What to do against Rakdos, Lord of Riots in mono-red

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on Aug. 19, 2021, 5:11 a.m. by Staakman

Hi all,

After 10 years of modern my friends and I recently created some EDH decks.
One of them created a Rakdos, Lord of Riots (link) deck and I'm trying to figure out what to do against it in mon-red.
I currently have Zada, Hedron Grinder as a commander.

Any advice?

griffstick says... #2

Zada, Hedron Grinder is kinda a glass cannon in aggro edh. It's usually a list that has 30 lands, lots of canttrips, very low on removal, and lots of creatures. This aggro strategy that is kinda a glass cannon will sometimes get mana screwed right away making it lose more games do to this then its other weaknesses, being something like Peacekeeper or Ghostly Prison or a well timed board wipe like Damnation

August 19, 2021 5:57 a.m.

I assume the problem is that Zada is a smurf deck and has a hard time against the oomph Rakdos slams down very early? Chandra's Ignition looks to be an impressive boardwipe for Zada. With Basilisk Collar, this will kill everything even without any real board presence on your side. Draconic Intervention will propably be good, as well, and Blasphemous Act is an obvious choice.

In case this doesn't help, how about player removal? Brash Taunter and Blazing Sunsteel are bith great cards you could easily include, and they combine into killing the table as soon as Taunter receives damage. Not a very Zada way of winning, but it works.

August 19, 2021 7:32 a.m.

Staakman says... #4

"I assume the problem is that Zada is a smurf deck and has a hard time against the oomph Rakdos slams down very early".

Pretty much this yes. And I can't really find any good counters against this commander in mono-red. Seriously thought about land destruction so he can't play it when he wants to.

August 19, 2021 9:02 a.m.

Staakman says... #5

griffstick I tried to make a Goblin Zada Commander Deck. As I said it's the first Commander Deck I've ever made. But you're pretty much right that my deck is a glass cannon with lots of creatures, etc.

My deck: Zada Goblin Deck

August 19, 2021 9:05 a.m.

Dromar39 says... #6

Player removal is the best.

August 19, 2021 9:23 a.m.

RiotRunner789 says... #7

You could try Chaos Warp or even Tibalt's Trickery. Both can be dangerous but they have upside of hitting anything, including your own spells (especially if it gets countered) or your permanents (especially in response to something like [murder]).

August 19, 2021 9:35 a.m.

RambIe says... #8

God i love Rakdos, Lord of Riots. Typically these decks play by utilizing a ping effect to get lord of riots on line then focus on combat damage to fire off the value engine dropping massive eldrazi post combat.
The weakness to these decks is that in most cases they are not able to utilize haste since there best creatures come out post combat.
So if i were to build a mono red deck just to shut it down i would focus on punch sac. Take lord of riots to the face let them drop the massive eldrazi then on your turn Act of Treason take the eldrazi swing it at them then on post combat sacrifice it Fling
now im only listing two examples here, however there is no shortage of these functions to be found in red and artifact including instant speed effects like my fav Grab the Reins

August 19, 2021 10:17 a.m.

RambIe says... #9

P.S.Zada, Hedron Grinder is one of the best mono red commanders
you just need to understand that tribal is his weakness, low cmc single target can trips is his source of power.

August 19, 2021 10:52 a.m.

Necrosis24 says... #10

I love Zada, Hedron Grinder one of my first few decks I built because it was budget friendly but still packed a punch. The removal that is available to you because of zada is actually pretty fun you can gang up on a single target with all your creatures: Go for Blood, Soul's Fire, Arcbond,Commando Raid, Deadshot, Swift Kick.

Also like Ramble said you can use steal effects and sac your opponents creatures to cards like Goblin Bombardment or Barrage of Expendables or your classic Phyrexian Altar. The good thing about the steal cards are you can use them on your own creatures to untap your board or give haste while they also serve to steal.

A few I'd recommend although I personally don't use them:

  1. Kari Zev's Expertise: Free Cantrips for the price of one!
  2. Hijack: Artifacts why not
  3. Harness by Force: Average but with Battle Hymn it has potential to be a budget Insurrection
  4. Bond of Passion: Pricey but with six goblins on the battlefield its like you're casting six Shocks
  5. Besmirch: Goad is good
  6. Traitorous Greed: Can be used for ramp
  7. Malevolent Whispers: Pump your team or steal

Looking at your decklist we more or less have the same cards which isn't surprising Zada is a pretty linear build if you do goblin tribal, but if you break away there are a couple fun things you can do such as Chaos Warp your entire board. I would cut Dualcaster Mage and Reiterate as they don't do much for Zada because Zada already does what they do but for free. Also Birgi, God of Storytelling  Flip is great.

August 19, 2021 11:16 a.m.

Staakman says... #11

I've some bad news for you Necrosis24. :(
Go for Blood, Soul's Fire, etc. do not work with Zada, Hedron Grinder because they target more then once.

August 19, 2021 11:57 a.m.

I went through my Moraug, Fury of Akoum to find some useful removal. Underdark Rift maybe?

August 19, 2021 12:13 p.m.

Necrosis24 says... #13

Staakman Ah yes you are correct that is a shame. I guess Chaos Warp is the way to go then

August 19, 2021 12:15 p.m.

RambIe says... #14

Never Chaos Warp a stompy deck.
Punch n sac really is the most effective form of removal in mono red
2nd is artifact removal, ie. Ashnod's Transmogrant, Mycosynth Lattice

August 19, 2021 12:25 p.m.

Necrosis24 says... #15

Okay so Soul's Fire and those other card's I suggested don't have the board wipe capability I had previously thought but in the scope of Zada I still believe they function as single target removal as you are constantly pumping your creatures. There is also Lightning Volley and Flame Fusillade which are only really good with a solid board state.

Otherwise I'd go with what Ramble suggested and fling away. I do believe Chaos Warp is still worth including since there are 2-3 other players to consider and worst comes to worst you use it against the Rakdos player and one big thing gets substituted for another, but sometimes all you need to do is get rid of Rakdos, Lord of Riots for a turn or a key combo piece.

August 19, 2021 12:55 p.m.

Staakman says... #16

thanks for all the advice so far. I think I'll add cards like Chaos Warp & Tibalt's Trickery

August 19, 2021 1:10 p.m.

RambIe says... #17

Facepalm-the deck list you provided shows your friend is playing 8 sorcerys and 4 instant spells that means 97 possible out comes of Warp will improve there boardstate at best case it will hit a land providing half the commander tax to cast again,and based on the nonland choices trickery is going to be even worse

Please be sure to check in and update us on how well these swaps worked out for you

August 19, 2021 1:44 p.m.

RambIe says... #18


August 19, 2021 1:49 p.m.

Staakman says... #19

what do you guys/girls think about adding Act of Treason, Besmirch, Hijack etc to force his commander to fight?

August 19, 2021 3:07 p.m.

Staakman says... #20

August 19, 2021 3:51 p.m.

RambIe says... #21

play it out
he drops Rakdos, Lord of Riots, on your turn you play any Act of Treason effect move to combat and swing
A. He chump blocks killing off a lesser creature to the general
B. He big blocks killing his own general
C. He can't block he takes 6 general damage (yes you can loose to your own general) and you then utilize Rakdos, Lord of Riots to cast Zada, Hedron Grinder for plus what ever other creatures you want to unload in your hand
No matter how it plays out its good for you, now if you can consistently take his creatures swing them,then sacrifice it before the end of your turn you will be able to control the board state and easily take the win, this strategy is powerful no matter what deck your facing. be sure to include plenty of low cmc single target can trips to reload your hand, and toss some board wipe effects like Mob Rule,Insurrection, Radiate+ Any Act of Treason

August 19, 2021 5:08 p.m.

Necrosis24 says... #22

Incite and Into the Fray I wouldn’t reccomend unless you can control the flow of the battle. Those two cards still let him attack you and with flying against goblins the damage is going thru.

August 19, 2021 5:13 p.m.

Noire_Samhain says... #23

You can also potentially punish a Rakdos' decks love of pingers with Harsh Mentor. Each time they get tapped to ping everyone they then also damage the person with Rakdos, making it a riskier gambit.

August 19, 2021 5:24 p.m.

Is the Problem combat damage? If so, Maze of Ith, Glacial Crevasses, and General's Regalia, and Forcefield all work at stopping that. Otherwise, preemptive effects:

Blood Moon, Roiling Vortex (if they cast a colorless creature for free), Ruination, Ensnaring Bridge, and threaten effects.

August 22, 2021 2:03 a.m.

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