7, Dec, 23

MTG Murders at Karlov Manor Common Has Format-Shaking Power!

Article at a Glance

The Murders at Karlov Manor First Look has just passed, and quite a few unique MTG cards were just spoiled to us. Fans of Ravnica should get excited! We have multiple fan-favorite characters making a return, including 6 guild leaders and the Guildpact Niv-Mizzet himself!

Of course, the only character I’m excited for is Fblthp. I hope this iteration of him will be a meta-defining one.

Until our beloved little lost thing hopefully reveals itself, along with the rest of Murders of Karlov Manor in January, players have a few cards to speculate about, and one them is way better than it looks.

Deduce may just be a blue common on the surface, but this card is seriously powerful. Here’s why.


Deduce is an incredibly simple common at first glance. For two mana, you draw a card and Investigate. Investigate allows you to create a Clue Token, an artifact that can sacrifice itself to draw a card for two mana. This means that Deduce technically offers two cards for four mana, but allows you to pay for cards in two-mana increments – all at Instant speed.

This should immediately give some players Think Twice vibes. This two mana instant saw some Modern play quite some time ago, and continues to see Dual Commander play to this day. Drawing two cards for smaller increments is much more powerful than it may seem. This can make it easier to accumulate card advantage while holding up interaction for your opponent in permission-based strategies.

Clue Synergies

Most of the excitement surrounding Deduce is coming from Standard and Pioneer players. Pioneer, in particular, has an archetype where Deduce can do more than allow players to pay for two cards in increments.

Indomitable Creativity has been falling off the wayside in popularity in recent months, but that doesn’t mean the deck can’t come roaring back. Deduce could help the deck out in a serious way, offering card advantage and a means to set up the creativity combo at instant speed.

Many players are familiar with Indomitable Creativity decks, but to recap shortly for those who aren’t, the general strategy is to build a deck without artifacts and only a few game-ending creatures. Indomitable Creativity can become a four-mana Atraxa, Grand Unifier or a five mana hasty 30/30 with Trample via Worldspine Wurm and Xenagos, God of Revels by sacrificing artifact tokens like the Clue created by Deduce!

If you simply do not have the Creativity to cast, you can cash in your Clue for a card instead.

Modern also had a popular Indomitable Creativity deck that was dominant for quite some time. Not only has that deck fallen to the wayside harder than Pioneer Creativity, but Modern has a much deeper card pool that makes Deduce a lot weaker in comparison.

Otherwise, the Clue Token can have other synergies in some Pioneer and Standard decks. While other Pioneer decks don’t have a ton of synergies with Deduce outside of using it as card advantage in control decks, Standard could be a very different story.

With a Murder Mystery being the clear focus of the Murders at Karlov Manor set, Investigate stands to have a major role in the set. We’ve already confirmed this with cards like Curious Cadaver who specifically care about Clue Tokens. This could mean that Deduce plays an even larger role in Standard strategies thanks to synergies with Investigate.

Don’t forget that there are already some promising artifact synergies within Standard and Pioneer as well! Zoetic Glyph, the mythic uncommon from the set as far as LCI drafters are concerned, can turn your Clue token into a surprising clock. You don’t even lose a card when your Clue is removed, as Zoetic Glyph allows you to Discover 3 when it goes into the grave from the battlefield. Ensoul Artifact strategies are not popular in Pioneer right now, but depending on metagame shifts, it could see a resurgence.

These synergies could see further support with other cards coming out in Murders at Karlov Manor like Gleaming Geardrake.

What About Quick Study?

As far as Deduce goes as a card advantage tool, Quick Study is another common from Wilds of Eldraine that got a ton of interest that likely plays a similar role in decks that would want Deduce. This instant speed Divination currently sees play in Pioneer Azorius Control, and is strong enough to get some top 16 placements in recent Pioneer Challenges. Surprisingly, Quick Study sees more Pioneer play than Standard play.

Answering if Deduce is better than Quick Study may be a bit strange. The answer is yes, most of the time at least, but understanding why isn’t entirely straightforward.

At first glance, Quick Study offers two cards at instant speed for three mana, while Deduce offers two cards at instant speed for four mana. Considering just this, it may make sense that Quick Study is better than Deduce outside of the situations where your strategy cares about the Clue Token.

The more nuanced answer, at least in our opinion, is that four mana for two cards and two increments of two mana for a card, are very different costs.

The reason why control strategies want these instant speed card advantage strategies is because they want to hold up interaction for their opponent’s plan first and foremost. If the opponent has run out of things to do, or simply wishes not to cast any of their valuable spells into your countermagic, you can punish them or pull ahead with instant speed card advantage instead.

It is significantly easier to both hold up interaction and execute your card advantage plan when having the option to pay two increments of two mana rather than three. If you need to counter an opponent’s spell, you may not have four mana to pay at the end of their turn to draw cards. That said, you may still have two mana to use to draw a single card.

Maybe your opponent can also cast things at instant speed, and tapping out with your three mana is not safe. In these situations, having an extra mana to deploy an emergency Mystical Dispute can be a big deal.

Of course, the more obvious application of Deduce over Quick Study is casting and resolving a Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. If you’re casting this card with just five mana available, the +1 will untap two lands for you to represent permission with. It’s rare that your opponent won’t try something in this scenario, but if they don’t do anything you care about, or can stop, Deduce can turn the mana into a card.

What actually ends up being better for your deck may require an even more nuanced answer depending on how much mana you’re commonly holding up, but if answering an opponent’s card and holding up two mana, but not three, is a realistic enough situation for your deck, Deduce is better because it is more flexible.

Read More: Unbanned MTG Card Quickly Takes Over Major Format!

What Will You Deduce?

Deduce has already gotten a ton of excitement from MTG players who were quick to identify its strengths. This card allows you to hold up permission while pulling ahead of your opponent to win the resource game. Pioneer Creativity decks have even higher upside with Deduce, able to hold up interaction while setting up their win condition.

Deduce definitely seems strong enough to see some Pioneer and Standard play. Heck, some players are even expecting Deduce to see Pauper play.

Either way, this Murders at Karlov Manor Common offers an interesting card advantage tool that seems powerful and somewhat nostalgic at the same time.

Read More: MTG Murder Mystery Already Has Players Doubting Everything

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