We are in the final countdown to Prerelease Weekend for Murders at Karlov Manor. This set has some incredible lore and even more incredible cards, and this weekend will be your first chance to get your hands on these brand new cards. We’ll be taking a look at the new mechanics, along with the Murders at Karlov Manor draft archetypes that you’ll be building your decks around in your draft pods. Let’s take a look at what to expect in MKM!
This set will be the first time we see Play Boosters in Magic. This means there will be more Rares, cards from the List, and Special Guests that can show up in your Drafts and Sealed pools. As a reminder, this is how Play Boosters break down.
Mechanics of Murders at Karlov Manor
There are a bunch of new mechanics to know for this upcoming prerelease weekend of Murders at Karlov Manor, along with some returning favorites. Let’s breakdown what to expect when opening your Play Booster during Prerelease or your first draft!
Disguise and Cloak
There are two mechanics in Murders at Karlov Manor that deal with face-down cards.
Disguise is a mechanic found on creatures, artifacts, and lands (but mostly creatures), that allows you to play a card face-down as a 2/2 Creature with Ward 2 for 3 generic mana. You can then turn the card face-up at any time by paying its Disguise cost. Like the previous face-down mechanic Morph, anytime you have priority you may pay a Disguise cost and turn the permanent face-up. This is a special action and does not use the stack, so your opponent can’t respond to you activating it.
While Disguise is similar to Morph, Cloak is similar to Manifest. Cloak is a mechanic that will put cards into play face-down as 2/2 Creatures with Ward 2. Creature cards that are cloaked can later be turned face-up by paying their mana cost. Cloaked noncreature cards can’t turn face-up. If a cloaked creature card has Disguise, you may pay either the mana cost or the Disguise cost to turn it face-up.
Suspect is a keyword that places a designation on a creature. When a creature is suspected, it gains Menace and loses the ability to block. Suspected creatures remain suspected until they leave the battlefield or another card removes the suspected designation. This can be used to improve your creatures by giving them Menace or to clear the way for an attack by removing your opponent’s ability to block. There are a bunch of cards that interact specifically with suspected creatures too, giving this designation a whole additional level of play to consider.
Collect Evidence #
Collect Evidence is a keyworded action that involves exiling cards from a graveyard with mana value equal to or greater than the specified number. This is mechanically an additional cost, similar to other keywords like Kicker or Bargain. There are also creatures with Ward costs that involve collecting evidence. As a reminder, you can always Collect Evidence and exile a mana value greater than the specified number.
A Case is an enchantment type, much like Sagas or Classes. Each case has a standard ability listed first on the card and is always active while the enchantment is on the field. The second ability is the “To Solve” ability. At the beginning of your end step, the case becomes solved if you meet its listed criteria. The third ability is the “Solved” ability. These abilities are either an activated ability or a static ability and only work/active if the case is solved.
There was no way they could create a murder mystery themed set and not bring back the Investigate mechanic. Just like before, investigate is a keyword that creates a Clue token. Clue tokens can sacrifice themselves to draw a card by paying 2 Generic mana.
Basic landcycling also returns in Murders at Karlov Manor. This mechanic lets you pay a cost and discard a card with landcycling to go and fetch a land with particular attributes. Wizards has utilized this mechanic a lot over the past 12 months and its clear that basic landcycling in some form will be a staple of sets in order to improve the Limited environments.
While not a keyword or a strict ability, detective is a typal synergy that exists throughout Murders at Karlov Manor. There are cards from this set that create, care about, and are triggered by Detectives, so keep that in mind while drafting and opening your sealed pools.
Murders of Karlov Manor has a draft archetype for each color combination. Draft archetypes are very valuable whether you are drafting or playing sealed. Knowing what each color pair wants to do will help you determine if your prerelease pool has the right cards to play a certain deck. Let’s get into it!
Speaking of Detectives, this typal synergy is what the white-blue color pair is based around. This strategy is a midrange strategy and combines the aggressive parts of creature strategies with the longevity of Clue tokens and drawing additional cards. The signpost card for this archetype is Private Eye, which will rewards you with not only stronger detectives, but unblockable detectives too!
Dimir is setup to be the hard control strategy of this Limited environment. With the use of defensive spells and Clues to extend the game long, this archetype will have you drawing cards and sacrificing Clues until your opponent is buried in your card advantage.
If you like the idea of winning with some suspicious characters, Rakdos is for you. This archetype builds around the Suspect mechanic. Turn your aggressive creatures into literal Menaces and swing for major damage. Don’t forget to make your opponents creatures suspects too so you can sneak through the final damage to claim victory!
The red-green archetype is full of stompy creatures like you would expect, but this time they are in Disguise. Spend the early game playing your threats in Disguise. Then, once you’ve ramped into the mid-game, start turning your creatures face-up to deal a ton of unexpected damage.
Selesnya is another Disguise strategy, but instead of going big, it goes wide. Turn the cards in this archetype face-up to create even more creatures to clog up the board. Plus, green-white has some great payoffs for turning cards face-up, like Sumala Sentry.
The white-black archetype is the third and final Disguise based color combo. This one is based around small creatures with some major payoffs. It’s signpost card, Wispdrinker Vampire, give you a lot of insight into what it’s trying to do, and as a reminder, all Disguised creatures are only 2 power. This is also the colors you’ll want to play if you’re fortunate enough to open Delney, Streetwise Lookout.
Izzet is based around sacrificing artifacts, and in Murders at Karlov Manor you’ll have plenty of Clues to be sacrificing. Not only will you draw extra cards with your Clues, but you’ll also create a lot of flyers too. These flyers include plenty of 1/1 Thopter artifact creature tokens, making it easy to keep the value train rolling!
Black-green is back again to represent the graveyard archetype of Murders at Karlov Manor Limited. The patented Golgari strategy of fill the graveyard is only improved upon with the collect evidence mechanic. Since the graveyard gives your cards a second life (pun unintended), this archetype gives you a lot of long-game staying power.
As a reminder, this set is on Ravnica, so why not revitalize a Ravnica mechanic? Ok, so Battalion isn’t technically in this set, but the red-white archetype is definitely giving Battalion vibes. With this aggressive deck, get rewarded for attacking with at least three creatures. So get in there!
And then we arrive at the final Limited archetype of Murders at Karlov Manor. Simic works to also fill its graveyard and collect evidence like Golgari, but instead of bringing back it’s creatures it’s using that mechanic to give your spells as much value as possible. Let’s also not forget that Simic pairs one of the best drawing colors with one of the best ramping colors, so at a baseline this archetype will always have good bones for you to build around.
To wrap up, I could not be more excited for Murders at Karlov Manor. There are a ton of cards that people have been theorycrafting for over a week now, and getting to see them perform would be a huge step towards seeing what’s real. Make sure to be part of the fun this weekend by joining us for our Murders at Karlov Manor Prerelease.
Have you snagged everything you need ahead of the release of Murders at Karlov Manor? Make sure to pre-order any sealed product or singles you need from MKM. All orders can ship anywhere in the continental US or picked up for free from our Game Center in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.