Rakdos the Defiler demon tribal is my favorite deck I have ever built or played, by far.

This demon is just what you need in your life. "But he makes me sacrifice things!" Listen, Rakdos is a six mana eldrazi with annihilator 8+ and trample. He doesn't force you to run colorless like an ordinary eldrazi god would, instead giving you access to tutors, fast mana, removal, recursion and haste. Sure, he's a demon, so there's a steep price for his servitude. But you’re black- you don't play fair. One land is all you need to cast reanimate and bring an It That Betrays, Rune-Scarred Demon, or Hellcarver Demon under your control. He's boardwipe, mass land destruction and a three hit kill just sitting there waiting to go. The deck's ability to win out of nowhere keeps it a threat at all stages of the game with little warning to your opponents. Every single game is memorable, the lines of play are as unique as the cards, and the balls to the wall reckless abandon you need to adopt as a mindset is unlike anything else. There will be death, at any cost.

Special thanks to the the primer created by Silenciaco on mtgsalvation.

I modified the deck by trimming most of the fat and upped the speed and power to remain a threat to current decks I play against (optimized power level, around a 7+). This also meant removing some of the less game winning life loss cards like Cruel Bargain to weather the table hate and make for more explosive winning turns with Necropotence and Treasonous Ogre. The deck would probably be improved by removing Insidious Dreams for Vampiric Tutor, but I like how Insidious Dreams can function as a second (and sometimes better) copy of Doomsday for Hellcarver Demon.

Some tips for modifying the deck to your playgroup- for a faster or more consistent deck, add more tutors and fast mana. Likewise, for a more casual or lower budget group, remove mana crypt, fast mana, and low mana cost tutors and add in cards like Cruel Bargain and Elbrus, the Binding Blade   from the maybe section of the list. Try to keep the efficient spells like the cheap reanimation though, because low cost spells are the bread and butter that allow staying in the game after losing lands and permanents after you swing with Rakdos the Defiler.

Rakdos the Defiler

  • Simply casting Rakdos, especially with a haste enabler active, can force some generous political deals with other players at the table. Even in positions where actually committing to an attack would lose you the game, just casting Rakdos and making temporary truces can buy enough time to get another land drop or the draw needed to set up a win. Be cautious of players trying to goad you into attacking or are avoiding politics- they likely have instant speed interaction. You will sacrifice your permanents to Rakdos the Defiler on swing, but opponents have to take damage first before they are forced to sacrifice permanents, so enemy instant speed removal will cause Rakdos to rout only your own board state if they respond to his attack trigger. You may find that other players are more than happy to protect Rakdos when attacking a common enemy, and will leave you alone afterwards when they see that your board state was halved after the swing. They may feel like it would be “kicking you while you’re down”, not realizing the deck is designed to operate on little mana and with a mostly empty board state. Take advantage of others’ dismissal of the threat you still possess.

Lich + Repay in Kind =

  • Your life is set to zero without dying from Lich’s effect, then Repay in Kind sets everyone’s life to zero, killing everyone else at the table.

Treasonous Ogre or Necropotence + Repay in Kind =

  • Not an insta-kill, but makes for a quick finish with demons on board to attack with. Treasonous ogre allows for extremely explosive turns in the deck and generates the mana and life-loss outlet for Repay in Kind all by itself. Drawing 20+ cards with Necropotence should also find Repay in Kind or a tutor for it, as well as the mana to play it the following turn.

Doom Whisperer + Living Death =

  • Fill up your graveyard by using Doom Whisperer’s ability as many times as possible. This ability can also be used to dig through the deck to find Living Death or a tutor in case it is not already in hand. Do this on your opponent’s end step to draw Living Death or the tutor at the beginning of your turn. Living Death is a uniquely powerful resurrection spell that can get around opponent graveyard hate pieces like Grafdigger's Cage because creatures enter from exile, not the graveyard directly. Geier Reach Sanitarium, Faithless Looting, Cathartic Reunion, Wheel of Fortune, Reforge the Soul, Entomb, Buried Alive, and Sire Of Insanity all contribute to sculpting a game winning hands while disrupting enemy plans with the loot and wheel effects and/or filling your graveyard with reanimation targets throughout the game.

Gray Merchant of Asphodel + Archfiend of Despair + Living Death or a high B devotion count =

  • Depending on your devotion to black (or the devotion to black in your graveyard with Living Death), this life drain combo can often be enough to kill even moderate health opponents, especially when part of a Hellcarver Demon combo. Hellcarver demon sacrifices your creatures before Living Death is cast in a Doomsday combo, ensuring maximum creature based devotion.

Abhorrent Overlord + Devotion to Black OR Living Death + Abhorrent Overlord and Other Creatures in Graveyard =

  • Lots of harpies means lots of sacrifice fodder for Rakdos, or more damage to close out the game with, especially when combined with a haste enabler and/or extra combat spells. Simply casting or reanimating Abhorrent Overlord with a moderate devotion count (5 to 7 is pretty typical for the deck) enables a very low risk for blowout swing with Rakdos the Defiler.

Rakdos the Defiler + It That Betrays =

  • Get everything your opponents sacrifice. What's not to love? If this combo is unanswered, it will win the game in a turn or two as your board state shoots ahead and all others fall behind.

Rakdos the Defiler + Savage Beating/World at War =

  • Rakdos hurts your board and destroys your lands, but make sure your opponents get it twice as bad with double strike. Extra combat phases ensure that your suicide missions ruin multiple opponent's days. Many decks fold to a single connection with Rakdos, but a double tap keeps them down. Multiple games have ended with only Rakdos on board with each opponent controlling only 1 or 2 lands and nothing else. The oppressive assault when swinging with Rakdos the Defiler every turn can absolutely win multiplayer games outright by shutting down opponent board state development much like an early eldrazi titan does.

Rakdos the Defiler + Moraug, Fury of Akoum + Fetchland (for double landfall trigger) =

  • Three combat phases allows you to swing once at each opponent to reset all boards, or commander damage kill a player in one turn. Remember to trigger the landfalls in the second main phase, as your creatures will not untap for the “regular” attack phase if the landfalls occur in the first main phase.

Liliana's Contract + 4 Demons =

  • A slower win condition, but important against pillow fort strategies or combat hate pieces like Ensnaring Bridge and Meekstone. This enchantment also refills our hand and adds two black devotion while on field, enabling other devotion based strategies.
Hellcarver Demon + Doomsday/Insidious Dreams Combos

Simply reanimating Hellcarver Demon in the first couple of turns of the game can give you a chance to win big and cheat in huge value early game. However, Hellcarver Demon is twice the fun when you've stacked the deck. Note- optional costs like the entwine cost of Savage Beating can be paid for when cast with Hellcarver Demon's effect. Insidious Dreams functions as a less “all in” copy of Doomsday in the deck if you have enough cards in hand. Necropotence does an excellent job both finding and enabling Insidious Dreams.

While the order of the Doomsday pile in the library does not matter, spells must be cast all at once with Hellcarver's ability, so the spell you want to resolve first should be put on the stack last to resolve in the correct order. The following piles have been ordered in the sequence the spells should resolve, not the order they should be cast.

In any of the following combos, if Living Death or Repay in Kind is in the graveyard already, replace it with Mizzix's Mastery. This is actually the better case scenario and will result in even more of a payoff depending on the instant and sorcery spells in your graveyard. If Repay in Kind is in the graveyard, use Treasonous Ogre or Kuro, Pitlord's ability to bring yourself to low health before casting Repay in Kind. A neat interaction- as long as you remove at least half of an opponent's life total with Repay in Kind, ending the turn with Archfiend of Despair on the board will kill them.

Insidious Dreams Liliana's Contract Stack:

  • Any 3 Demons, Liliana's Contract, Final Fortune = (Since Hellcarver Demon plus 3 other demons satisfies the contract, you win the game on the extra turn upkeep. This combo will not work using Doomsday, because the draw effect on Liliana’s Contract will lose you the game with an empty library.)

Doomsday Combat Damage Stacks:

Doomsday Gary Stacks:

Doomsday Lich + Repay in Kind Basic Stack:

Variations on the Lich + Repay in Kind Doomsday Stack:

In order to win the game immediately but fake out those who know the deck, replace the last two spells of any of the previous combos with Lich and Repay in Kind. If they think you are going for a different combo, then may use counter spells prematurely, giving you the win.

If they have already seen this trick and are waiting for the Lich + Repay in Kind combo to counter, you still get a potentially winning board state with the following stacks:

No. Of course not. It's demon tribal. The deck isn't focused on cheating out eldrazi with Rakdos, Lord of Riots but instead on going down swinging, dragging the table to hell alongside us. Make enemies, ruin opponent’s chances for victory, and make some truly lopsided demonic deals. Sit in the corner with a Rakdos the Defiler nuke and punish those foolish enough to doubt our crazy.

Rather than pursuing a linear path to victory, the deck limits tutors to on theme tutors and potentially suicidal options like Demonic Consultation. The philosophy of the deck’s card selection is that every single draw should have standalone potential to add a twist or throw a wrench in a plan. Every draw should be an exciting spin of the rakdos roulette. The deck is light on removal, which was a personal choice to force the deck pilot into aggressive swings at the most threatening player with Rakdos the Defiler. Go big or go home with the demon. Reading an opponent's body language and guessing what may be waiting in their hand becomes life or death when risking half our boardstate with a swing. Guess correctly and tear an opponent's game plan and board state to tatters.


Updates Add


Date added 2 years
Last updated 3 weeks

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

19 - 0 Mythic Rares

51 - 0 Rares

15 - 0 Uncommons

9 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.88
Tokens 1/1 Harpy, Treasure
Folders Decks that look good, Uncategorized, Witty Bulger & The Witty Hill Gang, inspiration, Rakdos, Uncategorized, fun
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