Prepare for trouble. And make it double.
Inspired by Double Masters, I created a Riku of Two Reflections Commander deck with a doubling theme. This means going slightly off the beaten path with unique card choices to copy.
In this article about Battlebond, Magic product architect Gavin Verhey talks about examining cards through the lens of “twosieness.” This term refers to a card that has to do with the number two in some way. I’ve followed this rule of “twosieness” while choosing cards for this deck, too.
Let’s get into it. Are you ready?
I’ll say it again.
ARE YOU READY?
This deck’s goal is to maximize the benefits of creatures with great abilities or enters-the-battlefield effects. Similarly, we want to copy the most powerful and/or efficiently-costed spells possible. Ideally, you’re tapping out each turn to get two copies of a large spell!
Like many Commander decks, this one wants to ramp during the early game and use removal as needed while you build resources. But once Riku is on the battlefield, your ramp and removal spells pull double duty. With more mana available and more threats subdued, you can start focusing on winning the game – by doubling even more spells. Doubled card draw spells will provide a consistent flow of value, as each one draws you into each other.
Once you’ve put the pieces together, it’s time to win the game with big spells. You can spend the mana you’ve built up to draw more cards, create more creatures, or use a big “X” burn spell to finish off your opponents.
If you have Riku on the battlefield, plenty of mana, and cards in hand, you’re effectively moving at 2x speed. Say “two-daloo” to your opponents!
Creature Cards and Tokens
When you Ooze, they lose. That’s the saying, right?
In any case, Biogenic Ooze is a double-themed all-star. After it enters the battlefield and Riku copies it, you’ll have four 2/2 Oozes that each gain a counter at the end of the turn. Even better, Mitotic Slime is also an Ooze that splits itself into two, twice!
While you’re doubling creatures, instants, and sorceries, why not also double the damage with Fiendish Duo? Well, quadruple damage, actually, if you copy them!
If doubling something once with Riku wasn’t enough, you can use Spark Double to have two Riku’s! Or three, if you double the Spark Double (make sure you have enough mana to use each Riku’s copying effect).
If there’s any deck that can appreciate the power of twin legendaries, it’s this Riku deck. Paying five mana for two 4/3’s with haste and bushido 1 may not be the splashiest play in Commander, but it is one of the most thematic.
This deck also includes several familiar duos from Battlebond: the Kenrith twins and the Chakram and Weaver creature duos. Did you know that the Chakrams and Weavers have synergy with each other? Ley Weaver can tap to untap lands, and Chakram Retriever can untap a creature whenever you cast a spell. With Riku demanding a lot of mana, this synergy can help you do more in a turn.
Ramp and Card Draw
Keeping to our rule of “twosiness,” several of the ramp spells in this deck will help you find two lands. I’ve included Harrow, Cultivate, Kodama’s Reach, and Skyshroud Claim. One thing to note about Harrow: if you copy it with Riku, you won’t have to pay an additional cost to cast the copy. If you pay five mana and sacrifice just one land, you’ll get four untapped lands in return! You only go down one mana for the turn, so you can probably even cast another spell.
Riku’s ability to bypass the costs of copied spells opens up a lot of possibilities for card-draw. Normally, spells like Thrill of Possibility or Magmatic Insight are balanced with the additional cost; with Riku in play, you can cast the cards with no downside.
Drawn from Dreams is another powerful effect to copy, letting you dig through fourteen cards and pick four that you want! Mulldrifter provides you yet more value when you copy it, even when it’s evoked. And an extra Gush will put you ahead by four cards for little to no mana.
Removal and Protection
Riku can copy all kinds of spells, including some that will be bad news for your opponents. With Riku, you can hit two targets each with Divergent Transformations or Fall of the Titans. You can surprise your opponent’s flying army with two 7/7 Cloudthreshers with flash and reach, dealing 4 damage to all fliers. You can copy Force of Vigor or Acidic Slime to help fight artifacts or enchantments. (Acidic Slime can also get rid of problem lands and is synergistic with Biogenic Ooze.)
Volcanic Salvo should cost much less to cast due to all the doubled creatures you have. Dealing 6 damage to two Planeswalker targets is enough most games, but Riku ensures extra coverage.
If you find yourself needing protection from attacks, Portal Mage can help. If Riku copies Portal Mage, you can redirect two attackers at once. I’ve also included Propaganda in the deck to help discourage attacks; you can’t copy it with Riku, but it does play into the “twosieness” theme by forcing opponents to pay two mana per attacker. As you accumulate mana to get Riku onto the battlefield, Propaganda can ward off early opportunistic combat damage.
Sometimes, though, you just need to tap down an entire large army, and that’s where Cryptic Command comes in. This and another “choose two” modal spell, Atarka’s Command, are great at dealing with a variety of situations. Keep in mind, though, that if you copy a modal spell, the copy uses the same two modes as the first.
The two-mana equipment Lightning Greaves grants the two abilities – haste and shroud – to Riku to protect against removal. If it fits the theme of Double Masters, it certainly fits in this deck!
Doublers and Finishers
When building a Commander deck, it helps to have redundant cards for those situations when you can’t cast your commander. Even if you have Riku on the battlefield already, you can often benefit from making even more copies of key cards.
Double Vision and Twinning Staff give you more ways to copy your instants and sorceries. Many of the creatures in the deck have enter-the-battlefield effects, and Panharmonicon helps double those.
When Riku copies creatures or you cast a token-making spell, Parallel Lives and Doubling Season double those. Doubling Season also has synergy with Biogenic Ooze, Rowan Kenrith, and Will Kenrith. Both Planeswalkers would enter with twice as many loyalty counters, allowing you to activate their ultimates right away!
Feeling up for a spicy card inclusion? Jace, Cunning Castaway is an infinite combo with Doubling Season. With Doubling Season, Jace enters with double counters and can create self-copies right away. Those copies can then do the same. End this chain by creating infinite 2/2 Illusion tokens!
Savage Beating lets you either double your combat phases or grant double strike to your team. Entwine it and copy it with Riku, and you can attack three times with double-striking creatures!
Desolation Twin is a heavy hitter you can copy. Keep in mind that you can’t copy Desolation Twin’s cast trigger with Riku. So, while you can’t get four 10/10’s, three 10/10’s is still pretty good!
Lastly, there are a few more incredibly powerful thematic spells that you can consider including.
Time Stretch has a high mana cost, but your deck can ramp for a lot of mana. If you manage to copy this, four extra turns is immensely powerful and can end games.
Plow Under, meanwhile, can set back a player in top-deck mode for two turns! Copy it with Riku, and you can punish one player severely or split the pain among two opponents.
If you’re thinking about playing these spells, I highly recommend talking to your playgroup first and seeing how they feel about them. But if they’re on par with the power level of decks in your Commander group, these cards can super-charge your doubling strategy.
Putting Two and Two Together
Thanks for taking the time to read my two cents. Check out the full decklist on TappedOut.
Find any cards fitting the doubling theme that would be great for this deck? Let me know on Twitter!
‘Til next time, take care, and may you make your opponents see double.
Bradley is a co-host of a weekly Magic: The Gathering design podcast, Beacon of Creation. He was among the Top 101 contestants in Wizards of the Coast’s Great Designer Search 2. He enjoys crafting custom Magic product experiences, like Archfrenemies, and building Commander decks with creative constraints.