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By: Adam_the_Mentat, THE WOTC TOOK MY BABY AWAY
Mar 28 2014 12:00pm
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Theme Week: Land Week


When Born of the Gods dropped (like it's hawt) Karametra was the card I most looked forward to! It screams build a commander deck around me! Bouncing your own creatures to cast them again, landfall, and a bevy of fun tricks make this commander deck absolutely perfect for Land Theme Week here on PureMTGO.

Every time a new set is released, I pour through the previews looking for cards that speak to my inner-Johnny. With Born of the Gods, Karametra immediately struck my fancy-- and I had no idea there was actually a female humanoid form in the artwork. From my first glimpse, I thought it was some huge bug-thing. Let me blow it up so everyone can actually appreciate what is squeezed into that card frame:


Here's a cool link showing the sketches the artist produced to get to the final artwork.

I was totally sold on Karametra right away. I was dismayed to learn a lot of the MTG community was less than impressed. I saw many overviews of Born of the Gods calling Karametra the weakest new god introduced. I know when a brand-spanky, non-special set comes out most of the community immediately jumps on how this will change the course of Standard, then Modern, and then the other formats get their say. Even though she's mythic most Standard players would much rather crack open a Brimaz, or Courser of Kruphix than a Karametra. Don't get me wrong, I'm no fool: I know money talks and walks and does other thangs-- and that I would so rather crack open a Brimaz so I could trade him off and buy three regular Karametras and a foil version-- But, in terms of playability value, not monetary, I was the most titillated by Karametra, God of Harvests.

I have occasionally faced her as an opposing commander, but the deck build is always different from what I am going to present you with in this article. The common theme in every Karametra deck I've faced is including Landfall creatures-- but my deck really exploits casting and re-casting creatures to litter my battlefield with lands, to nefarious ends.



LANDFALL:

Primeval Bounty: This may not have the word Landfall on it, but we can all see that clearly 1/3rd of it is Landfall. 3 life per land entering the battlefield? Awesome. Also this deck totally focuses on bouncing creatures back to your hand in order to recast them, and that nets you a lot of 3/3 beasts. The 3 +1/+1 counters are a fun happenstance too, but will not be abused nearly as much as the beasts and life.
(Life Gift): Doesn't say Landfall, but we all know it should. The very first iteration of Landfall, back in 2005 before it was a keyword.
Courser of Kruphix: This is an Oracle of Mul Daya with a built in (Life Gift). You may be tutoring up plains and forests to plop directly on the field, but there are certainly going to be times when you might to be able to drop two out of your hand at the same time too, in a land that features Landfall -like effects.
(Vinelasher Kudzu): The second iteration of Landfall before Landfall was a keyword.
Seer's Sundial: Card-draw advantage that is also Landfall.
Admonition Angel, Rampaging Baloths, Emeria Angel, Grazing Gladehart: Landfall staples, Admonition does some creature hosing/control, Baloths and Emeria drop tokens, the antelope gets you more life gain.
Lotus Cobra: Since Karametra drops those lands into play tapped, the cobra offsets it so it's almost like they come into play untapped, as it can get you a mana anyway.
Avenger of Zendikar: PLANT TOKENS!!
Baru, Fist of Krosa: This is like limited-to-forests Landfall. If you can get a combo going where you drop numerous forests in one turn, it can be an awesome effect.

Allosaurus Rider, (Molimo, Maro-Sorceror): While not quite Landfall or even Landfallesque, these two rely on how many lands you have in play and I had nowhere else to shove them in the deck breakdown.

Creature Spell Mana Cost Lesseners:

Planar Gate, Cloud Key, Stone Calendar: Before you call me crazyface, hear me out. My goal is to bounce creatures and replay them to get lands from Karametra thus activating Landfall cards. Bouncing the creatures back to my hand and recasting them is also a way to abuse certain creatures with enters-the-battlefield triggers. In order to facilitate all this bouncing, I wanted to lower the cost of recasting them. You may find this moot, since so many lands are flying into play, but read : Blinking Spirit. It costs four to come back out. What about Eiganjo Free-Riders and Stampeding Serow, among others; If there is no other creature in play, you can pop itself back to your hand and recast it. Lowering these costs by 1, 2, or 3 (or 4) mana turns this into a much more cost effective strategy,

Here's some gameplay that actually occurred for me:

I had out both Planar Gate and Cloud Key, calling creature. I had a Blinking Spirit. In play, I had Angelic Chorus and Rampaging Baloths and Karametra. For zero mana: return the spirit to my hand. For one white mana, I could cast it, put out a 4/4 beast and gain both 2 life from the spirit, and 4 life from the freshly minted beast token. The very next turn, I put out a Lotus Cobra, which meant every time I did the above, I could also add a mana of any color of my choice to my pool, and I could always choose white thus enabling an infinite loop until all my forests and plains were in play. As I was casting the cobra, my opponent hosed my baloths, so I chose not to go semi-infinite right then and there because all I would do is gain life and slap out lands. The following turn, I drew Admonition Angel, went semi-infinite until my opponent had no creatures, and attacked with the 8 beasts I had created.

Bouncey, Trouncey, Fun, Fun, Fun, Fun:

Wall of Junk: Self bounces after blocking, only 2 mana to re-cast. If you have out Karametra, every time you block, you can recast and it = Rampant Growth. If you have out Angelic Chorus, it becomes really fun to watch opponents pause during combat to see if they really want to attack.
Blinking Spirit: I kinda already talked a lot about this spirit, you should probably know it's useful by now.
Eiganjo Free-Riders: Self bounces, or bounces a white creature. Bounce your Karmic Guide for fun.
Fleetfoot Panther: Can bounce itself, or any green or white creature on our battlefield.
Kor Skyfisher : A one-time bounce another creature.
Roaring Primadox: Bounces any creature, including itself.
Stampeding Serow, Stampeding Wildebeests: Same exact card twice, the green version of Eiganjo.
Stonecloaker: Great flash, exile graveyard card, bounce creature.
Stormfront Riders: This card LOOOOVES this deck. I love this card in this deck. I wind up with a lot of unexpected 1/1 soldiers.
Whitemane Lion: It can self-bounce, thus making it a rampant growth.
Emancipation Angel: A one-time bounce another creature.
Erratic Portal: One of the best creatures-you-control bouncers in the game.
Umbilicus: I love finding decks to put this card into.

Creatures that quite enjoy being bounced, indeed:

Duplicant : A commander staple, bounce it for multiple exiles.
Avenger of Zendikar: Although he's Landfall, he's also someone you totally want to recast a bunch of times for tons of plant tokens.
Eternal Witness: Graveyard recursion repeatable? Yes please.
Karmic Guide: A great card to cast and bounce back to get back hosed creatures.
Brutalizer Exarch: Creature tutor, or noncreature hoser.
Reveillark: More graveyard creature recursion.
Woodfall Primus: More noncreature permanent hosing.
Dryad Arbor: A creature that's also a land, bounce it every turn to activate your landfall stuff numerous times.
Polukranos, World Eater: Bouncing it after activating the Monstrous allows for further Monstrous fun.
Restoration Angel: Bounce it so you can utilize its flicker ability more than once.

Lofty Goals:

Budoka Gardener: Easily flipped, six mana for elementals.
Heliod, God of the Sun: Makes cleric tokens for 4 mana a pop.
Polukranos, World Eater: Monstrous= XX, for X damage. You need a lot of mana to make this useful.
Tower of Fortunes: 8 for 4 cards is a steal in a deck like this.
Argentum Armor: 6 to cast, 6 to equip, but easier than most decks to do here, hose those opposing permanents.
Decree of Justice: How many 4/4 angels or 1/1 soldiers can we produce?
Dark Depths: Besides the inclusion of Thespian's Stage, in this deck Dark Depths requires the ol' 30 mana to activate it.

The Rest:

Archangel of Thune : There are quite a number of ways to gain life in this deck, thus making this card become insane and subsequently, insanotize up your field.
Trostani, Selesnya's Voice : There are numerous toke producers in this deck for its populate, and of course its main draw is the life gain from all those bouncin' and recast creatures.
Sol Ring: Because Sol Ring, that's why.
Lightning Greaves: ALWAYS useful in a commander deck.
Angelic Chorus : I explained why this is awesome.
Sylvan Library: Green deck staple.
Banishing Stroke: Commander hoser.
Beast Within: Permanent hoser.
Condemn: Commander hoser.
Enlightened Tutor: Excellent White tutor, I know it is not in everyone's price range.
Oblation: Commander hoser.
Path to Exile : Any creature hoser.
Unexpectedly Absent:  Commander hoser, its X mana cost is easily abused in this deck.
Amulet of Vigor: Great way to make sure those tapped lands come into play untapped.
Harmonize: Card draw.
Oust: Commander hoser.
Soul's Majesty: Card draw.
Wrath of God: Creature reset!


Game Play:

Before I finalized the decklist above, of course, I tried other versions. As a wacky Johnny, some of these had weird things in them like Magma Mine. Anyway, Here's a screenshot vs. a monoblack Mirri the Cursed deck.

I have out the Emeria Angel and the Primeval Bounty, in my hand (Whiteman Lion); Until I drew that Woodfall Primus, I was just casting the lion and returning the lion to my hand to gain a land, a bird, a beast, and 3 life. Now that I had sufficient mana, I started returning the primus and hosing all of my opponents noncreature stuff. He's a friend of mine, and conceded nonangrily watching these shenanigans.

Oh, and in case you didn't note, I pulled off the Thespian's Stage/Dark Depths combo: Yay Land Week!

Up above, near the Planar Gate explanation I explained a game where I went semi-infinite with the Blinking Spirit.

I have played the finalized version of this deck against Xenagos, God of Revels, Maelstrom Wanderer, Geth, Lord of the Vault, Jhoira of the Ghitu, Progenitus, Child of Alara, another Maelstrom Wanderer with a different opponent, Oros, the Avenger, Selenia, Dark Angel, and Kresh the Bloodbraided. Without exaggeration, I have not lost with this deck. There have been harrowing moments, but I have managed to pull of insane amounts of tokens and stomped most to death with them. It makes me wonder if I should try to squeeze in Doubling Season.

In one game, I had enough mana to put out 8 4/4 Angel tokens with Decree of Justice.


So, I dreamed of making this deck since I first glimpsed Karametra, and have to say, everything came together very nicely and I'm very happy with it. It has a lot of synergy. There's life gain, semi-infino loops, abusing enters-the-battlefield triggers, tons of land ramp, card draw, answers to opponent's threats, johnny combos, Thespian's Stage/Dark Depths, a lot of toke production, landfall, and a lot of various ways to win and infuriate your opponent.

I understand there are a lot of money cards in here like Dark Depths, Savannah, Enlightened Tutor, Archangel of Thune. None of these cards are needed to make this deck work. Only the cheap $ costing bouncey creatures are really needed, and last I checked, Karametra isn't expensive either, so feel free to edit this however you wish. I will say, if Archangel of Thune is too pricey, replace it with Cathars' Crusade. Dark Depths and Savannah? just Plains and Forest. Tutor? maybe Howling Mine?

Enjoy this fun deck, I hope you love playing it as much as I do. Happy Land Theme Week Y'all.

~ BOOSH  
(Adam E. Clayton)
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