Rakdos Control: It can be a thing!
The main goal of this deck is to stall until you can get your big hitters out (Desecration Demon and Stormbreath Dragon by using loads of removal and kill spells. Dreadbore and Hero's Downfall deal with planeswalkers VERY well, whereas Mizzium Mortars , Anger of the Gods and Doom Blade help deal with early game aggression in addition to Dreadbore and Hero's Downfall . Thoughtseize is to mess up their mana curve and pick out any pesky creatures or removal spells, as well as get rid of gods before they come into play. Underworld Connections is useful, for drawing the right creature or right control spell when it's needed.
The sideboard is pretty standard: Dark Betrayal against mono-black, Lifebane Zombie against Selesnya/Esper. Slaughter Games can straight up kill certain decks, and Ratchet Bomb helps deal with any creature en masse (Pack Rat , etc.). Devour Flesh is additional removal in case it's necessary, as well as a way to get rid of difficult indestructible creatures.Pithing Needle is the only sideboard card i'm unsure about: my deck has plenty of Planeswalker removal as is, so Pithing Needle isn't necessary for that.Still, there are many other situations where it is of value. Duress , Thoughtseize and Rakdos's Return help deal with anything in their hand to kill our big hitters.
Please give any Feedback: i'm relatively new to Magic, but from my experience this works really well.
Nice deck, I thought that a rakdos control would never exist, but this proves me wrong.
I have a similar deck, so I'll put in my two cents. Underworld Dragon
First I'll say, you've got something pretty solid here. Especially because you thought of sideboard options, and I haven't gotten into that yet.
I don't think you will find yourself needing the support from the whip. It's just my opinion, but the whip does tons better in a deck that is much more aggressive with creatures. The theory is that you are protecting yourself well enough by the time you are summoning your creatures, that you won't care that much that your life total is a little lower than the opponent. Though, your creatures are pretty solid, and I'm now thinking of adding in Desecration Demon.
Read the Bones is great, but Underworld Connections is consistently better. Again, just an opinion. I often get more like three or four cards instead of just the two you can get from Read the Bones. I think because you are a control deck, Underworld Connections can do more work. A control deck can stall another aggressive deck, giving you more turns to take advantage of it. Besides, that land that you are tying up won't be used some of the time because you might not have to kill a creature or control the board every single turn, and even if you did, Anger of the Gods only costs three mana, and you'll have a fourth land usually.
@reedboss29: Rakdos control was a thing until Griselbrand cycled out. Maybe it's making a comeback?
darkmist29 thanks for the feedback! I was sorta hesitant to run Underworld Connections simply because it's 2 black, whereas Read the Bones is just 1 black, but I have more black than red in my mana pool anyways. I'll give it a try for sure. I kinda like the Whip of Erebos mainly because I find that, especially against aggro decks, I take a LOT of damage early on, and Whip of Erebos + Stormbreath Dragon or Desecration Demon = epic win. It's also good in case they run a lot of removal, because all the big hitters get another turn of swinging even after they die, either stalling for long enough to draw another one or straight up killing them.
MightyNinjanaut: you're welcome! I know how it is choosing card advantage. Give Underworld Connections a shot for a few games and see if you like it. It is slightly slower, sure - but look for that strong comeback later in the game when you gain card advantage. Read the Bones is fast, but isn't persistent. I tend to like Read the Bones for more aggressive decks. When I played with Read the Bones, I still ran out of steam too early - especially with aggressive decks. You have a control deck, so when you are controlling the board it is nice to draw into a lot more cards in order to keep the other player down. Your dragon has to be on the board with basically nothing else in play and nothing in their hand if you can manage it.
So, yes, the removal problem. Even against an aggro player, control decks either have to have a creature that is very hard to remove with traditional removal cards AEtherling or you have to take great care in protecting your big creature drops like your demon and dragon combo. I tried using Erebos for this, but Erebos is much more suited with an aggro or midrange deck because of his reliance on the devotion mechanic. Otherwise, having an indestructible creature would be tricky to remove.
The trick I use is discard. If you have enough discard to tear up a person's hand, you will end up having them drawing from the top in just a few turns. Yes, aggressive decks will still be able to summon some creatures before you succeed, but that also means they have probably not saved any removal cards. In midrange people will discard their removal first most of the time and save their good creature plays. And control just always hates discard. If you go against control with discard, they have no choice but to discard all of their removal because you have no creatures in play until you feel safe to cast them. So if you really want to combat counter-spells, removal, or burn - try discard. If their deck likes it when things go to the graveyard? You might have to sideboard in Slaughter Games to get rid of a Whip of Erebos (or whatever they are using to interact with the graveyard).
Also if you manage to keep the demon in - the other player will end up wanting to sac his own creatures - that's always good to see. The dragon is going to help slightly against removal because of his haste. (He will just attack too quickly to be removed when they are tapped out.)
MightyNinjanaut My opinion about buffs like that are that they should be used to support decks with a heavier amount of creatures (giving the card a target more often) . True, you will only get one or two every game with a set of four, but they might sit in your hand while you wait for those big creatures. I've seen these kinds of cards used really well, but not in control decks. Trading one of their cards for one of our removal is really good for aggro players, and they will be able to play it a lot, since they'll always have a creature out. For us, we have to wait until turn four for to cast our first creature. Turn 5 if we want to save a mana to protect our creature. Turn 6 if we want to protect the dragon. And we aren't even guaranteed that it'll work out, because they may use something to exile them or pacify them. They may even have an edict effect like Devour Flesh , making our regeneration worthless.
I guess I'm saying that Boon of Erebos would be well played in a deck that it was stronger in, like Mono-Black Devotion - that tends to have quite a bit more creatures to play. In fact, Erebos, the Whip, and most of the devotion mechanic cards play better in decks with lots of creatures, because there are only so many non-creature cards that supply good devotion. That reminds me. I have to switch my Underworld Connections with Dark Prophecy .
Discard is still your saving grace here. I just tried out my Underworld Dragon in some real games last night, and the discard I'm using is solid for any deck I'm up against. Honestly, I do have more trouble against aggro-decks. But even against them, discard can be devastating. I only have Stormbreath Dragon in there for creature damage, and I've been able to completely protect that creature with a combination of discard and removal.
Really think about those times that you used Rakdos's Return and casted a creature afterwards. It wasn't removed right away was it? The other player has to top deck a removal card to do that, and most of the time with Stormbreath Dragon you will use the haste to hit for four before they even have the chance to top deck removal.
Honestly, when looking at every red and black card out there - what is it that those two colors do best? Removal, for one. We should have access to the very best removal. Especially since we have control decks, we should be killing any creature that comes out - even ones with hexproof with things like Devour Flesh . Mostly specific to black, we have discard. And specific to red, we have burn and haste. Those aren't the only strengths of Black/Red, but those mechanics are our current basic theme. Removal, Discard, Haste, Burn. Notice I don't say creatures - Red actually has decent creatures compared to black - but we only have two creatures in this deck. Those guys only survive if everything else is working.
Sorry for the lengthy reply. You are going through a lot of the same thoughts that I've had, and you have actually contributed to my deck through changing this deck. Thanks for that.
I love this deck! Its insane, honestly. I'm not going to write a rather long reply as I'm not sure what to say, however I believe this deck could with tournaments!
Pithing Needle can be used for a lot more things other than just planeswalkers. theres AEtherling , whatever land Underworld Connections is on, Pack Rat to name a few. I'd actually swap out connections for Read the Bones I run a deck very similar to this and i found Read the Bones to work out better. If you want to check it out Show Me Your Boobs (3rd @ FNM)
notamardybum Pithing Needle does not work for AEtherling , as Pithing Needle only effects non-mana abilities, though I get your point. Also, I ran with Read the Bones beforehand and i've been testing out Underworld Connections instead, as I said in one of the updates.
Mightyninanaut check out what mana abilities are...
I disagree with the idea that Read the Bones is better than Underworld Connections in this deck. This deck is made to control the board until the win conditions start happening. Read the Bones is there for the short burst of two cards, which is generally better for aggressive decks because they are trying to get their licks in as early as possible. With a control deck, you are trying to survive aggressive onslaughts and play the long game where you can play your awesome cards starting around turns 4, 5, and 6. That means unless your Underworld Connections gets disenchanted, You can easily rope in at least 3 cards, but I sometimes get up to 5 cards - which, to me, is worth the risk. Besides, it also gives you the choice not to draw anything if you don't want to if you are low on life or need that extra mana.
I'm not sure if I mentioned this but Shrieking Affliction does really well in this deck. You might consider making room for 2 to 4 copies since you have Rakdos's Return . It's worth a shot. Say you happen to have just one out and you Rakdos's Return for 4 cards, bringing them to 0 cards. That's 4 damage, plus 3, plus quite possibly another 3 next turn. Two Shrieking Afflictions is some real trouble.
darkmist29 I really like Underworld Connections . But with Read the Bones its scry 2 then draw 2. So you can potentially cycle through 4 cards for 3 mana to get to what you NEED. With connections its tap 3 then you have to wait til next turn to tap that land to draw 1. Over time yes it has its benefits, but to really reap the benefits of connections its take a long time. I tend to sideboard connections in addition to read the bones against control. But connections really ends up being a terrible card against aggro and sometimes midrange if its aggressive enough, essentially having to tap 4 mana to draw 1 card.
notamardybum: I hear ya. The scry does make a difference, but again, (and this is just my opinion) I believe Underworld Connections to be better for the long run. In my experience, especially with aggro, I'm trying to shoot a bunch of their creatures down - and I'll run out of steam quickly. Honestly, when I'm done throwing all my discard and removal against aggro, I'll normally cast Underworld Connections on turn 5 or 6 where there is still potential to draw three or four cards (over time) and still have something to play, like a Thoughtseize while you do it.
Almost every time I experiment with Read the Bones , my control deck runs out of steam. Also, normally I play with Diabolic Tutor to get things that I need at the moment. Maybe it is apples and oranges. I rely on Underworld Connections to speed up momentum only - not to pull what I need from the deck.
In my gain life deck Blood Bond, for example. I'll play Read the Bones because I kinda know what I'm going to get, so it's just a matter of sorting out my land from my spells (the spells are mostly creatures and support enchantments). I get more of a variety from my control deck, that is filled with discard, removal, some creatures, and some card advantage - so Read the Bones isn't as good at pulling a removal card right when I need it.
Anyway, to each their own. I think I've made my case. I'd love to hear more if you have opinions.
@notamardybum and MightyNinjanaut: I'd love to get your opinions about my current standard decks. I'll look around tonight at all of yours and leave comments and upvotes. It's been a great and informative conversation.
I have a very similar deck:
I did a lot of playtesting with Underworld Connections and Read the Bones and I have found that Underworld Connections is better for this type of deck. It's more long term and keeps your hand full of answers to their threats.