Brewing with J-Hump

Hello all! My name is Josh, but people like to call me J-Hump. I enjoy playing Magic competitively but sometimes, especially in environments like FNM, it’s a lot more fun to take a brew and see what it can do. I’ll admit that most of my Ideas would never be super competitive at an Open or any legit tournament but they are usually fun, or at least flavorful. I want to start this serious as a way to force myself to make these decks I always talk about. A few of the decks I’ve played back in the day include, Door to Nothingness (which played primordial hydras, boundless realms, and some artifact dolls), a burn deck (with Reverberate, Thunderous Wrath, and Curse of Bloodletting; and yes I did do 20 points in 1 turn once with the miracle Wrath) and many others.
Today I want to talk about Rakdos, Lord of Riots. I like to call the deck Rakdos’s Return, though many argue for him to return he would have had to be there.

Rakdos's Return

Creatures (17)
Lifebane Zombie
Desecration Demon
Rakdos, Lord of Riots
Mogis, God of Slaughter
Erebos, God of the Dead
Underworld Cerberus

Planeswalker (2)
Chandra, Pyromaster

Spells (17)
Thoughtseize
Mizzium Mortars
Dreadbore
Ultimate Price
Doom Blade
Hero’s Downfall
Rakdos’s Return
Whip of Erebos
Rakdos Keyrune
Lands (24)
Blood Crypt
Temple of Malice
10 Swamp
Mountain

Sideboard (15)
Anger of the Gods
Ratchet Bomb
Underworld Connections
Duress
Dark Betrayal
Rakdos’s Return
Sire of Insanity

The goal of the deck is to get Rakdos into play with a Chandra or Lifebane zombie, while providing a ton of removal. Once you get in with Rakdos, you can drop your Cerberus and Desecration demons for cheap. Thinks of this more like a Big Rakdos beatdown.

One of the main things I like to do with my brews is “Live the Dream” if you will. You know Magic Christmas Land. It’s the thing that if you accomplish it you’re happy, win or lose. Well this is the dream in this deck:

T3: Lifebane Zombie
T4: Swing for 3 -> Rakdos, Lord of Riots
T5: Swing for 3-9 -> Play 2 of (Mogis, Desecration Demon, Underworld Cerberus, etc)
T6: Profit?

I played this deck at FNM, and let me tell you. I lived the dream, a few times.

Round 1: (Green White aggro, not the hexproof version)
Game 1 – One thing about this match-up (and the G/R monsters match) is that you think you would wreck them with Lifebane Zombie. But as you probably have already figured out from the deck list, we literally do nothing until turn 3. This was kind of a problem. I did drop Lifebane on turn three against 2 experiment ones only to see a Selesnya Charm and an Advent of the Wurm. Needless to say, I never drew red mana until it was too late and got crushed by the wurm and Boon Satyr.

Game 2 – I boarded in Ratchet Bombs and Anger in hopes that would help clear some of the board. Sadly in this match I drew 0 ratchet bombs and all spot removal. I literally only drew 1 Lifebane Zombie as a creature. He eventually got through my removal after I had to tap out for Mizzium Mortars and he flashed in the wurm and then bestowed a boon satyr to swing for 9 the next turn. I never recovered. My opponent jokingly said I shouldn’t have bored out all of my creatures.

Allstar – Rakdos Keyrune this card was insane in the match, forcing him to chump attack many times for damage. Sadly the keyrune is Red/Black letting his Soldier of the Pantheon swing in as I was out of removal spells and didn’t realize this until it was too late.

Round 2: (Green/Blue starter deck or something)
These games weren’t very interesting as his deck was mostly a 60 card draft deck. I played my hands pretty loose as I was just having fun with the guy (and sort of felt bad for playing like 11+ mythics to his 0 rares. He took a game from me when I literally drew 10 lands but it was fun. I enjoy playing these type games a little loose and not very competitively. I talked to the guy a bit after the match as well as he was just getting back into magic.

Round 3: (Green/Blue Monsters, with prophet and Garrick)
Game 1 – This was a pretty close game that went back and forth with him dropping big creatures me killing them. I think eventually it came down to me dropping several desecration demons and him drawing what seemed like mana dorks for days. In the end, I think I got a Chandra in play, pinged him and played Rakdos which he couldn’t as easily tap down.

Game 2 – I didn’t really have much in the sideboard for this, I boarded in Sire of insanity for a Rakdos’s Return. This game was really one sided in his favor. He got to play tons of mana dorks. I got to play a Lifebane Zombie expecting to get a Polukranos I saw 2 of them and prophet. I got the prophet but the Polukranos with so much mana killed a desecration demon. And he took the game from there.

Game 3 – Really fun games. This game was the first I got to “Live the Dream” if you will. Turn 3 Lifebane (forgot what I grabbed), turn 4 Rakdos, turn 5 Mogis and Desecration Demon. Game/Match was pretty much over after that as there was nothing he could do.

All-stars – 6/6 fliers for 4. Way too many flying threats for him to deal with, even with arbor colossus and sylvan primordial.

Round 4: (Mono Black Devotion)
Game 1 – This was what I was curious to see how I fared against the mono black list. I had a fair amount of removal in my hand, and after a Thoughtseize, I saw 1 Pack Rat, a Thoughtseize and some removal. I took his Thoughtseize. He later played rat, I killed it. He played demon I killed it. Eventually I played a Rakdos’s Return to clear his hand and started dropping my own threats to finish out the game.

Game 2 – For the sideboard, I brought in Duress, Dark Betrayal, and Underworld Connections and took out Doom Blade, Lifebane Zombies, Mizzium Mortars, and an Underworld Cerberus (Cerberus didn’t seem very good in the matchup). His hand seemed strong, at first, after he dropped a turn 2 pack rat. Fortunately I had a removal for it (my only removal in hand). Sadly for him he stumbled on land. I curved out nicely as turn 3 I took an underworld connections from his hand, turn 4 I played Chandra, turn 5 I played Rakdos. He finally played a third land but didn’t have a removal spell. I lived the dream from their playing Mogis and Demon to finish game 2. Overall this matchup seemed pretty good for me as his demons weren’t that big of a threat to me.

Allstar – Rakdos and his Return. These cards were amazing in the matchup. Use return to get rid of his removal and then get rakdos down as a finisher.

FNM 3-1
Top 8 – Esper Control
Game 1 – This matchup was interesting to me as I had a good amount of sideboard cards that would be good. I figured game 1 would be bad for me as I was holding dead cards like Mizzium Mortars and Ultimate Price in hand. I got him down very low before he stabilized at ~ 4-6 life. He was even desperate enough to Revoke Existence my Keyrune. In the end he won with Elspeth as I drew literally nothing but land.

Game 2 – I boarded in Duress, Underworld Connections, Rakdos’s Return taking out Mizzium Mortars, Ultimate Price, Doom Blade, 1x Underworld Cerberus, 2x Rakdos Lord of riots. Admittedly after the fact I realized I should have brought in the Ratchet Bombs and the Sire of Insanity. The game was rather close and I drew my 1 of Rakdos which got to swing in before being bounced back to the top of my library with Azorius Charm. He cleared my board and I never had a chance to play him again. I did have a few misplays in the match, but I didn’t draw any connections in the game which was kind of sad. I only drew the Duress when the game was pretty much over anyway.

All in all I think the deck was pretty sweet. Here is an updated list based on how the games went. I plan on playing this list hopefully in a playtest game with something Adam has.

Return of Rakdos's Return

Creatures (19)
Lifebane Zombie
Desecration Demon
Rakdos, Lord of Riots
Mogis, God of Slaughter
Erebos, God of the Dead
Underworld Cerberus
Sire of Insanity

Planeswalker (2)
Chandra, Pyromaster

Spells (16)
Thoughtseize
Dreadbore
Ultimate Price
Doom Blade
Devour Flesh
Read the Bones
Hero’s Downfall
Rakdos’s Return
Rakdos Keyrune
Lands (23)
Blood Crypt
Temple of Malice
Rakdos Guildgate
Swamp
Mountain

Sideboard (15)
Anger of the Gods
Ratchet Bomb
Underworld Connections
Duress
Rakdos’s Return
Mizzium Mortars

This list isn’t much different as I would like to play more games before I make dramatic changes. One consideration is to play a more aggressive style deck with Spike Jester and Rakdos Cackler. I have even considered adding in a Hammer of Purphoros, though it doesn’t work well with Rakdos, Lord of Riots unless you have Chandra out.

Until next time… which may or may not include Savageborn Hydra and/or Clan Defiance.