The full spoilers for Murders at Karlov Manor are finally out. Magic: The Gathering's new expansion hits stores on February 9 with a mystery-solving theme as the game's plot paves the way for its next major arc.
The new set has a smaller impact than expected for eternal formats, with a low number of cards with relevant potential for the format - perhaps, like the calm before the power spike storm that the next Modern Horizons can bring.
In this article, we review its seven best cards for Modern!
The Seven Best Cards from Murders At Karlov Manor for Modern
7 - Break Out
Collected Company was once a staple and a pillar of some of the format's main archetypes in the pre-MH2 era. Today, the card has been relegated to oblivion. Break Out operates as a mini-Collected Company with a higher color requirement and the bonus of granting haste to the chosen creature.
In Modern, the threats that come into its scope aren't always the best to bring into play in this way. For example, Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer already has the ability to Dash and being able to return it to the hand is important in certain matchups, and Orcish Bowmasters doesn't have a good body and part of its appeal is to cast it on your opponent's turn to kill a creature or punish a draw.
Break Out works best with big, cheap “old Modern” creatures like Tarmogoyf or Death’s Shadow. It is possible that it will find a home in the Domain Zoo variants where Territorial Kavu and Nishoba Brawler perform the function of pressing the board with large bodies and have either evasion or triggers when attacking, and it may deserve some testing in Temur Prowess, but Expressive Iteration already does an excellent job of finding threats while offering card advantage.
6 - Doorkeeper Thrull
When compared to these, the Thrull stands out for its ability to respond to the Evokers, or cards like Primeval Titan and Archon of Cruelty, in addition to also blocking abilities triggered by artifacts, like The One Ring and Sigarda's Aid when Colossus Hammer comes into play.
The new creature competes directly with Strict Proctor, whose ability is more comprehensive and conditional as the game goes on, so there may be Metagames where Doorkeeper Thrull is a little more efficient against the format.
5 - Pick Your Poison
Pick Your Poison had a bit more shine before Archdruid’s Charm was revealed, but it remains one of the most elegant modal cards in the game's history and an effective sideboard piece for eternal formats.
Its big advantage is the mix of low cost and scope: Pick Your Poison is an excellent answer against hate from permanents like Blood Moon and Cursed Totem in archetypes where other enchantments or artifacts don't usually exist, and its ability to deal with flying creatures increases its scope by being an answer against Murktide Regent and others without the need to dedicate more slots to it.
Urza’s Saga is another card that the new spell can respond to easily, given the low rate of enchantments in the lists that run it. However, it loses effectiveness as more permanents of a specific category come into play - against Hammer Time, for example, it is excellent at dealing with enchantments, but terrible at destroying Colossus Hammer.
Its scope can guarantee it some occasional space on the Sideboard on green decks, especially those that prioritize mana efficiency.
4 - No More Lies
Its biggest advantage is being another pitch for Solitude, which is much better in a more aggressive early game than Counterspell. Its exile clause also matters in Modern against recurring threats and/or cards that can benefit its owner in the graveyard.
In general, No More Lies still seems worse than Counterspell for Azorius Control's game proposal, but the white mana in its cost makes a lot of difference in the number of cards needed to play with Solitude.
3 - Kylox’s Voltstrider
Kylox's Voltstrider doesn't look all that exciting in a format without access to Force of Will to fuel its evidence cost alongside cheap spells, but the vehicle may deserve some testing on Temur Rhinos due to the way it interacts with different cards of the archetype.
In addition to dodging cascade, the new artifact is a respectable threat on the battlefield and whose crew cost can be paid with Shardless Agent or by exiling a pair of cards like Fire // Ice, Boom // Bust (whose total mana value is four), Lorien Revealed and any other spell in the deck, allowing its controller to extract more value from its effects.
The problem is that Kylox’s Voltstrider doesn't seem to have space currently. Tishana's Tidebinder has become a staple because it is the best Stifle effect the format has had in years and fits into the mana values that Rhinos can cast, and the other slots seem very flexible to respond to Metagame. The new vehicle deserves testing in this archetype, but I have doubts as to where it could fit.
2 - Archdruid’s Charm
Archdruid’s Charm is a notoriously powerful card, and its flexibility is worth considering in the maindeck or in the Sideboard of archetypes like Amulet Titan and Golgari Yawgmoth.
However, the cost is quite restrictive in the first few turns and makes it a little less reliable and efficient in dealing with Blood Moon and the like. Additionally, Archdruid's Charm has a less efficient tutor module than Summoner's Pact, Eldritch Evolution, and Chord of Calling in their respective lists.
The new spell is likely to find a home in decks with Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, and I wouldn't be surprised if it proves more efficient in practice. After all, in addition to functioning as a tutor, the card is also a maindeck answer against some of the format's main hates, such as Blood Moon and Cursed Totem, and we can even use another of its modules and a creature to destroy Magus of the Moon.
1 - Insidious Roots
While Archdruid’s Charm is the card with the greatest individual power in the new expansion for Modern, Insidious Roots stands out as the spell with the greatest archetype-defining potential in the format.
The new enchantment has an almost guaranteed home in Asmo Food lists, which has the interaction between The Underworld Cookbook with Ovalchase Daredevil to create various chain effects with cards like Stalactite Stalker and Inti, Seneschal of the Sun. By benefiting the player with board presence every time a card leaves their graveyard, Insidious Roots gives an excellent reason for this archetype to return to the green variants, and perhaps even include the famous Cauldron Familiar and Witch's Oven combo to extract even more value from it while holding the game.
Insidious Roots also has combos with other cards and archetypes. Zombardment can benefit from it through the interaction between Gravecrawler and zombies, and can even deal infinite damage if there are easy ways to grant haste to the tokens. Also, one of the format's best decks, Golgari Yawgmoth can run the enchantment alongside its Undying loops to make a huge amount of tokens with large bodies, since creatures will be repeatedly leaving the graveyard, which might be a bit overkill, but it's worth considering as well.
It's unlikely that this enchantment will break Modern or change the Metagame to the point of taking over it, but it's an excellent card to build around, and already has great interactions with known archetypes, making it the best card in Murders at Karlov Manor for the format.
That's all for today.
If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment!
Thanks for reading!