Karn Shops is one of the top performing decks in the Vintage format but is often defenceless. In the N.Y.S.E. Open VI there were five Karn Shops decks in the top nine that seemed to rely on just 3-4 coppies of Defense Grid in the deck for protection. I propose that adding copies of Hope of Ghirapur would improve upon an already powerful Karn Shops.
I do say that Defense Grid is better to defend Karn Shops is than Hope of Ghirapur. My argument is that four Defense Grid is not enough to defend Karn Shops with and that multiple Hope of Ghirapur would help.
Hope of Ghirapur denies your opponent from casting non-creature spells on the second phase of a turn. Often is that all you need to win the game is to have a Karn, the Great Creator or Mystic Forge on the battlefield and Hope of Ghirapur can deny the opponent from using counter magic or other interaction that would stop a Karn or Mystic Forge.
Hope of Ghirapur is cheap to cast and is free with Foundry Inspector.
Manifold Key’s secondary ability can be useful to make Hope of Ghirapur unblockable if your opponent has a flyer to block with.
Hope of Ghirapur can make Karn Shops faster by slowing the opponent. It can take away half of an opponent’s turn by denying them the ability to cast sorceries, enchantments, planeswalkers, and non-creature artifacts for a turn. This is very helpful in slowing down fast combo decks such as Paradoxical Outcome, Dark Petition Storm and Karn Shops mirror-match.
Because Mystic Forge lets you draw many cards per turn, you can cast multiple Hope of Ghirapur turn after turn, preventing your opponent from counter your spells and casting non-creature spells during their turn for multiple turns. This could give you enough turns to assemble a Time Vault/Key or Karn/Mycosynth Lattice combination and lock your opponent out for the rest of the game.
Let’s take a look at the final match between Joe Brennen and Vasu Balakrishnan in the N.Y.S.E. Open VI. Vasu was playing Karn Shops combo with Mystic Forge and Joe was playing BUG Control. In game one Joe had a hand full of counterspells. If Vasu had a Hope of Ghirapur on the battlefield at the time, Joe would have been unable to cast most of his hand. In round two, Joe countered a Mystic Forge. If Hope of Ghirapur had attacked, Joe could not have played his Force of Will to counter Vasu’s Mystic Forge and Joe would have been unable to cast his Narset, Parter of Veils on his turn. The game may have turned out differently but these are just examples.
Thank you for considering using Hope of Ghirapur in Karn Shops. I look forward to seeing how Karn Shops evolves over the next couple of months and how it will perform at Eternal Weekend.