Chaos Incarnate - Upgrade Guide
(Kardur, Doomscourge | Art by Helge C. Balzer)
Hey friends! It’s time for another precon upgrade guide, courtesy of the Scrap Trawlers. I’m Andy, and today I’ll be showing you how to give a little more pizazz to the Chaos Incarnate Starter Deck. We’ll look at how I added more goad effects, sped the deck up a bit, and increased the pain for our opponents. Let’s perfect the chaos.
Here’s the original decklist:
Rakdos starter deck
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Our commander is Kardur, Doomscourge, a demon berserker with a quasi-goad effect when he enters who also drains life from our opponents when attacking creatures die. With Kardur at the helm, we’d expect the deck to be full of ways to force our opponents to attack each other. Sadly, the original list only included a Geode Rager. So we’re upping our goad game, starting with Shiny Impetus and Parasitic Impetus. A great way to keep a huge threat off our backs, and super cheap to pick up. And considering how much Wizards loves to drop the Impetus cycle into precons where they don’t fit thematically, you’d think they’d be no-brainers in this deck where they’re perfect. It’s like someone missed a memo here.
Of course, we’ve gotta throw in the granddaddy of all goad spells, Disrupt Decorum. Man, I remember when this card was around $10, and now, thanks to a few reprints, you can pick it up for under $.50. We’re also adding Vengeful Ancestor for some extra pain and Karazikar, the Eye Tyrant for some card draw. Bloodthirsty Blade is here as a more versatile (i.e. moveable) Impetus. And a goad coup de grace, straight outta Baldur’s Gate; it’s Spectacular Showdown.
Don’t Come Around Here No More
The original list included a few ways to deter incoming attacks, with cards like Brash Taunter and Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs. But I wanted to lean into that a bit more, and make doubly sure attacks are going elsewhere. So we’re throwing in Revenge of Ravens and Blood Reckoning for a “stop hitting yourself” effect. And while we’re at it, maybe we should make it hurt more when opponents attack each other as well. For that, I’ve added Calculating Lich and a new card from The Brothers’ War, Blast-Furnace Hellkite.
Just a few more additions. To speed things up a bit, I added a Fellwar Stone for just a little more ramp. I also wanted to have a way to have Kardur keep entering the battlefield. There’s a way to do it that’s a bit more expensive, which we’ll get to in a minute, and there’s the more budget-friendly way, which is Mirage Phalanx. Just bond the Phalanx to Kardur, and you’ll get a new Kardur effect every turn.
Last, we need to have a little more insurance against the “goad problem.” And by that I mean the fact that goad becomes really bad after two players have been knocked out. When you’re the only player to attack, your final opponent will have no choice but to come at you. So to give us a little breathing room I’ve added Sudden Spoiling. While it’s only a one-time effect, hopefully it’ll give you just enough space to sneak in and deal the final blow.
Now it’s time for cuts! Even with a high average MV, 40 lands is just a bit much. So we’re showing Stensia Bloodhall the door, and replacing it with Fellwar Stone. Bloodhall has no business being in a multiplayer deck. Do you really wanna pay 5 mana (6 if you count the Bloodhall itself) to deal 2 damage to one player when you’ve gotta deal 120 to win the game? No, you do not.
I made a few cuts simply based on mana cost, including Sepulchral Primordial, Explosion of Riches, Magmatic Force, Deadly Tempest, Sunbird’s Invocation, and Scythe Specter. All decent cards, but they needed to go to either lower the curve or make way for better high-cost cards, like Blast-Furnace Hellkite.
Sepulchral Primordial was part of a recursion package that just didn’t fit with the theme of the deck, and I cut Profane Command for the same reason. The instants/sorceries theme cards are all getting binned, since it’s not what the deck is doing. So out goes Guttersnipe, Thermo-Alchemist, and Wildfire Devils.
We’re not making enough creatures to really benefit from Titan Hunter, so it’s gone. Joining it are Sangromancer and Hate Mirage, because I just couldn’t find a reason to keep them.
We Spared No Expense
Okay, some of you have deep pockets and wanna fill this starter deck with all kinds of expensive replacements, so here’s a few recommendations.
Conjurer’s Closet is Kardur’s best friend. It’s also, unfortunately, around $7 to buy. But definitely worth it if you can afford it. Along those same lines, we’ll add Command Beacon. The land is here to save the day if Kardur is in the zone and has too much tax on him.
Cunning Rhetoric is a great attack deterrent that provides card advantage. Black Market Connections and Jeska’s Will can both speed up your game considerably. And Blood for the Blood God! will give you a fresh hand and some fresh torment for your opponents.
And, if it makes you happy, you can go crazy with tutors like: Demonic Tutor, Grim Tutor, and Vampiric Tutor.
Here’s the updated decklist:
Rakdos starter deck Upgrades
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer
We upgraded 14 cards for under $10, and lowered the average mana value from 4.00 to 3.84. Not a huge dent, but it’s hard to effect that without a bigger overhaul. The updated list is more thematic, synergistic, and focused. Which is exactly what we want for our precons!
That’s it for Chaos Incarnate! What’d you think of my upgrades? How do you feel about the Starter Decks? Leave a comment below with your thoughts. You can also hit us up on Twitter, or catch us making budget content on YouTube and Twitch. Stay tuned for more on the Starter Decks, and keep checking back whenever new precons are released. Until next time, remember to budget…before you buy it.