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Standard Rakdos Discover Deck & Sideboard Guide

Lucas Giggs
03/01/2024 · 10 min read
guides

Discovering

Ixalan has proven to be one of the most groundbreaking sets in recent times, particularly for Standard play, as it has changed and enhanced old archetypes while breathing new life into others that had been somewhat forgotten. Ever since the banning of Fable of the Mirror Breaker and Invoke Despair, Rakdos Midrange hasn't been the same, paving the way for another deck, BG Midrange, because without Fable, there was essentially no longer a reason to play with the red color. Now, it has made a comeback with a fresh list, reaching the finals in two Standard Challenges. Today, I'm going to talk about this new decklist, with new card choices, tips and tricks to play the deck, mulligan decisions, and of course, a sideboard guide against the tiers of the format.

The Deck

The original list comes from the player Venom1, who is also known for playing off-meta decks, and this time he made a spot-on choice. I played with the deck on Sunday too, but sadly I ran into some bad matchups for it (2 consecutive Domains) and didn't make the top 32.


By the way, I recently covered Domain Ramp in a previous article if you're interested.

Rakdos Discover. Builder: Venom1.MTGO - Magic Online
1st
(7 - 1)
87%
in MTGO Standard Challenge 32 #12596673 [56 Players] 16-Dec-2023
MTG Decks Maindeck (60)
Creature [26]
4  Bloodtithe Harvester   $0.49
1  Bonehoard Dracosaur   $16.99
2  Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor   $24.99
4  Deep-Cavern Bat   $0.99
4  Geological Appraiser   $0.35
4  Preacher of the Schism   $4.49
3  Sheoldred, the Apocalypse   $99.99
4  Trumpeting Carnosaur   $3.99
Instant [5]
1  Anoint with Affliction   $0.35
2  Cut Down   $2.29
2  Go for the Throat   $1.49
Sorcery [1]
1  Extract the Truth   $0.35
Enchantment [3]
3  The Cruelty of Gix   $5.99
Land [25]
5  Swamp   $0.01
4  Restless Vents   $0.49
2  Mountain   $0.01
4  Haunted Ridge   $9.99
1  Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance   $5.99
3  Sulfurous Springs   $4.99
2  Blackcleave Cliffs   $4.49
1  Takenuma, Abandoned Mire   $12.99
3  Cavern of Souls   $44.99
Sideboard [15]
1  Abrade   $0.35
1  Anoint with Affliction   $0.35
1  Breach the Multiverse   $6.99
1  Brotherhood's End   $6.99
2  Cut Down   $2.29
1  Go for the Throat   $1.49
2  Extract the Truth   $0.35
1  Gix's Command   $1.99
3  Duress   $0.35
2  Liliana of the Veil   $13.99
Buy this deck:

$111.90 Tix @cardhoarder   $2.80 / Week @cardhoarder   $573.46 @tcgplayer   $703.77 @cardkingdom  


Deck Tools: Visual View Similar Decks Proxies Archetype Analysis
Export & Save: Magic online format Apprentice and MWS .dec


I'm testing this feature, if you find any error please report it ;)

However, the player _GGN_ used the same 75 cards and made it to a split in the final against a Domain. The decklist features a lot of cards from Ixalan, making it essentially a new version compared to previous Rakdos decks.

Rakdos Discover. Builder: _GGN_.MTGO - Magic Online
2nd
(9 - 1)
90%
in MTGO Standard Challenge 64 #12596687 [83 Players] 17-Dec-2023
MTG Decks Maindeck (60)
Creature [26]
4  Deep-Cavern Bat   $0.99
4  Geological Appraiser   $0.35
2  Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor   $24.99
4  Preacher of the Schism   $4.49
3  Sheoldred, the Apocalypse   $99.99
1  Bonehoard Dracosaur   $16.99
4  Bloodtithe Harvester   $0.49
4  Trumpeting Carnosaur   $3.99
Instant [5]
1  Anoint with Affliction   $0.35
2  Cut Down   $2.29
2  Go for the Throat   $1.49
Sorcery [1]
1  Extract the Truth   $0.35
Enchantment [3]
3  The Cruelty of Gix   $5.99
Land [25]
3  Sulfurous Springs   $4.99
4  Restless Vents   $0.49
4  Haunted Ridge   $9.99
2  Mountain   $0.01
3  Cavern of Souls   $44.99
1  Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance   $5.99
1  Takenuma, Abandoned Mire   $12.99
2  Blackcleave Cliffs   $4.49
5  Swamp   $0.01
Sideboard [15]
3  Duress   $0.35
1  Anoint with Affliction   $0.35
1  Breach the Multiverse   $6.99
1  Brotherhood's End   $6.99
2  Cut Down   $2.29
1  Abrade   $0.35
2  Extract the Truth   $0.35
1  Gix's Command   $1.99
1  Go for the Throat   $1.49
2  Liliana of the Veil   $13.99
Buy this deck:

$111.90 Tix @cardhoarder   $2.80 / Week @cardhoarder   $573.46 @tcgplayer   $703.77 @cardkingdom  


Deck Tools: Visual View Similar Decks Proxies Archetype Analysis
Export & Save: Magic online format Apprentice and MWS .dec


I'm testing this feature, if you find any error please report it ;)

Card choices

Deep-Cavern Bat

Standard was in need of a creature with this kind of disruptive effect; I believe one of the last ones was from the original Ixalan set, with Kitesail Freebooter, which actually saw play in some decks. Compared to the Freebooter, they've made quite an improvement, even though it lost 1 toughness, having Lifelink is a big help against more aggressive decks, and the life gain can be really significant, especially when paired with other cards like Raffine in the Esper Midrange deck. In that list, it fits really well, and together with Gix, it becomes a true card advantage engine, with the 1 life cost per draw being effectively negated by lifelink. It's a key component in the deck's success and further evidence of how much Ixalan contributed to Standard.

Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor

I could certainly mention Preacher of the Schism as one of the deck's highlights, and it truly is a great card, both in more aggressive matches and against other midrange and control decks. However, Gix plays a key role in this list, mainly because it's one of the best cards to play after casting a Deep-Cavern Bat. It's rare to see low-cost cards that can generate so much card advantage in decks with colors not typically known for doing so, especially with a more aggressive slant. It also has an ability that can steal some games by discarding useless cards and using your opponent's cards to your advantage, even casting them without paying their costs. It's an incredible card and I'm glad it's finally getting the recognition it deserves, even if it's been around in the format for a while.

Restless Vents

Manlands play a crucial role in Pioneer Rakdos builds, offering additional attack strategies for the deck, especially when it runs out of steam. With the introduction of a manland that also provides excellent color fixing for the deck, it gains a lot more power. It can more effectively cast its black and red double-colored spells and also have an aggressive land with evasion, as well as a useful ability to cycle cards in the late game. This is another significant addition that came with the release of Ixalan.

Playing the deck

The deck starts functioning from the initial turns, so it's essential to have some interaction or a two-drop to play. Besides, these two-drops often set the pace of the game because we can be more aggressive with a 3/2 that hits hard right out of the gate, or remove a key card with the bat and clear the way for our higher-cost drops to start doing their job. It's crucial not to miss land drops, keeping in mind that we have a relatively high top-end with dinosaurs, which means we can either play a faster game by curving out and removing threats early or have a strong late game with big dinosaurs and The Cruelty of Gix.

Mulliganing Examples

Example Hand #1

Good hand, especially since we're in the game and have been under pressure since turn 2. We can still use the blood token to cycle something and keep hitting our land drops to get to our 4-drop. Plus, we have some interaction with our Carnosaur, which can take out something with toughness 3 if we need to. Keep.

Example Hand #2

Slow hand, not knowing what we're up against, the Cut Down might already mean we're effectively down to a 6-card hand. We can't afford to rely on the top of the deck when we can have much better 6-card hands. Plus, when we're on the play, we need to be more proactive. Time to mulligan.

Example Hand #3

It's not the best hand, but pairing Carnosaur with The Cruelty of Gix wins a lot of games by discarding it to kill a creature or planeswalker and then bringing it back with the third chapter of the saga, resurrecting the dinosaur. We also have the bat to give us more information. Keep.

Tips & Tricks

Discover & Reanimation

You can reanimate the Trumpeting Carnosaur using The Cruelty of Gix and still trigger its discover ability, but be careful because if you try to bring back Geological Appraiser, you'll end up with just a 3/2 creature, since its specific discover ability states that it triggers when you cast it.

Life Points & Chapters

Be careful with your life points when using The Cruelty of Gix. If you start with the first chapter, the second one is mandatory, so you have to lose 3 life points and search for a card in your library. If you start with the third, there's no issue.

Self Damage

Remember that the Preacher of the Schism's trigger changes based on your life points. If for some reason you want to create a token with lifelink instead of drawing a card, you can deal damage to yourself if your life totals are tied or you can ensure you have less life than your opponent. In the case of this deck, you can intentionally lose 1 life point using Sulfurous Springs.

Being Legendary Matters

The cost of the channel ability decreases based on the number of legendary creatures you control. Keep this in mind if you have a Gix or a Sheoldred on the battlefield.

Matchups & Sideboard guide

Esper Midrange

Balanced matchup—we've got removal for creatures, a strong late game with bombs like The Cruelty of Gix, and very useful low-cost creatures that serve as disruption and removal. However, he also has some above-average cards, such as Raffine, Virtue of Loyalty, and Wedding Announcement. Remember, if you have Dennick on the field, chapter III of The Cruelty doesn't do anything.

Post-sideboard with more Cut Downs, the match becomes a bit more favorable, but overall, since both decks have cards that make a big impact on the board, I believe neither side has a significant advantage.

Monored Aggro

Favorable matchup, combining removals with creatures like Sheoldred and Preacher of the Schism really locks down ground combat. Having Deep-Cavern Bat on the field helps too, even if it only temporarily removes something, the few life points it can gain might make a big difference.

Post-sideboard, we just need to lower our curve to avoid being stuck with too many high-cost cards.

UW Soldiers

A good matchup, but risky, especially if we can't control the board and they manage to play high-impact cards like Knight-Errant of Eos and Virtue of Loyalty. However, their deck struggles a bit against our creatures, especially Sheoldred and Preacher of the Schism.

After sideboarding, we need some more removals and answers for enchantments, and that's where Extract the Truth shines.

Domain Ramp

Unfavorable matchup, but it's not impossible. We need a clock with early disruption; it's crucial that we start with one of our two-drops, otherwise, we're giving our opponent too much time to stabilize. They have a lot of good draws, whether they're big threats or cards like Sunfall/Depopulate, so it's really tough to play around everything. But we need to apply as much pressure as possible to finish the game quickly.

After sideboarding, it's a matchup where the combination of card advantage with creatures and Gix, along with discard effects like Duress and Liliana, is very effective. Sheoldred also does a great job punishing their endless drawing with Up the Beanstalk. Breach the Beanstalk is also really good, potentially giving us a significant advantage by bringing back an Atraxa.

Rakdos Midrange

A mirror match is a pretty grindy game that involves card advantage, disruption, and lots of discovery. Gix is one of the most impactful cards, precisely because it provides that card advantage which gives one side the upper hand. The topdecks for both players are really strong, so it's likely to be a long game if neither side has issues with lands. The sideboard isn't set up to give an edge in this matchup, but we do need to remove low-impact cards. Liliana could also be a game-changer, as the strategy of protecting her and utilizing her ultimate is very effective.

Monowhite Midrange

The match is a bit unfavorable too, since like ramp decks, it has a lot of heavy hitters, planeswalkers, and board wipes. The enchantments are also very efficient, making it hard to speed up the game and leaving the opponent in a comfortable position to stabilize the match. After sideboarding, I usually don't like bringing in Liliana against decks with Wedding Announcement, but in this case, it's a necessary evil because she plays a decent role, even if it's just removing a token and making the opponent discard a card. It's another match with a lot of friction and exchanges, where the opponent has more impactful cards in the late game, but post-sideboarding, the match becomes a bit more balanced.

Final words

Being relatively fresh to the format, with many cards from Ixalan, this new version of Rakdos Midrange has been turning heads with its resilience and its ability to start off very aggressively, yet shift its game plan to more grindy matches with disruption and card advantage.

I believe this is a deck that's here to stay, and that's great news for those who enjoy Standard.

Until next time!

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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."

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Published: 2024-01-03 00:00:00

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