Theory Crafting New Decks for Murders at Karlov Manor (Sideboard Guide Included)

Unlock the potential of Murders at Karlov Manor in your MTG deck-building. Our guide offers effective strategies and an invaluable sideboard guide.

Theory crafting is one of my favorite parts of any new set that comes out. Some love to go to prerelease, some love to pre-order their booster boxes, I personally love theory crafting. As a primarily constructed player, I want to get a firm grasp of what cards can be considered "good" and want to begin to dominate the meta as soon as possible. The unknown aspect of it is an added bonus, because there is no "wrong" or "bad" way to theory craft a deck when a new set is coming out. Nobody has any clue if a card will be effective or not. It removes a lot of the pressure of creating an effective deck, and allows us to create fun combos with the cards that we like to see if we can strike gold by creating a surprisingly powerful deck.

Total Cards:

Choosing new cards and figuring out deck theme

The first thing that comes to mind is "How can I add all the fun new cards?" and it is a completely reasonable thought. The one concept that must be considered beforehand is: What do I want my deck to do? For today's purposes, (and for my own amusement), we are going to create a Mono Black Deck that drains life from our opponents as much as possible.

New cards from Murders at Karlov Manor - main deck

Now that we have our concept, let's dive into some cards that really stand out from Murders at Karlov Manor.

Magic the Gathering Card - Vein Ripper - MTG Circle

immediately comes to mind when considering what we are trying to do with this deck. It is almost impossible to remove without at least losing some life, and it has raw stats to make it one of the better attackers/blockers in the format. We will look to set up massive board states and then clear the board, thus causing mass life loss, and general carnage.

One of the best additions to the set is the fact that Mono Black will now have a five mana board wipe. When on the play, we no longer have to pray that the opponent does not hit their Sunfall on curve, and we can clear out everything with

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

- and we can even add a Necromentia-esque ability to it with the collect evidence mechanic.

Now that we've set up a method for clearing the board and causing a ton of death triggers a wincon, let's fill up the board with low costing spells that also fit our motifs.

Magic the Gathering Card - Hunted Bonebrute - MTG Circle

allows us to put three creatures on the board at once and has a death trigger that makes the opponent lose three life. The fact that it has menace forces two creatures to most likely die when blocking it because of the high power that it has. This allows Vein Ripper and Archfiend of the Dross to cause a hefty loss of life. If you happen to also have Bloodletter of Aclazotz on the board, you will have to break out the calculator to figure out how much life your opponent has lost, and that is if they don't flat out concede first.

New cards from Murders at Karlov Manor - sideboard

The sideboard is something that we have to accept as a work in progress, because we don't know which other cards will become a problem. For theory purposes, it is left to be pretty generic and open. We add in a new removal spell

Magic the Gathering Card - Long Goodbye - MTG Circle

and it allows us to be pretty flexible with our removal options by having little downside as long as an opponent's deck is low to the ground. Add in some more removal, an extra Deadly Cover Up, some discard spells and graveyard hate, and we have a healthy sideboard for the current meta. There are a ton of different two mana spells within black that can either be removal, discard, or enchantment sacrifice. Feel free to build a sideboard for your version of this deck accordingly based on the matchups that you intend to face.

Sideboard guide

Now that we have all seventy-five cards where we need them to be, let's figure out what to sideboard in for given matchups. Against Mono Red and other aggro matchups, we definitely want to board in the extra Deadly Cover Up. We also like Long Goodbye because those decks usually don't have many creatures that are more than three mana. We have to board out at least one or two Vein Rippers, because sadly we will likely not have enough time to deal with all of their threats and resolve six mana spells. Thankfully, we have multiple four mana creatures that can win us the game in the aggro matchup.

Against control, we usually want to board out Cut Down and bring in Duress. For this reason, there are three of each to make it simple. Some might say that Five Color Domain isn't considered control, but we can still bring in Duress in that matchup as well. We can also bring in The Cruelty of Gix in those matchups because most control decks have some sort of planeswalker, and if we can get it out of their hand at the right time, we can gain a huge advantage as that is usually one of their wincons.

Other midrange matchups, and possible mirrors can be tough to sideboard against. For those, we generally don't want Duress and a third Sheoldred, The Apocalypse, but we do want The Cruelty of Gix, Sheoldred and Graveyard Trespasser. Trespasser is helpful in these matchups, as it can help us gain card advantage with the ward ability - it also removes possible reanimation targets from graveyards, which never hurts. We can bring in extra removal in these matchups as well. Bitter Triumph is a great option because of the flexibility it provides, and we have some ways to gain back life that we pay for the modality so that we don't have to fall behind on card advantage.

One card that fits in well for most matchups other than control is Gix's Command and that one can be added as needed at the player's discretion.

Look for some of these options to change as we move along, but this is a general look into the process of theory crafting for both a MTG creator, and enthusiast. We have some great options from this set to boost some pretty powerful archetypes, and some new mechanics to diversify our interactions. Thank you for checking out the New Mono Black Standard, and happy theory crafting!

I am a Magic The Gathering competitive player, and streamer. I specialize in homebrew decks. My favorite formats are: Standard, Pioneer (Explorer on Arena), and EDH. I first started playing MTG in 2001, and have played on and off since then.