Modern Rakdos Scam primer & sideboard guide

Lucas Giggs
22/11/2022 · 12 min read

Quick intro


Since the release of Modern Horizons I and Modern Horizons II, Modern has seen a lot of changes . Old decks have been kicked out of the format and many new archetypes have arisen. One of the most recent has been my favorite lately (sorry Calibrated Blast): Rakdos Midrange (or for the more intimate, Rakdos Scam ). I will talk a little about the list I have been playing and how I have sided against the main archetypes of the format.

Current version of the deck

Rakdos Scam. Builder: Lucas Giggs.MTGA - Magic Arena
Other in 22-Nov-2022
Maindeck (60)
Creature [22]
2  Fable of the Mirror-Breaker   $23.99
4  Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer   $74.99
4  Seasoned Pyromancer   $19.99
4  Grief   $16.99
4  Fury   $29.99
4  Dauthi Voidwalker   $9.99
Instant [12]
1  Undying Evil   $0.99
2  Lightning Bolt   $0.99
2  Undying Malice   $0.69
2  Malakir Rebirth   $6.49
2  Feign Death   $0.79
3  Terminate   $0.49
Sorcery [4]
4  Thoughtseize   $16.99
Enchantment [3]
3  Blood Moon   $10.99
Land [19]
1  Mountain   $0.01
1  Graven Cairns   $8.49
1  Castle Locthwain   $2.79
2  Blood Crypt   $18.99
3  Swamp   $0.01
3  Marsh Flats   $13.99
4  Blackcleave Cliffs   $19.99
4  Bloodstained Mire   $37.99

Sideboard [15]
1  Kolaghan's Command   $2.79
1  Flame Blitz   $0.35
1  Hidetsugu Consumes All   $2.99
1  Magus of the Moon   $8.49
1  Tourach, Dread Cantor   $3.99
2  Necromentia   $2.49
2  Engineered Explosives   $11.99
2  Fatal Push   $2.99
2  Surgical Extraction   /P $4.99
2  Unlicensed Hearse   $15.99
Buy this deck:

$635.49 Tix @cardhoarder   $15.89 / Week @cardhoarder   $1,011.18 @tcgplayer   $1,111.79 @cardkingdom  

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Card choices

Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer

This little monkey is one of the best turn 1 drops in red history. It has the power to dominate the game alone if left unanswered in the early game.

Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer
34.74 Tix


We also don't need to say much about the best discard spell ever created. While some might see the 2 life drawback as significant, it's almost irrelevant when you have the possibility of taking your opponent's best card from their hand on the first turn. This card also gives you valuable information about what your opponent intends to do in the next few turns.

5.68 Tix


With the release of MH2, the much-feared elemental cycle with evoke was introduced. This deck knows how to abuse them, combining their evoke ability with cards that return the elementals to the battlefield when they die.

31.21 Tix

11.61 Tix

Our opponents find it very difficult to recover from such a play. This is especially true when you play a card that takes away their two best cards on the first turn, and at the same time leaves a threat on the table that can finish the game in a few swings. The other "choice" is facing a 4/4 double strike that can clear their whole table or just kill them before they have any answer.

MH2 changed Modern forever and having this kind of strategy available on the first turns only reinforces this idea.

Undying Evil/Feign Death/Undying Malice/Malakir Rebirth

These cards are responsible for the unfairest plays, allowing you to get out Fury or Grief on turn 1, leaving your opponent in a very complicated situation. Just remember that if by chance you have a creature with a +1/+1 counter, Undying Evil will have no effect, because it needs the creature to have no +1/+1 counters to work.

They also create an interesting situation: if your opponent doesn't deal with Ravagan quickly, they risk losing their removal cards to Grief. At the same time, wasting the removal leads them to facing even harder situations, like a Ragavan with the dash or a "resurrected" elemental.

Dauthi Voidwalker

A card that works well with the deck's discard effects and can help you deal with graveyards which is quite useful in the format. The fact that you can play exiled cards without paying their mana cost is a plus that can be exploited, in addition to the fact that the card is practically unblockable.

Dauthi Voidwalker
3.75 Tix

Seasoned Pyromancer/Fable of the Mirror Breaker

The deck is not just made of unfair plays; it can grind out other decks when necessary, thanks to these two cards. Seasoned Pyromancer can fill the board with creatures, and Fable is a staple for red decks that can swing the game easily in our favor.

Seasoned Pyromancer
11.9 Tix

Fable of the Mirror-Breaker
41.4 Tix

Blood Moon

Blood Moon is a great play on turn 2 with the help of Ragavan, as it puts you in a great position in the current meta. Modern decks have a very greedy mana base, with many fetches, shocks and triomes, in addition to other nonbasic lands, like Urza's Saga. However, Blood Moon can also hurt us, so remember to find a basic swamp when possible.

Blood Moon
5.46 Tix

Lightning Bolt/Terminate

Necessary creature removal for certain moments of the game. Terminate deals with many problematic creatures, such as Murktide Regent, Primeval Titan and Archon of Cruelty.

Lightning Bolt
0.6 Tix

0.04 Tix

Fatal Push

This is a great addition versus any deck that contains a lot of low-cost creatures, such as Hammer and Merfolks.

Fatal Push
0.21 Tix

Hidetsugu Consumes All

This card has the versatility to serve as a mass removal of low-cost permanents, like Hammer, but can also exile graveyards.

Hidetsugu Consumes All
11.17 Tix

Engineered Explosives

Similar effect to Hidetsugu, being able to destroy low-cost permanents, especially Sanctifier en-Vec, a card that completely destroys our game plan.

Engineered Explosives
13.61 Tix

Unlicensed Hearse/Surgical Extraction

Both have a similar use: dealing with graveyards. Hearse is one of the best post-side cards against UR Murktide, weakening Dragon’s Rage Channeler and delaying Murktide. But Surgical does nothing in those matchups, since you don't want to take anything specific from the graveyard, but it can be a key card against combo decks.

Unlicensed Hearse
26.53 Tix

Surgical Extraction
4.68 Tix

Flame Blitz

I believe that having a copy of it  in the sideboard is a wasted slot. While I understand that there are some decks which can take advantage of planeswalkers, I don't think that it's necessary to have a sideboard slot specifically for that purpose. However, the fact that it can be cycled does make it a slightly better option.

Flame Blitz
0.02 Tix

Tourach, Dread Cantor

This creature is particularly useful against control decks, as it can both force them to discard cards, and is immune to key removal spells such as Prismatic Ending or Solitude.

Tourach, Dread Cantor
4.72 Tix


When you need to deal with specific cards in certain matches, Necromentia will be there for you. With the ability to name up to Tron lands, it's a true terror when it can be played on turn 2 thanks to Ragavan.

6.06 Tix

Magus of the Moon

When Blood Moon is good, you should bring an extra copy. It has the advantage of not being hit by Force of Vigor, making it a great choice.

Magus of the Moon
5.34 Tix

Kolaghan's Command

This card is versatile and effective both when you need to slowly wear down your opponent by returning their creatures to their hand and killing specific targets, and when you need to destroy troublesome artifacts - especially tokens from Urza's Saga.

Kolaghan's Command
0.57 Tix

Sideboard Guide

Below I will list some of the format's top decks and how I sideboard against them.


- 3 Blood Moon

- 2 Lightning Bolt

+ 2 Unlicensed Hearse

+ 3 Fatal Push

Some versions of Murktide use Blood Moon in the MD, so this proves that it will be hardly useful on our  side. It's a grindy match, so the presence of Seasoned Pyromancer and Fable of the Mirror Breaker helps a lot, sometimes you can steal the game by making some elemental in the first turn. Bolt is a good removal vs Ragavan and Ledger Shredder, but Push is more effective, so we make a simple exchange. As mentioned before, Hearse is one of the best cards, you need to keep their graveyard under control to avoid being  surprised by a huge Murktide Reagent.  They also have very good weapons to play a grindy game, so be careful not to be swallowed in card advantage.



- 4 Thoughtseize

- 4 Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer


+ 2 Fatal Push

+ 2 Engineered Explosives

+ 1 Hidetsugu Consumes All

+ 1 Kolaghan’s Command

This is a very good match for the deck, as we have many ways to interact with creatures and the hammer "combo", as well as Fury being completely devastating for our opponent. Ragavan is not good here, as we don't even want to trade him for a Memnite, so he is one of the few matches where we don't want him in after sideboarding. Thoughtseize looks ideal, removing a Sigarda's Aid from hand, but it is slow and bad against Esper Sentinel, as we give away a card for free most of the time. We add more removal to make the match even more comfortable. Remember to save the Explosives for Sanctifier en-Vec, as it is one of the only ways we have to deal with it.



- 2 Lightning Bolt

- 3 Terminate


+ 2 Surgical Extraction

+ 2 Unlicensed Hearse

+ 1 Magus of the Moon

The deck has a lot of cards that can give our opponent a headache. Both elementals are good, but Grief generally is better, because he can answer the undying effect with Force of Negation. Ragavan is a nightmare for them, especially being able to ramp Blood Moon in turn 2. In addition, we have Dauthi Voidwalker that is a graveyard hate card in the main deck that hinders his plan. An interesting play we can make is to discard our creatures with Fable and Pyromancer, so they can return from the graveyard if he manages to resolve a Living End. After sideboarding we take out our removal spells that are usually not necessary to go up for more graveyard hate and Magus of the Moon that does die to Force of Vigor and Foundation Breaker.



- 2 Lightning Bolt


+ 2 Necromentia

I believe this to be a favorable match-up, but he does have access to very good top decks, so we need to be mindful. Ragavan is an excellent turn one drop, but he can play Arboreal Grazer, so if that happens we can go for the Scam plan with one of the Elementals. Dauthi + Thoughtseize discarding Primeval Titan or Cultivator Colossus is almost a guaranteed win, and Blood Moon is excellent against the various non-basic lands. Post-side, Lightning Bolt does nothing, so we bring up Necromentia to be able to take out a key piece from his deck. Amulet is always a dangerous deck, but I believe it to be a favorable match-up as we have many ways to attack his game-plan.



- 4 Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer

- 3 Blood Moon


+ 2 Fatal Push

+ 2 Necromentia

+ 2 Unlicensed Hearse

+ 1 Hidetsugu Consumes All

Dauthi is excellent against combo decks, being answered only by Grist, the Hunger Tide. The "scam" plan with Grief and Fury, clearing the board, is excellent. Post-sideboard we remove Ragavan, which ends up not being very good, as he has blockers and small creatures that trade easily, making it very difficult to connect attacks with him. Blood Moon is also not one of the best plans, so we switched those cards for more removal and graveyard hate, to avoid being comboed by Yawgmoth.



- 4 Thoughtseize

- 3 Blood Moon


+ 2 Fatal Push

+ 2 Engineered Explosives

+ 1 Hidetsugu Consumes All

+ 1 Kolaghan’s Command

+ 1 Tourach

We have no way to gain life, either in the main deck or in the sideboard, so we need to take as little damage as possible. But we have a really solid plan that can end the game before being burned down. Both Grief and Fury are excellent combined with the undying spells. Grief can take a lot of his gas in the early game and Fury kills small creatures and is a very dangerous threat. After sideboarding we add more removal and take out what makes us lose life and Blood Moon, which has almost no uses in this match.



- 2 Lightning Bolt


+ 2 Engineered Explosives

+ 1 Magus of the Moon

Blood Moon is really good against the mana base of this deck. Ragavan can be really good, but sometimes it's better to use him with dash due to Wrenn and Six. We can also back him up with undying spells. Dauthi can be very effective (you can make him discard Archon of Cruelty and get it removed). Post-side explosives are great dealing with their tokens and  we add an extra Magus to further disrupt the mana base.

Final words

Rakdos Scam is a dangerous deck, with explosive openings, effective discard and powerful creatures. This all shows why it has been featured among the tiers of the format.

Until next time!

If you liked this article maybe you will also find interesting on of the following ones UW Narset Undoing Primer & Sideboard Guide [Modern], Taking the Modern Challenge with Calibrated Blast: primer and sideboard guide, Going Mythic with Mono Green in Explorer, Getting ready for the Vintage Qualifier: Doomsday Cheatsheet & Sideboad Guide

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Lucas Giggs
MTG Streamer
Hi, my name is Lucas de Almeida Hervás. I'm 31 years old, married, and I live in Indaiatuba/SP, Brazil. I've been playing Magic the Gathering since 2009, but I've been making a living off of it since 2019 through leagues and tournaments on Magic Online. For those who don't know me, I'm 2.17 meters tall, hence the nickname "the tallest Magic player in Brazil."


Published: 2022-11-22 00:00:00

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