13, Feb, 24

Unique Karlov Manor Fireball Effect Sparks New MTG Standard Combo Deck!

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Article at a Glance

Murders at Karlov Manor cards have been available for use on Magic Online and MTG Arena for roughly a week, and we are starting to see a lot of innovation with the new cards. In Modern, it appears as though Leyline of the Guildpact is an all-star in conjunction with Scion of Draco. In Pioneer, the presence of No More Lies has made Azorius control even stronger than it already was before.

Where we’ve seen some of the most innovation, though, is in Standard. Today, we are going to highlight an entirely new archetype that arose thanks to a heavily underrated Karlov Manor card: Worldsoul’s Rage. We’ve seen more efficient cards in the past allow you to put lots of Lands from your graveyard to the battlefield tapped, such as Splendid Reclamation.

While Worldsoul’s Rage does let you put Lands from your hand into play as well, the big difference here is that Worldsoul’s Rage is also a win condition with enough mana in play. It is mana intensive, which is a big reason the card was underhyped during spoiler season. As we will see, however, it can be quite the powerhouse when built around.

Adding Spelunking to the Mix

Spelunking

The big engine that this deck revolves around is the combination of Worldsoul’s Rage and Spelunking. Right off the bat, Spelunking can ramp you, getting you closer towards casting Rage. The real power, though, lies with the second ability that allows all of your Lands to enter the battlefield untapped. Early on, this allows you to cast Rage with X being a small number, then cast another spell afterwards with the new mana you have available.

For instance, it’s quite common to cast Rage for X=4, killing an opposing Creature and putting 4 Lands onto the battlefield untapped thanks to Spelunking. Then with the four untapped Lands, you can cast Memory Deluge to help dig for additional copies of Rage. If you are under a lot of pressure, you can instead cast Ill-Timed Explosion with the 4 mana available, wiping the board and buying you extra time.

This deck provides a decent blend of ramp and control elements that help you get to the late game with a lot of mana available. The fact that your first copy of Rage helps ramp you towards your second copy and beyond while also removing pesky attackers along the way is a huge deal.

Once you have enough mana at the helm, Rage can eventually be used as a giant Fireball to aim at your opponent’s face and win the game. With access to Spelunking, you can often cast multiple copies of Rage in the same turn, letting you win the game out of nowhere. Add in Galvanic Iteration and it becomes even easier to deal a ton of damage all at once.

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Maximizing Worldsoul’s Rage

Worldsoul's Rage

In order to make sure you always have Lands available in your graveyard, this deck makes great use of Lands like Cabaretti Courtyard. These Lands allow you to continue to hit your Land drops while also fueling your graveyard for Worldsoul’s Rage. The life buffer is also a nice bonus, especially when you start returning multiple of them at a time to play with Rage. This deck also makes great use of Surveil Lands, since putting excess Lands into the graveyard helps fuel Rage even further.

Beyond that, the Adventure portion of Picklock Prankster works double duty, milling over Lands while also digging for Rage in the process. The Adventure part of Kellan, Inquisitive Prodigy lets you hit extra Land drops ahead of schedule. Obviously, this is strong with Rage, but being able to cast Memory Deluge or Ill-Timed Explosion on turn 3 can be a game-changer.

Finally, as a way to help buy you time, Fading Hope acts as a cheap form of interaction for problematic cards like Sheoldred, the Apocalypse. You can also return your own copies of Picklock Prankster when applicable.

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Strengths and Weaknesses

Monastery Swiftspear

The strengths of this deck definitely lie with its incredible late game. This deck thrives off of creating a big mana advantage, then pulling ahead on cards with the likes of Memory Deluge and Silver Scrutiny. Assuming you can keep the board stabilized, Worldsoul’s Rage provides inevitability in most matchups.

Keeping your opponent’s pressure under control, though, is easier said than done. Ill-Timed Explosion is a great catch-up mechanism, but you won’t always have access to it in the early turns. Even if you set up a turn 4 Ill-Timed Explosion against mono-red aggro, for instance, there’s a good chance that is still too slow. That doesn’t even factor in the presence Urabrask’s Forge, which gets around board wipes and threatens a ton of damage over the course of a long game.

In a similar sense, Boros aggro can provide a massive clock very quickly. While that deck is a little more vulnerable to board wipes, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben or Invasion of Gobakhan can make it tough to resolve one in time. That being said, cards like End the Festivities and Brotherhood’s End out of the sideboard can absolutely help you steal games. Additionally, this archetype does have its fair share of strong matchups.

Slower decks like Domain ramp or Rakdos midrange can struggle to overcome your mana advantage. Even Esper and Dimir midrange decks that have access to counter magic can be a bit too slow. Not to mention, soft Counterspells like Make Disappear quickly get outclassed since you will often have enough mana to pay the required tax. Pick Your Poison is a solid answer out of the sideboard to Raffine, Scheming Seer, as well.

Ultimately, this deck’s matchups are a bit polarizing. If you can dodge the hyper-aggressive strategies though, this deck is a great choice. In this sense, this deck seems like a strong metacall at minimum, and certainly one you should respect if you intend to play Standard in the coming weeks.

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