I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: any deck that can accelerate out some sweet, sweet Stone Rain action is right up my alley. This deck looks like the shell of an R/G Land Destruction deck, but it doesn’t actually play any of the land destruction. Instead, you’ve got a different plan of attack.
You’re featuring the full playset of Madcap Experiments, and your plan A is to accelerate them out as quickly as possible. The Experiment requires you to play no artifacts in your deck other than Platinum Emperion, and the rewards for doing so are massive. For just 4 mana, you’re getting an 8/8 creature and not taking any more damage for as long as that creature stays on the battlefield. This means that it must be removed by the opponent before they can enact their game plan (against most decks) to actually beat you. When this works, it’s incredible. Against decks like Burn or Affinity, they may not have any outs besides chaining enough burn spells together to kill this thing, which is often unrealistic (especially when facing down an 8/8 creature that can start attacking). Against other decks, it may do very little.
One way to ensure that your Madcap Experiment plan goes off without a hitch is to get down an early Blood Moon. With the 1-mana acceleration, this deck is as capable as any in the format at getting down a turn-2 Moon, and you’re playing 4 copies to make sure that’s likely. This both gives you a way to slow down the opponent and turn off their answers to the Emperion. Cryptic Command might be a great answer to Emperion, but UUU isn’t easy to come by against an early Moon.
Arbor Elf and Utopia Sprawl are your main sources of acceleration, and they play perfectly together. A turn-1 Arbor Elf into turn-2 Sprawl gives you 4 mana on turn 2 and 6 or more mana on turn 3 if you hit your land drops. If that wasn’t enough, you also have a couple copies of Simian Spirit Guide to really go turbo. If they remove your turn-1 Elf, you can still play a turn-2 Moon, and this deck can get a turn-2 or -3 Platinum Emperion down consistently.
Sometimes you don’t draw the Madcap Experiment. I know, I know, but it happens. So you’ll need powerful plays to use your mana, and an early Chandra, Torch of Defiance is a fantastic threat. Not only can it take down their 2- or 3-drop creature early in the game, it can also provide a source of card advantage and damage to win the game. This is also one of your best ways to make sure that you can hard cast a Platinum Emperion, letting you play 3 copies in the main deck. You have ways to cast a turn-2 Chandra with Elf and Sprawl, and that’s actually enough for you to hard cast the Emperion on turn 3!
Your other creatures help to make sure that you can stay ahead on cards while protecting your life total. Courser of Kruphix can help provide extra land drops and a bit of life while giving you a solid blocker. Tireless Tracker can provide a steady source of card advantage and help make sure that you can stay ahead on the battlefield. This lets you continue hitting land drops to stay ahead of your opponents.
Faithless Looting certainly isn’t card advantage, but when you want to turbo out an Experiment, find an early Blood Moon, or need a threat in the middle stages of the game, this gets the job done. It’s also a way to discard extra mana sources or extra Emperions you don’t plan on hard casting.
The R/G Ponza/Land Destruction shell is a great way to accelerate out threats or lock the opponent down with Blood Moon. Whether you continue down the land destruction path or just get an 8/8 that shuts the opponent out is up to you!