2024 has barely shifted into gear but that hasn’t stopped Wizards Of The Coast from squeezing plenty of Ravnica-flavoured Magic sets into the first two months of this year. Between the January launch of Ravnica Remastered, which took players to a simpler time among the bustling guilds of the steampunk adjacent city-plane, and February’s upcoming Murders At Karlov Manor (and its Cluedo crossover) similarly set in this same locale, players are being inducted into a mystery that will have them sleuthing from the high-rise parapets to the mucky alleyways.
Courtesy of Wizards Of The Coast and the fine locals at Double Jump, we have been lucky enough to turn up an exclusive street-level informant along the way who trades in salacious rumours. The Murders At Karlov cycle will contain a set-wide mystery that the Magic community will endeavour to solve as they lead powerful detectives through the city of Ravnica in pursuit of a conspiracy. We are proud to reveal artist Tony Foti’s Tin Street Gossip, a humanoid reptilian of the Viashino variety that comes with a couple of tantalising clues about the meta-narrative that is being set up here.
The Tin Street Gossip appears to be the persistent little rumour-monger, bearing Vigilance with a respectable four power and toughness for two colourless mana and a single red and green mana. Unlike most creatures, this lizard-like operator will be able to attack and defend on its turn, but what makes this card especially interesting is its special ability. Murders At Karlov will see players bluffing one another with facedown cards, creating mystery and suspense at the table. Tin Street Gossip is so well-networked in the Ravnica underground that they can spend mana exploiting this long-absent mechanic. By tapping this Viashino advisor, a red and green mana are added for playing a spell face-down from your opponent, or revealing a face-down creature. I suspect this means that the resourceful gossip will be able to sow discord with these hidden spells, but can narc on another player’s supposedly hidden creatures.
What excites me about the Tin Street Gossip is it means that players won’t simply be bringing a merry band of detectives to the table, but are likewise expected to rely on subterfuge and a trickle of social deception to waylay and compromise your opponents.
Demonstrating an ever-impressive commitment to blending narrative and gameplay, Tin Street Gossip’s flavour text offers a juicy tidbit to the overarching murder mystery that players will be solving from February’s pre-release launch on February 2. It reads:
The lawmages are trying to hush it up, but I’m telling you—the guard didn’t fall off that balcony. He was pushed!”
So there we have it, if the words of this local gossip hold weight. What begins as a mystery looking for a murder culprit could take us to the leadership of the great Ravnica guilds if the lawmages are working on a cover-up. If Wizards can stick the landing with this overarching narrative courtesy of its cross-media promotions, this often-overlooked card text could have exciting consequences as we watch this mystery unfold next month.
Players will be unravelling the full mystery around the Murders At Karlov Manor on February 9, 2024 with the now customary four Commander decks, the brand new streamlined booster format with Play Boosters, as well as Collector Boosters and bundles. If you’re looking to get a headstart, consider checking out the pre-release event at your local games store here.
For more info on this ambitious blend of crime-thiller and Magic: The Gathering weirdness, Wizards have recently dropped a whopping (and well narrated) 18-minute video on their official YouTube channel detailing the preliminary findings of the upcoming case and introducing the major players. Highly recommended.
Has our exclusive reveal of the Tin Street Gossip also convinced you that paying attention to flavour text might actually be important? Let us know in the comments or on social media.