Revel in Riches is Broken (in Multiplayer)

Feature Article from Bruce Richard
Bruce Richard
10/3/2017 11:01:00 AM
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How broken is Revel in Riches?

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 Revel in Riches
$0.98
$0.49
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I know that in 1v1 games, Revel of Riches is essentially a junk rare. A five-mana enchantment that offers an alternate win condition in at least three more turns is simply not playable. There are so many better cards to put into that slot that the card should rarely see play.

In spite of this, I ran it in my Prerelease deck. If ever there was a time to try a janky five-mana enchantment as your win condition, a Prerelease is it! And when you are blessed with two of them (and a Vraska's Contempt) in your Sealed pool, you really want to go for it! My deck was a series of cheap flyers, Sailor of Means, Prosperous Pirates, and two Prying Blades. My thought was to come out quickly and attempt to accumulate Treasure tokens with small flyers equipped to Prying Blade. I would accumulate Treasure tokens and hold Revel in Riches until the turn before I thought I could win, then drop it and try to ride to victory.

In virtually every game of the Prerelease, I was better off sacrificing the Treasure for mana to play more spells or at least play spells turns earlier. In one game, if Revel of Riches had been one of the creatures sitting in my sideboard, I probably would have won. But I did win one game with Treasure counters and it was glorious! Although if I'd thought about it, I probably could have won a turn sooner just using the counters to play another creature. So yeah, in 1v1, Revel of Riches is probably jank.

But let's talk multiplayer! In games with three opponents, Revel in Riches and a single mass removal spell should give you the win on your next upkeep! After my Prerelease experience, I immediately started considering decks with Revel of Riches.

It is easy to look at Black Market and slot Revel of Riches in its place, but that is doing a disservice to Revel of Riches. Black Market only produces black mana and adds counters whenever a creature, including your own, dies. Most decks with Black Market have ways to cycle their own cards so that Black Market gets huge based on your own creatures dying. Revel offers so much more. Between the colorful mana you can get or the artifacts that pile up on your side of the table, or just rolling big for the straight-up win, Revel and Black Market are more like cousins than the identical twins I had initially believed them to be.

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 Tombstone Stairwell
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$0.78
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When I think about cards that offer a benefit when my opponents' creatures die, I immediately think about my favorite four-mana enchantment, Tombstone Stairwell! The Stairwell is different from most cards since it wants to recheck the totals every turn. So many other cards take a snapshot and lock in the totals there. Many cards give you token creatures equal to something else in the game, at that point. Tombstone Stairwell looks at all graveyards on each person's upkeep and makes sure they have that many token creatures. Rather than pile up a huge number of token creatures, they die at the end of each turn. The numbers can change from one upkeep to the next.

While this is cool, the real power of Tombstone Stairwell lies with all the creatures that are dying. The tokens die at the end of each turn, so cards like Revel of Riches activate a lot, with minimal effort! If each of your opponents has only one creature in their graveyard and you have three opponents, then by the time your upkeep comes around, you'll have nine Treasure tokens! And this is with only one creature in each graveyard and assumes no creatures die! I'm betting you'll be able to find a way to get just one more creature into a graveyard to get the extra Treasure counter you'll need to get the win.

Prior to Revel in Riches, the deck won by getting a Tombstone Stairwell out with Vela the Night-Clad, Blood Artist, or Falkenrath Noble. The deck was running plenty of other cards that let me load up my graveyard. I'd then use the tokens I produced to fuel these cards to earn a victory. For this version, I pulled some of the cards that load my own graveyard, for cards that kill my opponent's creatures. When you realize you only need four cards in your opponent's graveyards to get the win, you really don't have to do much to make that happen naturally!

Finding Revel and Tombstone won't be that difficult, especially when you know you aren't really putting the whole thing together until your sixth turn or so. Also, you are just trying to get creature cards into graveyards, so combat and mass removal are options, but you can also choose a milling option, instead relying on putting your opponents' creatures directly from their libraries to their graveyards.

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 Lazav, Dimir Mastermind
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$1.14
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Revel in Riches has a completely different set of problems in Commander than 60-card. Instead of four out of 60 cards, you get one copy for 100 cards. The odds of pulling the card are dramatically reduced, so if you are going to build a deck around the card, you are going to want some amazing card draw and/or several ways to tutor for Revel in Riches. Black has plenty of tutor options that will find you Revel fairly quickly in most games. If you are going to build around it, though, you are also going to want to protect it or have ways to get it out of your graveyard, since it will definitely spend plenty of games sitting there otherwise.

I'm not one who loads his decks with tutors. I like my Commander decks to play differently every game, so I am reluctant to include cards that will allow me to find the same card again and again. I've done this in the past and found the deck to get pretty boring after a handful of games finding the same card and doing the same thing. So, for those of us reluctant to go the tutor route, we start looking at decks where Revel in Riches works well with the rest of the deck. Obviously, you start by going through your Commander decks that are running black and decide if Revel in Riches makes the cut. Does your deck get a benefit for having many artifacts in play? Does your deck destroy a lot of creatures? Does your deck try to ramp to get crazy big spells into play? Revel in Riches works for any decks that are looking to do one or more of those things.

This is where Lazav comes in. The deck started out using a lot of cards that milled my opponents' libraries. These cards tended to let me dump a lot of cards into their graveyards for a moderate cost, but left me vulnerable to a lot of what was happening on the board. I was already susceptible to opponents using their graveyards against me, and adding cards that didn't help my position on the board was proving to be a dangerous thing.

This lead me to shifting the deck to rely primarily on targeted removal to get creatures into graveyards. Using board wipes that include my creatures means that Lazav would also die and defeat the purpose of the deck. So, unless my creatures were spared, the removal was targeted.

Revel in Riches fits perfectly here. It offers mana for some of the larger spells in the deck. It helps cast a commander that can be tricky with two blue and two black in the casting cost. It provides an alternate win condition that can throw opponents off, especially if you can surprise them with the card at a point where they would have difficulty killing you off. Revel in Riches is beneficial in the deck as it also leaves the Treasure if someone destroys it, something Black Market doesn't do.

If you are looking for other places where Revel of Riches can star, look to the commanders that either benefit from or give a benefit to the card. While Yahenni, Undying Partisan and Sheoldred, Whispering One are both commanders whose decks will certainly fill graveyards. The Scorpion God will be another great option.

If you are looking beyond seeing your opponents' creatures piling up massive body counts, try some Esper commanders. There are plenty of artifact themes that can involve sacrificing artifacts to get bigger and better benefits. Breya, Etherium Sculptor is a powerful one that springs to mind!

Revel in Riches is no amazing cure-all for a decklist, particularly a Commander decklist. However, as part of the 99, Revel in Riches can be a solid addition to many decks with its multitude of artifacts and a card that demands immediate attention in games where players have foolishly used their removal on other cards! Revel in Riches offers explosive turns and wins that will come out of nowhere that you'll remember for a long time!

Bruce Richard
@manaburned




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