Hello everyone, I’m Literally a Ghost that Pushes Over Candles and this week we’re discussing another set of commanders. I’m talking, of course, about Riku and Riku, probably better known as Riku of Two Reflections. This wizard Riku wanted to study spellcraft and life magic but couldn’t decide which to spend his time mastering. With the use of an ancient illusionist’s spell, he split himself in two, allowing him to master both disciplines and thus, we are given the powerful mage of Shandalar, Riku of Two Reflections. So, without further ado, the decklist I’ve been working with:
Now, keep in mind, this deck is on the higher end of power level for my own environment, but due to a large selection of decks, I’m okay with having some end up at the top of the scale. I’ll discuss some changes you would want to make if this is a decklist you’d like for yourself, but choose to lower the power, or frustration, level of the deck.
Riku of Two Abilities
Riku’s card is relatively simple, offering you two triggered abilities. When you cast an instant or sorcery spell, you can pay one Red and one Blue to copy it and choose new targets for the copy. In addition, when a nontoken creature enters the battlefield under your control you can pay one Blue and one Green to create a token copy of it. He is a pretty unassuming creature stat-wise, he’s a five mana 2/2. A deck helmed by Riku means that you can build him as a value spell-slinger general, a value-centric creature general, or some measure in between. In fact, unlike some commanders that benefit you from choosing one half and focusing on that, such as Sylvia Brightspear and Korvath Brightflame, Riku rewards you on a card-by-card basis. The only underlying theme is that you want to make use of Green’s affinity for ramp, since you’ll want to play spells plus two additional mana to get the full value out of them.
Riku of Way More Than Two Lands
|1 x Birds of Paradise|
1 x Lotus Cobra
1 x Azusa, Lost but Seeking
1 x Courser of Kruphix
1 x Elvish Rejuvenator
1 x Tireless Tracker
1 x Oracle of Mul Daya
1 x Rampaging Baloths
1 x Avenger of Zendikar
1 x Omnath, Locus of Rage
1 x Nissa, Vital Force
|1 x Amulet of Vigor
1 x Utopia Sprawl
1 x Explore
1 x Farseek
1 x Izzet Signet
1 x Cultivate
1 x Kodama's Reach
1 x Skyshroud Claim
1 x Urban Evolution
1 x Gruul Turf
1 x Izzet Boilerworks
1 x Simic Growth Chamber
The first thing we need to talk about is getting to our big spells. Ramp is an important part of getting started with a deck like this. We’re not going to talk about them too in depth, I’m sure most of you reading this are familiar with a decent ramp base, but I will call them out in a table and talk about a couple of standouts.
Lotus Cobra — With multiple land drops and fetchlands, Lotus Cobra is a powerful ramp spell that people often overlook. Even just acting as a mana-dork, playing your land for the turn then using the mana produced by the Lotus Cobra, it turns out to be a fine, if slightly overcosted Birds of Paradise. The moment you start including extra land drops from Explore or Azusa, Lost but Seeking or using it to discount your ramp spells like Kodama’s Reach or make it entirely free like it was a blue spell from Urza’s in the case of Skyshroud Claim.
Azusa, Lost but Seeking, Courser of Kruphix, Oracle of Mul Daya, and Tatyova, Benthic Druid — Playing multiple lands is strong, but being able to play multiple lands off the top of your deck is ramp and card draw combined. You can’t get much stronger than that for utility. In addition, drawing cards off playing lands off the top of your deck is just too much value to handle. Decadent like dark chocolate.
Amulet of Vigor — This card is bonkers. Anyone that’s ever played against Amulet Bloom in Modern knows what it’s about and if you’ve faced down this card in commander, you might be familiar with it as well. Combining multiple land drops with untapping any of the lands that come into play tapped will skyrocket you forward. You can use it to extend the reach of your late-game lands by keeping a Karoo land, like Simic Growth Chamber, in hand and using your Azusa to replay it, untap it, tap it, then return it to hand (yes, just like how Amulet Bloom works!). If you have no other lands to play, you can get yourself an extra two (with Oracle) or four (with Azusa) mana than you’d have if you just played it.
Tireless Tracker — I am going to include cards that are ramp payoffs here too, such as this Innistrad denizen. Turning land drops into a vault of value, in the form of Clues, and working very well with being cloned, netting two Clues each land drop, is a lot for only three mana. It also isn’t something that can be ignored forever, as it gets larger each time you sacrifice a Clue.
Rampaging Baloths and Avenger of Zendikar — Game ending creatures that increase in power exponentially by cloning them with Riku, both of these are dangerous ramp payoffs. Once again, keeping a Karoo land in your grip, rather than letting it stay on the battlefield, can skyrocket you forward if you have multiple land plays. Play it, pick it up, repeat twice more and you’ve got three, or six with Riku, 4/4’s or a massive field of 3/4’s, or 6/7’s with Riku.
Riku of Triggered Abilities
|1 x Eternal Witness
1 x Reclamation Sage
1 x Acidic Slime
1 x Greenwarden of Murasa
1 x Molten Primordial
1 x Craterhoof Behemoth
1 x Maelstrom Wanderer
1 x Flameshadow Conjuring
Eternal Witness, Reclamation Sage, Acidic Slime, and Greenwarden of Murasa — Utility creatures that have enters-the-battlefield abilities are exactly the bread-and-butter of Riku decks. Regrowing two cards with E-Wit or Greenwarden or axing two Artifacts or Enchantments (or Lands), with Rec-Sage and Acidic Slime is exactly what Riku is built to do.
Molten Primordial and Craterhoof Behemoth — Ending the game is something else Riku can do well by simply cloning the right creatures. Molten Primordial is scary, but two can usually steal up enough creatures to knock one person out of the game, if not multiple. I don’t need to convince you of the power of Craterhoof Behemoth, especially not two of them. Six 2/2 creatures become 9/9’s, turning 12 damage into 54 damage plus Craterhoof’s 12 and setting up a kill or two from a harmless board state.
Flameshadow Conjuring — Similar in utility to Panharmonicon, Flameshadow Conjuring acts as half of Riku’s second ability. You get to duplicate a nontoken creature that entered the battlefield under your control, but instead of being permanent they gain haste then disappear at the end of turn. Still an amazingly powerful ability, especially if you can take advantage of having 3 of a creature, courtesy of Riku.
Riku of Passing to Himself
|1 x Hull Breach
1 x Regrowth
1 x Beast Within
1 x Chord of Calling
1 x Howl of the Horde
1 x Decimate
1 x Rite of Replication
1 x Slice in Twain
1 x Wild Ricochet
1 x Aether Gale
1 x Bribery
1 x Capture of Jingzhou
1 x Overwhelming Stampede
1 x Primal Command
1 x Shamanic Revelation
1 x Temporal Manipulation
1 x Time Warp
1 x Seasons Past
1 x Expropriate
Besides removal, which of course gets better if you can duplicate it, here are the other spells that Riku has in his arsenal.
Chord of Calling — The flexibility of spells like this is fantastic. You can search up one creature for the least investment, tutor up two creatures by copying Chord, tutor up one creature twice by copying the creature, or tutor up two creatures up to two times each by copying Chord and copying one or both of them. This means that you have a bunch of flexibility in the cost, and strength, of this spell.
Howl of the Horde — This spell is where things get nuts with Riku. Attacking with a single creature, even a throwaway like E-Wit, then casting Howl of the Horde copied into another spell is mana-intensive, but nearly always game-winning. You can get up to six copies of the same spell this way, and if you have the 10 mana necessary for using this and a Time Warp spell, well… “Pass to myself” is going to be the most used phrase of the game. Either that or curse words, up to your playgroup.
Bribery — Again, another spell that works flexibly with Chord of Calling. Grab one, grab two, grab one twice, grab two twice, and they don’t even need to be in the same deck between the two copies of Bribery. That’ll show your opponent for playing Blightsteel Colossus!
Capture of Jingzhou, Temporal Manipulation and Time Warp — Why yes, Portal did gift us with a third copy of the exact same spell. Sometimes you do what you much to get the most of a singleton deck. It’s the same reason why people play Kodama’s Reach and Cultivate, two versions of the (nearly) same spell. I say nearly because otherwise, someone will tweet me demanding I pay retribution for forgetting the Arcane subtype on Kodama’s Reach. So, these are the cards I understand if someone doesn’t want to include but they’re very fun to play with. Sometimes you get to the point where, if you pass back to your aggro friend, you won’t get another turn. So you start chaining together turn spells, earning them back with E-Wit or Greenwarden, looking for a way to end the game. It’s very fun to be in that situation like a chronomancer desperately grasping for more time before he unfreezes time and dies.
Seasons Past — A powerful, and underrated, card in its own right, Seasons Past is a great source of card advantage. Picking up 6 or more cards, including a land, or 12 or more with a Riku copy. This is another way to grab back your turn spells or grab back your removal or utility creatures.
Expropriate — Infamous doesn’t even begin to describe this spell. Even without being able to copy this spell, in a four-player game, the phrase “Time… or Money?” is enough to earn groans from everyone playing. It will always give you an extra turn, by allowing you to choose for yourself first, then usually grabbing a permanent owned by each of your opponents. Sometimes, of course, your opponents will choose Time instead of Money and seal the victory for you. It is very rarely right to choose Time. It also very rarely matters anyway. The blue Craterhoof, indeed.
Cards to Consider
Maelstrom Wanderer — While this legendary creature doesn’t play especially well with being copied, his ability does play well with the deck as a whole. Being able to get two free spells, or perhaps double-casting some of the spells you cascade into, is quite strong.
Sword of Light and Shadow — Once again, repeatable makes cards stronger in Commander. Being able to regrow your creatures, as well as protect Riku from the best-targetted removal in the game is powerful enough for an inclusion even with no other synergies.
Nissa, Vital Force — This card can be both flexible enough to regrow permanent cards, which is perfectly acceptable. However, if you can have her survive for a single turn-cycle, you can ult her the turn after, drawing you a card for each land played. The advantage this nets you can’t be understated.
Like I said, if you wanted to change the power level of the deck, remove the spells that give you an extra turn. Replace Capture of Jingzhou, Temporal Manipulation and Time Warp with other spells, or creatures, that you feel would be interesting! You could also focus more on creatures, adding in Panharmonicon and replacing Expropriate. You could also make Riku into a solo-spellslinger commander, using green to ramp yourself into the late-game then copying your spells. Cards like Thousand-Year Storm, Mizzix the Izmagnus and Primal Amulet.
Hello everyone, I’m Literally a Ghost that Pushes Over Candles and this week we’re discussing another set of commanders. I’m talking, of course, about Ri- Hang on. I feel like I’ve said this already… ugh, too many turns in a row. This deck is an absolute blast to play and has a massive sense of dread built into it. It’s a lot like playing against Scapeshift, there’s a measure of inevitability that you need to be aware of at all times.
So tell me, what did you think? Did I offer information you thought was helpful, raise some insights you might not have thought of, miss stuff you thought I should mention, or any other thoughts I didn’t call out? Leave a comment below to let me know, or you can haunt me directly on Twitter (@FrigglishTGhost) or spook my email (AMillionDifferentColors@Gmail.com).
Make sure you join me next week, where I’ll be talking about Ghave, Guru of Spores!
Until then, may the Spirit of EDH possess you with creativity.
— Literally a Ghost that Pushes Over Candles
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