Deck Tech: CloudVine with Eric Rill

Posted in Event Coverage on June 12, 2016

By Corbin Hosler

Legacy is a format defined by two things: the ability to play nearly any card from Magic's history, and playing the most powerful of those cards together. With the bar set so high, It's a format that is slow to change as many players enjoy playing with their tried-and-true deck to rise to the top. It's not that brewing up a new deck is impossible; it's just very difficult.

Don't tell that to Eric Rill.

Not content to play the Grixis Delver deck he's found success with in the past, Rill showed up to Grand Prix Columbus with a deck he had just one tournament of experience with but plenty of promise. And as Day 1 of the Grand Prix drew to a close, there was no doubt that Rill — putting himself in a position to make a run on Day 2 — was reaping the rewards of that decision.

“It all started because I've wanted to brew with Edric, Spymaster of Trest,” he explained. “It's a card that gives you something to do with your guys when you have a board full of them. Gaea's Cradle is a really powerful card, but it's only been played in Elves, so I wanted to do something else with it.”


Eric Rill took deckbuilding into his own hands for Grand Prix Columbus, and as Day 1 nears its end he's reaping the benefits.

His “CloudVine” deck, named after Cloud of Faeries and Vengevine, both of which are four-ofs,” certainly qualifies as something else. Featuring Intuition to fill the graveyard with Vengevine, Cloud of Faeries to untap Gaea's Cradle and a host of Legacy staples like Green Sun's Zenith, Force of Will and Brainstorm, Rill's deck combined the explosiveness of the format's green decks with the consistency provided by the blue cards.

“I played a version of it at a Star City Games event, and while I didn't cash I thought it was promising,” he explained. “Since then I did a bunch of thinking about the holes in the deck, and I think I've fixed its problems for this tournament. Shardless Agent and Cloud of Faeries have been the big ones. Cloud really does it all — it pitches to Force of Will and nets mana with Gaea's Cradle, allowing you to Zenith for eight for Craterhoof Behemoth.”

In a world filled with potent combo decks or dedicated creature decks, Rill's build is something of a hybrid. He can overwhelm opponents with a fast start backed up by Edric, or play the long game with Deathrite Shaman and Intuition. Force of Will provides a safety valve against the combo decks, and sideboarded hand disruption spells work to shore up those matches further.

There's also the invisible but very real benefit of surprising opponents.

“A lot of people just have no idea what I'm doing, so that helps,” he explained. “I've had opponents walk right into Force of Will because they didn't expect it from my deck.”

Playing a rogue and unknown deck certainly has its advantages, but it does come at a cost. The best decks in the format, after all, are the best decks for a reason — they've been tested and tuned over countless tournaments and run like well-oiled machines. In the fact of that, why not play a more established and proven deck?

Rill just shrugged.

“It's what I do,” he said with a laugh.

Eric Rill's CloudVine

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