Rakdos Aggro in T2

July 28, 2019

Emanuele Giusti

22 Years Old
Winner of GP Rimino 2008
Winner of GP Brussels 2010

More Posts (9)

Hi Everybody!

In my last article I talked about Modern and the dominance of Green/Black based decks. This time I want to talk about Standard:

Now that T2 no longer includes Innistrad, the direction the field is going is not yet fully apparent. The last three major events (PT Dublin – GP Louisville – GP Santiago), however, gave us an idea about the type of decks that we can expect to see in future tournaments.

I only participated in the PT in Dublin, finishing with a miserable 5-5 in constructed where I played Mono Red Aggro no Devotion (yes I’m crazy). This proved to be a bad choice because Mono Blue Devotion was prominent at the top tables and it always completely crushes Mono Red Aggro. After the superb performance of Mono Blue I expect it to become quite popular, hence, I wouldn’t recommend playing Mono Red Aggro in any major tournament (yes the match-up is terrible). Other decks also did well, such as Esper/Azorius Control, Grull Aggro, Rakdos Aggro, Boros Aggro, Mono Black.

In light of the results, for GP Vienna I started to test Rakdos Aggro because I think it’s a good choice against Mono Blue as well as other aggro and control decks. I tested my initial list against all the decks previously mentioned and have to say that the original choice of cards was very good as I only made two changes. I realized that I lacked removal against Mono Blue and aggro, so I preferred to cut one copy of Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch and one copy of Madcap Skills (which despite being strong if you start with two copies in your hand, you’re forced to mulligan). In their place I added two Ultimate Price to deal with cards such as Desecration Demon and Master of Waves (the only Mono Blue threat).

Rakdos Aggro by Emanuele Giusti


3 Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch
4 Mogis’s Marauder
4 Rakdos Cackler
4 Rakdos Shred-Freak
4 Spike Jester
1 Thrill-Kill Assassin
4 Tormented Hero
3 Xathrid Necromancer


2 Ultimate Price
2 Doom Blade
4 Lightning Strike
3 Madcap Skills


4 Blood Crypt
8 Mountain
10 Swamp


4 Thoughtseize
2 Burning Earth
2 Dreadbore
2 Erebos, God of the Dead
2 Mizzium Mortars
2 Whip of Erebos
1 Rakdos Guildgate


This deck is very aggressive, having a lot of cheap creatures with haste. However, the thing I like most about it is that post-sideboard you can actually play in the mid-game by increasing to 23 lands and siding in more static cards such as Erebos, God of the Dead, Whip of Erebos, Thoughtseize and additional removal. This will almost turn the deck into a midrange deck without losing its aggressive nature. This style of play suits me very much and I shall probably continue to test this deck.

Finally, I’ll summarize a sideboard plan against the various typical tournament archetypes:

Mono Blue

Side In: +4 Thoughtseize +2 Dreadbore

Side Out: -3 Xathrid Necromancer -3 Madcap Skills

Aggro Decks

Side In: +2 Dreadbore +2 Mizzium Mortars +2 Whip of Erebos

Side Out: -4 Rakdos Shred-Freak -2 Rakdos Cackler

Control Decks

Side In: +4 Thoughtseize +2 Dreadbore +2 Burning Earth +2 Erebos, God of the Dead +1 Rakdos Guildgate

Side Out: – 2 Doom Blade -2 Ultimate Price -3 Madcap Skills -4 Rakdos Cackler

Mono Black

Side In: +4 Thoughtseize +2 Dreadbore +2 Erebos, God of the Dead +1 Rakdos Guildgate

Side Out: – 2 Doom Blade -3 Madcap Skills -4 Mogis’s Marauder

Hope you enjoyed the read. See you in Vienna!


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