Last weekend, Murders at Karlov Manor Prerelease events took place and were a ton of fun. Murders at Karlov Manor features a lot of unique mechanics that are quite interesting to play with in Limited. Playing with and against Disguise cards, for instance, leads to a lot of intriguing gameplay aspects, such as knowing when it’s correct to try to block someone’s face-down Creature.
While a lot of the feedback from the Prereleases is likely mostly positive, there was one notable issue that players ran into. Murders at Karlov Manor in particular encompasses A LOT of different tokens that all play different roles within the set. While some are specific to individual cards are less necessary to be readily available, many of the basic mechanics from the set create tokens themselves.
This doesn’t even take into account overlay cards, which can be helpful in situations where there are a lot of face-down Creatures. Needing a lot of tokens to help represent the board state isn’t necessarily an issue, but players were quick to point out to MTG head designer Mark Rosewater on his Blogatog that more tokens should be made available for the Prerelease. This seemed to be a resounding problem for a lot of people, and even led to some misplays that may have otherwise been avoided.
A Complete Lack of Tokens
“I got ONE token in my prerelease box and unfortunately I did not play my single copy of Slime Against Humanity so it didn’t get used. I made a LOT of Clues and Detectives though”moxdilithium
As mentioned, many of the mechanics that were in the set made tokens or necessitated overlay cards. There are many cards in the set that Investigate and make Detective tokens. Additionally, there are quite a few cards that either have Disguise or require you to Cloak a card from a library or your hand. As such, each of these tokens are needed almost every game.
This led to problems that were twofold. First, there were not enough tokens given out in general. As moxdilithium pointed out above, they got a single token in their whole Prerelease kit, which clearly doesn’t cut it in a set like this. Second, though, there are a lot of individual cards that make unique tokens that don’t come up very often, and players have the chance to open these tokens instead of Clues or Detectives they definitely need.
For instance, in the case of moxdilithium, the one token they did receive appears to be an Ooze token to go along with Slime Against Humanity, which they did not play. This isn’t to say that those tokens aren’t useful, but more to say that Clue and Detective tokens that get created by a multitude of cards in the set should be more abundant.
This doesn’t even factor in punch cards, which can help represent when any Karlov Manor cards have been Suspected or a Case has been Solved. With how plentiful these mechanics are, having proper representation for them is important, and can lead to fewer mistakes being made, especially among newer players.
A Helpful Reminder
“I especially assumed clues and disguise helper tokens would’ve been chock-a-block. The latter were especially missed because there was a lot of forgetting of the ward.”simicmimic
In many cases, when players do not have access to a token, they will use something like a random face-down card to showcase their existence. If they make multiple of the same token, it’s not unusual to just use a die to show how many of the token in question is in play. For something simple like tokens, this isn’t usually a big deal. However, as simicmimic points out, the lack of overlay cards for cards with Disguise was a bit problematic.
Without an overlay card, there isn’t a good way to indicate that your face-down Creature has Ward 2. Obviously, this is a recurring theme in the set and is therefore important to remember. Still, it’s easy for newer players to forget without an indication, especially at a Prerelease. Furthermore, given the fact that many players are used to playing with Morphed or Manifested Creatures, this is a rather easy detail to let slip.
“Also, different tokens for disguise and cloak if/when the mechanics come back, please.”seththemusical
Players have also mentioned that it might be helpful to have different overlay cards for cards that have been played face-down from hand via Disguise and those that have been Cloaked instead. Given that Cloaked cards can be turned face-up even if they don’t have Disguise if they are Creature cards means that it can be important to differentiate them, especially if you are the opponent deciding which face-down Creature to block.
“The weird thing is they did this right for WOE, where each prerelease pack had all the role tokens. When a solution works, keep doing it.”mrmoustachemm
Obviously, the goal that most players want achieved is to see the most popular tokens available in every Prerelease kit. This isn’t too far-fetched, since Wilds of Eldraine Prerelease kits came equipped with various Role tokens to help players differentiate between them. Given how many different tokens, overlay cards, and punch cards there are in this set specifically, though, each kit would need to come with a decent number of extra cards. Also, this wouldn’t exactly help players in traditional drafts of the set past Prerelease weekend.
“While the pre release pack could include tokens, I think we still need a bigger solution for normal drafts. Maybe instead of one card being one token, it could be two or four, split-card-style with a cut out pattern?”su92
This leads to the question of how players can get more of the necessary tokens reliably during draft without having to bring them beforehand. su92 suggests that some cards could, in theory, provide access to multiple different tokens at once. This is quite similar to how punch cards have worked before. You simply cut or “punch” out the individual effect needed, such as a Stun counter or Finality counter from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, from a sheet with multiple different effects.
It’s certainly possible there’s a way to fuse these ideas together, though this would mean that players might not get access to full-sized tokens. Still, it’s quite clear players want more reliable access to the requisite tokens they will likely need for Limited events. Mark Rosewater states that he heard these messages “loud and clear,” so it’ll be interesting to see what adjustments are made in the future.