Last updated on February 20, 2024

Aurelia, the Law Above - Illustration by Lie Setiawan

Aurelia, the Law Above | Illustration by Lie Setiawan

Commander precons are one of the great joys of new Magic sets. In addition to potential staple reprints, the precons bring plenty of fresh cards including versions of the new set's mechanics tuned for EDHMurders at Karlov Manor (MKM) has done just that!

Nelly Borca, Impulsive Accuser helms the Blame Game precon, mingling the new suspect mechanic with goad for a Commander-specific flavor to the precon.

But is it any good? And how can we make it better?

Deck Overview

Firemane Commando - Illustration by Andrew Mar

Firemane Commando | Illustration by Andrew Mar

Blame Game is a Boros midrange deck verging on control. It’s an intriguing take on the color pair. The deck leans on goad and other forced-combat cards to make your opponents pressure each other while discouraging them from attacking you with pillow-fort effects like Ghostly Prison or by rewarding them for attacking each other with spells like Curse of Opulence.

Blame Game is a little disappointing compared to the other MKM precons. The game plan and overall list lag behind the others, except perhaps the disguise deck that suffers from a highly inefficient mechanic. It also lacks impactful reprints. There’s some value in cards like Fiendish Duo and Comeuppance, but it’s a lackluster selection compared to Revenant Recon’s reprints of Reanimate, Necromancy, Rise of the Dark Realms, and a few other staples.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Nelly Borca, Impulsive Accuser

Nelly Borca, Impulsive Accuser utilizes the suspect mechanic, but this is fundamentally a goad list. Mechanics like goad that make action happen are powerful and fun, and they add a lot of spice to a format that can have lengthy board stalls.

The deck boasts powerful finishers. Cards like Fiendish Duo and Gisela, Blade of Goldnight end games in a flash, especially in coordination with Disrupt Decorum and other goad effects.

Some weaknesses need to be addressed. Some of the deterrents just aren’t good or efficient. The deck also has little removal, counting on its goad cards plus some Fog-esque effects like Gideon's Sacrifice to defend itself. Some removal is essential—even in a deck that wants its opponents to have a board state.

Additionally, I cleaned up some other weaknesses by upgrading a couple of the top-end pieces and adding more effects that reward your opponents for attacking each other instead of forcing it via goad.

Swords to Plowshares + Path to Exile

Swords to Plowshares Path to Exile

Suggested Cut: Gideon's Sacrifice + Deflecting Palm

Gideon's Sacrifice and Deflecting Palm come out because they’re just weak. You can perform some splashy plays with them, but a little interaction in Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile goes a long way to improving the deck.

Winds of Abandon

Winds of Abandon

Suggested Cut: Promise of Loyalty

Wraths are overplayed in EDH. That goes double for a deck that wants its opponents to have reasonable board states for goading. That said, there’s value in having an emergency eject button. Winds of Abandon works better than Promise of Loyalty for that since you get to keep your board state. This card can bail you out of a tight spot or act as a finisher depending on how far ahead you are.

Taunt from the Rampart

Taunt from the Rampart

Suggested Cut: Winds of Rath

Winds of Rath has some utility with all the goad enchantments in the deck, but Taunt from the Rampart is one of the strongest goad cards in the format. This sorcery often removes one player in the late game and potentially more. Taunt trumps Rath as a more convincing finisher that lets you maintain your board.

Fight to the Death

Fight to the Death

Suggested Cut: Ransom Note

Ransom Note isn’t a real card. Flexibility is nice, but I don’t want to spend 3 mana for any option in this deck. Fight to the Death is a fascinating interactive piece that works well with goad. Coronation of Chaos is another reasonable swap; at least there 3 mana goads three creatures.

Varchild, Betrayer of Kjeldor

Varchild, Betrayer of Kjeldor

Suggested Cut: Boros Reckoner

Boros Reckoner plays the role of a deterrent but isn’t great outside a deck that builds around it with Blasphemous Act and similar effects. Varchild, Betrayer of Kjeldor provides pressure and generates an army of tokens for your opponents that are ripe for goading and stealing later.

Plains

Plains

Suggested Cut: Myriad Landscape

Any land is better than Myriad Landscape. The tempo loss of a tapped land that costs 3 mana—counting itself—to put two tapped lands into play haunts my nightmares. A basic land is better here; I’d even run Wastes over this.

Rip Apart

Rip Apart

Suggested Cut: Seal of Cleansing

Rip Apart versus Seal of Cleansing is very close. Seal can be activated at instant speed, but I value the flexibility of Rip Apart killing creatures.

Firemane Commando

Firemane Commando

Suggested Cut: Feather, Radiant Arbiter

Feather, Radiant Arbiter is a very interesting card that plays well with your goad enchantments like Redemption Arc, but that synergy feels narrow and very mana-intensive. Firemane Commando provides card advantage while encouraging your opponents to attack each other. The extra temptation goes a long way.

Agrus Kos, Spirit of Justice

Agrus Kos, Spirit of Justice

Suggested Cut: Darien, King of Kjeldor

Darien, King of Kjeldor is another deterrent I’m not in for. Agrus Kos, Spirit of Justice works with your commander by exiling the target it suspects or doubling the number of creatures you goad each attack step.

Aurelia, the Warleader

Aurelia, the Warleader

Suggested Cut: Steel Hellkite

Steel Hellkite has so much potential yet never impresses. Aurelia, the Warleader impacts the game instantly, potentially winning outright if your opponents don’t have an answer.

Aurelia, the Law Above

Aurelia, the Law Above

Suggested Cut: Sun Titan

Like the other Aurelia, Aurelia, the Law Above seems like a better top-end than Sun Titan—especially with this curve. It’s easy for you to trigger this Aurelia intentionally while all your goad effects don’t leave your opponents a choice.

Commanding Conclusion

Fight to the Death - Illustration by Michael Komarck

Fight to the Death | Illustration by Michael Komarck

It’s always fun seeing how the newest mechanics get adapted to Commander through the precons. Blame Game mingles the new suspect mechanic with goad for a unique spin on Boros midrange that plays a longer game than the color pair is known for. These upgrades help shake some excess and focus on getting your opponents to attack each other!

Which commander from Murders at Karlov Manor are you most excited to build around? Which precon do you want to purchase? Let me know in the comments or on the Draftsim Discord!

Stay safe, and keep instigating!

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