Hello, everyone!  Welcome to Standard Weekly!

Murders at Karlov Manor standard season has flown by over the past two months.  Previews for Outlaws of Thunder Junction officially begin on Tuesday, so now is a good time to look at the impact of Murders at Karlov Manor on Standard.

To understand the impact of Murders at Karlov Manor, I am using best-of-3 data from untapped.gg to help us understand the set’s impact.  First, the most played card from the set is No More Lies.  It has made control a much better option to play.  No More Lies is only the 33rd most-played card from the season with a 19.3% inclusion rate.  The majority of the cards in front of it on the list are either lands or cards that would have rotated last year had Wizards not extended Standard by a year.  The only other card in the top 50 most-played cards is Novice Inspector with a 14.6% inclusion rate.

According to untapped.gg data, 370,000 matches are currently available on the site.  Boros Convoke, Esper Raffine, and Azorius Control are the most played decks.  Boros Convoke and Azorius control received upgrades from Murders at Karlov Manor, so it makes sense that these decks are among the most played.

Boros Convoke is the most played deck.  It got Novice Inspector, Case of the Gateway Express, and Warleader’s Call from Murders at Karlov Manor.  Boros Convoke existed before Murders at Karlov Manor but was not as powerful of a deck.  Novice Inspector gives the deck an additional way to create an artifact.  This means that you are more likely to play Gleeful Demolition on turn two.  This adds three Phyrexian Goblin tokens to the board.  Then if you are lucky, you have another one drop to play and you have Knight-Errant of Eos in hand.  This will allow you to convoke Knight-Errant of Eos into play and hopefully get you two additional creatures you can play on turn three.

Case of the Gateway Express gives you spot removal from an enchantment that gives your creatures a boost of +1/+0 when you solve the case.  This helps you push additional damage that should end the game a turn or two earlier.  Warleaders’ Call has a similar effect on the board state.  It gives each creature +1/+1 and when a creature enters the battlefield Warleader’s Call does one damage to your opponent.  Sometimes this will result in the last few points of damage needed to win the match coming from Warleaders’ Call.  Also, Case of the Gateway Express and Warleaders’ Call are stackable, so you can have multiple copies in play at one time.

Boros Convoke has performed well at tournaments.  The deck has two 1st place finishes, a 2nd, three other Top 4 finishes, five other Top 8 finishes, and ten other Top 16 finishes.  Here is a look at the deck.

BOROS CONVOKE, Eric Henning, 1st Place NRG Series $5,000 Showdown @ Chicagoland

CREATURES: (28)

  • 4 Imodane’s Recruiter

  • 4 Knight-Errant of Eos

  • 4 Novice Inspector

  • 4 Resolute Reinforcements

  • 2 Sanguine Evangelist

  • 4 Voldaren Epicure

  • 4 Warden of the Inner Sky

  • 2 Yotian Frontliner

SORCERIES: (4)

  • 4 Gleeful Demolition

ENCHANTMENTS: (6)

  • 4 Case of the Gateway Express

  • 2 Warleader’s Call

LANDS: (22)

  • 4 Battlefield Forge

  • 2 Cavern of Souls

  • 1 Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire

  • 1 Thran Portal

  • 2 Mirrex

  • 4 Mountain

  • 4 Plains

  • 2 Sundown Pass

  • 2 Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance

SIDEBOARD: (15)

  • 4 Invasion of Gobakhan

  • 3 Destroy Evil

  • 3 Lithomantic Barrage

  • 3 Lantern Flare

  • 2 Wedding Announcement

The second most played deck in Standard is Esper Raffine.  The deck has remained a Tier 1 deck since the arrival of Raffine, Scheming Seer in Streets of New Capenna.  With each new set providing upgrades to the deck.  Murders at Karlov Manor added No More Lies to the deck.

Over Murders at Karlov Manor Standard Season, Esper Raffine has been the most successful deck in large events.  Since the beginning of February, there have been twelve large events (tournaments with over 100 players).  Esper Raffine has won a tournament, finished second once, has had seven other finishes in the Top 4, ten more in the Top 8, and twenty in the Top 16.  That is a total of thirty-nine Top 16 finishes.  The next two most successful decks (Boros Convoke and Azorius Control) only have forty-one Top 16 finishes combined.  This makes Esper Raffine the best deck in Standard for another season.

Here’s a look at the current version of the deck.

ESPER RAFFINE, Sarah Shearing, 1st Place Birds of Paradise @ Nile Joan Rivers, 3/3/2024

CREATURES: (15)

  • 4 Raffine, Scheming Seer

  • 2 Tishana’s Tidebinder

  • 3 Dennick, Pious Apprentice

  • 4 Deep-Cavern Bat

  • 2 Faerie Mastermind

PLANESWALKERS: (2)

  • 2 The Wandering Emperor

INSTANTS: (10)

  • 3 Go for the Throat

  • 3 No More Lies

  • 3 Cut Down

  • 1 Destroy Evil

ENCHANTMENTS: (7)

  • 3 Virtue of Loyalty

  • 4 Wedding Announcement

LANDS: (26)

  • 4 Restless Anchorage

  • 1 Raffine’s Tower

  • 1 Otawara, Soaring City

  • 1 Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire

  • 4 Darkslick Shores

  • 2 Seachrome Coast

  • 3 Underground River

  • 1 Takenuma, Abandoned Mire

  • 4 Shattered Sanctum

  • 3 Caves of Koilos

  • 1 Plains

  • 1 Island

SIDEBOARD: (15)

  • 1 Tishana’s Tidebinder

  • 1 Cut Down

  • 2 Destroy Evil

  • 2 Disdainful Stroke

  • 2 Knockout Blow

  • 2 Temporary Lockdown

  • 1 Loran of the Third Path

  • 1 Anoint with Affliction

  • 1 Negate

  • 1 Aclazotz, Deepest Betrayal

  • 1 Shrouded Shepard

The final deck to examine today is the Azorius Control deck.  This deck has risen in popularity as Murders at Karlov Manor Standard Season has progressed.  The wide variety of good board wipes, counterspells, and spot removal has made the deck a good option in Standard.  The addition of No More Lies and Meticulous Archive has helped the deck rise to Tier 1.  Like Esper Raffine, Azorius Control has performed well at tournaments.  Azorius Control has one win, two other Top 4 finishes, five Top 8 finishes, and twelve Top 16 finishes.

AZORIUS CONTROL, Harrison Kanker, 1st Place Chicago Standard Cup @ MagicCon: Chicago, 2/24/2024

PLANESWALKERS: (6)

  • 4 The Wandering Emperor

  • 2 Jace, The Perfected Mind

INSTANTS: (18)

  • 4 No More Lies

  • 4 Memory Deluge

  • 3 Get Lost

  • 3 March of Otherworldly Light

  • 3 Quick Study

  • 1 Union of the Third Path

SORCERIES: (5)

  • 1 Farewell

  • 4 Sunfall

ENCHANTMENTS: (4)

  • 4 Temporary Lockdown

LANDS: (27)

  • 3 Adarkar Wastes

  • 4 Deserted Beach

  • 1 Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire

  • 4 Field of Ruin

  • 3 Island

  • 3 Meticulous Archive

  • 1 Otawara, Soaring City

  • 3 Plains

  • 3 Restless Anchorage

  • 2 Seachrome Coast

SIDEBOARD: (15)

  • 3 Aurelia’s Vindicator

  • 2 Chrome Host Seedshark

  • 1 Jace, the Perfected Mind

  • 4 Metropolis Reformer

  • 2 Negate

  • 3 Tishana’s Tidebinder

That’s it for this week.  I’ll see you next time!

By: Scott Trepanier

Scott began playing Magic the Gathering in 1994.  His preferred format is standard.  Typically, you will see him playing aggro decks focused on quickly defeating his opponent but will pivot to midrange or control when standard is unfavorable for aggro decks.  He began creating Magic content in 2019.