6, Jan, 24

MTG Karlov Manor Could Make These EDH Gems Seriously Powerful!

Article at a Glance

While the spoilers for Murders at Karlov Manor continue to trickle in, there is a clearly defining characteristic that many of the cards share: Clues. There are equipment clues, plenty of spells that make clue tokens and even new lands that all can generate a clue. Support already exists both for and against a Clue heavy meta, and many of these cards already see a fair amount of play in Commander. First up, some monster green cards that beat clues to a pulp.

Much Hype, Some Substance

Just a few years ago Viridian Revel spiked wildly in price as set after set kept introducing new token artifacts to sacrifice like Food, Blood, Treasure and of course Clue. The Lost Caverns of Ixalan has also introduced Map tokens as well.

Of course, Revel works with any artifacts going to the graveyard, not just tokens. While the price and the hype on this card has cooled a bit, it’s still a very playable card, and in light of another set with a heavy artifact sacrifice theme, it can only perform even better. If you have slotted out Viridian Revel for something else, consider giving it another try. You may be pleasantly surprised but how solid it is. Smothering Tithe is four mana in white, the worst ramp color, and Revel is only three mana in green, the color with the best mana generation in the game.

An Old School Green Option

First, this stops non-creature artifacts cold turning off all their abilities. Next, it turns them into creatures. Finally, it has a unique effect that persists until end of turn, so even if it’s removed, it effectively is not for that turn, at least. Titania’s Song turns artifact tokens into 0/0 creatures with no abilities. This card effectively beats Smothering Tithe and Dockside Extortionist as just a couple of powerful examples. Four mana is not a lot in green, so this is an easy spell to cast. Considering Clues, they just go to the graveyard.

Now, Titania’s Song could be an advantage too. Maybe you want something to trigger Investigate, making a bunch of clues, but you want them to go to the graveyard for Marionette Master or Disciple of the Vault. The Song is useful in a variety of situations. Considering that you can find this for just a dollar, it’s a great deal!


Green has plenty of ways to fight clues including Collector Ouphe, but it also has ways to use them. Tireless Tracker gives you a very easy way for green to generate an excessive number of clues very quickly. As a side-effect to sacrificing clues, your Tracker is going to grow to epic proportions. Note that you don’t have to activate the clues, or pay mana. Merely sacrificing the clues will permanently boost the Tracker. What better way, in green, than the innocuous Glimmer Bairn? Having two massive creatures for very little mana is what green loves to do and clues can easily help you get there.

Big Mana Synergy

Just imagine if instead of Investigate making a clue, you made a Mox Emerald! Well, Jaheira, Friend of the Forest allows you to do just that. Not only will she turn all your clues into mana rocks, she also is great as a potential Commander using the Background mechanic. Both Agent of the Iron Throne and Street Urchin give you a way to turn your clues into not only mana, but also a win condition. Green is no stranger to token doubling with mana effects like Parallel Lives or Doubling Season at the ready.

Potential Synergy in Black

First, we have not seen much out of black for Murders at Karlov Manor. Second, the color is historically weak to both artifacts and enchantments. Even so Braids, Arisen Nightmare lets you turn extra clue tokens into edict effects than can also deal damage and draw you cards. Clearly there will be excess clue tokens aplenty, so Braids turns your slow draw power into faster draw power that also can set your opponents back. It’s a bit speculative, but the set definitely will boost Braids power a little.

Black does, however, get to include Havengul Laboratory as it has black color identity. A relatively free reanimation effect that takes up no deck space makes this card an auto include in every black deck with a clue theme.

Red Always has Interesting Answers

Is your opponent trying to maintain a critical mass of clues to go off? Meet Sardian Avenger who can attack into pretty much anything for value. Keep this idea in mind because it’s all about diplomacy.

You see, clues tend to stick around a relatively long time, they offer a slow advantage, but you do not have to attack the player massing up clues to get the bonus. Therefore, they are helping you take down the other two players. Meanwhile, when they crack their clues, they are still taking damage for it. For only two mana, the Avenger has the potential to deal gobs of damage in multiplayer. Considering you’re in red, you have easy access to double-strike and double damage effects to one shot players. Let that player make Treasure off their Smothering Tithe and the Avenger can punish them pretty quickly, especially if the entire table joins in. Normally it’s a bad idea to just give someone a pile of treasure but in this case, it may be their undoing.

Doctor Who is all About Clues

There are a lot of potential combinations of Commanders from the MTG Doctor Who set. While Jenny Flynt and Madame Vastra could be decent Commander for this style of deck, I think they would be better off as a tutoring pair in the 98. Meanwhile, Nyssa of Traken is the real Commander of the deck with The Fugitive Doctor as the backup plan. You should be able to easily make three to five clues before Nyssa takes her first swing and refills your hand. Even if you draw too much, she removes your hand size limit!

If things don’t work out, your Doctor can come in, generate a clue and then start using Flashback to replay all your spells. Once you generate even more clues, Nyssa will get back to work drawing a gazillion cards. Both green and blue have tons of excellent support for this type of game plan. Blue even ramps hard with Five Hundred Year Diary. Red will have excellent spells that you want to flash back and can also make a lot of treasure which will have synergy with the rest of the deck and other auto includes.

Then Again, so is Stranger Things

Mardu is allowed to get in on the Clue based fun with these two Commanders. This pairing is very forward looking because both black and red are relatively light on overall Clue synergy. White certainly has some nice effects that can appreciate these Commanders. There are existing artifact and sacrifice based strategies utilizing Marionette Master as mentioned briefly above but you can easily go a different way. Note how Wernog, Rider’s Chaplain gives your opponents clues which boosts up Sardian Avenger. With a bit of help from Murders at Karlov Manor, this could be the start of some very interesting looking decks.

Speaking of White

It appears that Thorough Investigation has already spiked in price and for good reason as it’s the best investigate card in white with the highest Clue synergy.

The dungeon mechanic, overall, is relatively slow but it does provide advantage. If you can turbo your way through an entire dungeon all at once, at instant speed, however, you can have a surprising impact at any stage of a game. While Search the Premises deserves a mention, it relies too much on your opponents to gain value. Thorough Investigation gives you explosive potential as long as you have a sacrifice outlet for your clues and is a card with strong potential. Once we see more of Murders at Karlov Manor you may end up wanting it.

Blue has too much…

First, let’s talk about some multicolored cards that include blue. Lonis, Cryptozoologist is likely an auto-include in any clue heavy simic deck and a combo commander. Time Sieve loves to eat extra clues and it’s quite possible to make enough each turn to go infinite. Surely Eloise, Nephalia Sleuth, Inquisitor Eisenhorn, and Inquisitor Greyfax will all see play. But what are the absolute standout mono-blue cards?

It’s a toss up between Trail of Evidence and Ethereal Investigator. The Investigator has tremendous upside when it’s generating three clues every time it enters the battlefield. This card wants to be bounced, blinked, flickered and reanimated. On top of making a pile of clues, it also is quite easy to generate some additional 1/1 spirit tokens for even more value. Meanwhile, Trail of Evidence just generates a clue for every instant or sorcery you cast, so if you’re a spell heavy deck, it will do a large amount of work. Where there is smoke, there is fire, and many decks will simply play both.

There can be only one best Artifact

Let’s face it, generating a single Clue is not that exciting. But turning that one token into three is absolutely busted and part of an ever growing list of infinite combos. Many of those combos are easily enabled by Academy Manufactor. While there are plenty of clue based artifacts, Manufactor is heads and shoulders above the rest. Any token based deck already runs this card but Murders at Karlov Manor could boost the play rate considerably.

Clues and Investigation

There’s not much to go on right now in regards to just how Murders at Karlov Manor will impact Magic’s various formats. Even with only these two mechanics in play, there are a lot of cards ready to see more play. Based on pure speculation, there should be all manner of card archetypes that will soon interact with Clue tokens. Don’t be surprised if there are board wipes, bounces, and scaling bonuses that all key off of clues. Whether you are building your own stack of tokens or stymieing your opponents there are always good options that already exist that can become excellent options after a new set.

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