

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Cases in Standard

Case of the Gateway Express

Now that we’ve gone over how Cases function, it’s worth discussing which Cases are the most impactful. In a Standard environment, no Case has helped shape the metagame more than Case of the Gateway Express. Case of the Gateway Express certainly requires you to build your deck in a specific way to maximize it, but the payoff is huge. When it enters the battlefield, you immediately get to remove an opposing Creature, assuming you have a large number of Creatures in play already.

Thankfully, in the Boros Convoke shell where Case of the Gateway Express sees play, the deck is filled with efficient Creatures and ways to make tokens. Casting a single copy of Gleeful Demolition already helps make sure that you can use this Case as a clean removal spell. Not only that, but Gleeful Demolition singlehandedly generates the perfect number of attackers needed to Solve the Case.

As such, it’s a common play pattern to cast Novice Inspector or Voldaren Epicure on turn one and follow it up with a turn two Gleeful Demoliton. Now, on turn three, you can slam Case of the Gateway Express, attack with your Creatures, and reap the rewards from the Solved Case on future turns. With enough of a board presence, Case of the Gateway Express acts closely to Terminate and Glorious Anthem in one card. That’s a lot for two mana!

Beyond Case of the Gateway Express, some mono-red shells have made good use of Case of the Crimson Pulse. Case of the Crimson Pulse doesn’t do a whole lot right away, especially for an aggressive red deck. However, the reward for Solving the Case is enormous. Once you have run out of gas and have no cards in hand, there’s no need to fear, since Case of the Crimson Pulse will provide a massive amount of card advantage for the rest of the game.

Much like Experimental Frenzy from Standard red decks of old, this card rewards you for having lots of cheap cards that you can play all at once. For decks that can’t easily remove the Case once it’s in play, like Dimir midrange, the card is a real problem.

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Cases Beyond Standard

Case of the Filched Falcon

Even outside of a Standard setting, Cases are making their presences felt. In Pioneer, Case of the Filched Falcon often shows up in various Ensoul Artifact shells. It’s not out of the ordinary to Solve this case as early as turn two. Obviously, you can convert your Clue from Case of the Filched Falcon into a 4/4 Flier. However, targeting Darksteel Citadel can be quite difficult for black midrange decks to beat.

In Commander, Case of the Ransacked Lab has the potential to be a game-breaking bomb in the right circumstance. Casting four Instant or Sorcery cards in the same turn isn’t necessarily easy, but cheap cantrips and various Ritual effects can do the trick. Once Solved, the world is your oyster, as every Instant and Sorcery spell you cast for the rest of the game draws you a card! Combine this with the mana discount you already had access to, and things can get out of hand.

Murders at Karlov Manor was the perfect set to try out this new mechanic. All things considered, the Cases themselves seem to work pretty smoothly. They may take some getting used to, but they aren’t overly complicated and add a nice layer to gameplay overall.

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