I hope you all had a spooky Halloween! It’s the season to be scary, so it’s a great time to revisit my Rainbow Lich deck. This past weekend, I took Rainbow Lich to a first-place finish at the SCG Standard Classic. Since then, the deck has kind of exploded online. I’ve seen a lot of different players take the deck for a spin in Magic Online and MTG Arena. The list I won with this past weekend is quite a bit different from the original list, so I’d like to talk about the newest, tournament-winning list.
Rainbow Lich | Guilds Standard | Ali
- Instants (14)
- 1 Chemister's Insight
- 1 Expansion // Explosion
- 2 Chance for Glory
- 3 Settle the Wreckage
- 3 Vraska's Contempt
- 4 Revitalize
- Lands (26)
- 1 Island
- 1 Plains
- 1 Swamp
- 1 Dragonskull Summit
- 1 Drowned Catacomb
- 1 Gateway Plaza
- 1 Sacred Foundry
- 1 Steam Vents
- 1 Sulfur Falls
- 1 Woodland Cemetery
- 2 Hinterland Harbor
- 2 Sunpetal Grove
- 2 Watery Grave
- 3 Overgrown Tomb
- 3 Temple Garden
- 4 Isolated Chapel
The biggest change from the original list was more Vraska's Contempts and no Assassin's Trophy. With Mono-Red playing Rekindling Phoenix and the emergence of Izzet Arclight Phoenix, we really needed more ways to exile creatures that didn’t care about Assassin's Trophy or Cleansing Nova. Vraska's Contempt did that while also hitting planeswalkers and gaining some extra life for the late game or to draw us two cards with a Lich's Mastery in play. Divination was just another way to draw some cards and it also filled the sorcery spot allowing The Mirari Conjecture to buy it back on the second chapter. Expansion // Explosion was a last-minute addition that I wanted to test for the event and it was awful for the most part. I’d highly suggest cutting the card, probably for the fourth Vraska's Contempt or a Cast Down. Expansion // Explosion was just too hard to cast in this deck and the payoff of a late game Explosion was not needed because you’re already comboing off and winning that late in the game.
You may have noticed that I cut two Chance for Glory. The reason for that is I opened too many hands with Chance for Glory or Lich's Mastery making my start bad. You also only need one Chance for Glory to combo off with the deck, and you can find one easily late game by drawing a ton of cards or grabbing it with Mastermind's Acquisition.
I stream on Mondays and Thursdays and both days I played some Rainbow Lich. I got a lot of the same questions about the deck so I’m going to answer them here as a source for anyone who asks in the future.
How was the deck born?
When I first saw Chance for Glory, I realized that it worked with Lich's Mastery, but I figured the deck was just too hard to make since we didn’t have all the shocklands. We also would need triple Black and then to cast Glory. I decided to try it on stream to just mess around since Chromatic Lantern was a card and easily allowed us to play whatever card we wanted. I added Mastermind's Acquisition and The Mirari Conjecture package from the Mirari deck I was playing last season that Gabriel Nassif originally created. I combined it with the Lich's Mastery deck I had made last season as well that used cards like Vraska's Contempt and Revitalize to buy time early on and then draw us cards later in the game. Chance for Glory being an instant and working so well with The Mirari Conjecture is what allowed the deck to work.
I played the deck on stream and lost the first handful of games and continued to tune the deck after each loss. Eventually we started winning a lot on stream, getting over seven wins in a row. At that point I realized that this deck had legs and continued to tune it from there for the metagame.
How does this deck work?
This question is asked a lot since the deck has literal zero win conditions in the main deck and that tends to make people scratch their heads. The deck tries to stall the game out by killing threats and gaining life until it can set up a Chance for Glory into Lich's Mastery. The preferred way to do this is to cast Chance for Glory at your opponent’s end step so you can stack two turns. On your first turn you play Lich's Mastery and then on your following turn you get to untap with Lich's Mastery and start gaining life or playing The Mirari Conjecture to get Chance for Glory and combo off. The deck can take infinite turns, after you have that established you usually just kill them with a Banefire that you grab with Mastermind's Acquisitionon a turn where The Mirari Conjecture has reached its third chapter.
How does the combo work?
The infinite turn combo requires a Lich's Mastery on the battlefield then Chance for Glory, two Mirari Conjectures, and a Nature's Spiral (gotten from Mastermind's Acquisition.) The Chance for Glory, Nature's Spiral, and one of The Mirari Conjectures can all be in the graveyard or your hand.
At that point you just play The Mirari Conjecture returning Chance for Glory and cast it. Next turn you get back Nature's Spiral for the The Mirari Conjecture reaching the second chapter. Use Nature's Spiral to get back the other Mirari Conjecture. Play the second Mirari Conjecture getting back Chance for Glory and cast it. On the following turn you will sacrifice one conjecture and get double spells and re-buy the Nature's Spiral from the other Mirari Conjecture hitting its second chapter. At that point you can play Nature's Spiral and get back Mirari Conjecture, play Conjecture getting back Chance for Glory, then casting Chance for Glory for two extra turns (because one of the conjectures reached the third chapter this turn.)
From that point you can stack a ton of extra turns. Eventually you’ll grab a Banefire from your Sideboard and kill them with a double cast Banefire (from a Mirari Conjecture reaching the third chapter.)
It sounds complicated, but after you do it a couple times it is easy.
Matchups // Sideboarding
This deck preys on midrange decks. You are very favored against them, but just because you are favored doesn’t mean you’ll just easily win. You will still need to pick the correct lines. Aggressive decks you are about even with, the play / draw tends to matter a lot in these matchups. Jeskai Control is by far the hardest. Not only does Cleansing Nova kill Lich's Mastery but Teferi tucks The Mirari Conjecture and you must fight through countermagic.
The deck has a transformational sideboard for these control decks where you take out wraths, Revitalize, Lich's Mastery, and Chance for Glory for everything in the Sideboard except Nature's Spiral and Deafening Clarion. If you want more on Sidebaording then read this article.
The Deck Must Adapt
As I mentioned earlier, I added Vraska's Contempt for the Phoenixes that started popping up. Now that Jeskai Control is also playing Crackling Drake, I don’t think Thief of Sanity is our best option. I’m going to test more Banefires, Unmoored Ego, and Sorcerous Spyglass to combat them and see what works best. This is what you’ll have to do to keep the deck win rate up.
Deck in Action
You can watch the deck in action on many different streamers' Twitch channels. You can also watch my past broadcasts and where I go with the deck by following my Twitch channel. I currently stream every Monday & Thursday from 7pm EST–10~pm EST. I will try to expand my schedule in the future.
Feel free to hop into my Twitch stream to ask any questions; I will answer them. You can also comment below, and I will try to get back to you in a timely manner.
As always, thanks for reading,
Follow me @AliEldrazi