Best Modern Cards from Murders at Karlov Manor

Ben Fraley
January 30, 2024


On February 2nd Murders at Karlov Manor is set to release, a standard set with a surprising amount of very interesting and powerful cards for Modern. With the set’s release date, the US regional championship will occur only a week after the cards are out with the only significant data coming from SCG Hartford’s Modern 10k the weekend before.


Archdruid’s Charm

Archdruid's Charm (Murders at Karlov Manor #151)

Archdruid’s Charm, though at first glance offers 3 modes, offers closer to 5 modes in reality. These modes being the ability to tutor any land to the field, creature to your hand, exile an artifact, exile an enchantment, or grow your creature and “bite” something. This is an insane amount of flexibility but comes at a cost of triple green mana. Triple green is restricting enough that no current deck can slot it right now, but given the rise of a green deck with the mana requirements met, it offers a very powerful effect.

Some people have argued to fit the card within Amulet Titan or Yawgmoth. However, these decks are incredibly tight with few flex spots and the mana cost is too difficult and high to be worth those slots. Amulet struggles to cast a triple green spell efficiently as its main way of producing mana produces 2 mana at a time with only 1 mana being green. Casting Archdruid’s Charm would either require a Dryad of the Ilysian Grove or wasting a lot of mana. While the card is assuredly powerful it simply won’t make the cut. 

Others have argued for its inclusion in Yawgmoth as it is a creature tutor, ramp spell, and versatile removal. This is not worth it as the flex spots within Yawgmoth are taken by silver bullet creature cards that can be found by Chord of Calling. Effectively five Haywire Mites and five Endurances are better than 1-2 Archdruid’s Charms. The mana is also difficult as Chord of Calling is a triple green spell but is castable primarily off of convoking your creatures, which with the release of Orcish Bowmasters is now more difficult.  


Pick Your Poison

Pick Your Poison (Murders at Karlov Manor #170)

Pick your Poison is a one mana removal spell for Artifacts, Enchantments, and Flying Creatures. This card is very strong. While the sacrifice effect is weak against decks that are focused on that card type, many of the most powerful cards hated on in this format are the only cards of that type in the deck. Additionally “Each Opponent Sacrifices” gets around protection effects like hexproof, indestructible, or with The One Ring specifically, protection from everything. Being sorcery speed may stop this card from seeing widespread play but the ability to hit Urza’s Saga Turn 1, Amulet of Vigors, the One Ring, and Murktide Regent with one card creates a lot of versatility at an aggressive cost.  


Crime Novelist

Crime Novelist (Murders at Karlov Manor #121)

Crime Novelist is by no means an incredibly powerful card, but it is a combo piece through and through. Creating mana whenever you sacrifice an artifact plays very well with the Thopter Sword combo (Sword of the Meek and Thopter Foundry) as it creates the mana necessary to gain infinite life and create infinite thopters. I don’t believe thopter sword will become a meta game constant by any means but an additional little boost to smaller archetypes is always welcome and helps diversify the meta. 


New Rare Lands

Meticulous Archive (Murders at Karlov Manor #264) Hedge Maze (Murders at Karlov Manor #262) Thundering Falls (Murders at Karlov Manor #269)

The next three cards I was initially very skeptical of. The rare lands in this set are a great power level. They are constructed playable but not immediate staples. This new cycle of cards are two-color lands with basic land types that Surveil 1 when entering the battlefield. This means they are fetchable and provide card selection to decks that frequently have unspent mana. While decks like UR Murktide care about the graveyard, they can not afford a tapped land on turns 1-3 and sometimes even later on. Temur Rhinos on the other hand often does not use all their mana each turn, and with 8 Haymakers in the deck card selection in fetchlands is incredibly valuable. UW Control is another deck that has been putting up a strong showing recently can likely afford one of the Surveil lands. While it is unclear which one they may choose, whether it is UW for mana consistency, or some other color combination to ensure a high domain count for Leyline Binding. I have no doubt these lands will see consistent play as 1-of’s in decks with high fetch counts.


Insidious Roots

Insidious Roots (Murders at Karlov Manor #208)

Insidious Roots is by far the most puzzling card of the set. At first glance I thought nothing of the card, however later considering the implications within the Yawgmoth deck I was sure it was broken. I have gone back and forth on the card and I now believe that the card is assuredly playable in the deck, but if it is the most optimal is undecided. The card has two objectively powerful lines of text. The first turns all your tokens, plants from itself or Khalni Garden, Bowmasters, or Grist into mana dorks for any color. The second says “Whenever one or more creature cards leave your graveyard, create a 0/1 green Plant creature token, then put a +1/+1 counter on each Plant you control.” With Yawgmoth the card triggers on both Cauldron activation and Undying triggers. This generates a plant to then remove the counter from the undying creature. This then allows the execution of the typical Yawgmoth loop, but every other Yawgmoth activation can shrink an opponents creature. You do not have to sacrifice the plant though, instead sacrificing other random creatures, Bowmasters, Orc Armies, Halflings or whatever each will create an increasingly large army. This is great for blocking Rhinos, or simply for attacking for lots of damage. With Yawgmoth and two Undying Creatures the enchantment will create increasingly large tokens with with a total power of (n(n+1))/2. This card also works incredibly well with other synergies that have creatures leave the graveyard. The Underworld Cookbook + Ovalchase Daredevil will create a plant each turn and multiple cookbooks, something easy to achieve with Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar and Urza’s Saga each finding them. 


No More Lies

No More Lies (Murders at Karlov Manor #221)

No More Lies at its base does not seem like an exciting modern card. However, it’s secret modes are what matter. An effective counterspell for UW instead of UU is significantly easier on the manabase of UW control which runs a lot of basics, plus it is Blue and White! This means it is a counterspell that can pitch to Subtlety, Force of Negation AND Solitude. This by no means replaces counterspell, but is likely to be a 1-2 of in the deck. The exile clause is also relevant against decks that card about their graveyard like Cauldron decks (Yawg and Scalles) and stuff like Murktide where one card can be the difference in casting Murktide or hitting Delirium.