This is a new / ongoing series where I detail my thought process when building and modifying EDH decks

EDH | Changing Karoo: Shorter Turns Please

Last night I got to try the Karoo / Jodah deck I highlighted last week.

After taking complete control of the game and drawing my entire library in one turn, I realized I hated the deck!

# name Exploring Armageddon # info May 11, 2018 # link TappedOut # cuts 1x Jodah, Archmage Eternal *CMDR* 1x Candelabra of Tawnos 1x Frantic Search 1x Constant Mists 1x Natural Balance 1x Treachery 1x Decree of Pain 1x Garruk Wildspeaker 1x Dread Cacodemon 1x In Garruk's Wake 1x By Force 1x Decimate 1x Merciless Eviction 1x Wargate 1x Fabricate 1x Time Spiral 1x Trinket Mage 1x Balancing Act 1x Fact or Fiction 1x Painful Truths 1x Summer Bloom 1x Broken Bond # adds 1x Progenitus *CMDR* 1x Coastal Breach 1x Concordant Crossroads 1x Aether Gale 1x Displacement Wave 1x Devastation Tide 1x Crush of Tentacles 1x Reforge the Soul 1x Timetwister 1x Wayward Swordtooth 1x Recurring Insight 1x Decree of Annihilation 1x Time Reversal 1x Commit / Memory 1x Diminishing Returns 1x Temporal Cascade 1x Knowledge Exploitation 1x Heroic Intervention 1x Sylvan Awakening 1x Rampaging Baloths 1x Armageddon 1x Notion Thief # deck 1x Progenitus *CMDR* Land (40) 1x Arid Mesa 1x Azorius Chancery 1x Badlands 1x Bayou 1x Bloodstained Mire 1x Bojuka Bog 1x Boros Garrison 1x Breeding Pool 1x Dimir Aqueduct 1x Flooded Strand 1x Golgari Rot Farm 1x Gruul Turf 1x Halimar Depths 1x Izzet Boilerworks 1x Krosan Verge 1x Marsh Flats 1x Misty Rainforest 1x Orzhov Basilica 1x Overgrown Tomb 1x Plateau 1x Polluted Delta 1x Rakdos Carnarium 1x Savannah 1x Scalding Tarn 1x Scattered Groves 1x Scrubland 1x Selesnya Sanctuary 1x Sheltered Thicket 1x Simic Growth Chamber 1x Skyline Cascade 1x Stomping Ground 1x Taiga 1x Temple Garden 1x Tropical Island 1x Tundra 1x Underground Sea 1x Verdant Catacombs 1x Volcanic Island 1x Windswept Heath 1x Wooded Foothills Sorcery (27) 1x Aether Gale 1x Armageddon 1x Bring to Light 1x Coastal Breach 1x Crush of Tentacles 1x Decree of Annihilation 1x Devastation Tide 1x Diminishing Returns 1x Displacement Wave 1x Farseek 1x Hunting Wilds 1x Knowledge Exploitation 1x Life from the Loam 1x Ranger's Path 1x Razia's Purification 1x Recurring Insight 1x Reforge the Soul 1x Skyshroud Claim 1x Spoils of Victory 1x Sylvan Awakening 1x Temporal Cascade 1x Tempt with Discovery 1x Time Reversal 1x Timetwister 1x Wheel of Fortune 1x Whispering Madness 1x Windfall Instant (5) 1x Commit / Memory 1x Cyclonic Rift 1x Heroic Intervention 1x Realms Uncharted 1x Sunder Creature (16) 1x Azusa, Lost but Seeking 1x Budoka Gardener 1x Courser of Kruphix 1x Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis 1x Llanowar Scout 1x Mina and Denn, Wildborn 1x Muldrotha, the Gravetide 1x Notion Thief 1x Oracle of Mul Daya 1x Rampaging Baloths 1x Ramunap Excavator 1x Sakura-Tribe Scout 1x Skyshroud Ranger 1x Tatyova, Benthic Druid 1x Walking Atlas 1x Wayward Swordtooth Enchantment (7) 1x Burgeoning 1x Concordant Crossroads 1x Exploration 1x Fall of the Thran 1x Retreat to Coralhelm 1x Rites of Flourishing 1x Territorial Dispute Artifact (4) 1x Amulet of Vigor 1x Crucible of Worlds 1x Ghirapur Orrery 1x Ward of Bones


Piloting the deck, and seeing essentially the best possible game, I realized three core problems:

  1. No win condition. I thought I had something, like a Psychosis Crawler to combo with the Tatyova, Benthic Druid, but after drawing my whole deck and generating 40+ mana, the best/worst I could do was cast Windfall with my giant hand to murder-suicide another player
  2. Really long solitaire turns. I’m going to blame this on the “untappers”, which really complicated the mana math. Even though they’re clearly good for my deck, I’m looking to remove them + similar cards to reduce the amount of play decisions
  3. Mana flood. Early on, I accomplished a nice one-sided lockout by casting Cyclonic Rift and Sunder in the same turn. As hoped, I was able to dump my lands back in quickly, only to discover that I had literally no other plays for about 5 turns. I nearly killed one player with Jodah, but we should be able to do better

All of my changes seek to fix these problems. In broad strokes, the solutions are:

  1. Swap Jodah for the efficient win condition known as Progenitus
  2. Remove all untappers and tutors (except for one card that I’ll explain below)
  3. Add all the wheels and any big draw spells to make sure I don’t flood out

Cutting the Untappers

Frantic Search Treachery Time Spiral Candelabra of Tawnos Garruk Wildspeaker

These cards are strong, no doubt. But they inevitably create longer turns and mana math, and their impact besides ramping is either minor or not in line with the deck’s strategy (except of course Time Spiral, but I’m trying to take a hard line here).

They are also the only way for my deck to generate net positive mana the turn they’re cast, versus Exploration-type cards that are usually an investment and at best break even. By removing them, I will more reliably have finite mana and actually end my god damn turn.

Cutting the One-Shot Explorations

Summer Bloom Broken Bond

With the addition of Wayward Swordtooth, I’m at 14 land acceleration cards. I don’t think I need these. Summer Bloom has the same “net-positive mana” problem I was trying to avoid above and Broken Bond is too low impact to justify when I don’t need the land ramp.

Adding more Wheels / Big Draw

Reforge the Soul Timetwister Time Reversal Commit / Memory Diminishing Returns Temporal Cascade

Pretty straightforward. I dump my lands, use the aggresive ramping to dump my hand, then wheel. Keep going until I can remove everyone’s board + resolve Progenitus in one turn.

I was originally shy towards wheels that reshuffled my graveyard, considering how much graveyard land recursion I run. But a card like Crucible of Worlds is good enough with a single fetch.

Recurring Insight Knowledge Exploitation Notion Thief

There are only so many wheels. Recurring Insight isn’t a wheel, but it’s most efficient “big draw” spell, and I can assume my opponents have healthy hands given how many other wheels I run. Knowledge Exploitation is essentially another wheel, since at least one person in my playgroup is usually running either Wheel of Fortune or Windfall.

Lastly, Notion Thief is just too tempting with all these wheels going around.

Cutting the Tutors

Wargate Fabricate Trinket Mage

With all the wheels, I should be seeing enough of my deck such that tutoring isn’t really necessary. Yes, I’d like to see Amulet of Vigor in every game, but I’m also okay with my deck playing a little differently each time (I already have an absurd amount of redundancy elsewhere).

Note: I am keeping Bring to Light, but only because I view it as another wheel.

Cutting the Medium-sized Draw

Fact or Fiction Painful Truths

These are just outclassed by the wheels. Painful Truths is especially mediocre without Jodah giving it pseudo kicker.

Adding Mass Bounce

Coastal Breach Aether Gale Displacement Wave Devastation Tide Crush of Tentacles

The most reliable way to reset the board is mass bounce. It hits everything but lands, whereas even cards like Planar Cleansing fail to answer Darksteel Ingot or Purphoros, God of the Forge.

My few permanents that would get bounced are Exploration effects, and are cheap and quick to replay. Mass bounce also becomes permanent “removal” when I can line it up with a wheel.

Cutting the Old Removal

Decree of Pain Dread Cacodemon In Garruk's Wake By Force Decimate Merciless Eviction

These just cost more and/or do less than mass bounce effects. Remember, I’m no longer getting the discount from Jodah, so that whole line of the thinking from the last article is moot.

Cutting Dead Weight

Constant Mists Natural Balance Balancing Act

If this deck is as oppressive as I think it is, I really don’t need to bother with Fog effects, regardless of how good they are.

I was excited about the semi-resets in my previous article, but I just ramp out way more lands than I expected. The constant resets make both Natural Balance and Balancing Act hurt me more than it hurts my opponents.

Add More Land Destruction

Armageddon Decree of Annihilation

Now that my game plan is explicitly “reset + threat”, it’s good to have more of these. Decree of Annihilation is there more for the cycling, but I could see casting it too if it’s endgame.

Heroic Intervention Sylvan Awakening

Given that I have more land destruction, why not try to make it completely one-sided? These are an experiment, and will be quick cuts if they don’t line up or feel too “win more”.

Add More Win Cons

Concordant Crossroads Rampaging Baloths

I’m quite happy with my Progenitus plan, but just in case, I added these two cards to potentially end the game in one turn.

With just one bounce land still in hand, Rampaging Baloths gets a 4/4 for each land drop I have (make the bounce land bounce itself). Last game, I got up to around 8 land drops. And like Tatyova, Benthic Druid, it goes infinite with Retreat to Coralhelm + Sakura-Tribe Scout (or it’s many functional reprints)

Other Thoughts

You may think Jokulhaups and Obliterate are obvious includes, but I’m not thrilled about hard resets that miss enchantments and planeswalkers. Should I struggle to rebuild my mana, something as common as Ghostly Prison can stop my win-cons completely.

I plan to replace Rampaging Baloths with Omnath, Locus of Rage (or maybe run both) as soon as I get my hands on a copy of the latter.

In Conclusion

I’m excited about the changes I’ve made, but I’m also very worried that I’ve made a degenerate, uninteractive, and too-villanous deck. We’ll see.

That said, at least now the games should be mercifully shorter!

Until next time, happy brewing!


Read about this deck’s continued evolution/devolution in its new changes post.

Written on May 11, 2018