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MTG preview cards highlight mysterious new mechanics in Murders at Karlov Manor

The game is afoot... or is it a hand? Hang on, we can figure this out...

A dead character lying on the ground next to a shattered cup, wearing white and black. Key art from Magic’s Murders at Karlov Manor set. Image: Jodie Muir/Wizards of the Coast
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

The first set of cards for Magic: The Gathering in 2024 is Murders at Karlov Manor, and it hits the street on Feb. 9. Set in the fan-favorite plane of Ravnica, the mysterious set offers a whole host of new mechanics all based on the classic murder mystery trope. Details were shared Tuesday in a news release.

When players Investigate in Karlov Manor, they’ll create a Clue token — just as they did when the mechanic was introduced in Shadows Over Innistrad in 2016. This artifact can be sacrificed for two mana, allowing players to draw a single card. That’s a fairly expensive way to prime the pump on a bad hand, but it can pay off in the long run — especially if that next card includes one of the game’s other new mechanics.

Auspicious Arrival allows players to investigate, as well as grants a creature +2/+2. Image: Wizards of the Coast
Aurelia’s Vindicator is a 4/2 Angel with Disguise — as well as flying, lifelink, and ward Image: Wizards of the Coast

Perhaps the next card will let you don a Disguise. Disguise lets players cast a card face down, concealing what’s been brought to the table. That allows you to set clever traps for other players — such as Aurelia’s Vindicator featuring lifelink, which earns the controlling player additional life for each damage it deals across the table.

The Case mechanic, on the other hand, is a clever reimplementation of Sagas. These multi-stage enchantments stay on the table for a while, evolving in ways similar to a classic murder mystery. The payoff can be fairly lucrative. The Case of the Filched Falcon, for instance, nets the player a small flock of flying Bird creatures to harass opponents.

Case of the Filched Falcon is an Enchantment, and allows palyers to solve a crime. The reward is four bird creatures under the player’s control. Image: Wizards of the Coast
Case of the Ransacked Lab is another Enchantment, which nets the solver the ability to pull a card whenever using an instant or sorcery. Image: Wizards of the Coast

Meanwhile, the new Suspect mechanic appears poised to help accelerate the end game. Suspected is a label that gets applied to a creature. The Suspect label lasts indefinitely, and creatures granted it go on a rampage, gaining menace. Finally, the last new mechanic is called Evidence and gives players who like to play tricks using that part of the board — which is technically outside the game itself — another way to place cards into this liminal space.

We’ve included all of the new preview cards in the gallery below. Stay tuned for pre-release weekend, which kicks off Feb. 2. Pre-orders are already open.

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