04/25/2011 Feature: "The Golem's Legacy"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Feature Article, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Everybody loves Karn the great thing about a colorless walker is that everyone can play him regardless of color commitment. Great in EDH decks, he'll be fun to have in standard. I hope I pull some going into the set. Thanks for the article.

<a href="http://www.wizards.com/Magic/PlaneswalkerPoints/1206663433"><img src="http://pwp.wizards.com/1206663433/Scorecards/Landscape.png" border="0" /></a>

I still hate his final ability, because I can see it being fired in a game of EDH, and having that new game actually be relatively playable. I'm not thrilled about the possibility of dragging out a game like that.
Sway of the Stars did something a lot like Karn's "restart the game" ultimate ability...

- Doug

 

"Collectability is just a code-word for ripping you off." - David Sirlin

Yeah, and that's why Sway is banned in most EDH communities.
Karn's ultimate is aweful :/
Can you imagine someone using that ultimate in a large Grand Melee??

Talk about a nightmare...
Can you imagine someone using that ultimate in a large Grand Melee??

Talk about a nightmare...



Karn's opponents have two turns to do something about him. Also, Karn can't use his third ability immediately with Doubling Season in play. I'm hoping that it won't be seen happening that often.
What's up with the wording on Karn's third ability? Is it me, or does "leaving in exile all non-Aura permanent cards exiled with Karn Liberated" not make grammatical sense?
What's up with the wording on Karn's third ability? Is it me, or does "leaving in exile all non-Aura permanent cards exiled with Karn Liberated" not make grammatical sense?



The ability reads:

"leaving in exile all non-Aura permanent cards exiled with CARDNAME."

The card just happens to be names Karn Liberated.
What's up with the wording on Karn's third ability? Is it me, or does "leaving in exile all non-Aura permanent cards exiled with Karn Liberated" not make grammatical sense?



The ability reads:

"leaving in exile all non-Aura permanent cards exiled with CARDNAME."

The card just happens to be names Karn Liberated.


I guess what I'm asking is why is there an "exile all" in there?

"leaving in exile all non-Aura permanent cards exiled with CARDNAME."

Wouldn't it make grammatical sense if it just said:

"leaving in non-Aura permanent cards exiled with CARDNAME."
I have a bad feeling about Karn.

There is a reason that Shahrazad is banned in all formats.  Oddly enough, giving Shahrazad a (much) higher CMC and adding a two turn delay actually exacerbates the problem with Shahrazad (hint:  it wasn't banned for power reasons).
"We will all be purified in Wurm. What is good will be used to heal Wurm, or grow Wurm, or to fuel Wurm's path. What is vile will be extruded, and we will be free of it forever." --Prophet of the Cult of Wurm
What's up with the wording on Karn's third ability? Is it me, or does "leaving in exile all non-Aura permanent cards exiled with Karn Liberated" not make grammatical sense?



The ability reads:

"leaving in exile all non-Aura permanent cards exiled with CARDNAME."

The card just happens to be names Karn Liberated.


I guess what I'm asking is why is there an "exile all" in there?

"leaving in exile all non-Aura permanent cards exiled with CARDNAME."

Wouldn't it make grammatical sense if it just said:

"leaving in non-Aura permanent cards exiled with CARDNAME."



The idea is that you restart the game... but first, take all non-Aura permant cards which you exiled with Karn, and leave them "in exile" instead of returning them to their owners' decks. They use the exile zone for a sort of temporary holding area, the way they do with, say, Living Death.

You could take out "in exile" and still accomplish the same thing (since they are in exile already), but it might be confusing since "leave" on its own is not well defined in game terms and could be ambiguous in English and other languages. (Leave in the exile zone? Leave out of the next game altogether?) You could leave out "all" and have pretty much the same thing, but it's good to write "all" if you mean "all". All three are grammatical, but the card as written fits modern templates in this respect.

There are some other template quirks though. I think this is the first time I've seen the phrase "in exile" instead of "exiled," and I think ti's the first time the phrase "restart" has been printed.
Gotcha. Thanks a lot. I think Karn is going to be a headache once it's released lol.
I have a bad feeling about Karn.

There is a reason that Shahrazad is banned in all formats.  Oddly enough, giving Shahrazad a (much) higher CMC and adding a two turn delay actually exacerbates the problem with Shahrazad (hint:  it wasn't banned for power reasons).



I'd be less worried about Karn slowing down the game than Sharazad. Karn's abilities aren't spells, so they're harder to copy a hundred times they way you could Shahrazad with, say, Hivemind. In order to do reliable recursion, you'd need multiple Karns' in play, and it falls apart quickly. Also, I think the design idea is that Karn's controller starts with so many more toys that the next turn or two can be a rush to certain victory if they want. The ability always pushes the game more towards conclusion in Karn's controller's favor. With Sharazad, it amounted to a very, very slow coin flip.

I have a bad feeling for different reasons. The ability to exile from a hand means you can have a bomb that you don't even need to be able to hardcast. Ramp up to 7, cast Karn, exile BlightSteel Collossus from hand and anything else. Now you can reset the world, except you now go first with a Blightsteel Collosus with haste.

And that's fine. Planeswalkers eventually give you combos, and winning is what you expect a combo to do with 7 mana. But 7 colorless mana? On a planeswalker that can shrug off 4 damage a turn, and can also kill other planeswalkers for less? Your deck better have a vindicate or two as well (or another Karn).

It's a very exciting card, given that it makes you wonder "how many turn 1 victory conditions can I think of if I don't actually have to be able to cast anything?" (Turn 1 Near Death Experience with Phyrexian Rager & Tresspassing Souleater?) But that is one sturdy golem to put this on.
Karn's ultimate is the logical extension of the obvious trend in expensive Planeswalker ultimates where they don't want to say "You win the game." so they come up with a situation where you're certain to win and put you there instead. 
I have a bad feeling about Karn.

There is a reason that Shahrazad is banned in all formats.  Oddly enough, giving Shahrazad a (much) higher CMC and adding a two turn delay actually exacerbates the problem with Shahrazad (hint:  it wasn't banned for power reasons).



I have a bad feeling for different reasons. The ability to exile from a hand means you can have a bomb that you don't even need to be able to hardcast. Ramp up to 7, cast Karn, exile BlightSteel Collossus from hand and anything else. Now you can reset the world, except you now go first with a Blightsteel Collosus with haste.


But if they manage to do any damage to Karn at all, you have to wait an additional turn. If they kill him, your BSC is exiled for good. (Even if you manage to get another Karn and resolve his ultimate, I'm pretty sure that cards exiled by the first one would get shuffled back into your deck.) If you have seven mana already, and you're planning on surviving for three more turns, why not just cast your bomb?

I'll bet Karn will see play, but his Vindicate ability will get played more than his other two. to exile two permanents looks playable.  plus at least three turns and exiling a bomb from your hand to maybe restart the game with a bomb in play on your side seems too risky to have too much impact on Constructed.
I'll bet Karn will see play, but his Vindicate ability will get played more than his other two. to exile two permanents looks playable.  plus at least three turns to maybe restart the game with a bomb in play on your side seems too risky to have too much impact on Constructed.



Oh, but if it does, won't that be a blast?  There you are, turn 11, both players down to 5 life.  The judge announces that there are only five turns left.  Suddenly, the game restarts!

Edit:  Maybe that's part of Karn's pacifist flavor.  If you wanted to, you could make a deck that consistently ran out the clock so that every match was a draw!
"We will all be purified in Wurm. What is good will be used to heal Wurm, or grow Wurm, or to fuel Wurm's path. What is vile will be extruded, and we will be free of it forever." --Prophet of the Cult of Wurm
I have a bad feeling about Karn.

There is a reason that Shahrazad is banned in all formats.  Oddly enough, giving Shahrazad a (much) higher CMC and adding a two turn delay actually exacerbates the problem with Shahrazad (hint:  it wasn't banned for power reasons).


There's a big difference between Shahrazad and Karn Liberated.  With Shahrazad, the players play a subgame, and after the subgame is over, the original game continues.  This creates rules headaches around cards being inside or outside the game, and how the subgame interacts with the original game.  With Karn Liberated, the original game ends, and a new game begins.  That makes things much simpler.

I have a bad feeling about Karn.

There is a reason that Shahrazad is banned in all formats.  Oddly enough, giving Shahrazad a (much) higher CMC and adding a two turn delay actually exacerbates the problem with Shahrazad (hint:  it wasn't banned for power reasons).

Karn isn't as bad as Shahrazad (and her ilk) though. With Shaharazad, you played a game, stopped the game, played a new game...then went back and played the old game... unless you played another mini-game from anothe Shahrazad in the middle of the first game...

I mean, you can easily end up with a stack that looks like

a) Main Game
b) Minigame
c) Minigame
d) Minigame
e) Minigame.

Which resolves A>B>C>D>E>D>C>B>A

With Karn, it's possible that you end up with a stack like.

a) Maingame
b) Maingame
c) Maingame
d) Maingame

Which resolves A>B>C>D

But you only end up with a stack *looking* like that if the cards exiled can't win a game by themselves in 3 turns. It's not really an issue.

The real issue is that Karn has the possibility of making a game last longer, which means the clock ends up deciding who wins on maybe even the first game of the match. That is the real issue.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/0a90721d221e50e5755af156c179fe51.jpg?v=90000)
If you start the game with the stuff Karn gives you and it lasts more than a few turns, let alone long enough to reset the Karn machine, you've done something wrong.
It's time for everyone's favorite activity!  Goddraws:

turn 1: Mountain
turn 2: Mountain, Sphere of The Suns
turn 3: Mountain, Koth of The Hammer
turn 4: Karn + 3 floating mana

turn 1: "
turn 2: "
turn 3: Mountain, Geosurge, Spine of Ish Sah or Myr Battlesphere or a Dragon
WHat happens to other exiled cards?  ie:  stuff that has been exiled with Journey to Nowhere or Oblivion Ring or Path to Exile

Do they get shuffled back in to restart the game?  Or are they left out, never to return?
WHat happens to other exiled cards?  ie:  stuff that has been exiled with Journey to Nowhere or Oblivion Ring or Path to Exile

Do they get shuffled back in to restart the game?  Or are they left out, never to return?

Cards that were exiled (other than by Karn) are shuffled in with everything else.
I actually like it; I think that at 7 mana, he won't be played nearly as much as Jace even with his colorless cost, and the game has evolved to the point where two or three Vindicates or discards aren't that horrible to deal with lategame. Many decks will be quite able to stop the final ability from popping, unless you have a solid defense, in which case you probably don't need a restart that badly. He's definetely going to be banned from EDH though.

The thing that really scares me about Karn, Silver Planeswalker is that he can gain FOUR COUNTERS A TURN. He's nigh invincible. He'll shrug off all but an Eldrazi or hydra on his first turn down. And if you exile another one from your hand, it all starts again. (Probably the time I would most want 2 of the same 'Walker in my hand at once.) He won't be the next Jace, but he may very well be the next Tezz Agent of Balls (Bolas) or Primeval Titan. Scary.

Still, 9.25/10 for Wizard's latest Planeswalker.
WHat happens to other exiled cards?  ie:  stuff that has been exiled with Journey to Nowhere or Oblivion Ring or Path to Exile

Do they get shuffled back in to restart the game?  Or are they left out, never to return?


You shuffle your deck, not your library. These have very different definitions in the rules. The library is the cards currently in that stack. The deck is your deck is your deck, period. The deck you have when the match starts is the deck you have until the match ends, no matter what gets taken out of it.

Karn essentially takes cards out of the players' decks between the old game and the new game, which is a scary bit of rules space they never used before. I'm excited. This is probably the most rule-breaking card printed in well over a decade. 
I dislike the idea that Karns ultimate lets its controller play first AND all of the creatures that were exiled are untapped and ready to attack that turn. Somehow that seems unsportsmanlike for someone like Karn. 
That being said, Karn's abillities requires a bomb being in his controller's hand or on the field (at the cost of an extra turn.) to kill first turn of the new game. By the time he comes out a bomb on the board or in the hand probably means the game is over in 2 turns anyways.  I'm interested to see how he plays.
I'm interested to see how he plays.

Karn's very purpose is to spawn piles of "Ban Jitte!" type threads, while being largely useless in competition.

Karn essentially takes cards out of the players' decks between the old game and the new game, which is a scary bit of rules space they never used before. I'm excited. This is probably the most rule-breaking card printed in well over a decade. 



There's the wishes. And the Research half of Research//Development. It used to be the case that if such a card took a card out of your sideboard, then you'd actually move the wish to your sideboard, to preserve your original deck size and 15 card sideboard. But what if you Fork the wish? Oops.

(MTGO used to have a fantastic bug where taking cards out of your sideboard and adding them to your deck did not modify your sideboard. As a result, if you cast Research 4 times, you could end up with an additional 16 copies of the same card in your deck!)

My vote for rule-breaking card of the decade goes to Pull From Eternity. It was designed to un-suspend. But it can also un-imprint and un-champion. The designers of Ill-gotten Gains rightfully assumed that the "RFG" space was truly RFG. PFE doesn't seem to enable anything, but it does break things that link with exiled cards.
Karn essentially takes cards out of the players' decks between the old game and the new game, which is a scary bit of rules space they never used before. I'm excited. This is probably the most rule-breaking card printed in well over a decade. 


There's the wishes. And the Research half of Research//Development. It used to be the case that if such a card took a card out of your sideboard, then you'd actually move the wish to your sideboard, to preserve your original deck size and 15 card sideboard. But what if you Fork the wish? Oops.

(MTGO used to have a fantastic bug where taking cards out of your sideboard and adding them to your deck did not modify your sideboard. As a result, if you cast Research 4 times, you could end up with an additional 16 copies of the same card in your deck!)

My vote for rule-breaking card of the decade goes to Pull From Eternity. It was designed to un-suspend. But it can also un-imprint and un-champion. The designers of Ill-gotten Gains rightfully assumed that the "RFG" space was truly RFG. PFE doesn't seem to enable anything, but it does break things that link with exiled cards.


I'm not saying it doesn't have compettiion, but remember, it hasn't been played with yet by the masses. It can only get more complicated from here on.
Two questions for the community:

If one Karn exiles himself and another new Karn ults, do you get a Karn in your new game?

Are you excited to see players up a game use Karn's ult and have competitive matches go to turns?
I am Undecided
No. Once the first Karn leaves play the exiled cards won't come back next game.
No. Once the first Karn leaves play the exiled cards won't come back next game.

Yet another argument for a "this" in the rules text.

But couldn't you hypathetically exile a Karn from someone's hand with your Karn, then fire his ultimate and start the game with a new Karn?

Sway of the Stars did something a lot like Karn's "restart the game" ultimate ability...


Yeah, but that costs three more mana, requires color commitment, and resets everyone at less than half life. If that's enough to get banned in EDH, Karn cards will be torn to shreds.
Whenever a card refers to itself by name, it always means "this specific piece of cardboard".

Unless a card clearly means otherwise, such as Kindle or Relentless Rats.

Every single exception to the "this card" or "CARDNAME" rule in Magic uses the word "named" somewhere in the rules text. For example, "another card named Stomping Slabs".
So what happens if you copy his ultimate with Rings of Brighthearth?

Edit: The copy resolves and removes the original ability from the stack. No forking shahrazad shenanigans. Too bad... but I wonder if you get to sideboard before you begin the restarted game? My gut says probably not, that you start the game at the beginning of the first turn- but it would be nifty to potentially have board tech game one.
but I wonder if you get to sideboard before you begin the restarted game?



You do not get to sideboard.
Y'know, I don't think Karn's really as bad as people are saying; I think the look of him is scarier than anything else. Just because he actually says "start a new game", I suppose.

He's a reset button. A big, slow, expensive reset button. What's more, he (almost always) guarantees that one player's going to come out ahead, afterwards. Heck, Wrath of God doesn't even manage that. Excluding the technicalities of the shuffling and such, he's not going to be slowing games down a lot more than the reset buttons we've already got. At least, I don't suspect.

Most of the times you play Karn, you're not going to bother going ultimate. You're going to use him to pick off troublesome permanents, and to keep threats out of your opponent's hand. He's generally going to help you win this game; it's only when that's not an option that you'll even want to reset.

My favourite part of Karn's effect? Emblem removal. Not like there's an alternative.

Beside that, of course, there's the interesting new look at the stack it provokes. Karn's ultimate continues resolving between games, only finishing once the new game (but not the first turn thereof) has started. Obviously abilities are able to keep resolving independent of the game that generated them. Sounds like Un-set stuff, to me.

Overall, the card's a little wacky - but what Planeswalker isn't? As someone mentioned, this is simply another way of granting a Planeswalker (and an expensive one, at that) a "You win" ability without saying "You win." It's a little silly, and has the potential to be hassle (mostly just when a player resets a game they're already winning), but it's nothing terrible. I like that wonky little cards like this get through, occasionally. Now let's just wait patiently for someone to break it...
RedKutai, we realize you're trying to downplay Karn but it simply boils down to his playability.

Think about all the times you've gone into the late game and someone has stuck a Mind Sculptor. Losing situation right? Karn ult is much faster to achieve than Jace ult but wins the game just as hard (most likely, otherwise you wouldn't have ult'd yet).

Like you said we're waiting for someone to break it. In the end though, I'll just put it as a one-of in caw blade.
I found these rulings unintuitve based on the text of the card:

* In a multiplayer game (a game that started with three or more players in it), any player that left the game before it was restarted with Karn's ability won't be involved in the new game.

* The player who controlled the ability that restarted the game is the starting player in the new game.

To me "restart the game" means really restart the game so I would think that eliminated players would need to be brought back in.  Also, I would restart the entire game, including determining first player (either randomly or through a pre-determined means, e.g. if one player lost the previous game of a match that player gets to choose to play or draw the restarted game).
I found these rulings unintuitve based on the text of the card:

* In a multiplayer game (a game that started with three or more players in it), any player that left the game before it was restarted with Karn's ability won't be involved in the new game.

* The player who controlled the ability that restarted the game is the starting player in the new game.

To me "restart the game" means really restart the game so I would think that eliminated players would need to be brought back in.  Also, I would restart the entire game, including determining first player (either randomly or through a pre-determined means, e.g. if one player lost the previous game of a match that player gets to choose to play or draw the restarted game).


The second one surprised me too, but there is a very good reason for the first, and it's the same as the reason why getting eliminated from a multiplayer game works the way it does.

Currently, the rules are set up so an eliminated player can immediately pick up his deck and join a new game. Suppose Karn goes off after one or more players have done that - or worse, left the venue altogether. You're seriously proposing having to bring them back into the game? Quite aside from the unfairness and general silliness of it, how do you propose to enforce that? There's no reasonable way for Karn's ultimate to work the way you find intuitive.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
Well, if they've left, they've left, just like anyone in the game could concede at any time without affecting the rest of the players.  If the ruling were the other way, the players would at least have the option to rejoin the game if they were still around.
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