With any new Magic: The Gathering expansion comes new decks and ways to play. More often than not, quite a few decks remain at the top of the pile for months.
However, some interesting deck concepts come from the past few expansions. Between Streets of New Capenna and Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, a powerful Rakdos combo has appeared.
It’s not the same near-infinite nonsense that Rakdos Sacrifice had before, but it’s easily one of the best decks in the game right now, especially in best-of-one modes like in Magic: The Gathering Arena.
Not quite the Magic: The Gathering’s Witch’s Cauldron combo, but it’s close
There was a powerful combo in the last Standard rotation, Witch’s Cauldron+Cauldron Familiar. It was a combo that could be repeated every single turn to deal damage to players and gain life simultaneously.
This particular combo is built around the relatively new Oni-Cult Anvil, which does something incredibly similar. The Oni-Cult Anvil gives players who own it a 1/1 colorless Construct artifact creature token whenever one or more artifacts leave the battlefield that they control on their turn.
This can only happen once per turn, limiting how many Constructs can be made. Oni-Cult Anvil can be tapped to sacrifice an artifact. Then Oni-Cult Anvil deals one damage to each opponent and grants the owner one life. So the player can sacrifice a Blood Token or Treasure Token to deal one damage and thus create a Construct.
The player can sacrifice the Construct next turn, which makes another Construct as a result. Players whittle away at their foes and combine this with The Meathook Massacre to change it to 2 damage and 1 point of life gained a turn.
This Magic: The Gathering deck finishes foes off with Anje, Maid of Dishonor, or a slowly-growing Immersturm Predator. Depending on how much mana and how many Blood Tokens are around, Anje drop can bomb a player for ten or so damage in one turn.
Sacrifice is key in Rakdos Anvil decks
This particular deck archetype is all about sacrificing cards to get a benefit. In this case, damage! Blood Tokens are a great source of artifact sacrifice, and thanks to Voldaren Epicure and Bloodtithe Harvester, players can get a few sacrificial targets.
Voldaren Epicure on turn one is amazing for this deck. It deals one damage to each opponent and creates a Blood Token. Shifting to that turn 2 Anvil, suddenly the Construct is already in play, through sacrificing a Blood Token.
Bloodtithe Harvester also creates a BLood Token when it comes into play, which will come in handy.
Now players can sacrifice a Construct and gain a Construct every turn to deal one damage. The player will probably want to stock up on as many Blood Tokens as possible. That comes with the big finish.
There are also Treasure Tokens to take advantage of. Shambling Ghast creates a treasure token, and so does the Deadly Dispute. Those treasure tokens can also help Lolth, Spider Queen show up early.
The final key to the sacrificial machine is Experimental Synthesizer. It may only cost one mana, but it’s not an ideal first-turn move. Whenever it comes into play or leaves play, exile the top card of the deck, and the player can play that card during this turn. It’s a great card early game if the player needs land and has none in hand.
It's a great late-game card, creating more potential for playable cards. If a player is going to use this, they want to do it at the start of the turn. This is to get as much knowledge about what possibilities the turn holds.
Rakdos Anvil gets help from a Meathook and Lolth
Meathook Massacre does double duty in this Magic: The Gathering deck. When cast, this legendary enchantment grants all creatures -X/-X, depending on how much mana is spent to bring it into play.
Whenever an opponent's creature dies, the owner of this spell gains one life, and whenever one of their creatures dies, each opponent loses one life.
Pair this with Oni-Cult Anvil, and the damage becomes far more serious. The Anvil generates its creature to sacrifice, thus always having an option for a sacrificial lamb. So that's consistent, frustrating damage. Then players go to Lolth, Spider Queen.
Lolth, Spider Queen gains a loyalty counter whenever a creature the Magic: The Gathering player controls dies. Otherwise, it has no Upticks. But there are plenty of ways to sacrifice creatures in this deck.
Each turn won’t take much to use the -3 (create 2 2/1 black Spider creature tokens with menace and reach). Those spiders are excellent for blocking annoying flyers, thanks to reach.
The Big Finish/Decklist
Anje, Maid of Dishonor is one of the deck’s finishers. Sure, players can win by trickling down one damage a turn, but that takes forever, and the player could get overrun.
Anje creates a Blood Token whenever she or one or more other Vampires enter the battlefield. She can also tap two colorless and sacrifice a creature or Blood token to make each opponent lose two life and make the owner of her gain two life.
Immersturm Predator is another major win condition for this Magic: The Gathering deck. A 3/3 flyer for 4, whenever it is tapped, it gains a +1/+1 counter and exiles up to one card from any graveyard.
This creature can also sacrifice creatures to become Indestructible until the turn's end, which also taps it. A great time to do it is during combat.
Immersturm Predator gets bigger and bigger, and depending on the board situation, a player can dump their mana, Blood Tokens, and creatures to deal fatal damage to the other player.
- 2 Lolth, Spider Queen
- 4 Voldaren Epicure
- 4 Shambling Ghast
- 4 Bloodtithe Harvester
- 2 Immersturm Predator
- 1 Anje, Maid of Dishonor
- 2 Voltage Surge
- 4 Deadly Dispute
- 1 Shatterskull Smashing
- 1 Agadeem's Awakening
- 4 Experimental Synthesizer
- 4 Oni-Cult Anvil
- 4 The Meathook Massacre
- 4 Mountain
- 5 Swamp
- 4 Blightstep Pathway
- 2 Hive of the Eye Tyrant
- 2 Den of the Bugbear
- 4 Haunted Ridge
- 1 Takenuma, Abandoned Mire
- 1 Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance
- 1 Sorin the Mirthless
- 1 Lolth, Spider Queen
- 2 Voltage Surge
- 1 Abrade
- 2 Infernal Grasp
- 4 Duress
- 2 Feed the Swarm
- 2 Go Blank
The Magic: The Gathering sideboard has a few powerful options, like Duress, to remove threats from the player's hands. For example, Duress and Go Blank are great cards to put in a deck versus control decks.
Voltage Surge and Infernal Grasp can be slotted in for creature removal, and there's also another Lolth, Spider Queen, and a copy of Sorin the Mirthless to help in potentially longer games.
Final thoughts on Magic: The Gathering's Rakdos Sacrifice deck
What a fantastic Magic: The Gathering deck this is! It's powerful, and though it takes some time to win, it can bomb a player out of nowhere and win immediately, depending on the board state.
With enough mana and cards, Anje can devastate someone, taking the last bit of their life points. It's an incredible deck and will likely stand with the biggest, strongest decks in Magic: The Gathering for the foreseeable future.