Challenger Series: Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch

Hey there! Welcome back for another May installment of the Challenger Series. In this article we will go over a counter oriented deck with no green, with the color combination of red black! This is a deck based upon a unique legend that I played a long long time ago and I’m real excited to revisit it! Let’s get to it.

Red Black- Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch

Exava is a black red legend all about attacking. This deck will be focused on using “bad” creatures to get in damage as quick as possible and come out for that win.

Let’s look at what Exava does!

Exava is a four mana three three with first strike, haste, and unleash. Exava also grants your other creatures with plus one plus one counters haste. There’s a lot we can do with this! We’re going to break down this article into a few parts. First, we’re going to define unleash and what it does. Then, we will look at different categories of cards, including draw and protection, and then we’ll look at the list and leave it until next week! Let’s do this.

Exava lends this deck to an aggro strategy. We want to race our opponents and hope to do enough damage to them that they die before they can kill us. It’s hard to race our opponents but with the plus one plus one counters from unleash we are more likely to do it! Let’s look at how unleash helps us as well as other parts of our deck that’ll help us win.

Unleash is a keyword that reads: “You may have this creature enter the battlefield with a plus one plus one counter on it. It can’t block as long as it has a plus one plus one counter on it.” This deck is in no way about blocking. We do not want to block in this deck so this ability is all upside! We have big creatures, out commander gives those creatures haste, and we swing in for the win! Now, let’s look at the categories of cards that’ll get us to that win.

Our first category of cards is our protection. The weird part about this deck is that we do not really have any. Our protection is in the form of pingers. Cards that tap or have some cast to deal one damage. These cards can team up to get rid of big creatures, or slowly dwindle our opponents life total until we start dropping our big things. Our goal in this is to take out our opponents before they can get to us, and if we end up needing protection, it probably can’t save us.

Next is our card draw. We have a fairly lower curve so card draw is really important. The difficult thing about card draw in this deck is that every card draw spell you add, you dilute the main aggro game plan, so our card draw is fairly minimal in Phyrexian Arena and Commander’s Sphere.

Lastly is our finishers. The creatures that come in with plus one plus one counters to swing in with hasty damage and kill our opponents. One of our best, and my favorite, is Furyborn Hellkite. A twelve twelve hasty flyer mid to late game is usually game over for someone. Cryptborn Horror can also come into play fairly huge and be the end to someone’s game that day.

Lastly, a shoutout to Living Death! When we run out of steam, or our board gets wiped, this is an easy way to come back with a lot of hasty threats and swing to win.

You’ve heard about the categories of cards, lets look at the full list and we’ll wrap up until next week!

Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch EDH









That’s it for Exava today! This was a weird deck to build and I think I want to go back to it and try to go less all in on the aggro plan, but it was a good lesson to me that not all of my ideas are good. I’d love to see others Exava decks so send them this way if you have them! Please reach out to me in the comments here or on twitter @camcole113.

Thank’s for reading! I’ve really enjoyed playing this deck, it has been a brand new experience for me and I love that I have the opportunity to talk about to you guys. My name is Cameron, and I’ll see you next week!


@camcole113 on twitter



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