Mystery. Intrigue. And, of course, murders. Murders at Karlov Manor has it all, including amazing cards that show off epic story moments from across the ten episodes. Follow along as Natalie Kreider and Harless Snyder of The Magic Story Podcast guide readers through the 30 story spotlight cards below.
Natalie: Welcome back to The Magic Story Pod—oh, wait. I guess today is not a podcast day. Instead, Harless and I are diving into the story spotlight cards from Murders at Karlov Manor.
Harless: The story spotlight cards from this set are particularly special. I mean, every story in Magic is special in its own way, but for Murders at Karlov Manor, we did something extra for these cards. They appear in the default frame, of course, but they will also appear with what's called the showcase magnified treatment, as seen in this article, a frame designed specifically for the 30 story spotlight cards from Murders at Karlov Manor!
Natalie: Let's take a look! Join us as we head into the Mult … no, the greatest crime to have plagued Ravnica since the Phyrexian invasion!
Harless: The stage is set at Karlov Manor—Teysa Karlov's ostentatiously grand estate built in the wake of the Phyrexian invasion and the rise of the Orzhov Syndicate as the "saviors of Ravnica." Teysa hosts a party, inviting every guild to attend, to flaunt this new wealth and power of the Orzhov, acknowledge her good friend Kaya as hero of the Multiverse, and honor the Ravnican Agency of Magicological Investigations in helping to secure peace on Ravnica as it rebuilds itself from the war's destruction.
Natalie: All seems to be going well (although Kaya certainly isn't enjoying being in the spotlight), until a scream from somewhere in Karlov Manor interrupts the party …
Harless: It wouldn't be much of a mystery without a murder, and that's exactly what Kaya discovers as the source of the scream at the end of episode one. Laid out atop a pile of coats, holding a black flower, is the body of Zegana, former leader of the Simic Conclave. Kaya notices that most of the guilds are represented on the coats beneath Zegana's body.
Harless: The party is locked down immediately, and the Azorius Senate uses verity circles to question everyone in attendance about the murder, but no one seems to know what happened, and no one is expressing guilt.
Natalie: Someone from the Agency enters the crime scene—it's a surprise to everyone, most of all Kaya, but Alquist Proft immediately proves he's one of the best in the Agency when he keenly observes details about the crime scene: not just some, but all ten guilds are represented in the way the coats are laid out behind Zegana's body.
With equal parts gloating and logical reasoning, he reveals there is indeed a representative of House Dimir at Karlov Manor tonight … and no one (besides him) noticed.
Natalie: Curious, Kaya follows Alquist Proft from the crime scene and back into the gathering of guild members in Karlov Manor. At the very edge of the crowd is a woman dressed in Selesnya colors … but as Proft so keenly points out, she does not bear the Selesnya crest. A glaring omission, when one looks closer.
With a vampiric hiss, Etrata reveals herself—not a member of Selesnya but rather the notorious assassin of House Dimir. (Oh, hi, Etrata!)
Harless: I just love this card's representation of Etrata being revealed as a Dimir spy in Selesnya clothing. We see the shocked faces of the partygoers and the stunned face of Etrata herself.
Harless: Then, Etrata takes off. Unwilling to be taken into custody, Etrata tries to escape the manor. But Kaya, Kellan, and Alquist are on her tail. She doesn't make it far before Alquist uses his magic to stop her.
Natalie: Alquist Proft isn't one to sit on uncertainties regarding a case—he's plagued by questions regarding Etrata being behind the murder of Zegana. It doesn't add up that a renowned, professional assassin such as Etrata would allow herself to be captured at all. Proft visits Etrata in the Azorius prison cells to ask her as such—it turns out, he believes her when Etrata says she has no memory of the murder. She is innocent, though connected somehow to the culprit.
It is up to Proft now to clear her name and prove her innocence by cracking this case open, and Proft never turns down a challenging mystery like this one.
Harless: Then, more tragedy strikes. Kaya receives a note from Teysa asking her to meet at Karlov Manor so that Teysa can tell Kaya something important. It turns out that Teysa will be taking that secret to her grave. As soon as Kaya arrives at Teysa's private quarters, she smells blood, and as she opens the door, she finds Teysa's lifeless body sprawled on the ground.
Natalie: Once a member of the Azorius Senate, Alquist Proft easily hacks through their wards of the prison and gives Etrata the opportunity to escape. There is no love lost between Proft and the Azorius … but I suppose now the Azorius will truly suspect him of involvement, especially since he's freed their most wanted suspect.
Both fugitives of the law, Proft and Etrata must now solve this case or suffer some serious consequences by the guilds.
Harless: Kaya joins the Agency as head of the investigation, where she teams up with Kellan and Agrus to begin analyzing the evidence and questioning witnesses.
Harless: Kaya's investigation takes her and Kellan to visit Vitu-Ghazi, and speak with Trostani, so that she can read the original Guildpact of Rakdos. They're able to read the Guildpact but don't leave with any more solid answers about who could be behind the murders.
Natalie: Meanwhile … Etrata's hideout should have been impenetrable—she's a professional assassin. Yet the Rakdos assassin manages to slip past Etrata's tripwires in the skylight and attack the unsuspecting Proft, who has racked up quite a bounty. Massacre Girl's entrance is dramatic, and her mission of annihilating Proft is clear, but upon seeing Etrata, she lowers her blades. Massacre Girl and Etrata are colleagues, of a sort, both sharing the same profession and thus a certain understanding. Learning that Proft and Etrata are working together to clear Etrata's name—who is innocent of the murder she's suspect in—Massacre Girl merely wishes them luck and disappears once more.
Harless: Kaya and Kellan find themselves being followed on the streets of Ravnica. Kaya, an assassin herself, picks up on this before Kellan does and steers them into an alleyway where they are attacked. The Planeswalker and Agent Kellan make short work of the group, but their attackers turn into moss and, well, fall apart. It's gross enough that Kellan retches.
Natalie: Yeah, I don't blame you, Kellan. Gross.
Natalie: Proft's next destination is an Izzet friend—Kylox—to see if he can make any sense of the pollen they found in Etrata's room. When they arrive, Kylox's workshop is in shambles, and the viashino nowhere to be found.
Anticipating that Kylox is far too cunning not to have an escape plan, Proft follows the back tunnels of the workshop and locates Kylox in hiding. Clearly rattled from the attempt on his life, Kylox seems distraught Proft would come to him for help on the case now, claiming he can't help them, even though he has been working on some sort of top-secret project related to the case.
Natalie: After saving Proft once from Massacre Girl, Etrata does so again—with cunning efficiency—after they follow a captured Kylox into Krenko's domain. Krenko is after the killer, too, but only to save his own skin (surprise, surprise). The stubborn Izzet viashino reveals nothing about what he's working on or what it's for. Realizing they must act now or watch Proft's friend be destroyed, Etrata and Proft make their dramatic entrance.
Natalie: A new assassin emerges onto the scene with Proft, Etrata, Krenko, and Kylox—his eyes glazed, his mind altered, under some kind of mind control … he rages for Krenko. Poor Kylox is in his path, and the viashino is thrown to the floor. Etrata is quick, saving Proft's and Krenko's lives, and apprehends the assassin … but unfortunately, it's too late for Kylox.
After capturing the assassin, the mind control seems to lift. Confused, with no memory of the events that just unfolded, the assassin is revealed to be an ordinary citizen. This tells Proft and Etrata that indeed people are being controlled by a mastermind who seeks to end the lives of important guild members.
But whom exactly, and more importantly, why, still eludes them.
Harless: Back at the Agency, Kaya, Kellan, and Agrus meet with the head of the Agency, Ezrim, when Aurelia bursts into the room with Massacre Girl in tow. It seems Massacre Girl took an attempt on Aurelia's life—and failed. But here in Ezrim's office, Massacre Girl admits that she has no memory of attacking Aurelia. She tells them she didn't get paid for this, and what kind of an assassin kills for free?
Aurelia gives Kaya and her team 24 hours to solve the murders before Aurelia starts an all-out war with the guild she believes to be responsible.
Harless: You know the phrase "you can't use a weapon in act two if you don't show it in act one?" Well, our story team planted a mention of a Gruul god that is being detained at the Agency, and this card shows the moment he escapes and wreaks absolute chaos on the Agency. And by escapes, I mean is seemingly let loose. By whom? We don't know yet, but what we do know is that Ezrim himself comes out to challenge Anzrag before Kaya is able to get him back into his containment capsule.
Natalie: The Golgari are in self-imposed exile, but Proft has one friend in the Swarm he manages to find hidden underground—Izoni. She takes the pollen into her expert hands and after analyzing it a moment … reveals that it is natural, not an artificial poison, though its properties are not familiar to Izoni nor native to Ravnica. It comes from somewhere else, a threat the Golgari, too, fear. Proft is quick to deduce that perhaps the threat of the invasion has not been as thoroughly eradicated from the plane as they had initially thought …
Mind control? Dominion? The threat of war? This is all starting to sound frighteningly familiar.
Harless: Before Proft finishes speaking with Izoni, he sees a hooded figure spying on their conversation and takes off after them. Before he can interpret what the figure wants or who the figure is, he is knocked unconscious. He wakes up in his mind palace, but he isn't alone. The hooded figure is there, rifling through his files. The figure tells Proft that they wanted to meet him and that they will make sure he is given credit for his contributions to … whatever the hooded figure is up to. "Cryptic" is the word that comes to mind.
Natalie: Agrus enters the domain of Rakdos, knowing the danger but also that Rakdos must be heavily involved in the events now unfolding. He comes for answers, but from the shadows, vile magic imprisons him, his ghostly form trapped inside a crystal skull sitting in Judith's palm.
Judith has a plan, she reveals, but Agrus isn't part of the script she is casting. A new order of Rakdos is rising, and Judith plans to position herself in the heart of it as the impending war amidst the guilds unfolds … she aims to bring down Rakdos himself!
Judith uses the criminal events as leverage to conveniently pin everything back on Rakdos, manipulating the Agency detectives like pawns on a chessboard. But the true mastermind behind all the murders? Still unknown.
Harless: Back at the Agency, Aurelia bursts into Ezrim's office to let him know that Agrus Kos did not check in when he was supposed to and that she's fed up waiting for the Agency and is ready to declare war on Rakdos.
Harless: Proft calls a meeting of the guild leaders, and one by one, they arrive at Vitu-Ghazi. Not all are happy to be summoned, but they all show up so that Proft can explain his theory and expose his suspected killer. Every guild other than the Golgari Swarm is represented. Proft tells them that the killer is in the very room where they have all congregated.
Natalie: After assembling all the guild leaders to Vitu-Ghazi, Proft analyzes the pollen with Kaya safely behind closed doors and away from prying eyes. It's clear Proft is onto something—understands a key piece to this puzzle—and begins to explain (long-windedly) that there is something natural but insidious taking root in Ravnica, spreading influence in a similar matter as Phyrexia, but not Phyrexian in origin.
Vitu-Ghazi has spread through the plane—a means to transport this natural influence, a flower, that can mind control unsuspecting civilians into acts of violence.
Natalie: Tolsimir steps forward to take the blame as soon as Proft reveals this insidious flower is of the Selesnya Conclave. However, Proft declares Tolsimir lacks the skills, and the motive. Admirable for Tolsimir to try and take the blame …
But it has been Trostani behind this all along.
Harless: At first, the three dryads that make up Trostani seem confused, but eventually it is Oba who takes credit for the killings. She tells the group, including her sisters, that she alone had consumed all the pain from the Phyrexian invasion, thus shielding her sisters from it. One by one, she lays out the crimes of those in the room: from Krenko stealing much-needed supplies from Ravnica and then selling them back to the citizens at a mark-up, to Zegana experimenting with Phyrexian oil. Members of the group begin to speak up and tell her that she took things out of context and that most of them were doing what had to be done to help save Ravnica, not to condemn it further. Despite their objections to her accusations, Oba does not accept that she has done anything wrong.
Natalie: Filled with rage and seeking vengeance for the crimes and atrocities the Ravnican people had done, Oba declares to be Ravnica itself, filling her body with hateful fire and fusing herself to the plane.
She renders her two sisters unconscious, incapable of fighting back. Kaya watches as Oba engulfs Vitu-Ghazi into a weapon of destruction, her companions imprisoned by roots … Ral, Proft, Aurelia, Krenko, Lavinia, Etrata—all of them fall victim to Oba's rage as she pins them with her roots.
It's up to Kaya to stop this. Luckily, as she points out, an "angry dryad lady" is far from the worst Kaya has faced before.
Harless: During the fight with Oba, Kellan and Kaya are thrown by the tree's branches shooting out of the roof of Vitu-Ghazi, and the force is so strong that both are separated. Kellan hurtles toward the ground with no chance of slowing down or stopping when his fae magic manifests and prevents him from falling to his demise.
Natalie: Kaya fights relentlessly against Oba, phasing in and out of her ghost form. During the heart of the fight, Kaya stumbles across the key to detaining Oba: an Agency barrier ward.
But Kaya realizes it can't be fully deployed alone as Oba struggles against the wards and breaks loose again. With everyone tied down by roots, who can help her?
Etrata, of course. She opens her eyes and picks herself off the floor. Despite being heavily wounded in her chest, Etrata grabs the second ward anchor and helps Kaya pull the ribbons tight.
With a burst of necromantic magic, Kaya phases into Vitu-Ghazi itself, using the roots and branches against Oba. She doesn't allow herself to look, but Kaya swears she sees Teysa by her side, helping to restrain Oba with this final surge of magic …
Harless: With Oba restrained, life continues on Ravnica and the day of Teysa's funeral arrives. Much to her relief, Teysa's spirit visits Kaya at the funeral and acknowledges that it was her who helped restrain Oba. The two say their farewells as Teysa regales Kaya with her plans to make Selesnya pay in the best way she knows how, and if we know Teysa, that means it's going to be expensive!
Well, that was fun! We'll see you next time, but until then … have a magical day, and make sure to check out The Magic Story Podcast!