Thassa's Oracle
8, Jan, 24

MTG Teaser Heralds Return of 15-Year-Old Mechanic!

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Article at a Glance

The release of Murders at Karlov Manor is nearly a month away, and with it, we are starting to gather more and more information about this unique murder mystery set. Back in December, a handful of spoilers were revealed as part of our first look at the set. Episode 1 of the Murders at Karlov Manor storyline was also made available around the same time. Today, Episode 2 was released, giving us even more lore to dive into.

Beyond just the story associated with Murders at Karlov Manor, though, we were also given a sneak peek at some of the potential mechanics and card designs that will be spoiled in the coming weeks. As is customary before the release of every premier set, head MTG designer Mark Rosewater previewed his teaser for Murders at Karlov Manor, and there’s a lot of information to take away from it. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more intriguing and unique features of the set.

An Investigate Kill Condition

Clue Token

“Whenever you sacrifice a Clue, target opponent gets two poison counters.”

Mark Rosewater

First, we’re going to focus on one of the more easily abusable lines of rules text that is supposedly going to appear on an MTG card from the set. This ability is a solid payoff for any Commander decks that are capable of generating lots of Clue tokens. Cards like Thorough Investigation or Disorder in the Court are quite capable of generating a massive number of Clue tokens by themselves if you put in the work.

What’s interesting, though, is that based on the wording of the text above, the card in question doesn’t care how you sacrifice the Clue tokens. Therefore, rather than having to pay two mana to crack each Clue individually to give an opponent two poison counters, you can use a free sacrifice outlet to speed up the process. Krark-Clan Ironworks, for instance, could be extremely useful at helping you outright win the game with enough Clues in play.

Adding in the likes of Academy Manufactor can also help speed up the Clue-generating process. For example, casting simply casting Dockside Extortionist with Manufactor in play could net you a ton of Clues plus Treasure tokens to help you crack them.

It should be noted, that it’s unclear what color this new card will be, and as such, what Commander decks can utilize it. This new card pairs extremely nicely with Lonis, Cryptozoologist, as Lonis can generate a ton of Clues and then sacrifice them all at once, but we’ll have to wait and see if the new card is compatible or not color-wise.

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A Returning Mechanic

Oona's Grace

“a keyword mechanic not printed in a premier set since 2008 returns on a single card”

Mark Rosewater

Perhaps the most interesting announcement within the teaser is that a keyword mechanic from over 15 years ago will make a triumphant return. The premier sets from 2008 were Morningtide, Shadowmoor, Eventide, and Shards of Alara. This really narrows down the range of mechanics that could be returning. Many of these mechanics listed above are quite high on Mark Rosewater’s Storm Scale, which likely contributes to why they haven’t returned in premier sets for quite some time.

For instance, Wither is given a 7 out of 10 on the Storm Scale, largely because of its potentially detrimental effects on Limited gameplay. Keywords like With and Persist also don’t make a ton of sense thematically to be returning, which seems essential for a set with this much lore focus.

Ultimately, players believe that Retrace seems like it could be the most likely mechanic to bring back. In a murder-mystery-themed environment, “retracing your steps” to help you find something can be essential. On the flip side, Conspire also fits the theme quite well, as characters are bound to plot against others in an effort to uphold their innocence or frame someone else.

Conspire was given an 8 on the Storm Scale a little over a year ago, though, as Rosewater hinted that it might be best to tweak the mechanic for future use. Given how far in advance designs begin for sets, this does cast doubt on Conspire’s return, but only time will tell.

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Potential Zedruu Enabler?

Zedruu the Greathearted

“target opponent gains control of any number of target permanents you control.”

Mark Rosewater

A rather interesting piece of rules text to appear on a card in the new set provides you with the ability to donate cards to your opponents. In general, this style of effect is weak, as gifting your opponent’s your own cards is obviously not ideal in most cases. However, there are scenarios where doing so can either mess with your opponent or, in the case of Zedruu the Greathearted, can reward you in another way.

Assuming this new card is within a Jeskai color combination, it could be perfect for a Zedruu Commander deck. Sending cards like Aggressive Mining or Steel Golem to an opponent can be quite detrimental to them, and with Zedruu in play, you get a source of card advantage out of the deal.

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A Mole God Makes an Appearance!

Graf Mole

“Legendary Creature – Mole God”

Mark Rosewater

A rather strange Creature type is also going to be present in the set. There have been Moles, and there have been Gods, but now we get a Creature with both types in the world of MTG. Some players believe this character to be the Gruul God that is being referred to in Episode 1 which previously decimated the Ninth District.

This is absolutely possible. While it may seem strange to include a Mole God in the set given how few Moles there are in MTG, Murders at Karlov Manor might actually be the perfect set for it. The first Mole in MTG was none other than Graf Mole, which specifically provided a benefit for sacrificing Clues. We’ve already seen a multitude of spoilers that Investigate, so this could be a cool opportunity to reference a sweet Creature type and put it in the spotlight.

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A Ton More to Look Forward to

Thassa's Oracle

“As long as there are no cards in your library,”

Mark Rosewater

Thanks to the teaser, there are tons of details to be on the lookout for. From a card that references an empty library to a card that allows you to cast Creature spells from your graveyard for a turn, there’s plenty of potential for some seriously powerful cards to show up in this set.

There are also some sweet references to cards and sets of the past. For instance, a new card with the name Deadly Cover-Up sounds eerily similar to Devious Cover-Up, a Counterspell from Guilds of Ravnica. Given that Murders at Karlov Manor takes place on Ravnica, this similar name is almost certainly not a coincidence. It’ll be fun to further decipher more of these hints and information from the teaser as more spoilers make their presence known.

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