Unstable Mutation: Blame Game (Murders at Karlov Manor Commander)

Come one come all, friends and foes. Have you ever felt like subjecting your pals to extreme violence of the cardboard-Magic-slinging variety? Do you think that your buddy who hides behind his silly wall of creatures and “counter magic” is a coward? Do you believe that the only true way to end a commander game is through gloriously reducing everyone’s health to zero through COMBAT?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you’re in for a treat. Welcome to the last of our series of preconstructed deck upgrades for Murders at Karlov Manor, and we’re finishing up with a fun one. Helming the Blame Game deck, we have Nelly Borca, Impulsive Accuser. Whenever she attacks, you can accuse a creature, making them a “suspect,” then goading everything that’s been suspected. This is a really neat way to progressively take over the board, slowly goading your opponent’s creatures and forcing them into the fray. The icing on the cake: suspected creatures gain menace and can’t block, making the board into a serious ring of fire. The second half of her card is equally as spicy: whenever an opponent swings in at another opponent and deals combat damage to their face, you and the attacker each draw a card. Card draw on a commander? Sign me up right away, please.

The base deck has some great tools, but we’re going to be gutting quite a bit of it. While right out of the box, the deck has some really great political tools and some solid synergy for the aggressive, forced combat politic-y playstyle we want, it has some things that would need a bit more help. There’s a heavy subtheme of enchantments to be able to run the Vows and Impetus cards and get the most value from them, but we want to push a much more feisty game plan. Our main win condition is for Nelly & Co. to get swinging and constantly be applying pressure while forcing enough Goad to the board to let us pass through blockers with our other creatures. As a backup plan, we’ll have a few tricks to get around some stubborn board states with some sweet combos and stealing creatures. We have a little bit of general combat support in as well, so if there are opponents who prefer to keep few creatures, we can still just beat them down the good ol’ fashioned Brian Kibler way.

Here’s the original Precon decklist.

Here’s the decklist with our suggested upgrades!

I usually try to keep a pretty budget friendly mindset while building these decks, and while this still is affordable (~$45 USD on top of the base deck), it’s a bit higher than I normally shoot for so we can really get some of the synergies we want without totally uprooting the deck.


Elspeth, Sun’s Champion – She’ll get slaughtered before she can do anything most of the time. Great 60 card piece, not great in EDH sadly.

Ransom Note – Without serious artifact synergy, this one’s a bit weak if you can’t recur it.

Feather, Radiant Arbiter – The classic “include to have a new commander in these colors but doesn’t fit in the deck” card. Looks real fun, but not really what we want here.

Ancient Stone Idol, Stalking Leonin, Orzhov Advokist – I don’t have a lot to say about any of these besides that they lack the synergy we’re looking for. Stalking Leonin is pretty shit regardless though if you’re not playing a Cat deck – just run Swords to Plowshares and nuke something if you want it gone.

Winds of Rath, Soul Snare, Seal of Cleansing – These are all cards clearly included for enchantment synergy, but I have one issue: why in the hell is Winds of Rath in this deck? If you’re casting a board wipe in a deck like this, you clearly need to slap that GTFO button, so why would you want to keep creatures alive even if they have an Impetus? We don’t quite enchant our own creatures, so that one seems like a hilarious miss to me.

Otherworldly Escort – Also feels like removal with extra steps.

Darien, King of Kjeldor, Boros Reckoner, Gideon’s Sacrifice – Ideally we don’t want to be getting attacked, we’d rather our opponents just be Goaded and beating up each other instead of us.

Wall of Omens – A blink staple. This deck is going to be a sledgehammer, not a staple gun.

Angel of the Ruins, Seal of Cleansing – We’ll slot in a few more flexible pieces of removal since these don’t really synergize well. I think Angel is a decent beater, but it’s a bit expensive if you’re in a pinch.

Mob Verdict – A super fun card, but it’s a bit too easy to deny you cards and might just be useless against some players that go tall instead of wide.

Martial Impetus, Vow of Duty, Vow of Lightning – We’re going to push for more repeatable, board-wide goad. We’ll keep Shiny Impetus because the treasure generation from that one is actually really solid.

Temple of the False God, Kher Keep, Escape Tunnel – We’ll grab some more dual lands in place of these.


Taunt from the Rampart – In case you missed it, this card is one of the absolute bangers courtesy of Tales from Middle Earth, and quite possibly one of the best ways to force Goad onto a board.

Bothersome Quasit – A really brutal way to support your regular Goad effects, since it’ll add up nicely next to the Suspects that won’t be able to block. Also just let’s you Goad more, and if I learned one thing from hip hop ace Future, it’s that you can’t have too much sauce.

Grenzo, Havoc Raiser – Thank goodness this card is actually affordable now. Another great Goad support card that plays best when we can also play aggressive and swing in with the team. Also lets us steal some cards here and there, which can be pretty fun and find some answers to other decks at the table.

Baeloth Barrityl, Entertainer – The other Goad hotshot of EDH makes his presence known here. Even if we don’t directly buff him up too much, this card is just so good that it’s worth the spot even without the synergy you get from him being in the command zone.

Geode Rager – Land = Goad.

Komainu Battle Armor – Full-player-board Goad plus stats and evasion? Hell yeah, that’s pretty much everything we want to do on one card.

Death Kiss – While the card can Goad things when it becomes monstrous, it’s not the cheapest effect on top of a 6 drop. The real power here comes in making everything doubly scary that’s already going to be slapping an opponent. The Goad is nice in a pinch, but you’re really taking this to add to the meat grinder.

Boros Charm – Flexible board protection, a welcome addition when most of our effects sit on the table.

Blasphemous Act, Generous Gift, Chaos Warp – A nice little removal package to add in that can handle most things we need it to. You can swap Blasphemous Act for a white Wrath spell you have on hand if you prefer, but this one makes for a nice “oh shit” button if the board gets a little too big

Author’s Note: Don’t forget that you can use Steel Hellkite in the main deck as a way to sweep token decks! You can activate the ability with X=0 to clean up any tokens that get out of hand.

Whispersilk Cloak, Prowler’s Helm, Skeleton Key – Nelly wants to keep attacking, and we really need to keep her safe so she can rack up more cards and keep the Goad game strong, especially since our main deck is pretty light on card draw so we can hinge on consistently drawing from her triggers. These will all help here, with a special shoutout to Skeleton Key. Nelly has a pretty hefty bum as a 2/4, so reasonably most things that can block her with Skulk won’t be able to kill her without Deathtouch or something.

Goblin Spymaster – This will help clog up the board with more junk (which we want) as well as force some more attacks. Note that it doesn’t explicitly Goad, so it won’t synergize there and won’t force their attacks on other possible players, but it’s still great regardless of that.

Boros Signet – A touch more ramp to help get rolling quicker.

Lastly, I have three more nonlands to add: our alternate win conditions. First, we have Insurrection. While I’ve heard the comments that this can be a bit of a lame way to end a game, I think it’s very thematic for this deck and fits really well with the playstyle of wanting to just fill the board and have everyone beat the crap out of each other – if you can keep the board full and stick this with 8 mana and successfully clean up the game with it, that seems like a pretty reasonable win.

The other two cards are Blazing Sunsteel and Guilty Conscience. Either of these cards combo with Brash Taunter to create an infinite damage loop. With Blazing Sunsteel, just equip it and deal damage (which you can do just from using it’s Fight effect), let Taunter’s trigger deal damage to an opponent, and then have Sunsteel damage Taunter. Loop ’til your heart’s content. Guilty Conscience is similar – put it on Taunter, have Taunter damage something, and let Guilty Conscience damage it after, giving it another trigger and looping until there aren’t any valid opponents to target with Taunter.

These combos are a great way to push through a stalemate or get by a pesky opponent who’s able to avoid combat damage in some way. I chose these cards because they both allow for the combos but can at least pull some weight on their own as well – Sunsteel is decent enough to throw on a beatstick, and Guilty Conscience can provide a cheap way to kill off something that’s forced to attack if you politic cleverly.

For lands, I’ve added Clifftop Retreat, Rugged Prairie, and Battlefield Forge for better mana fixing, although I wouldn’t be opposed with swapping one out for a Ghost Quarter for an extra answer to utility lands.


That’s a wrap! Hope you enjoyed this series of precon upgrades, and I’m sure we’ll have some more fun ones coming in the future as well. Happy hunting!

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