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Outrageous Robbery Murders at Karlov Manor Art by Kai Carpenter

Murders at Karlov Manor (MKM) Limited Set Review: Black

J2SJosh reviews and rates every card from Murders at Karlov Manor (MKM) for limited!

Hey everyone! It’s time to slap on my detective hat and solve some cases in Magic: The Cluening. We all know that it was really Urza with the Candelabra of Tawnos in the Library of Alexandria. Wait, you’re telling me it wasn’t?  Uh oh, I’ll leave all of that to Scooby and the gang then. While they are solving some mysteries, I’ll be reviewing the full set of Murders at Karlov Manor.

Per usual, I’ll be grading the entire set for the purpose of limited as well as writing about a million other articles about it. With all that, you’ll be well prepared to crush some serious dreams.

Here’s the usual grading scale:


Agency Coroner

Rating: 1.5/5

I’m sure there will be times where this will clog up the board and make all of your removal awkward. The problem is that this coroner built up so much student debt training for this job that he has to charge an exorbitant rate just to make those payments (I feel you buddy). Most decks won’t ever want to be paying those prices.  

Alley Assailant

Rating: 1.5/5

The comes into play tapped Centaur Courser is a sad state of affairs. That’s probably why he’s resorting to jumping people in an alley. The drain three is a nice way to finish them off, but you’re still paying a pretty penny to get there.

Barbed Servitor

Rating: 2.5/5

An interesting take on Brash Taunter that is flavorful for its piece of the color pie. There are times that this will feel insane, but it feels like it could play out awkwardly if you don’t have a way to clear it from being a suspect so that it can block.

As long as it’s suspected, it is functionally a four mana Phyrexian Arena that they can pay life to deny you the draw. They just choose to never block it and that’s what you end up with.

There are also multiple cards that give -x-x in the set including the common Slice from the Shadows.

Basilica Stalker

Rating: 1.5/5

Five isn’t too unreasonable of a cost to unmorph this, it’s just going to be in that range where it sometimes makes the cut, sometimes it doesn’t.

Case of the Gorgon’s Kiss

Rating: 3.5/5

The optimum way to flip this is to get a trade while they also “eat” one of your attackers. You play this to kill their large creature and ta duh, one Gorgon with deathtouch and lifelink. As long as you are the aggressor, this can end games in a hurry. Since the creatures can come from anywhere, that includes surveil or looting.

While it does have a massive ceiling, the reason this isn’t higher is because the fail case is pretty bad. When you’re behind, you’re going to have trouble getting any value out of it.

Case of the Stashed Skeleton

Rating: 2.5/5

A 2/1 menace that can’t block for two mana isn’t exactly something I’m thrilled to play. One of the benefits of this one is that they don’t ever want to kill it because then you get a Demonic Tutor out of it. You can also get there by sacrificing it or using one of the random cards that makes it no longer suspected.

Cerebral Confiscation

Rating: 1.5/5

While you don’t get anything thrown in when you Mind Rot, you do have the option to Coercion them for their best card in a situation where they have more than two cards. This will be a good sideboard card that might be a starter in some decks.

Clandestine Meddler

Rating: 2.0/5

This is a card that you only really want to be playing in an aggressive deck. Those surveils can add up on your newly evasive creature, but this does very little if you don’t have another creature out when you play it.

Deadly Cover-Up

Rating: 4.0/5

That is a whole lot of text to say that it’s a five mana Wrath of God which you’re always happy to be jamming. Maybe you’ll catch them with multiples of something, but that other text is mostly a constructed thing.

Extract a Confession

Rating: 2.5/5

The great thing about this is that it gets around the ward two on their disguise creatures. It also isn’t a dead draw in the late game or against tokens since you can make them sac their biggest critter.

Festerleech

Rating: 2.5/5

This is great for feeding your graveyard with fodder for collecting evidence. It is also a Snarling Wolf in a color that usually doesn’t get as efficient creatures as Green does. The threat of activation on the pump should make sure that this gets through to trigger that mill.

The mill being optional is another small benefit for this card.

Homicide Investigator

Rating: 3.5/5

Making your dead creatures replace themselves is a sweet little bonus on a bear. While it does only trigger once a turn, you can get one on both your own and your opponent’s turn. That’s a lot of potential gas out of a two mana card.

Hunted Bonebrute

Rating: 3.0/5

It’s cool that they did a throwback to the old school Ravnica hunted creatures. This one can even get around giving them the doggos by disguising itself first. It puts a ton of pressure on them to double block it early so that they don’t get within range of its death trigger.

Illicit Masquerade

Rating: 2.0/5

You need to have creatures worth bringing back in your graveyard and then play this preferably when you have multiple creatures about to die to do the graveyard shuffle. I’ve been to much better masquerades, but this does have some decent potential.

It Doesn’t Add Up

Rating: 1.5/5

I normally love the five-mana reanimation spells with a bonus like Defossilize. I don’t think being required to suspect it is actually a bonus because sometimes you need to bring a blocker back. That just doesn’t add up for me.

Lead Pipe

Rating: 1.5/5

You need to be in a deck trying to race them to zero to want this. Otherwise it’s just an expensive to equip Bonesplitter. The ability just feels lackluster compared to the rest of the cycle.

Leering Onlooker

Rating: 3.5/5

I love this one with all of the surveil running around. Just drop it in the yard and enjoy your free value from those two instant speed bats. While a 1/3 flyer isn’t great, it does only cost two and they aren’t exactly thrilled if they have to use a spell to deal with it.

Long Goodbye

Rating: 3.0/5

I guess it’s time to tell Smother that it’s not them, it’s me. Actually, it was them, but we’ll let them keep a minimal amount of dignity. Not being able to be countered is a nice way to ignore all the ward running around on a cheap removal spell.

Macabre Reconstruction

Rating: 2.0/5

Getting to Soul Salvage for two mana is a bargain and it’s not too difficult to trigger considering that you want creatures in the graveyard for this anyway. One nifty trick is to surveil a creature in there for a one way ticket to discount city.

Massacre Girl, Known Killer

Rating: 4.0/5

There will definitely be games where this plays more like a 5.0. The reason I have it here is because it can die cleanly to removal without any value.

This makes combat miserable for your opponents, they can’t really attack in or block well without letting you draw a bunch of cards. For best results you can combine it with things such as Hard-Hitting Question.

Murder

Rating: 3.0/5

Straight up Murder is only a 3.0 these days because a double pipped removal spell that gives no additional value just isn’t the same these days. You’ll take them and be glad you have them, just not as thrilled about it as you used to be.

Nightdrinker Moroii

Rating: 1.5/5

I’m certainly never going to be happy hitting myself for three to play this. Even when I disguise it, it’s going to just be meh.

Outrageous Robbery

Rating: 3.0/5

Opponent’s deck way better than yours? Then steal their cards with this bad boy and go to town. It also has the option of milling the rest of their deck out of nowhere.

In most cases you would prefer to be able to draw cards off of your deck since they are more inline with what you are doing. Still an instant speed draw X cards spell can be really good.

Persuasive Interrogators

Rating: 2.5/5

Being able to just kill them with five clues is a pretty sweet win condition in a format that lets you pump them out easily. It even gives you a head start by giving you that first clue when it ETBs.

Polygraph Orb

Rating: 1.5/5

Too expensive for the front end of it and not quick enough on the back. Though there are certainly going to be times that this is groan inducing. Usually you want more if you’re spending five mana at sorcery speed while blasting yourself for two.

Presumed Dead

Rating: 2.0/5

This being an uncommon is beneficial because people won’t be playing around it as often as they normally do with these effects. Getting to trade up and potentially get another ETB is pretty good for two mana. It also brings back disguised creatures face up at a nice little discount.  

Repeat Offender

Rating: 1.5/5

This assassin just doesn’t know how to keep themselves out of trouble. Mana sinks don’t have the value that they used to, but sometimes you just need a two drop with slight upside.

Rot Farm Mortipede

Rating: 2.5/5

Combine this with a bunch of ways to collect evidence and it’s going to turn into a real problem for your opponent. You can also trigger it with Macabre Reconstruction since it just says leaves your graveyard, not exile. It’ll pull you so far ahead that they are going to be forced to make an awkward double block against the color that is full of removal.

Slice from the Shadows

Rating: 2.5/5

This gets past the ward on disguise creatures and can be used as a combat trick. Most of the time it’s going to be a slightly overcosted removal. Think about it like this, you are almost always going to be paying at least one more mana than they did for their creature.

Slimy Dualleech

Rating: 2.5/5

This is a nice way to turn your smaller creatures into legitimate threats that they can’t just eat when you send them in. Even on its own, it is still a 3/4 deathtouch on attack. I would have preferred it always had deathtouch for defensive purposes, but its fine how it is.

Snarling Gorehound

Rating: 2.0/5

This should be able to crack in for a few damage early while providing a decent amount of Surveils along the way. It’ll be one of those cards that ends up doing way more than you think for only one mana.

Soul Enervation

Rating: 3.0/5

This is fairly costed removal that has the upside of possibly being able to throw in a few drains later on. Compared to Murder, you’re paying more for less on the kill, but the drains even it out.

Toxin Analysis

Rating: 2.0/5

One mana tricks always play better than they look and this one can even replace itself. Best with first strike so you can do the full blowout, but still fine when you’re trading away a dork for a monster.

It can also surprise them with lifelink when they think they have lethal before dying to a swing back.

Undercity Eliminator

Rating: 3.5/5

We all know Ravenous Chupacabra variants are great in limited even when they have the slight drawback of needing to sacrifice something. At its finest when you have some fodder that you already got value out of, but its still usually worth trading even a decent creature for exiling their best one.

Unscrupulous Agent

Rating: 2.5/5

Similar to Skullcap Snail in that the exile prevents future shenanigans. That especially matters in a set where collecting evidence is a thing. It even has a relevant creature type on top of that.

Vein Ripper

Rating: 4.5/5

While difficult to cast at triple black, this can certainly turn the tide of a game with a swiftness. Just play this precombat, smash all in, and let them try to figure out a way not to die. Even if they have removal for it, they are still down a creature after getting drained.


Wrap Up

Black is doing what it does in limited in almost every set. Killing creatures. It also has its usual collection of creatures that can be powerful, but far from as straightforward as you would get in other colors. It really takes advantage of the collecting evidence ability by being able to both fill the graveyard and use it beneficially.

Thanks for reading! I’ll be back tomorrow for my limited review of the black cards of Murders at Karlov Manor. Until then, stay classy people!

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.

You can also find me at:

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j2sjosh
j2sjosh

Josh is a member of the elite limited team The Draft Lab as well as the host of The Draft Lab Podcast. He was qualifying for Pro Tours, Nationals, and Worlds literally before some of you were born. After a Magic hiatus to play poker and go to medical school, he has been dominating Arena with over an 80% win percentage in Bo3 as well as making #1 rank in Mythic.

Articles: 286