How do I beat Karn, the Great Creator

@desolutionist I tend to build my decks to fight/go under strategies. Shops fighting hurkylls is a great example of fighting on the wrong axis. Karn tends to be in mana-ramp decks. Hitting the mana ramp helps. Narset tends to be in blue decks fighting blue decks, where "draw" is their axis. Hit the draw mechanic/dodge using so much draw.

Could a blood moon deck with SSG, tombs, ESG, stop the karn/shop ramp? Maybe. Would be decent vs bazaar as well if you could consistently drop a turn 1 moon effect. Could that same deck run grudges, rebs, rods, and other things? Sure. Can it run quick, sizable creatures to be a decent clock as well? Sure. Would this type of deck work overall? I dunno, maybe. Maybe not. Worth a try.

@thewhitedragon69 said in How do I beat Karn, the Great Creator:

@desolutionist I tend to build my decks to fight/go under strategies. Shops fighting hurkylls is a great example of fighting on the wrong axis. Karn tends to be in mana-ramp decks. Hitting the mana ramp helps. Narset tends to be in blue decks fighting blue decks, where "draw" is their axis. Hit the draw mechanic/dodge using so much draw.

Could a blood moon deck with SSG, tombs, ESG, stop the karn/shop ramp? Maybe. Would be decent vs bazaar as well if you could consistently drop a turn 1 moon effect. Could that same deck run grudges, rebs, rods, and other things? Sure. Can it run quick, sizable creatures to be a decent clock as well? Sure. Would this type of deck work overall? I dunno, maybe. Maybe not. Worth a try.

Regarding blood moon style lists, Troy Sands took down an NYSE Qualifier with a r/w list, but also implemented Karn of its own as additional null rods and access to an artifact toolbox.

Not sure if that's what you are aiming at there, @Thewhitedragon69.

For quick reference, his list is reposted below:

Troy Sands
Deck Name: Crazy 8s

4 City of Traitors
4 Ancient Tomb
2 Arid Mesa
2 Plateau
5 Mountain
1 Plains
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Ruby
1 Lotus petal
4 Simian Spirit Guide
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
4 Legion Warboss
2 Hazoret the Fervent
4 Magus of the Moon
4 Blood Moon
4 Stony Silence
4 Null Rod
4 Karn, the Great Creator
2 Ensnaring Bridge
3 Fiery Confluence

<Sideboard>
1 Trinisphere
1 Chalice of the Void
1 Mox Pearl
1 Black Vise
1 Ensnaring Bridge
1 Mycosynth Lattice
1 Eidolon of Rhetoric
4 Containment Priest
4 Rest in Peace

I played against this deck in the swiss rounds. I was on Stax and got locked out.

I also saw this deck win off of a mycosynth lattice lockout via black vise.


Regarding beating Karn specifically, I am starting to see a number of players in my local area starting to swap out a number of mental missteps for either spell pierce or ceremonious rejection.

last edited by chikararyuu

He should splash for green so that he can play all 16 Null Rod effect.

Didn't read the latest posts, but just wanted to say survival has changed a lot in terms of dealing with artifacts with horizons. It was indeed bad against karn considering the plan of 'creature decks are good against pw'. Now I feel it's at least 50-50 with ouphe and the green force. Karn decks rely too much on artifact mana, which makes it very vulnerable to null rod effects.

Anyway, as usually happens with new dominant decks that are different than what is out there, the solution is to adapt to it. I'm not saying null rod beats karn on it's own, but if karn isn't fast enough and we have some pressure, it usually is. Maybe we even have to run more copies so that we have chances of drawing naturally, as survival -> tutor -> ouphe takes a while to get online. Specially if they attack our mana.

Survival and BUG Fish gained a lot from Horizons. We'll see how the Karn decks adapt now 😛

That said, I'm hesitant to play Survival if Dredge with Leylines and Green Forces picks up.

Edit: and the format still feels like a RNG clusterf*** that is still mostly decided by die rolls and opening hands (plus knowledge of the opponent's deck choice). Ouphe does so much more on the play than the draw. An algorithm can process most Dredge openers. Forces have always felt terrible to play with on both sides and the blowout potential of the Green Force is absurd. Watching Rich "counter" a Paradoxical Outcome for two by destroying both targets for a 0 mana 3 for 2 out of Dredge was pretty ridiculous. Narset and Karn negate opening hands by themselves and can end games shortly after. Remember when Chalice was restricted because the DCI wanted players to play with their Moxen? Now, based on the die roll, you frequently have one player with access to Moxen or not in a format that is increasingly defined by Tempo. You have one player with access to card draw or not. You can try not to play the game, but then you tend not to have access to Moxen or card draw and lose to those mechanics which have been pushed by the mistakes of the past.

The decisions in the format and relevant turns in the format are diminishing set by set.

last edited by Guest

@chikararyuu That's exactly what I'm talking about - not that deck specifically, but that idea. I think the karn/narset decks are opening up room for new archetypes by preying on the traditional top decks. And the thing I love is that they aren't preying on the top decks as decklists, they are doing it by preying on the mechanics (draw and fast mana). THAT is how you take down top decks - take out their main mechanics, not the specific cards 1-for-1. Fancy cars are shit when you take out the engine and all their bells and whistles become garbage at that point. To @ChubbyRain 's point, that particular NYSE list does look like a beefed up Legacy deck. (not that I mind that).

@GutoCmtt This is what I was talking about (vs. Karn). Artifact mana is their achilles heel. Hit their acceleration and they are hurting severely. Just need to be sure you have the clock to capitalize on the time bought.

@chubbyrain Looks like my analysis had a bit of merit - decks adapting their strategies or becoming new decks entirely are answering the Karn/Narset menaces. Utilizing the tools themselves is not even a problem because they are tools specifically designed to beat the top mechanics. The new decks using them are not hurt by them so much. MH1 added some additional tools, but we'd known about FoV and its potential for weeks now. Even not being play legal, it's been in MtGO for a minute, and I've been decktesting with it since it was spoiled. It's just my guess, but I think we'll end up with some new "pillars" if they leave narset and karn unrestricted, and I will happy dance all day if that happens. The top decks of old are going to be facing obstacles they can not easily handle, and I suspect it will change the landscape for the better.

Testing the Dredge deck in preparation for the Challenge yesterday, I never lost to any Karn deck. The Dredge deck is insanely good against the Karn deck because:

  1. The density of countermagic
  2. Force of Vigor
  3. Misstep on Key
  4. Force of Negation for Karn

Honestly, I would Force of Negation Grim Monolith for Tempo if I knew I was winning the next turn.

Basically, the only way that they could beat me was to land an early Sphere through my net of countermagic AND waste the Bazaar so I couldn't dredge fast enough.

That's why I included a Dakmor Salvage in my SB, to play Force of Vigor through a Sphere.

Also, Narset is a joke against the Dredge deck. It does almost nothing, since you can dredge through it.

Just one deck with Karns (a blue one) in the the top16 of the latest challenge. Lots of Dredge, BUG and Xerox instead.

https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/mtgo-standings/vintage-challenge-2019-06-09

Not a single person in that tournament played Eldrazi, the best deck in the format.

Two Dark Petition decks from the 1980’s.

The rest is all xerox.

Definitely not a good representation of vintage. Not trying to be condescending either, but definitely looks like a small sample size considering the absence of Oath and Eldrazi and over representation of Xerox in top 32.

last edited by desolutionist

True, but why do the people not play the best deck in the format? Anyway, after the sky has fallen a few times the last couple of weeks with first Narset and then Karn dominating the format is it now Pitch Dredge? I for my part wait and see how the format will adjust.

last edited by Tom Bombadil
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