Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Rakdos, Orzhov and Jund Sacrifice Theorycraft

Fiend Artisan Art by Yigit Koroglu
Fiend Artisan Art by Yigit Koroglu

Rakdos Sacrifice is currently enjoying its time in the spotlight as the best deck in Standard, thanks to Witch’s Oven, Cauldron Familiar and Mayhem Devil. It even comes in two distinct versions that are almost equal in power level, with or without Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger. Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths comes with several new potential upgrades for fans of this deck archetype. This will prove to be useful particularly at the beginning of a new Standard metagame as the core of the deck is streamlined already. As usual, let’s have a look at the new cards first.

Fiend Artisan

iko-220-fiend-artisan

Fiend Artisan is the first card everybody will look to try (though being a Mythic Rare is a shame) here. The two drops in Rakdos Sacrifice were generally underwhelming, having to resort to cards like Dreadhorde Butcher and Rix Maadi Reveler to fill the curve. The double Black mana cost may also come in handy for Devotion if you are going the Mono Black route. It’s hard to evaluate this card in theory because it’s not a naturally aggressive card and looks to be be better as the game goes on.

Call of the Death-Dweller

iko-078-call-of-the-death-dweller

The first card I thought of when I saw Call of the Death-Dweller spoiled was Mayhem Devil. Giving it deathtouch means each damage will kill any creature that it targets. If not that, bringing back two creatures with it also seems like a fine proposition.

Companions

The more I think about Companions, the more I think they will be staples in decks going forward similar to Planeswalkers. Many other players have said this already, and Brawl players should already know having access to an additional card that you can cast to your beck and call is too good to pass up. It will be a balancing act to see whether the deck building restriction is worth having it occupy a sideboard slot in your deck, and for some of these Companions it looks easy enough anyway.

Rakdos Obosh Sacrifice Theorycraft – Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Standard

4 Cauldron Familiar (ELD) 81
4 Gutterbones (RNA) 76
4 Bonecrusher Giant
4 Mayhem Devil
4 Midnight Reaper
4 Woe Strider
1 Judith, the Scourge Diva
1 God-Eternal Bontu
2 Call of the Death-Dweller
4 Claim the Firstborn (ELD) 118
4 Witch's Oven (ELD) 237
2 Castle Locthwain (ELD) 241
6 Swamp (ANA) 63
4 Mountain (ANA) 64
4 Blood Crypt (RNA) 245
4 Savai Triome
4 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244

Sideboard
1 Obosh, the Preypiercer

This deck is a real contender. Bonecrusher Gaint allows you to fill the curve at the two mana slot. God-Eternal Bontu can be a one turn kill if you have both Mayhem Devil and Obosh in play.

Rakdos Lurrus Sacrifice Theorycraft – Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Standard

4 Cauldron Familiar (ELD) 81
4 Gutterbones (RNA) 76
4 Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger (THB) 221
4 Fiend Artisan
4 Mire Triton (THB) 105
4 Priest of Forgotten Gods (RNA) 83
4 Rix Maadi Reveler
4 Claim the Firstborn (ELD) 118
4 Witch's Oven (ELD) 237
1 Castle Locthwain (ELD) 241
8 Swamp (ANA) 63
5 Mountain (ANA) 64
4 Blood Crypt (RNA) 245
4 Savai Triome
2 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244

Sideboard
1 Lurrus of the Dream-Den

Lurrus of the Dream-Den prevents us from playing cards like Mayhem Devil, Woe Strider and Midnight Reaper. It looks to fill the congested three drop slot here instead.

Orzhov Lurrus Sacrifice Theorycraft – Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Standard

4 Cauldron Familiar (ELD) 81
4 Gutterbones (RNA) 76
4 Hunted Witness
4 Fiend Artisan
4 Corpse Knight
4 Priest of Forgotten Gods (RNA) 83
4 Cruel Celebrant
4 Call of the Death-Dweller
4 Witch's Oven (ELD) 237
1 Castle Locthwain (ELD) 241
7 Swamp (ANA) 63
6 Plains (ANA) 64
4 Godless Shrine
4 Savai Triome
2 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244

Sideboard
1 Lurrus of the Dream-Den

The Orzhov might be better positioned for the late game due to Cruel Celebrant and does not rely too much of combat damage or Cauldron Familiar to finish the game.

Jund Sacrifice Theorycraft – Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Standard

4 Gilded Goose (ELD) 160
4 Cauldron Familiar (ELD) 81
4 Fiend Artisan
4 Priest of Forgotten Gods (RNA) 83
4 Mayhem Devil (WAR) 204
3 Korvold, Fae-Cursed King (ELD) 329
4 Claim the Firstborn (ELD) 118
4 Call of the Death-Dweller
4 Witch's Oven (ELD) 237
1 Castle Locthwain (ELD) 241
2 Forest (ANA) 65
3 Swamp (ANA) 63
3 Mountain (ANA) 64
4 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244
4 Stomping Ground (RNA) 259
4 Overgrown Tomb (GRN) 253
4 Blood Crypt (RNA) 245

Jegantha, the Wellspring is an example of a mediocre Companion that does not fit our strategy but as an example the current version of Rakdos Sacrifice can just use it for free since there are no other cards that use the same mana symbol in their cost. We have to first determine whether we want Fiend Artisan in the deck, and here we wanted to try it first.

These are the three version of Sacrifice decks I want to try when the expansion drops, but of course there are many other possibilities such as Mono Black, Mardu, Abzan and even Golgari Sacrifice. What do you think will be the fate of Sacrifice decks going forward? Let us know in the comments below!

Terence

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Jussi Knuutti
Jussi Knuutti
5 months ago

For the first Rakdos sacrifice deck, is the savai triome really better than temple of malice?
Also, while this might be different for other people, i personally find that fiend artisan is mythic not a shame at all for Arena use specifically. I at least have always seemed to need so much fewer mythic wild cards than rare wild cards, even though you get less mythics.

Kevin Raines
Kevin Raines
5 months ago
Reply to  Jussi Knuutti

Completely agree on the mythic rares. There are a lot of decks I’d like to try, and the limiting factor is usually rare wildcards (especially with the manabase being so thirsty.) Mythics are strong in lots of decks, but they’re rarely an absolute must.

Kevin Raines
Kevin Raines
5 months ago

I’ve been doing well with Rakdos Sacrifice, and I agree that Fiend Artisan would be really strong… being able to grab a cat or Mayhem Devil at will just sounds good. But is the Lurrus deck an upgrade at all? It forces you to get rid of Mayhem Devil *and* Bastion of Rememberance, and I just don’t see how it’s worth it.