This weekend, we finally got to see Murders at Karlov Manor in action across a slew of major tournaments. At the Modern Regional Championships, the addition of Surveil Lands as well as Leyline of the Guildpact proved to be strong upgrades for Crashing Footfalls decks. In the Magic Online Pioneer Showcase Challenge, No More Lies and Lightning Helix showed out in decks like five-color Niv to Light.
In most cases, these Murders at Karlov Manor cards have helped strengthen already well-established archetypes. However, in Standard, there’s a bit more room for wild innovation. In a massive Japanese tournament with over 400 players, a new deck built around Reenact the Crime made a surprising surge to top 32. This deck looks super sweet and very powerful, so let’s take a closer look at its overall gameplan.
Maximizing Reenact the Crime
The key to making this whole deck work is having access to Reenact the Crime. The idea is that, as early as turn four, you can discard a massive haymaker, then cast Reenact the Crime to make a copy of it. Unsurprisingly, Atraxa, Grand Unifier makes an appearance as one of the top cards to make a copy of. However, where the real power in the deck lies is with Breach the Multiverse.
Breach the Multiverse has a good shot at putting two big threats into play at once. This is already strong, but the fact that it mills ten cards can let you completely abuse another Karlov Manor powerhouse: Conspiracy Unraveler. After casting Breach the Multiverse, chances are you will have a lot of high-cost cards in your graveyard to exile to help you cast a couple cards from your hand for free. If you are fortunate enough to have another copy of Breach the Multiverse, things can get really out of hand.
Obviously, in a deck filled with so many seven-drops, finding Reenact the Crime to stay ahead of schedule is essential. As a result, this deck makes great use of Beseech the Mirror. Multiple discard outlets in the deck, which we will get to later, can provide tokens for you to Bargain away. In some, though, you will simply be casting Beseech the Mirror to do a Diabolic Tutor impression. After all, this deck needs a lot of pieces (Reenact the Crime, a discard outlet, and a threat) all at once to win in an efficient manner.
Specific Discard Outlets
Speaking of discard outlets, this deck plays a decent number of ways to put your game-breaking cards into the graveyard in an efficient manner. Because Reenact the Crime only works on cards that were put into your graveyard the same turn you cast it, you need ways to discard cards that don’t involve much mana input.
Both Kaito Shizuki and The Modern Age work perfectly here. In the case of Kaito, you can play the Planeswalker on turn three, make a token, then Kaito will Phase out on your end step. On turn four, you can discard one of your seven-drops to Kaito, cast Reenact the Crime, and go nuts. If your token lived through the turn cycle, you could also use Beseech the Mirror to find and cast Reenact the Crime in a similar manner.
The Modern Age works similarly. Even though it’s a two-mana card, you will often want to cast it on turn three. That way, when turn four comes around, you will be able to discard a card to chapter II without needing to invest any mana. Once again, you can also Bargain away The Modern Age to enable Beseech the Mirror as necessary.
One of the best discard outlets this deck can play that we haven’t talked about yet is Collector’s Vault. Collector’s Vault acts as a continuous way to discard cards. Even though it requires mana to utilize, you get a Treasure back for your troubles each time you use it. This means that, on turn five, you can loot, make a Treasure, then use that Treasure to cast Reenact the Crime. These Treasures are perfect Bargain fuel for Beseech the Mirror, and in some cases, can even help accelerate you to seven mana to start hard casting Breach the Multiverse and such.
Consistency and Stabilization Issues
It’s clear that this deck has an extremely strong and cohesive plan. Against decks with minimal early pressure and a lack of counter magic, such as Rakdos midrange or Domain ramp, this deck can fire on all cylinders. The problem comes when the opponent has a super fast clock or tons of disruption at the ready.
Against decks like mono-red aggro, you don’t have much time to dilly dally. This deck won’t always have all the requisite pieces to cast Reenact the Crime turn four, and even a turn four Reenact the Crime may be too slow on the draw. Meanwhile, a good mix of interaction and pressure from Esper midrange can be a bit problematic. Deep-Cavern Bat is quite strong against this deck, especially considering the overall lack of removal besides Go for the Throat.
This archetype can have some issues with its manabase, too. Playing playsets of both Reenact the Crime and Beseech the Mirror requires you to reliably have triple black and triple blue available rather quickly. There are a decent number of Dual Lands in Standard at the moment, but you may still face issues of consistency, nonetheless.
Even still, this deck is pretty well positioned at the moment. Counter magic isn’t super prevalent, and cards like Path of Peril in your sideboard can help a lot against mono-red and Boros aggro. Removal spells are generally pretty weak against this deck, especially conditional removal like Cut Down.
Even though this strategy is a bit easy to disrupt, since cards like Unlicensed Hearse can completely shut down your ability to win with Reenact the Crime, it’s definitely a solid metacall if players are unprepared. It’s still very early in Karlov Manor Standard, too, so don’t sleep on this deck or you might find yourself on the wrong end of crime!