April 1, 2024

Greetings everyone, I’m sure you’re all wondering why I summoned you here today. Today we’re looking at Murders at Karlov Manor, Magic’s latest set and 4th visit to the plane of Ravnica! Making Ravnica the most visited plane next to Dominaria. Get your detective caps ready and join in the investigation as we dive into this veritable whodunit with our Murders at Karlov Manor review!

Murders at Karlov Manor Review – Story

We jump into the next story in the Omenpath arc by arriving on Ravnica. A string of murders have taken place across the plane, and the newly formed Ravnican Agency of Magicological Investigations is tasked with finding the perpetrator and bringing them to justice! 

We follow a new character in the story, Alquist Proft, a detective who is leading the investigation. It’s only when attending a party, hosted by Teysa Karlov in the titular Karlov Manor do things really start taking a turn. The lights go out! You hear a scream! And when the lights come on, one of the guests, a former guild leader is dead in the middle of the party. Now it’s time to play a game of Cluedo (Clue for our American readers). 

On top of our murder mystery, we also see the return of Kellan as he continues his search for his father, now taking up a role as an investigator alongside Proft.

Murders at Karlov Manor review – What’s in the Set?

Magic’s 99th expansion is here and you can find in it 286 regular cards plus the regular assortment of special showcase cards and full art lands dotted throughout the packs. Speaking of packs, set boosters and draft boosters are now gone! To stop the confusion of newcomers, there are just 2 types of booster packs now.

Collector boosters remain the same, still full of foils, unique art cards and the potential of “lottery cards” like the serialized cards. And play boosters which contain the best of both draft and set boosters.

To break it down, a play booster will contain 14 cards, 7 of which are common with one potentially being a “list” or special guest card, 3 uncommon cards, 1 rare or mythic rare and 2 “wildcards” which will be one foil and one non-foil card of any rarity from the set and can be in a unique showcase style and finally a basic land which may be fullart.

Murders at Karlov Manor Review – New and Returning Mechanics

Disguise and Cloak

The first 2 new mechanics I’ll be talking about are upgrades to previously used mechanics. Disguise is an upgrade to the previously used Morph mechanic. In both cases, you may cast the spell for 3 generic mana, the card is placed face down and becomes a 2/2 creature that can be turned face up for its mana cost or disguise/morph cost.

Where disguise differs however is that it also comes with Ward 2, giving the creature a little more protection. Cloak is an upgraded version of Manifest. Where with Disguise and Morph you cast the card from your hand face down, Cloak and Manifest are typically done from other zones such as the top of your deck. Much like Disguise, Cloak gives your face-down card Ward 2 as well. 


Suspect is a mechanic that is supposed to represent that all eyes are on the suspected creature. A creature that becomes suspected gains menace and can’t block. It’ll be suspected until the creature leaves the battlefield or a card causes it to lose its suspicion. 

Collect Evidence

Collect Evidence is a new mechanic that asks you to exile cards from your graveyard with a total mana value equal to the evidence number. This is usually done as an additional cost like Kicker. By collecting evidence, the spell will give a bonus effect.


The final new mechanic I want to talk about is actually a new card type. Cases are enchantments that are in the same style as Classes and to a smaller extent, Sagas. Cases will have an enter the battlefield effect or a static effect and then give you a task to solve the case. 

This can be something like “have no cards in hand” or “control 7 or more lands”. If these conditions have been met then at the end of the turn, the case will be solved and give you an additional static effect. 


The only returning mechanic is Investigate. A fan favourite, Investigate has you create a clue token that you can sacrifice to draw a card. 

Murders at Karlov Manor Review – Showcase Art and Cluedo

Wizards decided to spoil us this time with not 1, not 2 but 3 alternate art frame styles (or 4 if you count borderless). Each one of these frames represents something different in the set.

Certain creatures are given a Dossier card frame to make it appear like they have their own file on record for a P.I. to peruse over. Story Spotlight cards are put under a magnifying glass with their unique frame cluing players into the story beats. Finally, the guild leaders of Ravnica get given the Ravnica-styled frames first seen in March of the Machines showing off the iconic spires for the city plane.

If you’re lucky, you might even be able to pick up one of the few serialised cards featuring the Ravnica frame. But serialised cards aren’t the only unique cards to look out for.

If you’re really lucky when opening a Collector booster, you might come across a foil Dossier card, to most people, it may look like a normal foil, but there’s a chance you might have your hands on an Invisible Ink foil! These cards have writing in the margins of them by our lead detective Proft. While it’s easier to see them under UV light, you can also make out the ink at certain angles.

While it isn’t technically part of Murders at Karlov Manor, it would be remiss of me not to mention Ravnica: Cluedo edition. A product released alongside the set giving both a new way to play and adding some new Universes Beyond characters.

Much like a regular game of Cluedo, you take 3 evidence cards, a weapon, room and murderer, and place them aside. Each of these has been made into magic cards. The weapons are equipment artifacts, the rooms are lands and the Cluedo characters have all been reimagined as legendary creatures in the style of Ravnica.

You shuffle up and play a normal game of Magic, but when you deal combat damage to an opponent you may ask them a question about a piece of evidence they might have on their person. You get one shot at making a final guess at who the murderer is and the scenario. If you fail that, you’re locked out of that chance of victory, but you can still win by normal means as far as Magic goes.

Murders at Karlov Manor Review – Commander Decks

To finish off, we have our usual 4 assorted Commander decks.

Magic the Gathering Murders at Karlov Manor review commander decks

Deadly Disguise

This is a red/green/white deck that has a focus on placing cards face down and flipping them up for a big surprise. With a focus on the Morph and Disguise mechanic, this features the Commander Morph fans have been wanting for a long time!

Revenant Recon

This deck is a blue/black deck with a focus on the Surveil mechanic and bringing creatures back from the graveyard. Look at the top card of your deck, send the creature to the grave then bring it back with your Commander’s ability.

Deep Clue Sea

This is a blue/green/white deck with a focus on the Investigate mechanic and gaining advantage through clues.

Blame Game

Finally, we have the red/white deck with a focus on suspecting creatures and goading them. A perfect “hit them not me” deck.

Murders at Karlov Manor Review – Conclusion

So there you have it folks, the next set has come to a close. I’m not sure how I feel about this set. I love a good “whodunit” and murder mystery, but this set just didn’t live up to what I had expected. It also felt weird arriving on Ravnica and not having any guild-focused mechanics. But it’s still nice to visit our favourite city-themed plane, even if it is just a skin for the set.

Thanks to Wizards of the Coast for providing a press kit for our Murders at Karlov Manor review. If you enjoyed this, be sure to check out more of our Magic the Gathering reviews and join us over on the Qualbert Discord to chat with us about all things tabletop!

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