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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Oct 12 2021 12:03pm
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Rakdos can be a fun color combination as there are a ton of cool cards to play. The cool thing about Rakdos is you can play it however you want. You can play Control, Aggro and even Combo. However, today I want to talk about a sweet midrange deck I found that plays cards such as Bleak Coven Vampires.


The list we will be looking at today was part of the 5-0 dump from 9/22/2021 and was piloted by the player A_AdeptoTerra. This deck has removal, value creatures and board wipes, among other things. I know what you are thinking, Arctic is gonna tell a joke. Nope, straight into the list we go!


Boarding Party – Once again we see Boarding Party in a red midrange deck. It isn’t surprising considering you have a lot of powerful spells/permanents to Cascade into. If you can find these for cheap, pick them up because they will be a part of a lot of decks.

Bleak Coven Vampires – One of my favorite creatures. It honestly just does so much for 5 mana, I just wish it wasn’t so easy to kill with a simple Lightning Bolt. My only issue is there are no Ephemerates in this deck to keep using it’s enter play effect, but you do have access to a loop card that we will discuss later.

Maelstorm Colossus – Not too sure this is needed, but it is a big giant creature that helps with Metalcraft and has Cascade. It does its job well.

Ardent Elemenetalist – This creature’s stats are not impressive, but it is cheap at 4 mana to play and it has a good enter the battlefield effect that this deck needs.

Thorn of the Black Rose – Becoming the Monarch is a powerful thing in Pauper and this deck should have plenty of ways to stop your opponent from becoming the Monarch, allowing you to bury them in card advantage.

Krark-Clan Shaman – Board wipes are a good thing to have access to and you have plenty of artifacts to sacrifice and draw cards off of. Remember that this hits your creatures as well and remember to hold the control key when using this creatures ability.

Galvanic Blast – For 1 mana you deal 4 damage to anything. Doesn’t get any better than that.

Cleansing Wildfire and Geomancer’s Gambit – Once again we see the land ramp spells of red to combo with your indestructible artifact lands. As I said in the past, expect to see these 2 cards a lot in the future.

Cast Down – Probably the best removal spell in the format. I like having access to 4 of these.

Deadly Dispute – You have 6 artifacts that when they go to the graveyard you draw a card. This card is continuing to impress me in this format because it generates just a ton of card advantage.

Reaping the Graves – This is a great card in this deck as every creature you can return is a big impact on the game at any point. You can also effectively loop Ardent Elementalist over and over by returning this spell with its ability.

Ichor Wellsping and Chromatic Star – Although neither of them look like they do much, they work extremely well with Krark-Clan Shaman and Deadly Dispute.

The Manabase

Darksteel Citadel – An artifact land that comes into play untapped and combos with your mana ramp spells.

Drossforge Bridge and Stagwoods Bridge – Here are your dual lands for the deck. You have a small green splash in the sideboard and so that is why you see the Gruul dual here.

Vault of Whispers and Great Furnace – They help turn on Metalcraft and can be sacrificed to Krark-Clan Shaman if need be. I would not max out the copies as you then open yourself up to artifact destruction for no good reason.

The rest of the manabase are just basic lands consisting of 4 Swamp, 3 Mountain and 1 Forest. I kind of want a copy or 2 of Ash Barrens to help fix your colors a bit more, but I don’t think it is needed in the end and it competes with Darksteel Citadel. In my opinion, you don’t have room for fancy lands like Bojuka Bog because then you are slowing the deck down further for no real benefit.

The Sideboard

Krark-Clan Shaman – In the case of you needing more board wipes, here is probably the best one for this deck. However, it does not hit creatures with flying, so it is possible that a couple copies of Fiery Cannonade is better here.

Thorn of the Black Rose – I like having another copy of this against slower control decks where you won’t be attacked often. Remember, the Monarch can only be stolen by someone playing their own Monarch creature or combat damage.

Ashes to Ashes – I forgot this was even Pauper legal. This seems like a decent card against other Midrange decks or possibly Affinity. However, taking 5 damage is a lot and I am not sure it is all that much better than something like Terminate.

Fangren Marauder – Here is a really good card against Affinity as it pretty much makes Atog almost useless because you will gain too much life for them to be able to Fling you out or straight up attack you.

Nihil Spellbomb – Removing your graveyard can be a bit bad because you have return spells. This can still draw you a card so it is a good alternative to Relic of Progentius.

Serene Heart – Bogles has been making a come back so this is now a necessary card in my opinion.

(Suffocating FumesIKO) – Another good board wipe spell that can cycle if need be.

Weather the Storm – No one likes losing to burn, here is some help with that.

Verdict and Conclusion

We are starting to see Midrange a lot more in the Pauper format and honestly that makes me happy. While Midrange may not be the best strategy at winning challenges, it does give Pauper players something interesting to try out.

I like this deck and what it is doing. It has a lot of reach, a lot of synergy and can play a good control game. It isn’t perfect however, as in my opinion, Tron can still go over the top of you, Faeries can still go under you while also beating you down and sometimes the mono color aggro decks can be too fast because you may stumble a bit on your mana or it might take you time to set up. That doesn’t mean I think this deck is unplayable. I am just stating my opinion that it can have flaws like any other deck.

While the Cascade mechanic is undoubtedly strong, in a midrange deck like this, it can sometimes hurt some of your matchups. With Cascade, you usually want to put permanents in play and so playing a card like Duress can be a bit bad because you can hit it off Cascade at a time in the game where it does not matter. Pyroblast is a strong way of battling the blue decks, but hitting it off of Cascade can defeat the purpose of it because you want it to fight a counter war, not pick off creatures. However these are just my observations and opinions so take what I say with a grain of salt.

Do I think you should play this deck? In the leagues where you might run into more of a random sort of decks, yes I think it is fine. It should have good games against Aggro and Affinity. You won’t 5-0 or 4-1 every league, but I think this deck can give you a positive win-rate.

In the challenges however, I would be a little weary. I personally don’t think this deck has a good matchup against Tron or Faeries and for me personally, that probably is enough for me to not want to risk the entry fee. I am sure if you construct it in a certain way, you could pick up some percentage points against both archetypes and possibly make the deck a bit more consistent and/or faster, but then you might be changing the game plan so much that maybe you should just play a different deck.

As I said earlier, I don’t think this deck is bad and at the time of writing this, it took a top 4 spot in one of the challenges that happened over the weekend. It is just for me personally, I don’t feel confident in saying it is the next best thing you can be doing in the format at this time.

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!