I hope you have been having a great Rakdos Day today!
I wanted to build a deck around Rakdos and his Many Minions.
Rakdos, the Showstopper is great at fueling a Commander build. I really want to give our new Demon Overlord a spin at the wheel of a new deck built around him.
The more creatures you have when he arrives that are one of his three tribes, the less likely you are to care that he arrives. It’s not hurting you, afterall!
And then, since I have a deck that uses Rakdos and his Hellbound Minions of Devils and Imps, I also wanted to invest this deck with a ton of flava’. Flava’ everywhere.
So let’s look with the decklist and then we’ll unpack it!
Rakdos Steals the Show | Commander | Abe Sargent
- Commander (1)
- 1 Rakdos, the Showstopper
- Creatures (28)
- 1 Abyssal Gatekeeper
- 1 Archfiend of Depravity
- 1 Archfiend of Despair
- 1 Blood Speaker
- 1 Bloodgift Demon
- 1 Cadaver Imp
- 1 Demonlord Belzenlok
- 1 Demon of Wailing Agonies
- 1 Hellrider
- 1 Hell's Caretaker
- 1 Kothophed, Soul Hoarder
- 1 Lord of the Void
- 1 Master of Cruelties
- 1 Ob Nixilis, the Fallen
- 1 Ob Nixilis, Unshackled
- 1 Overseer of the Damned
- 1 Priest of the Blood Rite
- 1 Rakdos, Lord of Riots
- 1 Razaketh, the Foulblooded
- 1 Reaper from the Abyss
- 1 Reiver Demon
- 1 Rune-Scarred Demon
- 1 Shadowborn Demon
- 1 Sin Prodder
- 1 Sower of Discord
- 1 Stinkweed Imp
- 1 Torch Fiend
- 1 Whisper, Blood Liturgist
- Sorceries (15)
- 1 Ambition's Cost
- 1 Bonfire of the Damned
- 1 Damnable Pact
- 1 Damnation
- 1 Demonfire
- 1 Demonic Tutor
- 1 Devil's Play
- 1 Diabolic Tutor
- 1 Dreadbore
- 1 Hellfire
- 1 Infernal Offering
- 1 Into the Maw of Hell
- 1 Promise of Power
- 1 Rakdos's Return
- 1 Torrent of Souls
- Enchantments (5)
- 1 Blood Rites
- 1 Curse of Bloodletting
- 1 Liliana's Contract
- 1 Rain of Gore
- 1 Rite of Belzenlok
- Artifacts (9)
- 1 Carnage Altar
- 1 Demonspine Whip
- 1 Elbrus, the Binding Blade
- 1 Fellwar Stone
- 1 Mana Crypt
- 1 Rakdos Riteknife
- 1 Rakdos Signet
- 1 Sol Ring
- 1 Tormentor's Trident
Here we go!
Now to start, I have a nice section of Demons. Demons everywhere!
I have Demons that like other Demons! Shadowborn Demon doesn’t want to feed on another Demon. Knock that crap off! He wants a quality soul-morsel to snack on. He also will feed on current stock you control unless you have a big enough larder to keep him satiated. Shadowborn Demon is the sort of guy I was looking toward for my deck.
We have lots of removal options in these two colors as anything not called “enchantment” on its type line is on notice for extinction. In addition to Rakdos, the Showstopper and this, we have a number of Demons that can kill stuff. While I didn’t run every single one ever printed, I did want to add in some of them!
Cards like the Archfiend of Depravity and Overseer of the Damned came to my mind. They slid into my deck as ways to keep creatures down, from different angles. Ditto Reaper from the Abyss and Reiver Demon who have strong anti-creature sympathies as well!
And I didn’t just lean on Demons for removal either. One of the most iconic tropes that Demons do in fantasy, myth, and MTG is that they will give you forbidden knowledge or power but at a very high price. That is tied into card drawing and similar effects.
Kothophed, Soul Hoarder is a good example of such a trope in action, although in this case, he encourages you to kill your opponent’s stuff so that you can get the knowledge while also paying a price. He encourages conflict by giving you “benefits” when you do, but never for anything other than a cost.
While one famous example of such a trope is banned (Griselbrand) there are many others out there!
Bloodgift Demon (jokingly called “Bro Demon” because he looks like he’s offering some beer at a frat party) is a good example of just such a body. He’ll net you some cards much like any Phyrexian Arena variant. In addition to Bro Demon, Demonlord Belzenlok can provide some serious card advantage. You’ll always get at least one card when he arrives, and you could get a lot more!
In the meantime, we have some cards that’ll search your library for the perfect card. Search away my friends! Search away!
Demons also have a history of playing havoc with folks, and we have Sower of Discord to turn your enemies against each other! It’s a great way of creating ways to encourage people to embrace their darker nature!
Speaking of bringing out your trapped Demon, I have two cards that can flip into Demons here:
I think the tropes here are obvious, but they are pretty cool, right? Right!
I have also given you ways to punish your foes! You can do extra damage to them or force them to lose a large amount of life if they dare to search their library for stuff.
I can also add in their Hellbound allies the Devils and Imps.
We have just a few of each. The problem is that most of them aren’t Commander quality. I could add in something like Fire Imp, Impetuous Devils, or Chaos Imps but those aren’t really adding a lot to the conversation. I wanted to use these as some of the lower spots on my curve so I could do things in the early game.
I also leaned heavily on other creatures that supported this theme. I didn’t add in cards that made mechanical sense but not flavor sense. Take Solemn Simulacrum as a perfect example. Mechanically? Perfect! Get land fetching for Rakdos. Give you a death trigger for when your leader arrives. It fits! It works! But it’s not on flavor, just on mechanics. Well I want something more!
Something like Hell's Caretaker. Now that’s on theme! There’s nothing here that doesn’t fit. Name? effect? Art? It’s all here. I just wish the ability could be used anytime! But it’s a strong card!
Abyssal Gatekeeper? The same! Great early drop to keep folks from swinging into I, and then you can destroy it when Rakdos arrives (with a 50% chance) to force everyone to sacrifice a dork, which means your foes will likely sacrifice something that just survive the coin flip! So sad! It’s both a mechanical and flavorful fit for this brew, as well as giving me another early body and something to sacrifice with Hell's Caretaker.
One trope I wanted to lean into is the idea of the dark sacrifice to summon a Demon From Beyond. We can see that in Westvale Abbey! But I wanted to see it in some other places too.
Check out these cards:
Both of these are amazing and evocative at the trope I just described. The Carnage Altar is the place of sacrifice and the Priest gives you a Demon. Note that the Priest can hurt you, so it makes an ideal sacrifice on the Altar to draw you a card or to Hell's Caretaker. That’s. So. Rakdos. You also won’t mind as your Priest dies to Rakdos’s ETB ability since the 5/5 Demon that you really care about won’t be bothered at all!
Whisper and Blood Rites plays into this theme as well.
I tried to include as many flavorful support cards as I could!
How could you not Bedevil someone?
We also have the idea of trading heavily for power in our cards as well!
I don’t think that Plunge into Darkness is looking just at dropping into a physically dark space. I think it’s more a ethical Plunge, as the mechanics of sacrificing dorks for life and/or Impulsing your library are both solid. It’s a nice response to an opposing mass removal spell if you have some dorks out and you can sacrifice 5 critters for 15 life, spend 4 or 5 to grab a card, and then keep going.
Demons can also get you a lot of help. Please note that the word Diabolic comes from “Devil” and is thus perfectly on theme.
I also have a handful of Demonic cards for your consideration that are outside the norm.
Here we go! Rain of Gore mentions in the flavor text that’s it’s Rakdos’s work, so it’s a favor fit. It’s also another entry in the punishing aspect of this deck. It does hose your life gain, but we don’t have that much out there, so it won’t matter. Note that Rain of Gore and Archfiend of Despair are a fun little combo! In a similar way, the Curse of Bloodletting is a “Demon’s mark” that has claimed the victim, so that also works perfectly here. Meanwhile Infernal Offering and the Trident are both solid additions.
Even my only planeswalkers were Devils and Demons!
These are certainly in our queue. I thought about adding in Liliana’s as she’s with a Demonic Pact, but ultimately chose to look elsewhere. These are good bodies that play nicely, and Tibalt is actually better than his rep and can be a strong early play.
Did you see it?
I am running a single Liliana card. It represents someone falling into the contract. See why?
Shoot, I’m even running Unholy Citadel! You are welcome Vorthoses! It can also be a Swamp and tap for B in this build.
And there is your Rakdos and flavor filled deck! I hope you enjoyed it. See anything in here that you like or that calls your name? Anything I missed? Just let me know!
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