Dear Azami – Returning To Ravnica With Rakdos, Lord Of Riots

Cassidy McAuliffe reminisces about experiencing Ravnica the first time around and drops a fresh Commander deck based around Rakdos, Lord of Riots, the new guild leader that he’s dying to pull from a pack.

The lead-up to Return to Ravnica is making me feel incredibly nostalgic. The Prerelease events are less than a week from today, and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s no secret that this expansion is pulling in an unbelievable amount of hype, and even a stalwart Commander player like myself can’t help but flip out over all of the wonderful new toys that have been revealed so far.

I’m ready to crack packs like a madman, folks!

In honor of Magic’s triumphant return to one of the most beloved planes of all time, I’m going to take things in two directions for today’s Dear Azami brew—a nod to the past and a look to the future. For the former, I’m going to reminisce a little bit about experiencing Ravnica the first time around, and for the latter, I’m going to drop a fresh Commander deck based around Rakdos, Lord of Riots, the new guild leader that I’m dying to pull from a pack (hopefully in foil…).

Now, all of this hype is bound to bring in some players that are new to the format, so the regular writers here that handle Commander topics have received a challenge—attack the new commanders from a new-school perspective.

As a result, Rakdos is going to hit the scene with only cards that are Modern-legal; for those of you not in the know, this includes cards beginning with the Eighth Edition core set and moving forward from there.

For those of you not familiar with the Commander format itself, here’s a basic rundown:

  • Players construct 99-card decks.
  • Decks may only include one of each card in the deck. (You are allowed as many basic lands as you like.)
  • Each deck must have a “commander.” This must be a legendary creature. It does not go in your deck itself; instead, it lives in the “command zone.” It may be cast at any time you could normally play it from there, and if your commander dies or is exiled, you are allowed to instead return it to the command zone.
  • Each time you play your commander from the command zone, you must pay two extra colorless mana for each time it has been played previously. (The second time you play it from the command zone, it costs two extra; the third time, it costs four extra; and so on.)
  • Commanders have a “color identity”; this is determined by its color plus the color of any mana symbols in the card’s rules text. When building your deck, you may only use cards that share a color identity with your commander.   
  • Players start with 40 life. Multiplayer games are certainly encouraged; Commander is focused very heavily on the social element of the game.

That’s a pretty basic view to get you started if you’re new to Commander; from here, I’d strongly recommend taking a look at the official Commander forums for a more in-depth look at the format and the rules.

Ravnica, City Of Guilds Prerelease Experience: Part 1

Back before Wizards of the Coast did away with the large regional Prereleases, we would pile into my car and make the two-hour trek to attend the Boston event every time a new set was released. The plan was to get our girlfriends/wives/significant others to sign our permission slips for the weekend, at which point we’d head to the city, grab a hotel room, and spend two straight days playing in as many Sealed flights and Draft events as we could each afford. This meant getting up at about 4 AM on Prerelease Saturday, jumping in the car, funneling a few large mugs of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, and getting to the site in plenty of time to begin with the first or second flight of the day.

That schedule usually meant we’d be good for two or three flights and a few drafts. Ravnica, however, was different. We showed up a little past seven in the morning to witness a huge mob formed in front of the building. We joined the queue and were slowly herded into the convention hall of the Holiday Inn that the Prerelease was being held at.

We filled out our registration slips and stepped up to the table, excited to play.

The guy at the computer took our money. “You’re in Flight 9.”

We were shocked. “How long until that one fires?” We asked the question, fully expecting to hear that we’d be forced to stand around for over an hour or so before we could get started.

“We’ve got judges and seats for only a couple flights at a time. Might I suggest you start thinking about where you’ll get lunch?”

And he was right. We were still standing around waiting for the flight to fire well past noon that day.

Kids—get to the Return to Ravnica Prerelease plenty early. Mark my words.

Rakdos: Unchecked Aggression For Fun (And Profit!)

Man, how the times have changed for everyone’s favorite Demon lord. When last we saw Rakdos, he had fallen into bloated complacency. He was a little bigger, a little more expensive, and next-to-impossible to actually do anything with unless you wanted to sacrifice half your board in the process, only to immediately walk into a Swords to Plowshares before actually dealing damage to an opponent.

Ask me how surprised I am that he doesn’t see much Commander play. Go ahead.

This time, however, Rakdos is in fighting shape. He’s in fighting form, losing a little bit of power in exchange for a serious discount in the casting cost department. He still flies and tramples, but this time he’s got your best interests in mind; he won’t take half of your stuff to attack, but instead he asks you to draw a little blood from an opponent before he’ll show up to the party. That seems like a better solution to me.

Better yet, he brings friends this time around—possibly several friends. While he’s on the battlefield, any damage that is dealt to an opponent allows you to pay one less mana to cast any of your creature spells.

This is a no-brainer, folks. The deck I’m building today is going to focus in two main areas: getting Rakdos into play and abusing his discount as hard as possible to keep the pressure on your opponents with a horde of big creatures. We’re talking raw aggression here—lots of draw to keep the creatures coming and some choice utility options to keep the pain flowing.

If you like red zone decks, you should love this thing.

Ravnica Prerelease Experience, Part 2: Mox In A Box…For About Seven Minutes.

If you’ve ever been to one of the larger regional Prereleases, there are usually quite a few vendors in attendance buying and selling cards as well as providing sealed product, sleeves, playmates, and other gaming necessities.

One of the ways that a few of the Boston vendors liked to draw in customers was the “Mox in a Box” game. Essentially, you’d pay five dollars for the opportunity to roll a big cup full of dice, and there was a list that would tell you what each possible number rolled could win, ranging from full boxes of products down to a single pull from several long-boxes full of cards.

The long-boxes contained opaque sleeves with a few cards in each one. If you won a pull from the box, you’d randomly select a sleeve, which would usually contain a few bulk rares and a small-value foil; however, there was one random sleeve that contained a Mox of some sort, hence the name of the game.

If you got lucky, you were buying a Mox Pearl for pennies on the dollar. Usually, you were spending five dollars on a foil Vizzerdrix.

When we found out we’d be sitting around for half the day before getting to play, we were pretty dejected. While most of us were grumbling and complaining, our friend Chad walked over to the nearest vendor, handed over a five-dollar bill, and rolled the dice. He was one of the first rollers of the day. He was bored. We made pithy comments about what happens to a fool and his money.

He won a pull. He reached into the box and grabbed a sleeve. He slid the cards out and smiled.

He was holding a slightly played Mox Emerald.

I’m not sure what was worth more—the Mox itself or the look on the face of the guy in the booth. We told Chad very quickly that lunch was on him.

Setting The Stage: Card Draw And Rakdos Enablers

This deck needs to go overboard on card draw. Rakdos can ring up all the discounts he wants to, but if you don’t have any creatures in hand to take advantage of it, there’s just not much point.

While we’re in the neighborhood, I’ll take a look at some of the ways to get him into play to begin with and how to add insults to injury while we’re at it. That’s the core strategy of what we’re trying to do with Rakdos 2.0 here, so let’s dive right in.

IN: Sign In Blood, Night’s Whisper, Ambition’s Cost

Black is really pretty solid in the card draw department. The real problem is getting around the inevitable life loss that seems to go with it. I’ll address that later on, so for now I’m slotting the best draw I can get my hands on. The black standard is one life for one card, and all three of these reload at that price.

IN: Phyrexian Arena, Bloodgift Demon

Some of our draw needs to come in the form of an engine. Phyrexian Arena is pretty much the gold standard for black card draw, but this deck needs repeatable draw to build card advantage and needs it early. This is one of those situations where running a ‘staple’ is the right call.

While we’re right there, Bloodgift Demon is a Phyrexian Arena stapled to a decent body, so we double up on a key draw effect and get a win condition as a bonus.

IN: Reforge the Soul, Promise of Power

Reforge is the closest we can get to Wheel of Fortune in the Modern card pool. Sometimes it’s better than the original.

Promise isn’t exactly a well-kept secret, but the flexibility of the entwine mechanic is something I have a hard time passing up. In this case, it’s a serious chunk of cards, and the Demon token usually ends up pretty big as well.

IN: Disciple of Bolas

Rounding out the card draw is a relative newcomer to the game. In a deck built around large, aggressive creatures, Disciple can be a huge turning point. One minute you’re on the ropes, and the next you’ve got a full grip and a stabilized life total. In this deck any life gain is welcome, but this card takes things a step further. A few quick goldfish attempts with this deck have proven to me that any Rakdos creature chain that involves Disciple of Bolas nearly always results in a backbreaking advantage. It’s as close as I get to combo in this format, but it feels every bit degenerate.

IN: Sizzle, Breath of Darigaaz, Volcanic Fallout, Breath of Malfegor, Skull Rend, Flamebreak, Molten Disaster, Earthquake, Exsanguinate, Sulfurous Blast

These cards all get lumped into the same category because they all serve the same multirole duty in this deck. With Rakdos in play, these cards range from turbo Dark Rituals that also damage your opponents to exotic flavors that also act as removal (Molten Disaster, Flamebreak) or offer some discard to keep hands in check (via the new Skull Rend). There are even “X” spells (Earthquake, Exsanguinate) that can also be definitive win conditions.

The other side of the coin is that all of these cards serve to meet Rakdos’ life loss requirement, so they double as enablers as well. I absolutely love the synergy in this category.

IN: Goblin Assault, Staff of Nin

Playing similar roles to Phyrexian Arena are a pair of damage engine effects. An early Goblin Assault virtually guarantees Rakdos will be available for deployment whenever you are, and Staff of Nin offers up some extra card draw along with the “ping” ability.

IN: Psychosis Crawler, Magmatic Force, Magmaw

Completing this section is a trio of creatures that fit the enabler role perfectly. Psychosis Crawler is a jack-of-all-trades, helping cast Rakdos and also taking advantage of the card draw to become a viable threat itself. It’s also important to note that Rakdos loves colorless creatures that cost less that his power.

Magmaw is a legitimate role-player, providing a sacrifice outlet and a direct damage option, but I’m really excited about Magmatic Force—it’s one of the cards you want to play as early as you can. Working the math, if you connect with him and Rakdos both in a four-player game, you’ll be getting a sixteen-mana discount. While it’s not legal for purposes of this deck exercise, we’re talking about a free Draco.

Let that sink in for a second. And while you’re considering it, also think about the fact that it can happen on turn 4 or 5 in this deck.

It’s absolutely bonkers.

Ravnica Prerelease Experience, Part 3: That’s Going To Leave A Mark…

The Holiday Inn that housed various large Boston events was easily one of our favorite venues for the Prereleases over the years; the site had a large pool in a raised atrium that was decorated with planters to give it a jungle-like feel, and there was a selection of first-floor rooms that had patios attached the pool area, which we always made sure to reserve well ahead of time. There was nothing quite like finishing a draft, walking up the hall, jumping into the pool to cool off, and sitting down in a bathrobe to have a cold drink before the next event fired off.

Oh…it also had a restaurant and a bar, which was both wonderful and played an important role in the Ravnica event.

Chad and I had retired to our patio later on in the evening to go over the cards we had opened in our flight. Events were still firing off, but we decided to leave the others to draft so we could relax for a bit. (Hey…we’re old. We need our rest or we get cranky.)

We were sitting at a table sorting out our new cards, when Patrick came wandering back from the direction of the event hall.

If you’re keeping score, that’s also the direction the bar was in.

Without going into much detail, Patrick was feeling good. After going 0-2 drop in a few flights and retiring to the bar to have drinks and catch some football, he was in high spirits (and vice versa…) 

He wandered up grinning and made some witty discussion about his awful luck in the flights and the comparatively wonderful experience he had in the bar. His attention span being what it was, he decided to immediately head back to the event hall to find the others.

He turned around and headed down the path. After about ten feet, however, he inexplicably took a sharp right and headed into one of the jungle planters.

Chad and I stopped sorting and watched with interest.

He disappeared into the oversized ferns, loudly commenting about ‘bushwacking.’ 

Chad turned to me. “Do you think he knows where he’s going?” I shrugged.

There was a rustling, a swish, a loud thump, and a low groaning sound that answered the question a few seconds later.

As it turns out, if you exit the pool area via the stone path like a normal person, there’s a lovely winding walkway that takes you down to lobby level.

If, however, you decide to blaze a trail through the jungle instead, you’ll eventually exit via a blind six-foot drop straight to the concrete floor.

Alarmed, I called out. “Are you okay?”

“Yuuuuuuuuup,” the muffled reply came.

Chad and I both shrugged and continued sorting our cards.

Utility, Recursion, And Removal

We’re starting to get into the meat of the deck in this next section. If Rakdos is going to show up and lord over some riots, he’s going to need some help. The utility selections will provide a little bit of everything, from haste enablers to life gain that helps to offset the damage the draw spells do. There’s some removal and a few “knockout punch?-style cards to give the deck some extra teeth as well.

IN: Lyzolda, the Blood Witch, Murderous Redcap

This pair performs the same Rakdos enabling that we saw in the last section. Both Lyzolda and Redcap have the capability of hitting multiple times, and it should be pointed out that they play incredibly well together. You’ll note the additional card draw Lyzolda adds again—synergy all the way.

IN: Stigma Lasher

This little piece of tech is another chapter in my “Brutally Underrepresented In Commander” book. With all this aggression, it’d be terrible to face something like an ill-timed True Conviction to nullify all of the damage Rakdos and company have managed to deal. Lasher handles that with ease and seriously on the cheap to boot.

Give this thing a try if there’s any serious life gain in your local playgroups. You’ll love it.

IN: Exquisite Blood, Warstorm Surge

Next up, a pair of enchantments with passive effects that can make a huge difference for this deck. Exquisite Blood goes farther than most of the other life gain in the deck; since the whole game plan is to deal buckets of damage, this card is going to make it much easier to feel comfortable snapping off a late-game Promise of Power. It also helps to give the deck a solid buffer to keep it swinging each turn without fear of a counterattack.

On the same token, Warstorm Surge is going to rocket this deck into the stratosphere once it gets going. It furthers both strategies of the deck all too well. Swing with Rakdos, get a six-mana discount. Play Bogardan Hellkite for two red mana. Ping your opponents and get another ten-mana discount. Play Darksteel Colossus for free. Eleven-mana discount. There’s not a single colorless creature in the history of the game that won’t be free at this point. Mix with Disciple of Bolas and just win the game on the spot… It’s that good.

You know, for a Modern-legal deck, this thing has a remarkably potent set of teeth…

IN: Wound Reflection

Honestly, this might just be overkill. The thing is that I have a huge soft spot in my heart for this card, so it’s going to ruin people’s lives in here because I said so.     

IN: Choice of Damnations, Temporal Extortion

Big, splashy haymakers. Give your opponents some options:

  • Sacrifice a bunch of permanents.
  • Let you take an extra turn.
  • Enable Rakdos or bank some huge creature discounts.

Is there a lesser evil to choose here? I don’t see it…

IN: Rakdos Charm

Another new Return to Ravnica toy. We’re in flexibility land again, and I love the options here: decent grave hate, a way to deal with a problem artifact, or some direct damage. This will help to get Rakdos into play on the cheap or it will completely blow out the tokens deck across the table. Look at all the friends you’re making with this one…

IN: Torrent of Souls, Artisan of Kozilek

Artisan should be free in this deck or you’re not doing it right. Both it and Torrent give this deck a little bit of recursion, which is an area it needs some serious help in. Torrent also offers some combat enhancements and a source of haste. Speaking of haste…

IN: Lightning Greaves, Swiftfoot Boots, Fervor, In the Web of War

Haste it is. Boots and Boots 2.0 hit the board early and are ready to get Rakdos moving as soon as he shows up. Fervor offers your whole team the same luxury.

And lastly, In the Web of War. I love this card like Sean loves Winding Canyons

IN: Duplicant, Shriekmaw

Now we’re getting down to the removal. Duplicant is really the perfect pinpoint removal creature for this deck; it’s going to exile a big problem, and if Rakdos has attacked it’ll do it for free.

Shriekmaw is a little extra creature-based removal. He’ll never be as cheap or as final as Duplicant, but a one-mana Terror is never going to be bad.

IN: Hideous End, Bituminous Blast

A little bit of spot removal never hurt. Well, unless you’re the creature being removed, I suppose. Hideous end doubles as a Rakdos enabler, while Bit Blast brings something else with it when it shows up to the party. How thoughtful.

IN: Disaster Radius, Plague Wind

Game-ending board sweepers that leave your team alone. Expensive, but worth it every time.

IN: Oblivion Stone

Because when you’re playing black and red, you’re dead in the water if you need to remove an enchantment. It’s embarrassing admitting Rakdos lost to Solitary Confinement.

Or worse yet, Sacred Mesa.

Guildpact Prerelease Experience, Part 1 – The Pillory Of The Sleepless That Got There

One of the best events Wizards of the Coast had going during Ravnica block Prereleases was Team Sealed. These events involved teams of three players each opening eighteen packs, constructing three decks, and playing against other teams. Each player got to play one opponent from the other team, and the results were cumulative for the whole team.

When we opened our packs, it was clear that there was a great ‘Orzhov’ deck, a solid ‘Izzet-Splash Green’ deck, and then a ‘Pile of Junk Leftovers’ deck. (Guess which one I ended up with. I’ll wait.)

Patrick took the Orzhov deck and headed off to meet his first opponent. Before hardly any time had passed at all, he returned with a puzzled look on his face.

“Did you lose?” I asked.

“No. Actually, I kind of won.” There was confusion in his voice and a slight grin on his face.

“Kind of?” I replied.

Patrick’s opponent accelerated hard out of the gates off of a Signet into a turn 3 Moroii. (Go ahead and look that one up. I had to.) Patrick calmly responded by enchanting it with the Pillory of the Sleepless in his hand.

His opponent looked very dejected. He drew and passed the turn again and again, not really finding the correct lands to cast anything threatening or (better yet) deal with the Pillory. Once he figured out that his opponent was pretty much dead in the water, he basically drew and passed the turn for the rest of the game.

Ten turns later, his opponent simply scooped up his cards and walked away.

Patrick had only played one important card the whole game, and it went all the way.

The Gang’s All Here

Here’s where it gets interesting. These are the big guns that Rakdos will be sliding into play with an extreme discount every time. I do find it worth it to note that this would be an ideal place to slot Blightsteel Colossus or Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre, but my playgroup frowns on both poison and…well, Ulamog.


If your group differs, these two are probably at the top of your list.

However, I’ve got some other includes that ought to make things interesting. Without further ado:

Huge Problems: The “Quick Hits” Edition

Inferno TitanReally sorry about your older brother…

Furyborn HellkiteA 12/12 flyer for three red mana.

Knollspine DragonYour own personal Wheel of Fortune. Stapled to a Dragon.

Bogardan HellkiteIt gets to add “mana accelerator” to its resume in this deck.

Darksteel ColossusHuge. Indestructible. Free.

Maga, Traitor to MortalsHow good are “X” spell creatures here? (Rhetorical, folks!)

Pestilence Demon“B: Add X mana to your mana pool, where X is the number of opponents you have.”

Magma GiantIt’s really amazing how good Rakdos 2.0 makes some of these creatures. It’s amazing here, but who’s playing Magma Giant otherwise?

Kozilek, Butcher of Truth — While I’m not crazy about the annihilator mechanic, it’s pretty tough not to pass on drawing four cards for next to nothing (or less!) Also shuts down that mill deck in your metagame. (Nope…not kidding. We’ve got one.)

Platinum Emperion — There’s life gain, and then there’s this guy. And he’s going to be real cheap.

Reiver Demon A Wrath effect on legs. And with that, we’re officially stepping into “Demons Tribal!” legally.

Kokusho, the Evening Star — It’s not so bad, people. Give it a try. You’ll like it. A lot.

Guildpact Prerelease Experience, Part 2: Plant Hydra For The Win!

Chad had easily swept his opponent with the monstrous Izzet deck we had built. I, on the other hand, was having a far different experience.

My opponent was playing a red deck with solid black splashes. I was running pure junk. It was playing out about how you would expect it would.

Since Patrick and Chad had already won their games, the pressure was technically off, but I wanted to enjoy a good game nonetheless. The big problem was that my deck disagreed, spitting out inconsequential creatures that would simply fall to the overload of removal my opponent had. I couldn’t stick a single thing.

I was getting nowhere, and I was showing it. My opponent read my slumped shoulders as a sign that I had no answers, so he was building a large army in a very small amount of time, and I was hemorrhaging…er… That’s it. Just hemorrhaging.

On my turn, I pulled Phytohydra off the top and cast it. Someone watching the game laughed out loud. I passed the turn.

My opponent went all in, emptying his hand and taking me to a very low life total with a strong multi-creature alpha strike. I untapped and reached for the top card of my library, knowing I had probably lost.

As it turns out, Savage Twister was on the top of my library. Phytohydra was suddenly looking up.

Two turns later, I swung for the win.

Yeah…I planned that… 

Paying The Bills — Acceleration And The Mana Base

We’re in the home stretch now. We have accelerators, mana fixers , and a big pile of lands left. Then we’re home free.

IN: Chromatic Lantern, Rakdos Signet, Rakdos Keyrune, Darksteel Ingot

Three-mana accelerators that help to make sure Rakdos is able to be cast as early as turn 3. We have the old school (Signet), the new school that becomes a reasonably costed 3/1 first-striker (Keyrune), the ‘old reliable’ (Ingot), and the card I need about five of in foil pronto (Lantern.)

IN: Solemn Simulacrum

A bit of card draw and mana fixing in a neat package. Rakdos makes it free.

Rakdos is kind of mind-blowing now that I really think about it.

And finally, the lands:

IN: Kher Keep, Rakdos Guildgate, Urborg Volcano, Akoum Refuge, Blood Crypt, Bojuka Bog, Stensia Bloodhall, Miren, the Moaning Well, Lavaclaw Reaches, Terramorphic Expanse, Evolving Wilds, Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, 10 Mountain, 10 Swamp, Spinerock Knoll, Graven Cairns, Rakdos Carnarium, Dragonskull Summit, Tectonic Edge,

There isn’t a spectacular amount of surprises here. If I had to point out some of the more interesting interactions, I’d point at Spinerock Knoll (which in this deck should allow you to be activating it early and often) and Stensia Bloodhall, which couples nicely with Valakut to deal some damage and play nicely with Rakdos. There are a lot of various mana fixers, dual lands, and some utility cards like Tectonic Edge and Bojuka Bog.

It’s a pretty tight list of real estate, so I’ll let it speak for itself. The main thing is that it should have no problem with turn 4 Rakdos, which is the most important goal for the deck.

And with that, we’re done!

Wrapping It Up

Here’s the list:

Rakdos, Lord of Riots
Cassidy McAuliffe
Test deck on 09-23-2012

It’s aggressive and angry, and it lives in the red zone. I truly think that while people are pointing out Jarad as the strongest Commander in Return to Ravnica, I feel they’re all wrong.

Rakdos is raw aggression. He’s a nightmare once he gets going.

In this situation, there’s an abnormally large amount of synergy in the deck; with the draw, removal, and the creatures themselves, everything seems to be doing what it can to deal a little damage to all of your opponents. This deck should be able to come out swinging, all the while reloading and staying relevant and threatening from beginning to end.   

I’m interested in hearing about what else I could have done (and please hit up the comments section to let me know what you think), but I’m equally excited that this deck came out as well as it did for a first pass. I think it’s well worth taking it for a spin.

Here’s the price breakdown. There’s going to be a little sticker shock on this one; the grand total to purchase the whole list (not including basic lands) rings in at a little over $170. Remember, however, that we’re usually helping to just tune a list here at Dear Azami, not building one from the ground up. As a result, we need to cover all of the bases instead of just twenty or so.

Skull Rend $0.15
Hideous End $0.15
Sign in Blood $0.25
Sizzle $0.25
Breath of Darigaaz $0.25
Breath of Malfegor $0.25
Rakdos Signet $0.25
Bojuka Bog $0.25
Terramorphic Expanse $0.25
Psychosis Crawler $0.49
Earthquake $0.49
Magmaw $0.49
Artisan of Kozilek $0.49
Torrent of Souls $0.49
Magma Giant $0.49
Fervor $0.49
Sulfurous Blast $0.49
Disaster Radius $0.49
Bituminous Blast $0.49
Rakdos Charm $0.49
Warstorm Surge $0.49
Rakdos Keyrune $0.49
Rakdos Guildgate $0.49
Urborg Volcano $0.49
Stensia Bloodhall $0.49
Evolving Wilds $0.49
Molten Disaster $0.75
Exsanguinate $0.75
Lyzolda, the Blood Witch $0.75
Pestilence Demon $0.75
In the Web of War $0.75
Rakdos Carnarium $0.75
Promise of Power $0.99
Bloodgift Demon $0.99
Goblin Assault $0.99
Magmatic Force $0.99
Knollspine Dragon $0.99
Wound Reflection $0.99
Reiver Demon $0.99
Shriekmaw $0.99
Exquisite Blood $0.99
Darksteel Ingot $0.99
Kher Keep $0.99
Akoum Refuge $0.99
Tectonic Edge $0.99
Ambition’s Cost $0.99
Staff of Nin $0.99
Maga, Traitor to Mortals $0.99
Spinerock Knoll $0.99
Reforge the Soul $1.49
Volcanic Fallout $1.49
Murderous Redcap $1.49
Furyborn Hellkite $1.49
Swiftfoot Boots $1.49
Lavaclaw Reaches $1.49
Flamebreak $1.99
Bogardan Hellkite $1.99
Lightning Greaves $1.99
Plague Wind $1.99
Choice of Damnations $1.99
Night’s Whisper $1.99
Stigma Lasher $2.49
Inferno Titan $2.49
Temporal Extortion $2.49
Dragonskull Summit $2.49
Disciple of Bolas $2.99
Oblivion Stone $2.99
Graven Cairns $2.99
Platinum Emperion $2.99
Phyrexian Arena $3.75
Solemn Simulacrum $3.99
Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle $3.99
Duplicant $4.99
Darksteel Colossus $4.99
Chromatic Lantern $4.99
Miren, the Moaning Well $5.99
Rakdos, Lord of Riots $9.99
Kokusho, The Evening Star $14.99
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth $19.99
Blood Crypt $19.99


If I were to try to rein in that price tag a bit, I’d start by trimming off the big three offenders in Kozilek, Kokusho, and Blood Crypt. Don’t get me wrong… All three really make the deck better, but there are plenty of budget replacements that fit all three roles. The deck is still a powerhouse without any of them.

That’s it for now, everyone! I hope you all have a chance to get out to a Prerelease this weekend, and I’m sure that we’ll start revisiting Rakdos and company as packs are opened and more people can get their hands on the five new commander options in the weeks and months to come.

I’ll see you again soon. In the meantime, if there’s a fork in the road, at least try to stay on the road. Steer clear of the jungle foliage.


Want to submit a deck for consideration to Dear Azami? We’re always accepting deck submissions to consider for use in a future article, like Phil’s Garza Zol, Plague Queen deck or Jacob’s Skullbriar, the Walking Grave deck. Only one deck submission will be chosen per article, but being selected for the next edition of Dear Azami includes not just deck advice but also a $20 coupon to StarCityGames.com!

Email us a deck submission using this link here!

Like what you’ve seen? Feel free to explore more of Dear Azamihere, in the Article Archives! Feel free to follow Sean on Facebook… sometimes there are extra surprises and bonus content to be found over on his Facebook Fan Page, as well as previews of the next week’s column at the end of the week! Follow Cassidy on his Facebook page here, or check out his Commander blog — GeneralDamageControl.com!

I am Izzet. Besides being the main colors that I usually flock to when I build decks or draft (The best time I ever had in Standard was playing Adrian Sullivan “Eminent Domain” list!), I’m also very much behind the philosophy; I’m at my happiest tinkering around with things, understanding them, and experimenting with them. Any wonder that my background is in computers, graphic and web design, and my degree is in film theory and production? 😉