Murders at Karlov Manor Precon Highlights

Murders at Karlov Manor Commander Precon Highlights

Kristen GregoryCommander, Products

Murders at Karlov Manor has four Commander precons: Blame Game, Deep Clue Sea, Revenant Recon, and Deadly Disguise. What manner of exciting Commander playables abound? Kristen has the lowdown on the more attractive pickups if you’re after some singles – or an excuse to pick up a precon. 


Let’s not break with tradition and start off with white. Merchant of Truth comes with stunning Carissa Susilo artwork, and shows that the Orzhov Angels have just as much style as their New Capenna fashion rivals. 2/5 is a nice statline, and in an Orzhov aristocrats deck, this joins Angelic Sleuth (not a detective?) in putting together a case. I’d much rather be drawing cards than cracking clues, especially in white, but Clue-exalted? That’s kinda strong with Flyers. 

Serene Sleuth is the Goad hatebear I always wanted, and I feel particularly vindicated because I am at least somewhat responsible for it getting made. Not only does it stop Goad messing with you, it also gives you card advantage, can be searched by Recruiter of the Guard, and triggers all sorts of mana value/power 2 or less things. 

Trouble in Paris this week as French Magic players are confused by Murders at Karlov Manor’s set code being MKM. 

Trouble in Pairs, on the other hand, is a fabulous addition to white’s growing suite of card advantage options. It’s going to trigger a lot, and in certain pods, might even outperform a Rhystic Study. Does that make it anywhere near as good as Rhystic Study? No, not at all. It’s four mana with two pips for a start. 

Unexplained Absence is a removal spell I’m excited to pick up. It functions much like Grasp of Fate, except they have no chance of getting anything you exiled back. Instead, it’s a multi-shot Reality Shift that hits any nonland permanents. Phenomenal removal spell that can be grabbed with Sunforger too? I’m really liking this one


Case of the Shifting Visage is very easy to Solve provided you’re running enough self mill. This can be reanimator style with Incarnation Technique or Cemetery Tampering, or as all-in as a Mesmeric Orb. Copying every nonlegendary creature spell you cast is very good for three mana, and though you have to enable it, I’m very into it. 

Detective of the Month is a pretty decent token factory in any deck that has card draw stapled to a Commander like Tatyova, or in a deck centered around drawing those second cards, like Minn, Wily Illusionist. I feel like I’ve mentioned Minn a lot lately. If making 2/2s wasn’t enough, they’re basically always unblockable as well. Unfair in the Big Blue House.

I’m led to believe that this is a Columbo reference, but having never seen it, all I can say is that it’s about as subtle as your friend trying to go off and win in your end step after dropping this moustachioed menace into play.

I like Final-word Phantom, and for the most part it’ll be good for certain decks already playing some of their gameplan at Flash speed. Tidal Barracuda will still be more optimal for other decks, though, especially if they don’t have access to Grand Abolisher in white.

Follow the Bodies and you’ll find Academy Manufactor. Yes, another card that pops off with that blasted droid. Artifact tokens are indeed permanents that get put into graveyards, so if you crack a bunch of treasure, and spend it to crack Clues or Food, and then cast Follow the Bodies… it’s a ritual, one that can kill players over the top of Marionette Master or Persuasive Investigations.

Tangletrove Kelp kinda slaps? I’m not trying to Kombu, it really is a good card. This animates clues each combat, not just yours, and makes Cyberdrive Awakener look like a chump. Let’s be real, you’re running both, but the seaweed is probably going to keep you alive longer in the mid game rather than just being a finisher.


Eye of Duskmantle is probably not worth casting on curve. Sure, it’s seven mana to then cast everything in your bin in much the same way as using a Bolas’s Citadel, but the time it’ll take you to fill a yard and then get seven mana is ample time for your life total to drop and your graveyard to be picked bare. 

On the other hand, if you set this up using a reanimator engine? It’s going to take people by surprise. Another card that works well with Incarnation Technique, so check out my article on the best new-school sorceries in Commander.

Foreboding Steamboat seems like a pretty good deal. Though you don’t get to choose what your opponents exile, it will ensure they aren’t tokens, at least. Two from each player is a reasonable amount for five mana. The first two times you attack with it, you can drop your own exiled creatures into your yard, ensuring you don’t go willy-nilly into giving back too much tempo. 

I think this reads worse than it’ll play.

While an Unshakable Tail is the last thing a Rin and Seri deck would want, it’s actually not bad at all in self-mill decks and/or zombie decks. Having this out alongside Archghoul of Thraben seems like a fun time. Pretty solid little card.


Bolt Bend is my favourite budget spell in Commander, though it’s creeping toward $3. It’s obviously not as good as the more expensive Deflecting Swat, but it’s nearly always online.

There’s a long standing joke that the face down creature is always Willbender. Boltbender is good enough that I think it’ll challenge that preconception. 

Mob Verdict is a complex read, but the basics are that it’s an asymmetrical boardwipe when you’re behind, and either a card draw spell or a way to push through damage on a problem player when you’re ahead. I can’t think of many occasions where this will be a dead card. 

Prisoner’s Dilemma is a great burn spell. It’s going to deal a good amount of damage, it’s able to be flashed back, and it also scratches that itch that only multiplayer decision based cards can scratch. It’s a great way to spend a Mana Geyser if you have nothing better to do.


On the Trail is incredible, not just in lands decks, but also in Enchantress, or any deck that draws a lot of its cards by playing three to six mana creature into a Guardian Project or Beast Whisperer. I think this application is currently underappreciated and reflected in the card’s current price. 

Counterpoint is Desertion for Spelltable. 

Jokes about Dimir spells and Spelltable aside, Counterpoint is a solid payoff for being in a self-mill focused deck. You still might want Spellswindle instead, or the thopter variant from Neon Dynasty, but that doesn’t detract from the fact it’s a solid spell with plenty of applications.

Knowledge is Power is at its floor basically a static +2/+2 emblem in a deck that wants to run it. Sometimes it’ll be a lot higher, but vary rarely will it be lower. What makes it interesting is that though the times it’ll be lower will be on an opponent’s turn a lot of the time, you can use that as a way to gain some virtual card advantage by making attacks dicey for other players – your bodies could grow by +3/+3 with that open mana. Best friends with Rhystic Study/Mystic Remora, actually. 

Take the Bait is a nice trick for Boros to have at its disposal, especially when combined with ways to make things hurt even harder for an opponent. You’ve got Roar of Resistance for more damage, ways to give your opponent’s creatures menace when attacking people other than you, and of course Gisela, Blade of Goldnight.

Panoptik Projektor is an all around great pickup for any deck dabbling in face down creatures, whether Morph, Manifest, Disguised or Cloaked. It’s Kadena, plus a Panharmonicon for flipping things face up. If you don’t grab this precon you’re probably want the single.


The new Commanders in the precons are a gift, especially if you like certain archetypes or doing weird stuff.

I think it’s somewhat criminal that Wizards are using hybrid mana to get a two drop Naya creature, especially one that draws you cards. I kinda hate it. 

That said, that is the Kaust of greatness. And Kaust is a great card. Two mana! To draw cards!


Move aside Ayula and Wilson, there’s a three-color Bear Mom in town now. For all of those greedy enough to want more than the bear minimum of colors, Duskana adds red, because of course she does – she’s the Rage Mother. ROAR. 

Like any three color card printed lately, she draw a billion cards and has a win condition stapled to her. Barely any thought required, beyond which fantastic artworks or frames of pre-Innistrad bears you can’t bear to not play. 

I don’t love that Feather asks you to pay two for every copy when plenty of other creatures let you do it for free, but that’s because I’m being reactionary and not actually reading the card properly – and neither are you. The ones that let you copy multiple times a turn are generally instant and sorceries, and enchantments are usually just the once. And that’s what Feather wants to do: copy Auras. I think she’s a very viable Voltron Commander that can leverage Auras that goad opponents, because giving her Vigilance is a cinch and in Voltron she wants to be attacking anyways.


Two more cards to cover before we round things up. First off, Voja, Jaws of the Conclave, which you might find in your prerelease kit, but may as well be a Commander card cos you can’t play it. 

You can play it in EDH, though, and in EDH it’s a monster. It helms a dual-type deck that reminds me a bit of Sylvia & Khorvath, except with all the benefits of green and being printed in 2024: card advantage, and Ward. Naya wolves has been howling out for a good Commander for years now, so I’ll let them off. Card’s cracked. 

Finally, Tomik, Wielder of Law. Tomik lets you play Orzhov Planeswalkers in the same way you can play Golgari with Carth the Lion. I actually like it as a card quite a bit; it’s easy to keep playing it thanks to cost reduction on Commander tax through Affinity, and it not only protects your walkers, but also gives you cards and a bit of a repercussion for the opponent. 


The Murders at Karlov Manor Commander Precons offer some very interesting build arounds and some frighteningly good new cards that can be splashed in a variety of decks. 

Whether you fancy some singles or one of the precons has caught your eye, check out our coverage of precon upgrades and what we have available at