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 Post subject: Draconian Tactics--Rakdos, Lord of Riots
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-11 9:12 pm 
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Joined: 2012-Nov-27 4:39 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Midgard
Rakdos, Lord of Riots is a deck I've been playing since it came out, and this is the third iteration I've gone through with it. The first deck was your basic Griefer/big creature deck. Strong, but mostly boring after a while. I next tried to make it entirely artifacts so nearly every single creature comes out for free after Rakdos connects. While I don't think the initial idea was terrible, I just don't have the right cards to make it sing--mostly I didn't have a single Colossus-type creature.

Then, revelation. It might not be entirely original, but I was taking apart my Melek-Dragonstorm Combo deck a while back...and suddenly I realized I really needed to try out this same kind of thing in Rakdos. Dragonstorm, that is. I actually already have the perfect sleeve for Rakdos:
Image


Without further ado, the deck:
Commander
Rakdos, Lord of Riots

Dragons--21 Cards
Balefire Dragon
Bladewing the Risen
Bogardan Hellkite
Dragon Mage
Dragon Tyrant
Flameblast Dragon
Furyborn Hellkite
Hellkite Charger
Hellkite Tyrant
Hoard-Smelter Dragon
Kilnmouth Dragon
Kokusho, the Evening Star
Malfegor
Moltensteel Dragon
Scourge of Kher Ridges
Scourge of the Throne
Scourge of Valkas
Steel Hellkite
Stormbreath Dragon--changed 3/25/14
Teeka's Dragon
Utvara Hellkite

Non-Dragon Creatures--13 Cards
Brass Herald
Burnished Hart
Disciple of Bolas
Dread Cacodemon--changed 3/25/14
Duplicant
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
Lobber Crew
Mogg Maniac
Pilgrim's Eye
Pyreheart Wolf
Sheoldred, Whispering One
Solemn Simulacrum
Vithian Stinger
Withered Wretch--changed 3/25/14

Artifacts--10 Cards
Basilisk Collar
Coldsteel Heart
Darksteel Ingot
Gilded Lotus
Rakdos Signet
Sol Ring
Staff of Nin
Thran Dynamo
Wayfarer's Bauble

Enchantments--9 Cards
Greed
Haunted Crossroads
Leyline of the Void--changed 3/25/14
Pestilence
Phyrexian Reclamation
Pyrohemia
Underworld Connections
Whip of Erebos
Withering Wisps

Sorceries--9 Cards
Blasphemous Act--changed 3/25/14
Hero's Downfall--changed 3/25/14
Living Death
Profane Command
Reforge the Soul
Vandalblast
Wheel of Fortune
World at War

Non-Basic Lands--16 Cards
Blood Crypt
Bloodstained Mire
Bojuka Bog
Cavern of Souls
Command Tower
Dragonskull Summit
Ghost Quarter
Rocky Tar Pit
Shivan Gorge
Spinerock Knoll
Sulfurous Springs
Tainted Peak
Temple of the False God
Terramorphic Expanse
Tresserhorn Sinks
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Basic Lands--22 Cards
11 x Snow-Covered Mountain
11 x Snow-Covered Swamp

This Rakdos Party has a three step process:

Step One: Wake Rakdos up. He's a pretty heavy sleeper, unfortunately.

Step Two: Call all the dragons to the party. Usually requires enticing them out of the deck with card draw, and you're going to need a lot of it.

Step Three: Party 'til the fat lady sings.

Honestly, it's very straight forward. Unfortunately, this current build is fairly slow. Most like, you're not going to see Rakdos early. Most games I've tested this deck in so far end up with Rakdos out turn seven or so, which basically means after I hard cast a dragon and connect. But the advantages of keeping Rakdos out on the field build very quickly. Even if you lose four or five dragons along the way, a single Wheel effect puts you right back into the game. Using them wisely is how to win.

I'll continue to update this section when I get bored again.

Non-Dragon Creatures:
Most of these are supporting card draw and/or land ramp, except for Duplicant and Sheoldred. These two provide really great removal in addition to being very cheap (usually). At the same time, these two and Kozilek might need to duck out at some point in order to get smaller damage dealers into the deck. This would help get Rakdos out quicker.

Artifacts:
These are pretty much all for ramping. I included Basilisk Collar, because the Lifelink helps keep the lights on for the party. Getting Rakdos out makes a lot of people nervous. Hammer of Purphoros is my attempt to get some more mass haste effects while also providing mass removal recovery.

Enchantments:
I really like using Pestilence effects in this deck, which is entirely why I'm using Snow lands. Yes, the entire reason. Don't question me!
Anyway, Wound Reflection and Exquisite Blood won't be making me any friends, but Rakdos doesn't make friends. Rakdos doesn't need friends to be the life of the party. Oh, the dragons? Mostly bodyguards and bouncers. If you're not having enough fun, the dragons will make you have fun. :twisted:

Instants and Sorceries:
Here is where I wanted to spend the most time. A lot of these cards get expensive mana-wise. Sorin's Vengeance, Toil//Trouble, and Chain Reaction are all carry-overs from previous versions of this deck, and they should probably be taken out; however, they are a lot of fun for their own reasons. Dregs of Sorrow and Comet Storm are really nice, but they do take up a lot of mana to get going. I feel like they might be too last resort. More solid card draw or another wheel effect might be better. I've been steering away from tutors in general to make the deck less linear.

I suppose I'm pretty good at making slow decks, it seems. This didn't use to be a slow deck, but I should probably make it a little faster at getting into the dragons portion of the show. Dragonspeaker Shaman would probably be a good card to have in here, but I don't know if trying to use it for early Rakdos damage would be stellar. Oath of Mages might be okay for that early damage, or also Words of War. I'm still contemplating whether or not I want to try Keldon Marauders for that early damage.
Enjoy! I can't say it's exactly original to have a dragon-tribal-like Rakdos deck, but a party is a party!

EDIT: Updated list 3/12/14.
EDIT: Updated list 3/25/14.

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Last edited by Segrus on 2014-Jun-09 1:19 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Draconian Tactics--Rakdos, Lord of Riots
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-12 7:05 am 
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Joined: 2011-Nov-16 1:14 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Prague, Heart of Europe
Hi, Segrus!

So, you finally got to the Rakdos list, eh? Haven't played against dragons in a long time, my only experience was with a friend in my LGS who ran Scion of the Ur-Dragon, but unfortunately his deck had gotten stolen and he stopped playing MTG afterwards :(

Your build seems slower than mine, but in a multiplayer game, that normally doesn't matter much. In the case of Rakdos, however, I wonder whether a slower build is possibly bad for him, since you don't get to use his tempo gain as much.

I'd like to see this in action someday :D

Cards:
If you like lifelink, how about Whip of Erebos?
Pestilence seems to catch people unprepared. Works great for me, too :twisted:
I don't run Wound Reflection, actually, since it doesn't work with the party boss.

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 Post subject: Re: Draconian Tactics--Rakdos, Lord of Riots
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-12 7:19 am 
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Joined: 2009-Aug-20 7:49 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: New Hampshire
You've got a few sub-par dragons in this list, like Volcanic and Hellkite Igniter. Moonveil Dragon and Dragon Tyrant might be worth looks.

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 Post subject: Re: Draconian Tactics--Rakdos, Lord of Riots
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-12 7:41 am 

Joined: 2013-Jan-07 1:45 am
Age: Dragon
I really think any rakdos deck w/o burnt offering is doing it wrong. It is just so amazing. And, what other deck is that card any good in? That's a good reason to play it, right there!

but to your point about enabling an earlier rakdos:
plague spitter
lobber crew

those two are MVP damage dealers for enabling rakdos. Also I kinda like psychosis crawler, that works too, and can be played for 0 if rakdos is already out.

and your point about draw:
i think the next-best thing to try is memory jar. It fills the yard which is good with your recursion, and potentially fills your hand with a ton of stuff to play for cheap. Also I'm pretty much in love with dark prophecy, which is good anti-wrath bait, and not likely to get real out of hand since you're probably only going to have 3 or 4 dudes in play. This list probably wants faithless looting, too.

I agree that weaker / less synergistic cards are: wound reflection, exquisite blood, comet storm, dregs of sorrow, sorin's vengeance

maybe cut those + something else (i'd go with a weak dragon) for:

memory jar
faithless looting
burnt offering
yawgmoth's will
lobber crew
plague spitter

yawg's will really shines in this deck... it's wrath-recovery, you're filling the yard, you have explosive plays like burnt offering and disciple of bolas, and casting from the GY benefits from rakdos' discount. although if its too good-stuff-ish, I understand wanting to skip it. Although, really, it's not that great in most decks. I kinda like the opportunity to play it here.

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 Post subject: Re: Draconian Tactics--Rakdos, Lord of Riots
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-12 7:51 am 

Joined: 2013-Aug-20 4:37 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Boston
It might be worthwhile to cut some of the non-dragon haymakers (looking at you, Wound Reflection and Sorin's Vengeance) for some lower end Rakdos enablers. Honden of Infinite Rage, Shepherd of Rot, Basilica Screecher, and Nether Traitor all spring to mind as cards that are good enablers for t4 Rakdos that still have value later.

The lack of Phyrexian Arena jumps out at me. It is just straight-up better than Underworld Connections, though you probably want both.

I think you may want Gilded Lotus more than you want Thran Dynamo. It comes down a turn later, obviously, but it is the same amount of ramp and is still useful when Rakdos pays for the colorless part of your creatures.


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 Post subject: Re: Draconian Tactics--Rakdos, Lord of Riots
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-12 9:11 am 
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I've actually had a Rakdos list for quite some time now, but I haven't played it in any of our games since I knew you had one. Another reason I decided to go with dragons is because my Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund deck is very...sadly...*sniffle*...without cards...Cube needed them badly... :cry:

Oh well, he's not getting any deader. Time to move on, and someday I'll be rejoined with the Karrthus deck I had.

It's definitely slower than your build. Much slower. I just can't seem to break away from the slower multiplayer lists, can I? This is, in part, why I posted the list. I like this build, and I'd like to improve it. Whip of Erebos is possible, although Exquisite Blood does help recover from Pestilence effects. It does make me more of a target though...hmm...I may have to make that switch. Although replacing Basilisk Collar might be the better choice. I'll have to think on that more.

Having haste is mostly why these two were chosen. I have a Dragon Tyrant from the sad, broken Karrthus deck remnants, but my main problem I see with using it is the upkeep cost. Using up {R}{R}{R}{R} every upkeep really prevents me from casting any other dragons effectively, since the majority of them are in Red.

I'll see if I have a Moonveil sitting around somewhere though.

I think I'm going to avoid Yawgmoth's Will for a while longer, considering I don't own one and would have to shell out $15-$20 for a single copy. It's a really great idea though.

Lobber Crew is a possibility, as well as Burnt Offering. Burnt Offering is going to be low on my list of actually getting in, though, because it doesn't directly give me Rakdos earlier without getting more earlier beaters in. I'd like to find early beaters first, and then maybe find room for Burnt Offering.

I think I'm opening up to getting rid of Wound Reflection or Exquisite Blood...they're just so juicy though...the others I could care less about. I may try the deck without those two and see if it runs smoother. I'm definitely not going to be reducing the number of dragons in the deck though. Dragons are what's fun, and drawing into less of them is wrong.

No Phyrexian Arena due to lack of having more than...2? Something like that. Two might be pushing it, actually. On the flip side, I think I own about six Underworld Connections. Both of the Phyrexian Arenas I own are being used somewhere currently, so I'd have to pull from those. I'll have to check.

I think I would likely remove Basalt Monolith before Thran Dynamo, even though Dynamo costs an extra mana when casting.


Main thing is this: I posted this last night before I went to bed. I was pretty certain about some of the cards I should be taking out, but didn't want to make a mess of things and be up until 3am looking through cards. I plan on looking at making changes tonight based on what I see here. Hopefully, I'll get a game in with it and see the changes.

I'm really going to try forcing myself through getting sentimental with some of the cards, and therefore make better decisions about the deck in general. It's easy to remember the time I used Sorin's Vengeance to make Darksteel Colossus almost free, give it haste via another card, and pile 21 damage to a single player; however, this isn't that same deck. And I've got to remember that.

Thanks for all the suggestions so far!

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 Post subject: Re: Draconian Tactics--Rakdos, Lord of Riots
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-12 10:00 am 

Joined: 2013-Aug-20 4:37 am
Age: Elder Dragon
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Didn't see the Basalt Monolith on my first pass through. Definitely cut that over Thran Dynamo.


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 Post subject: Re: Draconian Tactics--Rakdos, Lord of Riots
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-12 10:08 am 
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Location: Midgard
Dear me! Vedalken Orrery needs to be in here. I was trying to refrain from buying a single card for this deck (mostly because I'm refraining from buying any cards for a while), but...early damage needed? Let your opponents bash each other, and cast Rakdos on an their turn.

Nothin' beat surprise. 'Cept rock. :twisted:

Sneak Attack would be good too, but it's on the same price level as Yawgmoth's Will of "Yes, it's nice. No, I'd rather not spend that much right now. Thank you." No, I absolutely will NOT pull cards from my Cube...

...but I want to so badly...I could totally justify it though... :(

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 Post subject: Re: Draconian Tactics--Rakdos, Lord of Riots
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-12 10:37 am 

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I've had a rough time getting vedalken orrery to work in mine. Usually people just want to attack me. And they have to leave rakdos in play. It might work better in a slower, less threatening build.

but, the point of this post:

As a replacement for wound reflection & co, want to use warstorm surge? That's got a lot more synergy with rakdos (damage BEFORE combat!), and also with the dragonstorm plan.

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 Post subject: Re: Draconian Tactics--Rakdos, Lord of Riots
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-12 6:36 pm 
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Changes I'm making to the deck until I play it a few times:

- Crimson Hellkite
- Volcanic Dragon
+ Dragon Tyrant
+ Preyseizer Dragon

Not quite the dragons talked about above, but I have a feeling tapping down Crimson Hellkite and only using red mana for its ability isn't going to be worth it. In addition, it can only be used on creatures. Basically, just more bad news. I couldn't find a random Moonveil, but I'm going to try out Preyseizer since I'm adding more small creatures. Even just a little bit of extra damage could mean everything.

- Basalt Monolith
+ Gilded Lotus

Talked about, and makes sense.

- Exquisite Blood
+ Whip of Erebos

I still don't like this exchange much, but I'm willing to give it a try in order to find out whether or not it'll work better. Exquisite Blood is just so good...anyway, like I said, I'm willing to try.

- Toil // Trouble
- Wound Reflection
- Dregs of Sorrow
- Sorin's Vengeance
- Comet Storm
+ Pyreheart Wolf
+ Dragonspeaker Shaman
+ Lobber Crew
+ Vithian Stinger
+ Mogg Maniac

These are all of the small creatures I'm adding in to take the place of big spells. All of them have early and late game significance. Pyreheart helps deal early damage while also making the big creatures mostly unblockable later. Dragonspeaker is good at all points to make dragons come out quicker if I'm having trouble getting Rakdos to wake up. Lobber Crew, early damage and also deals a lot of damage just for tapping. Vithian Stinger comes back after a wrath for damage later. Mogg Maniac either blocks like a champ or people begrudgingly let it through.

- Snow-Covered Mountain x 2
- Snow-Covered Swamp
+ Command Tower
+ Cavern of Souls
+ Sulfurous Springs

Pilfered from some other decks to hopefully smooth the mana out. Also, Cavern will really help protect high-profile dragons.

EDIT: I gave some thought about Phyrexian Arena, Warstorm Surge, and Dark Prophecy. Dark Prophecy's triple black probably needs more mana fixing to really get out, so I'm going to wait on it. Warstorm Surge...well...I don't have any good reason not to include it other than having taken out Wound Reflection. Another one I'm keeping in mind, but not including at this juncture. I couldn't find my deck that might have Phyrexian Arena, so I couldn't add it. :( I'm going to keep looking. I know it's around, I just have to find it. Misplaced, really.

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 Post subject: Re: Draconian Tactics--Rakdos, Lord of Riots
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-25 7:42 am 
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So after playing against this a couple times, I have some thoughts;

Stuff I thought was good;
Pyreheart Wolf - I was skeptical at first, but this proved to be a thorn in the side - being unable to just field a blocker and be done with it meant you got Rakdos down early, and made a boardwipe necessary... which the damn wolf survived.
Dragon Tyrant - I was terrified of this.
Whip of Erebos - The only reason I wasn't terrified of this is that I had bog'd you. The life gain is solid, but can be overcome. Having to worry about a second dose of whatever monstrosity just got removed is much more unsettling.

Still not impressed with Hellkite Igniter. Too vanilla, you don't have enough artifacts to consistently use its ability for value, and the haste is ironically kinda irrelevant, since hitting someone with Rakdos and dropping it for cheap means you've already attacked... maybe Forgestoker Dragon? The ability to keep things from blocking while you smash might come in handy. Stormbreath Dragon is neat too, though I think he's probably got a bit of a price tag, since he's played in the R/G monsters standard deck. Imperial Hellkite also might be worth a look. The morph cost is high, but being able to field a turn 3 beater -> turn 4 Rakdos is decent, and later on you can use him to tutor stuff. (also remember if Rakdos is "on" then you can play it face-down for free and just pay the morph cost).

Some additional yard hate to supplement Bojuka Bog might be in order. Leyline of the Void seems like a good choice, since it doesn't affect you. One of the cheap artifact options like Relic of Progenitus or Tormod's Crypt would also be handy.

I'd say most situations where you'd want to cast Chain Reaction, you'd rather have Blasphemous Act instead. Also you seem really light on removal. Have the Pestilence cards worked out? You could swap them for some decent spot removal like Hero's Downfall, Terminate, Dreadbore, Murder, Gild, Sever the Bloodline,etc.

I notice you have basically no tutors. Conscious choice or just don't have any handy?

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 Post subject: Re: Draconian Tactics--Rakdos, Lord of Riots
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-25 8:26 am 
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Sid the Chicken wrote:
So after playing against this a couple times, I have some thoughts;

Stuff I thought was good;
Pyreheart Wolf - I was skeptical at first, but this proved to be a thorn in the side - being unable to just field a blocker and be done with it meant you got Rakdos down early, and made a boardwipe necessary... which the damn wolf survived.
Dragon Tyrant - I was terrified of this.
Whip of Erebos - The only reason I wasn't terrified of this is that I had bog'd you. The life gain is solid, but can be overcome. Having to worry about a second dose of whatever monstrosity just got removed is much more unsettling.

I'm still torn over Tyrant, actually. The RRRR upkeep cost is dreadful to the max, and showed me that the best response for it isn't removal; however, land destruction--even basic land destruction--is the best and most correct answer. If I continue to see this pattern of response, I don't think I'll keep it. It's not worth losing a creature AND getting Time Walk'ed a couple of turns.

Sid the Chicken wrote:
Still not impressed with Hellkite Igniter. Too vanilla, you don't have enough artifacts to consistently use its ability for value, and the haste is ironically kinda irrelevant, since hitting someone with Rakdos and dropping it for cheap means you've already attacked... maybe Forgestoker Dragon? The ability to keep things from blocking while you smash might come in handy. Stormbreath Dragon is neat too, though I think he's probably got a bit of a price tag, since he's played in the R/G monsters standard deck. Imperial Hellkite also might be worth a look. The morph cost is high, but being able to field a turn 3 beater -> turn 4 Rakdos is decent, and later on you can use him to tutor stuff. (also remember if Rakdos is "on" then you can play it face-down for free and just pay the morph cost).

I actually noticed I have a Stormbreath Dragon left over from a RG Hyper-ramp deck I built just before the big Dublin tournament. I think I'll make the switch later today. I still like the haste, because it gives me the opportunity to surprise attack someone if I need to; however, Stormbreath will probably do that better. I don't own a Forgestoker Dragon, so that's out for the moment. I have considered Imperial Hellkite, but my problem is I'm forced to always play him face down first and then waste an entire turn flipping it just for a tutor. If it wasn't only a 6/6 Flier or if I could reduce the cost of flipping, I'd give it more consideration.

Sid the Chicken wrote:
Some additional yard hate to supplement Bojuka Bog might be in order. Leyline of the Void seems like a good choice, since it doesn't affect you. One of the cheap artifact options like Relic of Progenitus or Tormod's Crypt would also be handy.

I'd say most situations where you'd want to cast Chain Reaction, you'd rather have Blasphemous Act instead. Also you seem really light on removal. Have the Pestilence cards worked out? You could swap them for some decent spot removal like Hero's Downfall, Terminate, Dreadbore, Murder, Gild, Sever the Bloodline,etc.

I notice you have basically no tutors. Conscious choice or just don't have any handy?

Since last night was literally the first real game with this deck, I agree with you about all of this. Much more removal and/or tutors need to be in here, instead of just relying on dominate board position. I'm going to see what I have and work from there on both points. Pestilence effects totally dominate the game when I draw them and they aren't removed quickly. With all my guys usually having 5 or greater toughness, I can normally blow up everything everyone else has without caring about what I have.

I'm thinking about taking out these cards first:

- Hellkite Igniter
- Dragonspeaker Shaman
- Chain Reaction
- Dragonstorm
- Syphon Mind
- Hammer of Purphoros

Dragonspeaker Shaman was in my hand a long time, and I never saw a chance to use it. Without evasion, he's going to suck late game when I'll only have a couple cards in my hand (and I'll likely have the full mana I need to cast a dragon). In the early game, I'm going to want to play Rakdos instead of a dragon. Mid game, Rakdos reduces WAY more than this guy ever will. Dragonstorm, Syphon Mind, and Hammer are all great cards, but I have to cut something in the deck to get more removal and/or tutors. A regular tutor will probably be better for the deck than either Dragonstorm or Syphon Mind. Hammer is cute, but I think sac'ing a land is going to hurt the deck too much even in a pinch. I know I said I wouldn't every take out Dragonstorm, but for the sake of the deck performing better I have to do it. :(

Why not other cards? Well, the creatures in the deck are pretty set in stone. I don't want to cut back on dragons, and if I cut back on other small creatures I'm in danger of never getting Rakdos out on turn 4. That leaves me with ramp/mana fixers, draw cards, and recovery--or other removal. I really can't skimp any more on all of those. This is getting to be a tight list.

EDIT: as low amounts of tutors as I can muster has been my goal for decks I construct, honestly. I don't want to be tempted towards the same kind of game plan every game--for instance, Utvara Hellkite plus Scourge of Valkas every game would get boring really fast.

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 Post subject: Re: Draconian Tactics--Rakdos, Lord of Riots
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-25 8:44 am 
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Segrus wrote:
I'm still torn over Tyrant, actually. The RRRR upkeep cost is dreadful to the max, and showed me that the best response for it isn't removal; however, land destruction--even basic land destruction--is the best and most correct answer. If I continue to see this pattern of response, I don't think I'll keep it. It's not worth losing a creature AND getting Time Walk'ed a couple of turns.

Ya, I felt guilty about that one. The flip side of course is that it represents a ridiculous amount of damage and must be answered. If Mr. Cool had managed to stick his general for a turn cycle, there was no way I could survive if that thing hit me (7 power with your extra R x 4 = OW, and that's assuming you didn't rip another red source.)

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 Post subject: Re: Draconian Tactics--Rakdos, Lord of Riots
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-25 9:33 am 
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Sid the Chicken wrote:
Segrus wrote:
I'm still torn over Tyrant, actually. The RRRR upkeep cost is dreadful to the max, and showed me that the best response for it isn't removal; however, land destruction--even basic land destruction--is the best and most correct answer. If I continue to see this pattern of response, I don't think I'll keep it. It's not worth losing a creature AND getting Time Walk'ed a couple of turns.

Ya, I felt guilty about that one. The flip side of course is that it represents a ridiculous amount of damage and must be answered. If Mr. Cool had managed to stick his general for a turn cycle, there was no way I could survive if that thing hit me (7 power with your extra R x 4 = OW, and that's assuming you didn't rip another red source.)

You were afraid of 28 measly damage? :P

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 Post subject: Re: Draconian Tactics--Rakdos, Lord of Riots
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-25 9:41 am 
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Joined: 2009-Aug-20 7:49 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: New Hampshire
Segrus wrote:
You were afraid of 28 measly damage? :P

My name clearly says I'm chicken. 8)

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