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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Nov 30 2021 1:33pm
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Madness is an ability that you don’t see used much. While being able to use something like Faithless Looting to discard a spell like Fiery Temper and gain some good card advantage, it can be slow to set up and in the end, you don’t get as much out of it as you would just normally curving out with different and naturally cheaper cards. However, that doesn’t mean Madness is bad and shouldn’t be played. To me, it just means that maybe we haven’t found the right list just yet.

Today we will be looking at a list that recently top 8d Pauper Classic Tuesdays at the time of writing this article. The tournament was 7.131 and the list was piloted by HasteBR. I won’t waste any more time, let’s get right into it!


Note*: Remember that you can cast Madness cards at instant speed for their Madness cost. This is true even if they are a sorcery or creature without Flash.

Insolent Neonate – If your Madness deck contains red, I think this creature is close to mandatory. It only costs 1 mana and its ability costs nothing, making it extremely easy to activate Madness and you draw a card. This creature does it all.

Cabal Initiate – Although weak at first, it is free to discard a card and it gets lifelink for doing so. Once you have Threshold, it becomes a 3/3 creature that can gain lifelink. I am not a huge fan of this card, but I think it is better than Putrid Imp.

Skophos Reaver – A good Madness creature in my opinion. It has a cheap Madness cost and on you turn it is a good sized creature with 4 power. I just wish it had trample, but we can’t have everything.

Grave Scrabbler – A staple of the Tortured Existence archetype, it is no surprise to see it here. A cheap Madness cost and it returns a creature from your graveyard to your hand, giving you a good amount of card advantage. I like seeing 4 copies, but I can understand if you go to 3 because you don’t want to play it without getting something out of its effect.

Kitchen Imp – I really like this creature. It costs only 1 mana to Madness it in, it has Flying and it has Haste, which makes it a really good aggressive creature.

Merchant of the Vale – Not the most powerful creature, but it does help you draw cards and activate Madness in the process.

Revolutionist – I like this one as well. It has a cheap enough Madness cost that doesn’t make it too slow and it can return a removal spell or burn spell, giving you quite a bit of reach. I think 2 copies is the right number.

Fiery Temper - A staple of Madness decks that play red. Can never go wrong with a Lightning Bolt.

Fiery Temper – This is basically a Lightning Bolt. Always play 4 of these. You are discarding cards constantly and so while this spell is not as good as Lightning Bolt as a whole, it functions just like a Lightning Bolt in this deck.

Lightning Axe – This will pretty much deal with any creature you come across and it can help activate Madness. I understand not having 4 though because sometimes you won’t have a card you can discard.

Faithless Looting – In a red Madness deck, I believe 4 copies of this is mandatory.

Dark Withering – Although expensive to cast, it has a very cheap madness cost, making it quite the good removal spell for a deck like this. It isn’t perfect however because it can’t kill a creature like Gurmag Angler.

Bone Shards – For a deck like this, this is a pretty good removal spell. The downside is that it is a sorcery and that you need to do an additional cost to cast it. The upside is that the additional cost is discarding a card.

Terminal Agony – It is expensive to cast for 4 mana. However, it is great for its Madness cost. In this type of archetype, this is better than Terminate in my opinion because you discard cards constantly, so this is a great way to not lose card advantage.

Macabre Waltz – This one is interesting. Looking at how it is worded, you can return a couple of Madness creatures from your graveyard and then cast one of them for their Madness cost, giving you a good amount of card advantage. I’m not a huge fan of this, but as a 1 of, I think its worth trying more.

The manabase isn’t anything special. You have 4 Bloodfell Caves as your main dual land. Then you have 4 copies of Rakdos Carnarium to help you with land light hands. The rest of the manabase is just basic lands made up of 5 Mountain and 6 Swamp. You don’t want any other special lands because you don’t need them and you don’t want to slow the deck down. This is just my opinion.

The Sideboard

Cram Session – You don’t have any lesson cards, but it does help against burn.

Divest – Creatures are all the rage these days. Against a deck like Affinity or Faeries, this is a pretty good card.

Electrickery – Everyone needs a good board wipe spell these days.

Flaring Pain – Playing against Fog effects can be a pain. This should help with that.

Kris Mage – Against a deck like Faeries or Elves where you will face a lot of 1 toughness creatures, I can see this card doing a lot of work. I am not sure it is good enough, but I think it is worth trying out more.

Macabre Waltz – Another copy for Midrange and Control matchups.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

Madness is a really cool mechanic. You get to play cards such as Circular Logic, Arrogant Wurm and Fiery Temper along side powerful draw spells like Faithless Looting. However, Madness being cool might be all there is too it.

In Pauper, in my opinion, curving out and speed matter a lot. There are a lot of powerful cards in Pauper and they don’t cost much to cast. Cards like Arrogant Wurm are powerful, but you have to jump through a hoop or 2 to get it to work and even then it can be very slow. Fiery Temper is a powerful card, but you could also just play Lightning Bolt and better draw spells. With Fiery Temper, if you are not using its Madness cost, it isn’t all that good.

Kitchen Imp and Skophos Reaver are fun cards that can be powerful in the right matchups, but they are outclassed quickly and rather easily in my opinion. Am I saying that Madness is just bad? No I am not. What I am saying is that Madness needs a lot of work to be better and more competitive.

Do I think you should play this deck? In the leagues you can, but I don’t think you will get very far over time. For the challenges, I would personally stay away. Do keep in mind though, these are just my opinions and I can easily and perfectly willing to be wrong. HasteBR is a good player, if you want to try Rakdos Madness, this where I would start.

However, with all this being said, as always, do remember my words are not gospel. I will always encourage you to try a deck that I bring you despite my personal feelings. Remember that results will vary and always remember to practice!

Would you like to compete in a free Pauper tournament with some great prizes? Head on over to Gatherling.com on Tuesday nights at 8pm EDT and play in our weekly Pauper Classic Tuesday's event! Join the chat #PCT to chat with us and feel free to find most of the competitors on Discord!

Thank you so much for reading. Best of luck to you in your next tournament and I’ll catch you all next time!