These days most of my Pauper brews are based around Carrion Feeder or trying to turn Tilling Treefolk into a legitimate engine. Every so often, though, I try something outside my comfort zone and am pleasantly surprised. This is one such occurrence.
It all started with this post from Jarvis Yu. Prowess decks have long been a part of Pauper but then tend to pair blue with red or white. Blue has some of the best spell payoffs in Magic and traditionally, these decks want Delver of Secrets. Death’s Shadow variants in other formats lean on black and Prowess decks are almost always red. Could this logic be applied to Pauper? I built a quick Temur Battle Rage list and jumped into the league.
A 3-2 run told me I was on to something. My second attempt corrected some glaring omissions and streamlined the deck quite a bit.
This one went 4-1 in the league and if not for missing a stop on my turn, could have gone 5-0. Here’s the most current list (with heavy input from MTGO user NotGood). The most recent build went 3-2.
Rakdos Blitz is a combo aggro deck. You win by leveraging your cheap (or free) spells and growing Kiln Fiend or Spellgorger Weird into a threat that you can then Temur Battle Rage. Gurmag Angler is fantastic here because it makes use of all those cheap spells and also is naturally Ferocious for Battle Rage. Where as other Pauper Battle Rage decks try to win in one massive swing, Rakdos Blitz can set up a win over two or three turns with ease thanks to Spellgorger Weird.
Because Spellgorger Weird gets +1/+1 counters and not a temporary buff, it turns every spell cast into more damage. It also happens to be the perfect size to be targeted by Unearth. Unearth is a huge advantage in running black over blue because it gives you more threats in the maindeck that also turn on your kill mechanism.
The best card in the deck is Faithless Looting. Looting allows you to rib through your library and find key cards while also dumping spells with Flashback or Jump-Start, or even a creature for Unearth, into the graveyard. Since you don’t need a ton of lands to win, Rakdos Carnarium can return a land to have it pitched to Looting. Looting also can stay in the bin, waiting to be flashed back on a key turn to grow your army.
Rakdos Blitz works as a deck because in the current metagame, most Pauper decks are bad at blocking. It makes sense – the format has polarized between hyper aggressive creature decks and glacially slow Tron decks. Because there are so few decks that want to play defense in a traditional sense, Rakdos Blitz has an opening to attack for the win. When blockers are played, the bevy of free spells (led by Snuff Out) can make it rather difficult to put creatures in front of your attackers.
The deck has a ton of play and I am excited to keep working on it. There are a ton of options available, including Crash Through and Rimrock Knight, that have piqued my interest. Until then, may the Red Zone be empty.