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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Jul 06 2022 12:00pm
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When you think of a sacrifice based strategy, Golgari or mono black is usually what comes up. They are not the most popular decks in the format, but they do pop up and they can be a ton of fun. Today I want to talk about a list I found that plays a Rakdos shell and it is quite fun.

Rakdos sacrifice strategies aren’t exactly a new thing in Pauper, but I have personally not seen a true Rakdos Sacrifice build in quite some time and I think the reason is that both Golgari and MBC versions of sacrifice tend to me a bit faster and more consistent. To be clear, this article does not mean I want Witch’s Oven in the format. Wizards, we do not need that, so please don’t.

The list we will be looking at today was piloted by the player alicodendroc and was part of the 5-0 dump from 6/15/2022. We may not get access to Mayhem Devil in this format (Do not, ever, put this in Pauper), but don’t let that stop you from living your Rakdos dream. Let’s rock!


Carrion Feeder – One of the best sac outlets that the format has. Although it can’t block, it does not need to if it is attacking for a huge amount of damage.

Grim Initiate – A great piece of fodder for this type of deck. It has First Strike which makes it pretty decent in combat and it gives you a zombie token when it dies. The only downside is that it can’t give you multiple tokens to go wide as the ability either gives you a token or puts counters on a token you already have. Just keep that in mind.

Lazotep Reaver – This creature sees play in a number of archetypes in the format and it is no surprise it makes an appearance here. It gives you 2 creatures for the price of one and that goes a long way in a deck like this.

Putrid Goblin – Another great creature for a deck like this. You can also go infinite in the deck with this and I will talk about that a bit later.

Mogg War Marshal – If I could play 5 of these I would. This is the perfect creature for a deck like this as it gives you 3 creatures for the price of 1.

Hissing Iguanar and Falkenwrath Noble:INN) – Here are your end game creatures for the deck. All the sacrificing you can do, these creatures will drain your opponents life away and give you a little in the process with Noble. These are especially good if you can’t get through in the red zone.

Unearth – This card really shines in an archetype like this. With Unearth you can do some fun and really cool plays that can end the game quickly. What is also really cool is that Hissing Iguanar is only 3 mana, so Unearth can get it back.

Village Rites – A way to sacrifice a creature that draws you cards and at instant speed, all for 1 mana. More of this please and thank you.

Lightning Bolt – Although you only see 1 copy here, it is still nice to have.

Cast Down – Probably the best 2 mana removal in the format. We only see a couple copies because you only have so much space. You want your deck to do its game plan and win the game before anything else. This means you can’t just load up on spells that don’t further your game plan. Be careful what creatures you use Cast Down on as not everything will be an immediate threat and you do not lose the game unless you go below 1 life.

First Day of Class – You don’t play any lesson cards. What this is here for is to combo with Putrid Goblin so you can sacrifice it infinitely to Carrion Feeder and either win the game by attacking or draining your opponent to death with an Iguanar or Noble in play. I love that this deck has this option.

Reaping the Graves – This gets back some combo pieces and does it at instant speed. A great one of in the main deck.

Snuff Out – A sort of free spell that deals with just about any creature you need it to. I say sort of because you do have to pay 4 life, so be mindful of your life total and in my opinion, I would not play more than 2 at most.

The manabase has fairly straightforward. You have 3 copies of Ash Barrens to help fix your mana and you have 2 copies of Bloodfell Caves:KTK) as your main dual land. We then see 4 copies of Rakdos Carnarium so you can mulligan a bit less but you need to be careful because this deck can be a bit mana hungry.

The rest are 4 Mountain and 9 Swamp to round out the manabase and I would not change a thing. If you really want to, you can go down in your bounce land for more Bloodfell Caves. I would not add any tech lands like Bojuka Bog as it does not help and you don’t want to slow the deck down.

The Sideboard

Cast Down – Extra removal just in case you need it. This can also be another Snuff Out if you want. It depends on the meta you expect to face.

First Day of Class – If you are up against a matchup where you are just racing and your opponent is playing mostly a solitaire deck (A combo or aggro deck with very little to no interaction) or a deck like Turbo Fog, you can add a couple more copies of these and become more of a combo deck.

Reaping the Graves – Another copy for those matchups that might go a bit longer.

Crimson Fleet Commodore – An aggressive creature that makes you the monarch. This is great for the control matchup where they don’t play many creatures.

Gorilla Shaman – Say no to our robot overlords.

Red Elemental Blast – What do we say to the blue mages of magic? Not Today!

Suffocating Fumes – A fantastic board wipe. Everyone needs one these days.

Unexpected Fangs - Sometimes against burn or a deck like Stompy, playing this on a big Carrion Feeder can be more than enough to run away with the game.

Verdict and Final Thoughts

I am not a huge fan of sacrifice decks as they are just not my style, but if you are a big fan of sacrifice based strategies, this one will def be a lot of fun for you.

Comparing this version to the Golgari or MBC version though, I personally think this is the least powerful of the 3. At the time of writing this, there are new cards coming to Pauper that I think will make Golgari better and a bit more fun. I think both Golgari and MBC are much faster and a bit more resilient than this version.

Cards like Mogg War Marshall and Grim Initiate are good cards, but they don’t give you much power to work with compared to the green creatures you play in Golgari. There is also the combo you get with Putrid Goblin, but I don’t think it does enough and you can’t get the combo fast enough either in my opinion. I also think Hissing Iguanar is under-powered in today’s meta is easily raced against. I will say the sideboard cards you get are good though.

Do I think you should play this deck? I think for leagues or if you expect a meta where you are trying to race and won’t be disrupted often, this archetype is perfectly fine to mess around with. For challenges though I would personally stay away as I think you will lose much more than you win.

Sacrifice decks are fun no doubt about it, but they need all their cards to work together and individually your cards are usually weak and don’t do enough. That is what you need to think about when playing a deck like this.

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!