Kaervek Rakdos EDH: Pain and taxes

I was flipping through the spoilers for Timespiral remastered and, as happens every once and a while, one card caught my eye. Now, you have to understand that I usually won’t gravitate to the cards everyone else will. I just have an eye for jank. And I love using cards most won’t. Sometimes just figuring a way to make it work in EDH is challenge enough. But this one brought a concept I had already been preparing for.

Kaervek, the Merciless is just that; Merciless. In true Rakdos fashion, this Shaman makes you pay for everything with your life. On top of that, I’ve been running a Vito devotion deck in standard (which I will elaborate on later). So it all made sense. Add that to the stack of cards I’d been saving for a curse/tax deck and it was ON!

First of all, this is an expensive commander so you may have to spend part of your deck protecting Kaervek. But it’s ability may be just a caveat if the rest of the deck runs as I think it will.

Another lynch pin in this deck is Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose. It brings a powerful life link ability and, of course, doing damage to every life gained should synchronize with a lot of cards in this deck. I tried not to lean too heavily on Vito though being one out of a hundred, but, if it becomes a problem, I could drop in some Tudor cards in to pull him out.

You gain some, you lose some

There are a lot of cards in this deck that in one way or another takes life from an opponent or opponents and gains you life. With or without Vito, this deck will do a lot of that.

The real heavy lifters are the Enchantments. It’s an attempt to find as many ways to tax your opponents as possible. My goal is to make sure that whatever they do they either pay for it, lose life and or I gain life. Revenge of Ravens is one of the best and can keep a wide opponent at bay for many rounds. Underground dreams, of course, punishes them for drawing cards. Bastion of Remembrance will make them pay for killing your creatures. It’s a long shot, but if you can get Sanguine Bond and Exquisite Blood running at the same time, we’re talking endless combo.

Keeping your vows

Another handy trick I found is enchanting my opponent to keep them from attacking me. The Vow of Lightning, Malice and Torment do this quite handily and the artifact, Assault suit helps too.

A little help from my friends

I added a few ‘friends’ to help the whole lose some, gain some motif. And, on top of this, they bring some unique ‘add-ons’ like gaining control of a creature, create a 5/5 dragon or actually taking life from each opponent.

Check it out and tell me what you’d do different. I’m hardly infallible and could always use a little coaching! Drop those suggestions in the comments or hit us up on social medial (links on the homepage).

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