[Archetype] Rakdos

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So there have been a few decks bouncing about now that spoiler season is nearly through and people are pretty psyched (for good reason) and looking to make some :R::B: decks to serve their demonic overlord.


Here I thought that we could combine some ideas and start making this viable, but to start with I'm going to break down a bit what I am expecting to see in these decks as they emerge.

Aggro is the most likely route for :R::B: to go, both colours have some solid low cost drops that are good at getting the damage through. Additionally, the Unleash mechanic makes defensive strategies difficult to justify and viable late game plans limited.

Granted, Rakdos's Return is a nice late game card, but it is limited in its peers.

Some staples that I expect to see recurring:
From RTR
Dreadbore - This card really speaks for itself, one of the strongest pieces of removal that I have seen in a long time
Rakdos Charm - Multipurpose anti recursion with potential finishing power against swarm decks
Rakdos's Return - Death and discard? I'm in love
Rakdos Keyrune - Coloured ramp and pops into a creature
Mizzium Mortars - Not Rakdos marked but DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANG 
Rakdos, Lord of Riots - 6/6 flying trample for 4 mana and all I have to do is do what this deck is meant to? Where do I sign??


From current standard
Falkenrath Aristocrat - Fast flying fun
Vampire Nighthawk - one of blacks best is back and i think could give late game possibilities to this deck
Bonfire of the damned - i can see this as a 2/2 split with Rakdos Return
Flames of the firebrand - Removal removal
Pillar of flame - Noone likes a zombie more than a tornado of fire



There are of course other cards that I can see being strong picks but those are the ones that I am expecting to see the most played, though likely not all in the same deck.

I think a deck like this could make a strong showing as it has the means to drop its finishing move on turn 4 regularly, and the speed and means to deal with delver. Zombies could be an issue but that is a bridge for stonger minds than mine
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Here is a rough idea I made in word pad for a Rakdos discard.dec. It looks really fun on paper, but I think it needs more creatures.

Creatures: 14

Guild Mage x2
Dreampipe Vermin x4
Ravenous Rats x4
Guttersnipe x 4

Spells: 22

Rakdos Charm x2
Duress x3
Shrieking Affliction x4
Slaughter Games x2
Dread bore x4
Return of Rakdos x3
Mind Rot x3
Havoc Festival x1

Other: 2
Liliana 3.0 x2

Lands: 22

I like that you made this an Archetype, because I feel like a lot of people are going to try and play these colors. Another card to consider for a 3-drop could be Hellhole Flailer, as opposed to Cryptborn Horror which is only good situationally.
Rakdos's Return is an awful card and you should never substitute it for Bonfire of the Damned or anything else.
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92827575 wrote:
57092228 wrote:
What's wrong with my formating?
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58280978 wrote:
Names that sam said were "the evil ones":
iamajellydonut glwiley kreewlin and every WizO
I fail to see how Rakdos' return is terrible. If you are playing red and black, you are getting the benefit of burning your opponent and emptying their hand.
I fail to see how Rakdos' return is terrible. If you are playing red and black, you are getting the benefit of burning your opponent and emptying their hand.


By the time you have enough mana to make Rakdos's Return profitable, their hand will most likely already be empty. If anything remains, it'll be one response card they've been holding onto and a land. Basically you're paying 1cc more for a Fireball that doesn't hit creatures.
lel♯ jenk♯ ∞


I'm the world's leading astrophysicist. You can trust me, because I said I was.
92827575 wrote:
57092228 wrote:
What's wrong with my formating?
you make paragraphs shorter than the page width
58280978 wrote:
Names that sam said were "the evil ones":
iamajellydonut glwiley kreewlin and every WizO
I fail to see how Rakdos' return is terrible. If you are playing red and black, you are getting the benefit of burning your opponent and emptying their hand.


By the time you have enough mana to make Rakdos's Return profitable, their hand will most likely already be empty. If anything remains, it'll be one response card they've been holding onto and a land. Basically you're paying 1cc more for a Fireball that doesn't hit creatures.



Depends on the match-up but yeah I agree with you. I would only run 2 or more only in some discardish deck as there are better options. However it is not a terrible card for a r/b deck; but in a aggressive standard most hands are empty. I think with this set many decks might slow down a little so this card might be better against those kinds of decks.
Ignoring that 83% of decks will lack a hand regardless of how the format slows, you are purportedly running a "discardish deck". 100% of decks should have zero hand.
lel♯ jenk♯ ∞


I'm the world's leading astrophysicist. You can trust me, because I said I was.
92827575 wrote:
57092228 wrote:
What's wrong with my formating?
you make paragraphs shorter than the page width
58280978 wrote:
Names that sam said were "the evil ones":
iamajellydonut glwiley kreewlin and every WizO
Rakdos' return is in my opinion way overhyped. It can be a gamechanger against controldecks if it goes through, which makes it an option, but for the most part its in my opinion not too good. Unlike its azorius counterpart (which for some reason is instant btw..), this is conditional card advantage. It assumes opponent has cards in his hand (and there arent any loxodon smiters there). 

As for the X part, the fact that it doesnt hit creatures is huge. I haven't used an X spell to finish opponent for ages.. I guess last time was when pyromancer ascension  was in standard and I finished my opponent with triple 7-point fireball.. I consider this a sideboard card against control atm at best. 


As for the Rakdos archetype, yes, I think its playable at least at an FNM-level. I will myself try to make a RDW-style rakdos deck in the coming weeks. Rakdos Must Win. 

The other option that Ive been thinking about is possibly adding blue and make a controllish deck based around olivia voldaren, akin to Chapin's old grixiscontrol template. Olivia gets much better now that stuff like phantasmal image and vapor snag are rotating and if delver is falling. 
 
"Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional." Proud member of the Rakdos guild
I think that this is sort of where I am at in terms of cards:




Can someone help me out here? I know the list isnt right I'm just not sure where to move forward right now 
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I think that this is sort of where I am at in terms of cards:




Can someone help me out here? I know the list isnt right I'm just not sure where to move forward right now 



Try this it features many less unplayables than your deck currently has although still quite a few.

[DECK]
Land
4 Blood Crypt
4 Dragonskull Summit
7 Swamp
6 Mountain

Creatures
4 Ash Zealot
4 Diregraf Ghoul
4 Hellhole Flailer
4 Rakdos Cackler
4 Rakdos Shred-Freak
3 Rakdos, Lord of Riots


Spells
4 Dreadbore
4 Pillar of Flame
4 Sign in Blood
4 Tragic Slip
[/DECK]

Seems fun for fnm anyway.

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I'll admit that forgetting Pillar of Flame was a mistake but I fail to see where Sign in Blood becomes appropriate for an aggressive deck?
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I'll admit that forgetting Pillar of Flame was a mistake but I fail to see where Sign in Blood becomes appropriate for an aggressive deck?



If you don't know why SiB is good in an aggressive deck then I can't really help you.

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If you would rather spend 2 mana gaining +1 card in hand than producing or removing a threat in an aggressive deck then I don't think that I can do much for you

(notice that I actually give at least a broad description for my position on the card in this deck rather than simply dismissing yours. This is called a descussion and it is how people develop their skills) 
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I actually agree with Cogminded here. You don't need 4 Sign in Bloods at all. Maybe 2 or 3, because you only really want it when topdecking. Sign in Blood has its uses, but I don't want it in my opening hand.
But Tormented Soul really is bad. Don't play that. And I don't like big Rakdos. He might be good, but I'm not sure I want to jump through hoops to swing for 6 on turn 5 assuming perfect mana, or if I'd rather have imperfect mana and be able to swing for 4 on turn 4.

Although its called a discussion, not a descussion.

(at)MrEnglish22

What's a better turn three play? Keyrune or Geralf's Messenger? 

I don't see how this is going to out tempo zombies. Lack of recurring threats makes this lackluster.  
I have not played with Tormented Soul much myself (only in a jokey deck that I built to annoy my friend by having nothing but unblockable creatures) however it seems to fit this decks requirements fairly well by being a card that isn't going to get chump blocked so that I can get Rakdos fairly reliably.

You say that Big Rakdos needs you to jump through hoops but in all honesty all you need to be doing to cast him as soon as your mana is fixed (should be fairly reliable on T5 in all honesty) is damaging your enemy, and surely an aggressive deck should be able to manage that. Is he going to be great? I cannot say. He is certainly an impressive looking card and the IDEA of being able to drop a 6/6 flying trampler on T4 does make me drool somewhat, especially since his requirements are "do what this deck does, and you can cast me". Be it from burn, combat or something like Blood Artist if a :R::B: cannot take 1 life away from an opponent at that stage you have no chance anyway.

And yeah, I tend to mess up typing on my phone a lot xD you would have thought that I would have learned to proofread by now . . . But apparently I'm not that clever. 
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I have not played with Tormented Soul much myself (only in a jokey deck that I built to annoy my friend by having nothing but unblockable creatures) however it seems to fit this decks requirements fairly well by being a card that isn't going to get chump blocked so that I can get Rakdos fairly reliably.

You say that Big Rakdos needs you to jump through hoops but in all honesty all you need to be doing to cast him as soon as your mana is fixed (should be fairly reliable on T5 in all honesty) is damaging your enemy, and surely an aggressive deck should be able to manage that. Is he going to be great? I cannot say. He is certainly an impressive looking card and the IDEA of being able to drop a 6/6 flying trampler on T4 does make me drool somewhat, especially since his requirements are "do what this deck does, and you can cast me". Be it from burn, combat or something like Blood Artist if a :R::B: cannot take 1 life away from an opponent at that stage you have no chance anyway.

And yeah, I tend to mess up typing on my phone a lot xD you would have thought that I would have learned to proofread by now . . . But apparently I'm not that clever. 



@ShadowChu - think that you are better using Messenger. Not a huge fan of the keyrunes outside of limited for the most part. But I really think that the best 3 drop for a non-black centric deck (this one) would be the 3-drop unleash guy that flings himself. And no, I will never learn his name.

Tormented Soul - look at it this way - you are using a suboptimal creature which is only going to be good in one situation (being able to turn on T4 Rakdos) but will be dissapointing in every other situation, but you cannot run fewer than 4 because otherwise you reduce the chances of the good situation and reduce the value of the card. However, having more of them reduces the value of the non-optimal sitautions which will occur, which also will be far less common.
Think about it this way - its T4, you've been curving out perfectly with land t1 unleash dude, land t2 haste dude, land t3 unleash dude, t4 land and your hand consists of a Rakdos and two removal spells that equal 4 or less mana. Would you rather kill their dudes and swing in, setting yourself up to kill them, or swing in, lose some dudes and cast Rakdos, MAYBE killing them? Sure, this is just one example, but there are a lot of situations where you won't want to cast Rakdos where you would cast Falkenrath Aristocrat if you had both.
Just because your aggro deck cannot take away their life doesn't mean that you have no chance. It could simply be a clogged board, or you beat them down to some very low life total and they cast Wrath of Taco Bell. What happens when you have Rakdos in hand? He sits, or you risk the game by swinging into a clogged board.  Aristocrat would give you another creature, more options (sac ability), or be a must answer threat for a control deck.

And you don't want to play Blood Artist in this sort of deck. There are far better cards that provide reach, and most decks in RtR standard won't run the Artist, because its best friend Mortarpod is retiring. I'd rather not be casting a spell that sets me up to win the game T4. I'd rather be killing my opponent T4, or activating the fling on 3-drop unleash guy.


I understand the phone typos. I'm not a fan of the formatting for the forums, and typos are a pain. 

(at)MrEnglish22

Some of the longer time members say that this is still technically the beta testing formatting for the site and has been for about 6 years i think they said xD I dont know myself but it feels like it at times.

And Blood artist was an example based off of some of the Rakdos Zombies lists that I have seen bouncing around.  I am not a fantastic aggro player, I tend to play midrange decks because they are usually more interesting but I like the feel of rakdos decks and that makes me want to try it. (the same applies to my use of Tormented Soul, I saw 1/1 unblockable for 1 mana and figured it sounded like a decent deal) 
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What's a better turn three play? Keyrune or Geralf's Messenger? 
 



We need to know the context really. In a vacuum, messenger is better, but keyrune doesn't lose to pillar of  flame or terminus etc.
"Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional." Proud member of the Rakdos guild
Plus Keyrune is always castable on T3 while Messenger may not be given the :B::B::B: casting cost
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@ShadowChu - think that you are better using Messenger. Not a huge fan of the keyrunes outside of limited for the most part. But I really think that the best 3 drop for a non-black centric deck (this one) would be the 3-drop unleash guy that flings himself. And no, I will never learn his name.


I meant my question to be rhetorical but yeah I agree with you. I think the keyrune might be okay in something more controlling. 

I also agree with your shtick about Blood Artist but two drops are pretty limited for this deck.  
p.s. There is zero reason to run less than four of Rakdos.

In the past, B/R has suffered the ill fate of losing every ****ing resource to themselves. In Avacyn/Ravnica, you are actually quite healthy on land and life. Rakdos should cap out your curve and end your game.
lel♯ jenk♯ ∞


I'm the world's leading astrophysicist. You can trust me, because I said I was.
92827575 wrote:
57092228 wrote:
What's wrong with my formating?
you make paragraphs shorter than the page width
58280978 wrote:
Names that sam said were "the evil ones":
iamajellydonut glwiley kreewlin and every WizO
We have enough two drops. Ash Zealot, Shread Freak, Highborn Ghoul is an option. only really need 8 two drops.

To illustrate the point, Ari Lax's premium article just came up on SCG, and it had this mono red deck:


Show

Maindeck:

Creatures
4 Ash Zealot
4 Rakdos Cackler
4 Rakdos Shred-Freak
3 Stonewright
4 Stromkirk Noble


Instants
4 Brimstone Volley
4 Searing Spear
4 Thunderbolt



Sorceries
4 Pillar of Flame
3 Wild Guess


Basic Lands
19 Mountain


Lands
3 Hellion Crucible



Feel like its a start, but you miss out on not playing other colors that give good options. That, and no Hellrider. This probably won't be a deck you want to play because of Thragtusk, but it is something to muse over. 

Given we can see a lot of the set now, I'm willing to put a decklist down on the record for a Rakdos aggro deck. Here we go:

Show

4 Rakdos Cackler
4 Stromkirk Noble
2 Stonewright
4 Rakdos Shread-Freak
3 Ash Zealot
4 Hellhouse Flailer
3 Splatter Thug
3 Falkenrath Aristocrat

3 Civic Saber

2 Ultimate Price
3 Searing Spear
2 Pillar of Flame

4 Dragonskull Summit
4 Blood Crypt
4 Swamp
11 Mountain 

Sideboard:
2 Dreadbore
3 Mizzium Mortars
2 Pillar of Flame 
2 Annihilating Fire
4 Knight of Infamy
2 Rakdos's Return


Not 100% sure about the sideboard, mainboard could use some shining, but this is probably what I would play if I had to tomorrow and had it all.
Splatter Thug is a 2/2 First Strike Unleash costed at 2R. He wins against Geralf's Messengers and is easier to cast. Enough said.
Civic Saber, for those of you who don't know it, is the Bonesplitter I've been referencing. Gives +1/+0 for each color the dude is, 1 CMC 1 equip.
The rest of the stuff has been referenced in this thread, I think, but its all for sale at SCG and searchable.

EDIT

p.s. There is zero reason to run less than four of Rakdos.

In the past, B/R has suffered the ill fate of losing every ****ing resource to themselves. In Avacyn/Ravnica, you are actually quite healthy on land and life. Rakdos should cap out your curve and end your game.



respectfully disagree. Like Aristocrat more. zero drawback, works with all these new juicy aggro humans, and zero hoops.


 

(at)MrEnglish22

Rakdos is a 4cc 6/6 flying trample. It will always be that. On the rare occasion that Rakdos fails to make an appearance, you're probably pretty 200% ****ed anyway.
lel♯ jenk♯ ∞


I'm the world's leading astrophysicist. You can trust me, because I said I was.
92827575 wrote:
57092228 wrote:
What's wrong with my formating?
you make paragraphs shorter than the page width
58280978 wrote:
Names that sam said were "the evil ones":
iamajellydonut glwiley kreewlin and every WizO
Here's the list I'm working with:

Show
Creatures: 24
Rakdos Cackler x4
Diregraf Ghoul x4
Ash Zealot x4
Geralf's Messenger x4
Falkenrath Aristocrat x3
Rakdos, Lord of Riots x3
Thundermaw Hellkite x2

Spells 14
Pillar of Flame x3
Searing Spear x4
Dreadbore x4
Flames of the Firebrand x3 

Artifacts: 2
Rakdos Keyrune x2

Lands: 20
Some combination of shocklands, corelands, and basics.


Zealot > Shredfreak
Ghoul > Noble mostly for meta reasons (lots of people playing zombies around me. I will test both Noble and Ghoul)
Geralf's Messenger might be interchangeable with Hellhole Flailer, I'll test it.
Thundermaw Hellkite might seem like an odd choice, but I feel like a lot of these Rakdos lists are missing a serious endgame condition other than Rakdos himself. Plus, with a Rakdos on the field, he's just 4 CMC!

I am considering Mizzium Mortars, but it looks a little gimmicky to me.

The only serious issue I see with this list as it stands is that Ash Zealot RR turn 2 and Geralf's Messenger BBB turn 3 might be a bit problematic. If it turns out to be an issue over and over again, I can switch out a few cards, etc etc.
Rakdos is a 4cc 6/6 flying trample. It will always be that.



Unless it happens to die or be Tamiyo'ed before it gets to attack. Something not happening that often with the aristocrat. Rakdos is also way more vulnerable to bounce (linked card is supposed to be cyclonic rift)

I wouldnt play with mortars at first unless it turns out that we really need mass removal. Id rather keep the removal as dreadbore+direct damage spells that can hit the opponent as well. At first Id rather play bonfire than mortars.  
"Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional." Proud member of the Rakdos guild
Rakdos is a 4cc 6/6 flying trample. It will always be that.



Unless it happens to die or be Tamiyo'ed before it gets to attack. Something not happening that often with the aristocrat. Rakdos is also way more vulnerable to bounce (linked card is supposed to be cyclonic rift)


But we have this problem with all of our threats. If all of your guys get killed when you're playing aggro you're not in a good spot. Getting Aristocrat or Rakdos isn't going to matter if you don't have any board pressence. 

But we have this problem with all of our threats. If all of your guys get killed when you're playing aggro you're not in a good spot. Getting Aristocrat or Rakdos isn't going to matter if you don't have any board pressence. 



But aristocrat will get that one hit  thru always. If its bounced in combat, you will  only lose one turn, whereas with rakdos you would lose the minimum of two (since it may not even be castable the second time). 
Aristocrat has a possibility to live through supreme verdict. It can hit tamiyo before being tamiyo'ed. etc.

Imagine you have had all your creatures killed and youre in topdeck mode.
a.) You topdeck Rakdos, lord of riots. Dammit.
b.) you topdeck Falkenrath aristocrat. Slam turn sideways.

Its all about figuring out the card that is useful in the highest number of possible situations.
"Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional." Proud member of the Rakdos guild
Two things:

1 - Pick between Zealot and Messeger. Both have replacements within RtR but you will almost never be able to play both in the same game on their fastest turns (yes it IS possible, but seriously the probability is not great)

2 - And Aristocrat dies to Thundermaw Hellkite and Lingering Souls whick rakdos doesnt

See how this works? 
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Everybody  is  free to play with the cards they want. I am just giving out my thoughts on the matter.
Do you have any other scenarios where Rakdos is better? Keeping in mind that casting him in the first place is conditional. 

ps. flames of the firebrand is a nice solution to lingering souls besides bonfire. Flames on the other hand is cheaper when you have it in your hand already. 

"Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional." Proud member of the Rakdos guild

But we have this problem with all of our threats. If all of your guys get killed when you're playing aggro you're not in a good spot. Getting Aristocrat or Rakdos isn't going to matter if you don't have any board pressence. 



But aristocrat will get that one hit  thru always. If its bounced in combat, you will  only lose one turn, whereas with rakdos you would lose the minimum of two (since it may not even be castable the second time). 
Aristocrat has a possibility to live through supreme verdict. It can hit tamiyo before being tamiyo'ed. etc.

Imagine you have had all your creatures killed and youre in topdeck mode.
a.) You topdeck Rakdos, lord of riots. Dammit.
b.) you topdeck Falkenrath aristocrat. Slam turn sideways.

Its all about figuring out the card that is useful in the highest number of possible situations.


Both have their downsides so you can hedge your bet and run two of each or you can go all in on one or the other. Enough disruption always destroys aggro. 
Cogminded, was that directed at me? If so, then alright, that's what I was thinking. I'm not sure which is more important - I'd say that replacing Zealot with Shredfreak is probably fine.
Yes Enigma it was, though it was also a general comment to anyone who was thinking about running this deck. Personally I'm thinking of going Zealot and 3cmcflingableunleasherwhosenameicantrememberorbebothereredtolookup

I think that running 2/2 would be my preference, I like both cards for different reasons. Falkenrath will come down easier, Rakdos is more likely to stick around when he is down.
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I'm thinking of going Zealot and 3cmcflingableunleasherwhosenameicantrememberorbebothereredtolookup



Hellhole flailer. Lets say it again all together now.

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"Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional." Proud member of the Rakdos guild
In all honesty, hellhole flailer sounds painful in ways that im not allowed to say on this forum . . .
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1 - Pick between Zealot and Messeger. Both have replacements within RtR but you will almost never be able to play both in the same game on their fastest turns (yes it IS possible, but seriously the probability is not great)


Why can't you run both? You have twelve sources that produce both black and red (assuming you're running Keyrunes. which you should be.), and more if you include the phenomenal Deathrite Shaman (though honestly there might not be many lands in the grave). Also, your statement seems a hyperbole that a game involving Rakdos shouldn't move past turn five (as, past turn five, you should reliably have every color mana in every amount). In reality, it should expect to on a very regular basis.

That being said, I don't feel like Ash Zealot is all that strong of a card and should, in general, be used sparingly. Mostly sideboard. Speaking of Deathrite Shaman, I feel Deathrite Shaman is a far, far stronger card in general and helps the curve out nicely.
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I'm the world's leading astrophysicist. You can trust me, because I said I was.
92827575 wrote:
57092228 wrote:
What's wrong with my formating?
you make paragraphs shorter than the page width
58280978 wrote:
Names that sam said were "the evil ones":
iamajellydonut glwiley kreewlin and every WizO
In all honesty, hellhole flailer sounds painful in ways that im not allowed to say on this forum . . .



Hahaha I've been thinking this as soon as it was... spoiled...

I found Carmen Sandiego before you were born unless you're Zlehtnoba.

1 - Pick between Zealot and Messeger. Both have replacements within RtR but you will almost never be able to play both in the same game on their fastest turns (yes it IS possible, but seriously the probability is not great)


Why can't you run both? You have twelve sources that produce both black and red (assuming you're running Keyrunes. which you should be.), and more if you include the phenomenal Deathrite Shaman (though honestly there might not be many lands in the grave). Also, your statement seems a hyperbole that a game involving Rakdos shouldn't move past turn five (as, past turn five, you should reliably have every color mana in every amount). In reality, it should expect to on a very regular basis.

That being said, I don't feel like Ash Zealot is all that strong of a card and should, in general, be used sparingly. Mostly sideboard. Speaking of Deathrite Shaman, I feel Deathrite Shaman is a far, far stronger card in general and helps the curve out nicely.


Shaman is not nearly aggressive enough for my deck. And Keyrunes are 3-drops... the issue is that having RR on turn 2 and the BBB on turn 3 is highly improbable. I'm not worried about dropping the messenger on turn 5 or 6, it's the curving out that matters to me.
Shaman is not nearly aggressive enough for my deck. And Keyrunes are 3-drops... the issue is that having RR on turn 2 and the BBB on turn 3 is highly improbable. I'm not worried about dropping the messenger on turn 5 or 6, it's the curving out that matters to me.


If you are going straight-for-the-butt-sligh, you will fail.
lel♯ jenk♯ ∞


I'm the world's leading astrophysicist. You can trust me, because I said I was.
92827575 wrote:
57092228 wrote:
What's wrong with my formating?
you make paragraphs shorter than the page width
58280978 wrote:
Names that sam said were "the evil ones":
iamajellydonut glwiley kreewlin and every WizO
Shaman is not nearly aggressive enough for my deck. And Keyrunes are 3-drops... the issue is that having RR on turn 2 and the BBB on turn 3 is highly improbable. I'm not worried about dropping the messenger on turn 5 or 6, it's the curving out that matters to me.


If you are going straight-for-the-butt-sligh, you will fail.


But my midgame is nowhere near sturdy enough for WG or anything...
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