Hello again friends! Here at my Pauper Flophouse of fun I bring you a variety of sweet Pauper decks and give them some quick and dirty brawls in the leagues. Hopefully showing off what the decks can do, having some sweet games and making suggestions on how to make things even better. Let’s go!

This week, you get twice the Pauper for your money. Well, I imagine that amount of money is zero, but that is apt, since I don’t have any money either. We’re playing some Rakdos Control this week, but we’re covering 2 different decks over a pair of articles. Why?

Well, I have been working on a Rakdos Control deck on my own recently. That began with an internet friend sending me this message:

  • “Do you take requests for pauper brews? If so, is there any way of making a playable Blightning deck?”

My answers to this were ‘Sure!’ and ‘Sounds like a challenge!’ respectively. Naturally that leads to some kind of Rakdos deck. You can play it as a Burn deck, but that would be mildly boring. Playing at as some kind of mid-rangy control deck sounded more appealing, but there were 2 main ways to go from there. You can focus more on the attrition route, which leads you to be heavier in black, or try to take advantage of the burn aspect and this try and lean heavier into red for additional damage. I elected to go for the damage.



I began testing out from a rough list they posted and I started to form conclusions on how a Rakdos deck should be formed in Pauper. Those conclusions will feature in part 2 of this series, because in the process of testing I encountered a similar deck that coincidentally seemed to be taking the alternative, more attrition heavy route.

I came across MTGO user ‘nekoyanagi’ who crushed me (playing Delver) in a league playing BR control. “Okay” I thought, I would need to remember what was in that deck and compare. As luck would have it, I wouldn’t need to remember as they managed to 5-0 a league recently. That deck looked like this.

I liked this deck. It’s certainly not a million miles away from a mono-black list (which you can see examples of here) but this has some advantages over MBC.

  • The red sideboard cards: Pyroblast and artifact destruction are great in the current format, and Electrickery being an instant upgrades it from Shrivel.
  • Flexible removal: Black does have great removal, but in cases where they are not so great, you end up with a lot of dead cards. Pointing Lightning Bolts at the enemy face isn’t always effective, but it’s a lot better than having dead Disfigure and Tendrils of Corruption in hand.
  • No 5 drops: Gray Merchant of Asphodel is a great card, no doubt. However it’s not at it’s best in the format right now. Tapping out on turn 6 or 7 for a Merchant can easily get you killed against Drake, and having clunky many-Merchant hands where you miss your 5th land drop seems to lead to many losses against decks like Izzet Blitz or Affinity. By eliminating Merchant from the gameplan, the deck can focus on casting more disruptive spells and Gurmag Angler.
Sad times when even Gary can't find work.

Sad times when even Gary can’t find work.

So why am I talking about this deck first and not my version? I think it’s important to consider the conclusions other people come to on a similar topic. We’re playing the same colours and many of the same cards, so I wanted to see how this version played to examine the differences and see if could learn anything to help my own deck. And I figured, if I was doing that, people might like to see how that went!

The League

Play mistakes aside,(seriously, why is it always the first match I record where I do something bone-headed?) things went relatively smoothly. “That 5th match was a heartbreaker though, so close!” You’ll see me comment in real time in the videos, but here are a list of observations or changes I might want to make.

  • I feel like having all the card advantage at 3 mana is a mistake. While Read the Bones is great and I want to topdeck them all the time, with all the Chittering Rats and Phyrexian Ragers, you generally have something good to play on turn 3, and not reaching 3 mana on time is a real concern. I would add at least a couple of Night’s Whisper.
  • Addle seemed great. I’d played Distress in MBC in the past and been uninspired, but I was impressed by how well placed it seemed at the moment. Good call.
  • As I mention in the video, I played vs. the originator of this decklist in a League with a slightly different version. Not knowing any other changes, they swapped some Rager for Liliana’s Specter. I like that change in general, though I believe that would further increase the need for some additional card draw and possibly another Swamp to help with mana costs.
  • The Pyroblasts make me feel like I have a shot against the card drawing power of the Drake decks and Tron and so on. Instead of matching helplessly when opponents topdeck Mulldrifter, we can make plans for it!
  • I kinda want a Shattering Pulse in the board. Our deck has enough mana to buyback quite often and even more ways to kill Myr Enforcer seems like it would be beneficial.
  • The Gurmag Anglers were quite expensive much of the time especially when drawing multiples or wanting to keep our Flashback spells in the Graveyard. I don’t think it’d be a disaster to only play 3, since the high amount of disruption means 1 is likely enough to win against most decks.
  • Alternatively, we could consider playing a Rakshasa’s Secret or two as it fits the attrition plan while fuelling Angler and occasionally getting Flashback value.
  • One card I did see in a MBC deck recently that caught my eye was Darksteel Pendant. The card is extremely slow, but as this deck can’t really take advantage of extra lands past 7 mana and tends to want to go extremely long, it’s not outrageous to play one to smooth out draws over a very long game.
  • I am not sure 4 Grotesque Mutations are strictly necessary, since red doesn’t seem to be all that common recently. This deck is slow to finish off the opponent though, so maybe drawing multiples of them is actually sometimes required!
  • The maindeck Bojuka Bogs do a lot of work, and I’d be interested in a Nihil Spellbomb in the sideboard to supplement them for attrition matches.

So that was my look at Br Rakdos. Seemed built on a solid foundation, perfectly reasonable against most decks in the format and not overly difficult to play. Join me later in the week for a spicier Rb Rakdos meatball.

Stephen ‘Jecht’ Murray, over and out.