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2 Months Top 100 Masters - Rakano Lifesteal Aggro

Throne Deck By


Cost Curve




There are a number of different decks floating around the ladder and this deck can beat them all. The thing about this deck is that it can take games off of Praxis Ramp and off of Grodov, while also countering and being effective against the other decks people are trying to run to beat those.

This deck takes advantage of any loss of tempo the opponent may have either from lack of power or not drawing into the perfect responses. And with a number of charge and face damage cards, can often finish off an opponent who thinks they have stabalized and run you out of cards.

Vs Grodov - Usually win if my early game goes well and if they don't have more than 2 harsh rule effects.
Vs Praxis Ramp - Again, as long as my early game is fine I will kill them before they get too far. Vanq blade is especially useful here as is Pristine Light
Vs other decks - Take to the skies with an Inquisitor's blade and kill them

The two Vanq blades, depending on the match up, should often just be played without the spellcraft to beat down on the opponent.

At first this deck had no Fearless Nomads and 4 Enforcers and 4 Combustion Brawlers, but I decided I needed a few more things to do turn 1 and, honestly, Fearless Nomad is better than it was thanks to Insignias - I was often able to drop them turn 1. That being said, I didn't make the change because I had stopped winning a lot - so going back to 4 enforcers may not be a bad call. I do think that 4 brawlers was a bit too much, but I wouldn't do less than 2 since the prevention of lifesteal from opponents and people running Prideleader really allowed me to win several games against opponents who thought they might be able to stabilize.

In the market, I used all the cards to useful effect on different occasions. Inquisitor's Blade and Obliterate were the most used by far and were usually game winners. Pristine Light is my replacement for the old Vanquish and it does the job as well. The other two I used less often and I feel that, although I love deepforged plate, it would be the one I would cut since reaching 5 power just occurred less often. The main advantage to Plate over Inquisitor's Blade is the endurance, but for that reinvigorate does the same thing and becomes a combat trick on their turn, often being a 2 for one, especially if the unit were permafrosted. Reinvigorate was great vs other aggro decks, but situational. The sideboard has some ideas as alternative market cards in addition to some of the cards I've already talked about. I'm currently testing Edict of Shavka in place of Deepforged Plate.

Best of luck on the ladder!


Shiftstone Cost
Does not include campaign cost

Premium Cost

Influence Requirements
2 2

Power Sources
15 20 12 2

Power Calculator
Shiftstoned Icon View Deck on Shiftstoned

Deck Rarities
12 26 29 2

Card Types
36 8 11 0 25

Contains Cards From Campaigns
Dead Reckoning [Set1003]


November 13, 2019

October 5, 2019


Eternal Version
The Flame of Xulta

BBCode For Comments

Deck URL

Revisions (Since last major patch) November 11, 2019



nicol800 Eternal Version: 1.47.8
So u/ReflectingMyDescent wants us to reconcile the differences between our two lists.

Main deck:
- Shen-Ra is really indispensable in this deck I think. It doesn't work with attachments, but other than that it is everything we want. I have been liking 7 1-drops in this deck, and I might even switch the 3 Nomads in my list for Oni Ronins, just so I can almost always play them turn one.
-The weapon suite and mix between maindeck and market is really tricky and I'm not sure what's optimal. Four Warhelms is a given of course, and I have three Inquisitors Blades in the main and an Elder's Feather and Deepforged Plate in the side. You have Vanquisher's Blade main, which I am definitely a fan of, no Elder's Feather, and Inquisitors in the side along with the Plate. Your configuration of the flying weapons strikes me as a little greedy. Merchant into Blade is certainly a lot more powerful than Merchant into Feather, but 7 power across two turns that dies to most removal is pretty risky against most decks. I have really valued being able to turn on some of my weapons synergies for just one power after I already spent 3 power on my merchant. This difference is probably partially due to the fact that I'm maxing out on emblems so I often don't have high max power and have several cards in my hand. Blade is great though and I've been very happy with my maindeck copies. Plate serves as the big heavy hitter for when I need a lot of brute mass to fight through my opponent's board. Vanquisher's Blade is good and I'd love to find some room for it somewhere, not sure where.
-I don't really like Enforcer or Combustion Brawler here. Enforcer is a solid card but I don't know that it is as essential for our game plan as the other cards. I haven't encountered so much lifesteal that I've really wanted Brawler, and honestly I think if we did want that effect Groundbreaker is the better card, particularly in our deck.
-Emblems are amazing, they are so flexible and powerful, they make the deck so consistent. They do conflict with Seats and, consequently, Fearless Nomads. I think they are worth actually cutting Seats and Nomads, they are that good. I will try no seats, Ronin instead of Nomad, and 4 Diplomatic Seals soon, that might be optimal.

Pristine Light is not cuttable, I think we both agree. I haven't really been liking the flame blast in my sideboard and Obliterate is definitely better, so I might make that switch, though Emblems don't mix well with the 5 drops so 2 in the market is a little much. Edict of Shavka is decent but cuttable, not sure about it. Reinvigorate is solid and if at any point I don't have Plate I will probably try to find room for it.
Crylorenzo Eternal Version: 1.47.8
First off, your list looks solid to me - the differences in our 2 decks probably stem in part from when they were created and what they were trying to counter. Additionally, there are some things that I just haven't tested because, to be honest, I'm still at rank 34 and haven't seen the need to play Throne since I got there - been working more on Expedition. As soon as the next month starts I'll be trying to run this deck for the 3rd month to masters with some of the changes mentioned - emblems, shen-ra, and cutting Plate being the main changes I'll be looking at.

As to your individual questions - Vanq blade main is honestly because it could dual as removal or as a 2/2 charge unit (since weapons are essentially charge units that attach themselves to other units, in my mind at least). Why no Elder's feather? I suppose because +1 attack isn't what I'm looking for in a card unless it is warhelm, because charge is so valuable - yes feather provides evasion, but it doesn't close out games as fast in my opinion. My experience with Merchant into Blade is that, when I was laddering, my opponent was usually too slow to kill the smuggler and so I would get the 10 damage. but even when I didn't get it, I could usually put Inq Blade on a different unit to close out the game. You see, early game, I don't mind being on the ground because Rakano is king there early game, then the idea is to switch to the sky later. Without emblems, it's not uncommon to hit 4 power though hitting 5 is harder. Both Plate and Inq Blade, indeed any weapon, have the same issue of being a 2 for 1 against you if the unit gets removed, but Inq Blade just hit a little more often. That's why I'm looking for an alternative market card to Plate, for as much as I love it in theory. I could have Inq blade main deck, but I can't have it in both places :( Enforcer is there to win the sky race after the ground gets clogged and for Sandstorm Titans etc. But, like you say, it is less valuable in the deck. As for Brawler, I've liked him primarily because he can do multiple things - exhaust a unit, get rid of lifesteal or life gain (like that from prideleader), and because he acts like a delayed Obliterate that can only be stopped by mass removal and fast removal. I've found that to be useful in games that start to stall. But again, it hasn't always been useful. It's a card I brought into the deck back at the height of Evenhanded Paladins which won by stalling through lifesteal. Groundbreaker is certainly an excellent card and with more weapons that provide flying I could understand using it over Brawler, though the influence is a bit higher. Also, the overwhelm on Brawler has also won me games. It should also be noted that a part of my lack of 1-drops has to do with the prevalence of Yetis and snowballs when I first made my deck. That being said, Shen-Ra is definitely a card I want to try out. A question for you - which of the twp Emblems have more consistently helped you close out games? As for Seats, as you say, for Nomad and Champion they are very good, but if you don't run Nomad you could look to other 1-drops. Ronin is almost never a wrong answer.

As for the Market, I agree that Pristine Light is invaluable. Back when Vanquish was 2-cose, I had Vanquish instead just for the value of being able to use more smuggler and Vanquish together on turn 5, but since that's no longer viable, there is no benefit to Vanquish over Pristine Light. I also agree that the flexibility of Obliterate and it's overwhelm damage make it better than Flame Blast here, but if you rarely hit 5 power due to emblems, then perhaps neither is the right answer for your reach card - if you're not running into much endurance, I've found Mind Fire to be a much overlooked aggro market card - one that I'll be testing out more later. Reinvigorate game about due to fighting against Yetis back when they were prevalent as well and occasionally for the extra damage if I don't have the power for Inq blade.

In short, I had my reasons for putting in the cards I did, but the meta changes constantly so a good deck is one that is revisited often and changes according to the meta needs. Your deck looks great and I will test out some of the changes I mentioned. Glad to see another Rakano deck in the top 100! May we both stay there and show others the power of Rakano (right now at least)!
nicol800 Eternal Version: 1.47.8
I think you are underrating the ability to cast Feather + another spell (or two) in one turn to get the jump on your opponent, particularly given that merchant is easily the slowest card in our deck on its own. I'd encourage you to test it if you haven't just to make sure you aren't missing anything :)

I've loved Groundbreaker in some other decks, was my four drop in Mono-Red Ghodan before Flame of Xulta. I think it is nice in the market as it kind of fills Plate's role as a beefy card to get when you need it as well as fighting lifesteal.

Both Emblems have been fantastic, but Wind Elemental is better in the midgame usually which is probably the more important thing for emblems. I would want to play a mix of them though, if you don't want all 8.

Getting to 5 power isn't that hard - remember that Emblems give you the power for the turn, so as long as you don't decimate turn 4 you can have your cake and eat it too on turn 5. I'm currently on Obliterate and expect to keep it. I do love mindfire though, I've played it in Skycrag and Mono-Red. I think I prefer having reach against sweepers given that pristine light usually takes care of the really bad ground stalls. That said, if I was seeing a lot of unitless/skycrag control Obliterate wouldn't be as good as it is in the other aggro decks because Rakano doesn't have many ways to pop an Aegis.
Crylorenzo Eternal Version: 1.47.8
I probably am underrating feather a bit - I'll test it out for myself and see how I like it. For Groundbreaker, I like it so long as I can get the DD - but it has impressed we less when there is an empty board and I only have him to play, which is where I have found Brawler to still be useful regardless. For the Emblems, I'm suspected Wind Elemental of fitting the gameplan slightly better, but it makes sense that both are useful. As for getting to 5 power, what you say makes sense - I suppose when I meant that it is hard, I meant that in general in decks, Rakano or otherwise, hitting 5 power is harder than hitting 4 by a wider margin, not that it is unattainable. I hit 5 power regularly as well, but I can rely on 4 more than I can rely on 5, which is part of why I have the Inq Blade in the market in the first place and why I value that over Plate. Thanks for your thoughts and tips!
ReflectingMyDescent Edited Eternal Version: 1.47.8
very good, thanks for your elaboration! I think Crylorenzo will also give his opinion on this topic and we can combine both of your decks and make the best out of it. But we have to keep in mind that overall it's personal preference after all. Some people just don't like certain cards while others have great success with them :)
ReflectingMyDescent Eternal Version: 1.47.8
what do you think of this version of rakano aggro? please give feedback in the comment section:
Crylorenzo Eternal Version: 1.47.8
I replied to nicol800 here in this comment section - obviously it's a good deck - making Top 100 with a deck means that it is good. I think the key is knowing your deck and all the tips and tricks, how to re-draw effectively, and how to change your gameplay depending on the opponent's deck. Those things, I think are what turn a deck from being good into a Top 100 contender.
ReflectingMyDescent Eternal Version: 1.47.8
have you tried the new emblems?
Crylorenzo Eternal Version: 1.47.8
Honestly, I've been playing more Expedition since my Throne rank is good right now, but I see no reason why to not have them on the deck. Just pay attention to power - ideally you want 4-5 power before you start decimating.
ReflectingMyDescent Eternal Version: 1.47.8
the problem is seats are useless with emblems.
Crylorenzo Eternal Version: 1.47.8
It's true, I certainly wouldn't go all out on emblems. In general, if you're going to use seats, you want at least 9 normal sigils. I wouldn't go below that. I would say, however, that the seats are important enough that I would cut down the number of emblems before cutting seats since seats are part of what allow for 1st turn Nomads and 2nd turn Champions
sto650 Eternal Version: 1.47.7
I would very strongly recommend Shen-Ra in place of the Nomad. She is so very good.
Crylorenzo Eternal Version: 1.47.7
I've considered it but haven't tested it yet. The plus of course is that she can always attack and eventually gets buffed and gains endurance. But she gains those on turn 4 without tricks at the earliest. The downsides are 1 less damage per turn, no overwhelm, monofaction, and the inability to play weapons on her. Nomad looks weaker, but he can't be chumped and you can play vanq blade, warhelm, or inq blad on him. Considering the deck though, I'd initially argue that Shen-Ra might actually be too slow, but I'll test it some time.
abby315 Eternal Version: 1.47.7
One more argument for her, though - the invulnerable to damage clause forces opponents to use Torches and Ice Bolts on their turn, which is really helpful for getting in with charge units later on! I'm testing now and will let you know.
Crylorenzo Eternal Version: 1.47.8
Thanks! Keep me updated!
scrabbledude Eternal Version: 1.47
I’ve had good success with this deck the last couple days. Thanks!

Wondering if you’re still playing it or if you’ve updated it at all since FoX was released.
Crylorenzo Edited Eternal Version: 1.47
Glad it's been helping you! Since FoX released I've mainly been tinkering around with the new cards and Expedition. I'm sure there are ways to improve on the deck now, but I haven't really had the chance to figure out what changes those might be. The main thing to check out would be the 2 drops - see if there's something better than Kodosh Evangel or Relentless Deadshot, since I mainly used those to fill out the 2 drops slot.
maingi Eternal Version: 1.47
How helpful is the +2 attack from Inquisitor's Blade instead of Elder's Feather?
Crylorenzo Eternal Version: 1.47
I'd say a decent amount if Red Canyon Smuggler is left on the board, but otherwise it would be negligible. I've certainly won games because of it though.
YurickYu Eternal Version: 1.47
Why Kodosh and Relentless Deadshot? About the mana base: No coin and standard? This deck is really having sucess with no removal main deck other than torch?
Crylorenzo Eternal Version: 1.47
I should also be noted that not many run fliers or flier hate right now, so I won a number of games just because I could race in the air while gumming up the ground.
Crylorenzo Eternal Version: 1.47
Kodosh and Deadshot are very much flexspots. What I really wanted were a couple more playable 2 drops and preferably with lifesteal.
And yes, it was one of the easiest runs to Masters I've ever had. Yetis try to race you, which they can't do because of lifesteal and then when they try to block you kill them in the air or with combat tricks. Others play too little too late. And the vanquish in the market really does come in handy often. I forget to add, but for the first half of my run to masters, I did have 2 vanq blades main. Deadshot's stun was useful sometimes too.
biologynut99 Eternal Version: 1.47
Interesting. At least different than the endless netdeck clones.

Will try later
Crylorenzo Eternal Version: 1.47
Thanks! Best of luck!