Wizards of the Coast is dedicated to the constant evolution of the MTG experience, but not all of the aspects of that evolution are popular amongst the entire player base. It is undeniable that, as the experience that MTG offers becomes more nuanced, excitement for sealed products needs to be elevated. Like a new flavor of food, new enticing cards can keep bringing players back to the table.
One recent change made to MTG prerelease products was the inclusion of exclusive cards. For the past few prerelease kits, players have had the opportunity to obtain special treatments for rare, powerful and sometimes mechanically unique cards to add to their collection.
Sadly, these cards prove to be too powerful for the prerelease experience, which causes some confusion. Traditionally, players are allowed to play whatever cards they find in their prerelease kits. Nowadays, there are a few cards that players aren’t allowed to play. Needless to say, even though this ultimately provides more value to the players, many find this confusion rather aggravating.
That practice is returning with the Murders at Karlov Manor prerelease kits. You will find one of the three following cards in addition of a prerelease kits’ normal contents, but be aware that you will not be allowed to play with these copies in your prerelease event!
Being able to identify these cards is absolutely crucial during your deckbuilding phase. These are powerful enough to influence what colors you use overall, and being told that you need to drop the best card in your deck partway through the event can be absolutely devastating. Don’t make this mistake!
To make things even more confusing, these promotional cards will be legal for Standard play! This means that they will share the same set symbol as the rest of the cards in Murders at Karlov Manor. That said, according to the collecting Murders at Karlov Manor article from Wizards of the Coast, these Mythic Rare cards are prerelease exclusives that remain unplayable in your events!
Melek, Reforged Researcher
Melek, Reforged Researcher certainly has some incredible potential. This spellslinger Mythic can grow in power quickly and make larger instants and sorceries much cheaper to cast. Not only could this reduce the casting cost to some devastating Standard spells like Hit the Mother Lode or Explosive Singularity, but getting Melek’s power and toughness to 20 for a juicy Fling strategy likely isn’t as difficult as it seems.
In Commander, Melek offers a rather intriguing combination of abilities. Taking a Voltron approach with this Commander is trivial, and offers a unique angle on the traditional Izzet spellcasting strategy. Otherwise, this can be comboed with reductions to powerful spells like Magnum Opus to create mayhem across the board. Melek looks like a strong win condition in the 99 for any other decks that want to cast a lot of instants and sorceries.
Tomik, Wielder of Law
Tomik, Wielder of Law does not offer as enticing of an ability as Melek does, but it can still create a unique deck for players who want to try it as their Commander. Tomik punishes opponents for attacking you with multiple creatures, demanding three life and a card in exchange for their aggression. These abilities, traditionally, have not been too interesting unless combined with other elements. A 2/4 Flying body that can constantly block is interesting, but not interesting enough for it to seem too enticing in competitive play.
In Commander, however, Tomik’s Affinity for Planeswalkers becomes a lot more interesting. Reducing Tomik’s casting cost to two is a relevant upside, but the Affinity can really show its teeth in Commander. Thanks to Affinity reducing Command Tax, Tomik can keep its casting cost relatively low even if it’s sent packing to the Command Zone. With Tomik’s ability discouraging players from pointing their creatures at your Planeswalkers, an interesting Orzhov Superfriends pillowfort strategy can be constructed.
Voja, Jaws of the Conclave
Voja is traditionally the wolf seen alongside Tolsimir as a token, which explains the strange crossover between Elves and Wolves in its abilities. Of the three new cards released as prerelease exclusives, Voja is certainly the most interesting.
There is technically Wolf support in Standard currently thanks to the format’s delayed rotation schedule, and there are some Elves scattered across sets. That said, Voja only generates value when it attacks, which could make it less interesting in competitive formats. Ward 3 does provide some decent protection, especially in the Standard format, but Go to the Throat, a rather popular piece of removal, is still capable of dealing with Voja.
Voja offers Commander players an interesting play space that could not be utilized previously. While the creature likely suggests players try a combination of Elves and Wolves, with Tolsimir immediately becoming a powerful option for this Commander, Voja may be best utilized in Changeling strategies. Changelings should be able to grant card advantage and grow your board alongside Voja’s attack triggers. Voja is alternatively strong enough to see play in the 99 of Changeling decks.
More Prerelease Promos!
Much like the past few Prerelease seasons, Magic 30 promotional cards will be present at the Murders at Karlov Manor prerelease. Each batch of these promos contain four cards with retro bordered artwork released in different years of MTG’s history. The years of those cards are also recorded on the promo.
Notably, these four MTG promos have different rarities, with two being rather common, one being a bit rarer than the previous two, and one language-exclusive card being rather difficult to collect. The exclusive language this time around is English, so all four Magic 30 promos will be in English with Retro Bordered art – at least for North America.
The four cards available for players to collect this time around are Dovin’s Veto, Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose, Deadly Dispute and Urza, Prince of Kroog. Notably, this copy of Dovin’s Veto offers never-before-seen artwork and flavor text!
For players who may want to acquire all four of these promotional cards, Urza, Prince of Kroog is the promotional card that is much rarer than its counterparts. Each LGS may handle giving away this card differently, but giveaways as well as simply giving this card to the performing player at a prerelease is not unheard of. That said, if this card is of interest to you, be sure to check in with your prerelease provider for more information on how you can obtain it.
Will These Exclusives Change?
While more goodies for players attending prerelease events is always a good thing, Magic players are fed up with the confusing rules that they create for attendees. To make things even more confusing this time, these prerelease promos are even Standard legal. If one of these cards ends up gaining popularity and seeing lots of play at Regional Championship Qualifier events, it could become extremely expensive thanks to its exclusivity.
That said, tons of Prerelease kits are printed, so this may not be a huge concern. Prerelease exclusives from past sets don’t have an overwhelming price tag. If anything, the confusion regarding being unable to play these cards are where most of the concerns lie, especially if the rule isn’t properly mentioned by any tournament organizers. Hopefully, players’ prerelease experiences go without a hitch, and we can all enjoy the extra goodies provided during the Murders at Karlc Manor prerelease.
You can find release dates, prerelease dates, and more for the Murders at Karlov Manor here.