Rakdos Is Now the Best Aggro Deck In Standard

It took just one early stream, graciously offered by Wizards of the Coast, to make me, and my viewers, realize how broken Rakdos aggro and its spectacle mechanic are.

After trying some brews it was time to cast some powerful mythic rares, and it all started with Spawn of Mayhem! I already wrote about this card about two weeks ago, but now things are different. The full spoiler is out, and I have since realized the strength of another card: Judith, the Scourge Diva.

These cards are the heavy hitters, and the ones that will push your Rakdos aggro deck over the top by allowing you to win as early as turn 4.
I only played a handful of games (roughly 15) and already got four turn-4 kills. That’s impressive and shows the strength of the spectacle mechanic. Underpaying for your spells lets you really go over the top.

Rakdos Aggro

Let’s now get into some details:

1-Drops

Gutterbones and Fanatical Firebrand are the two pillars of the archetype.

The first is just a super efficient early threat that’s able to come back to fight again later. The combination with Fireblade Artist is real, and even if it chump-attacks/chump-blocks with a Judith, the Scourge Diva in play, having renewable creatures is always nice.

Fanatical Firebrand is just super efficient at killing Llanowar Elves (the other pillar of the format) and enables spectacle in the late game to utilize Rix Maadi Reveler.

The other 1-drop options are Diregraf Ghoul and Vicious Conquistador. The Vampire is better because it can chump-attack in the late game to enable spectacle, and can block a turn-1 Fanatical Firebrand/Vampire token.

2-Drops

I’ve already expressed my love for Rix Maadi Reveler, but I just recently discovered that if you play this for 2 mana with zero cards in hand that you simply draw a card, and that’s great paired with a 2/2 body.

I’ve cast Rix Maadi Reveler for its spectacle cost a bunch of times already, and it feels so good that I’m addicted to this card. I want to explore every single deck that can exploit it.

I wasn’t too high on Fireblade Artist, but the card has overperformed. The haste clause lets you get in for some early damage if the coast is clear, then once it’s not safe to attack anymore you can start throwing Goblins, or better yet Gutterbones. Paired with Gutterbones, this is a 3-mana Sulfuric Vortex in a deck that needs the reach.

While Goblin Instigator might seem a little out of place because its token doesn’t trigger Judith, the Scourge Diva, the fact that you are creating two bodies makes it so that you have more fodder for the Fireblade Artist and you are filling the board, so it’s easier to get in for spectacle.

3-Drops

Judith, the Scourge Diva and Spawn of Mayhem are fantastic—you want 4 copies of both.

It doesn’t matter that Judith is a legendary creature. If she sticks around you will win the game. Your opponent has to kill her or you will always attack into their creatures and make every combat a nightmare.

Judith lets your creatures jump 2 power levels, making your 1/1 trade with their 3/3. That’s just incredibly strong considering you’ll often find yourself fighting against large creatures from green decks.

Speaking of a way to beat large creatures from green decks, Spawn of Mayhem is the answer. A turn-3 Spawn is hard to keep up with if unanswered and will easily win the game by itself.

Spawn of Mayhem has just been phenomenal! It’s a 3-mana 4/4 flying, trample that enables spectacle in your first main phase and helps with Skewer the Critics and Rix Maadi Reveler.

Spells

While I saw some lists playing Bedevil, it’s out place here.

This deck needs to play burn spells, not removal spells. Yes, a Gruul Spellbreaker might be too big of a wall and you’ll wish you had a removal spell for it, but I don’t think this deck can afford to play cards that aren’t threats. You need your spells to deal damage and that’s why I included four Lightning Strike and four Skewer the Critics.

This Lightning Bolt is a sorcery, which seems like a big deal, but in reality you’ll often cast it in your turn, and while you might normally think that you’d cast this in your second main phase, thanks to Fireblade Artist and Spawn of Mayhem I found myself casting Skewer the Critics very often in my first main phase. I was able to clear some blockers for just 1 red mana.

I’ve been asked on stream to try Light up the Stage, and so I did, but I was not impressed with the card. Sure, it might help you hit your third or fourth land drop, but I don’t think it’s better than any of the burn spells, and I wouldn’t cut anything it.

The sideboard is mainly for control and green decks.

I know I want Lava Coils and maybe one copy of Bedevil to fight Steel Leaf Champion and Gruul Spellbreaker, but I’m not sure what’s the right number of Theater of Horrors and Experimental Frenzy to play.

While this is cheaper and it’s a nice mana sink, Experimental Frenzy is still the best mana sink out there. Unless you hit two lands in a row you can just cast your whole deck off of it.

Theater of Horrors, on the other hand, might help you hit your land drops, and it can come out one turn earlier and start doing its job against control decks.

I want to try this out, and I think it will be a good one, but I’m not sure if it can replace Experimental Frenzy.

I’ve been asked a lot about how good Turbo Fog will be in this new Standard. I’ve answered by killing people on turn 4 with Judith and Spawn of Mayhem.

I can’t wait to play more Rakdos! If you are an aggro lover, this is the deck for you.

Share this

Discussion

Scroll to Top