MTG Murders at Karlov Manor: New and returning Mechanics

Jack Bye
MTG Karlov Manor Alquist Proft

Solving mysteries has brought a whole new style of gameplay to MTG, with a number of new mechanics helping players step into the position of a quick-thinking detective.

Murders at Karlov Manor is MTG’s latest premier set. Following on from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, Murders at Karlov Manor returns to the beloved plane of Ravnica to witness plane-shaking deaths and a deadly hunt for the culprit.

We’ll walk you through Murders at Karlov Manor’s debuting and returning mechanics, so you can get to grips with how this set will play ahead of its February 9 release.

Murders at Karlov Manor mechanics


MTG Karlov Manor investigate

Investigate is a perfect fit for a whole set revolving around finding clues and solving mysteries. When a card Investigates, it creates a Clue Token. Spending two generic mana and sacrificing the Clue allows the player to draw a card.

After Treasure and Food tokens have seen significant boosts in MTG’s recent history, it’s only fitting that Clue tokens get their time in the spotlight too. Murders at Karlov Manor seem poised to allow just that, bringing several exciting new clue-based strategies to the fore.


MTG Karlov Manor disguise

Disguise is a new mechanic debuting in Murders at Karlov Manor. Despite other popular TCGs like Yu-Gi-Oh employing face-down mechanics, MTG has been oddly bereft of it outside of somewhat niche abilities like Foretell and Manifest.

Morph was previously MTG’s most well-known face-down mechanic, and it returns with a new coat of paint as Disguise. Much like Morph, Disguise allows a player to cast a spell face-down for a cost, at which point it becomes a 2/2 creature. The player can then flip the card face-up at any time. Disguise differs from Morph because Disguised cards also have Ward 2, making it a difficult proposition for opponents to interact with.

Disguise adds to the mystery of MTG and allows you to play mind games with your opponents, either bluffing or setting up a clever counterattack.


MTG Karlov Manor case

Cases are another new MTG mechanic for Murders at Karlov Manor. Cases are similar to Sagas and Classes as multi-step Enchantments. However, while Sagas naturally progress as turns pass, Cases are ‘solved’ by their player completing certain objectives, for example having three artifacts on their field.

It can be beneficial to have the requirements to solve a Case already active prior to casting the Case, but Cases grant benefits for being cast even without their solving requirements being active, so it isn’t a necessity.


MTG Karlov Manor suspect

Suspect is an interesting new ability that serves as either a boost or a debuff, depending on how it’s played. When a creature is Suspected, it gains Menace and cannot block for as long as it is Suspected. Handing out Menace can be a great way for your creatures to get around opponents’ blockers, but Suspect can also be used to neutralize opponents’ blockers and ensure your damage goes through in another way.

Weighing up the benefits and drawbacks of Suspecting your own creatures or your opponent’s leads to some tactical thinking, and the mechanic is a nicely flexible combat-focused addition to this set.

Collect Evidence

MTG Karlov Manor evidence

As Murders at Karlov Manor’s final new ability, Collect Evidence is fairly unique. Each Collect Evidence ability comes with a specific cost, Collect Evidence 3 for example. When Collect Evidence triggers, cards with a mana value equal to the Collect Evidence number must be exiled from your graveyard to activate the effect.

The Lost Caverns of Ixalan came packed with abilities like Descend to reward getting cards into the grave, and Murders at Karlov Manor takes a different, but equally interesting track with graveyard synergies.

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