Welcome, ladies, gentlemen, friends! I’m Yamikarac, and this will be my first article for Rain Of Salt! And, what better way to start than a deck tech of my favourite deck, my baby, my go-to? That’s right, I’m talking about the wonderful world of Riku! Now, I’m gonna go ahead now and mention that this is most definitely my most competitive deck, and it isn’t quite where I want it to be yet (Everyone needs a budget, but I’ll get to my improvements and future goals later!). However with this in mind, the deck has a habit of creeping up and winning out of nowhere, especially if left unchecked! So if you will, allow me to bring you down the rabbit hole, and introduce you to the world of EDH combo!
So why Riku of Two Reflections?
- Blue/Red/Green is a great colour combination for combo, and Riku’s ability to copy spells and creatures will be key for getting out of sticky situations and winning games.
- You cast Riku, your opponents need to answer him immediately, unless they want to run the risk of generating infinite mana.
- Following on from the previous point, Riku goes infinite with Palinchron, and whilst that may be the secondary wincon of the deck, it is still extremely powerful and demands answering.
This deck wants to win, and win fast.
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Splinter Twin, going infinite with Bounding Krasis, Deceiver Exarch, Pestermite, or Zealous Conscripts, is the main way to win in this deck, generating infinite creatures by having the copy of your Kiki/Twin target untap the original, allowing you tap it again and create another copy, and repeat. This gives you infinite creatutres to attack with, but on the occasion that you can’t just attack your opponent (let’s say they have a Ghostly Prison) You also have infinite creatures entering the battlefield, each triggering Purphoros, God of the Forge, allowing you to decimate a table without even turning sideways (and Purphoros being indestructible makes it that little bit harder for your opponents to stop you!). This combo isn’t costly mana wise, and with the right draws and tutors, can be pulled off extremely early in the game, plus there a multiple cards with the same ability, giving you a back-up plan if somebody counters your first attempt!
However, sometimes the old Twin combo just isn’t enough: maybe your opponent has exiled both Splinter Twin and Kiki, and they get comfortable. You cant’t win without your combo, right? Unfortunately for them we also run Firemind’s foresight, allowing us to tutor for Lightning Bolt, Reset and Reiterate at instant speed, because who doesn’t want to win during their opponents turn?! Simply cast Reset in your opponents turn, and copy it with Reiterate. Make sure you buyback Reiterate, because as soon as the copy or Reset resolves, you’re going to be doing this again! Your opponents get to look on in horror as you generate infinite mana during their turn, before casting Lightning Bolt and reiterating that too. At this point you have enough mana to buyback reiterate and cast it again enough times that each other player at the table is getting bolted for enough to kill them again next game, as well!
“But! What if I want to generate infinite mana during my own turn, Yami?” Well, I’m glad you asked! Simply play Palinchron with your commander on board, using Riku to copy Palinchron, floating any excess mana in response to the Palinchron’s entry effect. You should now have enough mana to bounce the original Palinchron and cast it again, repeating this process until you have infinite mana. Now at this point you could use the Lightning Bolt/Reiterate combo again, but perhaps you want to try something different? Your opponents have an active infinite life gain loop? Good job we’re packing Stroke of Genius to make target opponent draw until they deck out! And thanks to Riku, you can copy it and hit 2 opponents at once!
And of course, back-up plans are everything in a combo deck, so we also pack Deadeye Navigator and Panharmonicon to go infinite with Palinchron, on the off chance you cant get Riku out!
Finding your combo pieces
Now, all these awesome combos are great, but what happens when you don’t draw them? Well I guess one option is to draw more cards, and this deck does that through the nose! Cards like Brainstorm, Anticipate and Impulse even let you choose what you want to draw (within reason) and Gitaxian Probe even lets you check the hand of the guy holding up double blue, to make sure you aren’t getting your combo countered!
But even better than drawing, tutors are one of my favourite things about this deck! I shuffle so much I had to buy the best sleeves I could find! Intuition is one of the best cards in this deck; You can tutor for 3 twin targets, and you’re guaranteed one! Or tutor for Kiki, Twin and Regrowth/Eternal Witness so you can bring back Twin/Kiki when your opponent says no!
Signal the clans works just as well when trying to find the twin targets, and Chord of Calling can find you Kiki whenever you want! A personal favourite of mine though, is Eldritch Evolution. You’ve got Riku on board, along side, lets say Eternal Witness. You cast Eldritch Evolution, copied with Riku, and tutor for Kiki and Exarch at the same time, and win on the spot! And handily, Mystical tutor can find you Eldritch Evolution (or any of the other creature tutors you might need) at instant speed too!
In addition to this, the tutors are also great for finding useful interaction when necessary, and thin out the deck, enabling you to streamline your draws (see ‘Why fetch lands are amazing’).
Now of course, any clever opponent is going to catch on quickly, and you might find your meta shifting towards counterspells and combo hate! Good job we run some interaction of our own! The classic, Counterspell, is a great all rounder for two mana, and for an extra mana, Hinder puts it on the bottom of their library so they can’t bring it back (and also looks gorgeous in full art promo form!). Muddle the Mixture is slightly less versatile in that it only stops instant and sorceries, but that’s usually all you need, and it can also be transmuted to find any other two cmc card in the deck, like Reset or Comet Storm! Nature’s claim stops your opponents lock pieces that normally hate on your combos (Winter Orb, Propaganda etc) and Beast Within gets rid of almost anything that’s in your way, at the small cost of a beast token!
One of the best cards in the interaction suite is, of course, Cyclonic Rift. Tutorable with Muddle the Mixture, this beauty can be overloaded to clear literally every threat on the board, without touching your own permanents. This is great if your opponents have a lock down, and can also be used to save yourself from the big angry green player that just cast Craterhoof Behemoth!
Now of course, the best way to get all these great cards out as fast as possible is to ramp. Rocks and dorks are dough on the bottom of the combo pizza, and allow you pull off ridiculous plays super early, whilst still having mana up to protect your combo pieces. Elvish Mystic/Llanowar Elves/Fyndhorn elves are great turn one mana producers that also act as board presence should that be required, and Birds of Paradise is like a Command Tower with wings! Sol Ring and Mana Vault are amazing, and should probably be in every edh deck that can afford them, and Chrome Mox is a lovely card that be any colour you want, whilst also bring the average cmc of the deck down! Of course the signets are just as useful, both producing mana and also allowing you to convert one colour into another when you need that extra red source for Kiki! In addition to this, Peregrine Drake untaps 5 lands and handily goes infinite with Deadeye Navigator, however Peregrine Drake is one of the cards on my ‘to go’ list, as Palinchron is more versatile, and I have better cards to put in the deck…
The land base is something I’m planning to improve (mostly with additional fetch lands), however whats important to note here is the number of dual lands and fetchable lands. You always want some basic lands to counteract a Back to Basics from the Grand Arbiter Augustin IV player (Naming no names, I’ll just leave this here) across the table, but at the same time, being able to crack a Wooded Foothills to find blue with your Breeding Pool is a fantastic feeling, and makes the fast combo win cons that more efficient. Being able to tutor the colour you need at the right time is equally as important as being able to tutor for your combo pieces! In addition to this, the speed of the deck is helped massively by the amount of lands that enter untapped (Swiftwater Cliffs is gone as soon as I order a Copperline Gorge!) especially as you want to be getting your combo pieces out super early, and Temples just don’t get the job done in this deck!
Reliquary Tower is a personal favourite inclusion of mine, as this deck likes to get stuff done at the right moment, and sometimes you just need to hold on to you hand. Sitting there with 10 cards in hand and all your mana untapped can make your opponents extremely uncomfortable, and you usually have the cards in hand to make their instincts right!
The game plan
So, I’ve run you through the deck (and most importantly the combos), but how exactly do you play the deck?
In your opening hand, you really want to be seeing two or three lands, a mana rock, and some interaction and tutor/draw. If you draw you opening hand and you arent playing something turn one or two, mulligan. You want to getting the engine started as soon as possible, even if its just a turn one Ponder, you’ve got the chance to shuffle! Fetch lands are fantastic early on, both for getting all your colours, and also thinning your deck out so you draw into those all-important win cons as soon as possible!
The sooner you can combo off, the better, but play it smart. If your opponent has left up the mana to counter your combo, make sure you leave enough mana to counter their counterspell! That, or wait till they tap out and then strike! Allowing your opponents to pick at each other whilst you quietly draw cards is a perfectly acceptable strategy: You’re planning to win on the spot, remember! Don’t draw unnecessary hate towards yourself.
Spend the first few turns drawing as much of your deck as possible, gather your combo pieces. If you’re going to tutor, make sure you do it with the intent to combo straight after; your opponents wont let you off that lightly, and could start playing around you if they know what you have in hand! (He once intuitioned for a twin piece turn 3 without any sort of backup. Beatings followed. – Unmistakable)
Ideally, this deck doesn’t allow for a ‘late game’ but in circumstance that the game does go on a while, your main goal is to counter the threats most likely to kill you, play the control game, and wait until one of your opponents messes up and gives the opportunity to combo off. The multiple combo options in the deck are here for if the game goes on for a while, you always have another way to win, and this means the slightest misplay from your opposition and you can steal the game!
Unsurprisingly, there are a few cards I would like to add (and remove) from the list before I will be completely happy with it! Swiftwater Cliffs, Flood Plain and Peregrine Drake are the easy picks to get rid of based off of experience with the deck, and I have a list of cards I need to buy in!
Ancient Tomb is effectively a Mana Crypt with ‘Land’ written on it. Entering untapped and tapping for two is incredible, and the small life cost means little when you’re winning that turn!
Copperline Gorge and Spirebluff Canal are both multicoloured lands that can enter untapped, and as mentioned before, speed is everything in a combo deck! With such a low land count, they will almost always enter untapped, too!
Pact of Negation is a free counterspell. I could have stopped there, but for context, you don’t need to pay that 5 mana on your next upkeep if you win during this turn, and Pact means you don’t even have to keep mana untapped to protect your combo!
Memory Jar is great way to restock your hand, find your combo pieces, and interrupt your opponents game plan for a turn!
Sensei’s Divining top, a card I have seen played by certain other players (No Comment. – Unmistakable) enough that I’m almost sick of it! However, there are no doubts in my mind that card is truly brilliant; The ability to constantly alter your next draw is amazing, and planning ahead in a deck like this one is a necessity if you want you combos to be successful!
Well there we have it! My personal favourite deck, broken down for you, the people of the magic community! I hope you’ve enjoyed my first article, feedback and suggestions are always welcome (on my deck and my writing style!) and I shall be back soon with a new and exciting series that is sure to inspire some of you budding deck brewers! But for now, thank you, your support is always appreciated, and bye for now from Yamikarac!