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Winning with nothing: Karador EDH


Want to unintentionally become an EDH pod assassin? Play Karador, Ghost Chieftain.

Our resident EDH expert has rated this deck about a 6 on competitiveness. However, when you win, and you will, it's a massacre, leaving the entire table fallen before you. The big secret to piloting the deck isn't really a secret at all. Every move you make brings your battlefield and graveyard ever so gradually closer to THREAT LEVEL MIDNIGHT! Your turns look very casual on the a creature or two, maybe a few mana rocks, and then BAM! The table is unprepared for the lethal injection you slipped in while they were sleeping on your seemingly non threatening board state.

Ok ok, maybe it's not as dramatic as all that, but it happens. It doesn't surprise me how a few small upgrades can shoot the power up. The build is centered around aristocrat effects. You're playing an abzan deck, you don't care if your creatures die. In fact, more often than not, you encourage the death of your dorks. In a deck like this, death is only the beginning. Let's break it down...

The Drain Train

The deck usually wins through sacrficing creatures....shocker, I know. There are 6 cards in this build that help us to that end. Cruel Celebrant, Blood Artist, Zulaport Cutthroat, Poison Tip Archer, Syr Konrad and Bastion of Remembrance. Any of these will start bleeding your opponents while you play and sac creatures in cycles to gain recursion and card advantage. Experienced opponents will know immediately what you're doing and will keep a quiet eye on you. You're likely to see that eyebrow raise a little when you play any one of these cards. Bringing out multiples will start to draw some real aggression from your opponents. Konrad is likely to be killed on sight, but that's fine, you can recast with Karador or bring it back with multiple mass reanimation spells in your deck.

The more of these effects you have on the field, the better. There are other powerful and synergistic inclusions but these are the choices I made for my deck. Including more probably isn't a bad idea, this was just my first few playthroughs with the deck.

Sacrifices must be made...

In addition to your life draining creatures, it's helpful to have a way to sacrifice them. Once you have an engine for recurring them, you're in the best and at the same time, most vulnerable position of the game. A drain effect, a sac outlet, dorks, and a way to get them back from the graveyard is what you need. It sounds like a lot to pull together, but it really happens on its own through simply playing the deck. There is no shortage of cards to fill the role of your sac outlets but I'll point out the cards I've been using and you can spice it up however you like.

I would recommend playing a sac outlet first if you can help it. This gives you at least some kind of insurance for when your creatures become targeted. Not all of the sac outlets are instant speed, some are for drawing out more of your deck, such as Birthing Pod and Fiend Artisan.

The Return

The deck runs a number of creatures and spells that can return creatures from your graveyard in small numbers. However, there are three cards in particular that can help you win the game on the spot if your opponents don't interact. Eerie Ultimatum, Command the Dreadhorde, and Nethroi, Apex of Death can put you in a position to win the game on your turn, especially when used in conjunction with Eternal Witness, which can loop with Command and Ultimatum turn after turn.

As a back up win condition, I have included a Protean Hulk combo that you can see below for a sneaky win. Hulk dies and you fetch this combination and proceed to drain the table. Melira prevents the persist counters so you can sacrifice the Masticore repeatedly.

In Conlusion

The rest of the deck is mostly just fun and filler, spice it up however you like. I think the best thing about the deck is that your opponents are likely to sleep on it. You won't be deemed a threat at the table until it's almost too late for your opponents to do anything about it. That being said, outside of removal, you'll have a hard time with combo decks. You don't normally care what the table is doing but these players will be your most troublesome, same for stax. Another wrench in our plans is graveyard hate. Anything that affects our graveyard, no matter how seemingly insignificant is a threat and must be eliminated as such. A huge plus is you can build a fun deck on a small budget and then put money into it later if you like the way it plays.

You can find the decklist here.

Don't be surprised if you just win at least a few games by having never really interacted with your opponents. Passive obliteration is the name of the game here. Enjoy!

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