Unstable Mutation: Revenant Recon Upgrade (Murders at Karlov Manor Commander)

The Revenant Recon deck is one of 4 preconstructed Commander decks released alongside the Murders at Karlov Manor set. It’s a Dimir (Black and Blue) color identity deck built around the surveil mechanic and reanimating creatures from your graveyard.


Upgrading the Deck

As is the wont of most modern Commander precons, this deck is at least okay as soon as you crack the box open. That being said, this is a reanimator deck which is an established shell with some hugely powerful pieces, so we’re going to be jamming a ton of said pieces in as well as as many beefy, nasty reanimation targets as we can manage without diluting the surveilling aspect too much. Once you get some games under your belt there’s a lot of room to tune the interplay between the two elements, and to dial your threats to your own meta.

To start with, there’s quite a few creatures that either don’t actively engage with our theme or are a bit too weak. We’re now at the point where there are enough surveil cards, including eratta-d ones like Think Tank, that we don’t have to cram every one in just to get enough of the keyword for our deck to work. Along those same lines, there is an argument to be made for including some self mill elements like Hedron Crab but I think we have enough surveil to get the cards we need in the yard in a timely fashion, and I did sneak an Altar of Dementia in. I suspect that in play we will end up having enough that we want to swap things like Notion Rain and Price of Fame for more mana efficient versions of the same effects that don’t have surveil tacked on but to start I’m keeping them in.

With those out, I first want to immediately dispose of Mirko’s downside – namely that the creatures come back with a finality counter on them. After we do all of this milling and reanimating work it hardly seems fair that our creatures go away again! Fortunately finale counters are y’know, counters, so we can remove them with things like Fain, the Broker or Hexavus. As a side note, Hexavus also touches on a neat aspect of Mirko: since it checks the power of the creature in the graveyard, things that have no power there like Hexavus and Spark Double can pop out right away. Along the same lines, finality counters only exile the creature when it dies, so we can blink the creatures with things like Sword of Hearth and Home to reset them. You could even go with a bunch of Conjurer’s Closet style cards if you wanted to go deep in that direction.

After that, I wanted to stick a mostly classic reanimator package in, both because the same game ending threats it uses close out the game equally well here and because it gives us a backup plan for if Mirko is dealt with. This means that rather than devoting a ton of slots to protection for him lest our deck stop working completely we can simply swap to Victimize to get back our Archon of Cruelty and Junji, the Midnight Sky instead. Hell, you can even let Mirko go straight to the graveyard himself and get the whole lot back with a Living Death. There’s also a ton of room to customize based on what you own or prefer, if you have a Kokusho, the Evening Star in your collection it still closes out games in 2024.

Lastly I largely left the mana base alone, if you have shocks and fetches they’re worth swapping in because they are certainly an upgrade as always, but there really aren’t that many enters tapped lands and in most games you will be able to slot them in on turns where you don’t have a use for every possible pip of mana. Of the two I would likely go with the fetch first in this particular deck, since getting the Undercity Sewers we added triggers Mirko. I did also trim a couple of lands numbers wise, one of which was replaced with Agadeem’s Awakening, because with the amount of card selection we’re going to get dropping down that small amount shouldn’t matter.


Cut List

  • Foreboding Steamboat
  • Copy Catchers
  • Dimir Spybug
  • Marvo, Deep Operative
  • Sphinx of the Second Sun
  • Thoughtbound Phantasm
  • Watcher of Hours
  • Whispering Snitch
  • Vizier of Many Faces
  • Amphin Mutineer
  • Final-Word Phantom
  • Overseer of the Damned
  • Deep Analysis
  • Charnel Serenade
  • Counterpoint
  • Ephara’s Dispersal
  • Brainstorm
  • Curate
  • Black Sun’s Zenith
  • Island
  • Swamp
  • Ransom Note
  • Case of the Shifting Visage
  • Enhanced Surveillance
  • Disinformation Campaign
  • Consider
  • Everflowing Chalice
  • Temple of the False God


Add List

  • Power Conduit
  • Fain, the Broker
  • Hexavus
  • Hex Parasite
  • Spark Double
  • Starving Revenant
  • Sheoldred, Whispering One
  • Archon of Cruelty
  • Plaguecrafter
  • Harvester of Souls
  • Junji, the Midnight Sky
  • Gray Merchant of Asphodel
  • Buried Alive
  • Victimize
  • Living Death
  • Cyclonic Rift
  • Sinister Sabotage
  • Entomb
  • Damnation
  • Agadeem’s Awakening // Agadeem, the Undercrypt
  • Altar of Dementia
  • Rhystic Study
  • Lightning Greaves
  • Sword of Hearth and Home
  • Grave Pact
  • Fellwar Stone
  • Ashnod’s Altar
  • Undercity Sewers



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