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

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:


Absolving Lammasu

Rating: 1.5/5

The rest of this card doesn’t absolve it from the sins of being a five mana 4/3 flyer in modern limited. Removing suspect isn’t a strong ability or even something that you would want to consider very much when sideboarding. Making a creature suspect when this leaves play feels very situational.

Basically, it gains three life when it dies with a chance of upside which is fine. That leaves it firmly in that card range that will sometimes make the cut with the hope that it lines up right.

Assemble the Players

Rating: 3.0/5

If you assemble it, they will come (preferably to the top of your deck). There are a ton of creatures with power two or less in this set. You can even use this to Disguise a creature that has a higher power. In the right deck this is going to add up to a ton of value over time.

The obvious problem is when things just don’t line up and you play a two mana do nothing. There are going to be decks that this is a 3.5 bordering on 4.0 in, but there are also a lot of decks that won’t want it at all. I’d want to aim for around ten targets to actively want this and wouldn’t play it if I had less than seven.

Aurelia’s Vindicator

Rating: 4.5/5

I’m sure we won’t hear any complaints about this one throughout the format. “OMFG they flipped Vindicator, exiled two of my creatures and beat me down with their lifelinking flyer!”

While this is fine to play it face up to get your beat on, you’ll usually want to get that extra value. It’s great how the exiled creatures don’t return to play, they have to recast them afterwards. The graveyards clause is mostly relevant for removing your own cards that you would like to potentially get back.

The Ward two is just the extra salt that they needed to rub in the wound with this.

Auspicious Arrival

Rating: 1.5/5

I am aware that you can get a card out of this, but I don’t see combat tricks being as relevant in a format where blocking is going to be less likely to happen. Between not wanting to get blown out by disguise and suspect making something unable to block, combat tricks are going to be more situational than usual here.

Call a Surprise Witness

Rating: 2.0/5

This type of effect is normally heavily dependent on the types of cards available to take advantage of them. This one giving flying is just enough for me to want to run it in any deck with a decent chunk of creatures at the shallower end of the mana pool.

Case File Auditor

Rating: 2.5/5

This grade is, of course, based upon the fact that you have multiple cases in your deck. If you only have one case, it’s more of a 1.5. If you don’t have any, then you don’t want to be playing this.

Case of the Gateway Express

Rating: 3.0/5

Obviously, this is going to be best in a go wide deck to both power up the front and make sure you can solve the puzzle. A two-mana situational sorcery speed removal spell is nowhere near as good as it used to be, but could still get the job done. The front half of an anthem is a nice payoff as long as you can get there.

Case of the Pilfered Proof

Rating: 2.0/5

I’d have to be really heavy on the detectives to even want to look at this case. There are plenty of them running around so there are going to be decks that this is great in. You continue to get the first effect even after you solved the case so there is no tension with juggling your detective count to keep the counters flowing.

Case of the Uneaten Feast

Rating: 1.5/5

The Case of the Uneaten Feast is certainly not something that ever pops up at my house. We rarely even have leftovers.

Solving this is going to take some other form of shenanigans because I doubt you will be playing five creatures in a single turn. As long as you have a few ways to do that, I’m fine with running this. Otherwise, I’m not looking to be playing an Ajani’s Welcome.

Defenestrated Phantom

Rating: 1.5/5

It feels like I was just saying that no one wants to be playing a 4/3 flyer for five these days. Well how about if it cost six mana instead without the abilities? The big difference is being able to disguise itself which makes this about as playable as the aforementioned Absolving Lammasu.

Delney, Streetwise Lookout

Rating: 3.0/5

This looks like it has the potential to get nuttier than squirrel poo in the right deck, but it does require some building around to even be worth playing. It’s great when you’re getting an extra trigger off of Novice Inspector or Exit Specialist. Not so much when it’s a slightly harder to block Gray Ogre.

Doorkeeper Thrull

Rating: 1.5/5

By doorkeeper, they mean its sitting outside the club (in the sideboard) because it’s not cool enough to come inside. It could be decent to bring in against decks with a lot of ETBs, but I don’t want to be running a 1/2 flyer for two without more upside.

Due Diligence

Rating: 1.0/5

It’s been quite awhile since we had a set where you wanted to slap a pair of big boi pants on a creature. The extra pump to another creature isn’t going to be relevant enough to outweigh the risks of playing this at sorcery speed. I’m sure I’ll lose to this a couple of times, but not as often as they will by playing it.

Essence of Antiquity

Rating: 2.5/5

Oh my god, Becky. Look at that butt. It is so big.

Three is a reasonable amount to flip this up to either protect one of your creatures from removal or surprise your opponent with a bunch of suddenly untapped blockers.

Forum Familiar

Rating: 2.5/5

Alright meow, lets see how this little kittie is going to perform. Being able to bounce your own permanent at instant speed is a nice way to dodge removal or to accrue some more value off of a case. It even stays a 2/2 after being flipped. It’s highly unlikely that you should be running this out there on turn one unless your plan is to go ultra wide.

Griffnaut Tracker

Rating: 1.5/5

Snapping Drake is trying to roll up on this set like it’s 2003. Removing two cards from a graveyard might prevent them from Collecting Evidence or reanimating something, but most of the time it might as well be blank.

Haazda Vigilante

Rating: 2.0/5

There are so many two power creatures running around that you can almost guarantee that you’re getting 5/5 worth of stats for five mana. Getting to spread the value prevents this from being answered cleanly with a removal. Adding another counter whenever you attack is going to add up pretty quickly. You’re just limited on how many you play since it is a five drop.  

Inside Source

Rating: 2.5/5

You’re not fooling me with the two bodies for three mana card again. Obviously, this is nowhere near Preening Champion or Dunland Crebain because of the lack of evasion on part of it. It’s still a good card. Even though the pump ability is expensive and sorcery speed, it does pack a decent punch.

Karlov Watchdog

Rating: 2.5/5

This good boi sniffs out any disguise your opponent has and prevents any shenanigans on your turn. As long as you are aggressively going wide, this will help push a ton of damage. If you’re sitting back more, then you probably want to let someone else adopt this pup.

Krovod Haunch

Rating: 1.5/5

I have many questions about food equipment. Do you really want to be eating that after your critter clubbed another monster with it? I could keep going, but I have a lot of cards to write about.

As far as equipment goes, it is slightly overcosted. Being able to cash it in for three life and two doggo tokens is a nice fallback. I feel like this could have been a very good card with some slight adjustments, but the current package doesn’t really do it for me.

Make Your Move

Rating: 1.5/5

This feels like it does just enough to warrant playing one in the mainboard. That could change as the format develops, but early on I’ll be looking to pick one up late. There are enough artifacts and enchantments running around that it shouldn’t be a blank if they aren’t playing any bigger creatures.

Makeshift Binding

Rating: 3.0/5

I prefer these Oblivion Ring type effects over the normal Pacifism because it’s far less likely that they can still take advantage of it. Gaining two life is just the nice little cherry on top.  

Marketwatch Phantom

Rating: 2.0/5

Not quite an Air Bear, but you shouldn’t have too hard of a time convincing him to fly on over. Being a detective could even be relevant. It does just enough to make me happy to toss this in my two-drop slot.

Museum Nightwatch

Rating: 2.0/5

Getting the value when a creature dies is significantly worse than when it enters the battlefield. It’s still nice because a 2/2 feels like it can trade for a another real card in this format.

Neighborhood Guardian

Rating: 2.0/5

I’m trying to figure out the flavor here. It appears that everyone just wanders around this town partying with a unicorn. Where do I sign up for that one?

A bear that helps you push damage later on has a place in any aggressive deck. You could certainly do worse than this for two mana.

No Witnesses

Rating: 4.0/5

You’re really not going to care about them investigating when you wreck them with this. A four mana Wrath of God would still be really solid even if just straight up drew them the card.

Not on My Watch

Rating: 2.0/5

Two mana to exile a creature is a great deal, needing it to be attacking is a pretty big drawback though. Think about Quicksand Whirlpool from LCI, that was three mana to exile a tapped creature or six to exile any creature. That was a lot more versatile than this, but was still a card twenty-three. That said, this goes up significantly if I am playing a defensive deck.

Novice Inspector

Rating: 3.0/5

Remember Thraben Inspector? Pepperidge Farms remembers. This is the same card with the upside of having a relevant creature type for the set. Take plenty of these and you’re going to have a good time.

On the Job

Rating: 2.0/5

Inspired Charge has always been a fine finisher for go wide decks. This version throws in a clue so you’re not left empty handed if it didn’t get the job done. Multiple factors in the format discouraging blocking means that this will have a real chance to just outright kill someone.

Perimeter Enforcer

Rating: 2.5/5

This can be a pain to race as long as you have enough detectives to make sure you can trigger this regularly. It also plays well with equipment. If you’re not doing either of those, it’s a step below rate for me.

Sanctuary Wall

Rating: 1.5/5

A wall? In 2024? The tap ability can be pretty useful and isn’t functionally as expensive if you add the stun counter. Similar to Not on My Watch, I want this if I am a defensive deck or trying to win through the air.

Seasoned Consultant

Rating: 1.5/5

Attacking as a 3/3 for only two mana can be pretty big game. It’s the only having one power otherwise that holds this down. The problem is that you will get into situations where a three-power creature is a great attacker, but you would have to run in some other creatures that would get eaten.

When you are ahead, this can be great. At parity or when you’re behind, it can be pretty bad.

Tenth District Hero

Rating: 4.0/5

Starting out as a 2/3 for two mana is a decent floor, but being able to jump up to a 4/4 Vigilance for only two more mana by collecting evidence 2 makes this is a very real early threat. It might be a few turns before you can collect evidence 4, but making all of your other creatures indestructible is a massive swing in the game.

Unyielding Gatekeeper

Rating: 3.5/5

For someone who is unyielding, they sure are willing to do whatever you need. Saving one of your key permanents or turning their best one into a 2/2 are both great options to have. While unlikely to be correct in most situations, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that just jamming a 3/2 for two is the right plan. All around solid card in a variety of situations.

Wojek Investigator

Rating: 3.5/5

If you are on the play, this probably goes up to a 4.0 because you’re more likely to have it Investigating every turn. I’m sure your deck will be designed as such with a low curve to take advantage of it. Even outside of the card advantage engine this keeps poking away in the air while putting the brakes on their disguise creatures.

Wrench

Rating: 2.0/5

I imagine every time they use the tap ability they are yelling “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!!”. It is a little pricey, but getting to attack with a creature and still tap something down is a nice little package. Being able to cash it in for a new card is a pretty great fallback too.


Wrap Up

It should come as no surprise that white is filled with a pile of small aggressive creatures backed up by some ways to pump up the jams. Most of the removal is clunky outside of Makeshift Binding. Overall I’d say it looks strong if your plan is to get aggro.

Thanks for reading! I’ll be back tomorrow for my limited review of the blue 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