Brewer’s Spotlight: Legacy Karn Tribal


Karn, the Great Creator is broken.

This card is showing up all over every eternal format in large numbers and we’ve only had access to it to brew with for a handful of days. Not only is it doing extremely powerful things, but the card is very fun to play with — as are most tutors. Let me show you:

Just days after War of the Spark cards were let loose on Magic Online the top of the Legacy Challenge was littered with cards from the new set, including three of the top nine decks in the event built around Karn, the Great Creator.

Now, at first glance Karn looks like yet another value card for these powerful Ancient Tomb decks to ramp out. It even tacks on some nice maindeck artifact hate which is obviously valuable in eternal formats. But, if you take a closer look at the sideboard, it gives these colourless decks access to a massive “wish board” of tutor targets which help solidify many of the polarized matchups eternal formats have to offer. You get a Tormod’s Crypt for graveyard hate, a Ratchet Bomb for problem permanents and any other sweet artifact you can think of. One of those artifacts is a weird one: Mycosynth Lattice.

Not only does Karn offer you all of this versatility by giving you an artifact toolbox, but it also offers you a way to completely lock your opponent out of the game. If you’re able to put the Lattice into play with Karn on-board, it turns all of your opponents permanents into artifacts. Which of course means that Karn stops all of their activated abilities from working. Including their lands, which no longer tap for mana. No more mana for them !

Turns out all this sweet stuff is good enough to make Karn an instant Legacy staple.

These decks also featured multiple copies of Ugin, the Ineffable and Blast Zone for problem permanents. War of the Spark is making waves.

Now, let’s not stop there. Karn is getting creative in Vintage too:

This Eldrazi Stompy list took down the Vintage Challenge the exact same weekend as Karn dominated in Legacy. Turns out the Karn/Lattice combo is good enough that you can just shoehorn it into an existing Vintage archetype and win a tournament.

Before I leave you I’ve got one more for you, this time in Modern.

Francisco Pawluszek is an Amulet Titan master comparable to the likes of Canada’s very own Edgar Magalhaes. He’s been working on this version of the deck featuring Karn.

Personally, Karn feels like a great addition to Amulet to me. You already want to play a bunch of artifacts in your sideboard as is and the addition of the Lattice combo allows you to fight back against decks that are hateful towards you Primeval Titan chain.

The verdict is still out on Amulet, but I think that Francisco is going in a good direction here. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Karn will be a fixture in Modern in the coming months as we have more time to brew with it and I for one am excited.

What makes this card so cool to me is that it offers interesting gameplay. It’s not just another busted card that ends the game on the third turn. Karn allows you to build decks with a tutor, juke and jive your way out of difficult situations and tests the limits of both gameplay and deckbuilding.

What I hope for this new addition to eternal formats is that it acts as a bit of a stabilizing element. Many of you will remember the Splinter Twin combo in Modern and the way it balanced out the format. Well, my hope is that as we continue to build with this card, and with this Lattice combo, we’ll be able to find the right mix of tool box cards and interactive elements that will see Karn slow down these formats a little.

If that happens in Modern, and we could stick Karn into some kind of artifact control shell I would be over the moon. At the very least, having to respect this combo will lead to some more interactive gameplay.

Now, I realized that it’s also possible Karn just ends up making the degenerate, well, even more degenerate. But I’m hoping it’s the former rather than the latter in this situation.

But enough about what I think, tell me what you think. Shout at me on Twitter and tell me exactly how right or wrong I am.