Last updated on March 27, 2024

Auspicious Arrival - Illustration by Lie Setiawan

Auspicious Arrival | Illustration by Lie Setiawan

Alchemy is a format that allows you to play with Standard cards, digitally-rebalanced cards, and digital-only cards and mechanics exclusive to MTG Arena. These digital-only cards are also legal in Arena Eternal formats like Historic and Timeless—but not Explorer.

Most digital-only cards come from Alchemy sets, and today join me to investigate Alchemy: Murders at Karlov Manor. These introduce a new digital-only mechanic to play with alongside the cards from Murders at Karlov Manor, let's open up this release.

Alchemy: Murders at Karlov Manor Basic Information

Convenient Target - Illustration by Gaboleps

Convenient Target | Illustration by Gaboleps

Set Details

Set SymbolAlchemy: Ixalan set symbol
Set CodeA24, Y24, YMKM
Number of Cards30
Rarities10 uncommons, 15 rares, 5 mythic rares
MechanicsIncorporate, Cases, Collect Evidence, Conjure, Cloak, Disguise, Investigate, Perpetually, Seek, Suspected.

Important Dates

Previews startFebruary 26, 2024
Full gallery availableMarch 4, 2024
Release on MTG ArenaMarch 5, 2024
Available on Arena TutorMarch 5, 2024

About the Set: The Story

Alchemy: Murders at Karlov Manor, or Alchemy: MKM complements the main set by adding digital-only cards to Constructed and Limited formats on MTG Arena. It also allows WotC to design clever mechanics and cards that would be very difficult to track in paper MTG or conflict with established rules, like how you handle cards. Digital-only cards can be permanently altered, or you can conjure cards in different zones of the game, and so on.

Crucias, Titan of the Waves

Alchemy sets have released powerful cards that complement formats like Historic and Timeless. One of the best examples of a strong Alchemy card is Crucias, Titan of the Waves. It was so dominant it got digitally rebalanced, demonstrating just how powerful these digital-only designs can be.

Set Mechanics

Here’s a brief description of the mechanics, starting with the Alchemy-exclusive mechanics.


Guildpact Greenwalker

The first spoiled card of Alchemy: Karlov Manor was Guildpact Greenwalker which had a new Alchemy mechanic: incorporate. This mechanic adjusts the mana cost of another card and gives it additional text or abilities. This is a perpetual change that can modify the color, power, toughness of cards in other zones.


Scrutiny of the Guildpact

Perpetually gives a certain card an ability, cost reduction or pumps its power and toughness. It can also be used to add a downside to a card. Unlike in paper Magic, these changes get tracked by the card when it moves zones; a creature that perpetually loses all abilities won’t get its abilities back even if it dies or gets shuffled into your library. In Scrutiny of the Guildpact the enchantment adds text to a card in your hand.


Conjure allows a player to create a virtual card in any game zone. It’s like creating a token in paper MTG. Unlike tokens, these conjured objects continue to exist when they change zones. You don’t need to have a copy of the conjured card in your deck for this mechanic to work. An example of conjure is Izzet Polarizer, which conjures either Ionize or Electrolyze into your hand. Once cast, they’ll go to your graveyard like any other instant, and you can use effects like Snapcaster Mage to interact with them!


Seek is one of the more elegant digital-only mechanics. Cards with the effect tell you to seek a card that meets certain criteria. It can be a land card, a nonland card, a creature with power three or less, a merfolk, whatever. When you seek, you’ll put a random card that meets the criteria from your library into your hand. Unlike conjure, cards that you seek need to be in your deck. Once removed from the battlefield, Cackling Observer causes your opponent to seek a nonland card with a mana value less than the exiled card's mana value. 


Relics of the Rubblebelt

The spellbook mechanic is similar to conjure. Cards with this mechanic instruct you to draft a card from a spellbook. The spellbook is a collection of themed spells that match the flavor of the card. To give you an idea of how many potential cards the spellbook refers to, they may have as few as three cards and several spellbooks have 15.

For example, Relics of the Rubblebelt’s spellbook is filled with the 10 guild signets and you'll see two cards and pick one to put into play. Drafting a card doesn’t remove it from the card pool; you can draft the same spell multiple times if luck’s on your side.

These are all the digital-only Alchemy mechanics. Each of them demonstrates a different way the digital client can impact how you play Magic. They become especially interesting when combined with the mechanics from the main set, so let’s look at the mechanics from Murders at Karlov Manor:


Excogitator Sphinx

A murder mystery-themed set wouldn’t be complete without investigate. When you investigate, you create a Clue, an artifact token that can be sacrificed for mana to draw a card. Excogitator Sphinx gives you a saboteur effect that results in a Clue, as well as another way to be resourceful with your clues.


Rampaging Ursaguana

After so many years, I enjoy a morph variant. A card with disguise can be played as a face-down 2/2 creature with ward 2 for mana and can be turned face-up for its disguise cost at any time. Many are powerful threats like Rampaging Ursaguana. Not all cards with disguise are creatures though, as demonstrated by Branch of Vitu-Ghazi.


Roalesk, Prime Specimen

Cloak is similar to the manifest mechanic. When you cloak a card, you’ll turn it face-down. It becomes a 2/2 creature with ward . If it’s a creature, you can turn it face-up for its mana cost. If you happen to cloak a card with disguise (or morph), you can pay the disguise or morph cost to turn it face-up. Roalesk, Prime Specimen makes sure you always have an option of a facedown creature and a great fixed price of turning it face up for one .


Case of the Lost Witness

Cases are a type of enchantment. Cases have three stages. The first stage will always be active. The second stage gives you a condition to solve the case; The case will be solved at the beginning of your end step if you meet the condition. The third ability is only active after the case has been solved. A solved case remains solved for the rest of the game.

Alchemy: Murders at Karlov Manor and the Case of the Lost Witness puts you on the search for one of the most peculiar legendaries in Magic, Fblthp, thankfully you get a full playset conjured into your library. Once you have Fblthp, you get the great bonus of being able to play from the top of your deck, pretty great for a card that already replaced itself.

For another example, Case of the Ransacked Lab reduces the costs of your instants and sorceries by for its first ability. To solve it, you need to cast four instants or sorceries in the same turn. After you’ve solved the case, you may draw a card whenever you cast an instant or sorcery. 


Snarlfang Vermin

Snarlfang Vermin is wicked and turns any creature it damages into a suspected creature. Chances are Snarlfang Vermin will be in the graveyard when the other creature dies, reminding me a lot of the wicked enchantment role tokens from Wilds of Eldraine.

Suspected creatures have menace and can’t block. It’s a flexible mechanic. YOu can make your creature suspected to enable offensive plays with menace or nullify your opponent’s best blocker. Some cards only apply effects to suspected creatures. Some effects can make a suspected creature no longer suspected.

Collect Evidence

Spotlight Falcon

Collect evidence is a mechanic that uses your graveyard as a resource like delve, although it (probably) doesn't break the game. Collect evidence X lets you exile cards from your graveyard with total mana value (MV) X or greater, either as a bonus or as a required additional cost. To collect evidence five like with Spotlight Falcon, you can exile one card with a mana value of three, two cards with a mana value of one, and so on. Keep in mind that lands have a mana value of 0. You can collect evidence to activate abilities, reduce the cost of a spell, pay for a ward cost and so on.  

Full Card Gallery







Available Products

Alchemy: Murders at Karlov Manor is available only on MTG Arena. You can get the cards in Standard Boosters in the MTG Arena store. Alchemy Standard boosters are available for 1,000 gold/200 gems in the Store. Alchemy: MKM boosters count for the golden pack when purchased as a regular Murders at Karlov Manor pack would.

Premier draft events for Alchemy: Murders at Karlov Manor are ranked and provide some nice variety when the Arena draft format becomes stale and gives you another route to collecting the cards.

Wrap Up

Deadly Complication - Illustration by Jodie Muir

Deadly Complication | Illustration by Jodie Muir

The cards in Alchemy have been spot-on at times. The thing I love most about these sets is a creative design that puts a smile on my face—like Case of the Lost Witness.

What do you think about Alchemy releases? What’s your favorite digital-only card? Let me know in the comments section below or leave us a tweet at Draftsim Twitter.

Until next time, and may WotC allow us to conjure cards with disguise, incorporate a starting intensity of two that’ll give us a good one-time boon.

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