Murders At Karlov Manor First Look (Full Recap)

Play Boosters are coming to Magic: The Gathering, and nothing will ever be the same. Okay, most things will still be the same, but with today’s First Look at Murders at Karlov Manor we got a taste of how things will start to look and feel different when the set releases in February of next year. Typically, the First Look at a set is aimed more at retailers as a way for WOTC to show off what products will be available when the set in question releases. We get a small handful of new cards, some art treatments, and a lot of new art with a smattering of story details. But with Murders at Karlov Manor (MKM) being the first set to replace both Draft and Set Boosters with Play Boosters, today’s First Look had a lot more meat on the bone.

Before we get to the fun stuff, a quick recap on how Play Boosters differ from Draft Boosters is in order. The first important note is that I’m only going to be talking about the makeup for Play Boosters for MKM specifically, as WOTC has stated that the slots in Play Boosters are more flexible than those in Draft Boosters, and as such each set has more leeway to adjust what the contents of the 15 slots contain. For MKM slots # 1-6 will contain a common, at least one from 4 of the five colors and often one from each color. Slot #7 will contain a common 87.5% of the time, a common or uncommon from The List 9.38% of the time, a rare from The List 1.56% of the time, or a Special Guest 1.56% of the time. Slots #8-10 will be uncommon. Slot #11 will be a rare or mythic rare. Slot #12 will be a basic land. Slot #13 will be a non-foil card of any rarity from within the set. Slot #14 will be a foil card of any rarity from within the set. Slot #15 will be an ad, token, helper, or art card.

The cards will be selected to be on The List with the set’s Limited environment in mind and will be legal in Draft and Sealed, but will retain their current Constructed legality. The Special Guest cards will receive new art and will thematically tie into whatever set they are in. The important thing to remember is that any card opened in a Play Booster will be available for you to use for Limited.

The First Look stream open with a short teaser of what appears to be the story trailer for MKM, showing a detective we will soon learn is named Alquist Proft standing in a parlor. “Murders at Karlov Manor” flashes across the screen, along with the tagline, “Track the clues. Crack the case.” and the time of the debut stream, January 16th at 9am PT. Blake Rasmussen, the Communications Director for WOTC, welcomes us to the stream and lets us know that this is a set about solving a series of mysterious killings happening around Ravnica. Blake runs us through a series of suspicious characters, any of which may or may not be responsible for these murders. We get card art for “Massacre Girl, Known Killer”, “Etrata, Deadly Fugitive”, “Krenko, Baron of Tin Street”, “Izoni, Center of the Web”, “Judith, Carnage Connoisseur”, “Kylox, Visionary Inventor”, “Tolsimir, Midnight’s Light”, “Rakdos, Patron of Chaos”, and “Aurelia, the Law Above”. We also get card art for the two people assisting Alquist Proft in solving these crimes in “Kaya, Spirits’ Justice” and “Kellan, Inquisitive Prodigy”. Finally, we get a look at some cards from this set, including “Alquist Proft, Master Sleuth” himself:

Blake goes on to remind us that unlike most sets that take place on Ravnica, this is not a Guild based set. It simply takes place on the plane of Ravnica, but does contain more story spotlight cards than is typical in a set. These will be marked with the phrase “Story Spotlight” above the artists name on the card, and will depict important moments from the story of the set. We start to see some of the special art treatments from the set, starting with Magnified Cards, which will all be non-creature cards that are taking a closer look at the story moment in question. We also get to see the Showcase Dossier art treatment, as well as the Impossible Lands, which will serve as the full art lands in the set.

Blake tells us that there will be more information about Play Boosters specifically in the run-up to the release of this set, but today we get two looks at sample Play Boosters. The first is what an “average” Play Booster might look like, and the second a “Best Case” Play Booster:

Blake dials in on the cards from these two packs that we haven’t seen yet:

Next up is a look at all the various packaging and products from this set, as well as the Buy-A-Box promo card for MKM and a look at the Invisible Ink foil treatment:

The six guild leaders, and the Guild Pact leader Niv-Mizzet, will receive special art treatments of their own called Ravnica City Cards, two of which can be seen below. These will also come in foil serialized versions, out of 250. The serialized versions will only be found in Collector Boosters.

Blake reveals the Ravnica Clue Edition box. This will be a Magic variant for 3-4 players, and the box will contain 8 ready-to-play boosters (similar to Jumpstart Boosters), as well as a guaranteed Shock Land. These cards will include flavorful reprints as well as new cards that “…combine the crime-solving experience of Clue with Magic’s strategic depth, all within the Ravnica setting.” This will be a self-contained experience, with everything needed to play found in the box including iconic suspects, rooms and weapons. Additional details on both the cards and gameplay will be revealed on January 16th, 2024. Blake tells us that while all of these cards have their own set symbol, the weapons can be found in the main MKM set.

Blake lets us know that there is a larger mystery to solve, and woven into the set is a series of mysteries to solve. Bits and pieces of the mystery will be found on social media, on the cards, and in other places. That aspect of puzzle will begin at prerelease, and there will be a series of 15 puzzles and one meta-puzzle. When that mystery is solved it will unlock information about the future of Magic. The first story for this set is up now, with the rest to follow starting on January 8th with the big reveal on January 16th, and a couple additional stories to follow on the 17th and 18th. Blake reminds us that the Pro Tour in Chicago will feature MKM, and also that there is a $75k Standard Open at the event where MKM cards will be legal for. That’s it for the stream, but I went to MTG Daily and got a list of important dates for MKM.

Story Episode 1: Available Now

Remaining Story Episodes: January 8th – 18th

The Debut and the beginning of Preview Season proper: January 16th

Commander deck previews: January 24th

The full card image gallery will be complete: January 26th (Today’s preview cards can be found here)

The Arena Streamer Event: February 1st

Paper Prerelease weekend: February 2nd – 4th

Arena’s release date: February 6th

Full Release: February 9th