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The Last Karlov Manor Previews

I found a few cards in this set to look at and wrap up this investigation. This set is especially exciting given we're also going back to the Pro Tours after what feels like an eternity, and this will be the first set when we return.

Intrude the Mind

This is an interesting mythic rare that plays like a Fact or Fiction variant. This will often be an instant-speed 3/3 flier that draws two cards for five mana. That's a pretty pushed rate, but it still feels slow for present-day Standard where we have incredibly powerful three-drops.

Intrude the Mind will play well in flash-style controlling decks, so it has an opportunity to fill a role. However, it's too expensive for most formats and potentially too slow in Standard. This leaves it as a bomb for Limited, which is always a big miss.

You can do some cool things with this card, such as casting it in combat and making piles of 5/0 or 4/1 to ambush an important creature or draw a bunch of cards.

This card may have enough juice if the Standard format is slow and grindy. I could even see this card in small numbers in a Pioneer Creativity deck, but it's likely just worse than Shark Typhoon.

Reenact the Crime

Reenact the Crime looks powerful at a glance, but the more you think about it, the less exciting it feels. In a dream scenario, we're doing something like discarding something expensive and powerful like an Ulamog, Emrakul, or in Standard an Atraxa will have to do, and then Reenacting our desired payoff.

As you set this up by digging for pieces with looting effects you have to accomplish the entire combo in one turn. Then, you are just reanimating a giant creature or spell, so it's a combination of a bad Mizzix's Mastery or Zombify. The upside is you are casting the copy, and you will get on-cast effects, but the setup seems too ambitious when there are easier ways in eternal formats, like Through the Breach, to put a creature in play. In Standard formats, we don't get much better than a reanimation of an Atraxa, but there are more straightforward ways to accomplish this action.

After all these hoops, the card is weak to graveyard hate, which is abundant these days. While the card looks powerful and right up my alley, it seems too much to ask to have to target a card that went to the graveyard in the same turn along with the casting cost of Cryptic Command.

Krenko's Buzzcrusher

Krenko's Buzzcrusher slightly resembles Town-Razer Tyrant, one of the more powerful cards from the original Alchemy sets.

Krenko's Buzzcrusher is templated in a weird way where it doesn't target lands, which gets around the hexproof ability of Lotus Field in Pioneer. However, one big issue is that this is a four-mana card, and if you try to cast this on turn four against Lotus Field on the draw, you are still potentially already dead. While this card is playable in other match-ups, it's not very good. I'd rather have Damping Sphere in basically every deck.

I think if they wanted to make a card like this to specifically handle Lotus Field, a narrow and low-percent deck, they should have made a three-mana version that could attack the deck on the play and draw.

Case of the Ransacked Lab

I wanted to highlight the new card type Case. None of them thus far look great, but this one is interesting and potentially powerful. A common play pattern with this would be either slamming it on turn three, untapping and casting a bunch of cantrips to solve the case, and then getting a huge boost of card advantage. Cards with flashback or jump-start, like Radical Idea and Think Twice, would make this card trivial to flip, but the problem is a deck focusing on this card would be filled with air. Unless you want to play this card in a deck like Phoenix in Pioneer or a Storm deck in Modern, it wouldn't have a great home, as you'd fall too far behind on tempo in most cases. On top of that, cards like Boseiju and Otawara exist, which would embarrass the effort put into solving this.

The card type is certainly interesting, but I'm not in love with any of the Cases at first glance.

Archdruid's Charm

Archdruid's Charm has potential to see play alongside Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth in a dedicated lands deck potentially with Field of the Dead, Valakut, or the likes.

It's hard to cast, clunky, and most modes are not efficient enough for Modern-day MTG. We're no longer in a world where you get too many bonus points for versatility. You need your cards to be consistently great. Outside of an instant-speed Rampant Growth with no Basic restriction, I'm not excited to put this card in my stompy Mono-Green deck or anything.

The search-a-land mode is strong if what you want to do is supported in a Mono-Green deck. Llanowar Elves into turn two cast this for Nykthos, turn three cast a Cavalier of the Thorns is a thing you can do, but Nykthos is more powerful when you're playing permanents every turn and not using a crucial turn to spend mana to put it into play.

My hunch is this will see some play in some deck at some point, and its existence is something to keep in mind. It's not an every-Mono-Green-deck card like Archmage's Charm, which was completely busted if you could cast it easily.

Fugitive Codebreaker

This is a solid-looking card. Fugitive Codebreaker reminds me a lot of Den Protector as a morph with a value mechanic. The difference is that Fugitive Codebreaker requires you to consider it more when building your deck, but it's also a much better two-drop.

As a two-drop in any deck filled with spells, whether that be a dedicated Izzet Prowess-style deck or a Mono-Red-Burn deck, it can threaten to deal tons of damage when unanswered. As the game develops, you can then start chaining them while you empty your hand. A perfect midgame scenario is you have four to five lands, five spells in your graveyard, and you can morph this for three, flip it in the same turn to reload your hand, and still deal some damage. This will play through cards like Aether Gust and Disdainful Stroke, which is a nice added benefit.

This card looks strong enough because it's serviceable at two mana, and it will often be your best draw in the midgame in a deck that wants this card.

I hope I get to play a tier-one deck with this card in the near future.

Long Goodbye

Long Goodbye is a nice format staple for Standard. With the introduction of Disguise to MTG, we got a removal spell that can fight through Ward, which impacts disguised creatures and cards like Raffine. In many cases, this will be less efficient than Cut Down, but it will be more consistent in killing what you want and trading up on mana.

It's a card we'll be seeing a good amount of in Standard and potentially eternal formats. While eternal format players tend to play cheaper creatures, Long Goodbye is not that efficient compared to more powerful removals like Fatal Push, but it also hits cards like Wrenn and Six. I suspect we'll see a lot of this card in the coming couple of years of Magic. Even if it's not super exciting, it's just a solid bread-and-butter Magic card.

Ezrim, Agency Chief

Ezrim looks incredible. A five-mana 5/5 flyer will often dominate the skies. The ability to gain hexproof with an activation means you need to kill this with the trigger on the stack if you're lucky, or often not at all. While this isn't as unbeatable as Dream Trawler since it can technically be raced, I'm excited to try this card in Standard in place of Ao because it will be more difficult to manage, still provides immediate value, and slides right into Esper decks with Raffine.

This is a Baneslayer and Mulldrifter rolled into one. The more food you have to feed it, the better it becomes. While five mana cards have a high bar to clear, I think this gets through.

Murders at Karlov Manner looks kind of exciting. At first, the power level looked tame, but I think it got itself up to being solid. There don't look to be any flashy cards like Fable of the Mirror Breaker that will definite formats for years to come, but there are a lot of interesting designs that could create new archetypes or potentially push A-tier decks into the S-tier.

I'm already booked and have all accommodations set up for the 75k in Chicago at the Pro Tour. I'm excited to get back to playing paper Standard for the first time in years. I hope to see you there.

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