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Rakdos Knights by Johx77 – #211 Mythic – July 2020 Season

Best-of-Three (BO3)

Ranking screen here:

This was my take on answers to a rec/ramp dominated meta. It’s a very fun, aggressive deck to play that does a huge amount of damage very quickly, without the monotony of mono red – there’s still a fair bit of decision making to be done here. The key differentiator from other aggro is the access to drill bit and duress to pick out the board wipes/nissas/krasis’/ugins/recs at a critical point, buying just enough time to win by T4/5. As the season went on it was also extremely effective against the mono green and black decks that were being run against the other two main ones, given the potent creature removal synergies with blacklance and co. Also, landing a reggie early against mono G, R, or B often effectively ends the game – mono green can’t hit it hard enough without using two cards, and it hits faster with cleave than anyone. I’ve really not been grinding particularly hard to get this high in mythic at all (unlike plenty other seasons!). Full card breakdown below if of interest.

Breakdown of cards:

Knight of the ebon legion-

Amazing one drop, can win a game on it’s own. Also happens to be a Knight. The pump is insanely threatening on its own, and should you be able to put an embercleave on it and attack and pump the following turn, the deathtouch trample combo is absolutely devastating to any blockers. Also has great synergy with stormfist, blacklance or demonic embrace to trigger the counters at the end of turn. 4 of without doubt. Entirely valid play to drop him against control decks by himself and just pump, sometimes forcing a board wipe on one card.

Fervent champion –

Average by itself, dangerous with another fervent as everyone knows from mono red, and absolutely lethal with a blacklance paragon for clearing out a big blocker or attacker. Helps pump any other knight on the board, can help to get paragon up to 4/1 which can turn into 5/2 double strike trample as early as T3 with the cleave. Also an absolute bomb late game (eg post wipe) if you have a cleave on the field and demonic embrace in hand or in the yard, as the equip discount means from nowhere you can end up with 10 haste flying trample damage for BBRR.

Blacklance paragon –

Strong creature removal, lifelink and a dangerous body all in one. Surprisingly modular that can be useful in a broad range of situations. Exceptional with fervent  champion for flash speed big creature removal whilst providing a 3/1 for a sum total of 1B. Carries a cleave well to boot.

Stormfist crusader –

Primary card draw in this deck. Menace makes it costly to block, esp with a paragon in hand (kill two blockers). Triggers spectacle every turn just like spawn of mayhem, allowing you to drill bit whatever card the opp drew from it immediately. Opp often avoids killing it on the erroneous logic that they get cards too – but with your game plan being win on T4 or so, the benefit you get vastly outweighs theirs.

Drill bit –

I swear this is the most under rated card in standard! You should never need to pay full cost for this, you’re an extremely aggressive deck so any turn you’re not doing damage to trigger spectacle something has gone badly wrong. Paying B to get rid of any card is amazing. Targets are usually removal/boardwipes or teferi/nissa/ugin/krasis, so can be worth saving until they are a turn away from having the mana to play those bigger threats.

Spawn of mayhem –

Flying trample 4/4 that pings every turn. A very solid carrier for embercleave, and the 4cmc means he’s the only creature in the deck safe from claim the firstborn. Also a good target for demonic embrace,and has some synergy with the life loss required for casting embrace from the yard. In running 3 rather then 4 just to provide space for the T1 and T2 drops, but I’m rarely sorry to see multiple in hand so 4 might well be correct.

Rotting regisaur –

Still the best creature in standard to put a cleave on. On his own, can be underwhelming if he gets chump blocked by 1/1s, and the discard cost does hurt if you don’t have a stormfist keeping more coming in. Also very painful to be instantly killed/bounced on your turn with the discard trigger on the stack. I often side him out entirely against instant speed removal, and also against sacrifice as he’s a godawful mess to deal with if he gets Claimed. That said, having him out on T3 wirg cleave in hand frequently means game over for opp, as you just can’t do a whole lot about a 8/7 double strike tranpler. Also a phenomenal card against any other aggro, esp mono red or green, they just can’t get past him and if you give him shadowspear it’s usually lights out.

Murderous rider –

Great catch all removal, also leaves you with a lifelink Knight which is decent against aggro. I used to run 4 of them, but 1BB is quite a tempo loss when you could be spending that on a spawn or reggie,especially when any creatures you’re facing will die to blacklance for B cheaper and also leave a body on the field already. 2 of seems right but sometimes he gets cut entirely in favour of cheaper removal (bonecrusher, dragonfire or noxious grasp usually).

Demonic embrace –

I love this card, it turns a chump blocked reggie into a flying 10/7 nightmare, and makes any other creature in our deck suddenly a lot more threatening. The trick with a fervent and embrace in hand plus a cleave on the field is an absolute blowout, just when opp thinks they’ve stabilised having cleared the field. Other fun tricks are casting blacklance on opps end step, then embrace T3 for a pseudo hasted 6/2 flyer out of nowhere. Also gives you something to do with your spare lands in hand if you want to cast from the yard. 2 of, as you really don’t want to draw more than 1 a game.

Rimrock Knight –

Good for surprise pumps on the play, and the 3/1 body carries the cleave as well as blacklance, but the inability to block means he goes out after game 1 in most match ups in favour of tailored removal. Definitely the flex slot in this deck, but a 2 of for game 1.

Embercleave – believe!

Sideboard

Duress – if I could have 6 drill bits I would, but against control and ramp, duress almost always find a juicy target. Just be mindful of filling their yard too much for uro.

Shadowspear –

Brilliant card against other aggro, if you get it on reggie or spawn and they can’t remove it is game over. Don’t see them much but the ability is also very handy against gods and dreamtrawlers.

Soul guide lantern –

Graveyard hate, zap them uros,and shut off any ECD shenanigans. Chosen over grafdiggers cage as the card draw Olton can be very useful in a pinch. Side in for any Uro or lurrus decks.

Noxious grasp –

kill nissa, uro, hydroid, teferi, anything in mono G or mono W, at instant speed for 1B. Fantastico. Sub in 2 or 3 depending on density of green threats in matchup.

Scorching dragonfire –

Mostly there to make sure mayhem devils really definitely die. Also an effective if slightly inefficient way to exile a non escaped uro as he’s awaiting to hit the yard.

Bonecrusher giant –

Very strong anti aggro, 2 for 1 with a very solid 4/3 for 3 that carries a cleave nicely.

Stonecoil serpent –

Meta call, as it doesn’t die to ugin, and can’t be targeted by t3feri, mayhem devil etc. Generally fine to cast for 2 or even 1 mana on a pinch.

Play advice –

I aggressively mulligan anything without a mountain and swamp down to as low as 4 – not ideal but you absolutely can win games from 4 card openers, particularly if you have a knight of ebon legion or a stormfist. You really need both colours of mana for the deck to work, and your only card draw needs both to cast (stormfist again). A dream hand has a couple of one drops and two drops, reggie or spawn, a cleave and a pair of shocklands.

Typical turn sequence options:

T1: ebon/fervent

T2: 2nd fervent/ebon and drill bit, or hold mana for blacklance, or stormfist

T3: spawn, reggie, or a two drop and drill bit/duress for the 4 mana wipe removal

T4: believe in the cleave!

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