The Limited Mechanics Of MTG’s Murders At Karlov Manor

Andy “Icky” Ferguson examines the MTG card mechanics seen in the Murders at Karlov Manor previews with an eye toward future Limited play.

Gleaming Geardrake
Gleaming Geardrake, illustrated by Filipe Pagliuso

With previews beginning in earnest on Tuesday, Murders at Karlov Manor is starting to take shape. Today I’ll break down the new mechanics through a Limited lens.

Join me with your finest tweed suit, and let’s dig in!


Branch of Vitu-Ghazi Dog Walker Nightdrinker Moroii

Disguise is very similar to the morph mechanic. Disguised creatures cost three colorless and are colorless 2/2s, but now have a bonus of ward 2. This is a nice buff to include, assuring you don’t trade down on mana for Shock. Ward 2 can actually lead to some strong plays in Limited, such as making sure to allow your opponent to pay the ward cost before flipping your creature that can survive the previously lethal kill spell.

I did hear Mark Rosewater say that the “morph five” rule remains intact, which is good news for Limited. The rule is: if you attack with a 2/2 (or morph), and your opponent blocks with a face-down 2/2, there won’t be a blowout unless they have five or more mana available. If the morph cost is four or less, any face down morph/disguise creature will either trade with a 2/2 or bounce off.


Expose the Culprit Etrata, Deadly Fugitive

Cloak is a pretty interesting mechanic, and we’ll have to see what other cards it pops up on (only Expose the Culprit and Etrata, Deadly Fugitive have been previewed as I write this). Speculating on some instances, cloaking your own creature at instant speed could provide ward, or a second instance of an enters-the-battlefield trigger. The mechanic also allows cards to be cloaked from zones other than the battlefield, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Reanimate-type effect that brings a creature back from the graveyard cloaked.


Case of the Pilfered Proof Case of the Filched Falcon Case of the Ransacked Lab

Case is a new enchantment subtype, reminiscent of the Classes such as Wizard Class in Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. You get a small benefit by casting the card, and a stronger benefit by fulfilling the requirements to solve the Case. Cases become solved at your end step, and you will likely want to play a slower game when using them.


It Doesn't Add Up Airtight Alibi Convenient Target

Suspect is a new keyword action that you can apply to any creature, yours or an opponent’s. When a creature becomes a suspect, it has menace and can’t block. This is my favorite of the new mechanics, as it provides more choices and complexity when choosing a suspect, while remaining on the same axis of attackers and blockers.

Collect Evidence

Bite Down on Crime Extract a Confession Crimestopper Sprite

Collect Evidence requires you to exile cards from your graveyard that total a certain mana value. The mechanic most often looks to act like a kicker cost on cards such as Crimestopper Sprite or Extract a Confession, but also appears to have unique instances as well, showing up as a ward cost on Axebane Ferox and an enters-the-battlefield/attack trigger on Izoni, Center of the Web. Topiary Panther is the only landcycler revealed so far; it will be great graveyard fodder to enable the mechanic easily.

Investigate and Clue Tokens

Loxodon Eavesdropper Gleaming Geardrake Public Thoroughfare

Investigate should be a mechanic most players are Clued into by now, but it appears to have a lot more synergies in Murders at Karlov Manor than in previous sets. The above cards do a great job of illustrating the different ways we can leverage Clue tokens, adding more complexity to the existing mechanic.

Murders at Karlov Manor looks like an intricate set with some really fun mechanics. I’m looking forward to seeing more cards previewed. In the meantime…

Lose and Learn, Learn and Win!