Exclusive Khans of Tarkir Preview – Rakshasa Deathdealer

Khans of Tarkir is one of the most anticipated sets to be released in a long time. Since Zendikar, Magic: The Gathering has been on an upward trend, and every year I wonder if the game has reached its peak. With the inclusion of Onslaught fetchlands and other exciting Mythic Rares in KTK, we are clearly still going in one direction: up!

I am proud to present ManaDeprived.com’s Khans of Tarkir spoiler, and instead of first trying to hype you about the card, I will just let you look at it right away!

Mana Deprived_Rakshasa Deathdealer_Sept8

Rakshasa Deathdealer. What a sweet name!

I will start things off with how good I believe the card will be in the Limited environment. Rakshasa Deathdealer reminds me of many cards that I have recently played with. From M15, it most resembles [card]Ancient Silverback[/card], a resilient threat that can become an Edict effect every turn when the rest of the board is at parity, except that this card has the extremely valuable benefit of also being one of your earlier drops.

Rakshasa Deathdealer is also similar to [card]Putrid Leech[/card], [card]Darkthicket Wolf[/card], and [card]Rootwalla[/card]. It is an early threat that is essentially unblockable because in the beginning stages of a game your opponent will probably not be able to afford to engage it in the red zone. However, as opposed to those cards, you can activate Rakshasa Deathdealer’s ability multiple times making it a big-time threat even in the later stages of a game.

With all of this in mind, it is clear that Rakshasa Deathdealer will be a very good Limited card, but not one I am looking to first-pick in my first pack because of its deep colour commitment. It is a card I am interested in having in my deck if I am BG. Then again, the set seems to be encouraging players to be in three colors, so perhaps you can just safely take this card while looking to be in either Abzan (WBG) or Sultai (BUG).

When it comes to Constructed, the best possible home for this card is in Standard. In Modern, there might exist too many options at the two-drop slot for a BG mage to choose from. [card]Dark Confidant[/card], [card]Tarmogoyf[/card], [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card], and [card]Pack Rat[/card] are just some of the options available. However, the current BG-style decks right now are of the midrange variety. Aggressive brewers could certainly start tag-teaming [card]Putrid Leech[/card] with Rakshasa Deathdealer in the same deck and brew up a viable strategy.

In Standard, Hall of Famer Brian Kibler had championed a BG Aggro list almost a year ago that will become the inspiration for the first list I plan to test Rakshasa Deathdealer in. For reference, the following is a list Kibler played at both an SCG Open and a Grand Prix.

[deck title=GB Aggro – Brian Kibler]
4 Overgrown Tomb
3 Golgari Guildgate
9 Forest
8 Swamp
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Lotleth Troll
3 Scavenging Ooze
4 Boon Satyr
4 Dreg Mangler
2 Varolz, the Scar-Striped
2 Polukranos, World Eater
4 Reaper of the Wilds
[Other Spells]
4 Thoughtseize
2 Hero’s Downfall
3 Abrupt Decay
[/Other Spells]
4 Mistcutter Hydra
2 Doom Blade
1 Vraska the Unseen
1 Ultimate Price
2 Duress
2 Golgari Charm
3 Gift of Orzhova

BG has gained many tools since the initial creation of Kibler’s list. We now have access to a much stronger mana base. We also acquired new weapons in [card]Herald of Torment[/card] and [card]Nissa, Worldwaker[/card]. Thanks to multiple low-casting cost creatures rotating out, I have decided to take the deck in a more midrange direction. Here it is:

[deck title=BG Deathdealer – Kar Yung Tom]
4 Llanowar Wastes
4 Temple of Malady
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
7 Forest
7 Swamp[/Lands]
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Rakshasa Deathdealer
4 Boon Satyr
3 Herald of Torment
4 Polukranos, World Eater
4 Reaper of the Wilds
[Other Spells]
4 Thoughtseize
4 Hero’s Downfall
2 Nissa, Worldwaker
[/Other Spells]

Enjoy playing with your new Cat Demon!