Murders at Karlov Manor comes with four new Commander decks to check out. With strong new cards and reprints of classic staples, each precon is shaping up to be great. Blame Game is the Boros precon, and this time, it’s a Goad deck.
How does it play? How do you upgrade it? Check out our upgrade guide and review below.
BLAME GAME: NEW COMMANDERS
Blame Game comes with two new Commanders, the first of which has literal card draw on a Boros Commander. It’s still a bit of a treat, but it’s not without a downside: Nelly Borca gives opponents a card along with you when one or more creatures they control damage another one of your opponents. While a card for a card seems steep, there is the fact it encourages damage to go elsewhere. Plus, Nelly can force it to happen.
Overall, an intriguing Commander, and the one I chose to build around for our $50 upgrade.
Feather, Radiant Arbiter is a new Feather card, and like the previous one, she cares about you targeting your Feather. This time, she asks you to pay  more to copy noncreature spells for each time you want to copy it to another body.
Thinking a little on this card, it’s clear to see that this Feather wants you to play Boros Auras, as opposed to Spellslinger. An interesting direction, and one I think I’d like to try solve – but not on a $50 budget.
PRECON REVIEW: PREPARE FOR TROUBLE
Blame Game has ten sought-after new Commander cards, like the excellent Trouble in Pairs. It rewards you for your opponents zooming toward their endgame, giving you plenty of options with which to sunder their plans. The only thing these criminals won’t be able to pull off is stealing a Pikachu.
Take the Bait is the other headline card. Joining Settle the Wreckage and Comeuppance, Take the Bait slots nicely into Boros’ lesser explored ability to redirect damage. I don’t love that it gives them extra attack triggers, but sometimes this can be better than other options, such as when your opponent has on-damage triggers and you send them into blocking creatures to be chumped.
Elsewhere, the introduction of more sub-game style cards in a Boros deck is very welcome. Simic got a lot of these in 2023, mostly in Tales of Middle-earth. Mob Verdict can act as a one sided wrath most of the time; it’s going to deal 6 to each creature the archenemy controls for four mana which is a sweet spot, especially given it can also draw you cards when you’re ahead.
Reprints in Blame Game are pretty good, with Comeuppance and Fiendish Duo leading the way on pricier includes. Brash Taunter, Gisela, Blade of Goldnight, and Tome of Legends are sweet pickups too if you don’t have copies already.
Out of the box, the deck is fun to play, especially within a pod of precon power-level decks. Nelly will likely get taxed out against decks with greater quantities of removal, but she otherwise does a reasonable job holding her own. Feather isn’t great out of the box, and needs a much more focused strategy to be consistent. The decks main weakness is relying on generally medium synergy pieces to enact a strategy, something we can fix with a few swaps.
BLAME GAME: $50 BUDGET UPGRADE
As per usual, we’re looking at spending a reasonable $50 on upgrades. Our goals with the upgrades were to:
- Add some consistency with card advantage
- Preserve our board, or rebuild it
- Build toward a win condition that doesn’t rely solely on goad
It’s hard winning a game off of Goad alone, and as we’ve had to cut some of our 6+ drops to account for our precon-level manabase, an alternate win condition had to be found. Thankfully, the deck already has a Brash Taunter and a Gideon’s Sacrifice, two pieces of a flexible damage combo that we can lean into.
By playing damage based wraths, we can dome people for sizeable chunks, and if we add in Guilty Conscience and Blazing Sunsteel, that’s some reliable ways to close a game once one or two opponents have fallen to combat damage.
The deck is already pretty “tricksy” with cards like Deflecting Palm, Comeuppance and Take the Bait, so adding a Sunforger to find these and our Gideon’s Sacrifice to help combo off felt like an easy win.
Leaning into the damage-dealing, some more removal in the form of Olorin’s Searing Light should go down a treat. Speaking of, Life of the Party should get life totals moving too. Ideally, we want our damage redirects to be able to remove players on sub-20 life, with the combo in our back pocket as backup should we need it.
Other than some extra goad in the form of Taunt from the Rampart, and consistency like Descent into Avernus and Professional Face-Breaker, I couldn’t not waste the opportunity to use the new Agrus Kos, Spirit of Justice. I want to draw attention to Serra Paragon, too. She lets us re-use our Auras and play lands that we’ve ended up with in the graveyard. An excellent recursion piece I’m always excited to play.
The final decklist can be viewed here, along with the cuts in the Sideboard section. Cuts were mainly due to cards being pretty mediocre to draw outside specific situations, high mana costs, or just not contributing to what we want to be doing – which is goading, and winning the game. While Ghostly Prison and Windborn Muse stop us losing, they are really uninspiring topdecks when we’re in a pinch. If we enact our strategy properly, we don’t need those cards, as creatures won’t be coming at us when it matters anyways.
Whether you choose to use Nelly Borca or Feather, leaning into what Boros does best – equipment – will give you some great returns. Stoneforge Mystic, Steelshaper’s Gift or Enlightened Tutor are all going to increase your velocity toward the midgame (with access to Sword of the Animist or Sword of Hearth and Home) and towards the endgame (by finding relevant pieces).
While we could afford Agrus Kos in our budget, Aurelia is preordering at a little more. She’ll fit great in this kind of build, so I’d be wanting to pick one up. Likewise, you could lean into running mostly utility creatures and opting for Delney, who can help Nelly get in for damage and trigger twice.
Whether you’re building Feather Auras or sticking with Nelly, you should look around at some of the easy-to-recur Auras that can synergize with your deck. Putting goad Auras onto Feather to copy them to opposing creatures isn’t actually that terrible, as you’re going for Commander damage with Feather most of the time anyways. Just give her vigilance with another Aura, and you’re away.
Blame Game is a fun direction for a Boros precon, and it has a selection of powerful and exciting new cards to play around with. Feather is a puzzle I personally want to solve, and I’m gonna need to pick up a copy of this deck to get myself at least one copy of Trouble in Pairs. Damn that card is good. Let us know what cards you’re excited about on Twitter.
Kristen is Card Kingdom’s Head Writer, and member of the Commander Advisory Group. Formerly a competitive Pokémon TCG grinder, she has been playing Magic since Shadows Over Innistrad, which in her opinion, was a great set to start with. When she’s not taking names with Equipment and Aggro strategies in Commander, she loves to play any form of Limited.