New year, new Magic: the Gathering cards! While technically not the very first release of 2024 (Ravnica Remastered with reprint cards), the upcoming Murders at Karlov Manor will be the first premium set to boast brand new cards, and it includes completely new card subtypes and mechanics. Take out your notepads, as Geek Culture and Tap & Sac present this exclusive spoiler (thanks Wizards of the Coast) – Case of the Stashed Skeleton!
Case of the Stashed Skeleton is a new Rare Enchantment that costs 1B, and features the brand new Case type. There are 3 components to this Case – a trigger when it enters the Battlefield, and then a second trigger if you “Solve” the Case. Let’s see the costs of solving this Case is worth putting on your detective’s hat.
When Case of the Stashed Skeleton first hits the board, you create a 2/1 Skeleton Creature that is “Suspected”. A suspected Creature has Menace and can’t block, so it’s quite similar to the Decayed keyword (can’t block and dies after an attack).
In order to solve the Case, you have to control 0 Suspected Skeletons. So assuming you have that single 2/1 Skeleton, it has to die in some way before you can unlock the big mystery of the Case. Solving Case of the Stashed Skeleton gives you a big reward. For another 1B Mana, you can Sacrifice it and search your Library for any single card and put it into your hand. That is pretty strong!
Ways to Solve a Case
In black, it’s easy to solve a Case since there are multiple cards that require you to Sacrifice a Creature. Village Rites and Deadly Dispute are 2 commonly seen cards that net you extra cards, and now you have a 2/1 token to Sacrifice. Colourless Artifacts such as Ashnod’s Altar can also get the job done, this time supplying you with extra Mana to cast other spells.
To make the most out of your 2/1 Skeleton, try to use it as an attacker or blocker unless it is no longer effective. With Instant Sacrifice effects, you could use the Skeleton as a chump blocker and subsequently sacrificing it to Village Rites before it dies. Not only do you save yourself some damage, you get to draw more cards to play.
Some Drawbacks of Case of the Stashed Skeleton
There are 2 main drawbacks to Case of the Stashed Skeleton, assuming that searching for a card in your Library is the ultimate goal you want to achieve.
The first is obvious: you need to have 0 Suspected Skeletons in order to solve the Case. If you play any other cases that create Suspected Skeletons, all will have to die before you can activate the “solved” portion of the Case. Naturally if you play multiple Case of the Stashed Skeleton, you’re going to get more Suspected Skeletons. Without more insight into the other Cases found in the Murders at Karlov Manor, this may be a non-issue, or it could really affect the effectiveness of this card.
The second drawback isn’t as obvious but is equally as significant. You can only activate the Solved trigger as a Sorcery, meaning on your Main Phase and you can’t respond to another player’s actions. This may not seem bad at first, considering that most search (aka tutor) spells such as Demonic Tutor and Profane Tutor are also Sorceries. However, if you take into account the hoops you have to jump through to reach the Solved state, it makes Case of the Stashed Skeleton less exciting to play.
The new Case cards are going to add a new dimension of gameplay to all MTG formats. It looks very similar to Sagas, where you get multiple benefits off a single card. But where Sagas automatically trigger each turn, the Case of the Stashed Skeleton requires lots of work to get to the final payoff. Depending on the requirement, this may not be worth a slot in your deck.
Case of the Stashed Skeleton is not a bad card – it’ll see play in plenty of casual Commander decks, but we don’t expect to see it much in competitive play.