As I have been saying everywhere anyone will listen to me for the past couple of weeks I am thoroughly excited by Return to Ravnica [Mythic] rare Rakdos’s Return.
Examples of such places:
- Returning Top 8 Magic Podcast
- Last week’s Top Decks on DailyMTG
- Last week’s Flores Friday on Star City Games
My current opinion is that the format is going to evolve — within a few weeks — where Rakdos’s Return becomes a major strategic tool in Standard. The tools we see right now seem like they will encourage a vector “up” in order to counteract a Level One vector “forward” (going bigger, eventually going over-the-top)… And I feel like Rakdos’s Return will make for a twofold potential over-the-top (regular decks do a bad job of interacting with big X-spells to the face) and a parity-breaker. If both players are just dumping dudes on the table or trading removal spells even a small amount of card advantage putting one into topdeck mode can help you into a great position of advantage (in particular if your deck is all two-for-one advantage cards to begin with).
Strategically, I think a critical mass of two-for-ones will be strong against blue control, give an edge against other creature decks by blunting beatdown, and in this case, Rakdos’s Return (the card at hand) can serve as a Mind Shatter or a finishing Blaze even when the opponent is empty.
I posted an earlier version of this deck on Flores Friday last week but once I saw the card Centaur Healer I knew I wanted to go in another direction. In particular, the curve of Centaur Healer into Huntmaster of the Fells into Thragtusk seemed like the dream disaster for attackers. And once you have white for Centaur Healer? Restoration Angel just seems like the most obvious tool in the world when you are playing a critical mass of 187 creatures.
The biggest shift I eventually resigned myself to was to cut Lotleth Troll — the most obvious card in the world for a creature deck that can make both black and green — to go mono-land-searching thug.
Here is my current build (which presumes a certain set of mana tools, and can therefore be impaired or improved depending on the reality of the format):
3 Abrupt Decay
4 Huntmaster of the Fells
4 Rakdos’s Return
4 Borderland Ranger
4 Gatecreeper Vine
4 Bonfire of the Damned
4 Blood Crypt
2 Gavony Township
4 Overgrown Tomb
1 Rakdos Guildgate
1 Selesnya Guildgate
1 Temple Garden
4 Centaur Healer
2 Slaughter Games
1 Acidic Slime
4 Pillar of Flame
1 Ray of Revelation
Gavony Township was Osyp Lebedowicz’s idea. I tried one, then two; and I kept cutting total lands… Turns out with all these Gatecreeper Vines and Borderland Rangers and Farseeks you don’t need to have a billion lands to act like you do. 23 is actually just fine, and the deck obviously mulligans well seeing as it has 8 cards main that go +1 card and actually fix your mana.
The sideboard is designed to either resolve Rakdos’s Return against blue control (soften them up with Duress or Slaughter Games) or go mono-beatown destroyer with 4 Pillar of Flame, 4 Centaur Healer, 4 Huntmaster of the Fells, and 4 Thragtusk. With Pillar of Flame containing Lotleth Troll, Gravecrawler, Geralf’s Messenger, and Strangleroot Geist; plus a chain of unending life gain (backed up by Restoration Angel) I feel like this deck should have some great beatdown defense tools.
I have been screwing around on MTGO with similar substitute cards (Sylvan Scrying for Gatecreeper Vine grabbing Elfhame Palace for instance) and the mana seems like it should work.
Just the first-ish pass
Don’t forget to buy TheOMG at Star City Games!