From_the_Lab

Mr. X and the Karametric System

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The letter W!elcome back to the Lab, my friends! It's time for God Week, and I've cooked up a couple decks to take advantage of—I mean... pay respect to the powerful Gods of Theros. Of the ten Gods we've seen so far, I've seen all but Karametra used in Constructed in some capacity.

Solving for X

Xenagos, God of Revels is certainly making waves in Standard right now, and for good reason. Doubling the power of a creature is pretty sweet, and haste is a nice bonus. I highly enjoy attacking for ludicrous amounts of damage, which is why I built a Commander deck around Xenagos almost immediately after the release of Born of the Gods.

One of my favorite tools in that deck is Malignus. Since Malignus's power is equal to half the highest life total among your opponents, once doubled by Xenagos it will by definition be large enough to kill any opponent in a single hit. Since I've already explored this idea in Commander, I decided to see how it would transition to the world of sixty-card decks.


Putrefax is another creature that is instantly lethal when its power is doubled with Xenagos. Ten poison counters means death no matter what your life total is, and Putrefax will deliver them all at once. Leveler can also kill your opponent in one attack, although if you fail the drawback is as steep as can be, causing you to lose the game the next time you draw a card. Regardless, getting 10 power for five mana is worth the price, since you'll usually be able to kill your opponent before the lack of a library kills you.

Berserk and Fatal Frenzy play backup for Xenagos or combine with him to ensure a more-than-lethal amount of damage. Since these two give trample but not haste, and Xenagos gives haste but not trample, I'll include Messenger's Speed to provide whichever ability you're missing.

Since the entire combo is based on five-mana spells, you'll need some mana acceleration to get you there before your opponent can kill you. Wild Growth is an awesome option, coming down on turn one to give you three mana on turn two. Fertile Ground follows suit, giving you an extra mana on turn two along with color fixing. Nature's Lore rounds out the set with the ability to grab a Forest or Stomping Ground and put it onto the battlefield untapped. With the three of them combined, you can cast Xenagos as soon as turn three.

Doubled Halves


Literally All of the Lands

The one God I haven't yet seen used is Karametra, God of Harvests. At five mana, searching your library for lands is not usually what you want to be doing. In Commander, however, five mana is just the beginning. With 40 life and multiple players, it's perfectly reasonable to spend turn six searching your library for lands.


The only problem is that casting ordinary creatures is a terrible way to take advantage of Karametra's ability. I mean, sure, getting an extra land every turn is nice, but it doesn't come close to the required shenanigans level to make it into this column. Fortunately, there's a better way to do things.

The key card here is Whitemane Lion. When it enters the battlefield, Whitemane Lion requires you to return a creature you control to its owner's hand. What it doesn't say is that you can't return Whitemane Lion. In this manner, you can trigger Karametra repeatedly for just two mana each time, essentially allowing you to cast Rampant Growth as many times as you have mana for. There are a number of similar creatures that will get the job done as well, including Kor Skyfisher, Fleetfoot Panther, Stonecloaker, and Emeria Angel. Additionally, Cloudstone Curio will make it so that any two creatures can fill this role.


By the way, all those lands you're getting? You can use them to get more lands next turn. Then you can use those to get even more lands. Soon enough you'll have every Forest or Plains in your deck on the battlefield. Then the fun really begins.

X = 40

I've included forty-two lands in the deck, and only two that aren't Forests or Plains. This means that you can generally count of having at least forty mana to work with after you've finished searching out all your lands. The obvious way to go from here is X spells.

Primordial Hydra is easily going to be a one-hit kill after it doubles its counters at the beginning of your upkeep, even if your opponent has a few creatures to block with. Wurmcalling also gives you a giant creature, but with an easy three-mana buyback, you can cast it over and over again. Forty mana gets you one 36/36, two 16/16s, three 9/9s, or four 6/6s every turn.


Decree of Justice and Entreat the Angels can each make a ridiculous number of Angel tokens, and the Decree can be cycled at instant speed to make Soldiers if you so desire. Outpacing them both is Gelatinous Genesis, which at forty mana will make nineteen 19/19 Ooze tokens.

White Sun's Zenith has the advantage of being an instant, putting thirty-seven 2/2 Cats on the battlefield at the end of an opponent's turn. Verdeloth the Ancient also makes 2/2s, so long as he remains on the battlefield.

Martial Coup creates an instant army of Soldiers and clears the board of any other creatures at the same time. Riptide Replicator can put a 32/32 on the battlefield the turn you cast it, then make another each turn for just four mana. Orochi Hatchery is similar, but rather than making one large creature, it makes seventeen 1/1 Snake tokens, repeating the process for five mana per turn.

Dawnglow Infusion can give you a whopping 78 life in one shot, and Oracle of Nectars allows you to gain 40 each turn if you want. Once your life total is higher than your opponents' you can potentially kill them all with a Squall Line for 38. Helix Pinnacle can also outright win you the game, although it requires you to dump mana into it for three turns.


Sigil of Distinction can give one creature an extra 39 power and toughness, and sticks around if that creature dies, ready to be equipped to the next one that comes along. Polukranos, World Eater can turn himself into a 24/24 while dealing 19 damage divided among any number of creatures. Strength of the Tajuru can make a whole slew of creatures enormous, only requiring one more mana for each creature you want to add on to the deal. With enough creatures to target, it can give you nearly 400 power.

Rinse and Repeat

Karametra isn't the only card with an ability you can use over and over again. Genesis Chamber will also trigger each time you cast a bouncy creature, giving you a Myr token to go with your land. Shrine of Loyal Legions will trigger as well, building up a lethal number of charge counters.

Primordial Sage and Soul of the Harvest let you draw a card every time you cast your creatures, quickly getting you just about anything you want. Primeval Bounty will give you 3/3 Beast tokens, and until you have all your lands on the battlefield, 3 life as well. If you have other creatures on the board, Cathars' Crusade will make them huge while you cast your creature over and over. Meanwhile, Aura Shards can destroy any and all artifacts and enchantments your opponents control.


Tower of Calamities and Tower of Fortunes can be activated each turn, giving you removal and card draw—two things green decks often lack. Mind's Eye also lets you draw cards, taking advantage of some of that extra mana you'll have. Budoka Gardener can accelerate your mana a bit early in the game, then start pumping out 40/40 creature tokens once it flips.

Heliod, God of the Sun; Ant Queen; and Centaur Glade all pump out creatures of varying sizes, and can be activated as many times as you can afford. After you have a nice token army, Kamahl, Fist of Krosa can give them all +18/+18 until end of turn, despite being limited by the triple green his ability requires. You can also use Beastmaster Ascension for a smaller boost, requiring only three mana.

These Lands Are My Lands

Farhaven Elf, Wood Elves, Yavimaya Dryad, and Solemn Simulacrum all search up lands early in the game, potentially allowing you to cast Karametra a turn earlier. After your commander is on the battlefield, they search for two lands instead of one, giving you even more value. Sol Ring can also jump-start your mana, letting you cast Karametra as soon as turn three.

Amulet of Vigor and Stone-Seeder Hierophant both untap the lands you put into play with Karametra. The Amulet does it automatically, while the Hierophant untaps itself each time a land enters the battlefield, letting you use its ability to untap that land. If you happen to have Selesnya Sanctuary on the battlefield, you can untap that and use Whitemane Lion or Kor Skyfisher to put all your lands into play immediately.


As if forty mana wasn't enough, Mana Reflection and Mirari's Wake double that number, letting you do even more ridiculous things. With both of them on the battlefield, you could put over 4,000 power on the board with Gelatinous Genesis.

Molimo, Maro-Sorcerer is a 40/40 with trample for just seven mana, leaving you free to cast X spells at the same time. Seedborn Muse will untap all your lands (and everything else) on all your opponents' turns, letting you get extra use out of activated abilities like those on Heliod and Budoka Gardener. It becomes even more ridiculous with Vedalken Orrery, which lets you cast anything you want on your opponents' turns. Wurmcalling is an especially attractive choice.

Searching for Lions

You need a bounce creature in your hand to get things started, and although the deck plays several options, it's good to have a few tutors to make sure you get one. Eladamri's Call is the obvious choice, putting it straight into your hand for two mana.

Although slower, Worldly Tutor and Sylvan Tutor can find the creature you need at the end of an opponent's turn, ensuring you draw it right away. You can also use these spells to search for useful creatures, especially Stone-Seeder Hierophant, which can accelerate your acceleration.


Killing Time

Beast Within is a great card in Commander, getting rid of any problem permanent for just three mana, and leaving only a 3/3 Beast token behind. 3/3s aren't exactly threatening in the world of 40 life, so this often feels like an instant-speed Vindicate.

Austere Command is an extremely flexible sweeper, giving you the ability to wipe the board of creatures, or leave your tokens intact and hit all artifacts or enchantments instead. Hallowed Burial and Final Judgment are less flexible, but get rid of otherwise problematic creatures like Avacyn, Angel of Hope. Although they could theoretically get rid of Karametra as well, getting seven devotion is not something that's going to happen often, especially in situations where you're inclined to kill everything on the battlefield.



Playing With Matches

We've seen ten of Theros's fifteen Gods so far, with the other five still on their way in Journey into Nyx. Which one is your favorite? Have you brewed up anything special? Let me know on Twitter at @MTGCannon or via the email link below. Also, make sure to join me next week, when I'll be hosting a match you won't want to miss. See ya!


 
Mike Cannon
Mike Cannon
@MTGCannon
Email Mike
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Mike Cannon signed on to write From the Lab at the end of 2012. An ardent casual player and lover of bizarre synergies, he'll be bringing you a selection of crazy combo decks every Wednesday.

 
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