We now have more insight into what's going on with the Murders at Karlov Manor, including more previews and new game mechanics. Let's first look at the new mechanics.
Disguise is a fresh new look at morph. Like morph, a disguised creature can be cast face down and then turned face up after paying the morph or disguise cost. The only difference between disguise and morph is that a disguised creature has ward 2.
This is a cool but uninspired spin on morph. It will also lead to obnoxious situations in paper Magic where people forget it has ward and judge calls about taking back a play are made.
Collect evidence is a more inspired mechanic that feels similar to delve. If you want the additional benefit, you exile a casting cost worth of cards from your graveyard equal or greater to the number on the card as an additional cost.
This is a cool mechanic that is a delve and delirium mix where getting cards into your graveyard provides value as games progress. I'm interested to see how this plays out in Limited and Constructed.
Let's get into some previews.
No More Lies
No More Lies jumps out to many old-school gamers. Mana Leak was a controversial card in Standard sets, but since then Magic has come a long way. It's been time for a while to bring it back.
No More Lies is more restrictive on where it can be played as a gold card, which will make it less ubiquitous across Standard and Pioneer. I could see this backfiring and being a bad thing. It will narrow where we can play such a strong card and what cards can be played with it, but I like this twist in a large Standard with a much longer rotation.
This card is a surefire staple in both Pioneer and Standard.
Massacre Girl, Known Killer
While a cool callback to a sweet card and character, Massacre Girl, Known Killer has a big problem: Having the same casting cost as Sheoldred, the Apocalypse. Massacre Girl, Known Killer wants you to get into combat and trade off creatures so that you draw cards via the wither mechanic, but that's not what competitive Constructed is about these days. I suspect this card will sit in trade binders and Limited decks.
Krenko, Baron of Tin Street
I haven't had enough time to process how far you can push this version of Krenko, but this card looks incredibly strong. A 3/3 haste for 3 is at rate for a playable creature if we get something extra, and this has a built-in lord effect and a way to generate creatures in true Krenko style.
Krenko seems ripe for abuse in older formats that already play Goblins. While it will need a lot of support, it may have some legs in Standard as well. Krenko will play especially nice with clue, treasure, and food tokens.
This card isn't busted since it needs help, but we'll likely see a lot of builds revolving around this card in eternal formats. You can probably already find something on my friend and teammate Jim Davis's stream.
Wrath of God, Depopulate, or whatever you want to compare it to, will be just as good as those variants. There's not much to say about this one because it's mostly a carbon reprint of former versions with the flavor of the new set.
It's a solid option in all formats that want this effect, but in modern-day Magic, we can't rely on it for too much since threats have become more powerful and diversified.
Sharp-Eyed Rookie takes evolve to the next level. This creature can grow as long as you continue to cast bigger and bigger creatures, and you get a card of value in the form of a clue with this card. Sharp-Eyed Rookie only needs to trigger twice for it to be incredible, and even once you can evaluate it as a two-mana, 3/3 vigilance that produces a clue.
The card looks solid in curve-out green decks with high-creature density. We don't have many of those at the moment in Standard, but I could see a sequence of Sharp-Eyed Rookie, Glissa, and Sheoldred as a 2-3-4 punch that puts the screws to the opponent, as they're all must-kills.
One aspect I like about Sharp-Eyed Rookie is that while it asks you to play directly into sweepers, it also gives you clue tokens to help replace the cards you lost, which will be important in tight, grindy games.
Sharp-Eyed Rookie is a two-drop that will likely see play in the right home, but it's not a staple or a card you want to build around, as cracking clues isn't cheap.
This appears to be the first Constructed-focused disguise creature. It looks interesting and like a mash-up of both Exalted Angel and Angel of Serenity.
Aurelia's Vindicator, even cast at four mana, gives you an evasive creature that can be tough to kill with ward 2 on the front side that also wins races on behalf of the lifelink.
If disguised and flipped, Aurelia's Vindicator can sweep your opponent's board and provide a huge tempo boost and maybe pick up creatures from your graveyard so that you can potentially loop multiple copies, much like we used to do with Angel of Serenity.
The way Aurelia's Vindicator reads, I believe we can exile creatures permanently by making it leave play before the resolution of its trigger, potentially with a bounce spell or flicker effect.
Aurelia Vindicator's 2 toughness is a huge strike against, as the card might have some legs in Standard otherwise. It trades with creatures like Faerie Mastermind and dies to Shock, which makes it less exciting.
There's a world where this card sees some play since it can go over the top of any creature deck given enough mana. Sadly, I don't think we live in that world, and the real draw would be a large lifelink flier rather than a cool disguise card we want to play for its awesome ability. Maybe the full package has it end up somewhere in some numbers.
Last but not least for this week, we have Surveil Lands.
These lands are all playable and direct callbacks to the Scry lands, though they're better for a few reasons. For one, by surveiling, you can add cards to your graveyard to be used in a myriad of ways.
Another huge reason these are better is that they are fetchable. I'm curious to see what number of these we see played in Modern, but my guess is that every deck playing a lot of fetches will want a single copy to turn fetches into lands that can scry in grindier, longer games.
You may even see these in a format like Legacy where you want to put a specific card in your graveyard. You can fetch an Undercity Sewers, put surveil on the stack, cast Brainstorm, and put an Atraxa into the graveyard to Animate Dead.
These are going to see play, and while the full utility isn't as easily used in Standard or Pioneer, we will see them beyond those formats.
We likely want to avoid playing them in Standard and Pioneer because we've seen in recent years how punishing it can be to play tapped lands off-curve.
I will for sure pick up a set of these, and I'm excited to see how they play in Cube since they're fetchable and provide a unique way to put cards in the graveyard.
So far the set looks mundane and nothing jumps out as a card I need to build around or that will affect the formats too much. No Lies Told is my current pick for the most exciting card, and while it's strong, I hope we see something more exciting next week.