oday we continue our trip around North America as we have been looking into various deck lists from the 2012's. Rakdos might be a guild in Ravnica, but Red/Black aggro decks have always existed in one form or another. Prior to Return to Ravnica, the deck took the form of a Zombie tribal deck that could finish with Brimstone Volley or Falkenrath Aristocrat. Because of that, as Return to Ravnica was released, people immediately looked for improvements to the existing strategy. RJ Perry decided that there were other ways to take advantage of the reckless guild though, as he showed up with his own take on the archetype in Maine.
RJ did not want to be held back by the mana requirements on Geralf's Messenger. As a result, many of the Zombie synergies, like Gravecrawler, simply lost their appeal. in fact, RJ moved away from Black as the cornerstone color of the deck and instead relies heavily on Red. Cards like Stonewright become playable in a list where every land produced Red mana. Ash Zealot is a new addition to the deck, and it happens to be a great soulbond partner for the Stonewright, but the Zealot isn't the only new addition to the crew.
Both Rakdos Cackler and Rakdos Shred-Freak can be found in play by turn two if RJ has his way about it. While I am not sure on the long term viability of the Shred-Freak in Standard, RJ was confident enough in the 2/1 haste to include a full play set of the hybrid card. Falkenrath Aristocrat is still ending games in here just as she did in Zombies, except now there are actually some humans to fuel the bloodthirsty nature of the vampire. And any opponent cannot rest easy when at low life, as a Brimstone Volley or Thunderous Wrath off the top can just end the game for an unsuspecting opponent.
RJ Perry - Rakdos Aggro
2012 States - Maine - Colorado Standard