Hello everyone! Kaldheim is now released and I have been having an absolute blast playing it so far! I’ve been talking this deck up a lot in spoiler season and now that I actually got to play it, it certainly didn’t disappoint. Before we continue, let me remind you of what my first list looked like, before getting to play with Kaldheim.
With some playing and tuning, I knew that the deck was very close and just needed a few modifications. With a lot of consideration, here’s what I would start with if you’re looking to play Rakdos.
Companion: Jegantha, the Wellspring
The largest change between my first version and the tuned version is the inclusion of Jeganatha as the companion. Initially, I thought having access to Shatterskull Smashing, Liliana, Waker of Dead, and Ox of Agonas was better, but since they were such a small part of the deck, it didn’t seem worth it. You could certainly build the deck in a way to leverage thise cards harder than this version does, but I don’t think you need to. One of the issues I found with this deck is that extra lands aren’t the most helpful surprisingly (despite Kroxa and Woe Strider both being mana intensive) so having an additional late game play is very nice for this deck.
2 Valki, God of Lies
Valki has been the talk of the town recently, and it makes perfect sense why. It’s a proactive 2 drop that can mess with your opponent’s hand, a mana sink, and a Tibalt much later in the game. That being said, Valki was actually slightly worse than I anticipated it being, but it still felt good enough to warrant adding 2 copies to the main deck over the Heartless Act. You don’t want too many reactive plays in this deck so Valki was a great addition.
4 Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger
I was silly for playing 4 Mire Triton and 4 Tymaret Calls the Dead, but only 3 Kroxa. Kroxa is one of the best ways to grind out your opponent and is an extremely scary threat coupled with all the self mill. If you’re playing 8 self mill cards, you should probably just max out on your Escape threats to make those cards as good as possible.
4 Mire Triton
One of the self mill cards in the deck. Mire Triton isn’t the most impressive, but a Deathtouch creature that gains 2 and can be traded away or eaten later in the game is still a pretty good rate.
4 Bonecrusher Giant
We’re playing Red so we’re playing Bonecrusher Giant. Not an exciting inclusion, but the card is busted.
4 Woe Strider
One of your sacrifice engines. This version of Rakdos operates a lot more how Cat used to play rather than Rakdos Midrange from last season utilizing Claim the Firstborn and Akroan War to get a lot of value from your steal effects. Furthermore, it’s just a great 3 mana play and also gives you something to do in the late game if you can escape it. Always happy to play this.
4 Immersturm Predator
If Valki felt a little overrated despite how much I liked it, Immersturm Predator feels underrated despite how much I liked it. I knew this card was good, but this card is really, really good. The main appeal to it is that it’s a great Sacrifice outlet, but in reality, it’s such a scary threat for nearly any deck to deal with and won me many games single handedly. If you’re not playing this card in Rakdos yet, here is your reminder.
4 Claim the Firstborn
Claim is one of the most powerful cards in Standard, but it is relatively narrow in what you can play it in. With 11 total Sacrifice outlets, Claim will be able to take a small creature from the opponent and you can eat it to no or little cost. The only downside to Claim in this deck compared to Sacrifice of old is that Immersturm Predator is a pretty expensive outlet compared to Witch’s Oven or Priest of Forgotten Gods. Village Rites is a 1 mana Sacrifice, but having to spend 1 mana after Claim could potentially make your turns awkward. Never the less, this card is great and even if you’re facing a creature-less control deck, 1 mana to give one of your cheap creatures haste can be a game winning play more often than you’d think.
3 Village Rites
This is mostly to be used in conjunction with Claim the Firstborn, but also giving you value if you have to chump block or when your opponent has a removal spell is quite a nice use as well.
4 Tymaret Calls the Dead
Tymaret Calls the Dead in the old Rakdos shell only served 2 purposes, making little idiots and milling for Kroxa. Both those functions still exist, but now it serves one more really important purpose, it creates sacrifice fodder for Immersturm Predator. Predator is likely the best card in your deck and if you have plenty of creatures to throw underneath it when necessary (which you now do with Goat Tokens, Mire Triton, and Zombie Tokens), Predator can really shine.
3 The Akroan War
It’s like Claim the Firstborn, but for bigger creatures! You mostly use this to kill their best creature and you get the added benefit of making the opponent’s board kill themselves in a few turns as well!
The original deck played 25, but you don’t have much to do with excess mana beyond Castle Locthwain. I don’t think you want to go to 23 lands, but it may be possible considering the mana base is much cleaner now.
1 Valki, God of Lies
The card’s so nice I want it thrice. Really versatile threat so I’m generally happy to bring it in.
An efficient Discard spell against those pesky Control decks!
2 Embereth Shieldbreaker
There’s still a lot of The Great Henge running around so you need to come prepared.
2 Heartless Act
Sometimes you need a little bit more removal.
3 Skyclave Shade
More threats that work well with your self mill can never hurt!
2 Elspeth’s Nightmare
This card is quite versatile as it’s great against pretty much every small creature deck.
1 The Akroan War
Great against all creature decks!
MATCHUPS AND SIDEBOARDING
Considering the metagame is still very fresh, it’s hard to say exactly what decks we should be sideboarding for, but I’ll try to be as general as possible with some sideboarding tips and I’ll pinpoint a few matchups I have seen on ladder.
|+2 Embereth Shieldbreaker||-2 Valki, God of Lies|
|+2 Heartless Act||-3 Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger|
|+1 The Akroan War|
Although Kaldheim is here, some people insist on being lame and playing stock Gruul. Your deck is already more or less preboarded against them so you really just have to avoid getting grinded out in the late game by their expensive non-creatures. It’s one of those cases where we have a lot of strong cards in the sideboard, but they aren’t better than what we already have, so they can stay in the sideboard. Do everything in your power to keep them off of The Great Henge, which shouldn’t be too hard, and this matchup should be easy enough. If they seem to keep in a large amount of their smaller creatures after sideboard, you can consider bringing in Elspeth’s Nightmare as the card can be great, just generally not good against how Gruul will presumably board against this deck.
MONO GREEN FOOD
|+1 Valki, God of Lies||-3 Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger|
|+2 Embereth Shieldbreaker||-3 Tymaret Calls the Dead|
|+2 Heartless Act|
|+1 The Akroan War|
Both Kroxa and Tymaret Calls the Dead are rather unimpressive here, so you can pretty easily take those out. This matchup used to be near unwinnable in the past, but with Valki, God of Lies and Immerstrum Predator, it definitely feels a lot closer. Similar to Gruul, focus on not letting them resolve The Great Henge as all their other threats are reasonably manageable. I wouldn’t say this matchup is now good, but it at least feels winnable.
|+3 Skyclave Shade||-2 Valki, God of Lies|
|+2 Elspeth’s Nightmare||-3 The Akroan War|
Since you’re playing a million cards that like being in the graveyard, you can be safe in knowing this is one of your best matchups. The one thing you have to be careful of is accidentally milling out against them, but otherwise, it’s very difficult to lose this matchup.
WHITE AGGRO DECKS
|+2 Heartless Act||-2 Valki, God of Lies|
|+2 Elspeth’s Nightmare||-3 Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger|
|+1 The Akroan War|
Neither Valki nor Kroxa are bad in any of the White aggro matchups, but your sideboard cards are just a lot better. Our game plan works naturally well against theirs so just focus on surviving because you’ll be able to grind them out relatively easily the later the games go on. Use your removal really aggressively and kill them with an Immerstrum Predator.
|+1 Valki, God of Lies||-4 Claim the Firstborn|
|+3 Duress||-3 The Akroan War|
|+3 Skyclave Shade|
This deck isn’t well set up for the Control matchup game 1, but that doesn’t mean that it’s unwinnable game one either. In the boarded games, you get a huge leg up as you can get rid of all of your dead cards and bring in really nice ones like Duress and Skyclave Shade. Bringing in Valki may look weird, but in a war of attrition, casting a Tibalt can be just the edge you need to winning the game.
TIPS AND TRICKS
- This deck doesn’t win the fastest, so always be thinking about the long game. For example, it’s really tempting to always take your opponent’s next play with Valki, God of Lies, but you may be better served taking a more problematic creature that you may struggle to deal with later. Furthermore, always consider if you want to cast a Valki in the late game or if you should wait and try to work towards Tibalt.
- I tend to cast Kroxa as late as possible for 2 reasons: it’s better to have a play that impacts the board when given the choice and you have a higher chance of hitting something good when you wait.
- Don’t be afraid to trade away your Mire Triton in general. However, with old Rakdos Midrange you were willing to throw it away on anything, here we have Immerstrum Predator and Village Rites, so be a bit more selective on what you’re trading with.
- Try not to sacrifice creatures to Woe Strider for the Scry unless you are in a really bad position. Those extra bodies can be Immerstrum Predator or Village Rites fodder later.
- Immerstrum Predator gains a +1/+1 counter and may exile a card in the graveyard if it’s tapped for ANY reason, not just combat. When you sacrifice a creature to the ability, so you will always be able to grow it every turn.
- If you hold Full Control when you cast a non-Escaped Kroxa, you’ll be able to sacrifice it to Village Rites before the sacrifice trigger goes through.
- If you have to choose between making a zombie with Tymaret Calls the Dead and Escaping a creature, I almost always choose Escaping the creature unless I have another strong play that turn.
That’s all that I have for today! If you like my content and want to see more of it, you can check me out on Twitch! Have a great day!