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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Set Review Commander 2015 – Karlov of the Ghost Council

July 4, 2016 by  
Filed under Commander/General Ideas, Review

Praying to a God that is not a God.

Praying to a God that is not a God.

Continuing for today Commander Review article for Commander 2015, we will be looking at the other Orzhov colors Commander of the set. In fact the Commander is indeed the Orzhov Guild master; or rather part of it as they are structured. The Orzhov regard rank and status highly in the guild and it is considered a final goal for many to be one of the Ghost Council, the guild master of the guild. Karlov who is today featured Commander is one of the members of the Ghost Council.

 

Eternal Rule

Obzedat, Ghost Council

“We are forever.”

The Ghost Council, or commonly known as is a ruling body of the Orzhov. It consists of the ghosts of former patriarchs and matriarchs of the guild. It is unknown at present but mostly speculate that some of them were the representatives of the Orzhov who originally signed the Guildpact. Membership into the Obzedat is granted by excellent “performance” during the members’ life, but the entrance is still subject to probation period. Membership can also be also canceled under exceptional conditions. They were thought to have been killed or destroyed by Teysa after the breaking of the first Guildpact. This was not to be as they were still in power later on with Teysa as their speaker and ambassador. Not being satisfied with her positon, she had initially planned with Tajic, the Boros Knight and Maze runner then, to remove the Obzedat of their authority. All of it was foiled in the end by her grandfather who had saw though her plans all along. This clearly demonstrate the amount of power the Obzedat has and how ruthless they are in doing anything even betraying their own blood to keep their power. This brings us to Karlov who is one of member of the Obzedat.

Betrayed by Blood.

Betrayed by Blood.

 

Short introduction done, let us have a look at the stats of the crafty patriarch from the Karlov family.

Karlov of the Ghost Council

Card Name: Karlov of the Ghost Council

CMC: WB

Types: Legendary Creature – Spirit Advisor

Card Text: Whenever you gain life, put two +1/+1 counters on Karlov of the Ghost Council.

WB, Remove six +1/+1 counters from Karlov of the Ghost Council: Exile target creature.

P/T: 2/2

Karlov plays into the theme of the Orzhov; fittingly so since he is after all part of their guild master. He grows bigger as you gain life, part of what Orzhov is about; gaining life and taxing life. The trigger can be quite deadly as Karlov, unlike other similar who gain +1/+1 counter on life gain (Ajani’s Pridemate), gains two counters instead of one. This makes him immediately a 4/4 if you are able to gain life after he hits the battlefield, easily making him a very powerful beat stix in no time. Karlov other ability is somewhat flavorful to him removing Teysa of her authority or those that threaten the Obzedat rule. Although a bit high at removing six +1/+1 counters to exile a target Creature threat, this is very much compensated by how Karlov gain his +1/+1 counters. Those counters can be easily accumulated to the required number sooner than expected as White and Black has tons of ways to gain life.

Removed the Threat.

Removed the Threat.

 

Life and Death

Since life gain is the game of Karlov, finding ways to gain life is the way to abuse him. We really recommend his guild mechanic of Extort for that purpose. While there is not a lot of it considering that only appears in two sets of the Return to Ravnica block, each one of it is a good add to gain life fast and also help you to stay in the game. This is truer with multi-players as Extort drains life from all opponents. Thus the more opponents the better it is. As a quick reference below are all the Extort cards till date.

Basilica Guards / Knight of Obligation

Walls” with Extort. Block the early wave of Creatures.

Basilica Screecher / Kingpin’s Pet

Fliers with Extort.

Blind Obedience

Slow down opponents by tapping down their Artifacts and Creatures when they enter the battlefield.

Crypt Ghast

Mana ramp. Also helps to pay for Extort.

Pontiff of Blight

Extort lord. Gives everyone Extort.

Syndic of Tithes / Syndicate Enforcer

Basic Creatures with Extort.

Thrull Parasite

Planeswalker killer with its counter removing ability. Extort to gain back life lost to ability.

Tithe Drinker

Speed up life gain through Lifelink and Extort.

Treasury Thrull

Retrieve stuff to be cast later for Extort.

Vizkopa Confessor

Hand disruption.

 

Absolute Obedience.

Absolute Obedience.

 

Another way to gain life is through the ability Lifelink. There are numerous Creatures with the ability within Karlov color identity. Below are some ways which you can consider to give your army or individual Creature Lifelink.

Abzan Battle Priest

Gives Lifelink to your Creatures with +1/+1 counters on them.

Ajani Steadfast / Sorin, Solemn Visitor

Planeswalkers who give Lifelink to your Creature or army.

Alabaster Mage

Gives Lifelink to one Creature through activation of its ability. Multiple activation is possible.

Angelic Skirmisher

Versatile army enhancer with multiple abilities to choose from.

Basilisk Collar / Batterskull / Butcher’s Cleaver / Loxodon Warhammer

Equipment which grant Lifelink to equipped Creature. It is however to be noted that the Cleaver has a restriction which require the equipped Creature to be a Human in order to gain Lifelink.

Battlegrace Angel

Exalted. Gives Lifelink to the Exalted attacker.

Daybreak Coronet / Eternal Thirst / Felidar Umbra / Gift of Orzhova / Hopeful Eidolon / Lifelink / Lightform / Mark of the Vampire

Auras within Karlov color identity which gives Lifelink.

Necromancer’s Covenant

Anti-graveyard card which gives you an army of Zombies that also gain Lifelink from the Enchantment.

Noble Purpose

Enchantment which gives your army “Lifelink” like ability.

Sorin, Lord of Innistrad

Produces Vampire tokens with Lifelink.

Soul Link / Spirit Link / Spirit Loop / Vampiric Link

The “older” predecessor version of Lifelink. These Auras have the benefit of neutralizing damage dealt by opponent’s Creatures if they are attached to them as it is the controller of the Auras who gain the life instead of the attached Creature’s controller.

Soul of Theros

Army pumper. Pumps up your army by giving them +2/+2, First Strike and Lifelink till end of turn as many times as you can afford the activation cost.

True Conviction

Gives Double Strike and Lifelink to your army.

Vault of the Archangel

Land which gives your army Deathtouch and Lifelink till end of turn.

Victory’s Herald

Gives your army Flying and Lifelink when it attacks.

Whip of Erebos

Reanimation means which also gives Lifelink to your army.

Windbrisk Raptor

Gives your attackers Lifelink.

 

"Life is an essence to be taken."

“Life is an essence to be taken.”

 

Beside Creatures, there are also other means of gaining life. Artifacts and Enchantments to gain life. There are even nonpermanent spells which gain life too. Below are some such ways you may consider to use in your deck.

Ajani Goldmane / Elspeth Tirel / Sorin, Grim Nemesis / Sorin Markov

Planeswalkers with abilities that gain life.

Angelic Chorus

Gain life equal to Creature’s toughness when they enters the battlefield on your side.

Circle of Affliction

Reverse Circle of Protection. Neutralize damage dealt to you by chosen color by gaining life and poking your opponent at the same time.

Clearwater Goblet

Sunburst Artifact which gain life through the charge counters on it. Possible to use Proliferate to increase counters on it.

Contemplation

Gain life for casting spells.

Debt to the Deathless / Exsanguinate

Life drain spells which drain all opponents’ life.

Eternity Vessel

Reset life total to amount of charge counters on this Artifact whenever you Landfall. Use Proliferate to increase charge counters on it for more life gain.

Exquisite Blood + Sanguine Bond

The infinite combo which every life gain deck which can play it should have in their deck.

Ivory Crane Netsuke / Ivory Tower / Venser’s Journal

Gain life for having cards or specific number of cards in your hand

Noble Stand

Gain 2 life every time your Creatures block.

Orim’s Prayer / Righteous Cause

Gain 1 life for each attacking Creature.

Peace of Mind

Exchange cards in hand for life gain.

Planeswalker’s Mirth

Get a look at a random card from opponent’s hand and gain life equal to the card casting cost.

Subversion

Poke all opponents and gain life for each poke at your upkeep.

Sun Droplet

Slowly gain back life at each upkeep.

Sword of the Meek + Thopter Foundry

Combo which gain you one life and a defender for each mana you can spare.

 

"Why gain 1 life when you can gain infinite?"

“Why gain 1 life when you can gain infinite?”

 

Conclusion

"Just Obey. No Questions."

“Just Obey. No Questions.”

Karlov is a very good Commander to consider for a life gain deck as he benefits a lot and quickly from life gain and offers Creature removal for the benefits he gained. It is much recommended to play him as the Commander with the two Ghost Councils supporting him with life gain. And while you are at it with the life gain strategy, there are also alternate win cons; like Felidar Sovereign & Test of Endurance; besides attacking with a huge Karlov for the win. Karlov also has a relatively low cc which helps for recasting. Also Karlov Creature exiling ability is a political tool for you to bargain with your opponents as you can “help” get rid of Creature threat when he is loaded. This can help to keep him on the battlefield on a “you don’t touch me, I won’t touch you” truce.

So what do you think of the Patriarch of the Karlov family? How will you utilize him in your deck? Share with us what you think in the comments below. And with that, we shall sign it off here for now. Hope you had enjoyed today article and see you in upcoming Commanders from Commander 2015.

 

This is yours truly, Edward “Reaper King” Leong, signing off.

:D~

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