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Rakdos Goes Hellbent

Commander / EDH BR (Rakdos)


Rakdos has returned HELLBENT on being “the Showstopper!” Rakdos, the Showstopper demands that you “Entertain me.” For Rakdos’s entertainment, effects like Wheel of Fortune randomly give lucky players the cutting edge. His audience will have to throw away hope in current hands, and being HELLBENT is all about throwing everything away. When wheeling, Rakdos first wants to ditch his hand to feed things like Firestorm before recharging his hand size. With as many as seven or more new cards, Rakdos can throw everything away again. It’s quite the “entertainment!”

The theme of this deck is being HELLBENT. Being HELLBENT means having no cards in hand, which also means you don’t have a lot of options. To counteract being in a weakened state that only offers benefits if you are using one of a handful of HELLBENT themed cards there is a certain type of play style and use of risky cards to alleviate that problem.
Your first solution is to manipulate the top of your deck to leave cards for use precisely when you want them. Tucking a wheel effect or tutor to where you want it can help you gain advantage and then jump back in the game after you engage in HELLBENT shenanigans. Scroll Rack , Sensei's Divining Top , Insidious Dreams , Vampiric Tutor , Library of Leng , fetch lands, and other cards that cause you to shuffle help you manipulate your deck.
The second solution is effects that help you go from zero cards in hand to having several cards or a full hand instantly. Setting up an early Temple Bell , Howling Mine , Font of Mythos , or Spiteful Visions is perhaps the most effective way to recover from being HELLBENT. The only thing better at adding multiple cards to your hand is Wheel of Fortune , Reforge the Soul , Wheel of Fate , and Runehorn Hellkite . Ghirapur Orrery or any permanent that draws you cards while not having to be used from your hand is also important when HELLBENT.
The next solution is simply protect yourself until you naturally draw into a better solution. If you have a good card drawing engine in place sometimes Ensnaring Bridge and Glacial Chasm protect you long enough to setup. With no cards in hand, some opponents may even attack your other enemies who seem more threatening if Bedlam is in play. Swapping life totals with Soul Conduit or Mirror Universe can also help you survive longer, while making one of your opponents more susceptible to elimination.
Last but not least, your Planeswalkers can hold their own until things get better. Some of your Planeswalkers also draw you cards, which gives you a way to restock your hand even while HELLBENT. The emblem from Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker is the perfect way to alternate between being HELLBENT and having cards. The Planeswalkers in this deck can also be used for board control by killing problematic creature threats, which helps your strategy of protecting yourself until you find needed solutions.
Final Note: Don’t risk going HELLBENT unless you think you can handle it!
Soul Conduit , Mirror Universe , and Repay in Kind bring life totals low. At this point, any drain, burn, or combat damage finishes foes. To make these life changing spells more dangerous, Toxic Deluge , Treasonous Ogre , Nihilistic Glee , Fire Covenant , and Bolas's Citadel help manipulate your own life total. Even Glacial Chasm , Infernal Darkness , and Spiteful Visions can get your life total where you want it if timed properly. Ancient Tomb , fetch lands, and Blood Crypt can also help you smooth out the numbers. Master of Cruelties and Captive Audience also bring a single opponent low without requiring your own life total to be low.
While the dragon and zombie count is low, the ones included can be potent. For example, Sarkhan the Mad in conjunction with a Rakdos Pit Dragon can be devastating with mana from Mana Geyser or Neheb, the Eternal . Although not super-competitive, a Rakdos Pit Dragon with Anthem of Rakdos can easily eliminate a single opponent if you have no cards in hand, while earning you all of the flavorful HELLBENT style points. Dropping Sarkhan the Mad after your Sarkhan the Masterless animates all of your planeswalkers also creates a high damage combat accompanied with residual burn to the face.
While zombies are a little harder to kill opponents with than dragons, they still combo well with a few other cards. Unblockable zombies from Bedlam are powerful with an Anthem of Rakdos . Clearing the board with Archfiend of Ifnir + Awaken the Erstwhile is also strong, especially with Anger in the graveyard. Malfegor can also open the gates to ensuring your zombies get in damage.
In a long game, burning someone at low life is a wincon. At higher life totals, burn isn’t usually an option. If I wanted this deck at max competitive level I would still have Geth's Grimoire , but to make it less combo eccentric, I have made it trickier to burn opponents to death with Firestorm . Twenty required targets isn’t hard with planeswalkers, zombie creation, and the combined number of creatures your opponents have. However, without Geth's Grimoire a large hand size is harder to get without Ignorant Bliss or Waste Not when wheeling. Anthem of Rakdos is a key piece for doubling damage into lethal range. Demonfire with copious amounts of mana can still be a kill, but slowly whittling down opponents is primarily the way to win with burn. Faith of the Devoted , Spiteful Visions , and Ob Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted are most important for slowly bringing opponents into burn range.
Skirge Familiar , Bone Miser , and Faith of the Devoted are the sure fire combo win if you can get around the excess lands in your hand and the small number of creatures in your deck. It can easily be assembled with Insidious Dreams . But in the event you can’t assemble it, Skirge Familiar and Faith of the Devoted are still an effective combo depending on the number of cards you can put into your hand.
Becoming HELLBENT at will can be tricky given that only 9 cards allow extreme hand size control with all but two being cards with a one time use, aside from the emblem from Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker . However, the mana curve on this deck is relatively low. More than half the nonland cards in the deck are CMC 4 or less, so going HELLBENT often happens from simply playing out your hand. Manipulating your deck and hand is the best way to become HELLBENT at will and counteract having a lot of spells with CMC 5 and more.
Skirge Familiar and Zombie Infestation can be used at will to manipulate hand size. As a bonus, Skirge Familiar is an imp and survives Rakdos, the Showstopper when he enters the battlefield. These two cards are the best way to become HELLBENT over and over again while netting you mana and zombies.
This is by far the best HELLBENT enabler, but is hard to earn. Casting this Planeswalker early with top tier mana rocks like Mana Vault sometimes reach emblem status depending on what your opponents do on the first few turns, but an Ensnaring Bridge in the mid game can make the emblem attainable for prolonged HELLBENT shenanigans. Board wipes can also help grant the emblem.
The remaining six discard outlets can only be used once, but often they serve the purpose of getting rid of high converted mana costs cards that otherwise prevent you from playing out your hand to become HELLBENT. Each of these also serves as a utility: Firestorm is a finisher, Nahiri's Wrath and Malfegor are board wipes, Ignorant Bliss saves cards rather than discarding them, Insidious Dreams stacks your deck, and Awaken the Erstwhile makes zombies and depletes all players’ hands. Using these cards requires precise timing.
Gibbering Descent , and Nihilistic Glee also work to slightly self-enable themselves, one card at a time. Gustha's Scepter also removes a single card from your hand. These cards also increase the proper timing of Zombie Infestation , since it discards two cards at once which sometimes leaves you with one single card in hand.

Anthem of Rakdos - GREED Show

Nihilistic Glee - LUST Show

Gibbering Descent - PRIDE Show

Keldon Megaliths - SLOTH Show

Demonfire - WRATH Show

Infernal Tutor - ENVY Show

Rakdos Pit Dragon - GLUTTONY Show

Ensnaring Bridge - The Bridge to Judgement Show

Ghirapur Orrery - The Model for Armageddon Show


Updates Add



93% Competitive

Date added 1 year
Last updated 3 weeks
Exclude colors WUG
Key combos

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.63
Tokens 1/1 Elemental, 2/2 Zombie, 6/6 Dragon, 1/1 Construct, Sarkhan, Nixilis
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