Evaluating Rakdos Cards

John Rolf

John Rolf

Introduction

Blood Crypt

Spoiler season is upon us, and the new set looks promising for two of my favorite colors: red and black. I’ll take a look at some cards in these colors that I think have potential and provide a sample decklist at the end. New cards are getting spoiled every day so who knows what other tools we might get! Let’s get started with what we have though!

《Skewer the Critics》

Skewer the Critics

More often than not this will be a 《Lightning Bolt》 in the decks this card is making it into, which is superb. 《Skewer》 seems great in the Frenzy Red style of decks as just another one mana deal three, but I can see it being played in other forms of red as well. Decks with this in it will be aggressive which hopefully mitigates the fact that it’s a sorcery and can cost three at times.

Lightning StrikeWizard's LightningRisk Factor
Sword-Point DiplomacyShockViashino Pyromancer

This card even opens up the door more for a RB Burn deck as we are approaching a critical mass of burn in Standard: 《Lightning Strike》, 《Wizard's Lightning》, 《Skewer the Critics》, 《Risk Factor》, 《Sword-Point Diplomacy》, 《Shock》, 《Viashino Pyromancer》.

《Gutterbones》

Gutterbones

《Gutterbones》 is similar to 《Dread Wanderer》. It will be valuable in black aggro decks as a one drop. Its ability to come back to hand provides resiliency to any deck it finds itself in. If we get any other sacrifice payoffs, it will be a card to keep in mind. It also combos nicely with the next card on the list: 《Fireblade Artist》.

《Gutterbones》 concerns me given how poorly it matches up against 《Wildgrowth Walker》 and Golgari (BG) in general – but cards like it have historically been good so I remain optimistic. Additionally, 《Gutterbones》 being able to block has significant upside against opposing aggressive strategies.

《Fireblade Artist》

Fireblade Artistv

《Fireblade Artist》 has been hard for me to evaluate. Historically a two mana 2/2 with Haste would be nothing to scoff at. Unfortunately, the power level and card selection available in Magic today makes me think this card is just slightly underpowered. There are some significant upsides based on the synergies it provides though (i.e. 《Gutterbones》) however it comes off to me as a lackluster constructed card.

It has some late game potential, but matches up very poorly against a lot of cards and can be blanked rather easily. I can see this card seeing some fringe play in dedicated Rakdos aggro, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

《Rix Maadi Reveler》

Rix Maadi Reveler

This is the card I am most excited about on the list. On paper, the flexibility it provides is incredible. The ability to draw three by paying “Spectacle”, draw one when you have no cards in hand, or even just run it out on turn two as a beater puts this card over the top. I love cards like this as they allow me to play cheap aggro cards and smooth out my draws. 1 for 1ing an aggro deck becomes less appealing when the aggro deck can create card advantage.

Risk FactorArclight Phoenix

This card gets even better with graveyard synergies like 《Risk Factor》 and 《Arclight Phoenix》. Its discard ability lets you play a more narrow set of cards without always getting punished. I expect to put this in my red decks and try touching black for its “Spectacle” ability with 《Dragonskull Summit》 and 《Blood Crypt》. I am very high on this card!

《Judith, the Scourge Diva》

Judith, the Scourge Diva

I see this as a 2-3 of in a creature-focused Rakdos deck. This card incentivizes you to construct your deck with a low curve in mind. When 《Judith》 hits the board, every creature you played prior threatens even more pressure. The less small guys you have the worse this will be. Its ability to pump your team is particularly devastating and I envision scenarios where a critical alpha attack will force the last few points of damage in against opponents. 《Judith》 will be good both on turn three and as a late game top deck if the shell around it is built correctly.

《Bedevil》

Bedevil

Likely a two of at best in most decks, but I could be wrong. Playing a three mana answer that doesn’t deal damage will probably be a liability in a hyper-aggressive deck. Another issue I see with 《Bedevil》 is that it doesn’t play well with 《Experimental Frenzy》 due to its casting cost and the lack of pressure it provides.

I wouldn’t be surprised if 《Bedevil》 finds a home in decks like Grixis Control and Midrange Rakdos variants. Having a clear answer to 《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》 is very nice. At a minimum, 《Bedevil》 will be a strong addition to many sideboards. I might be tempted to play a couple of them and worse case pitch them to 《Rix Maadi Reveler》 if they are dead.

《Spawn of Mayhem》

Spawn of Mayhem

Wow! This card is a powerful magic card. As a turn three play this is just excellent. The card drops off in value if you aren’t casting it on three but I expect this card to find a home fast. The sizing (4/4) on it is great, as it complements small creatures well, and the fact that it is mono-colored is excellent.

You’ll want to be beating down as hard as possible when you cast this. This is the type of card where timing it correctly is critical. 《Spawn of Mayhem》 demands an answer and will make it hard for your opponent to deal with it while also dealing with smaller guys.

The Decklist Which I Will Try Soon on MTG Arena!

Here is a brew I’ll be trying out in the Early Access Streaming event on MTG Arena (starting Jan 16th).

I’m also interested in just slotting 《Skewer the Critics》 and 《Rix Maadi Reveler》 into Wizards-Frenzy Red and seeing how they play! Let me know if you have any ideas for the Rakdos list and find me @JRolfMTG on Twitter and Twitch!

John Rolf@JRolfMTG

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John Rolf

John Rolf John Rolf is a pro player from United States. In the 2017-2018 season, He top8ed in Pro Tour Ixalan with his favorite 《Hazoret the Fervent》. Furthermore, he constantly left the good results in GPs and PTs, he finally reached Platinum Level from Bronze Level season starting and accomplished his first world championship appearance. With Brandon Ayers who is the teammate and best friend in the same town, he joined Hareruya Pros in the 2018-2019 season. Read more articles by John Rolf