Top 20 Commander Cards from Murders at Karlov Manor
Hello and welcome back. It was only a month ago that I did the top 20 cards from Ravnica Remastered, which did indeed bring us a smattering of great cards to add to our decks. Today’s article is more about contemporary Ravnica, if only with a Fedora added atop the set. This article I will be picking another twenty cards from the set for your generic Commander picks pleasure.
And because I couldn’t get my list down to only ten.
Of course the rules still apply: No legendary cards that could be your commander. The cards I select are often generally good for a large number of strategies, but even if I get more specific than that I usually don’t pick a pet card that goes in a pet deck. Lastly, these cards will all be from the set proper, so nothing from the guest series or the Clue tie in (though there are some great ones in those).
This all means that I’m probably going to skip over some cards that are more specific to certain strategies, like cards with Cloak or some things that make Clue tokens, but not necessarily.
All that out of the way, what items of interest can we add to our commander vaults for consideration?
A ZIB OF MY THOUGHTS
I do want to preface this with an opinion about the set itself. In the circles I’m in at least, this set doesn’t seem to be making waves or being talked about too much. I’m not sure why that is but it is my belief that the cards themselves, outside of specifics like disguise and collect evidence, are generally pretty good as additions to the card pool for overall deck construction. So much so that, as I said, I picked twenty of the set’s cards.
Hopefully this just means we can get some stuff on the cheaper side, and I hope my picks shed some light on the set overall.
Also because I’m a Vorthos at heart, a Zib is the smallest full denomination of money on Ravnica.
This card really does a lot. It offers evasion early, comes in at instant speed, and stops a lot of powerful effects from ETBs. While still somewhat meta dependent, I think this easily covers enough areas to make it into most decks that want an effect like this, or want redundancy with things like Hushbringer or Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines. Be aware though, you are likely to become a target of the table playing such effects.
MAKE YOUR MOVE
Compared to most other kinds of removal, this isn’t going to win awards for efficiency on mana. Three is more than two or one, and that can count for a lot in a tight spot. However, I selected this card for its flexibility. I’m a big fan of one card being able to do multiple things, and removal that hits more than one target is always top of my list. It’s a good piece of redundancy if you need some and it won’t be hard to get.
CASE OF THE SHIFTING VISAGE
Not a lot of the new Case enchantments really appealed to me for Commander, but this is one of those few exceptions. Three mana to drop it and you get to scry 1 on your upkeep. Not the best early ability. The deck this most likely goes in however is easily going to get to that solved section where you get to copy nonlegendary creature spells. I’m thinking Volo, but other commanders like The Ancient One, Phenax, Sidisi Brood Tyrant, and similar self mill decks will love this card.
LOST IN THE MAZE
This one almost didn’t make the list, BUT I think there is a lot of… untapped… potential here. Another card with flash, this enchantment allows you to icy tap, or stun, some creatures. It’s a nice instant effect that can save yourself from some attack damage or stop some effects from triggering.
The last effect is why I included it. Your attackers or creatures that need to tap gain hexproof, which you can potentially turn on or off with access to Blue mana is very strong. It is a strong contender for Kasla the Broken Halo or Dynaheir Invoker Adept decks and it’s somewhat similar to how Saryth, the Viper’s Fang plays. I’m here for it.
Anything that essentially gives you free mana is good, and this acts to help pay for activated artifacts costs. Frankly, it’s a slam dunk for any deck that can use it, not that artifact decks needed help.
I think the idea behind the card was to help with the Clue tokens present in the set. Two mana can be a lot and this eases the burden. On top of that, it can make your Clue tokens easier to use.
It is also a potential combo piece as well, just remember it doesn’t reduce any costs past 1 mana.
The only Black card on the list, and it’s common. A tiny 1/1 with Menace, this can be part of an engine that powers through a whole deck. Sidisi Brood Tyrant is a good fit for this. Shirei might want this card as well depending on the build. Aristocrat decks might want to churn their decks. The card wont go everywhere, but this one drop has a lot of upside.
Vandalblast, Gruul style. It’s a one-sided wipe with the potential to grab you a free creature from your top X cards and dash it into play. While there is the potential for a big blow out if for some reason treasure tokens don’t get cracked, usually this is going to be an effective card against artifact centric decks.
Essentially doubles your treasure mana, gets larger, and is a potential combo piece. Great art, great flavor text. I’m not sure what more needs to be said to sell this card besides that it is an uncommon.
All of the buzz around this one doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. The body to cost is excellent, and flying and trample make it hard to block. Its second ability cracks the best land your opponents have. It also has very abusable card types. This would be a beast even if it wasn't worded to specifically counter Lotus Field.
Please use it responsibly.
CASE OF THE LOCKED HOTHOUSE
It’s a Green enchantment that cares about lands. You know it’s going to be good. Straight away you get an extra land drop, and solving the case requires you to have only 7 lands in play. If you’re playing a dedicated land deck, that’s maybe turn five. After that, you get to cast things off the top of your library. Keep in mind the first ability of the Case remains static and active, so you can play lands and get them out of the way to get to better top decks!
COERCED TO KILL
Alright, I admit it’s not the strongest effect since it humbles the creature it enchants. It is still a steal effect at the usual cost, gives deathtouch and the assassin creature type does have some relevance with cards like Etrata Dealy Fugitive and Ramses Assassin Lord. Other recent decks like Don Andres might also appreciate this.
FLOTSAM // JETSAM
Split cards are back, and they don’t disappoint. The first part here gets some cards into the graveyard and gives some draw with a Clue token. The second part here is the real deal. It mills your opponents and then lets you cast any spell in their graveyard without paying their mana cost. At only six mana this can be an absolute steal, pardon the pun. The second half of the card does depend on the game state when you cast it, but I think the upside here is easily worth waiting a turn or two.
An expensive draw spell with a variable board wipe tacked on. Sign me up! I love these kinds of cards, and I think it will find a home in big spell decks, planeswalker decks or possibly reanimator style decks. I just think it’s a fun card with good potential.
I’ve already come across this card in some games I’ve played, and the work it puts in is not to be underestimated. Turning all of your tokens into mana dorks is great. What’s better is that this enchantment provides those tokens when creatures leave your graveyard, and it makes the tokens bigger every time that happens! The snowball effect will easily overwhelm your opponents as found out the hard way.
A very interesting way to reuse some spells. You reload it by collecting evidence, which enables it to attack and you get one of those spells back to cast if it is an instant or sorcery. Then it goes back to your deck on the bottom.
This reminds of Ill-Timed Explosion above, where I might want to use big spells but this time spells I can get a discount on. Wheel effects and discard seems good. River Song might like this card a bit, and it’s a good way to get momentum again after a wipe since it can dodge them a bit.
NO MORE LIES
Hot new counter magic and it takes no tales. While it does give the opponent an option to pay the 3 to get it nullified, the fact that this counters any spell and not just noncreatures spells, which is prevalent at the 2 MV slot, is fantastic.
PUSH // PULL
It seems like this card was made for battle, just like the Mardu. The removal side of the card isn’t the best, BUT it does come with some upside of nabbing an early mana dork and setting someone back. It’s too bad the first part of the card is a sorcery.
The second part of the card allows you to grab two creatures from a single graveyard and hammer someone with them. ETBs and LTBs are also something to consider. It also sacrifices the creatures instead of exiling them, making it a great card to use on your own graveyard.
Another counterspell on this list. While you can add counters to a creature, you don’t have to. You do have to have a legal target, but the card often wouldn’t work if you didn’t anyway since
Your opponent has the option of paying mana equal to the greatest power you have on board to try and nullify the counter magic. It’s a great Simic take on the effect, and I doubt most players are going to have the 6 plus mana this card will often need to be defeated.
This is some great card draw, drain and gain for the mana cost, but it is situational. At instant speed it does give us some windows in which to cast the card.
First, there is the creature that survives combat, maybe one that’s about to die due to an effect at end of turn or a creature that blocked that can be sacrificed to feed an engine. First strike or double strike also allow us to get this card onto the stack. Lastly, it doesn’t say that the creature needs to deal combat damage, so a pinger like Kessig Flamebreather or a creature that fights or has the “archer” ability would also work.
I grabbed a few of these myself. Luckily the card is in colors that provide for easy recursion and death abilities.
Muster the Legion indeed. Impact Tremors stapled to an anthem (+1/+1) effect, this card is efficient, easy to understand, and will help eliminate opponents in short order. Any go wide xRW strategy is going to consider this card. Heck, I’m putting it into my Feather burn/blink deck where arguably the anthem doesn’t matter. It’s a great pick up.
Also, I’d like a playmat. I hope they make one.
Once again we step foot on Ravnica. Its cobbled streets and stonework towers hide countless stories of which we only saw one of. Or twenty. I had many cards I wanted on this list, but ended up cutting the more narrow ones. Many cards in this set are going to find a home, and it’s a bit of a shame that they aren’t talked about more.
Regardless, I hope this article highlights some of the cards and lets them shine in the decks of players at every table.
Until next time, don’t parley next to any windows.