This was the first week of the new Modern format, and I think some players thought it would mean the dominance of Stoneforge Mystic decks. Luckily this really wasn't the case, which should be a good sign for the Modern format moving forward. There are still lots of viable decks after the recent bans and unbannings. The deck that stood out the most to me in the SCG Dallas Open belonged to John Lim, so today I'm playing his innovative take on Rakdos Midrange.

This deck is kind of a hybrid of a few different decks in Modern, but perhaps the biggest incentive to play these two colors is the ability to maindeck Blood Moon. Blood Moon remains a super powerful card that can completely shut down certain strategies. While in these matches we didn't face off against Tron, Amulet, or Scapeshift, we did see how much work Blood Moon can do against greedy manabases. The Four-Color Control deck we played got completely shut out of a game thanks to Blood Moon.

Perhaps the easiest deck to compare Rakdos Midrange to is Jund, as they share a similar game plan and two colors. We see the same cheap disruptive package, with one-mana discard spells and Lightning Bolt plus Fatal Push for removal. Rakdos Midrange can go one step further by playing Dreadhorde Arcanist in order to recast those one-mana spells for serious card advantage.

This deck would almost certainly play Faithless Looting if it were legal, but the ban clearly didn't kill the deck. We still have Bedlam Reveler as a way to fuel our hand with gas later on in the game. We saw how clutch a timely Bedlam Reveler can be as a topdeck, but we also saw it's not a card you want in your first few turns. Seasoned Pyromancer is probably the most important card in the deck, as it serves as a way to continue to loot through your deck and stock up the graveyard for Dreadhorde Arcanist and Bedlam Reveler.

This deck plays multiple cards we don't typically see in Modern. Chandra, Acolyte of Flame can serve as a win condition and another way to replay spells from the graveyard. Pillage is a great example of a card easily overlooked in Modern. The format has so many playable cards in it, and with Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis no longer a major player we should continue to see players dig deeper to build decks. While I don't think we will be seeing a ton of Rakdos Midrange moving forward, it definitely occupies an important space in the format. A strategy that maindecks Blood Moon and still has plenty of play even in matchups where Blood Moon doesn't do anything is a big deal.

Seth Manfield

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