Prepare For Maximum Karnage At SCG Louisville

How much havoc will Karn, the Great Creator wreak at SCG Louisville? “The Boss” breaks down the possibilities of Modern’s latest menace!

Karn has always been a powerful character worthy of a powerful card, regardless of the iteration or time of printing. Karn, Silver Golem has been turning Mox Sapphire and friends into dust for twenty years. Karn Liberated is one of the most feared Turn 3 plays in Modern. Karn, Scion of Urza has granted Standard players access to card advantage irrespective of mana restrictions.

Karn, the Great Creator succeeds a long line of previous Karns and is proving to carry the pedigree. Karn is designed to be strong and that strength is amplified by the fact he’s colorless and thus can fit into a wide variety of decks.

This newest iteration of Karn packs quite a punch. The static ability shuts down entire decks completely, like Hardened Scales and traditional Affinity, and gives Mono-Green Tron fits by shutting off all their Chromatic Stars, Chromatic Spheres, and Expedition Maps. Even shutting off an Aether Vial can be potent.

Karn’s +1 can protect himself by animating a blocker, be used to create an attacker to knock out an opposing planeswalker, or simply whack the opponent. Just like Karn, Silver Golem busting up Moxen in 1998, Karn, the Great Creator busts up zero-cost artifacts too like Mox Opal, Chalice of the Void, Engineered Explosives, and Darksteel Citadel.

The unique power of Karn, the Great Creator is in his -2. Tutor effects have empirically proven effective throughout Magic’s history. Effects like these increase in potency when you have access to a card pool as deep as Modern. The cat’s out of the bag on Karn, the Great Creator. What was once a cutesy meme of a combo has grown to become widely known as a real deal, as Mycosynth Lattice and Liquimetal Coating are two of the main targets for Karn’s minus ability.

Mycosynth Lattice turns all permanents into artifacts and, with Karn’s static ability, shuts down your opponent’s cards from using activated abilities, including tapping lands for mana. Therefore, the Karn plus Lattice combo completely locks the opponent out of casting spells for the rest of the game. You shouldn’t have much trouble finding a way to win from there.

Sometimes six mana for Mycosynth Lattice is too slow. That’s where Liquimetal Coating comes in. Along with Karn’s +1, you can turn a land into an artifact and then turn it into a 0/0 creature. With Karn’s static, you can turn a land into an artifact during their upkeep to prevent them from using the mana during their main phase, reminiscent of Rishadan Port. Liquimetal Coating also turns on artifact removal like Abrade and Kolaghan’s Command, and it can even turn Karn itself into an artifact if you feel like attacking for four.

This newest version of Karn has seamlessly found himself at home in a wide variety of Modern archetypes. In fact, Karn, the Great Creator has become so ubiquitous in decklists that they aren’t really “Karn” decks any more than you’d call a deck a “Jace” deck. At least nine archetypes have incorporated the powerful planeswalker into their Modern decks.

What Can You Get With Karn, the Great Creator?

To name a few:

Let’s get to some lists.

Mono-Green Tron was one of the first and most obvious places to slot in the Karn plus Lattice combo. After all, it’s the deck that makes a ton of colorless mana, so landing a Karn, the Great Creator with another six mana available isn’t out of the question. Tron decks have sometimes found trouble bridging the gap between finding Tron elements and worthy payoffs, so a four-mana spell is a welcome addition to an already fearsome archetype.

Mycosynth Lattice has some subtle text on it that turns all cards that aren’t on the battlefield, spells, and permanents colorless. This bodes well for Ancient Stirrings, as it can now grab any card, even another Ancient Stirrings! It won’t come up much, as your opponent will be in poor shape with the Lattice on the battlefield already, but it’s a nice interaction.

The next place for Karn to find a home is into a previously established prison deck.

Abrade was already a good spell to maindeck in Mono-Red Prison, and working alongside Liquimetal Coating to destroy any permanent bumps the strength of Abrade from a decent two-of to a card you nearly always like to have in any matchup.

Amulet Titan is always looking for the best Plan B to complement the Primeval Titan plan when something like a Surgical Extraction takes away the Plan A. Sometimes it’s Hive Mind and sometimes it another big green creature like Ruric Thar, the Unbowed or Zacama, Primal Calamity. Karn, the Great Creator offers an alternative win condition while also providing more tools to an already robust toolbox deck.

There have been many takes on the Devoted Druid combo with Vizier of Remedies. One problem the deck had was having something to do with an arbitrary amount of mana without watering down the deck with too many copies of Duskwatch Recruiter or clunky tutors like Chord of Calling. Karn, the Great Creator offers an immediate combo end if you’ve put the Druid and Vizier together, immediately grabbing Walking Ballista to shoot the opponent for twenty.

Finale of Devastation is a bit better than Chord of Calling since it costs one mana less when you don’t have incidental creatures around like Kitchen Finks to convoke. The green Finale also searches your graveyard, so you don’t have to worry as much about your one Vizier of Remedies dying to a Lightning Bolt.

Karn, the Great Creator also gives you something else to accelerate to with Arbor Elf and Utopia Sprawl. Turn 1 Arbor Elf into Turn 2 Utopia Sprawl nets the four mana for Karn. Another Utopia Sprawl or a land and a Simian Spirit Guide gets you the six needed for Mycosynth Lattice on Turn 3. If that draw gets jumbled up a little, getting Liquimetal Coating going with Karn’s +1 is there for you. Not bad for not needing neither of the deck’s namesake combo pieces of Devoted Druid or Vizier of Remedies.

Eldrazi Tron has faded away in favor of Mono-Green Tron over the past year or so. Now with Karn, the Great Creator, you have enough tools within just colorless mana to cover most of your bases without having to splash green off a few Forests and some Chromatic Stars / Spheres. Assembling Tron isn’t a necessity in Eldrazi Tron, but a bonus that comes together naturally in a handful of games.

You still have the same explosive draws that include an Eldrazi Temple and a Thought-Knot Seer followed up by a Reality Smasher or Endbringer. You can even fit a couple of copies of Blast Zone now that you’ve dumped the green cards.

Eldrazi Stompy is the younger sibling of Eldrazi Tron that aims to go faster and smaller with quick starts fueled by Simian Spirit Guide and Gemstone Caverns and cheaper Eldrazi in Eldrazi Mimic and Eternal Scourge. Serum Powder and Gemstone Caverns allow you to exile Eternal Scourge before the game even begins to essentially let you start with an eight-card hand or more.

Now that you aren’t playing the twelve Tron lands, you have room for solid utility lands like Ghost Quarter, Mutavault, and Blinkmoth Nexus. Since your manabase is so useful, you’re rarely flooded in the late game without anything to do.

Karn, the Great Creator once again enables another dimension to a previously mostly linear deck. You can even cast a Serum Powder and animate it in a pinch.

Madcap Devotion is another ramp shell that makes great use of a pile of excess mana without having to load up on high-end cards. Slamming a potent four-drop like Madcap Experiment, Garruk Wildspeaker, or Karn, the Great Creator as early as Turn 2 is a high priority in this build. Burning-Tree Emissary and the green enchantments in Oath of Nissa and Utopia Sprawl juice up your Nykthos, Shrine of Nyx activations.

Drawing the singleton Platinum Emperion can be awkward but is alleviated when you can generate enough mana to cast it naturally. If it dies, you can shuffle it into your library with Primal Command for another go at it with Madcap Experiment.

Karn, the Great Creator is a touch too expensive for Affinity or Hardened Scales. Liquimetal Control is a midrange artifact deck that takes advantage of a density of artifacts that runs enough mana sources to realistically cast Mycosynth Lattice.

Role Reversal can switch a Thopter or Servo token with your opponent’s best creature. You can switch your Glimmervoid with their land to effectively Stone Rain them after the Glimmervoid dies on their end step. Then of course along with Liquimetal Coating you can trade any of your artifacts for any of their permanents.

Here we have a typically Mono-White Taxes deck incorporating new War of the Spark legends like Karn, the Great Creator; Gideon Blackblade; and Dovin, Hand of Control to make the most out of Mobilized District. Mox Amber is easily turned on with the one-drop legends available in Modern, which accelerates you to Karn, the Great Creator.

A sweet interaction is using Gideon, Battle-Forged (a transformed Kytheon) to generate an extra mana from Mobilized District that you activate for free with four legends/planeswalkers on the battlefield.

How to Beat Karn, the Great Creator

The easiest answer is to get under it. The decks that support Karn, the Great Creator tend to be good matchups for fast creature decks like Burn, Zoo, and Infect. Disruptive creature decks like Humans and Grixis Death’s Shadow also have enough interaction while paired with a fast enough clock to get the job done before Karn can really do his thing.

There have been murmurs of Karn, the Great Creator having viability in TitanShift, Whir Prison, and Lantern Control. I imagine it could slot into Mono-Blue Tron if the two players in the world that play it gave it a shot. Karn, the Great Creator offers optionality to practically any Modern deck that aims to reach four mana with even an outside shot of hitting six mana for the Mycosynth Lattice.

I’ve been trying to brew up a deck myself…

Happy Karning!