This entry is part 4 of 12 in the series Let's Kill

Hayes Hayes here again. Today we are going to dissect Riku of Two Reflections.
Riku of Two Reflections

Riku has the best of three worlds. His green allows him to ramp along with the other ramp decks in EDH. His blue allows him to draw cards, flash, and counter spells. Red… well lets be honest, that’s just for Kiki-jiki, Mirror Breaker and the ability to copy spells.

Winding Canyons

While it is powerful to have all these abilities to Riku’s disposal, I think the most powerful aspect is flash. Cards like Teferi, Mage of zhalfir, winding canyon, alchemist’s refuge, leyline of anticipation and prophet of kruphix all allow the Riku player to spend his resources to the maximum potential. He does not have to lower his counterspell shield, which is especially important in a format where decks can seem to win from unwinnable positions.

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker

Besides the ability to manage his resources well, Riku has access to a range of combos. Most famous is the Kiki-jiki, mirror breaker plus pestermite / deceiver exarch combo. With two cards you can make infinite little creatures which all have haste.

Palinchron

Riku also has Palinchron, which partnered up with Riku’s copy creature ability can give access to netting additional mana after Palinchron’s triggered ability resolves and infinite Palinchron tokens without haste (bounce palinchron, play it again and copy it over and over.).

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind

Some Riku decks have gone so far as to include Niv-mizzet, the firemind combos where you draw your entire deck with cards like curiosity and ophidian eye and burn out your opponents.

To add insult to injury Tooth and Nail can find most of these combos and create such a dominating board state that opponents can’t come back after resolution.

Partnering alongside these powerful and easy to tutor/deploy combos are a host of solid midrange cards. Most of these cards are creatures with enter the battlefield effects like mystic snake or eternal witness. Supporting the value creatures are cards like birthing pod and crystal shard which allow you to tutor and recur effects. A cyclonic rift can be played each turn off a bouncing eternal witness with prophet of kruphix backup . With Riku out the cyclonic rift can be copied, making it that much harder for your opponents to lock you out with thier counterspell shields.

 Craterhoof Behemoth  Craterhoof Behemoth

That’s probably the most dangerous part of Riku. Without the recursion the deck would just be a good stuff RUG deck. But he has recursion, and it only costs two mana more to double craterhoof behemoth your opponents out of the game.

TarmogoyfDelver of SecretsLightning Bolt

People like to argue between whether Animar, soul of elements is better or not for the RUG family of colors. I think that Animar is faster and possibly more consistent than Riku. Animar can come out faster and grow and let other accelerating cards cost less. His protection from black and white prevent most of the kill spells in EDH from hitting him and allow him to poke opponents to death. The only advantage that I think Riku has over Animar is that Riku has a better late game than Animar. In EDH I think that the player who tries to win first is the player who gets all the disruption and counterspells thrown at them. Animar will usually fall into this trap. Riku has enough flash and recursion that Riku can starve out other decks in the late game with repeated counterspells and value critters. The decision really rests on how much blue is in your metagame.

How do we fight against Riku?

Topor orb is the first card that comes to mind. But that doesn’t stop other non-enter the battlefield creatures from doing work. Arcanis the Omnipotent is a house in the late game. A resolved Teferi doesn’t let you interact with Riku’s combos. Both these cards are tutorable at any point in the game because Riku has access to blue and green.

The main paths I think you have to focus when fighting against Riku is resource denial and political hijacking. Destroying lands is the best way to prevent a Riku player from casting seedborn muse and going crazy with winding canyons each turn. Likewise, if Riku doesn’t feel enough pressure and ramps into enough resources to survive into the late game the situation is equally as sticky. Riku does function as a midrange deck but it lacks strong creatures that can fight off the more aggressive creatures in EDH. Also a lack of wrath effects means that a Riku deck can be subject to getting swarmed. Counterspells usually stop this from happening.

I think its also important to recognize that being reactive in EDH can be punishing. If you spend turns where you don’t do anything waiting to counter a threat that wins the game and nothing happens you are wasting time. If you do counter spells, then you are wasting resources while other players at the table advance their positions. Perhaps the best way to beat Riku is to be proactive and win before Riku can win.

How do you fight against Riku?

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