One of my favorite cards from Ravnica Allegiance is Spawn of Mayhem. The problem with this card has been finding a good home for it given the current metagame. On MTG Arena, the last event was based on Ixalan and it gave you a treasure token each turn that allowed you to play cards ahead of curve. For the event, I used an old Rakdos deck that used Spawn of Mayhem as its finisher along with Rekindling Phoenix. I quickly won six games to get all the event rewards and finished 6-2 with the deck.

This experience led me to consider whether a competitive deck can be built with Spawn of Mayhem as a payoff card that can bring a game to a quick end. The first thing to consider when building around Spawn of Mayhem is its abilities. On your turn, Spawn deals one damage to you and your opponent. Therefore, having other creatures or ways to protect your life total plays an important role in the development of the deck. The second ability of Spawn is spectacle. This ability reduces the cost of casting Spawn from four mana to three mana. This makes it possible to get Spawn into play on turn three.

The last time I tried to make Rakdos Midrange work was during Ravnica Allegiance season, so we now have two additional sets to use in the construction of our deck. Also, I want a deck that remains relevant post rotation, so using cards from the Ravnica block and Core Set 2020 makes the most sense. I found a wide variety of cards that work in the deck. After I went through the rotation proof sets, I felt that there were enough cards to put together a competitive deck centered around Spawn of Mayhem. Finding the best fits was the challenge. Here is my first take on the deck.

Rakdos Midrange

Creatures (23)
Dreadhorde Butcher
Judith, the Scourge Diva
Knight of the Ebon Legion
Rekindling Phoenix
Scorch Spitter
Spawn of Mayhem

Planeswalker (2)
Chandra, Awakened Inferno

Instant (8)
Bedevil
Lightning Strike
Electrodominance

Sorcery (5)
Light Up the Stage
Angrath’s Rampage

Land (22)
Swamp
Mountain
Blood Crypt
Dragonskull Summit
Sideboard (15)
Duress
Noxious Grasp
Fry
Lava Coil
Flame Sweep
Widespread Brutality

I played the deck on MTG Arena to mixed results. In the Best-of-One format, the deck did not perform well. I lost more that I won. The problem I ran into was consistence in the decks play out. I saw a lot of Mono-Red, Scapeshift, and Control. Against these decks bad starts led to frustrating loses because I didn’t get to play my deck most of the time.

When I started playing Best-of-Three matches the story changed. I still had some problems in game one, but my sideboard allowed me to respond well in games two and three to the challenges I faced. I won over 60% of my matches and started moving up the ranked ladder.

Game Plan




The decks game plan is to get out on turn one either Knight of the Ebon Legion or Scorch Spitter. I chose Scorch Spitter for the deck because it does one damage to your opponent when you attack with it. This makes sure that you will get spectacle on turn three.

On turn two ideally Dreadhorde Butcher enters the battlefield. This should put pressure on your opponent that will need to be addressed or these creatures will take over the game. Hopefully on turn three you can activate spectacle to get Spawn of Mayhem into play. When this has occurred, either my opponent has removal for it or the game ends quickly.

When the game gets into the mid-game, getting Chandra, Awakened Inferno into play usually is a finisher even in games where you have not done much damage to your opponent. In one game, I activated Chandra’s emblem ability four times to bring the game to a close.


The removal package worked well. Angarth’s Rampage did great work in the early game clearing the battlefield of blockers that allowed Knight of the Ebon Legion and/or Dreadhorde Butcher to attack and add counters. Bedevil eliminated large creatures and planeswalkers. Its versatility protected Spawn and Phoenix from threats and allowed them to do their work.

I think that at least a Tier 2 deck exists in Rakdos. When your opponent does not have an answer for Spawn of Mayhem or Rekindling Phoenix these cards tend to take over the game. The deck also has enough removal to deal with planeswalkers and creatures. After playing the deck, I changed the deck for Friday Night Magic and went 3-1. Below is the updated version of the deck. I think that more tweaking needs to be done to move the deck forward, but it is a competitive deck.

Rakdos Midrange, version 2.0

Creatures (25)
Dreadhorde Butcher
Judith, the Scourge Diva
Knight of the Ebon Legion
Rekindling Phoenix
Rotting Regisaur
Scorch Spitter
Spawn of Mayhem

Planeswalker (2)
Chandra, Awakened Inferno

Instant (7)
Bedevil
Lightning Strike
Electrodominance

Sorcery (4)
Light Up the Stage
Angrath’s Rampage

Land (22)
Swamp
Mountain
Blood Crypt
Dragonskull Summit
Sideboard (15)
Duress
Noxious Grasp
Fry
Lava Coil
Flame Sweep
Legion's End


I added Rotting Regisaur to the main deck to get a third large threat into the deck, because Dreadhorde Butcher has not performed as well as I want it to because it is easily taken out by removal or a chump blocker the turn it comes into play. The second addition is Legion’s End in the sideboard. The card performed well in every matchup taking out two creatures on several occasions. These cards moved the decks game plan forward and look like good additions to the deck.

The major drawback of the deck is when you have mana problems. The deck is not resilient when faced with mana problems. Most of my Best-of-Three loses occurred because of flooding or getting shorted. Even my loss on Friday occurred because of mana issues, so I feel that when the deck gets appropriate mana it is very effective at carrying out its game plan.

Until next time. Good luck finding your win condition!