Murders at Karlov Manor is Magic: The Gathering’s first Standard legal set for 2024, and it is designed as a top-down murder mystery set featuring tropes from the classic genre of storytelling. Set in the backdrop of the plane Ravnica, Alquist Proft and the Ravnican Agency of Magicological Investigations have to solve a string of murders which has also afflicted the influential Karlov family.
With a story filled with detective investigations, and (I assume) unexpected twists and mystique, Murders at Karlov Manor introduces aptly-named new keywords: Disguise, Cloak, Collect Evidence, Suspect, and Cases.
The first keyword Disguise is an improved version of the old mechanic Morph. If a card has Disguise, you can have the card enter the battlefield face down for three colourless mana.
When the card enters the battlefield face down, it is now a colourless 2/2 creature with Ward 2 (when this creature is targeted by a spell or an ability an opponent controls, counter it unless your opponent pays two generic mana more).
This 2/2 creature has no name, type or any mana value, and the player controlling it can look at it any time (just to make sure you know what permanent you have face down).
Whenever the player controlling the face down 2/2 creature has priority, the player can then choose to turn the card face up by paying its Disguise cost.
For the case of Pyrotechnic Performer, the controlling player has to play just one red mana for the permanent to turn it face up.
Do note that this process of turning the permanent face up does not use the stack, so it cannot be responded to.
Turning the 2/2 creature face up also does not cause it to re-enter the battlefield, so if you have attached any Auras or Equipment to it, they will still stay attached when the 2/2 creature turns face up!
The next keyword introduced in Murders at Karlov Manor in the set is Cloak. To Cloak a card, a player can put the card face down on the battlefield as a 2/2 colourless creature with Ward 2 (in the same vein as Disguise).
If the card the player has Cloaked is a creature card, the player can turn it face up any time the player has priority by paying the actual mana cost of the creature card. Just like Disguise, this process does not use the stack.
If a player has Cloaked a card with Disguise or Morph, the player can turn the card face up by paying the Disguise or Morph cost instead.
This is pretty handy since Disguise or Morph costs can potentially be cheaper than actually casting the creature with its actual mana value instead.
Players can also Cloak other non-creature cards but they will not be able to turn it face up. This is pretty interesting because players can potentially turn other cards they don’t need (lands, for example) into 2/2 creatures, while bluffing their opponents that these face down cards can turn into scarier creatures.
The third keyword introduced in this set is Collect Evidence. Collect Evidence is a keyword that always comes with a number behind it, and it is a cost that a player can pay in different contexts to reap additional benefits.
To Collect Evidence, a player has to exile any number of cards from their graveyard with total mana value equal to or greater than the number indicated.
For example, in the case of Analyze the Pollen, a player can choose to exile cards from their graveyard with a total mana value of 8 or more.
When this happens, they can choose to search for any creature or land card in their library instead of a basic land. This is a much better deal for just one green mana (and some cards exiled)!
The fourth new keyword in Murders at Karlov Manor is Suspect. When a creature is Suspected, it gains Menace (it cannot be blocked except by two or more creatures), and it now cannot block as long as it remains a Suspect.
The creature will remain Suspected until an effect removes it, or the creature leaves the battlefield.
The final new keyword is Case, which is a new type of Enchantment making its first appearance in Murders at Karlov Manor.
Case cards always have three abilities. The top ability is always active; for example, when the Case card Case of the Uneaten Feast is on a player’s battlefield, a creature entering that player’s battlefield under their control will cause that player to gain one life.
The middle ability is a conditional, and when a player meets the criterion such as gaining five or more life in a turn at their end step if they control Case of the Uneaten Feast, the Case is now considered solved.
When the Case is solved, the bottom ability becomes active. When Case of the Uneaten Feast is solved, a player can now choose to sacrifice Case of the Uneaten Feast at any time they can cast an instant spell to cast creature cards from their graveyard this turn.
A Case that is solved will remain solved until it leaves the battlefield. So, if a Case leaves the battlefield and re-enters the battlefield again because of some spell or ability, the Case will enter the battlefield unsolved, and the whole process of solving it starts again.
Returning mechanic: Investigate
With new keywords like Suspect and Collect Evidence, the Investigate keyword definitely has to make an appearance again!
When a player is asked to Investigate, they create a colourless artifact Clue token which can be sacrificed for two colourless mana to draw a card.
Clue tokens are a decent way to draw cards in a smaller format like Standard, and having more of them in the format is a welcome sight!
New Showcase Magnified cards and more
Murders at Karlov Manor will also introduce 30 cards in an all new Showcase Magnified treatment, as well as 41 cards in another new Showcase Dossier treatment.
Some of these Showcase Dossier cards will even feature invisible ink, with hidden handwritten notes scribbled across the cards. They can only be found in Collector boosters.
Seven prominent Ravnica guild leaders will also be featured in a Ravnica City treatment, and double rainbow foil serialised (250 of each seven Ravnica City cards) versions of these guild leaders in Ravnica City treatments can also be found in Collector boosters.
Special Guests and The List cards also make a return. They can be played in Limited formats, but as usual, they are not Standard legal.
Last, Wizards of the Coast Southeast Asia has commissioned an original murder mystery for aspiring online investigators to nab the murderer.
Featuring the talented Asian cast of Jo Tan, Edward Choy, Feroz Jaan Malik, Tiara Yap, and Tysha Khan, excerpts of the mystery will be uploaded onto Wizards of the Coast Southeast Asia’s Facebook and Instagram from 5 February.
Players in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines will stand to win prizes, so do look out for the mystery excerpts on Wizard of the Coast Southeast Asia's Facebook and Instagram page to find out more!
Murders at Karlov Manor will be available as the all-new Play Boosters, Collector Boosters, Commander Decks, Prerelease Packs, Bundles, and Gift Bundles.
Jay is a content creator who likes to hoard vintage photographic lenses, and loses too often in Dota 2 and Magic: The Gathering after work.