This week I’m talking about my most love/hate relationship in cube – gold cards. In the first of a hopefully longer series on the entire gold section, I’m going to talk about the Rakdos card selection this week.

Rakdos sucks.

The deck isn’t good.

The card pool is shallow

It’s arguably the worst pairing in cube.

9 times out of 10 the mono red deck is better then anything black has to offer. Black aggro is a common theme in most cubes, but probably a little overrated. All the aggressive cards black adds to red are generally worse then what red already had access to, making black heavy aggro decks just worse then their red counterparts. Red has the burn and much more closing potential then black could ever hope to have. Black’s only redeeming quality is hand disruption making Thoughtseize, Inquisition of Kozilek and Duress the only real cards I ever want to compliment my red decks with. Other then aggro they make a fine midrange deck, but their creatures generally stand poorly next to green and white.

I’m going to go over all of the most common Rakdos cards we currently have access too. I want my gold cards to be a good representation of what that colour pairings best at (unfortunately, Rakdos is best at attacking, even if I think mono red is better).


Blightning has been a main stay in a lot of cubes since it’s Jund reign from 2009. Blightning was a great card for a long time, but as power creep caught up with it, Mind Rot with a Lava Spike discount isn’t as powerful as it once was. Now worthy of the title ‘sacred cow’, I’m guilty of running it for the last couple years leaning on its past history and lack of other options. Not until recently have I noticed other players and myself not even trying to make space for it in any type of R/B or R/B/x deck. Aggro players don’t want the clunky spell, Midrange/Control-ish decks don’t want to play Mind Rot.


Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast

Daretti is a great example of how low the bar is for Planeswalkers to be playable in cube. I’m not saying this card isn’t ‘good’, but it definitely doesn’t blend with the Rakdos pallet. Daretti, along side a bunch of modern Rakdos cards, is a fine addition to support Grixis or Mardu decks easily slotting well into artifact or even control strategies.



Alongside Terminate, neither of these cards are exciting but easy additions. Trading sorcery speed for the option to kill potentially problematic Planeswalkers, In a world with Gideon Jura and a couple extra Planeswalkers (I limit myself to 2 per colour), Dreadbore is probably the better addition. (even thought I prefer Terminate). Also black has no shortages of Doom Blade effects, at least Dreadbore is a little more interesting.


Falkenrath Aristocrat

The second best aggressive 4 drop (right behind Hellrider), Falkenrath Aristocrat is a great card. Great body, evasion, relevant ability (man there are a ton of humans around), I couldn’t ask for more. The Aristrocrat is the definitely best Rakdos feeling card.


Grenzo, Dungeon Warden

Grenzo the creature was a fairly common card a year ago, but has started falling out of favor. If you followed my podcast, you’d know I really don’t like this card. You can dress up and Endless One with as many bells and whistles as you want, but it’s going to take more then this to make it playable. A ‘fun’ card, but I think far from your best option.


Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury

You won’t find Kolaghan in most lists, but it was rated very high in MTGSalvations ‘Cube Power Rankings 2016’ (I’ll link below), and honestly I was very happy to see it there. I originally tried it out before Dragons of Tarkir released as kind of a joke, but was very impressed with its performance. It’s mana cost keeps it out of the hyper aggressive decks, but midrange and token decks love this card. Black and Red have a kind of shallow selection of 5 drops for the time being, so Kolaghan isn’t a bad addition.


One of the best Rakdos cards they’ve printed in a long time and still not the card I want in aggro decks. The card advantage Kolaghan’s Command offers make Blightning Look real bad. Neither of them are great in aggro decks, but Midrange and Control decks can’t get enough of it. Another great card that doesn’t fit into aggro unfortunately, but still the best Rakdos card at the moment.


Murderous Redcap

Yet another good Rakdos creature that isn’t aggressive enough. Once upon a time you could justify Redcap in aggro decks, but creatures powered way up in the last 5 years that this card isn’t even on the radar anymore. Still an ok fit into some sacrifice fueled decks, Redcap isn’t as efficient as it once was. Other then a handful of synergies you can play with it, I think his time passed long ago.


Olivia Voldaren

What a great Grixis/Mardu card! A great control card in the mid to late game, it can take over the game all by itself! Oh and it’s a bad representation of a Rakdos card. Still a great card, but not at all what youre looking for If you want a standard Rakdos card.


Olivia, Mobilized for War

One of the better aggressive Rakdos cards they’ve printed in a couple years, aggro Olivia fits the bill to a T. Fine body for mana cost, has evasion, give you something to do with extra lands, it’s a great card.


Rakdos Cackler

Best 1 drop.


Another great Grixis/Mardu card! In less powered settings, Rakdos’s Return is a fantasic card, but just like Olivia Voldaren, a poor representation standard Rakdos decks.

3.5/5 (Much worse with Mind Twist around)


See Dreadbore. Without killing Planeswalkers, it’s not much different then most black has to offer.


So that’s all the best options Rakdos has to offer and a lot of them have a common theme… they’re not good aggro cards. A ton of Rakdos’s best cards don’t fit well into typical Rakdos strategies. In the past I found myself forcing in cards like Ashenmoor Gouger and Rakdos Shred-Freak just to fit the mold better, but they’re just worse then existing red options. I started trying out cards like Rakdos’s Return, Olivia Voldaren and Daretti to at least have something worth playing out of the section. Mardu and Grixis decks appreciate the additional options, but I felt I was doing a disservice to the true Rakdos theme leaving it in a shitty spot. Like I mentioned above, I think Rakdos is the worst colour pairing, each colour having little to no cards they want from each other. At least having a couple more interesting cards in the pair give the drafter more options.


MTGSalvation 2016 Cube Power Rankings:

CubeTutor Average Cubes:

You can find my cube here:



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