Griefer Madness, or: Going Full Timmy with Rakdos, Lord of Riots
Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 09:03PM
John de Jong in Gaming, MTG

A bit more than a year ago, I was flipping through looking for suggestions on what to do with my Grimgrin EDH deck. After all, Grimgrin is better in single-player matches, because it's a cheap piece of garbage that aims to infinite combo your opponent to death. There's got to be more than life than that.

No, I was looking for something new in my life. I was thinking of building a multiplayer-focused deck, and Cassidy McAuliffe’s Rakdos, Lord of Riots deck really caught my eye.

“Wow!”, I thought. “This is bananas!” I don't think that this is the sort of deck that I'd normally play. Of the three different player psychographics, I'm pretty squarely Aggro Spike. This deck, however. This deck appeals to the Timmy in me. You durdle for an uncountable number of turns, and then you get a damage source to stick around, Rakdos comes out, and then you ride the wave until he dies. There’s a visceral pleasure I get from sneaking some damage in and then casting huge creatures for next-to-no mana. Even better: this is a deck that rewards crappy strategy. If you're trying to milk every last bit of value out of your Rakdos, why not overextend and drop your entire hand?

What? I had to use a doge meme joke before it fell out of favour. I'm not too late, am I?

While I loved the concept, there were a couple of things about it that I wanted to improve:

1) I don't think it looks back far enough

Mr. McAuliffe said that this deck is a way to bring in new players and, as a result, would be made only with cards that are Modern-legal. First, he already broke his own rule by using Magmatic Force (which is from a Commander set and thus only legal in Legacy/Vintage/EDH). Second, I have no such qualms. Bring on the pre-8th Edition stuff! There are all sorts of great mana-fixers (Badlands, Bloodstained Mire), board wipes (Breaking Point), card-drawers (Browbeat, Wheel of Fortune), and tricksy enchantments (Sneak Attack) that could be stuffed into this deck. I say bring 'em on!

2) I don't think it looks forward enough

The article was written in September 2012, when Return to Ravnica had just come out. Theros added no fewer than two fantastic gods that work super-well in this deck. You’d be a fool to not add a couple of indestructible, synergistic creatures. In theory, I could use Hero's Downfall in this deck, too. I just haven't gotten around to buying a foil one yet (you'll see why I have this limitation later.)

3) I’m a bigger jerk than Cassidy McAuliffe

The people I play with pack some badass-bordering-on-broken decks (off the top of my head, there are Bruna, Child of Alara, Dralna, Eight-and-a-Half-Tails, Mimeoplasm, and Phenax decks that I really worry about).

When Mr. McAuliffe says, and I quote, “I do find it worth it to note that this would be an ideal place to slot Blightsteel Colossus or Ulamog the Infinite Gyre but my playgroup frowns on both poison and…well Ulamog”, I’m thinking to myself “I am probably the slowest deck in the match! I'd better use Ulamog and Kozilek, and hope to God that I can play them both in the same turn!"

4) I wanted more of an early game

I feel that Rakdos decks have a built-in tension to them. You need a certain number of small, cheap effects that can be used to bring out Rakdos. Short-term, one-shot, splashy spells aren’t as cool as persistent, similar effects.

For example, the original deck packed a trio of one-shot, pay-life-to-draw-cards sorceries: Sign in Blood, Night’s Whisper, and Ambition’s Cost. Wouldn’t it be preferable, and more in-line with what Rakdos is best at, to use creatures that effect card draw? Erebos, God of the Dead; Seizan, Perverter of Truth; and Baleful force are all over there in the corner making goo-goo eyes hoping they’d be noticed.

Also, if you are hoping to bring out Rakdos on turn 4 without acceleration, you’d better have stuff that you can play on turn 3 that will let you do that. Sorceries that do damage to your opponents have to be cast in the same turn you want to cast Rakdos. So dropping a Sizzle for 2R, in the hopes of casting Rakdos for BBRR, is something you may only get to do on turn 7. Why not just cast Onyx Goblet for 2B on turn 3, and then ping an opponent for 1 and then cast Rakdos on turn 4? Yeah, that's why this deck needs Bitterblossom something fierce.

5) It could probably use more mana acceleration

I've toyed with adding in the "super ramp suite" of Sol Ring, Mana Crypt, Mana Vault, Gilded Lotus, and Thran Dynamo. I haven't done this yet. I can't figure out what I would cut in order to make room. This deck could probably use it to great effect, what with the huge number of fatties it employs. I just feel like Rakdos would rather have me use cards that actually DO damage, so that he can come out and ramp into big creatures, rather than just ramping right away.

6) It was a fairly inexpensive deck to put together, and that just isn't right

Mr. McAuliffe said that there was “a bit of sticker shock on this one”. Because most of the Dear Azami articles are deck tune-ups, rather than entirely new decks, this deck inevitably costs more than what he normally suggests.

Building this deck, using whatever cards you can get a hold of and, yes, maybe even splashing out for a Badlands, should be a lot cheaper than building a competitive Standard deck, and certainly is cheaper than building a competitive Modern deck.

The problem is that I quickly fell in love with this deck, and fell in love with it hard. I //seek out// multiplayer EDH games, so that I have an excuse to use it instead of my Grimgrin deck. When you love something this much, you should prove your love by making it extravagant. I feel compelled to refer back to the episode of Walking the Planes I talked about before.

I quickly resolved to foil the thing out.

And, by God, I did it. It helped that I was selling off my Warhammer 40k stuff at the same time, so I could easily convert one addiction into another. It took a while to find everything. There are some cards that are pretty tricky to find in foil.

Even then, not every card in the deck is foil, mind you—there are cards that aren’t available in foil, like ones from Commander sets or from sets that predate premium cards. Maybe they’ll get Judge foils at some point. I pray that they'll get Judge foils at some point. And I really should get a black-bordered Badlands to replace the Revised one I'm currently using. (FBB Italian Revised is in the front-running, because "Malaterra" just sounds so great.)

Anyway, this is the Red Deck Wins of EDH, in my eyes. You either completely fail and can’t put anything together, or everything comes together and you get to do something ridiculous. It’s the RDW way! There is a visceral joy to casting a ridiculous creature for free, even if you end up dying as a result of being the prime threat.

Despite all that, I'm pretty sure my favourite card in this deck is Psychosis Crawler. It's a sleeper.

So, without further ado, here is the annotated deck/brag list:

7 Mountain (all foil)

6 Swamp (all foil)

1 Akoum Refuge (foil)

1 Badlands (not available in foil)

1 Blood Crypt (foil)

1 Bloodstained Mire (Judge foil)

1 Bojuka Bog (foil)

1 Command Tower (Judge foil)

1 Dragonskull Summit (foil)

1 Evolving Wilds (FNM foil)

1 Graven Cairns (foil)

1 Lavaclaw Reaches (foil)

1 Opal Palace (not available in foil)

1 Rakdos Carnarium (foil)

1 Rakdos Guildgate (foil)

1 Rupture Spire (foil)

1 Shivan Gorge (foil)
1 Spinerock Knoll (foil)

1 Stensia Bloodhall (foil)

1 Strip Mine (FTV: Exiled foil)
1 Temple of Malice (foil)

1 Terramorphic Expanse (foil)

1 Urborg Volcano (foil)

1 Kher Keep (foil)

1 Miren, the Moaning Well (foil)
1 Volrath’s Stronghold (not available in foil)

1 Darksteel Colossus (foil)

1 Duplicant (foil)
1 Platinum Emperion (foil)

1 Psychosis Crawler (foil)

1 Solemn Simulacrum (foil)

1 Artisan of Kozilek (FNM foil)

1 Baleful Force (not available in foil)

1 Bloodgift Demon (foil)

1 Bogardan Hellkite (FTV: Dragons foil)

1 Disciple of Bolas (foil)
1 Dread Cacodemon (not available in foil)

1 Inferno Titan (Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 foil)

1 Knollspine Dragon (foil)

1 Magmatic Force (not available in foil)

1 Murderous Redcap (FNM foil)

1 Pestilence Demon (Japanese Worldwake buy-a-box Foil)

1 Reiver Demon (foil)

1 Shriekmaw (foil)

1 Stigma Lasher (foil)

1 Erebos, God of the Dead (foil)
1 Kokusho, the Evening Star (FTV: Dragons foil)
1 Kozilek, Butcher of Truth (foil)

1 Lyzolda, the Blood Witch (foil)

1 Maga, Traitor to Mortals (foil)

1 Purphoros, God of the Forge (foil)
1 Rakdos, Lord of Riots (foil)
1 Seizan, Perverter of Truth (foil)

1 Tymaret, the Murder King (foil)

1 Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre (FTV: Legends foil)

1 Chromatic Lantern (foil)

1 Darksteel Ingot (foil)

1 Lightning Greaves (foil)

1 Oblivion Stone (foil)
1 Onyx Goblet (foil)

1 Rakdos Keyrune (foil)

1 Rakdos Signet (foil)

1 Staff of Nin (M13 Release Day foil)

1 Swiftfoot Boots (foil)

1 Vedalken Orrery (foil)

1 Bitterblossom (Judge foil)
1 Exquisite Blood (foil)

1 Goblin Assault (foil)

1 In the Web of War (foil)

1 Phyrexian Arena (foil)

1 Warstorm Surge (foil)

1 Bituminous Blast (foil)

1 Hideous End (foil)

1 Rakdos Charm (foil)

1 Sulfurous Blast (foil)

1 Volcanic Fallout (foil)

1 All is Dust (Grand Prix foil)

1 Breath of Darigaaz (foil)

1 Disaster Radius (foil)

1 Earthquake (foil)

1 Exsanguinate (foil)

1 Flamebreak (foil)

1 Molten Disaster (foil)

1 Plague Wind (foil)

1 Promise of Power (foil)

1 Reforge the Soul (foil)

1 Sizzle (foil)

1 Torrent of Souls (foil)

1 Wheel of Fortune (Judge foil)
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