Karn's been dominating MTGO results, through 2 different decks:

  • Karn Shops, which is essentially an evolution of Staxxx
  • KarnDrazi, which is Colorless Eldrazi with some Karns and a wishboard jammed in

Unless we see an emergency restriction (/s) of Karn, seems like we should be discussing ways to build, play, and beat these decks.

Any Karn pilots here want to share their experience?

(The Karn, the Great Creator thread is a dumpster fire, so it felt appropriate to split this off.)

I've only just started playing again after a couple of months off, but Null Rod has been working well for me against the Karn decks, since both the Shops and Eldrazi lists rely so heavily on the artifact accelerants.

Wastelands have been a great complement to Null Rod, too, especially against Eldrazi, since their threats are at a high, fixed cost, but Shops can simply choose to play their threats for less mana.

last edited by Zias

Based on what I was testing with Karn (2-card monte and other more combo oriented lists), Karn himself as a strategy is weak against creatures as he can’t really protect himself right away without devoting like a Shield Sphere to your SB.

However, these decks specifically run a ton of cards that dominate creature matchups (like Eldrazi /Ballista / Wurmcoil). So trying to key in on Karn can leave you missing the bigger picture of beating the deck as a whole.

I play red shops. I think Karn is best when he's in a deck that can abuse him, but not rely on him. Goblin Welder stax is probably worse than mono brown stax, but i like the additional dimension that welder brings.

Something I'm wondering about is how to use the wishboard. If you're in Game 2 of, say, a Shops Mirror, do you board out your Spheres etc and bring in wishboard targets? My inclination is yes, and that weakening your Karn options isn't as bad as running terrible cards in your 60.

Related question: let's say you've got 3 Tormod's, 3 Cage in your board and you're playing against Dredge. Do you bring in all 6 pieces, or do you leave some in in case you draw Karn? Or is the intelligent approach to just board out Karn in the Dredge matchup?


This is something that I've been pretty unsure of playing him. For the most part, I was boarding in everything and just making my Karn weaker (using him as more a strict way of getting a combo-piece and maybe whatever stuff I board out). I doubt this is 100% correct in all match-ups though.

Makes sense to me. I'm sure a dead Sphere is better than, like, boarding in Mycosynth Lattice. But probably not better than bringing in something like Spyglass.

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