MTG Modern Rakdos Evoke Deck Guide

How to Grief your opponent and send them into a Fury.

Rakdos Evoke exploded back onto the Modern scene in the last months after a long time as a known and dismissed archetype. Despite almost no new improvements, Rakdos has found a niche in the Modern metagame where it can succeed as the format slowly shifts away from the decks that kept it out of the limelight.

The Best Rakdos Evoke Decklist


Rakdos Midrange

Market Price:$726.38

Maindeck, 60 cards

Sortsort deckCreature (21)

  • 4Dauthi Voidwalker
  • 4Fury
  • 4Grief
  • 2Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger
  • 4Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer
  • 3Seasoned Pyromancer

Planeswalker (1)

  • 1Liliana of the Veil

Sorcery (5)

  • 1Agadeem’s Awakening
  • 1Night’s Whisper
  • 3Thoughtseize

Instant (13)

  • 2Feign Death
  • 1Kolaghan’s Command
  • 2Lightning Bolt
  • 2Malakir Rebirth
  • 3Terminate
  • 1Undying Evil
  • 2Undying Malice

Enchantment (2)

  • 2Blood Moon

Land (18)

  • 4Blackcleave Cliffs
  • 2Blood Crypt
  • 4Bloodstained Mire
  • 1Mountain
  • 1Polluted Delta
  • 1Prismatic Vista
  • 1Shizo, Death’s Storehouse
  • 3Swamp
  • 1Verdant Catacombs

Sideboard (15)

  • 1Abrade
  • 2Collective Brutality
  • 2Engineered Explosives
  • 2Fatal Push
  • 1Hidetsugu Consumes All
  • 1Magus of the Moon
  • 2Necromentia
  • 2Tourach, Dread Cantor
  • 2Unlicensed Hearse

Core Cards


Market Price: $21.04

Feign Death

Rakdos Evoke wouldn’t exist without its namesake interaction: evoking one of the Incarnations from Modern Horizons 2, then casting Feign Death or a similar effect targeting that card with the sacrifice trigger on the stack. You get a free creature and two of the Incarnation’s enters-the-battlefield triggers, putting you massively ahead on tempo and clearing out a bunch of your opponent’s resources.

The Rakdos Incarnations are the reason this list has survived while evoke lists using Ephemerate and Solitude have not. Grief is the best Incarnation to flip with this trick, obliterating your opponent’s hand on turn one.

The upside of Fury over Solitude is less obvious. Why wouldn’t you want Ephemerate in your deck? There are two reasons: pressure and card colors.

Solitude and Grief play two very different games. Grief cuts off your opponent’s resources in the short term, allowing you to end the game before they recover. Solitude gives your opponent life and is better when you wait to cast it until your opponent commits to an important creature. Solitude also makes you want to play a bunch of white cards, and the good white cards are all defensive.

Fury is a big double strike creature, and the red cards are proactive. Save the Ephemerate stuff for Four-Color Yorion or Azorius Blink.

You may notice most Rakdos lists are light on Undying Evil despite it being the only Feign Death variant that returns the creature to the battlefield untapped. That is because Undying Evil won’t work on a creature that has already been through a Feign Death and has a +1/+1 counter. These effects are already restrictive enough, there’s no need to make extra copies of Undying Evil into dead cards.

Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer

Market Price: $40.07

Dauthi Voidwalker

Market Price: $11.99

Blood Moon

Once you have built your deck around the explosive evoke starts, the next question to ask is how you win the games when that doesn’t happen. The answer is other high-impact plays that can win a game by themselves. You want cards that don’t care if the rest of your hand is a bunch of Feign Death, like Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, Dauthi Voidwalker, and Blood Moon.

Blood Moon and Ragavan need no introduction here. The cast ability on Dauthi Voidwalker is what sets it apart, allowing it to crush opponents relying on the graveyard. Dauthi Voidwalker is also another great way to leverage spare copies of Feign Death, letting you keep and grow the Voidwalker while casting the best thing your opponent has to offer.

Seasoned Pyromancer

Double Masters 2022, Mythic

Seasoned Pyromancer - Double Masters 2022 - magic

Seasoned Pyromancer is a different answer to the same problem, letting you cycle away all your mismatched copies of Feign Death for value. Some lists have turned to Fable of the Mirror-Breaker for a similar effect, but I have found Seasoned Pyromancer to be a better card.

The dream of Fable of the Mirror-Breaker with an Incarnation is mostly winning games where you aren’t facing pressure or interaction. I would rather have the card that makes more creatures immediately, or a Mulldrifter in empty-handed scrappy games.

Flex Slots and Alternative

Lightning Bolt

When filling out the removal suite, Rakdos Evoke wants cards that complement Fury. Terminate cleans up things that Fury doesn’t, like Murktide Regent. Lighting Bolt is still a fine card, but the old lists that loaded up on Lightning Bolt were vulnerable to bigger threats.

Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger
Kolaghan's Command

The other reason to play Terminate is you want Rakdos cards that pitch to either Incarnation. Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger offers a good late game topdeck that does that and is yet another good thing to target with Feign Death.

Kolaghan’s Command has text and colors, and that can be said about most of the other flex slots. Liliana of the Veil, Kolaghan’s Command, and Night’s Whisper are all functional cards across the board, have a high upside in specific matchups, and most importantly get pitched to Grief or Fury half the time you draw them.

The reason they feel like staples every Rakdos list plays is because changing them doesn’t matter enough for people to care. Play any card you want in those slots that fits the same criteria: always fine, sometimes great, and is black or red.

When to Play Rakdos Evoke

Rakdos Evoke’s metagame position is defined by its high-impact plays and lock pieces. Feign Death on Grief is going to be good against everyone, but you want another great play to make more of your hands work. You do have quite the spread, and it’s hard for Blood Moon, Fury, Dauthi Voidwalker, and graveyard action Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger or Seasoned Pyromancer to all be unexciting against an opponent.

I did say hard, not impossible. The really bad metagame positions for Rakdos Evoke come when none of those swingy plays are good and when your opponent is resilient to Grief with a combination of card draw and their own high-impact topdecks.

I also want to highlight Rakdos Evoke as an equivalent deck to Legacy Mono-Red Prison or Vintage Stax for players of those formats looking for Modern decks to play. The same mix of lockouts and explosive proactive starts defines all of these decks, you are just playing Feign Death instead of Mishra’s Workshop or Ancient Tomb.

How to Play Rakdos Evoke

Keep hands that do things.

It’s easy to draw up hands that are heavy on interaction and don’t actually do anything powerful. Rakdos Evoke does want card density to power its best draws, but it’s also built with the idea you might be down a card due to drawing something blank. A mulligan to six is way better than keeping a hand that is all copies of Terminate and Feign Death with no plan.

The bar isn’t even that high, it doesn’t have to be Grief with Feign Death every game. Dauthi Voidwalker and a Fury is a plan. Blood Moon and threats you can cast is a plan. Your starting point should be that your hand does something scary against a good chunk of the format.


Market Price: $21.04


Always stack your Incarnation triggers so the value trigger resolves before the evoke trigger. This is especially important when using Grief with Feign Death, since stacking the triggers that way lets the discard resolve with Grief still on the battlefield. This gives you a window to cast Feign Death after taking away their removal spell that could break up the combo.

Once you hit turn three, you should be thinking about casting your Incarnations by spending mana. One of the great parts about Rakdos Evoke is you exit your scary early game into a mid-game where your Incarnations are all still two-for-one threats. You would prefer to win games the unfair way, but Rakdos Evoke is also a functional midrange deck. Casting an Incarnation is also one of the better uses of Treasure tokens from Ragavan.

Feign Death

Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, Common

Feign Death - Adventures in the Forgotten Realms - magic

On the same note of transitioning to fair play as the game continues, Feign Death is a functional card when you aren’t pairing it with evoke. After that early window, look for chances to leave Feign Death up as protection for a threat. Or just cast it as a combat trick and get your creature back from a trade bigger and better than before.

Blood Moon

Prioritize fetching copies of basic Swamp so you can still play the game under Blood Moon. This is a lower priority than casting a Seasoned Pyromancer you have already drawn, but a higher priority than planning ahead for your second red source for a Seasoned Pyromancer you haven’t drawn.


Market Price: $21.04

Dauthi Voidwalker

Market Price: $11.99

This isn’t a sure thing, but given a close race it is usually in Rakdos’s favor to push damage over playing defense. You don’t have a ton of burn, but menace on Grief and shadow on Dauthi Voidwalker make it easy for you to pull back a bit at the end of the race and close out with hard-to-block damage.

Quick note on Dauthi Voidwalker: it does not let you break timing restrictions, despite some similarly worded cards working that way. You can only cast creatures and sorceries off it on your main phase.

Sideboard Guide

Vs. Izzet Tempo

Murktide Regent

Modern Horizons 2, Mythic

Murktide Regent - Modern Horizons 2 - magic

We’re going to get the bad news out of the way first. Izzet Tempo is one of the worst matchups for Rakdos Evoke. It is certainly winnable, but Izzet’s long domination of the format was a big part of why Rakdos Evoke struggled to put up results. Izzet is very good at dragging Rakdos into a fair game, and from there Izzet is just a more reliable fair deck.

Game 1 is reasonably close with the latest Rakdos builds that are heavy on Terminate. It’s a typical midrange-versus-Murktide Regent matchup, so save your Terminate for the giant Dragon and try to draw Kroxa. Izzet trimming down on Ledger Shredder recently is good news because it’s easier to clear up Dragon’s Rage Channeler with Lightning Bolt and Fury.

If you can slam a turn-one 4/4 Fury on the play with Feign Death, do it. The same applies if your opponent taps down to not leave up Lightning Bolt early. They need multiple cards or delirium to kill it, and a 4/4 double strike does not give them a lot of time to do that.

Try to cast Dauthi Voidwalker when you can leave up Feign Death to protect it. Cutting off their graveyard is a powerful effect, as is stealing Expressive Iteration, but Dauthi Voidwalker dies to anything they point at it.

2 Unlicensed Hearse2 Blood Moon
1 Undying Evil1 Abrade
1 Undying Malice1 Fatal Push

Here’s the problem with the Izzet matchup: even if Game 1 is close, their graveyard hate hurts you more than your graveyard hate hurts them. On the play you can keep in Undying Malice over Fatal Push and gun for a turn-one Grief or Fury, but the cost of drawing a bunch of that effect and losing them all to their Unlicensed Hearse is high.

Bringing in Abrade to cover Unlicensed Hearse has become better due to Dragon’s Rage Channeler showing up in bigger numbers again, but I would bring it in even against the all Ledger Shredder lists. You just need to kill their graveyard hate, and if they don’t draw it, Abrade can always be pitched to Fury. That last part is also why you don’t bring in Engineered Explosives for the same purpose.

Vs. Four-Color Yorion

Omnath, Locus of Creation

Zendikar Rising, Mythic

Omnath, Locus of Creation - Zendikar Rising - magic

The Four-Color Yorion matchup has similar issues to the Izzet matchup where Four-Color is good at forcing Rakdos to play fair Magic, but Rakdos has the advantage of Blood Moon mattering here. Even if they fetch basic lands to beat Blood Moon, the card cuts off a lot of their best plays. Four-Color really pulls ahead of Rakdos with Omnath mana, which doesn’t work without fetch lands, and big turns involving casting Solitude and another play, which again doesn’t work with all the red mana Blood Moon gives them.

A fast Fury is not a good plan against Four-Color Yorion the way it is good against Izzet. They have Solitude and other removal that ignores creature sizing. Save Fury to clear out their Omnath, Locus of Creation or planeswalker, usually casting it the normal way.

Play to keep up the pressure against them. Four-Color is just looking for breathing room to leverage its greater concentration of two-for-ones against Rakdos. Rakdos just wants to make sure Four-Color is under constant threat and leverage its two-for-ones to keep going long enough to end the game.

Teferi, Time Raveler

Ravnica Remastered, Mythic

Teferi, Time Raveler - Ravnica Remastered - magic

Teferi, Time Raveler cuts off most of the good uses of Feign Death, so clearing the planeswalker out of the way is usually important. Even if it doesn’t immediately threaten you, eventually they will be able to bounce their own Solitude and exile more of your threats. If you can get Teferi to 4 or less loyalty, you can use the evoke trigger stack trick with a Fury to kill the Teferi with the damage, then Feign Death after it dies.

2 Tourach, Dread Cantor2 Lightning Bolt
1 Magic of the Moon1 Liliana of the Veil

Sideboarding out Liliana of the Veil against a “control deck” feels wrong, but it just isn’t good against Four-Color Yorion. Too many of their cards are two-for-ones, so they can just play through repeated use of the +1 ability. The ultimate is threatening eventually, but Prismatic Ending or any creature can handle that. On the Rakdos side, discarding cards to Liliana cuts off your good tactical options and makes your play one-dimensional in the face of their answers.

The other thing that makes Four-Color Yorion a better matchup than Izzet Tempo is their graveyard hate is worse. Endurance being a one-shot effect means that even if it leads to one bad exchange, you aren’t locked out of your spells for the rest of the game if they draw it. Endurance does make Kroxa a much less reliable end game though, so don’t count on the Titan for much more than a discard. Against Four-Color Elementals with Risen Reef I would even consider sideboarding out Kroxa instead of Lightning Bolt.

Vs. Living End

Living End

Time Spiral: Remastered, Mythic

Living End - Time Spiral: Remastered - magic

Thank you, Dauthi Voidwalker. If you resolve Dauthi Voidwalker, just let it sit around untapped. If your opponent casts Living End, you can sacrifice Voidwalker in response and get it back mid-resolution of Living End. It hits the battlefield just in time to exile Living End, and you can then sacrifice Voidwalker to cast their Living End and flip everything back where it was.

In theory your opponent can use Violent Outburst on your end step to get in an attack before Dauthi Voidwalker can tap, but it’s hard for them to build a big enough graveyard under Dauthi Voidwalker to make that lethal.

On the play or with a boost from Ragavan, Nimble Piflerer, Blood Moon is also good enough to beat most Living End hands. That plan exposes you to Force of Negation, but that’s just life.

A fast 4/4 Fury is another play that is good on the play and dicey on the draw. If that doesn’t come together, you can always just evoke Fury to put it in your graveyard and clean up some of a Living End.

If your only big play is Feign Death on a Grief, you may be better off waiting until the turn right before they would cascade and trying to clear out everything after they cycle cards. The same goes for casting Thoughtseize.

2 Unlicensed Hearse2 Lightning Bolt
1 Magus of the Moon2 Terminate
2 Necromentia1 Kolaghan’s Command
1 Hidetsugu Consumes All1 Liliana of the Veil

Your opponent’s scariest card is going to be Leyline of Sanctity, but fortunately some of your sideboard cards can help there. I don’t even like Hidetsugu Consumes All that much in the matchup, but as a graveyard hate card that works under Leyline it makes the cut. Worst-case scenario it has good colors for pitching to Incarnations.

Vs. Hammer Time

Colossus Hammer

Commander: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, Uncommon

Colossus Hammer - Commander: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms - magic

The key to this matchup is realizing that Rakdos can’t kill all of Hammer Time’s things forever. Play to disrupt their combo, but also play to end the game. Your best draw is anything that produces a fast Incarnation because that is both the disruption you are looking for and the threat you need.

Terminate is weirdly good in this matchup. I normally don’t love two-cost answers against Hammer Time, but Rakdos is really good at clearing up random creatures at sorcery speed with Fury and not as good at killing an 11/11. Terminate is the card that closes that gap while letting you tap out fearlessly.

Blood Moon is once again great. You can beat Urza’s Saga the normal way, but it’s way easier if your opponent can’t play the card in the first place.

2 Engineered Explosives4 Dauthi Voidwalker
2 Fatal Push2 Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger
1 Abrade1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Hidetsugu Consumes All 
1 Magus of the Moon 

You can trim on Thoughtseize and leave in one or two copies of Dauthi Voidwalker. Dauthi Voidwalker is not great in the matchup, but it offers an easy way to keep beating down through Sanctifier En-Vec.

Your opponent may also have Hushbringer or Lavinia, Azorius Renegade to shut off your evoke plan. Try to save a non-evoke removal spell to deal with those, but also remember that you can just evoke an Incarnation into Hushbringer and it will stick around. You would love to kill all their stuff with Fury, but a free 3/3 double strike is a fine consolation prize.

Vs. Four-Color Creativity

Indomitable Creativity

Aether Revolt, Mythic

Indomitable Creativity - Aether Revolt - magic

Approach the Four-Color Creativity matchup closer to how you would attack Living End than how you would attack Four-Color Yorion. Use your disruption to stop them from landing Indomitable Creativity and close out the game fast. Creativity is one of the slower combo decks popping up in Modern these days, and most of those are good matchups for Rakdos Evoke.

Dauthi Voidwalker is great in this matchup despite Creativity not being a graveyard-based deck. Make them discard an Archon of Cruelty, then cast it and end the game.

This is yet another matchup where Blood Moon is good. Noticing a trend here? It doesn’t cut off their ability to cast Indomitable Creativity, but it does stop basically everything else they can do.

2 Necromentia2 Lightning Bolt
1 Magus of the Moon1 Liliana of the Veil
2 Collective Brutality1 Kolaghan’s Command
2 Engineered Explosives3 Terminate

You may have seen me say this before, but don’t leave cards in your deck against Four-Color Creativity that try to win the game by killing Archon of Cruelty after it resolves. The only deck I’ve seen do that successfully is Four-Color Control, and even then it’s dubious. Fighting over the creatures they would target with Indomitable Creativity is similarly sketchy since they can make so many of them, unless your answer is an Engineered Explosives that kills everything at once.