Rakdos Midrange

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Creatures 17

2 Deathrite Shaman
3 Desecration Demon
4 Vampire Nighthawk
2 Skirsdag High Priest
4 Blood Artist
2 Bloodline Keeper / Lord of Lineage
 
Spells 19

4 Tragic Slip
4 Searing Spear
4 sign in blood
4 Mizzium Mortars
3 ultimate price

Artifacts 4 

4 Rakdos Keyrune

Lands 20

4 blood crypt
2 rakdos guildgate
4 dragonskull summit
4 woodland cemetery
4 swamp
2 mountain

Sideboard 15

3 Victim of Night
2 Slaughter Games
2 Pithing Needle
2 Underworld Connections
4 Pillar of Flame
2 Deathrite Shaman

This is a midrange deck ive been working on lately, I havn't play tested it in an FNM environment as of yet, but hope to do so tomorrow night; any advice on how to improve it would be greatly appreciated, please tell me what you guys think.

Note: please leave constructive criticism, having someone post "I don't like it" really doesn't help to improve the deck at all; if you do not like an aspect of the deck list please leave a reason why you feel that way.
I like this build. I've been wanting to see Skirsdag High Priest in a deck for a while now. I also really like the syngergy with Bloodline Keeper.

However, I feel that it lacks an early game. I was thinking maybe +4  Rakdos Cackler and +2 Vexing Devil. I would take out the Keyrunes and probably the Shamans (I agree, they're badass though).

Also

+1 Griselbrand!!!!!!!
I don't really like tragic slip.  I feel like it's too limited in application, and that you'd be better off without something that required morbid.  Dreadbore isn't a bad alternative, and it eases up your need for pithing needle in the sideboard. 

For a midrange deck, you're betting an awful lot on bloodline keeper and desecration demon.  I'd like to see something at the 5 slot - thundermaw hellkite is very good.  If you really want black creatures, bloodgift demon is about your only option.
yes, tragic slip is a bad card these days.  pillar seems far better

you need more lands, you can't get away with only 20.

that high preist seems bad in a deck that isn't all in on creatures like zombies.

that goes for blood artist too, artist is really, really terrible in this deck.

you need creatures that actually do somehting when you draw them.

i know you have a lot of 4 drops already, but you should be playing olivia voldaren, its better than both the ones you have listed.

you have a lot of removal, i'd shave some nubmer there for cards.  also, really needs rakdos's return.

i like duress more these days.


final point, how aren't you playing dreadbore???                

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Is budget a concern? Because Olivia Voldaren, Rakdos, Lord of Riots, Rakdos's Return and Dreadbore all want to be in this deck really badly.
I want to be Cultured.
I would like to thank everyone for their responses. I like tragic slip, but at the same time i kind of agree with the majority here it probably needs replacing, I would replace it with dreadbore but im kind of strapped for cash, I'm not sure there is really a good card to replace it with besides dreadbore; victim of night and ultimate price (the things I would replace it with) miss a lot of creatures in the current meta game.

olivia voldaren is someone I want to throw in the deck but I don't have any of them and budget sucks, I will try and get my hands on one to add to the deck. bloodgift demon in the 5mana slot is something ive toyed with in the past but threw it out for one reason or the other, either way im going to put it back in; thundermaw hellkite again no money to buy it, plus i like bloodgift demon more in the 5mana spot because ill always have enough black mana to support it and bloodgift demon provides a continual bonus. 

   As for griselbrand, I like him, but as the deck stands right now hes not got the mana support he will need, so in that regard im gunna bump up the lands to 23, and im also considering throwing in a few heartless summonings; I would go the rakdos, lord of riots way, but having to hurt the enemy to summon him really kills the card, I wish they had designed him differently.

I'm also gunna take out blood artist and skirsdag high priest they're good in the right deck but probably not for a deck like this, I am however keeping the deathrite shamans that card is amazing.

anyways lots to go over ill post an update of the deck list in a little bit, keep the suggestions coming.
ok heres the new list tell me what you guys think

Creatures 19

3 Desecration Demon
Vampire Nighthawk
2 Bloodline Keeper / Lord of Lineage
3 Bloodgift Demon
2 Olivia Voldaren
2 Carnival Hellsteed
1 Griselbrand
2 Disciple of Bolas
 
Spells 15

duress 
2 faithless looting
2 sign in blood
2 Mizzium Mortars
4 dreadbore
2 mutilate
2 rolling temblor

Enchantments 4 

4 Heartless summoning

Lands 22

4 blood crypt
rakdos guildgate
4 dragonskull summit
10 swamp


Ok heres the update, added a lot, im having trouble choosing between geralf's messenger and vampire nighthawk, I like the synergy that the messenger has with disciple of bolas, but he doesn't really get a bonus from heartless summoning. while the nighthawk doesn't get that much help from the summoning he does maintain his purpose in the deck which is to gain life through his lifelinking ability early in the game and later in the game holds off enemies with his deathtouch; honestly im leaning towards vampire nighthawk.

either way tell me what you guys think.

Edit: sticking with the nighthawks
There is nothing midrange about Griselbrand unless you are cheating him into play. 

You want to stock up on the cards you really want. 4 nighthawk, 4 Bloodgift Demon, 3 Olivia, then 2-4 bloodline keeper or 4 desecration demon. You don't need to play so many creatures and so many creatures you have to wait to cast. 
Yeah I agree with Shadowchu, Griselbrand would be fine as a 1 or 2 of finisher, but you need to steam line the deck more. Also, it really lacks an early game. I still think +2 Vexing Devil and +4 Rakdos Cackler would be good.
Yeah I agree with Shadowchu, Griselbrand would be fine as a 1 or 2 of finisher, but you need to steam line the deck more. Also, it really lacks an early game. I still think +2 Vexing Devil and +4 Rakdos Cackler would be good.



Vexing Devil is not good in a deck that wants to make it to the midgame.

Vexing Devil is not good in a deck that wants to make it to the midgame.



Truth.  If you want some 1-2 drops, I would suggest either stonewright or knight of infamy.  They're both aggressive early drops that can have a big impact on mid to late game.


Vexing Devil is not good in a deck that wants to make it to the midgame.



Truth.  If you want some 1-2 drops, I would suggest either stonewright or knight of infamy.  They're both aggressive early drops that can have a big impact on mid to late game.




I would add stonewright to the deck if I had to choose between those two but another problem occurs to me, that once heartless summoning hits the feild they are both going to die instantly, perhaps I could use Rix Maadi guildmage or deathrite shaman as the early game support, their not particularly strong from a body perspective but they can offer late game support and chump block early game rushes.

if I had to choose between Rix Maadi guildmage or deathrite shaman I'd go with the shaman because he can feed me life and hurt the enemy at the same time.

taking griselbrand out he probably costs too much from a mana perspective and a financial perspecive.

Edit: also taking out the 2 carnival hellsteeds, a 4/3 with first strike for 4 mana isn't all that impressive honestly gunna add 1 more desecration demon and 1 more bloodgift demon to replace it for now (not olivia voldaren because shes gunna break my wallet at 3 in the deck)

ok so heres what im changing to the deck

+ 1 vampire nighthawk
+ 2 deathrite shaman
+ 1 desecration demon
+ 1 bloodgift demon
 
-1 griselbrand
-2 duress
-2 carnival hellstee
I don't think that heartless summoning is right for this kind of deck.  The whole point of midrange is to play creatures that are bigger than your opponent's.  Why play a spell that lets you cast big creatures at a power and toughness equal to your oppoent's less powerful, less expensive creatures?  Unless you're getting a realy good deal on etb effects, I don't think it's worth it.
ok heres the new list tell me what you guys think

Creatures 20

2 deathrite shaman
Desecration Demon
Vampire Nighthawk
Bloodline Keeper / Lord of Lineage
4 Bloodgift Demon
Shimian Specter < --- only untill i can get my hands on 2 Olivia Voldarens
2 Disciple of Bolas
 
Spells 15

2 faithless looting
2 sign in blood
2 Mizzium Mortars
4 dreadbore
2 magmaquake
2 rolling temblor

Enchantments 4 

4 Heartless summoning

Lands 22

4 blood crypt
rakdos guildgate
4 dragonskull summit
4 woodland cemetery
swamp

Sideboard 15

2 Rolling Temblor
3 Rakdos Charm
4 Pillar of Flame
2 Slaughter Games
1 Deathrite Shaman
3 Victim of Night
 

heres a update on the list, I took out the mutilates and replaced them with magmaquake i like that magmaquake is an instant sweeper that i can name for X amount, plus i don't really have enough swamps to support mutilate properly

I also added 2 Shimian Specter in the place of the 2 olivia voldarens, I don't really have the budget to simply go an buy 2 of her for $40, im hoping the price on her will drop sometime in the future. replacing her right now is shimian specter because I think the idea of having a 1/1 flying memoricide at 2mana is enough of a threat that people will waste removal on it and if it hits i've basically castrated their decks

I've also added a sideboard this time around, I had 2 extra spaces so I put 2 slaughter games in it for those thragtusk decks. either way tell me what you guys think.
I don't think that heartless summoning is right for this kind of deck.  The whole point of midrange is to play creatures that are bigger than your opponent's.  Why play a spell that lets you cast big creatures at a power and toughness equal to your oppoent's less powerful, less expensive creatures?  Unless you're getting a realy good deal on etb effects, I don't think it's worth it.




heartless summoning is basically like having 2 mana dorks on the field at all times that can't be killed, unless the enemy uses an o-ringed or naturalized but on the enchantment; the only down side is that all your guys have -1/-1. Its like a form of mana ramping in a color that doesn't have mana ramping, besides sometimes using deathrite shaman's first ability.


well think about it this way


Turn 1: deathrite shaman
Turn 2: heartless summoning
Turn 3: bloodgift demon  
Turn 4: desecration demon + disciple of bolas draw 5 cards, gain 5 life, (+1 card, -1 life from bloodgift demon)
Turn 5: more bloodgift demons, desecration demons, olivia voldarens and any other 4 mana creatures at 2 mana a piece


 with 4 bloodgift demon, 2 disciple of bolas, 2 sign in blood and 2 faithless looting, im simply going to overwhelm them with medium sized creautres really fast, and if the board gets too crowded ill use a sweeper like mizzium mortars, rolling temblor or magmaquake and the best part is only 4 of the 20 creatures in the deck don't have flying so the boardwipe is normally a one sided thing.

I had my doubts about heartless summoning as well, but its really just one of those things you have to play with before you can see how truely powerful it is.

ive been considering adding 2 zealous conscripts to the deck where deathrite shaman is; I know I wouldn't have many early game plays after taking him out but I really like the idea of summoning zealous conscripts taking over a (insert big fat fattie here (thragtusk) ) then sacroficing it to a disciple of bolas all for 5 mana when heartless summoning is on the field.
Yeah I agree with Shadowchu, Griselbrand would be fine as a 1 or 2 of finisher, but you need to steam line the deck more. Also, it really lacks an early game. I still think +2 Vexing Devil and +4 Rakdos Cackler would be good.



See all that destruction? THAT's the early game. Midrange doesn't give a crap about the early game, you keep a lid on how many creatures they have and then drop bomb after bomb until you win. Vexing Devil and Rakdos Cackler have no place in this deck, for realsies.

I think you should cut Deathrite to the sideboard. He's ok here, but you have too many important cards that work against him. I like what you're doing with the deck though man. If you still have one or two Griselbrand knocking about, I think you could totally get away with him in here with the heartless summoning.

Speaking of which, do you find 4 too many? I would experiment with 3 personally, but I imagine Faithless Looting helps keep your hand from getting too stale.

And when payday comes I heartily recommend the Olivias be your first buy! They're INCREDIBLE, and the synergy with bloodline keeper makes them all the sweeter!
I want to be Cultured.
I have a Rakdos midrange deck too. Olivia is amazing, when you get an opportunity to trade for her (or buy her), do so. Faithless looting feels awkward in the deck... you don't really want to discard anything other than maybe excess lands or excess heartlesses.

Speaking of, how are Heartless Summonings running for you? I haven't tried them but have been curious about them. The plus side, Desecration Demon for BB is probably a really good feeling. The downside, Bloodline Keeper looks a lot worse IMO. I like Conscripts, I run 1 main and 1 side. I had a single Disciple of Bolas but every time I drew it I just wished it was some kind of threat... however I'm not running heartless summoning. Your conscripts dicsiple synergy is pretty cool!
Don't you want 4 Nighthawks?

Thundermaw Hellkite does seem good but I haven't found anyone willing to trade theirs away yet, so it remains just a dream

By the way, appetite for brains is my answer to Thragtusk until I get an Olivia out, and it is a pretty effective one.

Sorry the post is kinda all over the place.
That's a good point, appetite for brains is pretty damn solid in the side right now. Hits sweepers, every walker with one notable exception, Thragtusk...
I want to be Cultured.
That's a good point, appetite for brains is pretty damn solid in the side right now. Hits sweepers, every walker with one notable exception, Thragtusk...



you forgot tibalt, the fiend-blooded lol, poor red hes the joke of the community by now...

I think this type of deck needs 4 heartless summoning because if you don't get them you lose a LOT of momentium, running into them isn't so hard with 4 bloodgift demons, 2 sign in bloods, 2 disciple of bolas and 2 faithless lootings; the times when you don't run into them, is when your at a noticeable disadvantage, not unwinable, but a very noticeable disadvantage.

I also have faithless looting which stops multiple heartless summonings from being too big of a problem, primarily I like how i can always flash it back if I happen to run into an extra heartless summoning somewhere along the way; sometimes I use faithless looting while looking for heartless summoning and it sucks throwing away good guys, but I think the upside of it is too big to ignore.

I think the disciple of bolas is a good addition to the deck, besides a few times when I was mana flooded, when I drew him it meant that I had the ability to play all my guys in my hand then sac one of them, or one of theres using Zealous Conscripts, and keep steamrolling through any kind of guys they might have.

bloodline keeper even with heartless summoning out, is an amazing card, theres no way I would run less than 3 of him in this type of deck as it stands right now. He makes a constant stream of chump blockers and he can turn over and become a guy that buffs all my vamps for +2/+2 which happens pretty fast; on top of that you can use olivia voldaren's first ability to ping your own guys and turn them into vampires for the buff as well.

I would consider running 1 griselbrand but hes kind of hefty in the $$$ department right now, not that expensive but I also don't think he would be too useful in this deck simply because of the 8 mana cost, I think I would be better served with the guys ive got in there right now.


Anways thanks for the comments guys there all really helpful.
heres another update, i think this deck is almost done.

Creatures 19

Desecration Demon
Vampire Nighthawk
Bloodline Keeper / Lord of Lineage
4 Bloodgift Demon
Zealous Conscripts < --- ideally it would be 2 Olivia Voldarens and 2 zealous conscripts -1 ultimate price
2 Disciple of Bolas
 
Spells 15

2 faithless looting
2 sign in blood
Mizzium Mortars
4 dreadbore
ultimate price

Enchantments 4 

4 Heartless summoning

Lands 22

4 blood crypt
rakdos guildgate
4 dragonskull summit
4 woodland cemetery
swamp

Sideboard 15

3 Rolling Temblor
3 Rakdos Charm
3 Pillar of Flame
3 Deathrite Shaman
3 Victim of Night
 

I took out magmaquake it didn't live up to what I was hoping it would, i replaced them with 2 more mizzium mortars, I like how it can be a sweeper or a kill spell. Sideboarded 2 of the deathrite shamans, there good vs reanimator and turbofog (I guess), but not necisarily a maindeck option. put 3 rolling temblors on the sideboard they fit more for a zombie match up or perhaps a ramp match up with lots of little mana dorks; put 3 ultimate prices for more spot removal.


Ideally I would put 2 olivia voldarens in the deck take out 1 zealous conscripts and one ultimate price to make room for her, but I don't think I will get her anytime soon, I don't really know anyone for trades and I don't feel like shelling out $40+ for 2 of her. I'm going to look into putting appetite for brains somewhere in this list whether is be the sideboard or the main deck; ill get back to you guys on that later.
In regards to your mana base:

1. Why is Woodland Cemetery in? 

2. With 4x Blood Crypt and 4x Dragonskull Summit do you need any more mana fixing? The Rakdos Guildgate is going to slow you down.
In regards to your mana base:

1. Why is Woodland Cemetery in? 

2. With 4x Blood Crypt and 4x Dragonskull Summit do you need any more mana fixing? The Rakdos Guildgate is going to slow you down.



woodland cemeterys are in there because I wanted to use either of deathrite shamans abilities, but i get what your saying.... perhaps 3 rakdos charms is enough graveyard hate for this deck.

I put the rakdos guildgates because I wanted to always have 3 red mana availble by turn 6 or 7 in case I need to overload a mizzium mortars, I wasn't getting enough red mana fast enough when it wasn't in the deck; maybe I could just replace them with some mountains now I guess

ill take the 4 woodland cemeterys and 4 rakdos guildgates out and replace them with 6 swamps and 2 mountains

3 rakdos charms and 2 deathrite shamans is probably enough graveyard hate, ill also take out 1 deathrite shaman from the sideboard and replace it with 1 slaughter games, for when I run into thragtusks and other spells that might case problems. I still want 2 deathrite shamans in case I run into a deck weird deck that might want to turbofog me or something, being able to kill your oppenent through indirect damage is always a good thing to have.
ill take the 4 woodland cemeterys and 4 rakdos guildgates out and replace them with 6 swamps and 2 mountains

I missed that Deathrite Shaman has an ability that requires green mana. I would test with and without it.
its not that big of a deal, i was only using it to hurt reanimator decks and indirectly ping my enemy for 2 damage every turn, 3 rakdos charms should be sufficient to deal with reanimator decks.
If it's not hurting your mana, don't worry about it.  If it is, well then...
Tragic slip really doesn't do enough.  You aren't killing delver, and you don't have the sac outlets to reliably make it hard removal.

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