Every set in Magic’s history has one. You brewers out there know what I’m talking about: that one card in every expansion that looks like a winner. In fact, you know it’s a winner, but that hard part is figuring out how. These kinds of cards look great in the abstract; they have the right combination of powerful words, solid efficiency, and unique, landmark qualities that get everyone excited for it to see play.
Then it never does.
Kaladesh is not immune; one mythic rare hasn’t seen any play since its release, and it’s not for a lack of trying. Today’s card brims with power, but in the circles I run in, it’s yet to support a successful deck. In fact, I’ve seen (and been asked about) decks that are all trying to find a home with this card at the top.
Speaking of being at the top…
Yeah. Poor Rashmi.
Maelstrom Wanderer is a great card. In my Horde of Notions Commander deck, this is almost always what I search for with Flamekin Harbinger. You’re getting two cards out of your deck and onto the stack, and for twice the cost, but you do get them. Rashmi, Eternities Crafter is kind of like half a Maelstrom Wanderer, but it’s gotten nothing so far.
Rashmi, Eternities Crafter is a powerful mythic, and in a world with incremental advantage, casting free spells and drawing everything else seems like a great plan these days: survive the initial onslaught, draw and cast some free cards, live the dream.
However, this Elf Druid has an uphill battle. Blue and green aren’t exactly known for their ability to stop an aggressive deck and push back with the same level of mid-game. Removal has never been Simic’s friend. Moreover, Rashmi, Eternities Crafter is at its best when its casting spells, but this ability is relatively wasted on the many lands a deck might need to get where it’s going, meaning even after getting a vanilla 2/3 onto the battlefield, you may lose Rashmi, Eternities Crafter before she ever helps you cast one extra spell.
To combat this, we need to focus on her first dependent clause: “Whenever you cast your first spell each turn.” Rashmi, Eternities Crafter triggers anytime you cast a spell, so long as you haven’t cast any others this turn. This means instants and spells with flash gain a leg up, allowing you to get the trigger twice in a turn cycle. Further, this means that your untapped mana is much scarier. Now you could be hiding two powerful spells, some of which might break their normal timing rules.
Second, Rashmi, Eternities Crafter acts like cascade; as long as the spell costs less than the one before it, you can cast it for free. Even if you “miss,” you can draw it. Thus, it helps to have expensive spells, both so that any spell you hit can be cast and also so you can cram in much more powerful spells over the course of a turn. Casting a six-mana and a five-mana spell for six mana is better than a two-drop and a one-drop for two mana. Thankfully, this format offers us highly discounted spells that give us the best of both worlds.
Thanks for another great one, emerge!
Rashmi, Eternities Crafter works perfectly with emerge, sliding alongside two of three of its colors and giving those colors enough velocity to be intimidating. Rashmi lets you get all those cast triggers, too!
Black naturally pairs well with Rashmi, Eternities Crafter, and the instants in those colors lend themselves to making a big impact. I haven’t seen Sultai decks floating around much, but let’s give Rashmi a try!
- 3 Pilgrim's Eye
- 1 Catacomb Sifter
- 1 The Gitrog Monster
- 2 Wretched Gryff
- 2 Elder Deep-Fiend
- 1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
- 3 Grim Flayer
- 3 Foul Emissary
- 3 Rashmi, Eternities Crafter
- 2 Verdurous Gearhulk
- 1 Torrential Gearhulk
- 1 Noxious Gearhulk
Instead of sacrificing cost for flexibility, we want to pack as much power as we can in at a low cost. That way, should we trigger Rashmi, Eternities Crafter, we’ll cast whatever we hit and it’ll be worth it.
Foul Emissary helps us find the on-curve Rashmi, but it’s also able to drive the format’s strongest Vehicle, Smuggler’s Copter. When emerged, it replaces itself with a reasonable token. Pilgrim’s Eye can drive a Copter itself, or it can be emerged as well. It also slims the deck down to have fewer lands and fewer missed Rashmi, Eternities Crafter triggers. Grim Flayer has gotten a lot of airtime with the B/G Delirium decks floating around, but delirium is easier to reach with a considerable fleet of artifact creatures. Four Gearhulks fill in the bulk of the deck, and Verdurous Gearhulk, with its impressive sizing and five-mana cost, is the ruler of them all. Pump that Pilgrim’s Eye! Get sideways with a pumped Elder Deep-Fiend now that they’re tapped out! Lift your Rashmi, Eternities Crafter to combat readiness! Verdurous Gearhulk is exceptional at making one or more shrimps beefy.
One card I’ve been testing with and loving is Wretched Gryff.
While arguably the most boring emerge creature, it is still a seven-cost Eldrazi, meaning that it can hit every other non-Eldrazi card in the deck. The 3/4 sizing is relevant too, able to stop Smuggler’s Copter in its tracks. To even get through, you’ll be garnering a removal spell, and thanks to Wretched Gryff’s cast trigger, you’re already up a card. It’s tough to lose on that trade, and it’s low enough to cast for full price.
A couple of critical singletons round out the creature base. Catacomb Sifter has exactly the right text to make an emerge deck happy, and its scry trigger also helps you hit a solid Rashmi trigger. Rashmi’s cast trigger can go on the stack at the same time as the death trigger if you emerge a creature, and you can sift that land to the bottom. The Gitrog Monster is a huge beatstick, and it allows you to play those excess lands you draw and don’t need once emerge creatures are within range.
The spell list is reserved but important; the bread-and-butter spell of this deck is Grapple with the Past. If cast as an instant, you’re getting closer to delirium and likely drawing yourself an extra land or creature in the process. If you trigger it off Rashmi, Eternities Crafter, you’re literally crafting your hand for no extra mana. Remember how solid Dragonlord Ojutai’s trigger was?
Smuggler’s Copter, alongside the deck’s considerable draw power, has a lot of unique functionality in this deck, and it can be piloted by the deck’s simplest creature. Those creatures’ single power isn’t a disadvantage when they can fly a Copter. Murder is a better card for this deck than Grasp of Darkness, which is challenging to hit on time in a three-color deck. Murder also has more impressive triggers with Rashmi, Eternities Crafter. Pulse of Murasa and Liliana, the Last Hope give the deck some staying power, helping give another angle of attack, a potential out for a burn-oriented plan, and recovery of the ideal creature for the moment.
This deck, while sporting Rashmi, Eternities Crafter at the center, features mostly black and green cards with most of the blue mana relegated to emerge costs and the sideboard. I took time building this manabase to make sure that the colors balanced correctly; this is where I landed, and I’m very comfortable with it.
Sequestered Stash has tons of great targets in this deck, and it leverages both the flash spells and instants with Rashmi’s trigger. Emerging a spell means you cast it for very little, and if you have a Gearhulk in the graveyard, you can crack the Sequestered Stash, put the Gearhulk on top, and then resolve Rashmi’s trigger to cast the card of your choice!
This sideboard has proven, in one form or another, to be an exceptional plan against the format’s best decks. Natural State is still the best way to beat up a Smuggler’s Copter, and Fathom Feeder helps you on the ground and in the late-game. Distended Mindbinder is a shoo-in once one of your other spells proves its uselessness. Summary Dismissal is still an exceptionally exciting way to answer Emrakul, the Promised End. The other one-drops provide ancillary benefit in defensive and attrition matchups alike. I like that Kiora, Master of the Depths lets Smuggler’s Copter attack, untap, and block the next turn for a double loot.
I got to try this deck out at Tuesday Night event and jam a few games with it in a more casual setting. To be honest, the card quality was so high and the mana was surprisingly solid that I never had much trouble defeating most of my opponents, most of whom were playing B/G Delirium decks themselves. The blue made a big difference, and Rashmi, Eternities Crafter was not only relevant but a must-kill. Removal is not nearly as common or powerful as it once was, so good creatures don’t have to be as good.
This deck is actually great, though most of that can be attributed to the card quality. In reality, what Rashmi, Eternities Crafter really did is help me learn about some fringe players in the format, including Noxious Gearhulk and Sire of Stagnation, two cards that I’ve been realizing are very underplayed in their respective matchups. All 75 cards had a role in this deck, and this deck is FNM-ready. From a consistency perspective, the numbers felt very close to right. Maybe it’s SCG Tour-ready; try it and let me know!
Comments from Last Week
Readers like you had lots to say about last week’s article, “Filthy Brain Games!”
“Key to the City and Cathartic Reunion make Combustible Gearhulk and Metalwork Colossus feel the dirtiest with Refurbish. Cultivator’s Caravan into Skysoverign, Consul Flagship into Gearhulk/Colossus is groovy for when you can’t just refurbish out one of your monsters right away. In the build I was playing, Veteran Motorist and Loyal Companion made sure that I was doing something on turn 2 all the time. Companion is a great Wall that can get offensive.”
– Vinn the Human
“I definitely think the time to try out a deck based around a two-cost artifact is when the format is dominated by a different two-cost artifact that everyone is maindecking removal for. ;)”
– Damian Fielding
You’re harshing my buzz, Damian, but you’re probably right. There will be certain metagames where Brain in a Jar decks will be de facto unplayable. I don’t see a lot of Smuggler’s Copter hate in my local shop metagame, but it’s definitely something to be aware of if you’re taking it an event that counts.
“How about adding one or two Dynavolt Towers to the deck as an alternative win condition?” – Marcus Lin Ying Sheng
Marcus, I think you’re on to something. Brain in a Jar and Dynavolt Tower have a lot to be said to be played together. I’m picturing it in a Grixis build with cards like Live Fast and Die Young. Those cards get considerably better at instant speed, and Glimmer of Genius is a great spell to cast for two mana. You could still play Glint-Nest Crane to help you find the pieces, too!
While today’s deck is one I’d easily endorse, it’s not incorrect to say that Rashmi, Eternities Crafter continues to baffle deckbuilders. Have you found a way to make the Crafter playable? Maybe there’s some Modern play in it using cards like Commandeer and Allosaurus Rider?