MTG Murders At Karlov Manor Review: Magical & Mysterious

Murders at Karlov Manor Cover

While playing your favorite game of commander or standard, a thought might have crossed your mind: what if Magic: The Gathering gets a crossover with Cluedo? If you’re not part of those that wondered, then you’ll be surprised. As the title of this review, MTG takes a surprising turn by delving into the mystery genre. In this edition, Murders at Karlov Manor, MTG adds its usual unique twist to a mystery involving powerful sorcerers and tricksters. Is it a good edition? Should you buy it? Let’s find out in this review!

MTG Murders At Karlov Manor Review – Summary

Mechanics

Murders at Karlov Box

As mentioned above, the theme of this edition involves clues, intrigue, mystery, and a lot of sleuthing. With that said, the mechanics reflect the unknown and players can use these to their advantage. Another thing worth adding is that some of the new mechanics are similar with previous ones from of old. This means that you can make good use of the cards here if you fancy playing Commander. Anyway, let’s get on with the list of mechanics found in Murders at Karlov Manor. Compared to the previous edition, The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, there are more mechanics this time.

Disguise

Disguise Mechanic

Ever heard of Morph? Disguise is similar to that but better. Instead of just a 2/2 creature this time, that creature has Ward {2}. Similar to morph, turning the creature face up results in some interesting effects. The question is: when is the right time to turn them up? In line with the theme of the set, this “new” ability hides creatures under the guise of a colorless 2/2 token. But instead of just normal damage, a bit of “surprise mechanics” come into play.

Cloak

What if you can also disguise other cards? Cloak is a mechanic that does just that. Face-up creatures or cards can be transformed back to face-down 2/2 creatures as an effect. This can be used in conjunction with different face-up mechanics or if you just want to toy with your opponent’s sanity.

Investigate

Instead of food, we get to produce “Clues” this time around. Investigate spawns a “Clue” token that has a draw a card mechanic if you’re willing to pay for the {2}. Similar to cloak, players can take advantage of this new mechanic if your deck plays around sacrificing artifacts or spawning them.

Suspect

Suspect

Suspect is an umbrella term for “Menace” and “can’t block”. Murders at Karlov has cards that grant this effect on creatures and some cards can be used to take advantage of the “suspect” status.

Collect Evidence

Collect Evidence is simply exiling cards from your graveyard to meet a certain number. For example, Collect Evidence 10 requires you to exile cards that would add up to 10 mana to trigger the effect. Incredibly useful if your deck revolves around adding and removing things in your graveyard.

Cases

Case

Cases are enchantments that require you to fulfill a certain condition to finally activate their ultimate form. The first line on these cards are abilities or effects that activate under certain conditions. The second line is a condition that, once fulfilled, allows you to access the third line which is the main effect of the card.

MTG Murders At Karlov Manor Review – Pre-Con Commander Decks

As usual, we have four commander decks in this edition. Fortunately we were able to try one ourselves and have surprising results with the test matches.

MTG Murders At Karlov Manor Commander Decks

  • Deadly Disguise (Red-Green-White)
  • Revenant Recon (Blue-Black)
  • Deep Clue See (Green-White-Blue)
  • Blame Game (Red-White)

Deadly Disguise Review

Deadly Disguise

Deadly Disguise is a beatdown deck with mana ramps to help you get those large creatures out and about. It takes advantage of the green to get more lands into play, white for removal spells, and red for hyper-aggressive huge creatures. I initially thought of Deadly Disguise as a run-of-the-mill Naya deck but boy was I proven wrong. The deck plays around the Disguise and Morph mechanics. Cards in the deck either empower the face-down creatures or lessen the cost to turn them face-up. Then kicker here is that the monsters here are easy to cast given that you have a lot of green to work with.

For testing, the Deadly Disguise deck was pitted against a vanilla Commander Masters Sliver Swarm deck. The Deadly Disguise deck won all fights against the Commander Masters Sliver. With that being said, I highly recommend this deck for beginners and those that wish to just land stompers in play. Deadly Disguise is not incredibly complicated, is easy to handle, and a joy to see those big monsters land and throw their weight around.

MTG Murders At Karlov Manor Review – Conclusion

Clue Me In

While it’s a bit weird to hear MTG delving into the mystery genre, the execution of Murders at Karlov Manor is still something to look out for. It may not be as epic as the planet-breaking epics of previous editions, but the setting here is a test to invent where the game is heading to. And for me, it did pay off. Cluedo may be the last thing you have thought of when it comes to MTG but then again, here we are.

Card Design May Not Be For Everyone

Vein Ripper

The Cluedo inspired card design may not be for everyone. As evidenced with the pricing during the writing of this article, the usual card designs fetch a heftier price compared to the more “premium” re-designed cards with their typewriter fonts. With that said, opinions are split here. In my case, I do like the unique border for cards in this edition. Just one look and you’ll know that the card is part of the Murders at Karlov Manor set. But yes, not everyone is game with the design.

Old Effects Made Modern

Card mechanics found decades ago have been revamped in this edition and it’s definitely a very welcome upgrade. Morph has turned to Disguise and the additional layer of intrigue in a match between decks in this edition is surprisingly fun and refreshing. It’s also worth noting that the mechanics here do not seem “forced” in a way. The new mechanics integrate well with how modern MTG is played and the mechanics themselves can be used for greater effect if combined with old cards.

MTG Murders At Karlov Manor – Availability

The Murders At Karlov Manor is out and can be found in most hobby and toy stores. If you are interested in trying out this set, best seek your local hobby store and ask around. Another good way to start in this set is to get a Commander deck and join your local MTG community for some good time.

For our review of the previous set, read our review of the Lost Caverns of Ixalan.