18, Jan, 24

Murders at Karlov Manor Uncommon Creates Infinite Combo in Standard!

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Article at a Glance

Recent MTG sets have introduced a ton of powerful uncommons to the ecosystem. Wilds of Eldraine is a rather powerful example of this, with Up the Beanstalk completely altering both Legacy and Modern before being banned in the ladder format.

It seems that even Murders at Karlov Manor has been unable to escape this pattern, as a freshly spoiled uncommon was immediately discovered to create a three-card infinite combo in Standard! The cards needed to execute this combo are all in the same color, and have mana value of 2-3, meaning that the combo is at least somewhat realistic to pull off in a competitive game.

Merfolk fans are going to have a great Standard season, as they will now be able to swing in with an infinite number of tokens thanks to the new Murders at Karlov Manor uncommon Forensic Researcher.

Attack With Infinite Merfolk Tokens!?

Forensic Researcher doesn’t look like much on its own, and it really isn’t. This three mana creature can untap any permanent you control, but there are already other two-mana creatures that can accomplish the same thing, like Kiora’s Follower. That card, however, is not Standard-legal.

Either way, in Limited, Forensic Researcher can act as a clunky ramping tool and can tap an opponent’s creatures in a tight spot. Collect Evidence 3 is a rather expensive cost to enable a temporary tap, however. Outside of a combo scenario, this card does not impress me too much.

That said, as the headline above spoils, Forensic Researcher does enable a three-card infinite combo. Two of the three cards you need for the combo, ironically, happen to be itself. As long as both Merfolk do not have summoning sickness, you can tap one Merfolk to untap one another, creating a loop of tapping and untapping your Forensic Researchers. Of course, this doesn’t really accomplish anything on its own. That’s where the third card comes in.

An Army of Hexproof Merfolk

Deeproot Pilgrimage is an enchantment that just so happens to care about Merfolk being tapped. As highlighted by yoman_5 on Twitter, bringing Deeproot Pilgrimage and Forensic Researcher together results in an infinite combo.

As mentioned previously, two Forensic Researchers without summoning sickness can tap and untap one another infinitely. Deeproot Pilgrimage will trigger whenever one of your Researchers taps to untap the other, creating a 1/1 blue Merfolk creature token with Hexproof. Since you can do this cycle infinitely, you can create as many Merfolk tokens as your heart desires!

This can easily be accomplished during your opponent’s endstep. Just create a ton of tokens, untap, and swing for the game!

Not as Good as it Seems

Before Merfolk fans take off to obliterate the Standard format with this newfound knowledge, or players who don’t like the idea of this infinite token combo start to complain, there is more to talk about. This combo is fairly easy to disrupt, and outside of this combo, as mentioned earlier, Forensic Researcher is not an impressive Merfolk.

All players need to do to disrupt this infinite is hold up some instant speed spot removal. Sure, Merfolk decks typically have lots of counterspell tricks to protect their threats, but the new card Long Goodbye, revealed in our 25-card spoiler, can remove a Forensic Researcher through countermagic! Just be sure you remove the Researcher in response to the targeting of the other as if you don’t, the opponent can go infinite in response to your removal spell.

Otherwise, both Forensic Researchers need to not have summoning sickness for this infinite combo to work. This gives the opponent a window to remove the creatures.

With all of these issues plaguing the infinite, can this combo truly become competitive? Well, there’s certainly enough Merfolk support in Standard for some MTG players to give it a try!

Read More: New MTG Store Championship Cards Reveal Super Expensive Textless Staple!

Merfolk Support

According to Scryfall, there are currently 23 Standard legal Merfolk creatures, which all happen to be in Simic colors. Notably, this list doesn’t include any of the cards from Murders at Karlov Manor, like Forensic Researcher. This is more than enough creatures to try a Simic Merfolk strategy in Standard with a built-in infinite combo to fall back on.

Of all the Merfolk currently legal in Standard, Voldalian Hexcatcher is undeniably the most interesting one. This creature can turn any board of Merfolks into a deadly threat, and can even repurpose some of the smaller tokens into Force Spikes to protect the rest of the team. Throw in that this card is instant speed, and Voldalian Hexcatcher is certainly strong enough to give Merfolks a fighting chance in the Standard format.

The Lost Caverns of Ixalan also introduced some Exploring Merfolk like Cenote Scout that can function as both a powerful body and card advantage. Tishana’s Tidebinder, a Merfolk that had a huge Modern impact, is also legal in Standard, capable of turning off the effects of some popular cards like Leyline Binding.

Additionally, any other untap effects that may be spoiled in Murders at Karlov Manor could help make this infinite combo even more legitimate. You do need one Forensic Researcher at minimum to pull this combo off, but the other untapping tool doesn’t necessarily have to be a Merfolk. Agatha’s Stone Cauldron certainly makes this infinite combo a lot more realistic, granting the untap effect to any Merfolk.

How Good Will This Be?

All in all, introducing an uncommon that creates a somewhat competitive infinite combo in the Standard format is surprising. Even if the Standard rotation did not change, this combo would still be a possibility in the new format. Wizards of the Coast stated that these new sets were not meant for a three-year rotation period, but this combo would have been legal regardless, making it seem very intentional.

Ultimately, this probably means that this Merfolk infinite is nothing to worry about. This may be a three-card combo with cards that have moderate mana values, but thanks to a lot of summoning sickness requirements, the combo is a lot clunkier than it looks. Agatha’s Stone Cauldron legitimately does a lot to make this combo more viable, however, so it could become a real deck.

If players can find ways to speed up the process, this Forensic Researcher and Deeproot Pilgrimage combo could become the real deal. No matter what happens, it would be very cool for Standard to have a viable Merfolk deck.

Read More: The Five Most Expensive List Cards In Murders At Karlov Manor!

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