For the past few years, Standard has largely been defined by powerful four and five-drop spells and haymakers.

Games were about snowballing a mana advantage, and only playing as much interaction as needed to stop the opponent from obtaining an unbeatable advantage. Cards like Heartless Act and Eliminate, some of the best spot removal we've seen in years, only saw occasional play. Countermagic fell into the same category—decks played enough to force through their own game plans, and occasionally counter the opponent's Nissa, Who Shakes the World or Fires of Invention. The only decks that could play lots of interaction were lists like Sultai, that didn't need more of an endgame than Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath.

This Standard, however, is a complete 180 now that Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath and Omnath, Locus of Creation are gone. Outside of a few dedicated mana creatures and three-mana ramp effects like Beanstalk Giant or Cultivate, games play out one mana at a time for both sides.

Interaction, on the other hand, is quite good. Blue, black, and red all have cheap and efficient ways to interact at all parts of the curve: Duress, Bloodchief's Thirst, Eliminate, Heartless Act, Essence Scatter, Negate, Swift End, etc. are all efficient ways to gain a mana advantage over the opponent, or punish the opponent's synergies by picking them apart.

It's been a long time since I've actively wanted to sleeve up a control deck and play a 20-turn game. Maybe it's ADHD, maybe it's getting old, or maybe it's just the types of cards Wizards has printed the last few years, but I don't want to draw the game out any more. I'd like to win as quickly as possible.

But y'all… Mazemind Tome is a hell of a card. Enough that I think the card could be format-defining, but we aren't building our decks around it enough yet.

Mazemind Tome does everything that a heavily interactive deck wants. It comes down early, before there's much pressure. The cost to activate its card draw ability is low enough that it's easy to cast another spell or two in the same turn you pay for it, and there's a secondary, free mode for when it's not possible. And after it's seen four cards, the Tome gains 4 life, letting Mazemind decks shrug off attacks from early creatures.

When I first started playing it in the sideboard of Rakdos Midrange during the brief Omnath, Locus of Creation era of Standard, I was so impressed with the card that I moved it to the maindeck after a few games in small numbers, wanting access to it every game and the ability to max out on them post-board. Most decks that run Mazemind Tome have been at this point, using it as a way to spend mana every turn, and then adding in more from the sideboard in drawn-out midrange or control matchups where card quantity is more important than immediate impact.

This is fine for decks with other ways to win besides pure card advantage. But in those cases, Mazemind Tome is frequently an expensive Glimmer of Genius that isn't usable until late in the game as a backup plan… and any time you play a card and don't do anything with it until several turns later, you're likely to need a backup plan.

In an ideal world we want to use our two-mana pseudo-planeswalker every turn after we play it so that we have more options, more information, and cushion our life faster. But activating Mazemind Tome early and often requires that the deck focus on inexpensive, immediately impactful spells, not a pile of three, four and five-mana spells that need to be played during your main phase.

This, however, is a strength of the card, not a weakness.

Using All Your Mana

Mana advantage is one of the most important concepts in Magic. By turn four, a player who has spent all 10 mana they've had access to is going to be a heavy favorite to win the game over an opponent who's taken turns off, or wasted a mana or two each turn. There are exceptions to be sure, like a pile of creatures into Wrath of God, but that can be accounted for both in and out of game. Generally speaking in Magic, whoever spends their mana best is going to win.

From a deck-building perspective, there are two ways to make sure that you're maximizing each of the early turns. One is preparing a curve that lets you do that, and hoping you draw a one, a two, a three, and a four-drop card. Sometimes you see an opening hand with three lands and four spells with ascending mana costs, and there's nothing more to be said. However, this is not typically the case: keepable sevens often have multiples at some point on the curve, and mana will be wasted.

The second way to ensure every mana gets spent early is simple: lower your curve. If the deck has enough one and two-mana cards, the likelihood that a deck can spend three, four, or five mana in a turn skyrockets. Instead of needing a four-drop and a five-drop, the deck can operate on combinations of cards: Duress and Essence Scatter for three, Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger and Heartless Act for four, or Bonecrusher Giant and Neutralize for five. Sure, sometimes you'll want to cast the more expensive card on a curve, but it's no longer necessary to load up on them to make sure you have a way to spend every mana turn four or five.

Where this strategy can fall short is if there isn't an easy way to win the game quickly, in which case the deck with a lower curve will run out of fuel. That's less of a problem in an aggro deck. Legion's Landing, Skymarcher Aspirant, Dauntless Bodyguard, followed by Benalish Marshal will win the game so quickly it won't matter that your hand is empty. On the other hand, Heartless Act and Essence Scatter won't win a game by themselves, no matter how frustrating they can be.

Additionally, reactive cards are inherently… reactive. If the opponent doesn't make a play, it doesn't matter that you had Fatal Push available on turn one. The mana still ends up wasted. If the answer doesn't line up with the spell that gets cast, like a creature into a Negate or a sorcery into an Eliminate, the mana is still wasted. Reactive decks need ways to ensure their mana works for them each turn.

In both of these scenarios, Mazemind Tome complements a low-curve, reactive strategy as much as those inexpensive spells complement the Tome. And as I've played these decks more, I've continued to lower the curve further because they all synergize so well.

You Should Maindeck Duress

While I was theorycrafting about Mazemind Tome, I came to a separate conclusion: Duress is currently one of the most underappreciated cards in Standard. You don't just want these in your sideboard these days, they're full fledged maindeck cards.

Take a look at the top decks in Standard right now.

The Great Henge. Genesis Ultimatum. Elspeth Conquers Death. Embercleave. Every deck has a big, high-priority noncreature spell, and most have several. Using one mana to keep any of these cards from affecting the game is a steal.

Beyond that, there are the modal double-faced cards:

Every deck is playing drastically fewer actual lands than normal thanks to these cards. There's a reason that Thoughtseize, Duress, Distress and the like always specify "nonland" in their text: in some games, a Duress that takes a land is game over on turn one. When I first played a version of Dimir Control on stream a few weeks back, it was both hilariously funny and incredibly novel to Duress the only remaining land from an opponent's hand on turn two. Now? It's happened enough that I just shake my head that they would keep a land-light hand that loses to discard. How silly of them, thinking their lands were safe!

Dimir Control, Tome-Style

The version of Dimir I've been playing is substantially different from the ones I've seen from everybody else. Ugin, the Spirit Dragon has felt too slow. Cards like Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths are cute, but clunky—and more importantly, sorcery-speed. Countermagic is very powerful, and I'm not inclined to tap out for a four-mana Rogue Refiner if I can help it. And while I love a Yorion, Sky Nomad, the card works better in other shells that build an engine, not in a deck that wants to deny the opponent resources and win with Shark Typhoon, Crawling Barrens, or Ashiok, Nightmare Muse.

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Dimir Control by Nick Prince

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

Created By: Nick Prince

Event:

Rank:

Standard

Market Price: $166.59

Cards

Essence Scatter

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212042_200w.jpg

Counter target creature spell.

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Mystical Dispute

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.92

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198683_200w.jpg

This spell costs {2} less to cast if it targets a blue spell.
Counter target spell unless its controller pays {3}.

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Duress

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/248314_200w.jpg

Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a noncreature, nonland card from it. That player discards that card.

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Temple of Deceit

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.48

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/248800_200w.jpg

Temple of Deceit enters the battlefield tapped.
When Temple of Deceit enters the battlefield, scry 1.
{T}: Add {U} or {B}.

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Sea Gate Restoration

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $11.50

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222038_200w.jpg

Draw cards equal to the number of cards in your hand plus one. You have no maximum hand size for the rest of the game.

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Skyclave Shade

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222127_200w.jpg

Kicker {2}{B}
Skyclave Shade can't block.
If Skyclave Shade was kicked, it enters the battlefield with two +1/+1 counters on it.
Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, if Skyclave Shade is in your graveyard and it's your turn, you may cast it from your graveyard this turn.

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Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215721_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

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Negate

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222130_200w.jpg

Counter target noncreature spell.

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Shark Typhoon

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $11.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212133_200w.jpg

Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, create an X/X blue Shark creature token with flying, where X is that spell's mana value.
Cycling {X}{1}{U} ({X}{1}{U}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)
When you cycle Shark Typhoon, create an X/X blue Shark creature token with flying.

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Extinction Event

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.67

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212261_200w.jpg

Choose odd or even. Exile each creature with mana value of the chosen quality. (Zero is even.)

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Bloodchief's Thirst

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221776_200w.jpg

Kicker {2}{B} (You may pay an additional {2}{B} as you cast this spell.)
Destroy target creature or planeswalker with mana value 2 or less. If this spell was kicked, instead destroy target creature or planeswalker.

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Hagra Mauling

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.75

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222096_200w.jpg

This spell costs {1} less to cast if an opponent controls no basic lands.
Destroy target creature.

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Rain of Revelation

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215514_200w.jpg

Draw three cards, then discard a card.

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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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Neutralize

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212117_200w.jpg

Counter target spell.
Cycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Crawling Barrens

Market Price: $0.31

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221959_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{4}: Put two +1/+1 counters on Crawling Barrens. Then you may have it become a 0/0 Elemental creature until end of turn. It's still a land.

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Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215718_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

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Rewind

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.27

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215472_200w.jpg

Counter target spell. Untap up to four lands.

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Heartless Act

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212369_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Destroy target creature with no counters on it.
• Remove up to three counters from target creature.

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Pelakka Predation

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221852_200w.jpg

Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a card from it with mana value 3 or greater. That player discards that card.

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Cling to Dust

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206655_200w.jpg

Exile target card from a graveyard. If it was a creature card, you gain 3 life. Otherwise, you draw a card.
Escape—{3}{B}, Exile five other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)

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Jwari Disruption

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222101_200w.jpg

Counter target spell unless its controller pays {1}.

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Ashiok, Nightmare Muse

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $3.51

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206007_200w.jpg

+1: Create a 2/3 blue and black Nightmare creature token with "Whenever this creature attacks or blocks, each opponent exiles the top two cards of their library."
−3: Return target nonland permanent to its owner's hand, then that player exiles a card from their hand.
−7: You may cast up to three spells from among face-up cards your opponents own from exile without paying their mana costs.

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Brazen Borrower // Petty Theft

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $20.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199387_200w.jpg

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Eliminate

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215516_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature or planeswalker with mana value 3 or less.

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Clearwater Pathway

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $5.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221830_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {U}.

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Castle Vantress

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $2.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199284_200w.jpg

Castle Vantress enters the battlefield tapped unless you control an Island.
{T}: Add {U}.
{2}{U}{U}, {T}: Scry 2.

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Castle Locthwain

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.98

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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Elspeth's Nightmare

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/207053_200w.jpg

(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I — Destroy target creature an opponent controls with power 2 or less.
II — Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a noncreature, nonland card from it. That player discards that card.
III — Exile target opponent's graveyard.

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Zagoth Triome

Color Identity:B,G,U

Market Price: $11.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212691_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}, {G}, or {U}.)
Zagoth Triome enters the battlefield tapped.
Cycling {3} ({3}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Mazemind Tome

Market Price: $0.57

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215519_200w.jpg

{T}, Put a page counter on Mazemind Tome: Scry 1.
{2}, {T}, Put a page counter on Mazemind Tome: Draw a card.
When there are four or more page counters on Mazemind Tome, exile it. If you do, you gain 4 life.

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Instead of casting medium midrange creatures, you counter their plays. On turn four or five, deploy Mazemind Tome with countermagic up. As soon as they stop playing anything, draw cards, and win from there. Rewind in particular has been impressive with all the instant-speed plays, letting the deck counter Feasting Troll King, kill Lovestruck Beast, and still draw a card off Mazemind Tome.

I'm surprised I haven't seen more Rain of Revelation elsewhere. It pairs well with countermagic, especially Rewind, but also acts as a tool to refuel in the midgame. If I felt I could play a second one, I would in a heartbeat. I almost always want to see one eventually, but drawing two is never necessary. Overall, I'm left in a tough spot where I'd like a second one, but not enough to actually cut something for it.

Assuming I play any SCG Satellite events this weekend, I'm most likely to register this.

Rakdos Midrange, Tome-Style

I've spent most of my time jamming games with Dimir, but Mazemind works with cheap spells and Duress, not just blue cards. And if Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath taught us anything, it's that cheap spells fuel escape all on their own.

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Rakdos Midrange by Nick Prince

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

Created By: Nick Prince

Event:

Rank:

Standard

Market Price: $158.14

Cards

Eliminate

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215516_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature or planeswalker with mana value 3 or less.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/215516/magic-core-set-2021-eliminate

Liliana, Waker of the Dead

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.69

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215353_200w.jpg

+1: Each player discards a card. Each opponent who can't loses 3 life.
−3: Target creature gets -X/-X until end of turn, where X is the number of cards in your graveyard.
−7: You get an emblem with "At the beginning of combat on your turn, put target creature card from a graveyard onto the battlefield under your control. It gains haste."

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Rankle, Master of Pranks

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.84

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198584_200w.jpg

Flying, haste
Whenever Rankle, Master of Pranks deals combat damage to a player, choose any number —
• Each player discards a card.
• Each player loses 1 life and draws a card.
• Each player sacrifices a creature.

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Murderous Rider // Swift End

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.33

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198749_200w.jpg

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Mire Triton

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215956_200w.jpg

Deathtouch
When Mire Triton enters the battlefield, mill two cards and you gain 2 life.

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Fabled Passage

Market Price: $4.61

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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Temple of Malice

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $0.33

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/254440_200w.jpg

Temple of Malice enters the battlefield tapped.
When Temple of Malice enters the battlefield, scry 1.
{T}: Add {B} or {R}.

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Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $20.80

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206855_200w.jpg

When Kroxa enters the battlefield, sacrifice it unless it escaped.
Whenever Kroxa enters the battlefield or attacks, each opponent discards a card, then each opponent who didn't discard a nonland card this way loses 3 life.
Escape—{B}{B}{R}{R}, Exile five other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)

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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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Mountain

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215722_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}.)

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Extinction Event

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.67

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212261_200w.jpg

Choose odd or even. Exile each creature with mana value of the chosen quality. (Zero is even.)

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Heartless Act

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212369_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Destroy target creature with no counters on it.
• Remove up to three counters from target creature.

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Spikefield Hazard

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221957_200w.jpg

Spikefield Hazard deals 1 damage to any target. If a permanent dealt damage this way would die this turn, exile it instead.

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Hagra Mauling

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.75

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222096_200w.jpg

This spell costs {1} less to cast if an opponent controls no basic lands.
Destroy target creature.

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Bonecrusher Giant // Stomp

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $1.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199035_200w.jpg

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Tymaret Calls the Dead

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206625_200w.jpg

(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I, II — Mill three cards. Then you may exile a creature or enchantment card from your graveyard. If you do, create a 2/2 black Zombie creature token.
III — You gain X life and scry X, where X is the number of Zombies you control.

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Soul-Guide Lantern

Market Price: $2.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206867_200w.jpg

When Soul-Guide Lantern enters the battlefield, exile target card from a graveyard.
{T}, Sacrifice Soul-Guide Lantern: Exile each opponent's graveyard.
{1}, {T}, Sacrifice Soul-Guide Lantern: Draw a card.

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Mazemind Tome

Market Price: $0.57

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215519_200w.jpg

{T}, Put a page counter on Mazemind Tome: Scry 1.
{2}, {T}, Put a page counter on Mazemind Tome: Draw a card.
When there are four or more page counters on Mazemind Tome, exile it. If you do, you gain 4 life.

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Bloodchief's Thirst

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221776_200w.jpg

Kicker {2}{B} (You may pay an additional {2}{B} as you cast this spell.)
Destroy target creature or planeswalker with mana value 2 or less. If this spell was kicked, instead destroy target creature or planeswalker.

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Shatterskull Smashing

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $3.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222030_200w.jpg

Shatterskull Smashing deals X damage divided as you choose among up to two target creatures and/or planeswalkers. If X is 6 or more, Shatterskull Smashing deals twice X damage divided as you choose among them instead.

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Castle Locthwain

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.98

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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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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Duress

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/248314_200w.jpg

Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a noncreature, nonland card from it. That player discards that card.

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Skyclave Shade

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222127_200w.jpg

Kicker {2}{B}
Skyclave Shade can't block.
If Skyclave Shade was kicked, it enters the battlefield with two +1/+1 counters on it.
Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, if Skyclave Shade is in your graveyard and it's your turn, you may cast it from your graveyard this turn.

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Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215721_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

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Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger strategies have fallen out of favor for the most part, but I'm not convinced that this is a problem with the strategy so much as the way these decks are built. Discard is currently quite strong, Kroxa is huge, hard removal does wonders, and the ability to sideboard Extinction Event against Obosh, the Preypiercer and Mono-Green Food should do very well. Unlike Dimir, this deck can close the door quickly with Kroxa, meaning that it doesn't need to control the game forever, just for long enough.

All of this adds up to a scenario where I imagine Rakdos should have a comeback at some point, it just hasn't happened yet. Perhaps I'm missing a key piece, or maybe I just haven't spent as much time refining the strategy because the Dimir deck has been more fun. If you're so inclined, though, this deck is quite capable of winning. I've had success with the Gruul matchup, and Rogues continues to be a bye. Yorion seems to be disappearing currently, so there's a chance this will end up playable. The list above is what I've tried most recently, and I enjoyed playing it.

More Tips for Brewing with the Book

Specific examples aside, though, the goal of these decks is to play cards that trade with the opponent at low costs. Opt, for example, does not trade with anything. It fills the graveyard, finds answers, and sifts through your deck, but it does nothing to affect the opponent. Mazemind Tome will pull you ahead on cards and recover life, but the cards it finds need to answer what your opponent's doing, not just spin your wheels.

The Dimir deck plays 23 spells that cost two or less mana, though some will, frequently, be land drops. Six of them cost one mana, although if I could get away with more I would. Bloodchief's Thirst is excellent, but also not well positioned at the moment. There just aren't a ton of cheap creatures running around. Killing Edgewall Innkeeper is still very appreciated, but I'm hard-pressed to play more than two Bloodchief's Thirst when I have to kill Lovestruck Beast every other game.

Regardless, I would not want to play many more expensive cards. Shark Typhoon is a sort of perfect finisher, as either the expensive Shark mode or unanswerable enchantment is unbeatable, depending on what the opponent is playing. The two copies of Ashiok, Nightmare Muse are a necessary inclusion for the color combination: there is no other answer to some cards once they enter play. That they can also win the game quickly is a secondary benefit; I would be happy to win with just Shark Typhoon or Crawling Barrens.

Other combinations are possible. I would like to spend time trying to figure out if Orzhov or Azorius has enough cards to work, though I suspect the answer is no. The biggest concern I have is that, as far as cheap spells go, white doesn't provide much outside of Skyclave Apparition. These sorts of ideas might have to be shelved—at least until Kaldheim and future sets.