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Karador, Ghost Cheiftan Commander Primer

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Casual Magic, Commander

When I think of an awesome EDH deck, I think of a deck that takes full advantage of its general. I’m talking about the awesome Rhys, The Redeemed lists, the crazy Kaalia of the Vast strategies, and the thoughtful Azami, Lady of Scrolls tactics. There is nothing more annoying than sitting across from an opponent that picked a general that they refuse to build around (I’m looking at you, Oloro). So when it became time for me to consolidate all my good cards and my thoughts onto a single general, I came to one conclusion: Karador, Ghost Chieftain must be my general.

Now, I have built Karador 3 or 4 times. The first couple of times I attempted the centaur guy I decided to be a “Junk good stuff deck.” It doesn’t really work out that way. This build I will be showcasing is unique and of my own ingenuity. Of course, it will have pretty powerful cards and “junk” because I like to play with fun cards. Now pay attention! This is my wheelhouse.


Since Karador is a graveyard-centered general, I feel like we should use the graveyard as a tool box for our deck. Therefore, we need ways to get cards in the graveyard. I built around several cards with the dredge mechanic as well as cards like Hermit Druid and Altar of Dementia. Here is our graveyard engine:

Any of these cards can just get out of hand real quick, especially Life From the Loam and a land that cycles. Free draw! Loam can also allow us to reuse our fetch lands or help us grab some much needed fixing if we don’t have the fixing we need. The rest of the cards help us set up shop and pick up one or two of our prime reanimator targets (Sheoldred, Reya, Sun Titan, etc). Phantasmagorian is odd because he allows us to discard to get him back. I like this option: It’s basically a Buried Alive on a stick. Say we have a couple of dredgers in our hand or we are at a point in the game where we would love to reanimate Avenger of Zendikar for cheaper than we can cast him. Phantasmagorian shines in that position. We then have the search dredge spells: Grisly Salvage, Commune with the Gods, and Mulch. All these cards are pretty sweet in a graveyard-centric deck. Dredge is a pretty sweet mechanic if we are trying to fill up our graveyard. Trust me. Milling into Grave Troll is the best feeling.

Hermit Druid is an awesome card. Since we are only playing 9 basic lands, we can normally activate and put a good 15-20 cards in our graveyard. The power available there is immensely game-changing. The ability to go from a graveyard with a couple creatures to a massive graveyard with reanimation targets and toolbox type cards is not to be underestimated.

How do we get the cards out of our graveyard? I can answer that question! Reanimation spells! We run these reanimator cards:

All of these cards serve a purpose. They allow us to reanimate on command. Sheoldred and Reya are really good if we can manage to get a Karmic Guide loop going. The best part of this is that our general allows us to cast one creature from our graveyard each turn. We can get back all of the awesome creatures we mill and start beating our opponent.

One of the most interesting cards in this list is Saffi. Saffi allows us to protect ourselves through wrath effects, especially if we have something like Karador + Sheoldred. We are going to want that reanimation and Saffi can help provide a shield each turn, since she only costs GW. I would highly advise investing in a Saffi Eriksdotter. The card is some super secret tech that can make our deck virtually impenetrable to wrath effects.

The rest of the reanimation package just enables the toolbox to be more effective. With so many cards that allow us to pull creatures from the graveyard, it is hard to miss all of them. I especially like Sun Titan, because he can get us back literally everything in our yard (LIKE SOL RING).

Once we set up shop, there needs to be a few creatures we want to bring back! Here is what I run:

These are just a few of the options to reanimate. The reason I am not running cards like Vorinclex and Iona are because I still want to be friends with my playgroup. If you like to just lock players out of the game, then play those cards. They are great, just not my style. I’d rather have fun than beat someone with a card that is really cheap that I can reanimate over and over again.

Craterhoof Behemoth is really good in this deck. We can get to a point where we have around 8 or 9 creatures on the battlefield, especially if we still have Wood Elves and Yavimaya Druid hanging around from the early game. Reanimating Craterhoof is an instant kill most of the time. He can do upwards of 100 damage. What a massively fun card to kill someone with!

Obviously we have some sick creatures. This can result in our deck getting targeted a lot. The next portion will show our “support” package.

Let’s talk about value in our deck. We are milling ourselves for a bunch. The flashback mechanic is awesome at getting maximum value from our spells. Here we can take advantage of the flashback mechanic with cards like Sever the Bloodline, Creeping Renaissance, and Army of the Damned. Creeping Renaissance is oftentimes a massive blowout, especially if an opponent forgets about it lurking around in your graveyard and wraths you. Creeping Renaissance is also amazing with Craterhoof Behemoth. The deck needs cards like Creeping Renaissance. Living Death plays a similar effect to Creeping Renaissance. Living Death gets around Grafdigger’s Cage and can really hurt non-graveyard decks. To take full advantage of this amazing reanimation, we are playing cards with the Evoke mechanic. Reveillark, Shriekmaw, and Wispmare are all important to our deck. Wispmare takes care of enchantments and can easily come back with Sun Titan or mass reanimation.

After our cards that seriously turn our graveyard into an extension of our hand, we have some tutor effects. Green Sun’s Zenith is awesome in our deck because we can grab Craterhoof in the late game or just pick up Hermit Druid in the early game. Black Sun’s Zenith is good at wiping the board of any problem creatures, just like Wrath of God and Day of Judgement. This deck is pretty Wrath-resistant, but we do not want to be going overboard. I’ve found that 3 or 4 wrath effects are always good in the matches you need them. Nevinyrral’s Disk is awesome because we can get it back with Sun Titan! Oh, the value.

I encourage you to build your own deck that is tailored to you and how you like to play. With that being said, here is my decklist for Karador, Ghost Chieftan. I am constantly trying out new cards, so this list may evolve as more sets come out. Remember to buy all of your singles at your local game store and that commander is about having fun!

–     Brock

Karador EDH

Commander (1)
Creatures (34)
Lands (36)
Spells (29)

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