A fresh take: Rakdos Scamless In-depth & sideboard guide
02/03/2023 · 11 min read
Intro to Rakdos Scamless
Hey everyone, Alessandro is back again today and we're diving into the Modern format with a new deck, or what some may call an old-school deck, but updated to the current Modern metagame .
Right now in Modern, there are a lot of decks with Tier 1 potential, one of them being the well-known Rakdos Scam. It focuses on cheating Grief or Fury into play on turn one using undying spells, while abusing Ragavan and Seasoned Pyromancer.
This deck is really good; I won't deny it, but when I was getting ready to compete in Modern, it wasn't really the version of the Rakdos deck that I was looking for.
Generally speaking, and based on my style of play, I tend to have a lot of affinity for midrange decks and my favorite card of all time is Thoughtseize.
My mission would be to construct a formidable Rakdos Midrange list from the most efficient cards available in these colors, tailored to succeed in the diverse meta of the Modern format while avoiding the Rakdos Scam route.
Crushing the Qualifier League
In July of 2022, I managed to achieve a fantastic Top 8 finish at Manatraders Series and make it to the Sunday Playoffs for a chance to compete for $15,000. This tournament was particularly satisfying for me because I was the only one registering a Rakdos midrange deck without Fury or Grief as its base.
It's been almost a year since I last played this Modern list, so it's obvious there will be many changes to both the maindeck and sideboard since the metagame is now different and more varied.
This new list was prepared for the Manatraders Series February 2023, firstly to qualify for the Swiss Round and then I made a few adjustments to the list to try to go as far as possible in the finals and/or Swiss Rounds.
My Current Version of the Deck
This is my current decklist with which I feel very comfortable competing.
Rakdos Midrange Scamless
(18 - 3)
85% in — 04-Mar-2023
|4 Dragon's Rage Channeler||$1.99|
|4 Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer||$94.99|
|3 Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger||$17.99|
|4 Fable of the Mirror-Breaker||$29.99|
|4 Seasoned Pyromancer||$19.99|
|3 Mishra's Bauble||$1.79|
|2 Fatal Push||$3.49|
|2 Lightning Bolt||$1.29|
|4 Unholy Heat||$0.25|
|3 Inquisition of Kozilek||$0.49|
|4 Blackcleave Cliffs||$4.49|
|3 Blood Crypt||$21.99|
|4 Bloodstained Mire||$42.99|
|2 Den of the Bugbear||$9.49|
|1 Castle Locthwain||$4.49|
|1 Graven Cairns||$8.49|
|3 Verdant Catacombs||$19.99|
|2 Orvar, the All-Form||$15.99|
|3 Engineered Explosives||$11.99|
|2 Magus of the Moon||$8.49|
|4 Leyline of the Void||$10.99|
|1 Path of Peril||$1.29|
|2 Blood Moon||$14.99|
|1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn||$15.99|
As you can see, this is a pure and hard midrange deck, focused on early interaction, quality removal, efficient discards, and Kroxa to define the midgame.
My priority for this deck is to provide as much stability as possible, aiming to have efficient turns on T1 and T2, so we can play cards like Seasoned Pyromancer or Fable of the Mirror Breaker on T3, which are obviously cards that break the midgame by providing card advantage and being a headache for the opponent at all times.
I had many doubts about some cards that could have taken a starring role in the maindeck, such as Dauthi Voidwalker.
Many people were asking me why I wasn't playing it. Dauthi Voidwalker is a great card, I tested it in the list more than once, the problem is that it makes my mana base much worse and at no point did it make me feel that it was a key card in the deck, rather I remember having more than one headache for not being able to block Ragavan with this it or other spots where it was a truly useless card... mostly when you're on the draw. Maybe it's a much better card in Rakdos Scam versions since it can have interactions with Grief.
Why Playing Rakdos Midrange over Scam?
When I posted this deck, one of the questions I got asked a lot was 'Why do you prefer this version, and why don't you play Rakdos Scam?' It's a good question; I'm not going to put one deck ahead of the other, just my feelings on each and why I chose to go a different route.
It's a good question; I'm not going to put one deck ahead of the other, just my feelings on each and why I chose to go a different route.
Rakdos Scam is an explosively powerful deck, playing cards like Fury and Grief giving it a huge boost. On the other hand, one of the deck's weaknesses is that it plays multiple copies of the "undying cards", which I think are terrible to be playing with the current power level in Modern. Looking at it critically, cards like Feign Death, Undying Malice, and Malakir Rebirth have not even seen play in Limited, being considered by most as "bulk" cards.
Rakdos Midrange is a less explosive deck without surprising interactions, or rather, a "Fair" deck. Generally, most players don't enjoy this type of deck because they prefer to play more powerful cards or decks that create much more UNBALANCED situations at the table.
The strength of this deck lies in its early interactions through discards, removals, or creature. We can choose our game plan as we wish to focus on the match at hand. It is also very important to note that we are only playing "good" cards; all of our removals accomplish their mission, all of our discard spells are efficient, and we play the two most powerful creatures of Modern (Ragavan and DRC).
I prefer to play Rakdos Midrange over Rakdos Scam because I want to avoid playing bad cards
I prefer to play Rakdos Midrange over Rakdos Scam because I want to avoid playing bad cards, I prefer to go for a mana base with a couple more lands to give my strategy more solidity. Clearly I sacrifice explosiveness by not playing Scam, but I think I prefer to go for a more solid route, make better decisions during the game, and try to win any match with cheap interaction.
Ragavan is likely the best creature in Modern right now and I believe it is essential to include Ragavan in most Red decks. It is the ultimate one-drop that, if it connects in an attack, can turn the game in our favor.
Dragon Rage Channeler
Dragon Rage Channeler is my new addition to the deck; it does all the work the deck needs—an inexpensive creature that gives us better decision-making by manipulating our topdeck, taking away undesirable draws, and applying pressure to our opponent when we achieve Delirium, all while paving the graveyard for Kroxa.
Kroxa has been out of the spotlight in Modern this past season, with the last deck I remember seeing it being Grixis Death Shadow. However, it now has a very important place in our deck - it's our finisher, or best win condition, and the best part is that it's free! Our deck is designed to always have a large amount of cards in the graveyard, and also to discard cards from our hand, either with Fable of the Mirror Breaker or Seasoned Pyromancer.
Seasoned Pyromancer and Fable of the Mirror Breaker
My picks for Drop 3 are Seasoned Pyromancer and Fable of the Mirror Breaker; they do a great job in our game plan, recycling cards that we may no longer need in hand or lands we may have already draw in the early or mid game. This task is very important, and these two cards are the best ones to perform it. Fable of the Mirror Breaker has shown to have all the potential to shine in Modern, and that's why I choose to play 4 copies of this wonderful card.
REMOVALS Y DISCARD SPELLS
My removal setup is feeling really comfortable with these 4 spells. Unholy Heat takes the crown this time as the best removal; it's a really versatile card, important for dealing with Titan Primeval and Archon of Cruelty for just one mana, which I think is really powerful. Not only that, but we can also take out planeswalkers like Wrenn and Six.
I was uncertain if I should keep playing Terminate, as Unholy Heat did the same job, but better and cheaper. However, it's a fact that Murktide Regent remains one of the biggest threats in Modern, so Terminate is my answer to that creature and any other creature I can't deal with using my other removals.
Inquisition of Kozilek and Thoughtseize have been the best discard spells in Modern for several years now, and have never stopped being played in different strategies. For this occasion, I choose to split the number of copies of each.
In conclusion, Rakdos "Fair" Midrange can be a great deck in the current metagame, especially for those players who enjoy playing stable decks that don't rely on explosive openings, but rather on playing efficiently and managing their resources throughout the match to secure their victory.
If you're willing to try the explosive scam version, you'll also find this guide really useful for improving your game: Rakdos Scam In-depth & sideboard guide.
Until next time!
If you liked this article maybe you will also find interesting on of the following ones Breaking Standard: UR Artifacts Ramp guide, Going Mythic with Mono Green in Explorer, Getting ready for the Vintage Qualifier: Doomsday Cheatsheet & Sideboad Guide
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Alessandro Carvallo, better known as Cabezadebolo on MTGO, is a very well-known grinder and deckbuilder on MTGO. Carvallo has been playing Magic: The Gathering for many years and has been involved in the competitive scene since a long time.
Published: 2023-03-02 00:00:00