Cult of Rakdos

From MTG Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Cult of Rakdos
Rakdos Logo.png
Alternative Names
The Thrill-Killers,[1]
The Kill-Guilders[1]
Lore Information
Parun Rakdos
Guild Leader Rakdos
Guild Champion Izolda (also known as Lyzolda; deceased)
Guild Hall Rix Maadi
Game Information
Colors {B}{R}
Mechanics Hellbent
(Return to Ravnica)
Featured Sets
Return to Ravnica
Ravnica Allegiance
Signet Flavor Text
"Made of bone and boiled in blood, a Rakdos signet is not considered finished until it has been used as a murder weapon." — Rakdos Signet

The Cult of Rakdos is the black/red guild from the plane and city of Ravnica. Introduced in Dissension,[2][3] the guild is also featured in Return to Ravnica and Ravnica Allegiance

Background[edit | edit source]

Founded by parun Rakdos, an ancient demon, the Cult of Rakdos attend to menial labor and the services industry, which includes some less-than-savory offerings, such as assassination, as well as more agreeable ones, such as the catering (i.e., food service) and entertainment industries.[4] Members of the demon-worshipping guild are referred to as cultists.[4]

Like extreme utilitarians or hedonists, the Cult of Rakdos are a guild that places a premium on personal pleasure, or "fun", even if it cruelly causes pain and suffering to others and themselves.[5] Some of the crueler, more evil, and more sadistic members of the Cult directly and intentionally inflict pain on others.[6] Other than being a guild of miscreants, the Cult of Rakdos does have a civic function in Ravnican society per the Guildpact; some members work as manual laborers and even slaves, and the guild overall has a niche as Ravnica's entertainment industry, such as clubs.[6]

Rakdos is the undisputed center of attention of the Cult when he is awake;[7] when the demon is hibernating, however, there is an acting guildmaster.[8] At the time of the Decamillennial, the acting guildmaster was the human sorceress Izolda (or Lyzolda).

Bloodwitches[edit | edit source]

The Bloodwitches are a cadre of powerful witches who reside in Rix Maadi and are the closest thing to advisors Rakdos has.[6] Exava currently wields the most power, although she has to work hard to keep it.

Rings[edit | edit source]

Formally, the guild has no structure, and is not organized; however, members are affiliated with loose groups referred to as "rings", each of which is led by a ringmaster and with its own sphere of influence, commodities, and cult followers.[6] Currently, there are nine major Rings of Rakdos. The Rings have territories based around the physical locations of their clubs, and they enforce their control over these territories with violence when necessary. Each Ringmaster employs spiker gangs to handle any violence — whether it's controlling it or instigating it.

  • Five Rings service diversion clubs. The clubs sell all manner of food and drink, and provide twisted circus entertainment, bathhouse amenities, and burlesque revues.
    • Roustabouts are the cult members who staff the diversion clubs and debauchery clubs or assist riot mages during festivals.[6]
    • Madcaps are the entertainers of Rakdos, often smaller humanoids who couldn't survive in the Rakdos cult on their own.
  • Three Rings service debauchery clubs. These offer a variety of entertainment, tattooing and scarring, pit fighting, and erotic services.
  • One Ring are the pain-inflicting Torturers, controlled by bloodwitches and their masochistic minions and toadies. This is the most depraved Ring, with sacrificial murders both voluntary and involuntary.

Festivals[edit | edit source]

Riot Mages lead Rakdos festivals.[6] These festivals are dearly loved by Rakdos members and hated by the general public, who are left to clean up the rubble and hold the funerals afterwards. Rakdos festivals are not only a reward to cult members, but also a pretense for Rakdos thieves to steal anything they can get their hands on while the residents are distracted.

History[edit | edit source]

The Rakdos as featured in Ravnica Allegiance

Ravnica block[edit | edit source]

At the time of the Decamillennial Celebration, the acting guildmaster, human bloodwitch Izolda, procured spinal fluid from a dragon, blood from Jarad, and blood from Jarad's son Myc to rouse Rakdos from his sleep. Rakdos awakened and wreaked havoc in the streets of Ravnica until the demon crossed the path of Project Kraj. After Project Kraj absorbed Rakdos into its body, sustaining injuries, the comatose Rakdos was thrown back into his lava pit, Rix Maadi, by the Boros angel Feather, uncertain of his return.[9]

Sensing her weakness after the defeat of their demonic guildmaster, Izolda's followers summarily devoured her alive.

Return to Ravnica block[edit | edit source]

In the game[edit | edit source]

In developing the identity of the Cult of Rakdos, Aaron Forsythe noted that the Cult of Rakdos revolves around the destruction of everything, with exception to enchantments, a permanent type that neither Black nor Red can deal with.[10] In addition to this, the guild was conceived as one that wanted to hastily play out its hand, and was willing to sacrifice creatures for beneficial effects for itself and detrimental ones for opponents.

On the combination of Black and Red, design team member and Head Magic Designer Mark Rosewater explained that the combination is the synthesis of Red's desire to do as it pleases; disregard for laws, morality, and order; and broad spectrum of emotions and Black's self-centered nature and selfishness.[11] These philosophies are translated into gameplay as aggression and removal.[12] That notwithstanding, Mark Rosewater has stated that, while the Cult of Rakdos certainly contains a vast number of "hedonists", particularly in card form, there are individuals that are comparably (more) civil.[13]

This more civil aspect of the Cult is built upon in the official Magic Story "Life in the Ring", where the Rakdos performer Rinni explains to the Guildless urchin Lunicia that not only does the Cult perform a vital role by keeping Rakdos quiescent, but there is a deeper philosophy to what they do: the Cult's hedonism, and willingness to risk their lives in its pursuit, is an acceptance of death's inevitability and an embrace of the precious gift of life they have been given - as well as a reminder to others that life is both fleeting and precious, and thus should be treated as the gift that it is, no matter how harsh or short it may be.

Guild mechanics[edit | edit source]

Dissension: Hellbent[edit | edit source]

Main article: Hellbent

Hellbent is an ability word that is "on" if and when the controller of a card with Hellbent has no cards in his or her hand. Featured on permanent cards as well as non-permanent cards, Hellbent is coupled with an ability that confers an effect to permanents or non-permanent spells or improves or otherwise changes the effect(s) of permanents or non-permanent spells.

Return to Ravnica: Unleash[edit | edit source]

Main article: Unleash

During Return to Ravnica development, one ability considered for the in-game Cult of Rakdos was Paincast, an ability that reduced the cost of spells for each point of life lost by an opponent during the current turn. According to Magic Head Designer Mark Rosewater, it was deemed that the ability created "warped game play";[14] and, a more combat-relevant ability, Unleash, replaced it.[15] A form of Paincast would appear on Rakdos, Lord of Riots, who can grant it to all creature cards you cast that turn.

Unleash represents two static abilities, consisting of one that allows the controller of a creature with Unleash to put a +1/+1 counter on it as it enters the battlefield and another that prohibits a creature with Unleash from blocking if it has at least one +1/+1 counter on it, regardless of the means by which it was put on the creature.

Prior to the official release of Return to Ravnica, Unleash received a poor or mixed reception from players, with some failing to appreciate its complexity and freedom of choice;[16] but, at the prerelease and upon release of the expansion, the mechanic gained more favor, particularly in the Limited format play.

Creature types[edit | edit source]

Species and races[edit | edit source]

Species and races associated with the Cult of Rakdos include:

Classes[edit | edit source]

Classes associated with the Cult of Rakdos include:

Notable members[edit | edit source]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. a b Cory J. Herndon. (2005.) Ravnica Cycle, Book I: Ravnica, Wizards of the Coast. ISBN-13 978-0786937929.
  2. Magic Arcana. (August 14, 2006.) “Dissension Style Guide: Rakdos”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Magic Arcana. (August 17, 2006.) “Rakdos Cameos on White Cards”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. a b Dissension: Cult of Rakdos Minisite — Wizards of the Coast
  5. Matt Cavotta. (August 17, 2006.) “Sympathy for the Demon”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  6. a b c d e f The Magic Creative Team. (September 19, 2012.) “Planeswalker's Guide to Return to Ravnica: Part 3”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Return to Ravnica: Cult of Rakdos Minisite — Wizards of the Coast
  8. Adam Lee. (August 29, 2012.) “Ravnica, Then and Now”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Cory J. Herndon. (2006.) Ravnica Cycle, Book III: Dissension, Wizards of the Coast. ISBN-13 978-0786940011.
  10. Aaron Forsythe. (August 18, 2006.) “Most Evil and Most Fun-Loving”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Mark Rosewater. (August 14, 2006.) “Hedonism with Attitude”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Mark Rosewater. (December 10, 2012.) “Designing for Rakdos”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  13. Mark Rosewater. (August 31, 2012.) "Why is the guild being portrayed as a band of murdering screwheads?", Blogatog, Tumblr.
  14. Mark Rosewater. (September 24, 2012.) “Card Day's Night”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  15. Mark Rosewater. (September 10, 2012.) “Return on Investment, Part 2”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Billy Moreno. (December 14, 2012.) “Developing, UNLEASHED”,, Wizards of the Coast.

External links[edit | edit source]