After a nonstop week of spoilers, Murders at Karlov Manor’s preview season has finally ended. Finishing things off with a bang, four brand new preconstructed Commander decks were revealed yesterday. Each containing new cards and reprints galore, these decks each look absolutely amazing. Thankfully, the same is true of the final deck, Deadly Disguise.
Focused primarily on the Disguise mechanic, this Naya deck plays heavily into major Murders at Karlov Manor’s mysterious theme. Beyond being flavorful, this preconstructed also offers deep internal synergies, turning Disguised cards into truly deadly threats. Alongside this, the deck also boasts a smorgasbord of compelling reprints that should get players even more excited.
One Way, or Another
As usual for a preconstructed Commander deck, Deadly Disguise has two new Commanders for players to choose between. Continuing the expected trend, each of these cards plays slightly differently, augmenting the deck’s core strategy. For Deadly Disguise, this means you can either flip your creatures or keep them all hidden.
Since Kaust, Eyes of the Glade is this deck’s face Commander, Wizards subtly endorses the former strategy. Considering the majority of this deck’s cards are stronger than Disguised creatures, this isn’t a surprise at all. Thanks to Kaust, Eyes of the Glade’s activated ability, flipping creatures is easier than ever before.
Costing just two mana, Kaust is an incredibly affordable way to begin flipping creatures from the word go. As if this wasn’t useful enough, Kaust also lets you draw cards, provided your recently flipped creatures can deal damage. Technically, this is a hurdle to overcome, but since blocking Disguised creatures is always a risk, it’s definitely doable.
As much as flipping Disguised creatures is definitely sensible, Duskana, the Rage Mother offers an interesting alternative. Synergizing with
bears 2/2 creatures, Duskana wants your creatures to stay Disguised. In this state, when attacking, these creatures receive a substantial 3/3 buff!
While Deadly Disguise does include a few truly massive threats, an army of 5/5s is nonetheless deadly. So much so, that keeping your creatures disguised is a genuinely viable strategy. Since they don’t have to be kept this way forever, Duskana can easily just carry you through the mid-game before the flipping antics begin.
Personally, since they offer a unique strategy, Duskana is definitely my go-to Commander for Deadly Disguise. That being said if you want to play into the deck’s true theme using Kaust, Eyes of the Glade, you’ll likely have better odds at winning.
Flip Cards Don’t Flop
Complimenting the deck’s new Commanders, Deadly Disguise also features a suite of new Disguised-based staples. Excluding Boltbender, which is admittedly still powerful, each of these cards offers consistent added value. Beefing up and synergizing with every flipped card, the new cards are undeniably the stars of the show.
Out of all the new cards, True Identity may well be the most useful. Providing Scry 1 and card draw whenever you flip a card, this Enchantment offers incredibly consistent value within this deck. Unfortunately, this can only trigger once per turn, however, a card draw engine for one mana isn’t to be scoffed at.
Similarly offering consistent value once cast Experiment Twelve makes each flip that much deadlier. By effectively doubling the power of each flipped creature, this well-rounded creature facilitates some incredibly punishing swings. When combined with the new Showstopping Surprise this can easily turn into a cataclysmic board wipe.
Further pushing the flip theme, Printlifter Ooze helps progressive build your board with each creature flipped. To make sure this happens reliably, Panoptic Projektor makes casting Disguse creatures effectively free. On its own, this is already incredibly useful yet Panoptic Projektor gets even better with its Panharmonicon-esque effect.
Unfortunately, since flipping is the theme, if Duskana is your Commander you don’t get as many new toys. The only new card that provides an obvious synergy is Veiled Ascension. Providing consistent Cloak triggers and flying face-down creatures, this Enchantment makes your army significantly scarier.
Last but not least for the useful new cards, Unexplained Absence is a somewhat costly source of removal. For some strange reason, Deadly Disguise also includes Tesak, Judith’s Hellhound despite only containing three other dogs.
Value Bombs, but for How Long?
Sadly, while the new cards in Deadly Disguises each look like a lot of fun, the deck’s reprints aren’t so stellar. When compared to the other Murders at Karlov Manor decks they’re pretty terrible actually. Rather than being utterly loaded with value and fan-favorite Commander cards, Deadly Disguises barely has a handful. In total, only six cards are worth over $5.
At the low end, Ohran Frostfang[tooltips] and [tooltips]Three Visits both scrape the $5 threshold. Since both these cards see decent play they’re likely to retain much of their value. The same is true of Neheb, the Eternal and Toski, Bearer of Secrets at $8 and $9 respectively.
For better or worse, following these cards, the value of the remaining reprints jumps significantly. Seedborn Muse, for instance, currently sells for $18 on TCGplayer. Due to the print volume of preconstructed Commander decks, this price may soon drop, however, Seedborn Muse is nonetheless a staple. As a result, I wouldn’t hold your breath for a massive and needed price drop.
Thankfully, unlike Seedborn Muse, Jeska’s Will may plummet in price somewhat. Having only been printed in Commander Legends products, this fan-favorite spell certainly needs more supply. In an ideal world, Deadly Disguise will help to solve that issue, bringing the price down as a result. Right now, Jeska’s Will sells for around $23 on TCGplayer.
Depending on print volume, each of these reprints could be fantastic for budget-conscious Commander players. For value-minded players, however, these reprints being successful could be a death sentence for Deadly Disguise. While this may be disappointing to some, thankfully, the Deep Clue Sea deck more than redeems precon value overall.
Decidedly Dedcent but Weirdly Bad
At the end of the day, the Deadly Disguise Commander deck looks great overall. By expanding on a set mechanic, the deck’s new cards should see some decent play, and the reprints aren’t bad too. If this deck was released a year ago, it would be heralded as an absolutely cracking precon. When compared to the other decks from Murders at Karlov Manor, however, is a surprisingly different story.
Up against Deep Clue Sea, Revenant Recon, and Blame Game, Deadly Disguise is weirdly meh. Sure, the cards are pretty good, but none of them truly stand out. The same is true of the reprints which don’t live up to the new standard. Since we don’t know how each of these decks plays with one another yet, there’s a chance Deadly Disguise will be the sleeper hit. Whether or not this will be the case, however, remains to be seen.