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"Until you have lived as a statue, do not talk to me of pigeons." -Karn, silver golem


There's a reason I call this deck a Rube Goldberg Machine; it comes packed with enough convoluted interactions to satisfy even the most hardcore Johnny. I've divided these combos up into the following three categories:

A lot of people seem to underestimate Karn's ability to turn artifacts into creatures. While at first this may seem like just a neat parlor trick, it actually has several useful applications, including (but not limited to):

  • Popping an equipment off a creature, as, according to section 301.5c of the comprehensive rules, "an equipment that's also a creature can't equip a creature"

  • Turning someone's mana rocks into creatures in response to their board wipe

  • Collecting a good salt harvest when you Staff of Nin someone's Sol Ring...

  • ...or just making their zero-CMC artifacts (Mana Crypt, Chalice of the Void, Darksteel Citadel) explode via state-based action

  • Finally, if you're feeling political, being able to turn someone's artifacts into extra blockers in a pinch can earn you a new ally

Once you start throwing other cards into the mix, though, the real fun begins:

  • Karn, Silver Golem + Mimic Vat = Repeatable tokens of any artifact that hits the graveyard (see the official rulings on Mimic Vat's Gatherer page)

  • Karn, Silver Golem + Mycosynth Lattice = Pay to blow up a land (see the above bullet point) OR turn an aura into a creature, which then falls off its host and, since it's no longer enchanting anything, must be put into the graveyard (see ruling 303.4d)

  • Karn, Silver Golem + Nim Deathmantle = Pseudo-regeneration for any of your non-creature artifacts (see Deathmantle's official rulings)

  • Karn, Silver Golem + Tawnos's Coffin = Takes care of any problematic artifact an opponent may have (or saves one of your own from destruction)

  • Karn, Silver Golem + Voltaic Construct = A powerful untapping engine that fuels some seriously degenerate combos (detailed in the below section)

One other important factor to keep in mind is that turning a non-creature artifact into a creature makes it susceptible to summoning sickness! The act of changing it from non-creature to creature doesn't make it sick, but once it's a creature it must follow the same rule of having to be continuously controlled by a player since the beginning of that player's last turn in order to attack or use tap/untap abilities.

Ways to make infinite mana:

  • Krark-Clan Ironworks + Nim Deathmantle + Wurmcoil Engine = When you sacrifice Wurmcoil to Ironworks, both it and Deathmantle's abilities go on the stack simultaneously. Choose to resolve Wurmcoil's ability first to get the tokens, then sac those to Ironworks as well. You can now pay the cost for Deathmantle's ability to get back Wurmcoil with a net gain of . Repeat this process to make (and get as many Wurm tokens as you want). This combo also works with Myr Battlesphere in place of Wurmcoil

  • Basalt Monolith + Rings of Brighthearth + = Tap Monolith for then go to untap it and copy that untap ability with Rings. Let the copied ability resolve and, while the original untap ability is still on the stack, use Monolith to generate more mana. The original untap ability now resolves and you are left with an untapped Monolith and floating. Since it only costs in total to go through this cycle, you are left with a net gain of each time, letting you generate

  • Karn, Silver Golem + Mana Vault + Voltaic Construct = Turn Vault into a creature for , tap it for , untap it for with Construct, rinse and repeat for . This also works with Basalt Monolith, Dreamstone Hedron, Grim Monolith or Thran Dynamo

  • Metalworker + Voltaic Construct + 2 artifacts in hand = Reveal artifacts for , untap for , continue doing this for

Fun things to do with all that mana:

  • Karn, Silver Golem + Trading Post + Voltaic Construct + an artifact in hand + = Ridiculousness. Discard an artifact to gain 4 life, pay 1 life to get a 0/1 Goat, sacrifice that goat to get the artifact you discarded back, play that artifact, sacrifice that artifact to draw a card, pay another 1 life to get another goat, sacrifice that goat to get the artifact back, start the cycle over from the beginning. You can mess around with these interactions to: gain infinite life, get infinite goats, return every artifact back from your graveyard, and draw your entire deck. Trading Post is bonkers

  • Karn, Silver Golem + Voltaic Construct + = Way too many broken things to list. Seriously, being able to use the abilities of pretty much any card in your deck as many times as you want is pretty great. From drawing your deck with Planar Portal to making infinite 1/1 Myr tokens with Myr Turbine to pinging everyone to death with Staff of Nin...the possibilities are endless

More fun stuff that doesn't fit in the other sections:

  • Darksteel Forge + Mycosynth Lattice + Nevinyrral's Disk = Repeatable destruction of your opponents' entire boards, while yours remains safe and sound

  • Krark-Clan Ironworks + Spine of Ish Sah


It's been quite a while since I last posted an update, mainly because Kaladesh was announced and I got excited about a potential UR Legendary Artificer, so I stopped changing around the deck as much, anticipating that I would take it apart for the new one. That obviously fell though, and while Breya, Etherium Shaper ended up being pretty neat in Commander 2016, in the end I decided to keep Karn around because this deck is just too much fun to ever take apart.

That said, I did still end up acquiring some new cards over that hiatus, and I'm currently in the process of testing out some new toys Kaladesh provided (namely Foundry Inspector and Inventors' Fair).


TheDracogenius says... #1

That title XDTeferi was kind of a dick back when he was young. I think Karn is one of the generals that profits the most from Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch, aside from Sen Triplets , General Tazri and the Eldrazi Titans.Your Karn build seems especially sweet ! I would love to see another block in the future focuses on the events on Dominaria. Wizards kind of seems to forget its roots.

February 3, 2016 4:24 p.m.

Bassospades says... #2

Thanks! And yeah, I'm really happy with all the colorless love in this block. I would have been happy with just a basic land, but we got so many other goodies to experiment with as well. Now if only they would print a 5-color devoid commander...

February 8, 2016 10:03 p.m.

Plasmarocket says... #3

Devoid does not change a card's color identity, however much I'd like it to.

December 17, 2016 9:49 a.m.

Bassospades says... #4

I know it doesn't, I just meant a 5-color devoid Emrakul would be a cool commander to build around :p

December 17, 2016 4:34 p.m.

Plasmarocket says... #5

I agree.

December 17, 2016 8:43 p.m.

manbearpig01 says... #6

Great deck with sweet combos. Thought about Energy Chamber?

December 31, 2016 10:05 a.m.

Bassospades says... #7

I might just have to test out Energy Chamber one of these days. Putting extra charge counters on Everflowing Chalice and +1/+1 counters on things like Akroma's Memorial is tempting, but I'm not sure if it really contributes enough to what the rest of the deck is trying to do to be worth it. It's starting to get to that point where cutting cards from the deck is really difficult. Thanks for the suggestion!

January 1, 2017 1:35 p.m.

Wasadia123 says... #8

Paradox Engine is a must have. It's almost always a win if you can get it down in a deck like this. As an addition, I'd actually recommend Endless One, and before you bully me out of existence, it's actually a great creature with so many infinite mana combos and practically nothing to spend it on. I'd take out Colossus of Akros for it, and Planar Portal for Paradox Engine or Planar Bridge.

February 5, 2017 10:50 a.m.

Bassospades says... #9

I actually already have both Paradox Engine and Planar Bridge in the deck, I just haven't updated the list yet because I'm still deciding which cards I'll end up permanently cutting to make room for them. I haven't seen Endless One, though. It's neat, but doesn't really do enough on its own, I think. Usually once I get an infinite mana combo online, I already have a way to win almost immediately via infinite tokens, infinite Staff of Nin damage, mass land destruction, drawing my whole deck, etc. There's definitely not a shortage of things to spend infinite mana on in this deck, you just have to get creative with it ;)

February 5, 2017 1:25 p.m.

Staff of Domination is a mana sink and provides something to do with infinite mana (gain infinite life, draw your deck). Value card overall.

Mycosynth Golem ensures that any of your non-Eldrazi creatures will be either free or have an extremely low mana cost. Helps in the lategame if Karn has been killed a lot, but also the prospect of a truly gigantic Hangarback Walker sounds fun.

Great decklist!

February 8, 2017 6:12 p.m.

Bassospades says... #11

Thanks! Staff of Domination is definitely on my list of cards to get. As for Mycosynth Golem, I keep going back and forth in my head on whether or not it's worth it given the fact that this deck isn't particularly creature-heavy. I might just have to test it out one day...

February 8, 2017 10:07 p.m.

thuzra says... #12

Let me first say how much I love artifact shenanigans, so well done in that regard - and the deck as a whole honestly looks really solid. And my eternal +1 for the lore in the title!

February 14, 2017 12:05 a.m.

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