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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Card of the Day

Daily Since November 2001!

Experiment Kraj
Image from Wizards.com

 Experiment Kraj
- Dissension

Reviewed July 10, 2014

Constructed: 3.13
Casual: 4.63
Limited: 3.63
Multiplayer: 4.38

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale:
1 - Horrible  3 - Average.  5 - Awesome

Click here to see all of our 
Card of the Day Reviews 

BMoor

Deck Garage

Experiment Kraj

When Ravnica first came out, this guy was exciting because of his potential, but he was very hard to use properly. So few creatures have activated abilities that can be meaningfully grafted onto another creature. Most of the ones that do, it's because they're tap abilities (and giving it to Kraj means a second usage) or they specifically reference "this creature" (usually because they're sacrifice abilities). The best choices were Simic Ragworm, allowing you to machine-gun +1/+1 counters onto all your creatures, or maybe a creature that regenerates. Besides, the first Simic block was full of Graft, so they were kind of already sharing their activated abilities anyway.

This all changed one Commander became a format. Suddenly, you could literally build a deck around Kraj, and not have to worry about drawing Kraj because he starts the game in a zone he can be cast from, but not discarded from. Even better, you weren't restricted to a Standard card pool-- anything green or blue ever printed was fair game!

My own Experiment Kraj deck is probably my favorite Commander deck of them all, and not because it has the best win ratio. I added Simic Ragworm and Horseshoe Crab, of course, but also all the creatures I could from Shadowmoor block with the "untap" symbol. Even humble Pili-Pala lets you machine-gun +1/+1 counters, and it's a solid target for them thanks to its flying. Knacksaw Clique costs more to exploit, but occasionally you steal something sweet with it. River Boa and Cudgel Troll help protect Kraj almost as well as Plaxcaster Frogling does, and if neither of them are around, Transmogrifying Licid lets Kraj counter kill spells by not being a creature when they try to resolve-- hilarious when your opponent realizes how it works. Aerie Ouphes and Biting Tether are significantly stronger thanks to +1/+1 counters cancelling out -1/-1 counters, but that rule makes it a lot harder to give Kraj a copy of Leech Bonder's ability. Myr Welder isn't there to copy any specific ability, except perhaps to reuse a dead Pili-Pala, Licid, or Contagion Clasp, but sometimes I'm able to assimilate something from my artifact-loving opponents. Simic Keyrune is a good mana rock that can also protect Kraj... by turning into a 2/3 Crab with hexproof and then getting a +1/+1 counter, thereby giving Kraj the ability to turn into a 2/3 Crab with hexproof. That's another combo that only works because your opponent won't notice it's there.

As for actually winning? Well, there's several infinite mana combos in the deck. Bloom Tender and Ragworm are obvious, but less obvious is replacing Bloom Tender with Spike Tiller and Simic Growth Chamber. Trouble is, that's only infinite GREEN mana, and the only cards I have that could productively use infinite mana are Sphinx of Magosi, Zameck Guildmage, and possibly Knacksaw Clique. If I've got Bloom Tender and Knacksaw, that's infinite milling. Gilder Bairn doesn't go infinite, but he does turn just about every card in my deck into a win. There's the "boring" method of piling enough +1/+1 counters onto flying creatures that I can swing for a finite but lethal amount of damage. Even on a bad day I can usually tap Kraj three or four times a turn, and that's usually because I'm using Merrow Wavebreakers as the untap engine. But the reason this deck is so much fun is that I usually have a game-winning combo on the board for several turns before anyone, myself included, notices it. That's because it usually involves using Myr Welder or Spike Tiller to steal an ability that was never meant for a creature, or it involves one of my opponents' creatures, whose abilities I can steal by putting +1/+1 counters onto it. In that respect, Kraj almost plays like a "group hug" deck. I often put +1/+1 counters onto other people's creatures and exile as many cards as I can with Myr Welder even if I don't yet know why I want their abilities, but I rarely regret it and I always enjoy seeing how many abilities I can solder onto this pile of ooze.

Constructed- 3.5
Casual- 5
Limited- 4
Multiplayer- 5


David Fanany

Player since 1995

Experiment Kraj

In an infinite multiverse, Experiment Kraj is still truly unique. And while competitive Magic doesn't always go for that, Kraj shines in multiplayer formats. Take that ability of his and multiply it by the activated abilities in decks and by the number of players . . . well, if you weren't ahead before, you will be soon. And considering that every set has activated abilities, I think there may come a time when Kraj is statistically the best creature in Magic. Oh, plus you can use him to strengthen your own creatures, or steal things with Simic Manipulator faster than usual, or go nuts with Oona's Blackguard or Rage Forger. Ridiculous!

Constructed: 2/5
Casual: 5/5
Limited: 3/5
Multiplayer: 5/5

Michael "Maikeruu" Pierno

Today's card of the day is Experiment Kraj which is a six mana Green and Blue 4/6 Legendary that has all activated abilities of creatures with a
+1/+1 counter and taps to put a +1/+1 counter on target creature. This
is a very powerful card in Multiplayer settings and Commander where it has time to build up and collect activated abilities, particularly in a deck themed to have other sources of +1/+1 counters.

For a Limited format with this it is not just a stalemate ending card, but one that can turn a stalemate into an overwhelming victory. The higher cost and dual colors prevents easy splashing, but in a Simic build this is a great first pick in Booster or Sealed for the top of the mana curve.

Constructed: 3.0
Casual: 4.0
Limited: 4.0
Multiplayer: 4.0


Michael Sokolowski

This card is experimental all right. Experimental in the sense that you want to experiment around with it to find the best and craziest combos you can make.

Even if you just look at the stats of the creature itself, it's not too shabby. 6 mana for a 4/6 is not too bad for a body, although the colour requirements are pretty intensive. But that's ok, you're really only going to play this in blue/green anyway. Even without crazy combos, putting a +1/+1 counter on a creature each turn can be useful in limited, even if too slow for most other formats. Simic certainly does love it's +1/+1 counters.

But you didn't play Experimental Kraj for a mediocre body and you didn't play it for a mere +1/+1 counter per turn. No, you played it to steal some cool activated abilities and go nuts with them! Note, activated abilities only. That means they need to have a : in them to indicate a cost and an effect. Something like "Tap: Deal 1 damage." or "3UU: Draw a card." You won't gain keywords like flying and hexproof, or triggered abilities like "When X enters the battlefield..." and all that.

So with that in mind, let's get our science on and see what experiments our Kraj friend here can really do.

A great card to combo him with is Gilder Bairn. You want to get an untap ability of some kind onto the Kraj for all sorts of shenanigans, and this one is better than most because it's in the right colours and actually combos incredibly well with all those +1/+1 counters you're throwing around. Cytoplast Manipulator is another card with a fun ability for the Kraj to steal. With just 4 mana you could put a +1/+1 counter on your opponent's creatures, untap to double them, and then steal said creature over to your side. Heck if you had enough mana, you could do that to every creature on the opponent's side of the field in the same turn.

There's also a very simple infinite mana combo you could do with Pila-Pala and something like Elvish Abberation or Viridian Joiner or heck even Fyndhorn Elder. And if you just want something direct like spending a bunch of blue mana to add a ton of +1/+1 counters to all of your creatures and make an unstoppable army, then you can give Experimental Kraj an even easier untap ability by taking one from Horseshoe Crab or Simic Ragworm or Soliton.

There are many, many more fun activated abilities you could find and have Experimental Kraj absorb for lots of good times. Dozens. Hundreds. Abilities that create tokens, abilities that deal damage, abilities that draw cards, abilities that gain life. You could even find some elaborate way to turn noncreature permanents into creatures and then absorb their activated abilities as well.

The very point of Experimental Kraj is indeed to experiment. To imagine the possibilities. See where it takes you.

Hopefully it will be to victory.

Constructed: 4
Casual: 4.5
Limited: 3.5
Multiplayer: 3.5


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