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Sep 12 2015

Nuh-nuh-nuh My Karona…

Let’s talk about two of my favorite topics: treachery, and commanders. There are a mere handful of cards that are both legendary and switch sides faster than Littlefinger in an amphetamine-orgy. Notable among them are such worthies as Starke of Rath and of course, the topic of this article–Karona, False God.

Let’s face it, any card that got an official apology from Wizards of the Coast on it’s behalf (I’m serious: Angels Among Us by Mark Rosewater) can’t be a good general, right?

Wrong.

Karona, False God EDH Voltron

True, it’s a messy card that costs 6 for a 5/5 hasty beater that can either pump itself or a small army then swiftly betrays you the second she’s done attacking like a jilted lady of the night.

But since when is that a bad thing? Magic players don’t necessarily have a problem with opponents taking their stuff—look at how powerful Donate and Zedruu, the Greathearted are in Commander and they both revolve around giving things away.
Playing and building Karona correctly requires several things from a player:

-Solid defenses that discourages Karona (under another player’s control) from coming after you herself. So cards like Ghostly Prison, Fog Bank and the like are at a premium. Try to keep them lower in the curve—they do you no good whatsoever if they come down after big K has started her swing rampage. It is IMPERATIVE that she not come down when you have literally nothing to block her with next turn which brings us too…

-Limiting cards. These are cards that impose disadvantages on your opponent and keep your board state workable. The most notable of these is the excellent four-drop, Stoic Angel which can hold off hordes of creatures and allows you to turtle more efficiently.

-Winning with general damage. This is your endgame. You aren’t making hordes of tokens and there is no infinite combo in the deck. Sure there is some utility creatures, but nothing huge. You want to set up the board so that Karona, when she comes down she can either one or two shot a given player. Power doublers like Xenagos, God of Revels are ideal for hitting for 16 general damage when she comes down—lethal if you can give Karona double strike. Whoever you hit is going to be the target for the third person who grabs Karona—they’re sputtering and gasping from the almost fatal blow. Finest Hour is an excellent combo card with Karona and Xenagos. Consider running things like Tainted Strike if you want to go the infect route—but that has it’s own limitations and weaknesses.

-Survive! There are tools to keep you alive for that one extra turn you need—Phyrexian Unlife can keep you alive a bit longer while Angel’s Grace can resolve tense situations at instant speed.

-Removal is largely sorcery speed. Removal that targets the enemy commander at any rate. With the new tuck rules that made Chaos Warp and Oblation obsolete in tournament format, enchantments are now the best way to deal with an opposing commander semi-permanently. Despite how mind-boggling idiotic this rule change is, if I want to run Karona in a tournament I’ll have to abide by it. Thusly, cards like Darksteel Mutation, Utopia Vow and Krasis Incubation are the new kids on the general-hating block. Zur the Enchanter is cackling with delight, as are cards that fetch enchantments.

-Non-general removal is largely tool-box. Blasphemous Act and Chain Reaction are excellent board-wipes while Bant Charm is some of the best spot removal available. A lot of other limiting card can be fetched with my old friend Trinket Mage—when he fetches a Meekstone and locks down the board I can’t help but grin.

Closing thoughts:
—Only attack when you’re sure to make contact with Karona. More than any other Voltron-build I’ve played, this one prioritizes and works at maximum efficiency if you have a clear path to damage. Especially since she is GOING TO HIT YOU IN THE FACE NEXT TURN—so be sure you have a defensible position. Since most of my other creatures are unimpressive, you are invested in a sudden flurry of damage and being able to stall long enough to wipe out the rest of the pod. Equipment and most enchantments are a no-no—don’t want your opponents getting a boost when they inevitably turn Karona against you.

-The deck is political until Karona hits the board—at which point you had better be able to realistically win within the next two to three turns maximum.

-Try your best not to play this deck against quick tribal decks—Goblins, Elves etc—as it will only give them a free overrun.
I’m still working out the kinks in this odd general—if you have any feedback would be appreciated. I’m considering adding in Zur the Enchanter and the vow-cycle from the first commander set.

If you want to take a quick look, here’s the tapped out link to the deck.

This deck on Tappedout: Karona False God EDH on Tappedout.net

See you again soon!

1 comment

  1. Wally D.

    Great article sir… you had me hooked at “switch sides faster than Littlefinger in an amphetamine-orgy”… lol, yep, I had to look up that reference.

    Anyways, the deck definitely looks fun and I think you are right on the money with the finding ways to give Karona to your opponents and have them finish your dirty work. Here are some thoughts I had…

    Definitely, as you mentioned, the Vow cycle keeps Karona from smackin’ you back. Vow of Wilderness and the like from CMDR 11 (12, 13, whenever).

    Assault Suit would also be handy-dandy here.

    Solitary Confinement, Glacial Chasm, and Peacekeeper are all muy bien for keeping her out of your face… Might as well put Sun Titan in there too for recurring these solid effects. There is also Silent Arbiter + Maze of Ith.

    Thassa, God of the Sea seems fun and could make Karona unblockable.

    Heck, you could include Spike Weaver and Illusionist’s Gambit seem fun too.

    Good to see Seht’s Tiger in your list. Love that card.

    Great article! Looking forward to updates on how well this deck works for ya!

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