MTG Murders at Karlov Manor almost had a card that was a Magic: The Gathering version of the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo, the game’s head designer Mark Rosewater has revealed, in his latest Making Magic article on January 29.
The MTG card Magnetic Snuffler started conceptual life as a Vehicle card with disguise, that was literally named ‘Mystery Machine’. But in its final form it came out unrecognizable, as a living metal detector that sniffs out murder weapons.
It feels like Wizards of the Coast really, really wanted a Universes Beyond crossover with Scooby Doo for this MTG set. Not only was this card planned, there’s also a direct reference to the Scooby-Doo gang in Meddling Youths.
And then on top of that we have Sophia, Dogged Detective in the Karlov Manor MTG Commander decks. This card features a Great Dane dog detective (just look at that token and tell us it’s not doing a Scooby-Doo expression) and even its mechanics seem to be a reference to Scooby snacks.
“When we start exploratory design, one of the things we normally do for any top-down set is make a list of all the pop culture references people would have about it,” says Rosewater in his article (which probably explains why underground set Lost Caverns of Ixalan had a diamond pickaxe).
Apparently, Wizards of the Coast gave up on the Mystery Machine because “it just wasn’t recognizable enough and didn’t make sense on Ravnica”. There also seems to have been some confusion about whether or not it would be a creature once turned face-up.
The card Wizards made instead, Magnetic Snuffler, is all about equipment and artifacts. Specifically, it’s been made to synergize with the MTG Clue murder weapons, giving you a reward when you sacrifice them.