Deck of the Day: Spooky Karma
Hey everyone, Agigas here! Ever since the beginning, Spooky Karma has always been my signature deck. My Spooky Karma guide on RCCG will soon celebrate its 1-year birthday!
The archetype has existed since the beta, but it has almost always kept an extremely low play rate. Recently, Spooky Karma has gained a little bit of popularity on the ladder. Alanzq is the one who has started that resurgence.
Patch 2.11 has been very kind to the deck – Karma went from 6 to 5 mana, Will of Ionia from 5 to 4 mana, and also Scattered Pod was added, enabling a nice combo with Go Hard.
On stats, this list shows a 50.5% win rate over 293 games in Master, and this number goes lower when you look at other ranks. This can seem unimpressive, but, for Spooky Karma, this is actually very high. It is a very complex deck to master – an experienced player will have a way higher win rate than what the general stats show.
Spooky Karma is an extremely control-oriented archetype. The main goal of the deck is to defend itself with the strong Shadow Isles and Ionia control tools until Karma levels up on turn 10.
Go Hard, Vile Feast, and Withering Wail will help the deck deal with small units on the other side. Hapless Aristocrat and Rivershaper are also very helpful in that task.
Bigger units will be either removed by Vengeance, traded into Tasty Faefolk, or stalled out by chump blocks, Concussive Palm, and Will of Ionia. These control tools, in addition to the occasional life gain effects attached to them, will help you stay alive for as long a possible.
To make sure you keep finding the right answers to the right threat, the deck packs quite a lot of value. Rivershaper, Deep Meditation, and Scattered Pod all draw you spells. Scattered Pod effectively acts as a tutor. Most of the time you’ll use it to draw your only Slow spell – Go Hard – but you can also tutor your Burst spell – Deep Meditation. If you’re in an emergency need of some Fast-speed interaction, you can also draw a Fast spell, but the range of possible draws you get will be much wider.
Thresh is a very powerful champion in the deck. Not only he is a strong control tool thanks to the combination of Challenger and a high health total, but the threat of his level-up is also very real.
Karma is the centerpiece of your deck. On her level 1, she provides some value, but she really becomes your win condition with the Enlightenment. Duplicating spells like Withering Wail, Vile Feast, and Deep Meditation means your value and cost-efficiency goes through the roof.
Karma comboes especially well with Go Hard/Pack Your Bags. By duplicating Go Hard, she helps you get to Pack Your Bags faster, and will often allow you to completely skip paying the 5 mana cost of the transformed spell – when you cast your third Go Hard with Karma on board, the copy of it on the stack will automatically transform into a Pack Your Bags!
In the past, Spooky Karma has often been very slow to close games out. However, with the Karma Go Hard combo, the deck is now able to close things reasonably fast. With Scattered Pod to tutor Go Hard, this finisher is even more reliable than before.
To make sure you don’t run out of Karmas, The Rekindler comes to bring her back from the dead. Alternatively, he can also help you stabilize the board in the mid-game by reviving Thresh.
Finally, Nopeify! and Deny round out that shell, helping the archetype against proactive spells (e.g. Decimate, Relentless Pursuit), allowing you to better protect Karma (e.g. Single Combat, Tri-beam Improbulator), or making sure your own key spell resolves against the opponent’s Deny or Rite of Negation.
As its game plan is purely control-oriented, with a lot of Fast spells, this deck plays very reactively. You should look to pass as often as possible to force the opponent to do the first move, so you can make informed decisions. Using your spells’ effects optimally is vital to the deck.
After playtesting with this new Scattered Pod version, I can tell you the deck is quite competitive. Being able to close things out consistently and faster with the Karma Go Hard combo is really important in nowadays’ meta.
However, the current environment still is filled with anti-control decks – Lurkers, Sivir decks, and Azir Irelia can all be tricky matchups. I think one of the main reasons Spooky Karma saw its win rate increase recently is that the deck got a little bit easier to pilot.
Having no win condition in the past made the deck extremely complex because you had to concentrate for a very long time, and any little mistake would have long-term repercussions on your game. With the introduction of the Karma Go Hard combo, and the addition of Scattered Pod, the deck now has a reliable win condition, making the deck a little bit more forgiving to small mistakes. It is still a complex deck, but now more in line with other control archetypes.
Overall, I don’t think this archetype is gonna take over the meta any time soon, and I’m not going to tell you that you absolutely have to learn the deck even if you’re an aggro player. However, it is still a very solid and competitive choice to climb with, and I would recommend to any control-loving player to add it to their roster. I think it’s a very fun and interesting archetype, and the Karma Go Hard combo is very satisfying to pull off.
If you have a question, want to share feedback, or discuss this deck, I’ll be happy to answer you in the comments below!
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Thanks for reading!