Even during the holiday season, Standard remains evolving: the last few weeks have brought some new archetypes to the format and popularized others. Among them, Dimir Midrange, Bant Toxic and the deck we will cover today, Rakdos Discover, stand out.
What is Rakdos Discover?
Rakdos Discover is a black and red Midrange that bets on an increasing mana curve to bury the opponent in card advantage. The main core of the deck is the mix of removals and low-cost threats with the recent cards with the Discover ability, released at Lost Caverns of Ixalan.
In many ways, it reminds the classic Midrange style that relies on increasingly greater threats and two-for-one effects as the turns go by, rather than on the efficiency of several lower-cost creatures. It is closer to the classic version of The Rock, or if we need a closer parallel, in many ways, it reminds the Alara/Zendikar Standard version of Jund Midrange.
Here, Geological Appraiser is relatively decent at extracting as much value as Bloodbraid Elf in its day, while Trumpeting Carnosaur is a more versatile and improved version of Broodmate Dragon by the game's current standards.
The rest of the list is defined by the cards' potential to make the most of the new mechanics, with the advantage that removals and unwanted effects for a given situation in the game are placed in the hand of their controller, instead of "failing".
Some numbers may vary from one player to another, but most decklists follow a certain pattern. This is the one I played in the last few days to produce this article.
As long as the Metagame doesn't change and adapt, the numbers on this list seem ideal. Perhaps a second copy of Brotherhood's End is necessary if you expect to face a lot of go-wides, but the Metagame isn't headed in that direction currently, and Rakdos Discover can hold its own against the more traditional Aggro.
These two creatures are the heart and reason for the existence of this archetype. Everything on the list is designed to get the most value out of Geological Appraiser and Trumpeting Carnosaur, this being an excellent late-game finisher and also a decent removal that we can reccur on with The Cruelty of Gix.
Starting with two-drops, Deep-Cavern Bat has become a staple in several decks due to its ability to provide information about the opponent's resources and also take a key piece from their hand, and the body with Flying and Lifelink can hold the match for at least one turn against Aggro.
Bloodtithe Harvester is a classic staple of Rakdos lists, and remains as efficient today as it was in the past: clock against Control, removal against Aggro, and hand filtering in games against Midrange - all in a single card.
Preacher of the Schism now replaces Graveyard Trespasser as the three drop. Its flexibility in putting more bodies into play or guaranteeing an extra draw per turn, in addition to its 2/4 body with Deathtouch that allows it to block several threats on the ground, makes it an excellent option.
Sheoldred, the Apocalypse is still the most important creature in Standard and one of the best cards in the format. With so many impactful threats, it's not difficult to make the match even more challenging for our opponent with a Sheoldred in play, especially if it arrives along with Trumpeting Carnosaur.
Bonehoard Dracosaur can generate a lot of value if left on the board. Unfortunately, our list is already full of higher drops, and it ends up being the only one that doesn't generate an immediate impact. That said, its potential to accelerate mana or create more bodies while "filtering" our draws makes it a respectable threat.
The Cruelty of Gix does not join the deck to reanimate bombs like Etali, Primal Conqueror or Atraxa, Grand Unifier. Instead, Rakdos Discover settles for more modest ways to use the saga to its advantage, whether it's fetching a key card, removing another essential piece from your opponent's hand, or reanimating any of your creatures, with Trumpeting Carnosaur as a preference.
Among the main decks in the Standard Metagame today, this appears to be one of the ones that best uses Cavern of Souls.
Like Domain Ramp, Rakdos Discover relies on high mana values to generate arbitrary amounts of card advantage as the game progresses. Therefore, ensuring that the most important threats fall on the board can be the difference between victory or defeat against lists with Disdainful Stroke and Make Disappear.
Our extra removals package.
Cut Down works well against small Aggro decks where we need interaction as early as the second turn, like Mono Red, Bant Toxic, and Soldiers.
Go for the Throat also tends to come in against Aggro, but it works decently against Midrange, where we need more ways to deal with late-game bombs.
Anoint with Affliction is a decent answer against Midranges with low curves, like Esper, and for dealing with threats that trigger an effect and/or can be revived from the graveyard, like Dennick, Pious Apprentice.
Our disruption package.
Extract the Truth has been growing in Standard as enchantments become more important. The ability to deal with Wedding Announcement, Virtue of Loyalty, Up the Beanstalk or Leyline Binding while doubling duty when dealing with creatures or Planeswalkers in your opponent's hand has greatly increased its potential in the Metagame.
Duress is still the ideal one-mana answer for games where noncreature spells are a key piece, or when you need to get past sweepers and counterspells.
Our attrition package.
Gix's Command operates as a sweeper against small creatures, but its main function in the Sideboard is to deal with larger threats and recur creatures in removal-oriented matchups.
Breach the Multiverse is an excellent bomb for the mirror and also against Domain Ramp or other archetypes with high mana values and an efficient late-game, as we can take control of the best creatures or Planeswalkers in each graveyard.
Liliana of the Veil guarantees extra attrition and clean removal against decks that play one threat at a time, in addition to being an important piece against Control.
Mono Red Aggro
Rakdos Discover has established itself as one of the most important strategies of the Lost Caverns of Ixalan season, and is already among the three most played decks in the format. It's a great option for fans of the traditional Midrange style, and it certainly rewards players for taking the time to master it before the next RCQ season.
Thanks for reading!