New set, new cards, relatively new format. What more could you ask for?

Jumpstart was released last week in paper and on MTG Arena. A Limited event is currently going on for the new set, but I was most excited about the new cards for Historic and how they would impact the format. With hundreds of new cards in Historic, it's a little overwhelming. Craterhoof Behemoth, Muxus, Goblin Grandee, Kor Spiritdancer... where do you possibly begin?

With Rakdos Sacrifice, of course.

Rakdos Sacrifice was already a powerful strategy in general, however it was greatly hindered in Historic by Nexus of Fate decks. Not only did Nexus of Fate get the ban-hammer, but Jumpstart injected many powerful cards into the archetype to make the deck thrive. 

Blood Artist wasn't the first card that caught my eye for Rakdos Sacrifice, but it slots perfectly into the deck. It's not a very good blocker, but when your deck is based around shoving cats into ovens, the extra damage goes a long way—especially in grindy matchups.

As early as turn two, you can turn your Cauldron Familiar/Witch's Oven combo into an extra damage per turn. When you pair this with Priest of Forgotten Gods activations and Mayhem Devil triggers, the damage output becomes significant. On top of that, Blood Artist triggers off of your opponent's creatures dying AND gains you some life back. This card is a slam dunk in Rakdos Sacrifice, and can definitely propel the archetype into a tier 1 strategy.

Yes, you read that correctly. Naturally, during Jumpstart spoilers I assumed that Phyrexian Tower was one of the cards that wasn't going to make it onto MTGA, like Lightning Bolt or Reanimate. You can imagine my utter shock and awe when I realized this powerful card was actually printed into Historic.

Phyrexian Tower might be the single most powerful card printed into the format in Jumpstart. For starters, sacrifice is a powerful mechanic—it's literally in the deck's name! Along with that, it is a powerful mechanic that doesn't have any restrictions—it is a free activation that gives you mana advantage. I've played various sacrifice decks in Standard for a handful of months now, and in each version having an active sacrifice source in play is one of the most important things in every single matchup. 

So what are some broken things Phyrexian Tower can enable? For starters, you can play one of your three-drops on turn two. Mayhem Devil and Woe Strider are both impactful creatures in the deck on turn three, so imagine their strength a whole turn earlier. Another powerful thing you can do is turn one mopey creature such as a Goat token into two better creatures like Serrated Scorpion and Gutterbones. If you have a Priest of Forgotten Gods in play you can then sacrifice those creatures to Priest and produce two more mana after drawing a card. Alternatively, you can change the creature into a Blood Artist of a Priest of Forgotten Gods. You can even steal their creature with Claim the Firstborn then turn their creature into more mana!

Grim Lavamancer is less flashy than the other two cards, but it's a great reprint into Historic and has the potential to really impact the format. Rakdos Sacrifice isn't afraid to put some cards into the graveyard, so being able to utilize those extra cards with a repeatable removal effect is relevant in many matchups: aggro, the mirror, even control to shoot down some planeswalkers! Grim Lavamancer does it all, and I wouldn't be surprised if the card continues to gain popularity in Historic. 

The Decklist

This is my initial starting point with Rakdos Sacrifice. It's an aggressive build that tries to kill the opponent as early as possible, but has some ways to thrive in the late game with recursion cards like Gutterbones, Woe Strider and Cauldron Familiar. This makes the deck less susceptible to board wipes and other spot removal than some other builds of Rakdos Sacrifice.

Rakdos Sacrifice is a little weak to Temur Reclamation, which is picking up popularity in Historic, which is why I have favored a more aggressive build of this deck. If you want to get even more aggressive, you can add some extra Dreadhorde Butcher in place of Claim the Firstborn or Woe Strider

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Rakdos Sacrifice by Ally Warfield

'Rakdos Sacrifice' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Ally Warfield

Event:

Rank:

Historic

Market Price: $193.88

Cards

Priest of Forgotten Gods

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.71

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/183311_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice two other creatures: Any number of target players each lose 2 life and sacrifice a creature. You add {B}{B} and draw a card.

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Dreadhorde Butcher

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $0.77

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/187230_200w.jpg

Haste
Whenever Dreadhorde Butcher deals combat damage to a player or planeswalker, put a +1/+1 counter on Dreadhorde Butcher.
When Dreadhorde Butcher dies, it deals damage equal to its power to any target.

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Dragonskull Summit

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $5.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/142035_200w.jpg

Dragonskull Summit enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a Swamp or a Mountain.
{T}: Add {B} or {R}.

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Mayhem Devil

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $1.74

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/188173_200w.jpg

Whenever a player sacrifices a permanent, Mayhem Devil deals 1 damage to any target.

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Castle Locthwain

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $4.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199388_200w.jpg

Castle Locthwain enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a Swamp.
{T}: Add {B}.
{1}{B}{B}, {T}: Draw a card, then you lose life equal to the number of cards in your hand.

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Phyrexian Tower

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $17.90

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216140_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{T}, Sacrifice a creature: Add {B}{B}.

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Mountain

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/196580_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}.)

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Pharika's Libation

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/207154_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Target opponent sacrifices a creature.
• Target opponent sacrifices an enchantment.

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Woe Strider

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.47

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206627_200w.jpg

When Woe Strider enters the battlefield, create a 0/1 white Goat creature token.
Sacrifice another creature: Scry 1.
Escape—{3}{B}{B}, Exile four other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)
Woe Strider escapes with two +1/+1 counters on it.

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Claim the Firstborn

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198858_200w.jpg

Gain control of target creature with mana value 3 or less until end of turn. Untap that creature. It gains haste until end of turn.

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Cauldron Familiar

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.64

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215972_200w.jpg

When Cauldron Familiar enters the battlefield, each opponent loses 1 life and you gain 1 life.
Sacrifice a Food: Return Cauldron Familiar from your graveyard to the battlefield.

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Embereth Shieldbreaker // Battle Display

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198550_200w.jpg

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Serrated Scorpion

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212757_200w.jpg

When Serrated Scorpion dies, it deals 2 damage to each opponent and you gain 2 life.

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Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/196476_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

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Act of Treason

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216592_200w.jpg

Gain control of target creature until end of turn. Untap that creature. It gains haste until end of turn. (It can attack and {T} this turn.)

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Tormod's Crypt

Market Price: $0.34

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215346_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Tormod's Crypt: Exile target player's graveyard.

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Gutterbones

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.84

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/183034_200w.jpg

Gutterbones enters the battlefield tapped.
{1}{B}: Return Gutterbones from your graveyard to your hand. Activate only during your turn and only if an opponent lost life this turn.

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Rotting Regisaur

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.69

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192593_200w.jpg

At the beginning of your upkeep, discard a card.

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Village Rites

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230172_200w.jpg

As an additional cost to cast this spell, sacrifice a creature.
Draw two cards.

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Witch's Oven

Market Price: $0.67

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198898_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice a creature: Create a Food token. If the sacrificed creature's toughness was 4 or greater, create two Food tokens instead. (They're artifacts with "{2}, {T}, Sacrifice this artifact: You gain 3 life.")

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Blood Crypt

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $14.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/182838_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B} or {R}.)
As Blood Crypt enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Fabled Passage

Market Price: $4.58

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215556_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Fabled Passage: Search your library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle. Then if you control four or more lands, untap that land.

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Grim Lavamancer

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.52

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218253_200w.jpg

{R}, {T}, Exile two cards from your graveyard: Grim Lavamancer deals 2 damage to any target.

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Agonizing Remorse

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/207044_200w.jpg

Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from it or a card from their graveyard. Exile that card. You lose 1 life.

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Call of the Death-Dweller

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212180_200w.jpg

Return up to two target creature cards with total mana value 3 or less from your graveyard to the battlefield. Put a deathtouch counter on either of them. Then put a menace counter on either of them.

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Blood Artist

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/254182_200w.jpg

Whenever Blood Artist or another creature dies, target player loses 1 life and you gain 1 life.

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Gameplay

If you have played any Rakdos Sacrifice in Standard, you'll find the game play of the Historic deck to be very similar. I've already mentioned the appeal and tricks with Blood Artist and Phyrexian Tower, which are some of the biggest differences in gameplay. If you are not familiar with this archetype, here are some tips and tricks to playing Rakdos Sacrifice in Historic:

Sideboard Guide

Vs. The Mirror

Vs. Temur Reclamation

Vs. Goblins

Vs. Field of the Dead

Field of the Dead has decreased in popularity since day one of Jumpstart because of the poor matchup with aggressive decks and Temur Reclamation. If you specifically want to beat this deck you should consider Virulent Plague in the sideboard.

Vs. Azorius Control

* * *

Is Rakdos Sacrifice the future in Historic? Absolutely. The sheer power of the new Jumpstart cards has propelled an already successful archetype into a tier 1 strategy. Doubling your Cauldron Familiar damage output with Blood Artist or playing your powerful three-drops on turn two has made Rakdos Sacrifice a deck that can compete at the highest ranks of Mythic on Arena. Get out and grab your Jumpstart cards while you can, Rakdos Sacrifice is here to make its mark on Historic.