Exclusive Eternal Masters Preview

Feature Article from Craig Wescoe
Craig Wescoe
5/24/2016 11:02:00 AM
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Wasteland and Force of Will were already announced as reprints in Eternal Masters, providing huge anticipation for the upcoming set, but apparently Wizards of the Coast didn't stop there. Today I'm excited to announce that after approximately twenty long years, one of my absolute favorite lands is finally getting reprinted—a legacy staple from Legends that somehow managed to dodge being placed on the Reserve List. I'm of course talking about Karakas!

One of the main reasons Karakas is a Legacy mainstay is because it provides extremely efficient disruption to some of the format's most powerful strategies. It can bounce Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, Griselbrand, Iona, Shield of Emeria, or Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite simply by tapping itself. It fits into so many decks because the cost to running it is so low. Many decks can afford to run at least a single copy of a legendary land that taps for mana, even decks that don't run white. For decks that run white spells, the colored mana is essentially an added bonus.

Mid
Low
 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
$43.10
$32.40
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The two most popular strategies that are disrupted the most by Karakas are those based around reanimating huge legendary monsters from the graveyard and those using Show and Tell to put them onto the battlefield from hand.

Reanimator by David Smith
Finished 3rd - 4th Place at 2016 Time Vault Games Legacy Open - 4/10
Main Deck
Sideboard
4 Chancellor of the Annex
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1 Grave Titan
4 Griselbrand
1 Iona, Shield of Emeria
1 Sphinx of the Steel Wind
Creatures [12]
4 Animate Dead
4 Dark Ritual
4 Entomb
4 Exhume
4 Faithless Looting
4 Lotus Petal
4 Reanimate
3 Thoughtseize
3 Unmask
Spells [34]
3 Badlands
1 Bayou
4 Bloodstained Mire
3 Polluted Delta
2 Swamp (289)
1 Underground Sea
Lands [14]
Deck Total [60]


2 Abrupt Decay
1 Ashen Rider
4 Burning Wish
1 Coffin Purge
3 Pithing Needle
2 Show and Tell
1 Sire of Insanity
1 Stronghold Gambit
Sideboard [15]





Click for full deck stats & notes!

The Reanimator deck uses Entomb and either Faithless Looting or Careful Study to get a huge creature into the graveyard. It then uses a reanimation spell such as Reanimate, Animate Dead, or Exhume to put that creature onto the battlefield from the graveyard.

Mid
Low
 Reanimate
$18.25
$12.96
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Karakas is able to bounce Iona, Shield of Emeria, Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, or Griselbrand, without even being affected by a revealed Chancellor of the Annex. It won't bounce Sphinx of the Steel Wind or Grave Titan, but it will conveniently provide the white mana to cast Swords to Plowshares on either of those with its other ability.

Sneak & Show by Niels Noorlander
Finished 1st Place at 2016 MOCS Championship - Legacy
Main Deck
Sideboard
4 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
4 Griselbrand
Creatures [8]
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Planeswalkers [1]
4 Brainstorm
4 Force of Will
2 Gitaxian Probe
4 Lotus Petal
4 Ponder
2 Preordain
4 Show and Tell
4 Sneak Attack
4 Spell Pierce
Spells [32]
3 Ancient Tomb
2 City of Traitors
1 Flooded Strand
3 Island (286)
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Mountain (292)
1 Polluted Delta
4 Scalding Tarn
3 Volcanic Island
Lands [19]
Deck Total [60]


3 Blood Moon
1 Flusterstorm
2 Grafdigger's Cage
2 Pyroblast
1 Pyroclasm
2 Sudden Shock
3 Through the Breach
1 Wipe Away
Sideboard [15]





Click for full deck stats & notes!

Sneak and Show aims to put Griselbrand or Emrakul, the Aeons Torn onto the battlefield via either Show and Tell or Sneak Attack (another card in Eternal Masters) to kill the opponent. Karakas is the perfect answer to an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn that was put onto the battlefield via Show and Tell since Karakas is a permanent rather than a spell and can therefore target the Eldrazi. Unfortunately it won't stop Emrakul from triggering its annihilator ability if it was put onto the battlefield via Sneak Attack since the opponent can just pay another red mana to return it to the battlefield via the same Sneak Attack. Show and Tell, on the other hand, is a one-time deal and Karakas undoes all the work with a single activation – and can even be put onto the battlefield via the same Show and Tell that the opponent used to get Emrakul!

Mid
Low
 Show and Tell
$29.16
$14.00
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While Karakas is great at disrupting the opponent by bouncing their large monsters, it can also be used to protect your own legendary creatures from opposing removal spells or saving your creature from losing a fight in combat.

Death and Taxes by Craig Wescoe
Finished 33rd - 64th Place at 2015 Grand Prix Seattle-Tacoma- 11/7
Main Deck
Sideboard
4 Flickerwisp
2 Mirran Crusader
4 Mother of Runes
4 Phyrexian Revoker
2 Serra Avenger
2 Spirit of the Labyrinth
4 Stoneforge Mystic
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Creatures [26]
4 Aether Vial
1 Batterskull
2 Spirit of the Labyrinth
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
4 Swords to Plowshares
1 Umezawa's Jitte
Spells [13]
1 Cavern of Souls
1 Horizon Canopy
3 Karakas
10 Plains (253)
4 Rishadan Port
4 Wasteland
Lands [23]
Deck Total [62]


2 Cataclysm
2 Containment Priest
2 Council's Judgment
2 Ethersworn Canonist
1 Leonin Relic-Warder
1 Pithing Needle
2 Ratchet Bomb
2 Rest in Peace
1 Sunlance
Sideboard [15]





Click for full deck stats & notes!

Thalia, Guardian of the Thraben is one of the most disruptive creatures in Legacy for a lot of decks in the format. Storm decks can't win through it, Delver decks are slowed to a halt by it, and most any deck will want to remove Thalia from the battlefield in any way possible. Since Thalia is legendary, Karakas can conveniently tap to return Thalia safely to hand, protecting her from the removal spell. Then AEther Vial can return her back to the battlefield immediately, even before the spell that attempted to remove her is still on the stack waiting to fizzle.

In addition to saving your own creature or bouncing an opposing creature, some decks use Karakas to bounce their own creatures for value.

Miracles by Jesse Hampton
Finished 2nd Place at 2016 Time Vault Games Legacy Open - 4/10
Main Deck
Sideboard
3 Snapcaster Mage
3 Vendilion Clique
1 Venser, Shaper Savant
Creatures [7]
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Planeswalkers [3]
4 Brainstorm
1 Council's Judgment
4 Counterbalance
1 Entreat the Angels
4 Force of Will
2 Ponder
1 Pyroblast
4 Sensei's Divining Top
3 Swords to Plowshares
4 Terminus
Spells [28]
2 Arid Mesa
4 Flooded Strand
4 Island (286)
2 Karakas
2 Plains (283)
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Tundra
2 Volcanic Island
Lands [22]
Deck Total [60]


1 Blood Moon
1 Containment Priest
1 Engineered Explosives
3 Flusterstorm
1 Izzet Staticaster
1 Keranos, God of Storms
1 Pithing Needle
2 Red Elemental Blast
2 Rest in Peace
2 Wear // Tear
Sideboard [15]





Click for full deck stats & notes!

Vendilion Clique and Venser, Shaper Savant are legends with useful enters the battlefield abilities. Some Miracles lists run these creatures to continuously disrupt the opponent and thereby gain extra value from their Karakas, a card they were already running anyway for its disruptive capabilities.

Mid
Low
 Vendilion Clique
$30.42
$21.74
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Since Karakas provides so much utility, some decks run ways to search out the land, most notably Knight of the Reliquary.

Abzan Stoneblade by powerhawk
Main Deck
Sideboard
4 Deathrite Shaman
1 Gaddock Teeg
4 Knight of the Reliquary
4 Mother of Runes
1 Noble Hierarch
2 Qasali Pridemage
1 Scavenging Ooze
2 Stoneforge Mystic
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Creatures [23]
1 Garruk Relentless
Planeswalkers [1]
1 Abrupt Decay
4 Green Sun's Zenith
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
4 Swords to Plowshares
1 Sylvan Library
1 Umezawa's Jitte
Spells [13]
1 Bayou
1 Dryad Arbor
2 Forest (295)
1 Gaea's Cradle
1 Horizon Canopy
1 Karakas
1 Plains (283)
2 Savannah
1 Scrubland
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Wasteland
4 Windswept Heath
Lands [23]
Deck Total [60]


2 Abrupt Decay
2 Choke
2 Ethersworn Canonist
1 Gaddock Teeg
1 Glissa, the Traitor
1 Pithing Needle
1 Sylvan Library
3 Thoughtseize
2 Zealous Persecution
Sideboard [15]





Click for full deck stats & notes!

Knight of the Reliquary, and sometimes Crop Rotation, use Karakas as part of a toolbox strategy that aims to search out a key land that disrupts the opponent's strategy, whether that land is Karakas against Emrakul, the Aeons Torn/Griselbrand, Bojuka Bog against graveyard-based decks, or simply a series of Wastelands to destroy all the opponent's lands. This particular deck runs Green Sun's Zenith which can find Knight of the Reliquary which can find Karakas. This makes the single copy of Karakas in the deck a reliable answer to opposing Reanimate or Show and Tell strategies.

Mid
Low
 Knight of the Reliquary
$8.99
$5.58
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Mirran Games 1 $6.77
Level Up Games 1 $7.00
OutnumberedStudios 1 $7.01
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Three Headed Dragon 1 $7.32

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Other decks not only use Knight of the Reliquary to find Karakas but also Life from the Loam to get it back in case it happens to get destroyed by an opposing Wasteland.

Four-Color Midrange by Alexander Ivanov
Finished 2nd Place at 2016 MOCS Championship - Legacy
Main Deck
Sideboard
4 Dark Confidant
1 Gaddock Teeg
4 Knight of the Reliquary
1 Scavenging Ooze
Creatures [10]
3 Liliana of the Veil
Planeswalkers [3]
4 Abrupt Decay
4 Chalice of the Void
2 Green Sun's Zenith
2 Life from the Loam
4 Mox Diamond
3 Punishing Fire
1 Sylvan Library
Spells [20]
1 Badlands
1 Barren Moor
2 Bayou
1 Dark Depths
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Forest (295)
3 Grove of the Burnwillows
1 Karakas
1 Maze of Ith
1 Savannah
1 Scrubland
1 Taiga
1 Thespian's Stage
1 Tranquil Thicket
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Wasteland
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills
Lands [27]
Deck Total [60]


1 Choke
1 Containment Priest
1 Garruk Relentless
3 Leyline of the Void
1 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Phyrexian Revoker
1 Reclamation Sage
2 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
2 Thoughtseize
2 Toxic Deluge
Sideboard [15]





Click for full deck stats & notes!

The Aggro Loam strategy aims to lock opponents out of the game. It uses Chalice of the Void, usually on 1, to slow down or in some cases essentially lock out the opponent. It also uses Green Sun's Zenith to find Gaddock Teeg, Scavenging Ooze, or Knight of the Reliquary. It then uses Knight of the Reliquary to find any of the following:

Mid
Low
 Life from the Loam
$25.00
$11.99
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What separates this strategy from the previous Knight of the Reliquary deck is that it also runs Life from the Loam to get all those lands back from the graveyard, which works especially well with Verdant Catacombs, Wasteland and the cycling lands since each of these lands produce value by sacrificing or discarding. Life from the Loam can be dredged back, which puts even more lands into the graveyard to get back.

Whether you are protecting your own creatures (Thalia, Guardian of Thraben / Gaddock Teeg), bouncing your own legends for value (Vendilion Clique / Venser, Shaper Savant), or bouncing an opposing threat (Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, Griselbrand, Iona, Shield of Emeria, Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite), Karakas does all this at the minimal cost of simply tapping, which is quite a strong rate considering its other ability taps for white mana. This is certainly a card you will want to open anytime you crack a pack of Eternal Masters!

I will now close with an ode to my beloved Karakas:

You work so hard and do so much,
But truth be told, you had me at
“Taps for white mana.”

Craig Wescoe
@Nacatls4Life




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