Rakdos Sacrifice Historic Deck Guide: The Cat’s Out of the Bag, Rakdos is Tier 1
Hello everyone! For those who know me well, I am an absolute fanatic for the sacrifice strategies. Just the beautiful mix of aggro, grind, and synergy makes the deck feel very powerful and rewarding to play whether you’re just learning the deck or have mastered it. Since the list has pretty much been set in stone, however you want to tech it is really up to you, but I’ll share what my favorite iteration is and then talk about card choices.
Companion: Jegantha, the Wellspring
This deck wasn’t built around the ability to play Jegantha, we just get to play it naturally. There’s no good explanation beyond the inclusion is free and we’re not really losing much, if anything, to just include it.
4 Cauldron Familiar
This kitty’s got claws, even if the Cat by itself isn’t the highest impact. We play this for the obviously powerful synergy between this and Witch’s Oven to create a great win condition, but Familiar is also surprisingly powerful without the Oven as fodder for Priest of Forgotten Gods, Woe Strider, or Midnight Reaper.
1 Stitcher’s Supplier
Having a one of Supplier definitely looks weird, but the deck wanted an additional cheap play and helping to fuel the graveyard is quite helpful to mill over Cauldron Familiars or to fuel Scrapheap Scrounger and Woe Strider. Everything I said about Cauldron Familiar above also applies here with it being good sacrifice fodder.
4 Dreadhorde Butcher
Butcher hits hard and scales up scarily fast. Butcher felt pretty bad when everyone and their mom was packing 4 Fatal Push, but a lot of decks have been shaving them as they’ve been pretty underwhelming in the general meta. Butcher is great as a standalone threat or as sacrifice fodder to put the hurt on the opponent or to kill a creature.
4 Priest of Forgotten Gods
It’s hard to encapsulate my love for Priest in a blurb, but this card is obscenely powerful in this deck. Interaction, card draw, ramp, Priest really does it all. As a tip, remember you can target any number of players with the Priest ability, not just the opponent. This interaction becomes relevant in two scenarios: when you stole your opponent’s Priest of Forgotten Gods with Claim or you need additional pings with a Mayhem Devil.
3 Scrapheap Scrounger
The newest addition to the Sacrifice squad. Scrapheap makes the deck’s beatdown plan way more tenable, is very hard to get rid of for long, and also is great sacrifice fodder for Priest of Forgotten Gods. Be mindful of how many creatures you’re exiling as you don’t want to leave yourself with too few cards to bring back a Woe Strider or exiling Cauldron Familiar when you can help it.
4 Mayhem Devil
Mayhem Devil is the integral part of the Sacrifice strategy and it’s easy to see why. Mayhem Devil can be used in a variety of extremely powerful ways: whether it’s to mow down small creatures or make each sacrifice trigger extra painful for the opponent. Prioritize keeping this alive over anything else in the deck as Devil is going to give you the largest percentage of your wins more than likely.
4 Midnight Reaper
This deck likes its creatures dying and Midnight Reaper really likes when your creatures die. Cashing in a creature for a life and a card can accrue you a lot of value quickly and is indispensable against any deck looking to interact with you. Be mindful of how much damage you’re taking off the triggers as, especially in multiples, it can add up very quickly.
4 Woe Strider
I’ve seen newer lists shave a Woe Strider for curve considerations, but I’m still in the all 4 camp. Woe Strider is too important a card in this deck when it can be a one mana Priest of the Forgotten Gods trigger or a free sacrifice outlet for Claim the Firstborn targets. Furthermore, being able to Escape it in the late game will be relevant more times than you think to make a chunkier creature.
4 Claim the Firstborn
There’s a lot of good reasons to play this deck, but Claim the Firstborn is generally the most enticing element in this deck. Since Claim can steal almost every relevant creature in the format, this is generally a strictly better 1 mana removal spell in a deck that can easily sacrifice the stolen creature away with Priest of Forgotten Gods, Woe Strider, or Witch’s Oven. That would already be an obscenely powerful card if you didn’t also get to attack with the creature you steal which can lead to very swingy turns or just picking up errant value like when you steal an Uro.
4 Witch’s Oven
Insane synergy with Cauldron Familiar and Claim the Firstborn. Many players also frequently undervalue how valuable getting extra Food can be or random sacrifices for Mayhem Devil.
You want Thoughtseize when you’re facing a deck that has a big payoff card you really can’t afford to let your opponent resolve like Muxus out of Goblins or Paradox Engine in Paradox combo.
Abrade is a nice multipurpose tool where it’s good against small creature decks as extra removal, kills artifacts, or if you’re lucky, both.
3 Noxious Grasp
Sultai is still really popular and letting an opposing Nissa or Uro live for more than 1 turn can be a death sentence for you. Furthermore, you can randomly have these for something like Gruul, another deck that’s picking up in popularity.
3 Witch’s Vengeance
Witch’s Vengeance is really a concession that the Goblins matchup can be difficult at times. Krenko can be a huge issue as it dodges Claim the Firstborn, but it can’t dodge this. As a note, if you want to board this in, make sure you turn off your Companion filter so you can even see this in your sideboard during a match.
1 Angrath, the Flame-Chained
Angrath is super sick tech since it’s super good against any controlling deck like Sultai or UW. Angrath’s ultimate leaves a bit to be desired, but the other two abilities are really what we’re after whether it’s thinning the opponent’s hand or to steal an opposing creature.
2 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
I love Big Boat and so should you. This card absolutely dominates any grindy creature matchup as you will quickly dismantle your opponent’s board state with it as well as killing them quickly.
MATCHUPS AND SIDEBOARDING
|+3 Noxious Grasp||-1 Stitcher’s Supplier|
|+1 Angrath, the Flame-Chained||-3 Priest of Forgotten Gods|
This matchup is going to mostly revolve around what type of removal your opponent has/plays and if they can stick a win condition on the board quickly. Per a lot of my creature decks, do your best not to overextend into a Cry of the Carnarium or Extinction Event. A note about that, since Cry of the Carnarium is templated that it exiles all creatures that die that turn, indiscriminate of whether Cry killed it or not, you want to sacrifice your Cauldron Familiar to Witch’s Oven on your turn more often than not to avoid getting blown out there. I actually like Priest in this matchup, but it’s simply too hard to get any value out of it against a deck that plays Fatal Push, Eliminate, Cry of the Carnarium, and Extinction Event.
|+3 Thoughtseize||-1 Stitcher’s Supplier|
|+1 Abrade||-3 Scrapheap Scrounger|
|+3 Witch’s Vengeance||-3 Midnight Reaper|
This matchup can be challenging as you want to interact enough where they don’t just run you over, but not so much that you can’t win the game in a timely manner. Your main win condition is going to involve Cauldron Familiar, Witch’s Oven, and Mayhem Devil. It’s very difficult to win without assembling this or by having a strong curve with a Witch’s Vengeance so do your best to slow your opponent down until you can take over the game.
|+2 Abrade||-4 Dreadhorde Butcher|
|+2 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship|
This matchup and boarding is relatively simple, keep Priest of Forgotten Gods and Mayhem Devil off of the board. The entire matchup functionally revolves around those and whoever can assemble Cat/Oven combo first as well (presuming there’s no Devils to complicate this). Dreadhorde Butcher is a card I see nobody board out in the mirror despite how bad it can be if it gets stolen by Claim then used to kill an additional creature. There will be games you lose to a fast Butcher, but I really don’t like the risk of just losing if your opponent happens to have a Claim in hand.
GRUUL / GW COMPANY / BANT COMPANY
|+2 Abrade||-1 Stitcher’s Supplier|
|+3 Noxious Grasp||-3 Scrapheap Scrounger|
|+2 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship||-3 Midnight Reaper|
These types of decks have been getting more popular so having boarding for them all be the same is really helpful. These matchups will completely predicate around your ability to function as the Control deck rather than the aggressor. All of these strategies can generally win faster than you so use your many interactive pieces in order to bring the game to a point you can naturally take over with some of your creatures, a Mayhem Devil, or a Big Boat. Against specifically GW, make sure you kill their big creatures preemptively as The Great Henge is a huge issue for this deck since we only have Abrade to kill it.
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