Mechanically Minded - Epic
(Kruphix, God of Horizons | Art by Daarken)
An Epic Epic
Welcome back to Mechanically Minded, the article series where we pick a Magic mechanic and build an entire EDH deck around it (with the help of EDHREC, of course). This week, we’re going with Epic.
Some Magic mechanics are evergreen. They appear in every set, usually due to ample versatility. Other mechanics are deciduous, meaning they’re available for use in any expansion, though they don’t necessarily appear that frequently. Then there are those mechanics that appear on 15 or so cards in any given set.
Epic is not one of those mechanics.
Epic first appeared all the way back in 2005’s Saviors of Kamigawa. Opinions are definitely divided on this set. Some (me, for example) appreciate the flavor but can’t get over the insular mechanics and generally underpowered cards. Others (Luis Scott-Vargas, for example) absolutely love the set. No matter which side you land on, Epic probably wasn’t very high on your list.
The mechanic appears on only five cards in the history of the game. There’s one in each color. All are sorceries. Each costs between six and 10 mana. Here they are:
Needless to say, this is a unique mechanic. In fact, Magic guru Mark Rosewater has stated, “[Epic] might have the smallest design space of any named mechanic.” So really, how could we not build around this?
Choosing a Commander
As most players do, I start my EDH deck building process with the commander. Since we’re treating these five Epic sorceries sort of like our in-deck commanders, let’s start there. Of all five, I believe Eternal Dominion is most powerful.
For 10 mana upfront, and then for free for the rest of the game, on each turn you'll cast the best card in an opponent’s deck. Sounds epic to me!
The next most powerful Epic spell, in my opinion, is Endless Swarm.
This card floods the board with an inexorable supply of Snakes, which sounds both fun and powerful. Remember, our opponents can’t do anything to interact with an Epic spell once it resolves. So once we cast Endless Swarm, we’ll eventually build up enough Snakes to win the game.
To use these spells, we'll settle on green and blue as our primary colors. Let’s look for commanders that match them. I started by entering both Epic spells into the EDHREC search bar to see which commanders they were most often paired with. After a bit of searching, I came across this guy:
At over 1,500 decks, it’s safe to say that Kruphix, God of Horizons is a popular commander. I think he supports our strategy well for three reasons. First, banking excess mana allows us to ramp into our Epic spells more easily. Second, the no-hand-size clause means that our Endless Swarm could get even more out of control than ever before. Third, he’s indestructible. That means he’s far more likely to stick around after we cast our Epic spells.
The Core Cards
So we already know about these two…
What other cards support this strategy?
For starters, let’s see what EDH players most often play when they play these cards together. To do this, let’s visit Kruphix’s commander page, then go to the advanced filters. You’ll find them somewhere down here:
Next, enter "Endless Swarm" into the search bar. If we click the green plus icon, we can actually search multiple cards. So let’s add "Eternal Dominion" in there as well and start it up.
Kydele is already good. With her pal (and our commander) Kruphix out, she gets even better. All that colorless mana will build up in our mana pool and we'll save it to cast our Epic spells. Speaking of which, Personal Tutor is the perfect card to go find them. And finally Roil Elemental will be useful for reasons we'll cover in the next few sections.
Before we cast our Epic spell, our goal is to… cast our Epic spell. That means we need card draw, ramp, and tutors. Let’s begin with card draw.
As always, blue offers endless outstanding options. These are pulled from Kruphix’s signature cards list and there are plenty more. I’d also recommend Mind Spring, Urban Evolution, and Rhystic Study. The more cards we draw, the more likely we are to find our Epic spells.
For ramp, green gives us everything we could ever ask for.
In addition to the above, you can’t go wrong with Grow from the Ashes, Burgeoning, or Exploration. And, if you can swing the price, every green deck can use an Oracle of Mul Daya. The more we ramp, the faster we can cast those pricey Epic spells.
All these cards help us get our Epic on. But what do we do once we’ve cast one of those spells?
Though our Epic cards are extraordinarily powerful, they take a while to win the game. In the meantime, I’d like to continue to do stuff. We won’t be able to cast spells—but that doesn’t mean we’re left with nothing. Here are some cards to consider.
Progenitor Mimic is already a great card. It’s even better in this deck because it generates a copy of itself without needing to cast anything. Planar Bridge is normally too clunky to be effective, but post-Epic we won’t have anything else to spend mana on, anyway. Nissa, Steward of Elements offers the possibility of playing cards from the top of the deck or getting a big hit in with some flying lands. As an added bonus, she provides two mana toward Kruphix’s devotion count. Nice!
Speaking of planeswalkers…
When did this guy get so expensive? If you can afford Ugin, he’s extraordinarily powerful. And, being a planeswalker, he gives you something to do even when you can’t cast spells.
The Land Loophole
Lands aren’t cast, so we can play them even after we play an Epic spell. Therefore, we’ll want to come equipped with some strong lands. Take these, for example:
Our commander converts excess mana to colorless mana, which makes Mirrorpool’s extra abilities easier to activate. If you happen to have 14 or so mana (in this deck, it could happen) you can cast Eternal Dominion and copy it (but I’m pretty sure you can’t copy the subsequent copies). Alternatively, one can copy a creature, too. Dark Depths serves as an additional win condition (and a place to pump Kruphix’s extra mana). Finally, Maze of Ith is effectively a spell we can cast when we can’t cast spells.
Landfall cards work great here as well:
Who says casting spells wins games?
A Little Snake Support
Remember how Endless Swarm gives us Snakes? Then I think it’s worth splashing a hint of Snake tribal cards in here as well. Here are some of my favorites:
Seshiro amplifies the snowball effect because we have no maximum hand size. Kaseto is perfect for those games when we’re facing down a Ghostly Prison.
The Final List
Here it is!
The Real Epic Experiment
I have no idea how good (or bad) this deck is, but I really want to find out. Once I play it, I’ll report back. Or better yet, try it out yourself and let me know how it looks. Hope the result is epic!