Set 4 gave Rakano a ton of viable cards, so many that I think there are a several distinct versions of good Rakano decks waiting to be discovered. The first version I’ve explored is focused on ramp with some powerful top end threats in addition to repeatable power sinks. I will go over all the new card choices and some of the key synergies.
1 Finest Hour (Set1 #130)
2 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
4 Bulletshaper (Set4 #244)
4 Champion of Glory (Set1 #314)
4 Ironfist Chancellor (Set4 #108)
3 Vanquish (Set1 #143)
2 Vanquisher’s Blade (Set4 #112)
3 Copperhall Bracers (Set4 #115)
4 Ixtun Merchant (Set4 #21)
3 Privilege of Rank (Set1 #157)
4 Valkyrie Enforcer (Set1 #151)
1 Auric Runehammer (Set1 #166)
4 Sheriff Marley (Set4 #131)
4 Amilli, Cloudmarshal (Set3 #136)
3 Icaria, the Liberator (Set1 #329)
4 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
3 Granite Waystone (Set3 #1)
7 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
4 Crest of Glory (Set4 #243)
3 Rakano Banner (Set1 #427)
4 Seat of Glory (Set0 #56)
1 Bore (Set1003 #1)
1 Crimson Firemaw (Set1002 #3)
1 Deepforged Plate (Set1 #317)
1 Icaria, the Liberator (Set1 #329)
1 Rakano Banner (Set1 #427)
Unlike most ramp decks, this deck plays to the board quickly and often appears like an aggressive midrange deck. The ramp cards, Bulletshaper and Copperhall Bracers, don’t force you to take a turn off to get ahead on power.
Copperhall Bracers was the first set 4 card that really made me want to build a new Rakano deck, although I’m sure most players don’t value it as highly as I do. To get the best effectiveness from the Bracers, I wanted a lot of 2 drops to capitalize any time my opponent missed a beat. Even if they answer my unit the turn after I hit them, the Bracers still gave me 4 damage and a free sigil directly into play. Since Bracers is a 4/0 weapon, some battle skills go very well with it: quickdraw, flying, lifesteal, berserk, double damage, overwhelm, and unblockable are best. This deck doesn’t have all those, but Champion of Glory is an ideal early wielder of the Bracers.
Bulletshaper enables some truly broken draws. The most notable is turn 3 discard Privilege of rank and play Amilli, Cloud Marshall. There are other spells to discard for the same explosive start, but that is card disadvantage and a bit risky. Against removal heavy decks it is better to use the Bulletshaper activation for a fast Icaria, the Liberator.
Ixtun Merchant is one of the better merchants, at least in terms of the body. The card to trade in is free sometimes thanks to Granite Waystone; easy card advantage. Its pretty important to play one power in the market since we have some expensive cards. The other options are a threat to curve out with (Crimson Firemaw), a top end threat (Icaria, the Liberator), and two powerful situational cards (Bore and Deepforged Plate). An alternative market card that might work well is Jawbone Greatsword.
Sheriff Marley is a fine card as just a 4/4 aegis for 4, which really helps beat most control opponents. When the tribute is active and it silences something, it is on par with Valkyrie Enforcer, one of the best cards in the game. When I first started playing Marley, I thought that is where most of its strength was, but the tribute effect is actually a bit rare to activate. However, paying 3 to draw a 1/1 aegis commonly comes up, and has won me plenty of games. Similar to the Bracers, you have to sum up all its effects to see that it is worthwhile.
Vanquishers Blade provides additional copies of Vanquish without getting stuck in hand when the opponent doesn’t play large units. The voidbound text is nice upside, especially when Dawnwalker is so popular.
Ironfist Chancellor is a high variance card. It can be a lowly 2/2, an above rate 4/4, or a powerful late game engine. The sweetest combo is to equip the Chancellor with Copperhall Bracers, then activate the Chancellor and pay the spellcraft on Bracers to get a high attack unit and invulnerable attackers every turn for 6 power. A more rare combo is Chancellor with Vanquisher’s Blade at 8 power to mow down all the opponent’s big units. If you are looking for budget replacements, Rakano Outlaw tends to do better in the early game, although it isn’t nearly as sweet.
Rakano ramp is definitely a contender in the set 4 metagame. I’ve really enjoyed the unique games it often provides, and I hope you enjoy it as well.
If you would like to see this deck in action, you can check out the recorded Market Masters tournament, it is featured at 43:30 and 1:53:00.
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