Karador, Ghost Chieftain - Quest for Control

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pokken
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Post by pokken » 2 years ago

I think you might ramp enough that turning wayfarer into another 2 cmc land-finder (e.g. Satyr Wayfinder or Silhana Wayfinder is probably fairly reasonable, but I do think you need to keep critical mass of "fix my opening 2-lander" cards for the deck to flow smoothly.

You do have an awful lot of great lands, but you also have a lot of ways to make wayfarer dead (all the ETB landdrop guys).

I've never been a giant fan of Burnished Hart outside of grave pact decks. You could always add that diligent farmhand potentially, or cavalier of thorns if you're looking to go up.

I'm really torn on Mists, personally. It is one of the few ways you can beat Craterhoof outside of proactive measures, but really depends on how often you're getting overwhelming attacks I guess.

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Post by WizardMN » 2 years ago

I am still not sold on the Wayfinders. The main issue is that neither does what I really want them to do. There is enough of a risk of those whiffing on a land that I am not sure it is where I want to be. And the Silhana Wayfinder doesn't even fill my graveyard for me *and* puts the card on top. If I were to go with one, the Satyr is far and away the best option.

Diligent Farmhand is where I was thinking. I used to have it and I kind of go back and forth on it. It does cost me 2 turns to use (unlike most other ramp that isn't the Hart) but it is cheap, can be a "free" creature off Protean Hulk, and can start some Birthing Pod chains. Not the best argument regarding Pod since I don't really do a lot with specific chains, but it can help. Thorns has the same issue as the Wayfinders as it can whiff. And it is 5 mana. If I were to go with 5 mana ramp, I think I would just add in Seedguide Ash again.

That might be part of the reason for Mists not really showing much lately. I haven't seen much of swarm decks and the one I played against was kept in check with False Prophet and Pernicious Deed anyway. There have been times where I would have gotten blown out with Mists since people would get rid of my Spike Weaver on someone else's turn, which is why I have been reluctant to seriously consider cutting it. But it could still be right.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 2 years ago

Mists has the upside of only really being answerable by a counterspell. My group's quite blue-light, Lord Windgrace ran that thing for a few months and pretty much the only time it ever got answered was when I assembled a beyond crazy mana engine with Daxos and flickered all his lands away before my turn to kill him. Your mileage may vary.

I'm quite fond of both the Satyr Wayfinder and Diligent Farmhand ideas. Apparently a Wayfarer's Bauble is good in green if you can recur it.
 
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Post by WizardMN » 2 years ago

I played last night against Atla Palani, Nest Tender and Sevinne, the Chronoclasm. Both were the precons so it wasn't a totally fair fight but Atla definitely made a game of it and got close to winning a couple times.

I started with a Collector Ouphe into a Phyrexian Reclamation. Ouphe nearly shut down Sevinne to start with and severely slowed down Atla: they played a Sol Ring on Turn 2 after I dropped the Ouphe. Both wanted it gone but it stuck around until I got rid of it later. The Reclamation got blown up quickly by Sevinne since they were concerned about Ouphe coming back if it ever died.

While the Ouphe slowed down Atla, it did not prevent them from still getting a good board state. I ended up tutoring for Lifeblood Hydra off Recruiter of the Guard for some much needed card draw and Bane of Progress off Fauna Shaman to slow Sevinne down further. I got a Greater Good down and sacrificed Bane of Progress to it. This got me False Prophet which I cast and used to exile everything. I had blocked with the Ouphe the turn before so it wouldn't get exiled, but Sevinne exiled it from my graveyard anyway.

At the time, Atla had 3 or 4 Desolation Twin tokens. Atla rebuilt decently with Feldon of the Third Path to get more Twin tokens so I ended up casting Damnation to set them back again and then, 4 or 5 turns later, Pernicious Deed to wrath the board again. At that time, I had Sun Titan, Karador, and Ulvenwald Hydra so I cracked Deed for 5 to blow up everything by Emmara Tandris and then got rid of that with a spot removal spell.

I got back Deed with Sun Titan and blew things up again when Sevinne decided to exile it again. At this time though, both players were at a low life total (Atla was at 50+ for a little while) and I was able to just swing out to kill Atla. I ended up needing to tutor for Kokusho, the Evening Star to get rid of Sevinne's last 8 points of life since they kept fogging my attacks.

Interestingly, I had Constant Mists in my hand for a long time and never cast it. Part of this was intentional as I wanted to see if I really needed the card and I got really close to dying. I really did think Atla was going to get enough power on the board with their tokens and other creatures to be able to swing past the two blockers I had. They ended up not swinging all out at me and I am not sure if they could have killed me there or not. I think they would have gotten really close and the game would have turned out much differently had they done so *and* if I didn't cast Mists.

This also came about after Spike Weaver came down and they worked to get rid of it. And they exiled it. So Mists was the only fog effect I had for the rest of the game.

I don't really know what this "proves" but I think it causes me to lean towards Mists as a needed safety valve for the deck for the reasons that have been mentioned above. So, for now, I think the fact that I think I would have lost to a precon if the pilot was a little more aggressive, leads me to wanting to keep it in.

Another line was where I wanted to blow up a blocker of Atla's and I couldn't with a creature since I cut Ravenous Chupacabra. If I got Cavalier of Dawn they still get a blocker. It ended up not mattering but I thought it was a little interesting that the swap I made ended up working out worse for me. It isn't enough to second guess the swap (yet) but it is worth noting.

I ordered a Satyr Wayfinder and I am going to slot it in over the Weathered Wayfarer when it comes in. I am not sure exactly how good it will be but I think it will be better than the Wayfarer.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I picked up a couple new cards for the deck. Based on previous discussions, I am going to give Satyr Wayfinder a shot. As I mentioned above, Weathered Wayfinder has been underwhelming so I am going to swap these.

Next, I have been wanting a creature based sac outlet in certain situations and had been leaning towards Viscera Seer due mostly to the mana cost. However, I decided to go a little more powerful, at the risk of a higher curve, with Yawgmoth, Thran Physician. This is due mostly to the ability to draw a card along with potentially being a form of removal. And, importantly, it is still a free sac outlet like the Seer. Since I never really got much use out of Evolutionary Leap, and this is a sac outlet and card draw which is pretty close to Leap, I figured it made the most sense to swap those cards.
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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

Played a game last night against Ghalta, Primal Hunger and Etrata, the Silencer.

I kept a super risky hand with Forest and Bazaar of Baghdad as my only lands but I had some ramp and removal in there so I decided to keep it. I drew a land for turn, played Bazaar to dig, and discarded 3 creature cards (one of which was Protean Hulk). The next turn, I drew Green Sun's Zenith to get Dryad Arbor. I needed to activate Bazaar one more time, but I got my lands, and an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth as one of them, and just started moving.

I wrathed the board with Damnation to slow down Ghalta and got a few smaller creatures on board. A couple turns later, I dropped in Yawgmoth, Thran Physician and started sacrificing those creatures to draw cards, Etrata then cast a Toxic Deluge so I sacrificed a couple creatures to make their creature small enough for the Deluge to kill and get even more cards out of the deal. I had an Archon of Justice that died which exiled a really big Forgotten Ancient from Ghalta.

Ghalta was able to rebuild reasonably well though and they ended up being able to kill Etrata. From there, I had my board of Spike Weaver and whatever else and they just kept flooding the board with creatures. I was able to get back Yawgmoth with Phyrexian Reclamation (which also kept me getting back Spike Weaver) and this allowed me to stall a little longer until I finally got a way to close out the game. I ended up just casting False Prophet, sacrificing everything, including the Prophet, to Exile Ghalta's board, and then I got things back with Reclamation and recast them on Ghalta's turn with Winding Canyons.

One of these was an Ulvenwald Hydra so I had a big beater. I also got Cavalier of Dawn a couple times to blow up big things and, at the end, I used Necrotic Sliver to get rid of the token the Cavalier left behind. From there, I just attacked twice and closed out the game. They were at 44 before I attacked the first time so my board was big enough where 2 attacks was all I needed.

My favorite play of the game was during one of these board wipe situations (with Toxic Deluge I believe) I sacrificed Spike Weaver to Yawgmoth to draw a card and Ghalta tried to exile it with Return to Nature. I ended up sacrificing the Protean Hulk to get Karmic Guide to get back Spike Weaver to save it (and draw 2 more cards with Yawgmoth) which allowed me to stall a little while longer.

I never saw Satyr Wayfinder and the 2 times Cavalier died, I didn't have much to get back. I ended up getting back a Birthing Pod that I had discarded to Bazaar very early on but I never cast it as I didn't need to and I never had a good opportunity,

But, Yawgmoth, in his first outing, was a star. He did so much to keep my hand full and save my creatures from being exiled. The -1/-1 counter was relevant if only to make sure an opposing Ulvenwald Tracker never got online. Most other things were too big to actually kill with it, and I found I was often using it during a wrath anything. It did get rid of a couple counters on Ghalta's creatures though so there was that.

The only time I started search my deck for a card that I couldn't find was searching for a Diligent Farmhand. I honestly don't remember why I was searching for it though or what was allowing me to search. I don't think it was off of a Hulk. In any case, it ended up not mattering but with the discussion around it, I though I would comment that there was a situation where I did look for it.

The deck has been performing amazingly well. I haven't lost a game with it in the last few months since I have really focused on getting the list right. I am not sure if my meta is a little lower on the power scale or not though. I know there are a fair number of budget oriented players but I have never felt that this deck just blows people out of the water. It is still a grind and still takes skill to navigate the games so I think it fits in well with the power level of my group even if it is winning pretty often.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I finally got a chance to play this again and it was with a completely different group than normal. I was at a Judge conference and got a chance to play against some other judges.

In the game I played, the decks were Derevi, Empyrial Tactician, Omnath, Locus of Mana, and Kozilek, Butcher of Truth.

Omnath kicked off pretty fast and hit me for about 8. They tried to draw some cards off Garruk, Primal Hunter with Questing Beast on the field (the thing they were hitting me with) so I just tried to exile it with Anguished Unmaking. They responded with Momentous Fall to draw the cards anyway and they still got 3 from Garruk since they had a Beast. It ended up working out pretty well since I got the Fall out of their hand.

I was then able to kill Garruk with my Yavimaya Dryad so I didn't have to worry about that anymore. I also cast a Harmonic Sliver to blow up Kozilek's Inspiring Statuary to slow them down. They attempted to get an Azor's Gateway to transform but I put it back into their library with Unexpectedly Absent when they had 4 cards exiled with it. This slowed them down further.

Omnath ended up flooding the board with a Genesis Wave but I had a Pernicious Deed on board to handle their board. They did get a Patron of the Orochi on the field which they used to untap stuff so I ended up with enough to blow it up if needed. Kozilek ended up just firing off an All is Dust so I cracked my Deed and the board was gone.

A while later, Kozilek cast Emrakul, the Promised End and targeted me. And here is where I made one of the most bone-headed mistakes I could have made. To start with, I just cleared my board of creatures since I had a Greater Good on the field and didn't want them to choose how to do things. I also activated my Bazaar to get rid of cards in my hand I didn't want them to have access to as well as to shuffle away my graveyard by discarding an Ulamog so they couldn't use either against me. And, for some unknown reason, I did not discard Constant Mists. The only thing that saved me was that Derevi had a Dovescape on the field so it would have countered Mists, but there is no way I should have had that in hand before I gave them my turn.

But, they ended up doing a few things, such as casting and sacrificing a Protean Hulk to get nothing, playing a Dryad Arbor and some other small creatures to make me discard my hand, etc. I ended up starting my turn with 2 cards in hand, so I just cast Karador, cast Hulk, drew 6 cards off Greater Good, got 2 free creatures, and had a pretty good board state after it being basically cleared out.

Another time, after Omnath rebuilt, I got my Deed back. Right before my turn started, I tried to blow up their Mosswort Bridge since my Sliver was going to go away anyway. It turned out to be a significant play since the card they had exiled was....Heroic Intervention. They cast it to save their land, but obviously not what they wanted to do. This gave me a clear shot to blow the board again.

From there, I ended up using False Prophet to deal with boards another time and just got Kokusho and Hulk to give me some reach to close out the game. I ended up just sacrificing Kokusho 4 times to win the game.

I felt that this was a good showing for Karador in a new meta. The Kozilek player was playing proxies so I don't believe they were constraining themselves to a budget, and Derevi, even as Bird Tribal, was as tuned as it probably could have been, Omnath might have been the weakest of the decks but it still could swing in for 10+ each turn at people and could do a lot of gross green things. This somewhat assuages my concern about the deck only being strong in my meta as this shows it can perform well elsewhere.

One comment I would want to make is on Birthing Pod. I am not really close to cutting it but this is the second game in a row where I wasn't able to do anything with it. This time it was Dovescape (I got 4 birds out of it at least) and, to be honest, I didn't really care. In the last two games, I didn't really give a thought about the fact that I couldn't use it because I didn't feel it really mattered. This deck, or my playstyle, may be too reactive for Birthing Pod to have a good showing.

And, a final comment is on Satyr Wayfinder. I got it in this game and got it on turn 2. I milled 4 and grabbed a land and then did nothing else with it. However, one of the cards milled was a Necrotic Sliver which made some very big plays in the game above (I didn't mention all of them).

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

I think satyr wayfinder is just a workhorse in this deck. Fixes 2 land hands, fills your yard a little, basically acts like a draw 2 for 2 most of the time -- and better if you are able to pod it or something.

It's not insanely powerful but it's wonderful glue / facilitation.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I think that is part of my issue: I want things to be powerhouses and have an immediate impact. False Prophet to blow the board, Chainer to reanimate everything, or Kokusho to win the game. Beyond my ramp creatures, I don't really think of having small creatures to just make the deck perform better or, at least, smoother.

It is one of the reasons I never seriously considered the Walls but they have been working surprisingly well. I don't want to extol the Wayfinder just yet (it was only the first game I saw it after all) but I am hoping it can continue to do good work in future games and, as you said, provide some glue to bring other parts of the deck together more.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I got in a game with this deck last night against Zurgo Helmsmasher, Anje Falkenrath, and The First Sliver.

I got almost none of my ramp throughout the game. I think it was turn 8 or so where I finally got a Sakura-Tribe Elder. I only kept the land I had because a) I already mulliganed once and b) it had 5 lands and a Wall of Omens which I figured I could stretch into something more. I ended up getting stuck on 7 lands for a number of turns and also without a sac outlet. I had Spike Weaver to fog for a while but Zurgo ended up exiling it.

The best play I had was casting Lifeblood Hydra from the graveyard and blowing it up with my Generous Gift while I was at 1 life. I gained 3 life and drew 3 cards. I was finally able to stablize and had a pretty good idea for my next turn (Vampiric Tutor for Diamond Valley, then cast Lifeblood Hydra again for X = 6 or 7). But, Anje dealt 4 damage to me with some spell which ended up killing me. Anje ended up losing in spectacular fashion to Zurgo 2 turns later since they had no way to deal with him.

I still had a presence in the game and was able to slow down Anje and Slivers with my Aura Shards but Chandra's Ignition on Zurgo (and then Zurgo attacking me) was a huge swing against me. I also dropped in False Prophet which I sacrificed when the Zurgo player attacked me with Eldrazi Conscription on their creature.

Since I never really got anywhere with my lands, I was kind of on my back foot for a long time. I think I can just chalk this up to keeping a poor hand and then never really drawing out of it (plus getting hit for 20 in one turn from the Zurgo player). I don't think there are any changes I want to make based on this but I finally lost with the deck since this thread became a Primer and it is good to keep a record of these games in case it becomes a pattern and I need to do more with the deck to fight fast aggro (in this case).

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I played a 5 player game with this last night. Kenrith, the Returned King, Urza, Lord High Artificer, Zurgo Helmsmasher, and Thraximundar. Neither Kenrith nor Urza were "tuned".

The game was super slow on my part. The main thing I did in the first 6 turns was cast Pernicious Deed. I was leaving up removal for most of it and just banked on Deed to clear the board for me. Which I ended up doing to clear everything but Thrax and Zurgo (I did it on Zurgo's turn). I then passed the turn with 7 open mana so I could destroy Thrax as needed with Beast Within and then dropped in Sun Titan to get a land to put me at 9 lands total. This allowed me to leave up Anguished Unmaking. From there, I just took things slow. I had planned on getting Deed back with Sun Titan but I never ended up needing to.

I ended up casting Karador with 4 mana up and passing without doing anything with him. I wanted to set up a future turn but also wanted to leave up removal. Karador was destroyed prior to my turn though from an opposing Ugin the Ineffable. Not ideal, but not the worst thing that could have happened.

I had a Wall of Omens that entered the battlefield 2 or 3 times from different things, and Yawgmoth, Thran Physician also helped keep my hand full. At one, he was able to make an opposing Myr Battlesphere smaller so I had to spend less life for Toxic Deluge. Technically, I suppose it was the same amount of life but I got cards out of it this way.

After Deluge, I cast Karador again (still for WBG) and got back Sun Titan to get a land. I got Protean Hulk a couple turns later which got me Ulvenwald Hydra. I went with the Hydra since I was at 13 life and I really wanted my Diamond Valley.

After a little time, I had rebuilt my board and I ended up with Yawgmoth again thanks to Phyrexian Reclamation as well as Mikaeus, the Unhallowed and a couple other things. At one point, Kenrith attempted to get something back from their graveyard (a fog of some sort) and they had a Selfless Spirit in there that they had been reanimating/ In response I activated Yawgmoth to remove the +1/+1 counter on my Ulvenwald Hydra, sacrificed it so it would trigger Undying, got my Vesuva to copy Bojuka Bog and Bogged Kenrith. Not the most spectacular play but I liked the interaction of using Yawgmoth to remove the counter from Undying.

I had a couple loops with Hulk and Karmic Guide to get back some other stuff and ended up winning by just running over my opponents with my creatures. Zurgo ended up being killed by Urza much earlier, but I killed the other opponents. Though, Thrax was only at 3 life when I finally started doing stuff.

Again, Collector Ouphe ended up on the field at one point because Urza used a lot of artifacts. And, again, it shut off my Birthing Pod so I ended up just discarding it to an opposing The Eldest Reborn. I know that Pod should offer a lot of utility in this deck but I either don't need it at a given point in time or I just never get a chance to use it. This deck is built to be more reactive than I think most decks in these colors are and Pod is not a reactive card. Being an obviously powerful card means I really want to give it a chance in this deck, but I think I am getting close to cutting it.

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Post by Moris » 1 year ago

Thank you so much for the content and the updates.
I tried this deck in my local Commander League (we have rules and objectives very similar to SCG) and I absolutely love It. He always have a chance and every game Is different from the others. Also I love creature toolbox and value decks.
Keep going on!

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

Moris wrote:
1 year ago
Thank you so much for the content and the updates.
I tried this deck in my local Commander League (we have rules and objectives very similar to SCG) and I absolutely love It. He always have a chance and every game Is different from the others. Also I love creature toolbox and value decks.
Keep going on!
I would be really interested in hearing how much you have deviated from my list here. Every meta is different and I like knowing what you may have found that is working better than what I have. Even if they were replaced for budget reasons.

Anyway, I played this again last night against Zurgo Helmsmasher, Thraximundar, and Etrata, the Silencer. My start was ridiculously slow but I kept the hand after mulliganing twice (so I started with 6 cards). My hand was Phyrexan Tower, Canopy Vista, Path to Exile, Wall of Blossoms, Necromancy, and something else. I hoped that Wall would get me out of this pickle.

I drew for turn twice but didn't get lands. I played the Wall, but didn't draw a land. Next turn, I drew for turn again but still didn't get a land. I sacrificed the Wall to Tower and cast Necromancy to get back the Wall and draw a card. I *finally* drew a land so I didn't miss a land drop. I drew another land next turn. However, I was very light on black mana as Tower was my only source so that slowed me down too. Next turn I luckily drew a Swamp.

I got Birthing Pod which I used to sac the Wall to get Yavimaya Elder which got me a Swamp and a Plains and from there I was able to at least really start participating in the game. I sacrificed Elder to Pod to get False Prophet to save myself from the things everyone else was doing. Zurgo had Serra Ascendant (which they never sent my way) and there were a few other things I forget so I sacrificed False Prophet to clear the board.

After this, Thrax had played a Crumbling Sanctuary which stopped Etrata and Zurgo (commander damage anyway). Zurgo ended up getting down a Stormbreath Dragon and kept sending it my way. I couldn't do much with it due to the Pro White but I slowly started building a board with Yawgmoth, Mikaeus, Karmic Guide, and some ramp creatures. My plan was to sac everything to get rid of the Dragon, but Etrata cast Toxic Deluge to do it for me. Almost of my stuff came back due to undying. The Karmic Guide trigger got me Yawgmoth back since he didn't have the luxury of Undying.

After a couple of turns with this, I had an insurmountable board state. I got Protean Hulk and was able to sac him a couple times. I got Chainer, Dementia Master to reanimate stuff. I think they killed Mikaeus 3 or 4 times in the game and I still kept finding ways to get him back.

On a side note, since I want to keep mentioning this, Collector Ouphe, yet again, turned off my Birthing Pod. Pod did insanely good work this game so I don't really care, but that is 3 or 4 games in a row where Ouphe and Pod have been at odds. But Ouphe was also super powerful in this game to shut down Etrata and Thrax as they had a few mana rocks. And it stopped Zurgo from cracking a Burnished Hart :)

The ability for this deck to get out of tight jams, or slow starts, is really nice to see. I was able to chain together a few plays to ensure I stayed alive long enough to actually play the game. Nothing that came up was disappointing and Yawgmoth has proven himself again to be a beast in this deck just by virtue of being a "free" sac outlet.

It had been a long time since I had gotten to play due to the holidays as well as other commitments, but it was nice to finally be able to get the deck out again and have it perform as well as it ultimately did.

On a final note, I am hoping to do a "set review" of Theros: Beyond Death to go over cards that might be worth looking at for inclusion in this deck or talking about why some shouldn't be. I am hoping to do that this weekend.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

The nice thing about Ouphe in this deck is you're very likely to be able to sac it when you need to get rid of it and sometimes you can even sac it and recast it after podding :)

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

pokken wrote:
1 year ago
The nice thing about Ouphe in this deck is you're very likely to be able to sac it when you need to get rid of it and sometimes you can even sac it and recast it after podding :)
That was exactly what my line of play was for about 5 turns :) With Yawgmoth out I could have easily sacrificed the Ouphe, Podded something, and gotten the Ouphe back if I had wanted. I just never needed to do it, but the option was there. Another point for Yawgmoth.

In honesty, the Ouphe sometimes stops being quite a useful as the game goes on anyway as people get more mana or more things that don't care about it so even getting it back after that line isn't worth it.

Also, interestingly (since I forget to mention it above) I never cast Karador once in that game. The rest of the deck performed so well that I never felt the need to cast Karador even though he would have certainly smoothed a couple things out. My board was enough without him which is something I like to see.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

Of the cards released in Theros, here are the ones that I think might have some use in the deck and my thoughts on them. I didn't bother to go through every single card since the vanilla cards won't make it and some others are obviously too narrow.

White Cards

Alseid of Life's Bounty - We don't care about our stuff dying and we have sac outlets to protect against exile effects. It is a 1 drop which is nice, but protection for one turn for one thing isn't good enough.

Archon of Falling Stars - This would basically be in here as a way to get back Pernicious Deed but Sun Titan already does a better job of it. At 6 mana, this doesn't do enough in this deck.

Daxos, Blessed by the Sun - We have a lot of creatures entering and dying so Daxos is bound to be triggering a lot. Having some incidental life gain isn't bad, but he ends up being weak on his own and doesn't really advance our game plan. Our mass life gain spells and effects tend to do the job just as well where he isn't needed.

Eidolon of Obstruction - This isn't even close to being good enough to include. I am not totally convinced it is even good enough for Standard. If players are playing Walkers, we can just attack them or use actual removal on them.

Elspeth Conquers Death - Removal combined with reanimation is nice, but it would easily be our worst reanimation effect in the deck. And, we likely don't need much more anyway. Especially at 5 mana.

Heliod, Sun-Crowned - Maybe? On the surface, it seems like Heliod can actually be pretty good at gaining us some much needed life in one big shot with some of our bigger creatures. We don't have a lot of big creatures, especially early on, to give lifelink. And, even with our ramp, we don't often have a lot of extra mana. At least, not mana we would want to spend on this.

Heliod's Intervention - Again, another maybe. With our mana, being able to pick off problematic artifacts/and enchantments can be nice. And the life gain can be big as well. I might try this over Krosan Grip since this scales better and Split Second rarely matters. The double white versus the single green is a concern but not a huge one.

Shatter the Sky - Drawing a card is nice here. And I think in most cases it is a better Damnation (mana cost notwithstanding). I haven't found "cannot regenerate[/card] to generally by that significant so I might try swapping these to see what this does.

Black Cards

Blight-Breath Catoblepas - Unless Indestructible creatures are a big problem, there is no reason to run this. And, even if they are, anny exile effect is much better.

Drag to the Underworld - This should pretty much always cost BB which is a really good rate for unconditional crreature removal. We currently have a lot of things that get rid of more than just creatures so it is hard to take a step back into just creature removal, but it is cheap and effective. I don't think it really fits in the deck but perhaps some metas would like the additional removal spell.

Eat to Extinction - And, speaking of exile :) This is a better Vraska's Contempt so if you need an exile effect, this is pretty good. I think I might still prefer Swift End over this since it is cheaper and a creature, but the exile clause shouldn't be overlooked.

Elspeth's Nightmare - This isn't all that great. We just got done talking about 2 unconditional removal spells so one that only destroys small creatures, even with the discard and graveyard exile tacked on, isn't going to be good enough. Exiing a graveyard is probably the most important bit here but waiting 2 turns to get to it isn't very good.

Erebos, Bleak-Hearted - If I didn't care about the "opponents can't gain life" clause on OG Erebos, I might be willing to slot this in instead. It lets me draw cards for "free" by doing what the deck is already doing and it comes with a big, indestructible body that is also removal. I might be willing to try him out anyway as he is another sac outlet (though, an expensive one). If his activated ability was -2/-2 I would easily slot him in for no other reason than to kill Zurgo Helmsmasher. I will have to think on this as I might be leaning towards this one over the original just because drawing cards is cheaper. It might be worth at least trying him out to see what he actually does in game.

Erebos's Intervention - Being able to choose between creature removal/lifegain or grave hate is nice. But the Intervention spells are tough due to the mana cost. At his lowest, he is 2 mana to exile 2 cards which isn't the worst rate. And the life gain from the first mode, along with killing Avacyn, Angel of Hope, might be worth it. It kind of goes back to the comments about Drag to the Underworld though: we want our removal to be a bit more flexible. Maybe the added grave hate option is worth it to try this card in an existing removal slot.

Gravebreaker Lamia - This card seems like it was almost made for Karador, but it just misses the mark. We only cast one card per turn so the discount is basically irrelevant. The Entomb mode is nice but not at 5 mana. Lifelink is also good. As it is, I would probably rather have Buried Alive and I don't really want that.

Lampad of Death's Vigil - Another sac outlet. We already don't run one of the better ones (Viscera Seer) so this won't be slotted in, but it is worth commenting on simply to point it out as an option. The 1 mana really hurts it but the effect itself isn't terrible.

Mire Triton - Satyr Wayfinder is a much better version of this effect and there are a couple others too. I don't see a reason why we would want to include this as the life gain is inconsequential.

Nightmare Shepherd - Maybe some builds of Karador might want this, but not ours. We never want our stuff exiled, even if it is to get a smaller version of that card right away.

Omen of the Dead - A better Raise Dead is nice to see, but this again is not a card that this deck is likely to truly benefit from.

Pharika's Libation - Enchantment removal in mono-black is nice to see. But, we are not mono black and we don't really care about either of these modes.

Soulreaper of Mogis - Anotehr sac outlet as well as a way to draw cards. It is on a cheap body but 3 mana is far too high for this effect. It does two things we really want but not at a rate that is worth having them on the same effect.

Treacherous Blessing - Card draw is nice but we have better options. Read the Bones is likely a better version than this though this does work decently well with Sun Titan (if you can get it into the graveyard). Still, easy to pass on this.

Tymaret Calls the Dead - Again, we don't want to exile our stuff. And we don't run enough zombies for Chapter 3 to be worth it.

Tymaret, Chosen from Death - This card I like though. We often have enough black mana to activate the ability a lot and it is only 2 mana. I am thinking that this might be an easy swap for Scavenging Ooze if one runs it since it is less color intensive. Even if it doesn't get to grow as big. We aren't running Ooze now, so this won't make it in now either, but it is a pretty good effect overall.

Woe Strider - Finally, a decet, free sac outlet. It isn't Viscera Seer but the ability to get it back is actually pretty nice. There isn't a reason to put it in this list as it is now, but if someone wanted to add to Viscera Seer and Yawgmoth, there are certainly worse options.

Green Cards

Arasta of the Endless Web[c/] - We don't really care about getting an "army" of small creatures as our opponents cast spells. And the fact that we only get a token on Instant and Sorcery spells means it is even less useful. Our creatures need to do more to control the board and getting small tokens isn't where we want to be.

[card]The Binding of the Titans
- The easiest comparison for this is Satyr Wayfinder but, since it is not a creature, it isn't as good. And there is a delay in getting the card. I think there is some deck that may want this, but it isn't this deck.

Destiny Spinner - The only reason worth including this is to stop our stuff from being countered. But, in general, we don't care that much about counter magic since we can just cast things again later. If your meta is overrun with counterspells, this might be worth a shot (though I would look to Prowling Serpopard first). Otherwise, it isn't worth taking up a spot in the deck.

Dryad of the Ilysian Grove - A worse Oracle of Mul Daya for 1 mana cheaper. Oracle's main strength is being able to play lands off the top of the library. This doesn't allow for that so it is easy to pass on. It is also worth mentioning that Oracle might not really be much longer for this deck either so this definitely wouldn't make it if Oracle isn't in.

Nylea, Keen-Eyed - Making our creatures cheaper is nice as is potentially having a 5/6 indestructible creature. Her activated ability is nice too since we have so many creatures. But, that is a large mana investment to *maybe* draw a card. OG Erebos is probably just better.

Nylea's Intervention - Sorcery timing really kills this. We don't really want to get a lot of lands in hand anyway (though hitting our land drops is nice) and we don't have a ton of issues with flying creatures either. There isn't really anything on this card we want.

Nyxbloom Ancient - Tripling mana on a creature is awesome but 7 mana is much too expensive. While it would be nice to just "go off" there isn't really a need to in this deck since we are already slow and methodical. We don't need the explosive turns this would provide and we don't want to spend the mana for it.

Omen of the Hunt - Flash is what rally makes this card. It is ramp and a mana sink to scry later. But, 3 mana and not being a creature means it isn't the greatest fit for our deck.

Relentless Pursuit - Decent but we already have Satyr Wayfinder (doesn't get creatures, but the land is the more important bit anyway). Again, not a card we really want.

Renata, Called to the Hunt - We don't care about adding counters to our creatures and it actively messes with Undying.

Skola Grovedancer - Arguably, the more imporant part of this card is the ability to put cards in the graveyard but it isn't something we want to pay 3 mana for.

Multicolor Cards

Acolyte of Affliction - There are better self mill cards if we want to go that route. 4 mana to mill 2 isn't good enough.

Kunoros, Hound of Athreos - I know this is obvious but wanted to include it anyway. Do not run this card! :)

Rise to Glory - We don't run any auras so this is just a 5 mana Reanimate. If we wanted it, we would just run Reanimate.

Artifact Cards

Soul-Guide Lantern - We don't mind the additional grave hate, especially hate that doesn't also hit us. But, in general, we Bojuka Bog and Vesuva work just fine for our grave hate. And, as I have mentioned a couple of times with Pod, Collector Ouphe turns off our artifacts and it would feel really bad if we stopped our only answer just because we were trying to stop other things too.
Last edited by WizardMN 1 year ago, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by SocorroTortoise » 1 year ago

The only possibilities I'm seeing that you didn't mention are Arasta of the Endless Web, Shadowspear, and Soul-Guide Lantern, all of which seem more goodstuff-y than on theme. I'm looking at some subset of the gods as possible adds for my list as sticky creature support, though even those I'm not particularly interested in. It doesn't feel like there's much here for Karador despite the GY themes in the set.
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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

Yeah, I skipped over those intentionally. Maybe I should have made a mention of Arasta and Lantern (I will edit my list above to do so) but the Equipment wasn't worth talking about.

But yes, I agree, there isn't much here for Karador which is disappointing.

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Post by cryogen » 1 year ago

I feel like Saffi should be in your "notable exclusions" section. She does some strong work in my deck, even when I'm not comboing off.

More generally, the deck looks good. You've got some choices I'll have to test out at some point.
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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

cryogen wrote:
1 year ago
I feel like Saffi should be in your "notable exclusions" section. She does some strong work in my deck, even when I'm not comboing off.

More generally, the deck looks good. You've got some choices I'll have to test out at some point.
That is probably true. I even picked up a foil Saffi a few months back in case I ever wanted to try her out so it makes sense to at least make a comment on her in the Notable Exclusions list. I know she is a fairly common fixture in Karador decks.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I played this deck again tonight against Estrid the Masked, Vaevictus Asmadi, the Dire, and Yawgmoth, Thran Physician.

I started off very slow since I got basically no early ramp. I got a Wall of Blossoms down and then an Ulvenwald Hydra. I used this to get a Phyrexian Tower for my first sac outlet so I could use it to ramp a little more.

I then cast my own Yawgmoth. The opposing Yawgmoth dropped in a Next of Scarabs but luckily decided not to machine gun my board (other than Yawgmoth of course) yet. So, when it got back to my turn, I was able to sac my Wall to target one of their tokens. They sacrificed that to target my Hydra. I sacrificed my Hydra to target their other token. That resolved and they now had no tokens and Nest didn't trigger. I then cast Swords to Plowshares on Yawgmoth to get rid of him.

A couple turns later I dropped in a Pernicious Deed and then cracked it right before my turn started since Vaevictus was getting out of control. After that, I cast Sun Titan and got a land as I didn't feel I needed the Deed again just yet. The next turn I swung with the Titan to get back Wall.

I was able to do a few things at this point to remove some threats but I wasn't doing a lot to finish the game. Then, I drew into Green Sun's Zenith which let me get Protean Hulk. Estrid attempted to Ultimate so I sacrificed Hulk. This got me Remorseful Cleric, Sakura-Tribe Elder, and Qasali Pridemage. Cleric exiled their graveyard and Pridemage was there to blow up something they would get from the 7 they milled. They ended up getting two auras and one was the one that made their creature an 8/8 and tapped something down. I blew that up.

Next turn I was able to get Hulk back off of Karmic Guide and sacrificed it to get Mikaeus, the Unhallowed and this was basically the turning point of the game where I started to actually win. I was able to loop a few things and keep a full board. Chainer, Dementia Master also kept reanimating stuff. Kokusho, the Evening Star and Gray Merchant of Asphodel helped end the game from here.

At one point, I reanimated Vaevictus's Nyxbloom Ancient and their Eternal Witness to get my Swords back to exile something important (Vaevictus I think). Someone cleared the board by Nyxbloom was very good in that situation.

The only real concern of the game was when Yawgmoth got a Colossus of Akros that they were able to Monstrous and Vaevictus had a Archfiend of Despair. They swung at me with the Colossus one turn before the Archfiend came down and I just gained 14 life off Lifeblood Hydra to mitigate it.

The next turn however, they elected not to attack me because Vaevictus attacked them with a 3/3 (which turned in 6 life lost total thanks to the Archfiend) and held off attacking me. I was at 60 life at the time and this decision not to attack allowed me to cast my Toxic Deluge for 20 without a huge cause for concern. If they had attacked me, I would have lost 40 life that turn and would have been in a very bad spot. Since they didn't I had a lot of life to play with.

Other than that, I think the only thing worth calling out is that Greater Good might be becoming overkill with Yawgmoth in the deck. I realize it does something very different, but I cast Greater Good at one point, it sat on the field for about 2-3 turns, and I never did anything with it. There was never a point where I wanted to sac something to it and I really didn't even want to cast it as I felt I didn't need it. It is possible this becomes something else in the future.

Yawgmoth again shows how powerful he is in this deck and he is one of the best additions made to the deck in a long time.

On a side note, I did update the Primer to include Saffi in the Notable Omissions section per Cryogen's suggestion.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I played two games with this deck last night. I usually only play one but, for reasons that will become evident, I played an extra game.

Game One

The first game was against Karona, the False God, Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain, and something else.

I didn't have too bad a start. I did mull to 6 and I only had 2 lands, but the hand wasn't awful if I got to a third land, which I did. I didn't really have much ramp but, early on I cast Generous Gift on Karona's Thran Temporal Gateway because their deck is filled with Gods and they didn't have many lands yet so I wanted to be sure to slow them down. This ended up being a colossal mistake.

Jhoira had a Treasure Nabber and I didn't think much about it since I didn't have any artifacts they could take. However, Karona and the other deck did which ramped Jhoira pretty significantly since the other players needed these rocks to actually do something. This led to a board state for Jhoira that got huge but still something I felt I could handle (though, I needed to do it quickly).

Then, came Mycosynth Lattice and the entire game changed. Every land we tapped went to Jhoira and we could only do so much while they effectively had 2 to 3 times as much mana, depending on what we tried to do. My only thought at this point was "get Bane of Progress and just start over". We couldn't deal with their board with spot removal thanks to Padeem, Consul of Innovation.

I managed to land a Fauna Shaman which allowed me to get to Bane of Progress and I cast it. Only to have it countered by Jhoira with one of the counter spells that exiles it. Two turns later they dropped down Hellkite Igniter and one shot me with it first and then turned it to each other person. The game was over quickly.

Had I respected the Treasure Nabber and not fallen in to the trap of "if it doesn't affect me, I don't care about it" the game would have been much different. But, we didn't and that let them run away with the game.

Game Two

The second game was a bit better. Jhoira changed to Tishana, Voice of Thunder but the other decks stayed the same.

Here I had a slowish start but I was able to propel myself ahead thanks to Birthing Pod. I had 3 lands and Yavimaya Elder but I chose to cast Pod first and hoped it survived. It did. I also needed to draw a 4th land so I could cast Elder and sac it right away. Which I did. I now had my next turn turns for land drops set up and I tutored out an Oracle of Mul Daya. This allowed to further get more lands off the top of my deck and play more than one a turn so I ramped pretty heavily.

During this early stage, I cast Satyr Wayfinder and got a land. I could have gotten Diamond Valley off of it but Karona had Erebos, God of the Dead so I chose to skip it for now. I then Pod-ed Wayfinder for Wood Elves which became Yawgmoth, Thran Physician. I cast Sun Titan next turn to get my Diamond Valley so I had a sac outlet for Yawgmoth.

Shortly after that, I cast False Prophet. Tishana attempted to Cyclonic Rift but there were some things I wanted gone so I sacrificed my board to Yawgmoth to make their Toothy, Imaginary Friend smaller (I had made a small mistake before in not killing their Pir, Imaginative Rascal sooner so Toothy had about 3 counters more than it should have).

Since I sacrificed False Prophet, that triggered. I then sacrificed Yawgmoth to Diamond Valley so he wasn't exiled. Then, anything that wasn't a creature was bounced from the Rift. I was able to rebuild next turn pretty well and was able to get a Karmic Guide which I then used Pod to get a Kokusho, Evening Star. Next turn, I sacrificed Kokusho to Pod and Tishana countered the Drain trigger but still let me Pod. I got Protean Hulk which got me Mikaeus, the Unhallowed first.

I then flashed in Karador with Winding Canyons, used his ability on my turn to cast Karmic Guide to get back Hulk. And I was able to do a few things here to get keep control of the board state but, ultimately, I ended up getting Kokusho back. Players life totals were low enough that attacking was able to get rid of two players so it was just me and Tishana left. I sacrificed Kokusho to end the game.

Final Musings

A "strategic" note about the end of the game is that my board state effectively allowed me to infinitely recur Kokusho. I would sac Kokusho to Yawgmoth to put a counter on a creature (say, Wood Elves) which would then return from Undying. I would then sac Wood Elves to put a counter on Kokusho to cancel the +1/+1 counter. I would sac Kokusho again to remove the counter from Wood Elves. And, back and forth I go limited basically only by my library since I was gaining far more than the 2 life it was costing me.

I bring this up because I want to revisit my comment earlier about Kokusho potentially being too much for this deck. I don't like infinite combos to begin with but this resulted in just adding cards that the deck really wants. I don't actively attempt the combo so I am hesitant to cut it just yet, but I can see a future where I want to get rid of one of these pieces. And Kokusho is probably it.

I realize that the actual combo is "Mikaeus + Yawgmoth + <literally any two non-human creatures, with one having a relevant ETB trigger> so Gray Merchant would have the same "problem". But Mikaeus and Yawgmoth are just far too good for this deck as a whole that I don't think I can justify cutting them.

This isn't really an indication that I *will* change this; just a bit of rambling about this particular situation since I tend to avoid infinite combos in general, But, being 3 pieces and all of them being creatures does make it somewhat vulnerable. I think if Kokusho starts making an appearance as the finisher in too many games, I might have to think about changing something.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

I think you'll find that Yawgmoth is the real problem card there. He's extremely degenerate in mid-powered strategies, essentially dominating every board state, in my experience. I expect you win almost any game Yawg hits the battlefield.

He's kill-on-sight for me and in the command zone I tend to have to focus fire that player out.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

That is most likely the case. I know a game I played last week saw a pretty brutal combo with him and Nest of Scarabs that, luckily, the Yawgmoth player wasn't aggressive enough to pursue.

In the end though, I am fine with that if that is what he brings to the table. Games have "must-kill" cards all the time (I would argue Mikaeus and Chainer should fall into that for this deck). I don't think I have ever lost a game when I got down Hulk and Mikaeus, for example so that alone isn't a huge cause for concern. His value to the deck in just the card draw and being a sac outlet is just too high to warrant cutting him at this time. The deck needs those effects and I would be including him even without the -1/-1 counter part of his ability.

I will have to keep a watch on him, and the cards he combos with, though. I am starting to lean towards the idea of not caring as much about whether the game ends the same each time, but more about what it takes to get there. Aggressively tutoring or trying to assemble this makes the games repetitive and boring but playing a fresh game each time where the board dictates the plays and just "happening" to get to something like this to end the game might be acceptable. I will see how much of a concern it is if it starts happening too frequently.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I played two games with this deck last night. The first was against Oketra, God-Eternal, Thraximundar, and Tishana, Voice of Thunder.

I started off with a mull to 6 and was still doing pretty decent. I had a couple ramp cards but couldn't really get much of a board state. Thrax had a Mindcrank which ended up wrecking me pretty hard. I took 16 damage from Thrax and Oketra early on which milled a bunch of stuff (not necessarily bad) which allowed me to get a Yawgmoth, Thran Physician on the field and I slowly started draining my life in the hopes of getting to a sweeper since Oketra was running away with the game.

I had once chance where I saw a Vampiric Tutor on top of my library (thanks to Oracle of Mul Daya) and I wanted to use Yawgmoth to get to it. Unfortunately, the paying life aspect kept triggering Mindcrank so I had to mill it before I could draw it. Had I gotten it, and Mindcrank wasn't around, I would have gotten Toxic Deluge, gone down to 1 life, and just hoped the other two players would go after Oketra since I don't think I could kill their creatures.

But, instead, my stuff got milled and I couldn't get to False Prophet or any other sweeper from drawing into them so I just lost next turn (as did everyone else). It really did show the power of the army Oketra can amass in a very short timeframe (thanks to Whitemane Lion mostly).

The next game was the same opponents except Oketra. They sat out and another player with Golos, Tireless Pilgrim came in.

This game was far better (though I have some comments on it below). I got some early ramp followed by Birthing Pod when helped build my board. I was able to stabilize pretty easily against a very early Thrax until I got a Green Sun's Zenith for Protean Hulk. From here I just worked to get Mikaeus, the Unhallowed and I got Yawgmoth, Thran Physician pretty early from Birthing Pod. There was basically no stopping me since Pod kept getting me stuff I needed to get back creatures that died (mostly Mikaeus) and I was able to tutor with Hulk about 4 times this game. I never tried to use Yawgmoth and Mikaeus together to remove counters so the "combo" was ignored. Though, if Golos had gotten closer to winning I might have thought about it.

In the end I had a pretty decisive victory but it never really felt like there was much at stake. Granted, Thrax and Tishana were both stuck on lands for a long time so they didn't really offer any resistance. I just swung out at everyone and won without Kokusho or Gray Merchant loops.

However, I just felt that Pod and Green Sun's (and Hulk falls into this too) are starting to make the deck far too consistent. I know I have already spoken about my distaste for Pod in terms of consistency, but this game really highlighted the issue with the number of tutors I have. I don't want to go upending the deck too much but I am seriously considering cutting a few tutors and contemplated cutting Hulk as well. I might even get to the point of cutting Mikaeus because I seem to be getting Mikaeus far too often with Hulk which makes that play far too predictable and monotonous for my tastes. I am not sure yet on what I want to do but I know I didn't really have a lot of fun in that game since I basically had the (combo) win on the table for about 7 turns and there was no threat of actually losing.

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