The Over/Under - Predicting The Popularity Of Murders At Karlov Manor And Clue Commanders

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It's just like they said in Plan 9 from Outer Space. There's been a murder...and somebody's responsible!

I'm responsible for The Over/Underby the way, the article series where we predict how popular new commanders will become one year after release. Our line is 1200 decks, so each commander gets an Over or Under based on where I think they'll finish. There's also a Can't-Miss Pick, which is my lock for the set. Check back in a year when we review these predictions.

Ready to investigate? Then let's get started.

Apothecary White

Apothecary White's Food tokens bring all the Humans to the yard, which can get out of hand in a hurry. However, this reminds me a lot of Myrel, Shield of Argive, a card that already did what Miss White is trying to do, only Myrel did it better.

My prediction: Under

Delney, Streetwise Lookout

Delney works best with morph and Gen-Z morph, a.k.a. disguiseallowing you to attack with seemingly small creatures, then flip them into big attackers after blocks, doubling any flip abilities in the process. Seems sweet.

That said, mono-white small-stuff-matters commanders have a spotty history. See Kellan, Daring Traveler from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, for example, who rewards similarly sized creatures, yet only leads 111 decks.

My prediction: Under

Senator Peacock

This is cute, but mono-color commanders tend to pull smaller numbers as it is. Add to that some lousy stats for the mana, plus an effect that's extremely expensive, and I think you've got yourself a failed investigation.

My prediction: Under

Massacre Girl, Known Killer

With a name like "Massacre Girl," the "Known Killer" bit is kinda already implied. But naming quibbles aside, this card is sweet. Your opponents either block and give you cards, or don't and take massive damage. Either way, you'll be happy.

My prediction: Over

Mastermind Plum

This effect is powerful, but it'll fit better into the 99s of Prosper, Tome-Bound decks.

My prediction: Under

Headliner Scarlett

Getting both Falter and half of Outpost Siege on a stick seems sweet, especially when it comes on a 3/3 hasty body. This feels like the purest form of mono-red commander, and should therefore be warmly received.

My prediction: Over

Krenko, Baron of Tin Street

If Krark-Clan Stoker is Krenko's best friend, then the newly printed Crime Novelist is his soulmate. Whether you're going infinite with untap combos or playing straight-up Goblin typal, you'll love this guy.

My prediction: Over

Tesak, Judith's Hellhound

I really want to like this card. I like that it's a cautionary tale for anti-leash dog owners. I like that it serves a niche type that just so happens to be quite popular in real life. I even like that it adds free mana. But that mana vanishes after combat, meaning you'll need to spend it at instant speed. Also, there are only 37 Dogs in mono-red, with some headliners being Akoum Hellhound and Ainok Tracker. No thank you.

My prediction: Under

Emissary Green

Interesting that the results of the vote will sometimes determine whether or not Mr. Green survives combat. Furthermore, it's even more interesting to see voting, Treasure, and +1/+1 counters combined on the same commander. I think all that adds up to a likely suspect.

My prediction: Over

Alquist Proft, Master Sleuth

To reevaluate Sphinx's Revelation on a stick, I ran the numbers on Sphinx's Revelation itself. Genius, I know. That card appears in 24,561 decks, which makes up a healthy 3% of the metagame. The thing is, those numbers are juiced by Rev's inclusion in Jeskai, Esper, Bant, and even some five color decks.

Alquist, on the other hand, can only lead Azorius decks, which should cut into his numbers. Furthermore, I don't think having Sphinx's Rev in your command zone is all that much better than having it in the 99 of your standard control deck, right?

My prediction: Under

Ezrim, Agency Chief

I'd recommend casting this guy a turn later if it allows you to leave a mana up. That way, he won't die to the first random Infernal Grasp. Otherwise, he's pretty self-explanatory, which is why I'm going under. Not much reward for innovative deck building or niche card discovery—Ezrim just does what it looks like, and it doesn't look all that fun to me.

My prediction: Under

Lavinia, Foil to Conspiracy

I You can crack your Clues at instant speed. Furthermore, Lavinia appears in the Clue expansion, and apparently you're not even guaranteed to open it since it's hiding in Jumpstart packs or something. Reddit's a little fuzzy on the details.

But here's what's neither warm nor fuzzy: My feelings on this commander. I just don't see it.

My prediction: Under

Etrata, Deadly Fugitive

The last version of Etrata was Etrata, the Silencer, and I picked her wrong in Ravnica Allegiance (she went Under instead of Over). But this version has an advantage, in that it's typal. Seriously, typal commanders almost always go Over, even on the most obscure and least supported types. I think we'll see that here as well.

My prediction: Over

Lazav, Wearer of Faces

Lazav is back doing Lazav things, only this time with Clues. The previous two versions have fared fairly well (1,915 decks for Lazav, Dimir Mastermind and 1,254 decks for Lazav, the Multifarious), so I'd expect this third installment to complete the trilogy satisfactorily. Hopefully we don't have a Godfather Part III situation on ours hands...

My prediction: Over

Marvo, Deep Operative

Marvo is the secondary commander in its precon, and I can't imagine it'll surpass its counterpart on the front of the box (he's coming up). Still, it's unique enough that I think it'll find an audience—especially those who really like casting Emrakul, the Promised End for free.

My prediction: Over

Mirko, Obsessive Theorist

I've noticed this set is a lot like conspiracy Twitter, in that everyone thinks they're a detective. In Mirko's case it's actually true, though it's also mostly flavorful. His primary function is surveilling threats into the graveyard, then returning them for free on the end step. Sounds like a recipe for success, especially on a face card for one of the set's commander decks. I would tweet that any day.

My prediction: Over

Judith, Carnage Connoisseur

So you're telling me my Lightning Bolt becomes a Murder that gains three life, or I get a souped up Imp instead? Gotta say, I'm happy with either outcome, especially when I get to choose. Rakdos is fast becoming the secondary Spellslinger home to Izzet, and Judith is the latest (and perhaps best) reason.

My prediction: Over

Rakdos, Patron of Chaos

This essentially reads "draw two cards each turn," because I think you'll almost always be able to find an opponent who'd rather not sacrifice two nonland nontokens. That's one of the better ways to draw cards in this color combination—and it's tacked onto a beater.

My prediction: Over

Anzrag, the Quake-Mole

By itself, the type line of "Mole God" is going Over. That's just a fact. The rest is molé, as in guacamole, in that it's like gravy, only better. If you can give Anzrag indestructible, for example, you can potentially engineer near infinite combats.

My prediction: Over

Yarus, Roar of the Old Gods

A card made for Morph, Manifest, Disguise, Cloak, and whatever else. Oddly, Yarus doesn't reward you for flipping your facedown creatures, but instead rewards you for leaving them facedown. This is an odd play pattern, and one I'm not convinced is very fun.

In fact, that's why I'm going Under. Are there many players out there who want to play a bunch of three mana 2/2 Scroll Thiefs? I think not.

My prediction: Under

Tolsimir, Midnight's Light

Wow, Voja's been hitting the gym since last we saw him, going from a 3/3 vanilla to a 5/5 trampler. Other than that, this is pretty similar to Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves from War of the Spark, and that went Under (despite me predicting Over). As a result, I'm going Under here. Just don't tell the wolf.

My prediction: Under

Trostani, Three Whispers

The only three whispers I can think of for this card are the following:




I don't really think so. The body is more efficient than overpowering, and the keywords lend to rather vanilla deckbuilding, I'd imagine.

My prediction: Under

Teysa, Opulent Oligarch

If I was the Poirot of this story, I think I'd start with the rich lady who's got literal ghosts flying out of her back. But that's just me. In terms of design, this seems like a clean, simple, self-contained value engine that resembles a poor man's Tymna the Weaver. Yet even without Partner, I suspect Teysa will perform well.

My prediction: Over

Tomik, Wielder of Law

"Whenever an opponent attacks with creatures" is kind of like saying "whenever a bird flies with wings." I mean, how else does it work?

Anyway, this Tomik is far superior to Tomik, Distinguished Advokist, who leads a paltry 65 decks. Still, take the "l" out of "paltry," switch a couple letters, then you've got yourself a "party." I suspect Superfriends players will be partying plenty with Tomik, Wielder of Law, especially since that Affinity ability works for commander tax.

My prediction: Over

Kylox, Visionary Inventor

Two words: Ex. Propriate.

That would be sweet, yes, but seven mana is too much for a commander that very well might die in combat (and does nothing outside it), plus requires tons of setup to succeed. I'm off it.

My prediction: Under

Melek, Reforged Researcher

Back in the day, Melek, Izzet Paragon was the premier blue-red spellslinger commander. Then they printed better ones in every subsequent set, and now kids these days are like, "Melek who?" Can this version make a comeback?

Eh, sure. I'm not wild about it and I don't think it'll ever displace Niv-Mizzet, Parun, but this looks hard to bet against. And trust me—after NFL Wildcard Weekend, I'm not about to bet against any favorites.

My prediction: Over

Amzu, Swarm's Hunger

After you've passed this reading comprehension test, you'll find a potent typal commander for the oft-forgotten Insects. There is some tension with Grist, the Hunger Tide and Zask, Skittering Swarmlord, but when it comes to typal in EDH, there's always room for more.

My prediction: Over

Izoni, Center of the Web

I think we can all agree that EDHREC is the real center of the web. Be that as it may, Izoni isn't bad, either, what with her excellent ETB ability and her even better sacrifice ability (which fuels future ETBs, by the way). Izoni is a value train, and I'm happy to hop aboard.

My prediction: Over (Can't-Miss Pick)

Agrus Kos, Spirit of Justice

Weirdly, we've grown accustomed to Boros commanders that draw cards (see Quintorius, Loremaster and Jor Kadeen, First Goldwarden for recent examples), and Agrus definitely doesn't do it. Instead, he slowly exiles creatures while providing support for a mechanic that's exclusive to this set and is more flavorful than impactful. I suspect this card won't be much of a hit.

My prediction: Under

Aurelia, the Law Above

If you liked Battalion, you're going to love Aurelia. Not only does she reward you for assembling your own—she punishes your opponents for assembling theirs. The three-creature payoff is arguably better than the five-creature one, but whatever. This might be the best version of Aurelia we've ever gotten.

My prediction: Over

Commander Mustard

There's a surprising lack of Soldier typal commanders in MTG, (Morophon, the Boundless doesn't count), so Mustard should fit right in, especially with Captain of the Watch, Valiant Veteran, Assemble the Legion, and more.

My prediction: Over

Feather, Radiant Arbiter

The original Feather (Feather, the Redeemed) is Boros' second-most popular commander of all time, and Rank #73 overall.

This version? This version I'm less impressed with. Charging two mana per copy is far too expensive, no matter how cheap your spell is. I'm not paying three mana for an extra copy of Defiant Strike? Are you?

My prediction: Under

Nelly Borca, Impulsive Accuser

Did you hear? Nelly stars in the upcoming season of Real Housewives of Ravnica, where they accuse one another of all kinds of stuff, including fraud, infidelity, and impropriety. They goad each other into fights, too, leading to all kinds of drama. And with Nelly appearing on the cover of the latest commander deck, I think viewership will be massive.

My prediction: Over

Kellan, Inquisitive Prodigy

Apparently Kellan is the new Colossal Dreadmaw, because they're cramming him into every single set. I guess we'll see him in Universes Beyond: Fallout next, where he'll have a glowing brain stapled to his head or something.

Anyhoo, this version of Kellan doesn't strike me as Over material, what with his small-value Adventure attached to a decent body that basically just cracks Clues for free. Good, but not good enough.

My prediction: Under

Lonis, Genetics Expert

Lonis is back, and rather than hunting for Bigfoot, she's now turned her attention toward more prosaic investigations. She's got a pretty sweet design, especially with classic Clue payoffs like Erdwal Illuminator and Tireless Tracker. I look forward to stacking counters on my Sharktocrab, thank you very much.

My prediction: Over

The Pride of Hull Clade

Long ago, when I pulled my first Wall of Frost from a Magic 2011 pack down at my local game store, I never imagined I'd someday use it to ramp out a 2/15 Crocodile Elk Turtle on turn four. Yet here we are.

My prediction: Over

Vannifar, Evolved Enigma

Vannifar and I have a history. Last time she appeared in Ravnica Allegiance, she peaked at just 479 decks after one year, leading me to wonder what went wrong (I predicted an Over, in case you were wondering).

This is a far different treatment of the character, however, with a concentration on the Disguise/Morph space. The colorless clause on the +1/+1 counter ability allows for artifact synergies, too. I don't think Vannifar will earn a massive following, but she should get to about 1200.

My prediction: Over

Duskana, the Rage Mother

I like this commander way better than the one on the deck box (we'll meet that one next). Not only does Duskana work with Morph and Disguise, she works with everybody's favorite understatted type, Bears. Ayula, Queen Among Bears has already proven that strategy is appealing, and I think Duskana will become even more popular that the Queen.

My prediction: Over

Kaust, Eyes of the Glade

This picture looks like a moody teen stepping through their bead door at 1pm after staying up all night playing Madden. However, it'll probably play out more like Edric, Spymaster of Trest. Though I like Duskana better, Kaust is a face commander, so it's got my support.

My prediction: Over

Voja, Jaws of the Conclave

Typal commanders are almost always popular, so surely a double-typal commander will be twice as popular as usual, right?

Well, maybe not that popular—but it'll still do well. There's no shortage of Elves to choose from, and although there aren't as many viable Wolves, I think both combined should push Voja past the mark.

My prediction: Over

Morska, Undersea Sleuth

Bant value feels like well-trodden ground, but Morska lives underwater, so he's treading water, not ground. Plus, he's the face commander of the "Deep Sea Clue" precon deck. It doesn't take a sleuth to solve this one.

My prediction: Over

Sophia, Dogged Detective

Tesak, Judith's Hellhound tried, but this is the Dog typal commander we've been waiting for. Sophia offers a better color identity, superior synergy, and even a ham-fisted pun. Plus, it accurately captures the canine ethos: Do nothing until the humans feed you.

My prediction: Over

Niv-Mizzet, Guildpact

And I thought they printed Kellan a lot...

This marks the sixth distinct appearance of Niv-Mizzet, and his third as a five color commander. Every time I've reviewed him he's gone way Over, and I expect this iteration to be no different, especially considering his splashiness, raw power, and sweet neck frill.

My prediction: Over



  1. Massacre Girl, Known Killer
  2. Etrata, Deadly Fugitive
  3. Headliner Scarlett
  4. Krenko, Baron of Tin Street
  5. Emissary Green
  6. Lazav, Wearer of Faces
  7. Marvo, Deep Operative
  8. Mirko, Obsessive Theorist
  9. Judith, Carnage Connoisseur
  10. Rakdos, Patron of Chaos
  11. Anzrag, the Quake-Mole
  12. Teysa, Opulent Oligarch
  13. Tomik, Wielder of Law
  14. Melek, Reforged Researcher
  15. Amzu, Swarm's Hunger
  16. Aurelia, the Law Above
  17. Commander Mustard
  18. Nelly Borca, Impulsive Accuser
  19. Lonis, Genetics Expert
  20. The Pride of Hull Clade
  21. Vannifar, Evolved Enigma
  22. Duskana, the Rage Mother
  23. Kaust, Eyes of the Glade
  24. Voja, Jaws of the Conclave
  25. Morska, Undersea Sleuth
  26. Sophia, Dogged Detective
  27. Niv-Mizzet, Guildpact


  1. Apothecary White
  2. Delney, Streetwise Lookout
  3. Senator Peacock
  4. Mastermind Plum
  5. Tesak, Judith's Hellhound
  6. Alquist Proft, Master Sleuth
  7. Ezrim, Agency Chief
  8. Yarus, Roar of the Old Gods
  9. Lavinia, Foil to Conspiracy
  10. Tolsimir, Midnight's Light
  11. Trostani, Three Whispers
  12. Kylox, Visionary Inventor
  13. Agrus Kos, Spirit of Justice
  14. Feather, Radiant Arbiter
  15. Kellan, Inquisitive Prodigy

Can't-Miss Pick

How will my predictions fare? The answer to that mystery will have to wait a year. Until then, thanks for reading. And don't get murdered!

Read more:

The Over/Under - A Review of Warhammer 40k Commander Predictions

Ravnica: Clue Edition Set Review

Kyle A. Massa is a writer and avid Magic player living somewhere in upstate New York with his wife, their daughter, and three wild animals. His current favorite card is Ghired, Mirror of the Wilds. Kyle can be found on Twitter @mindofkyleam.

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