Pioneer Rakdos Midrange Sideboard Guide
I’ve been playing Rakdos Midrange to great success on the RCQ circuit. Despite not having time to play the Regional Qualifier, I’ve split two finals and conceded after a top 8 split in the last three events. One day events with swaths of store credit to win is where I want to be currently with a young son and a demanding job.
Rakdos Midrange is well positioned despite being less popular. Today I’m going to share my list that accounts for an increase in Green Devotion and Rakdos Sacrifice. I’ll also cover how to sideboard against the format’s biggest decks.
Here’s my list we will be using to sideboard:
At a high level, Rakdos Midrange has updated the flex slots with targeted hate cards for Mono Green and Rakdos Sacrifice at the expense of the mirror match that’s waning in popularity.
I’ve changed the removal suite as it must always adapt to the current metagame. The presence of two maindeck Misery’s Shadow makes Abrade less powerful because the removal should all be able to exile Old-Growth Troll.
Eliminate is able to kill Kiora, Old-Growth Troll, Mayhem Devil, and Greasefang, but misses Sheoldred and Karn, the Great Creator. Instant-speed is important against Spirits as well.
Power Word Kill loses stock as I expect to face more Rakdos Sacrifice. Mayhem Devil and Mutavault must be respected.
Heartless Act wasn’t as good as I had hoped. There are plenty of incidental counters in Pioneer. Go for the Throat kills most creatures, notably Mayhem Devil and Mutavault. It misses vehicles, but you can kill most creatures used to crew so it’s rarely a dead draw.
Two Misery’s Shadow are in the maindeck to fight Mono Green and Rakdos Sacrifice. It’s a metagame call to swap the second Reckoner Bankbuster for the second Shadow.
There are plenty of sweepers in the sideboard as some matchups require Hidetsugu Consumes All while others want Path of Peril.
Hidetsugu Consumes All is strong against Rakdos Sacrifice and Boros Convoke/Pia. Path of Peril is strong against Spirits, Humans, and Boros Covoke/Pia. You can cleave Path of Peril with the treasure created by the Goblin Shaman token from Fable of the Mirror-Breaker. I like these sweepers because they keep my threats on the battlefield in most cases.
Extinction Event is primarily for Mono Green Devotion. I don’t need to exile creatures as badly in this version because there are three Misery’s Shadow combined with plenty of Doom Blade effects.
I would like to play a second Go Blank for Greasefang, Control, and Phoenix. This would be my 16th sideboard card if I could play it.
-2 Misery’s Shadow -1 Thoughtseize -1 Duress
+2 Reckoner Bankbuster +1 Abrade +1 Kolaghan’s Command
Rakdos Midrange is no longer built with the mirror in mind. We no longer have enough sideboard slots to cut all of the Thoughtseize. I’ve been experimenting with cutting a second Thoughtseize instead of a Misery’s Shadow.
I would expect opponents in the mirror to sideboard similarly so expect post board Thoughtseizes.
Mono Green Devotion
-3 Bonecrusher Giant -2 Graveyard Trespasser -1 Reckoner Bankbuster
+2 Duress +2 Noxious Grasp +1 Extinction Event +1 Misery’s Shadow
Still a hard matchup, but Misery’s Shadow is the best card to steal games.
Mono White Humans
-2 Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger -2 Misery’s Shadow -1 Duress -1 Thoughtseize -1 Reckoner Bankbuster
+2 Path of Peril +2 Noxious Grasp +1 Extinction Event +1 Hidetsugu Consumes All +1 Abrade
Azorius Lotus Field
-2 Go for the Throat -2 Misery’s Shadow -2 Fatal Push -1 Power Word Kill -1 Eliminate
+2 Noxious Grasp +2 Duress +2 Reckoner Bankbuster +1 Kolaghan’s Command +1 Go Blank
-2 Thoughtseize -2 Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger -1 Power Word Kill -1 Reckoner Bankbuster
+2 Hidetsugu Consumes All +1 Kolaghan’s Command +1 Abrade +1 Duress +1 Misery’s Shadow
Rakdos Midrange is unfavored against Sacrifice, but you can improve the matchup with Misery’s Shadow and Hidetsugu Consumes All.
-2 Bonecrusher Giant -2 Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger -1 Fatal Push -1 Misery’s Shadow -1 Reckoner Bankbuster
+2 Noxious Grasp +1 Duress +1 Go Blank +1 Kolaghan’s Command +1 Hidetsugu Consumes All +1 Abrade
-2 Thoughtseize -2 Misery’s Shadow -2 Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger -1 Duress -1 Reckoner Bankbuster
+2 Path of Peril +2 Hidetsugu Consumes All +2 Noxious Grasp +1 Extinction Event +1 Abrade
That’s all I have for today. Rakdos Midrange is down, but not out. The Rakdos Sacrifice deck has strengths in the mirror at the expense of most other big decks in the field. I would confidently recommend Rakdos Midrange for upcoming Pioneer events.