24, Jan, 24

Strange Old Mechanic Could Reappear in Karlov Commander Precons!

Article at a Glance

According to MTG designer Gavin Verhey, a multitude of spoilers from the Murders at Karlov Manor Commander Precons are going to be revealed today across various platforms. As we wait in anticipation to see what new cards and valuable reprints await us in each Commander deck, Gavin Verhey took it upon himself to reveal a plethora of hints regarding what we can expect.

What’s interesting this time around, though, is in the spirit of solving puzzles based on clues, Gavin has revealed 14 hints, with 2 of them being completely fake. The other 12, however, are true statements about cards and mechanics being featured among the Commander decks. The goal for today is to highlight a handful of these hints, going over what specific new cards might look like and where they would fit best thematically. Let’s start with undoubtedly the most intriguing hint: the return of a very weird mechanic.


That’s right. Gravestorm of all things has at least a possibility of returning. This mechanic has only ever appeared on one MTG cards, which was Bitter Ordeal back in Future Sight. Future Sight was a very strange set, featuring mechanics such as Transfigure and Fateseal as well as Gravestorm. Each of these mechanics have yet to return on MTG cards.

In general, this isn’t too surprising, especially considering the fact that Mark Rosewater stated that there was a level of skepticism that these mechanics would ever return to MTG. As such, it’s quite possible that Gravestorm is not returning, and that this was simply one of the inaccurate hints used as a means of drawing attention to the product. However, if any of these strange mechanics were to return, a Commander product would be the perfect opportunity.

This begs the question: what might a Gravestorm card look like by today’s standards? Gravestorm has the potential to be an absurdly broken keyword. Unlike regular Storm which requires casting a ton of spells all at once, Gravestorm allows you to copy the spell for each permanent put into a graveyard this turn. In a game of Commander, this could mean that something as simple as casting a board wipe could lead to an enormous Gravestorm count.

Mirko, Obsessive Theorist

With this in mind, the effect on a Gravestorm card would likely have to be pretty minimal. Bitter Ordeal, for instance, doesn’t impact the board, draw you additional cards, or act as an outright win condition unless you can get copy it a ton of times. The best place for a Gravestorm card would almost certainly be the Dimir Surveil-matters Commander deck, and one potential card design jumps out to me.

A card that lets you Surveil 1 with Gravestorm alone seems like a perfect way to balance the absurd mechanic with the deck’s objective. Even if you get to Surveil 1 10 different times after destroying a bunch of Creatures, you don’t net any cards in the process. However, this ability works insanely well Mirko, as each Surveil would put a counter on Mirko. From there, you can fill your graveyard, helping to get you to a point where you can start reanimating big threats. In this sense, you have a decent build-around card that fits perfectly with the new Commander.

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A Massive, Creature-Buffing Enchantment

Kaust, Eyes of the Glade

Next up, we have a cool hint that mentions an Enchantment that states “Creatures you control get +X/+X, where X is…” This seems like a very reasonable design, especially given how many cards reference the “number of Creatures you control” when providing a specific effect. For example, Xenagos, the Reveler lets you add X mana to your mana pool, where X is the number of Creatures you control.

This new Enchantment could easily provide a continuous effect, except this time, your Creatures all get a buff depending on how many of a certain other card type you control. This could even go a bit deeper on theme, say, by providing a buff to your team based on the number of Face-down Creatures you control.

Gavin Verhey even mentioned in his video while going over some basic information about the Commander decks that 2/2 Creatures for three mana aren’t the most impressive, and that there would certainly be cards to make them “well worth having.” An Enchantment that buffs your face-down squad could be a perfect way to execute this.

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Making Clues Even Better

Morska, Undersea Sleuth

In a similar sense, it would be perfectly reasonable to include a way to make your excess Clues even more valuable than they are naturally. The “Deep Clue Sea” Commander deck is all about generating Clue tokens and drawing extra cards. It would be nice, though, to have extra ways to convert those Clues into additional board presence.

Of course, they may reprint cards like Lonis, Cryptozoologist to help in this regard, but I’d be surprised if there weren’t new cards that worked well with your extra Clue tokens. Well, one of the hints states that there will be a way to give all of your Clues a keyword.

If there was a way to make your Clues into Creatures, this would be easy. Perhaps a new card that turns your Clues into Creatures could also give them Flying counters. There’s a lot of avenues the design team could take with this one, so we’ll have to wait and see.

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A Potential Benefit for Beating Multiple Opponents

Elbrus, the Binding Blade

Back to the more off-the-wall hints, there’s the possibility for a card that checks if two or more players have lost the game. At first, this seems like an outlier that could very well be one of the hints that isn’t featured. Even this ability, though, isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem. We’ve seen cards like the Transformed version of Elbrus, the Binding Blade benefit from opponents losing the game.

What’s interesting here, though, is that rather than an effect triggering when a player loses the game, the hint specifically states that a new card checks the condition to see if multiple players have already lost the game. This is definitely new territory, but I wouldn’t put it past Wizards of the Coast to make something very unique!

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Excitement All Around

Even though two of the hints will turn out to not be true, there appears to be a lot of interesting new stuff to look forward to with these Commander Precons. Beyond just the hints, Gavin Verhey also revealed the art for some new cards, and a couple have players very excited. First, we have a new Feather card.

Nelly Borca, Impulsive Accuser

Feather, the Redeemed is a cool legend that provides a benefit when you target your own Creatures with spells. Given that the new Boros Commander deck has a Goad theme, maybe the new Feather provides a benefit when you target opposing Creatures instead, which could be as simple as Goading them.

“I’ll be very surprised if the legendary BEAR is not the creature that cares about creatures that are base 2/2”


Players are also talking about the legendary Bear that has been confirmed to appear in one of the Commander Precons. As kkpratt points out, there was a hint that stated that a new legend cares about Creatures with base power and toughness 2/2. That’s the exact size of both face-down Creatures as well as iconic Bear cards like Grizzly Bears, so the new Bear legend definitely makes that hint seem very realistic.

There’s a lot to look forward to with these Commander decks. With spoilers set to emerge tomorrow, definitely check back in as we go over everything in greater detail!

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