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Color Me Not


I don’t have a Karn, Silver Golem or Kozilek, Butcher of Truth deck. We got a bunch of new Eldrazi, and I don’t have a deck for them either. It should be fun—I like my Sharuum, the Hegemon deck despite not being able to make it 75%, and having a colorless commander means I can play all the artifacts in the whole world without having to ask myself pesky moral questions like, “Is Empty the Vaults a 75% card,” and, “Do I care?” Artifacts are a personal favorite of mine, and Commander has given me an even greater appreciation of them. Think about it: As a mostly Standard and Legacy and Extended (actual Extended, none of that double-Standard noise) player before Commander was a format, my relationship with cards like Sol Ring could be described by saying, “That card seems like a big turn-one play, but I’ll never be about that life.”

Being able to wield dirty, cheating cards like Skullclamp and durdly stuff like Mindslaver has made me love how versatile and powerful colorless cards can be and how many decks they fit into. I love my Daretti, Scrap Savant deck and my Sharuum deck, but I need to be able to run Mountains or I’ll never be able to put together a mana base, right?

Maybe not.

Is this real? As each day passes, it seems more and more that it is. We’ve not heard official word, but I know everyone has seen this spoiled image. Presumably, this is a basic land, tutorable with cards like Evolving Wilds, that taps for colorless mana—and if you wanted, you could run forty of them and call it the mana base to a Karn deck if you wanted. I won’t predicate an article on this unconfirmed spoiler being definitely authentic, but I won’t pretend it didn’t inspire me to think about a colorless commander. If it ended up being an excellent forgery, I won’t feel silly because it got me thinking, and based on the positive response I have seen to this card as a concept, if it’s not real, it’s something Wizards might want to think about doing in the future.

Karn, Silver Golem
I’m going to build a 75% Karn, Silver Golem deck, and while I won’t have any Wastes in the mana base, the mana base will be a lot of fun. We’re forced to come up with forty different lands, but they don’t all have to be as expensive as City of Traitors. I mean, we’re not a budget philosophy here at 75%, but that doesn’t mean we need to spend City of Traitors money on a mana base that could be a bunch of basics someday. However, even if we had basics, would we not want to run some number of utility lands? It seems we’d want Urzatron in there. What other lands do we usually not have room to run because we need lands that tap for colored mana? I started to go deep into a list of colorless lands, and I found a lot of great lands. I almost hoped Wastes is fake at this point! As much as I’m excited about the artifacts I am able to run, I’m excited to be running lands I remember from my early days of just beginning to understand competitive Magic. I remember running mono-blue tap-out (Blue Skies. Remember Gush was legal in Standard? Insanity!) and grinding value with lands like Rath's Edge and Dust Bowl. I can jam both of those and other lands like Desert, Quicksand, and Tower of the Magistrate. Fear my mana base.

A 75% Karn deck seems relatively easy to achieve. Our card pool is so limited—by virtue of only being able to play colorless spells like All is Dust and artifacts and artifact creatures—that we can basically build the best Karn deck we can out of our limited card pool. Our 75% guidelines can’t really tell us much about how else to build, but what do they say we shouldn’t do?

I would like to avoid linearity, but since we can’t really tutor that effectively (outside of Kuldotha Forgemaster, which I like), we should be good, and since we don’t eschew combos as a rule, we can run some especially since we’re going to have to raw-dog the combo pieces as they come to us. Synergy is key, and synergy with the commander doubly so. We want to avoid preventing our opponents from doing anything by locking down their mana or blowing it all up, but running a few targeted removal effects via Strip Mine or Liquimetal Coating seems fine. It also seems that we should dust off Metalworker and take him for a spin now that we can. Infinite combos can be a little antisocial, but if we don’t have much tutoring (tuition?), we’re probably fine since without much easy card-draw, we’re unlikely to assemble those combos more often than 1 ÷ X games, which is how often we’re aiming to win anyway. I think we’re limited enough by our card pool that we can build just about as strong a deck as we can and still be firmly in 75% territory.

Karn, Silver Golem ? Commander | Jason Alt

  • Commander (0)
  • Planeswalkers (0)

Ward of Bones
This looks a little weird to me. To make it competitive enough, I added a few hosers like Ward of Bones, which seems to abut our guideline warning us that it’s better to punish our opponents for doing things rather than prevent them from doing things. I worry we have more ways to make a lot of mana than we have things to do with said mana. I also worry that if Wastes are indeed real, we won’t want to run any because we love our wacky utility, land-mana base too much. That last worry is a real first-world problem, so I guess it doesn’t make sense to dwell on it.

As usual, this is a bit of an amalgam of a few different strategies to make sure we have a clear path to victory. If you see a goal you want to pursue exclusively, shape the deck to fit that aim. You’re not going to take it out of 75% territory that way. As it is, we don’t have a ton of what we would consider “combos” as much as we have some synergy, so I don’t see Forgemaster as too much of a problem, especially considering the cost of his use is pretty high.

EDHREC.com was a huge help in the construction of this and other decks in this project. If you don’t already get inspiration from that site, see that you do. Knowing the cards other people who play the same commander are using is good, and EDHREC is very good for that. They can even help with your mana base, although this one was a ton of fun for me to put together for myself.

That does it for me this week. Let’s get a party started in the comments. Is Ward of Bones something we need to cut? Are Wastes real or fake? Do you use EDHREC already? Did I leave out your favorite utility land or win condition? How should we abuse Metalworker now that it’s legal? Leave it below. Until next week!

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