Budget Rakdos in Standard? Black-Red Vampires Madness!
Hello everyone. It’s been a couple weeks since I last wrote an article for this site and therefore I’d like to do something slightly different as a way to make it up to you all. As of next Monday I will try my hardest to do another Beginner’s Guide to, but for this week, I’d like to touch on my a colour combination that hasn’t received huge amounts of love. The Rakdos colours. Black and Red.
Now, arguably the most aggressive colour combination in Magic: The Gathering hasn’t received much TLC and was only a fringe pairing during Khans of Tarkir Standard with Black-Red Dragons. So this article looks at whether I can, firstly, use my favourite mechanic: Madness, at all, and secondly, to create a deck that may be able to compete to a decent level versus some of the other decks in Standard.
Let’s crack on!
In Shadows over Innistrad, Vampires were pushed heavily, just like the first Innistrad block, as the tribe for Black- Red. And whilst the Vampires themselves were pretty awesome in [card]Incorrigible Youths[/card] and [card]Falkenrath Gorger[/card], they didn’t really have what was necessary to make them properly competitive in Constructed.
The colours themselves are relatively strong individually, with stuff like [card]Fiery Temper[/card] and [card]Abbot of Keral Keep[/card] in Red, and [card]Painful Truths[/card] and [card]Relentless Dead[/card] in Black. Theoretically, together they should be pretty strong right?
Well, It’s got some nice built in synergies. Black likes to use the graveyard as an extra resource when possible and doesn’t mind hurting itself to do so. Red likes to move things along pretty swiftly to fill up the graveyard with cheap cards and hit hard. So you could say there’s some things going on… But together? They aren’t amazing. At least not Blue-White strong.
So here’s the list:
[deck]4 Insolent Neonate
4 Asylum Visitor
3 Drana, Liberator of Malakir
2 Olivia, Mobilized for War
2 Bone Splinters
4 Lightning Axe
4 Skin Invasion
4 Call the Bloodline
4 Tormenting Voice
1 Ultimate Price
2 Alms of the Vein
4 Fiery Temper
4 Drownyard Temple
4 Foreboding Ruins
3 Smoldering Marsh
Taking a deeper look
So, what’s so good about this I hear you ask? To start off, we actually only have 13 creatures. Well, that’s not strictly true. [card]Call the Bloodline[/card] and [card]Skin Invasion[/card] are effectively creatures.
The reason I have a mass-considered “relatively weak” card in [card]Call the Bloodline[/card] is to pair with [card]Drownyard Temple[/card]. Being able to discard one to [card]Call the Bloodline[/card] and then plonk it down at a later date using its recursion ability is actually pretty cool. The same applies for [card]Lightning Axe[/card], [card]Olivia, Mobilized for War[/card] and [card]Tormenting Voice[/card]. It just gives a bit more ramp if you’ve seriously got nothing to do.
Speaking of cards with Discard effects, its our primary Card Advantage tool as well as being a Madness enabler for [card]Fiery Temper[/card], [card]Alms of the Vein[/card] and [card]Asylum Visitor[/card]. Being able to hit any of the mentioned cards off a Discard effect leaves us with a (normally cheaper) Instant speed version.
The rest of the deck is rather self-explanatory: as a Vampire deck, it enjoys sucking blood and playing the beatdown as much as possible. One final card I’d like to point out, and happens to be the inspiration for the entire deck, is [card]Insolent Neonate[/card] and its interaction with [card]Skin Invasion[/card]. Being a 1-drop, its a strong start. Having a Creature on board is always good, especially on the draw.
The real reason I have it in the deck is for it’s ability. Discarding a card is good for Madness. Sacrificing it means that any early-game targeted removal like [card]Declaration of Stone[/card] is nullified. Drawing a card is always welcome, especially when the rest of the card draw in the deck isn’t amazing. So lets’ pair it with [card]Skin Invasion[/card]. Pairing the 2 lets us do a pretty good Standard impersonation of [card]Delver of Secrets // Insectile Abberation[/card]. A 3/4 on Turn 2 is awesome. Being able to net a card off it, effectively paying RR for it, is even better. Doing it so early is just the icing on the cake.
A similar effect can be done through pairing a Token with it and then either swinging into something bigger, or by popping [card]Bone Splinters[/card] with the Token as its target. Whilst it doesn’t refresh a card, it effectively turns the token from just a 1/1 into a [card]Boneshredder[/card].
I haven’t come up with a Sideboard for this deck yet, so please feel free to tinker with the list, add a Sideboard and tell me what you’ve come up with. I’d be very interested to see what people brew up.
A budget deck to help get you started!
So there we have it, a cheap deck that could be the start of something to support Black-Red. I have to do a shoutout to the guy who initially triggered my brew, Mr Guiron Geppert. Please, take a bow sir.
Thanks for reading my ramblings and I reiterate- I will try to have another Beginner’s Guide out next Monday.