Karametra, God of Harvests | Art by Eric Deschamps
When I shared the preview of Erebos, God of the Dead I said, "...of all the Gods I've seen, it's Erebos, God of the Dead that I'll be devoted to the most." Clearly I hadn't seen anything from Born of the Gods, because this is Karametra, God of Harvests.
Call me fickle. Tell me I lack conviction. Regardless of what you may think, my time proffering prayers for Erebos are at an end. Let the harvest begin!
Wake to a New World
Mirari's Wake is among the most powerful enchantments available in Commander. It pumps your troops up a notch and often doubles your mana. While token armies have long been feared for their effective use of Glorious Anthem effects, it's the potency in producing mana that draws the ire of opponents when you plop it down.
Karametra, God of Harvests doesn't pump an army of creatures or double your mana. At first blush the only real similarity is the mana cost, but the truth is the power of Karametra is much bigger than you'd expect.
This triggered ability is grander than the fantastic offer of Mirari's Wake. Ripping lands out of your library and onto the battlefield is what's called a "ramping" effect, and it's so good it got Primeval Titanbanned from Commander. Karametra doesn't get any land, like our long-lost Giant, but the ability to get Forest or Plains cards is more than solid in its own right.
Ramping lands into play that fix your mana, give you repeatable spell-like abilities, or simply increase your mana count by one is a solid plan in Commander. Speaking for myself, ramping is among my most favorite things to do with basic lands. You might recall a card recently included in the Commander (2013 Edition) preconstructed decks: From the Ashes.
As agreed upon by many of you, basic lands are among the most valuable and powerful to be included in Commander decks. Karametra, God of Harvests delivers those too, ensuring every creature you cast pulls you one land closer to whatever massive spell you want to cast next.
Before getting too far away from things, there's another piece of rules text on Karametra, God of Harvests that you should care about.
Gods require devotion to become incarnate. Fortunately, it's much easier than you'd expect for Karametra, God of Harvests to become a fatty for you: Each God in Born of the Gods is two colors and manifests as a creature if your devotion to its two colors is high enough. Your devotion to two colors is the total number of mana symbols of those colors among the mana costs of permanents you control. (For more details, see the "Mechanics of Born of the Gods" article.)
The real story is this: If you're casting enough white and/or green creatures, Karametra will come to life for you without much difficulty. But having her become a realized being that can attack and block is something I'm torn about doing. While a 6/7 fatty is big enough to eat just about anything you see in Commander games, it also exposes her to a much wider range of removal.
It's the same balancing act every God sits on, and for Karametra I'm not convinced going the route of full devotion is the best path. I'd like to keep Karametra, God of Harvests around as long as possible and cast as many creatures as possible. What to do?
Creating tokens allows us to have an army that doesn't contribute to our devotion count. Unless we're creating copies of creatures already in play, tokens don't contribute to devotion. Getting rid of creatures that do is easy too: sacrifice them.
If they're dead, they aren't demonstrating our commitment to any color. Packing both of these effects together—tokens and sacrifice effects—leads me to consider one of my favorite commanders: Ghave, Guru of Spores.
Ghave gives us colors filled with ways to create tokens and sacrifice creatures. It's a match made in my dreams, and our Ghave adventure covered all sorts of token and sacrifice options, if you want to see the art of the possible.
My favorites among the token and sacrifice options? Martyr's Cause and Wolfbriar Elemental: You can build a massive army that doubles up to protect you from almost any damage, a good combination in any multiplayer game.
Karametra, God of Harvests fits into a token and sacrifice deck just fine, but what if you don't want to go that route? What if you really did want Karametra to be the shining pinnacle of your Commander deck, and you want to stream creature after creature, turn after turn, until she can march across the battlefield?
Just shift your souls slightly.
While it isn't perfect, this search on the Gatherer will pull up white and/or green creatures that can return themselves or other creatures to your hand, satisfying the requirement of casting as many creatures as possible while giving you ways to recycle them to do it over and over.
The best example of this is probably Blinking Spirit.
While it's unimpressive as a creature alone, it's also nearly impossible to kill since putting it back into your hand is free. Do you see where this is going? (Hint: It's going to turn Blinking Spirit into a four-mana Rampant Growth every turn.) In a pinch, Jackalope Herd or Crovax, Ascendant Hero will pull similar tricks.
The Roaring Primadox/Stampeding Serow duo speak for themselves: Every upkeep, you can return them to your hand or, better yet, something like Yavimaya Granger, or Borderland Ranger, or Timberland Guide, or Thragtusk, or Deranged Hermit, or Fertilid, or just about any green creature with an "enters the battlefield" ability.
This is what's referred to a "value."
You don't have to do it small either. Big creatures like Angel of Serenity and Weatherseed Treefolk are more than respectable as attackers, but getting back a creature to cast again is even better with Karametra, God of Harvests hanging around. Giving your opponent the choice of taking a chunk of damage or losing a creature and giving you another land is exactly where I'd want to be.
If you want to go with tricky creatures, Dust Elemental, Fleetfoot Panther, and Whitemane Lion can recycle those already in play. Using these to "rescue" something at the end of an opponent's turn gives you an edge on ramping mana when opponents would least expect it. Emancipation Angel can pull a similar trick on your own turn, and in combination with Whitemane Lion or Fleetfoot Panther you can mimic what Blinking Spirit does alone.
I haven't yet had the chance to try a tribal Spirits deck in Commander, but between the soulshift of Kamigawa block and the plentiful Spirit action of Innistrad block, recurring Spirits repeatedly has obvious advantages with Karametra hanging around. With a little Equipment, even average creatures can overtake a game of Commander.
Reap What You Sow
I've given you my thoughts on Karametra, God of Harvests. She can be an incredible tool among a well-stocked deck of many colors, or the centerpiece of a creature-heavy green-white Commander deck led by the God herself. But I want to know how you'll handle her: How will you use Karametra, God of Harvests, and why?
- Feedback via email in English
- 300-word limit to describe the cards and/or decklist
- Include a decklist if you're going to make her your commander
- Name and email required (non-personal information to be used in column)
The power of the Gods of Theros has only begun to be tapped. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the pantheon brought to life soon. Join us next week when we yield the bounty of a new cornucopia. See you then!