Magic is back to the breakneck pace that players are somewhat critical of. Massive ban announcements that touched down yesterday were immediately followed up by new Doctor Who cards and an entire new MTG format.
Before players even get a chance to breathe, we are swinging in to the next First Look for Magic: the Gathering’s upcoming Standard release. Murders at Karlov Manor is slanted to release February 9, bringing with it the new Play Booster design. Set Boosters and Draft Boosters are about to be a thing of the past.
To recap, First Looks are for local game stores, helping them to decide how much product they may want to order. Since they get to see the new cards, so can we!
This particular article will be focusing just on some of the spoilers that were revealed. Let’s take a look!
Alquist Proft, Master Sleuth
Alquist Proft, Master Sleuth is the main character of the Murders at Karlov Manor set. You are trying to solve a string of mysterious murders alongside this master sleuth, and Alquist Proft has a rather interesting harkening back to an older spell.
Alquist Proft quite literally has a repeatable Sphinx’s Revelation as an activated ability. This card was incredibly powerful while it was Standard legal, and Alquist may be no different. Of course, you need both a steady stream of Clue Tokens and for the card to survive in order to achieve this but, at worst, Alquist Proft is a 3/3 with Vigilance that essentially replaces itself and threatens to do more.
Wojek Investigator is the Box Topper card for Murders at Karlov Manor. This three mana flier can generate a lot of card advantage over time, but lends itself to Commander over a constructed two-player format. Wojek Investigator Investigates for each opponent who has more cards in hand than you do on your upkeep. In constructed, that’s only ever going to be one opponent at most. In Commander, it could be three!
Unfortunately, I do not foresee this investigator seeing any competitive play. This is strictly worse than a lot of three-drops in white that would otherwise compete for that slot like Wedding Announcement and Adeline, Resplendent Cathar. That said, Commander decks that specialize in artifact tokens, Investigation or other similar synergies may want this card.
Thraben Inspector 2.0
Players who are fans of the late Thraben Inspector can now play eight of them in their constructed decks! Novice Inspector quite literally does the exact same thing, and is quite strong as a result.
Thraben Inspector, interestingly enough, still sees competitive play in some archetypes. Boros Convoke in Pioneer, for example, utilizes the Inspector alongside Gleeful Demolition to litter the board with creatures to help power out a Convoke payoff like Venerated Loxodon as early as turn two. This could replace Voldaren Epicure in those decks, offering more white creatures to successfully Convoke your white payoffs.
Otherwise, Thraben Inspector also sees lots of Pauper play, meaning that this could quickly become a Pauper staple. Having the ability to run eight Thraben Inspectors is a serious note for some competitive formats.
Powerful Aggressive Reprints
The uncommon responsible for one of the most memorable moments in MTG history is returning with Murders at Karlov Manor! Lightning Helix is powerful enough to see continued play in the Modern format in some burn strategies.
This reprint means that Lightning Helix will not only be coming to Standard, but to Pioneer as well. Prepare to see some Boros Burn strategies once this set kicks off.
Aggressive players are going to have a ball with the release of Murders at Karlov Manor. Shock is also getting a reprint, making it Standard legal once again! Shock last saw a reprinting in the Strixhaven Mystical Archives.
Aurelia, the Law Above
Aurelia, the Law Above looks like a unique Commander that could see some play in Standard as a hasty top-end to a Boros Aggro deck. Go-wide token decks in Commander could enjoy the card draw and life drain that this card provides.
That is where Aurelia’s playability appears to end. Creating and maintaining a board large enough for Aurelia’s triggers to occur is rather difficult anywhere outside of Commander. Additionally, five mana for a hasty flier is not a great rate for aggressive decks outside of Standard. Pioneer, for example, has a much better option that slots into this perfectly: Glorybringer, and even that card is not good enough for the format. Go-wide strategies in that format are trying to end the game before Aurelia can even hit the table.
Rakdos, Patron of Chaos
Rakdos, Patron of Chaos is an odd card. Both choices that Rakdos offers opponents on your end step are devastating, forcing them to either sacrifice two permanents or have you draw two cards. The permanents need be nonland and nontoken ones, which makes things hurt even more. If they cannot pay the cost, Rakdos will draw you two cards, even if they don’t have the cards to sacrifice.
While this obviously makes Rakdos a nightmare in Limited, six mana is expensive in any format for a card that is not immediately ending the game. Rakdos is also easily removed at instant speed, easily preventing any value gain from the card whatsoever. This seems fantastic in Limited and interesting in Commander, but that may be as far as this card goes, as the mana value is costly. That said, this could be powerful enough to see Standard play.
Fanatical Strength is a new combat trick from the Murders at Karlov Manor but, much like some of the other cards, is actually not new at all. The Lost Caverns of Ixalan had the exact same card, but it was called Staggering Size instead.
Deduce may look rather inconspicuous at first, but this common could make some serious waves in multiple formats. Firstly, Deduce is a cantrip that offers a Clue token at instant speed. What a great tool for Pioneer Creativity! You can keep your interaction up while setting up your combo plan!
Otherwise, Deduce kind of acts as a clunky instant speed Divination for four mana, which is a perfectly fine rate to be at.
Demand Answers gives some deep insight into the crux of the investigation for Murders at Karlov Manor. At some point, someone makes an attempt at Aurelia’s life. In response to this, Aurelia demands answers from the agency, either solving the case within 24 hours, or she will declare war on the Cult of Rakdos.
As far as Demand Answers goes mechanically, this is a strictly upgraded [toooltips]Thrill of Possibility[/tooltips]. Even though Thrill of Possibility is not too popular in constructed formats, it does see a healthy amount of Commander play.
Curious Cadaver looks like an uncommon Limited payoff for the Dimir archetype. A four mana 3/1 flier is not impressive, but a persistent one can be rather powerful. This reminds me of Voidwing Hybrid from Phyrexia: All Will Be One, but weaker overall.
Gleaming Geardrake, another obvious payoff meant for Murders at Karlov Manor Limited, could see some play in decks focusing on artifacts. Gleaming Geardrake essentially replaces itself and threatens to grow out of control rather quickly, especially when used alongside Treasure Tokens.
If Meddling Youths is not a Scooby Doo reference, especially with that flavor text, I don’t know what is. Meddling Youths looks powerful in a Limited environment, but that is likely where its usefulness ends.
Ravnica: Clue Edition Spoilers
Ravnica: Clue Edition will have its own expansion symbol – meaning these cards are likely to be Commander legal in nature. Notably, some of these cards (the weapons, namely) will also see printings in the core set.
While we know a little about how this game will work, we will only be looking at spoilers in this article. Do look forward to an upcoming piece regarding everything we know about Ravnica: Clue Edition.
Much like Clue, in the Ravnica: Clue Edition game, MTG players can win by both playing Magic or by guessing the person, place and weapon that the murder in question took place with. Senator Peacock is an example of a person that could have done the murder.
As far as a Commander goes, Senator Peacock seems lackluster. Turning all your artifacts into Clues can have its uses, especially if you can eliminate the cost of activating a Clue. Otherwise, as long as you’re constantly sacrificing clues, getting through with your creatures for damage could become trivial.
This Commander’s usefulness, outside of the 99, will likely hinge on whether or not you can eliminate the activated ability cost of a Clue.
As a reminder, these weapons for the Clue game will also have printings in the main set for Murders at Karlov Manor.
Lead Pipe is a Clue Equipment, meaning that any clue synergies your decks care about will get triggered by Lead Pipe as well. Otherwise, this equipment is nothing to write home about.
The artwork for this card looks like it came right out of a Clue board. The nostalgia hits hard.
As far as a land goes, this looks like a dual land you might find in a Limited set. Dining Room could see play in Commander decks that have further synergies with Investigate, but that’s about it.
Shock Lands Return!
If you were somewhat interested in trying out Ravnica: Clue Edition already, this may be enough to whet your appetite.
When purchasing Ravnica: Clue Edition, players are guaranteed to open one Shock Land. Shock Lands are notably not available in the Murders at Karlov Manor which, considering they are also getting reprinted in Ravnica Remastered, may be a good thing.
That’s all we have for spoilers for Murders at Karlov Manor. Almost every new card is covered within this article.
What we did not cover here, however, is information for the new Ravnica Clue Edition, new treatments, including a serialized one, confirmed for Murders at Karlov Manor and the four confirmed Commander pre-con decks coming out alongside Murders at Karlov Manor. Expect articles covering those topics soon.
Players who are interested in seeing more for the Murders at Karlov Manor will need to wait for more spoilers. Spoiler season for this set doesn’t kick off until January 16.
Until then, however, the first story for Murders at Karlov Manor is already live! You can find that here.