The Spiciest New Spoilers from Murders at Karlov Manor!

We go over some of the most promising new cards spoiled in the upcoming Murders at Karlov Manor!

Welcome Magic lovers!

With the Standard format in full swing, as players test and tune in preparation for their Regional Championship Qualifiers, its easy to forget that another brand-new set, Murders at Karlov Manor, will be dropping in the first week of February. Today, let’s go over some of the spiciest spoilers to see if we can pick out any diamonds from the rough that may see play in Standard or even Pioneer!The first card that stood out to me as being not only playable in competitive constructed formats, but which also slots nicely into an existing archetype is No More Lies.

Magic the Gathering Card - No More Lies - MTG Circle

The most obvious card that comes to mind when first viewing this new counterspell is Mana Leak, a Standard format staple from years back. In fact, Aaron Forsythe went on the record at that time and said that printing Mana Leak at common was a mistake, and that we won’t see another counterspell be that cheap and effective in Standard again for a long time.

In competitive constructed Magic in 2024, however, counter-magic must be cheap in order to answer many of the pushed Standard-legal cards that cost a mere three mana. The difference between having access to a two-mana versus a three-mana counterspell is night and day, especially if the deck playing counter-magic is on the draw, which is why Make Disappear has seen so much play in Standard and even Pioneer.

One might think that No More Lies is basically the same as Make Disappear, which already exists and sees play, since forcing the opponent to pay three additional mana instead of two to resolve their spell isn’t that big of a difference. The reality is that simply making something cost one extra mana in a game of Magic: the Gathering is equivalent to forcing one’s opponent to wait a whole extra turn in order to play their card if they want it to resolve. That extra turn of breathing room gives the control decks that would play No More Lies a massive boost, as many games with control decks come down to having just one more turn in order to stabilize.

No More Lies not only fits the bill when it comes to casting cost and the three-mana tax it puts on the opponent’s spells, but the additional effect of exiling the spell it counters is a very important upgrade here. There are many cards being played in Standard right now which recur creatures from the graveyard, from Takenuma, Abandoned Mire in every black deck, to spells like Cruelty of Gix or Breach the Multiverse, or creatures like Tenacious Underdog and Serra Paragon, making the exile clause on No More Lies very relevant. In Pioneer there are dedicated graveyard decks as well as decks which need to keep their key pieces from being exiled, like the Arclight Phoenix, Amalia Combo and the Rakdos Sacrifice decks.

In fact, No More Lies slots perfectly into the already powerful Azorius Control decks in Pioneer, as a strict upgrade to Make Disappear. It’s incredible in the control mirrors, as it exiles Memory Deluge, and costing just two mana means it’s perfect on turn five after ticking up a Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and untapping two lands, or even just allowing the control player to cast Temporary Lockdown while still leaving up an answer for your opponent’s next threat. This play pattern continues on turn six, allowing the control player to cast Supreme Verdict while still leaving up No More Lies for the opponent’s follow-up threat.

With Cavern of Souls still proving to be a thorn in the control deck’s side in Standard, one powerful new counterspell may not be enough to elevate control decks to tier 1, but we’ll just have to wait and see. Our next spoiler is a new black sweeper with a twist, Deadly Cover-Up.

Magic the Gathering Card - Deadly Cover-Up - MTG Circle

Black hasn’t had a good unconditional sweeper in Standard since the banning of The Meathook Massacre over a year ago. This meant that white was the only viable color to pair with one’s blue control cards, as it provided access to powerful sweepers like Sunfall, Farewell, Temporary Lockdown and, to a lesser extent, Depopulate. Now, black-based control may have a shot at being a real archetype again.

While destroying all the creatures on the battlefield is the main reason to play this spell, Deadly Cover-up also has something else up its sleeve: the ability to Collect Evidence 6 (removing cards from your graveyard with total mana cost equal to six or greater), in order to exile a card from your opponent’s graveyard, then strip their graveyard, hand and library of all copies of said card. A sweeper with a Stone Brain effect attached? Sign me up! The key distinction here between The Stone Brain, Necromentia, Unmoored Ego and all the other cards over the years that have had this effect, is that Deadly Cover-Up doesn’t specify which types of cards you can take out of your opponent’s deck. That means if they mill or discard a basic land, for example, you can cast Cover-Up and target their basic in the graveyard to strip all the basic lands of that type out of your opponent’s deck. While this certainly won’t come up every game, simply having the ability to removeany specific card, including lands, entirely from the opponent’s deck is certainly some spicy icing on this already solid cake.

In Pioneer, Dimir control is very close to being a competitive deck, and Deadly Cover-Up might give it the boost it needs to establish itself in that format. It’s a clean way to strip the Rakdos Sacrifice decks of their cat-oven combo, as well as extracting all the copies of Amalia Benevides Aguirre from the Amalia combo decks, shutting down their ability to execute their main gameplan. The Collect Evidence 6 may seem like a tricky hoop to jump through at first, but in practice, simply cycling a single Shark Typhoon is enough to enable it.

Don’t worry, our next spoiler for today isn’t another control card. Quite the opposite! Say hello to Anzrag, the Quake-Mole.

Magic the Gathering Card - Anzrag, the Quake-Mole - MTG Circle

Wow, an 8/4 body for only four mana with no downside? Now that’s pushed! When Anzrag comes down on turn four, it will absolutely dwarf anything else on the battlefield. In addition, its ability to create an additional combat phase for its controller whenever it gets blocked means one’s opponents will often be stuck between taking eight damage or trading and/or chump blocking the Quake-Mole, allowing you to then attack with all your other creatures during your 2nd attack phase. An important thing to note here is that Anzrag’s ability doesn’t have a limit on how many times it can trigger in a turn, so if one’s opponent can’t afford to take eight damage, they will be forced to chump block over and over again on the same turn, as the giant Mole keeps creating one combat phase after another, until eventually they run out of bodies to block with and are forced to succumb.

Not having trample or evasion on a card with this much power is an obvious deficiency, but can be rectified in any number of different ways in green and red, with creatures like Inti, Seneschal of the Sun and Halana and Elena, Partners, or giving haste with spells like Bitter Reunion. Playing green also gives one access to cards like Tamiyo’s Safekeeping to keep Anzrag alive after attacking into creatures with deathtouch like Glissa Sunslayer or Preacher of the Schism. Curving aggressive two and three-mana creatures into a turn four Anzrag, the Quake-Mole will certainly make for some very quick games, but only time will tell if the mole god is good enough to push Gruul aggro into the top tiers of Standard.

That’s all we have time for today, but join us next week as the final batch of spoilers are released and we continue to evaluate and speculate on which ones will make an impact in competitive constructed Magic: The Gathering!

Hi, I'm Damien! I'm a Canadian television and voice actor turned streamer! I've been playing Magic: the Gathering since the early 1990's when the game first released, and was heavily involved in competitive Magic for many years.

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