Oh hello, WORMS. Welcome to another edition of Fan Favorite Friday. Last time we got to talk about those annoying Izzet scientists because you decided we should, but this week is going to be different. If you follow the Facebook page then you know there was only one outcome for this week's edition of FFF...
THE CULT OF RAKDOS.
First, before we dive into the disgusting pit of awesome that is Rakdos, we have an Izzet Guild Care Package to give away! Tanner Lauerman, your this week's lucky winner! It looks like you're a local, so stop on by the shop any time to pick up your care package! (If I'm wrong, just hit us up on Facebook and we'll arrange shipping for you - no worries!)
Now, you sadistic little goblins, I know you want to win a Rakdos Care Package right? Well fear not, Papa Rakdos is going to provide. Check this action out!
So how to win?
- Like the ABU Games Facebook Page
- Like the post announcing the giveaway
- Comment on said post telling us what you love most about The Cult of Rakdos
All right, that's enough of the boring stuff. Let's dive into the hedonism and get to talking about everybody's favorite MTG Cult!
The Cult of Rakdos claims the colors Black and Red. It was introduced to the world in the Dissension set, which as you should all know by now if you've been following along with the FFFs was part of the original Ravnica block and released in May of 2007.
The Guild was formed (sort of) by the parun Rakdos - a pretty gnarly demon from the Ravnica plane. He was given the responsibility of managing a guild by the Guildpact so that he would hopefully stop causing a mess of things around Ravnica, which I guess sort of worked? According to my research, he really just spent most of his time taking an epic sounding nap in the bottom-most pit of the Rakdos guildhall Rix Maadi.
During the original Ravnica storyline, Izolda (the human blood witch) was determined to wake his butt up (poor demon lord, he just wanted a nap) but to do that she needed a bunch of blood. I guess that goes with the blood witch thing? She got a bunch of the blood, and was chasing the son of Jarad and Fonn to get his blood, and it looked like she wasn't going to get it, but then next thing you know the boy got cut, the blood hit Rakdos and BOOM the Demon Lord was no longer napping. He went on a crazy bender, wreaking havoc throughout Ravnica until he got absorbed by Project Kraj (which is another article all together probably) and was spit out back into his pit for some more slumbering. Izolda then was promptly EATEN by her guildmates. Yikes - what a price for failure!
The Cult of Rakdos serve many functions on Ravnica, mostly in the service industry. Some of them are slaves, some are caterers, and a large number of them are all about working in the clubs! Wherever you need a little hedonism, you'll find a cult member.
So yeah, The Cult of Rakdos isn't the most well oiled of machines. However, they're probably one of my favorite guilds of all time! Return to Ravnica was one of the first sets where I was really getting into Magic, and I was drafting at least twice a week. I wasn't any good at it really, but my Rakdos buddies were there to help me out! I'd force Rakdos almost every time, and definitely won way more games than I had any right to. Then, of course, I had to build a Red Black aggro deck for Standard which ended up actually being pretty good! I'm sure many of you remember those days!
What Makes These Cards So Cool?
Well, many of the Rakdos flavored cards are aggro oriented, which I think is what made them so appealing to me as a newer player. I was able to play a lot of little, often hasty dudes and overwhelm my opponents quickly and with plenty of bloodshed!
The mechanics that belong to Rakdos are Hellbent, which is where certain cards get better effects if your hand is empty, and Unleash - which allowed you to put a creature with the ability in to the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it, as long as you were okay with it not being able to block! Any creature with Unleash that received a counter from anyone lost the blocking ability.
Lets take a look at two of my favorite Rakdos cards from Return to Ravnica. First up is a nasty little one drop featuring the Unleash ability, Rakdos Cackler.
For one hybrid Black/Red mana, you get a 1/1 devil with the Unleash keyword! I LOVED playing a 2/2 for one mana in draft, and definitely played a playset of my sweet promos in Standard for a while. It was just such an awesome way to put pressure on people.
Then, I'd follow that up with what is to this day one of my favorite two drops (purely for nostalgic reasons I'd guess), Rakdos Shred-Freak.
For two hybrid mana, you get a 2/1 haste dude, which isn't all that impressive in retrospect but HOT DANG did I think he was cool back in the day. Curving out into this sucker after playing my Cackler was a great feeling, and he was definitely a huge piece of the awesome Red/Black deck I played in Standard.
Another Rakdos card that I always thought was super rad, coming to us from the much-maligned Dragon's Maze, is Sire of Insanity.
This thing is nuts. I drafted him a couple of times (never to much success), but I always thought he was super rad, and fit the flavor of Rakdos perfectly! He never saw all that much play during the block, but fast forward to today and he's the only card of these three seeing any play! As you can imagine, he's a great addition to reanimation strategies (as you'll see in the next section).
What Formats are Rakdos Cards Played In?
While there aren't any "Rakdos" decks in Standard right now (if you're looking for the guild specifically), there sure as heck is a sweet Black/Red deck being played! This deck is sweet! It's midrange, but still has all of the aggro flavor that I loved so much from back in the day. If you're looking for a very in-depth look at this deck and its plays, check out my teammate Chaz's video he did talking about the year he spent with the deck.
As far as Modern goes, there isn't really a "Rakdos" themed deck just like standard, but there is definitely an annoying Red/Black deck throwing up cards all over the table. I actually think this deck is super rad, I'm just tired of losing to it! It uses it's graveyard and discard abilities to pump out Hollow Ones and other nastiness super early and overwhelm your opponent, and if that doesn't feel pretty Rakdos then I don't know what does!
Now, the Legacy deck I mentioned earlier: BR Reanimator! This deck only plays one "Rakdos" card, Sire of Insanity, but he can sure shine here! You can make both you and your opponent discard everything all the time, but you're the one equipped to resurrect your dudes. I've gotten to pilot this deck a few times, and even when you have no idea what the best lines of play are it can be explosive!
The Rakdos know how to party. Sure, some of them are demented minions of chaos, but that doesn't mean they don't know how to have a good time! I'm excited to get my hands on some more Rakdos cards soon, and you know I'll be trying to force that BR in draft again!
Are you a member of The Cult? Shout out in the comments! Have an idea of what you'd like to see next week?