Murders at Karlov Manor Set Review - Reprints

Nick Wolf • February 2, 2024

Murder by Isis

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts & Lands | Allied Colors & Shards | Enemy Colors & Wedges | cEDH | Reprints | Budget/Pauper

The Party's Over

Hello, everybody. Welcome to the Murders at Karlov Manor Reprint Review. We have a system here.

When it comes to reprints, it might not be the most thrilling topic, but it's an important one. Whether it's through the main, Standard format set or the ancillary products accompanying it, seeing old cards with a new coat of paint helps in two ways. First, it makes things affordable to those who might have had their eye on an older card that until a reprint was priced out of reach. Second, it's just neat.

You've had a week to check out all the new, shiny cards featured in Murders at Karlov Manor. It's time to eat your reprint vegetables. 

As always, all prices mentioned herein are in USD and are market price for the card at the time of this writing, and all deck stats are courtesy of our friends at EDHREC. You might have heard of them. They're like us at Commander's Herald, but not as fun-loving or wacky. 

So first, let's look at the main set:

Murders at Karlov Manor

Assassin's Trophy

Did we need it?

The plane of Ravnica is famous for its Golgari removal spells. First, there was Putrefy, then Abrupt Decay. Then there was Gaze of Granite, which isn't exactly the same but still cool. Then there was Assassin's Trophy, possibly the best of them all. It could be argued that Abrupt Decay is the real MVP of the bunch, but Abrupt Decay doesn't depict what happens when a judgemental sphinx ends up in the sights of a Gorgon with a grudge.

Since Assassin's Trophy first appeared in Guilds of Ravnica in 2018, we've seen four distinct versions of the card, three of which courtesy of Double Masters 2022, and one through a Secret Lair

Now it's here in Murders. What once was a card preordering for $35 is now gettable for under $5. If that's not a lesson for never preordering singles, I don't know what is. 

To that end, I would say that we didn't need it, but I'll never say no to new art. It's always good to have aesthetic options.

Did we want it?

For a two-color card, Assassin's Trophy sure gets around. According to EDHREC, the card is in more than 209,000 decks, good for almost 30% of those that can play it. In fact, it's the 25th most popular card on the whole dang website over the last two years.

It seems like if you're playing decks on the higher end of the power scale, or are just in Golgari colors, it's likely you've got a copy in the 99. It's most commonly spotted in The Gitrog Monster (3,210 decks, 58% of all Gitrog decks), Tasigur, the Golden Fang, (3,057 decks, 55%), and of course everyone's favorite, Korvold, Fae-Cursed King (7,167 decks, 50%). 

It's also appears in at least 57% of all decks that also feature Tymna the Weaver as a partner commander, so shout out to all our cEDH friends.

This is all a long-winded way of saying yes, we wanted more copies available to those who still need one.

Lightning Helix

Did we need it?

Another old friend from Ravnicas gone by, Lightning Helix, like Assassin's Trophy, is the embodiment of its guild in card form. It's also an uncommon that has now been printed 18 times in seven different arts and six different frames. 

Every one of those printings can be had for less than a couple bucks, except for these two. No, we didn't need a new one, but I've been a big fan of Eli Minaya's art (he's known as Bad King on Twitter) since he showed up with Love Song of Night and Day in 2022's Dominaria United. So, I'll make an exception, just this once. 

Did we want it?

When it comes to Lightning Helix, in the immortal words of Todd Howard, it just works.

Unfortunately, Commander players don't seem quite as enamored by the card as I am. Maybe it's nostalgia, or maybe because I play General Ferrous Rokiric, but I seem to be in the minority when it comes to using Lightning Helix in Commander decks. 

It only appears in 14,600 decks, good for just 2% of lists that are running both red and white. The top lists are the aforementioned Golem guy (2,497 decks, 80%), Firesong and Sunspeaker (2,664 decks, 79%), and The Archimandrite (1,019 decks, 45%). 

So maybe we didn't want it, either. But damn it, it's just so cool.


Did we need it?

In a thematic sense, if they made a set called Murders at Karlov Manor and didn't include the card "Murder," that would be a pretty big oversight. That would be like making a whole set called Time Spiral and not printing the card Time Spiral.... oh, wait. 

In a financial sense, however, we definitely didn't need a new copy of a common card that as of now has been printed 15 times. At least the set-specific frame is... cool? No, I can't really get behind that either. Look at all that unused space!

Did we want it?

There are many, many better options for a mono-black targeted kill spell in Commander.


Did we need it?

The Scrappy-Doo to Lightning Bolt's Scoob, Shock has been around almost as long as its older, cooler, better sibling (yes, I'm an oldest child, why do you ask?)

Debuting in 1998's Stronghold, Shock has seen 31 printings over that time. Because of that saturation, nearly all printings can be had for a quarter or two, unless you're talking foils. In that case, like usual, the Seventh Edition foil is the top Shock in terms of price, and even then it's still only about $10. 

Did we want it?

I've heard people get teased (unfairly, in my opinion) for playing Lightning Bolt in Commander, so what chance does Shock have?

There are still 20,781 decks currently playing Shock, though, good for around 1% of all decks playing red. The decks including it are ones you could probably guess, like Torbran, Thane of Red Fell (1,373, 28%), Tor Wauki the Younger (1,000, 29%), and Imodane, the Pyrohammer (934, 24%). 

In other words, we probably didn't need another one.

Murders at Karlov Manor Commander

All right, friends, now we're getting to the good stuff. Like most of the Reprint Reviews for sets come and gone, we're seeing the big-ticket reprints saved for Commander releases and extra bonus sheets, now dubbed Special Guests. 

That might not be the most ideal way to distribute reprints to those who need them, but there's something to be said about being able to buy a whole deck with the knowledge that you're definitely getting a copy of that one card you've always wanted, finally reprinted. That is, if you can get your hands on it.

Jeska's Will

Did we need it?

We're coming right out of the gate with a big one. Jeska's Will isn't quite as ubiquitous as the similarly derided red staple Dockside Extortionist, but that doesn't mean it doesn't generate eyerolls when cast. 

But we're not here to talk about power level, we're here to talk about whether or not this is a good reprint, and the answer to that is a resounding yes. Until now, the card had only existed in Commander Legends and Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate, which were released in 2020 and 2022, respectively. That wasn't too terribly long ago, but in those few years Jeska's Will has shoehorned itself into Commander as a premier red card.

And the price reflects that. Nary is one found for less than $20, and if you were lucky enough to find a full-art foil from Commander Legends, you've got yourself a $90 card. With the release of Karlov Manor Commander, the copy contained within the Deadly Disguise deck is already going for under $20, and with time it's likely to fall further. So, bad news for Jeska's Will investors, good news for everybody else.

Did we want it?

Remember way back in the last few paragraphs when I said Jeska's Will is pretty much a red staple? Well, the numbers on EDHREC back that up. Currently the card can be found in more than 300,000 decks, good for 18% of all decks playing red. That's the third most played card in red, behind only Blasphemous Act and Chaos Warp.

It's great on its own, but for decks that make use of every aspect of the card (extra red mana, exiling your library, and wanting your Commander in play), it's even more valuable. Which is why it's in 5,000 Faldorn, Dread Wolf Herald decks, or a whopping 87%. We also see it very often in Prosper, Tome-Bound (9,726 decks, 66%) for the same reasons.

It's safe to say those numbers will rise even more, now that anyone can get one in a preconstructed deck.

Adrix and Nev, Twincasters

Did we need it?

Did you know that Adrix and Nev was in the $20-30 range? Because I sure didn't. 

It makes sense, though. It's only appeared once, as one the face commander of the Quantum Quandrix deck from Commander 2021, a.k.a. "the ones where they were all Strixhaven." It's also the sixth most popular Simic commander, featuring 6,045 listed on EDHREC. 

It turns out that people really like tokens, and the only thing better than tokens is more tokens, which is where this particular card thrives. 

Like Jeska's Will, what was once a $20+ investment is now only $15 or so, which isn't exactly a shocking discount but it's one that will likely grow as time goes by. 

Did we want it?

As said, there are around 6,000 Adrix and Nev decks on EDHREC, with roughly three-quarters of that number being token decks. The next most common archetype people are building is clones, though there are only 307 of those lists as opposed to the more than 4,000 listed for tokens. 

In the 99, Adrix and Nev is played in a bit more than 36,000 decks, or 5% of decks running both green and blue. We see it most often in its Quantum Quandrix quampatriot also reprinted here in Karlov, Esix, Fractal Bloom (2,187 decks, 81%) as well as Koma, Cosmos Serpent (3,088 decks, 68%) and Lonis, Cryptozoologist (2,825 decks, 60%). 

It's a surprise that it ended up here in a Ravnican-centric release, but it's a welcome one.

Rise of the Dark Realms

Did we need it?

Until its inclusion here in Karlov Commander, I would never have guessed that Rise of the Dark Realms has never really had a solid reprint. It's a top-end game-ender in black that almost always ends the game in its caster's favor, but until now, since its debut in Magic 2014 it has only been reprinted twice, in Jumpstart and in a Secret Lair

Karlov fixes that, of course, though you'll still never catch me playing it, simply because I can't be bothered to unweave the knot of triggers that invariably arises from the dark realms after being cast. Because of its relative scarcity, Rise averages around $22 (and at one point had risen to $35) depending on which one you're looking at, but thanks to the reprint, the Karlov version is already under $15.

Did we want it?

It's a nine-mana card that costs more than $20, so it's understandable that we don't see it in decks on EDHREC as often as we might assume.

Only 3% of decks running black play the card, which is still good for a shade under 50,000 decks. We see it most in Liliana, Heretical Healer (1,372 decks, 52%) due to the overall Liliana theme, and it also appears often in Lord Xander, the Collector (1,136 decks, 31%) and oddly Sméagol, Helpful Guide (984 decks, 30%). 

The numbers might not back up the idea that a reprint was wanted, but again, that might have to do with scarcity and price more than the card's usefulness. I expect to see many more lists running the card now that it's in a preconstructed release, and is thus now considered "base level" in terms of power as a result.

Seedborn Muse

Did we need it?

Seedborn Muse will celebrate its 21st birthday this year. 

The card first showed up as part of a "___born Muse" cycle in 2003's Legions, and is arguably the best of the bunch. There's Dreamborn Muse, Graveborn Muse, Windborn Muse and, uh...the other one.

Since then, it's seen reprints in Ninth Edition, Tenth Edition, then a huge gap before Battlebond, Commander 2019, and for the first time in new art, Commander Collection: Green. 

With Karlov, we're going back to the classic Adam Rex art, and also lowering the price of the card quite a bit. The cheapest option until now was Tenth Edition at $19, but this newest version is already flirting with single digits.  Of course, if you're fancy, you can plunk down $200 for a foil Legions copy, and be confident in the fact that that price isn't going to change no matter how many reprints we see.

Did we want it?

Seedborn Muse is the closest you can get in Commander to the justifiably banned Prophet of Kruphix. If you don't know why that's banned, just ask fellow Commander players who were around in 2013. They'll tell you.

Seedborn Muse is a very powerful card, and because of that, almost one in 10 green decks are playing it, or 148,469 total lists. That makes it the 35th most popular green card in Commander (and coincidentally the 36th most popular creature in all of Commander), but who's counting?

It's seen plenty in decks with commanders that either have activated abilities or ways to make use of the mana generated by untapping constantly (surprise, surprise), like Omnath, Locus of Mana (3,421 decks, 70%), Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy (6,303 decks, 72%) or Tasigur, the Golden Fang (2,895 decks, 52%). 

All in all, a solid reprint.


Did we need it?

Reanimate is like having car insurance, in the sense that in a game of Commander, you may never use it, but if you do you'll be damn glad you had it. It also requires you to invest blood in order to pay its costs, much like car insurance.

We first met Reanimate and its goofy/iconic Robert Bliss art in Tempest from 1997. That art stuck with it quite a while, seeing it adorning reprints in a Battle Royale Box Set, an FNM promo, an Archenemy supplementary set, and a Premium Deck Series release; in other words, a bunch of weird printings that not very many people actually bought.

After that, they changed up the art. Who knows why.

Reanimate showed up in Ultimate Masters with the art we're seeing on its Karlov printing, but between those two releases it also appeared in Jumpstart, Commander Collection: Black, and more recently, Tales of Middle-earth Commander. 

Even with all those versions, the price has held steady at around $15 for the cheapest. Will that change with yet another preconstructed inclusion? For awhile, probably.

Did we want it?

Reanimate appears in 14% of all decks on EDHREC that even sniff black, good for more than a quarter-million lists. That puts it at seventh most popular among black cards, and it even cracks the Top 100 Commander Cards of the past two years, full stop.

It's just that good, and I for one put it in everything, like onions. More Reanimates in the world is never going to be a bad thing.


Did we need it?

Here's one that is seeing its first reprinting, and it's only taken a literal decade. Comeuppance first appeared in Commander 2014, and never again until now.

That probably explains why it's more than $12 for a copy. Many Commander players might not even know the card existed, and will now want one, but luckily the influx of new copies will probably tank that price.

And even if it doesn't, one reprint in a decade is better than zero reprints ever.

Did we want it?

White as a color really loves its gotcha cards, and that resonates with a small but especially cruel subset of players. You know who you are (you're the people that put Mana Tithe in every white deck, you monsters).

Comeuppance has too many words on it, so I've never played it, but I do know that it shows up in only 1% of white decks, or 10,765 lists total. The plurality of those lists are headed up by Queen Marchesa (1,957 decks, 19%). 

We'll probably see that number rise as people purchase the preconstructed deck it's in and actually get to cast it for the first time, drinking in that sweet schadenfreude like crisp lemonade on a hot summer's day.


Did we need it?

Perhaps the one reprint in the Karlov decks that had the most people in a tizzy was Necromancy.

Outside of a brief stint on The List, its inclusion here is the first time we've seen this card printed since Visions. That was in 1997. "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan was the WCW World Heavyweight Champion at the time. Let that sink in.

Because of that scarcity, and because it's just a sweet card in general, it's been an $18 uncommon for several years now. Thanks to Karlov, that price will drop... for the Karlov version, that is. It's likely that the Visions version, with its iconic Pete Venters art and old border, will stay around $18. And that's not a bad thing. People who want one will be able to afford one easier now that it's reprinted, but the more nostalgic (and more confusingly worded) version will still have value.

Did we want it?

More than 50,000 decks are playing Necromancy, good for 3% of all decks playing black. Pretty good for a card that's only been printed once in 27 years. 

Most commonly, we see it in K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth (2,960 decks, 28%), but it pops up often in Raffine, Scheming Seer (1,784 decks, 22%), Muldrotha, the Gravetide (1,872 decks, 13%) and Meren of Clan Nel Toth (1,448 decks, 12%) as well. 

I'm happy to see it reprinted here, and if nothing else it's a good indication that those who compile these preconstructed decks are willing and able to pull a few old favorites from the past to rejuvenate players' interest in them.

Fiendish Duo

Did we need it?

This is what you get when you put mechanically unique cards into box set releases that no one wants. You get Fiendish Duo, a card from Game Night 2019 that until now would cost you $37. 

Is this a 37-dollar card? No. It's cool and all, but no part of it should make it cost as much as a Mind Over Matter. Other than the aforementioned box set, Fiendish Duo was only ever reprinted as a Japanese-exclusive prerelease promo associated with Kaldheim. 

As a result, the Karlov version still carries a price tag of around $20, which is still way too much for a card like this. Hopefully the market will correct itself with time and it'll drop down to the $3-5 it should be.

Did we want it?

This might be the price and scarcity again, but the card only appears in 6,869 decks. That doesn't even register as a percentage point among red decks on EDHREC.

Being a Devil, commanders that care about that creature type seem to be willing to splurge on Fiendish Duo, like Zurzoth, Chaos Rider or Raphael, Fiendish Savior. Its usage will certainly rise as people buy the Karlov deck in which it is contained, but time will tell if it becomes a more common sight at Commander tables.

Everyone Has Something to Hide

As is Reprint Review tradition, it's time for a lightning round of reprints that are worth mentioning, but only briefly. There are 259 reprints among the collection of Commander decks, after all, and no one's going to sit here and read my ramblings on every single one of them. Here we go:

Imperial Hellkite: First printing since 2010's Archenemy, which was until now the only reprinting since the card debuted in Legions. 

Sol Ring: This is the 79th printing of Sol Ring (and 36th with the Mike Bierek art) - can we get to an even 100 by year's end?

Command Tower: Here's number 66, returning to the Ryan Yee art we all know and love.

Arcane Signet: It's catching up to our other favorite Commander reprints, with the 45th printing in Karlov. Unique to this printing is the addition of Murayama to artist Dan Scott's name, a first time for Signet, also seen on Herald of Ilharg.

Exotic Orchard: No longer very exotic with its 34th printing.

Chaos Warp: Also on its 34th printing, we return to the original art after sojourns with goblins, butterflies, and goblins that turn into butterflies.

Three Visits: Not so exciting anymore with its ninth printing (and eighth in three years after never seeing print since 1999), but still good to see considering that even with its reprints it's still a $5 uncommon.

Toxic Deluge: The 10th printing, hopefully that price will keep slowly falling from its current $10 range, not that I necessarily want people to play it against me.

Root Elemental: Hey, remember Root Elemental from Scourge? Well this is its first ever reprint. Neat!

Krosan Cloudscraper: Here's another throwback morpher, seeing a reprint for the first time since Legions if we ignore the fact that it was also a Timeshifted card in Time Spiral. 

Sinister Starfish: There's really nothing interesting about this reprint other than the fact that I thought this card was goofy as hell when it came out in Modern Horizons 2, and I think it's just as goofy today.

Alandra, Sky Dreamer: This one's a good reprint, since it was until now only available in Jumpstart 2022 and thus hovering around $10. It's also just a blue Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse (also reprinted in Karlov). 

Yedora, Grave Gardener: Quick, can you guess how many times this card has been printed since it debuted in Commander 2021? Did you guess seven times? 

Anya, Merciless Angel: A good example of a counter-argument when someone regurgitates the cliche of Boros never doing anything interesting, Anya's only been reprinted once before, in Commander Anthology Volume II, since it came out in Commander 2015. 

Smuggler's Share: These bootlegging raccoons have been creeping up in price since they showed up in New Capenna Commander, hitting the $6 mark recently.

Neheb, the Eternal: Also sneakily expensive, Neheb is over $8 for any copy not from Karlov, including my favorite version.

This is What Glory Looks Like

Did you get all that? Because it was a lot. 

As usual in recent releases, the real meat on the reprint bone comes from the extra bits, not the main set. It makes sense, as designers aim to craft a consistent and tight draft environment, and throwing in a Sakura-Tribe Elder into the mix probably confuses Spikes and Vorthosi in equal measure.

And with that, we're done for the time being. Be sure to thank all the writers at EDHREC and Commander's Herald for their efforts in their review articles. Unlike me, they actually had to think about new cards and what they do and cogently express an opinion that is both informative and entertaining. Good God, who needs that pressure.

Are there any reprints that are going to convince you to buy one of the Commander decks? Any reprintable cards you're surprised didn't make their return?