We know that Rakdos is good, but which version of it is best for Standard?

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Explore top Rakdos decks in MTG Standard with our guide. Learn which version outperforms in competitive scenes, and card tips to secure your wins.

Most Magic: The Gathering Players who have even a little bit of experience are aware that Rakdos archetypes account for a share of the meta in multiple formats. In some formats, it has multiple archetypes that are competitive and the decks themselves often differ vastly. Since we could probably write multiple articles for the different versions of Rakdos in various formats, we will stick to Rakdos Standard in this article.

Rakdos Ramp deck overview

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Rakdos Ramp is considered a heavy hitter in standard, as the deck relies on casting multiple cards that are considered bombs. Staying true to the ramp nature, it uses cards like Big Score and The Celestus to help get the deck to six and seven mana in order to cast the "bombs" such as Chandra, Hope's Beacon, Trumpeting Carnosaur, Breach the Multiverse, and Etali, Primal Conqueror.

Magic the Gathering Card - Cavern of Souls - MTG Circle

It's no secret that Standard as a format in general has a lot of bombs with a mana cost of five or higher that can completely alter the outcome of a match just by resolving. I think there is also a certain value to that as a player when it comes to having fun playing the game that we love. Few things in Magic make one feel more powerful than resolving an Etali, and then casting a free Atraxa from our opponent's deck - especially when they were relying on casting that spell on their turn to have a chance at winning. This mindset of "go big or go home" with Rakdos Ramp can translate to some pretty big highs, but equally devastating lows. Yes, we do have Cavern of Souls to make our big dinosaurs uncounterable, but it still feels pretty bad to have A Breach the Multiverse met with a swift Make Disappear. The inconsistent nature of the deck is adequately demonstratedhere, and we experience many emotions throughout the match.

Gameplay analysis

Magic the Gathering Card - Etali, Primal Conqueror - MTG CircleMagic the Gathering Card - Etali, Primal Conqueror - MTG Circle

In Game one, we experience a very quick and easy win by simply resolving an Etali on turn six. The opponent concedes before we get a chance to see what spells we can cast from it. After sideboarding for the Rakdos Discover deck that we were facing, we definitely faced challenges while being on the draw. The opponent was also able to attack our hand pretty well, causing us to fall too far behind for game two and ultimately have to move to game three. In the final game, we see how the gameplan of resolving powerful spells to win can come back to haunt us. We are unable to ramp early, and end up falling behind again, hoping to draw our sixth and seventh lands. We end up falling too far behind and die to the plethora of threats that the Rakdos Discover deck has.

Rakdos Discover deck overview

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Discover is a new mechanic from Lost Caverns of Ixalan and allows us to exile cards from the top of our library until we find a nonland card that has mana value less than or equal to the discover number. We may then cast that card without paying it's mana cost, or put it into our hand. Most people consider it a form of an older mechanic called cascade, which works in a similar manner. If you think at all like me, you probably said something along the lines of, "Wow, that's value town" when you first heard how the mechanic works. That's the main point of this deck. We are going to out-value the opponent into submission. It's a proven method for winning, and although it isn't quite as flashy as resolving an Etali or Breach, it is highly effective.

Magic the Gathering Card - Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor - MTG CircleMagic the Gathering Card - Preacher of the Schism - MTG Circle

When we think of the cards that have the discover mechanic in this deck, it's easy to conclude that they are the powerhouses of the deck itself, but oddly enough, there are some two and three drops that really allow the discover deck to do it's thing. Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor is an all-star in this build because it allows us to draw so many cards with creatures that are either evasive, or have deathtouch, so they are less likely to be blocked in combat. It really helps to ensure that we draw the cards that we need. Preacher of the Schism will also allow us to either draw more cards, or make some extra creatures, which most players would never turn down. Deep-Cavern Bat ends up giving us incredible value by attacking our opponent's hand early and ensures that they do not get the chance to get ahead of us, or clear the board before we have accomplished our goal. All of these cards lead into the discover cards such as Geological Appraiser and Trumpeting Carnosaur.

It quickly becomes evident that the deck has a unique way of gaining and accruing more value than the opponent's deck. We not only draw more cards, but we take away key cards that they might use to fend off our threats. We ensure that we can draw plenty of lands, and we have early and late game plays.

Gameplay analysis

We mainly use our two and three mana creatures to do the majority of the work in the deck. The finisher ends up being one of our four mana creatures, but we don't need much of the discover mechanic to get us the win. The early threats alone in this deck can be enough to win matches if unanswered. Game two allowed us to demonstrate even more versatility by attacking the opponent's hand, and having the right amount of removal at the right time. Then, we relied on our discover creatures to get us some value when they opponent had nothing on the board. The rapidly-advancing board state proved to be too much for the opponent, and we were able to defeat a high-ranked opponent two to zero.

Who wins this time?

While Rakdos Ramp has some of the most fun interactions in Standard at this time, I have to give the nod to Rakdos Discover due to the consistency and easy piloting that the deck provides. The ramp deck often had me feeling like I was waiting to topdeck that card that would help me regain control, while the discover deck made it much more simple to have a concise path to victory. I believe that anyone could enjoy playing either deck, and both would hold their own in a tournament setting. If I were to choose a deck to play in a tournament myself, I would have drop the big bucks on Rakdos Discover. Although the discover deck has some cheaper spells when it comes to mana, both decks will run players over $500 USD to acquire the respective lists.

I am a Magic The Gathering competitive player, and streamer. I specialize in homebrew decks. My favorite formats are: Standard, Pioneer (Explorer on Arena), and EDH. I first started playing MTG in 2001, and have played on and off since then.