Obosh, the New Standard in Rakdos
- Marin Magda
Although Lurrus started the companion craze, Obosh quickly followed and even surpassed the Cat in some respects! Such is the case with the Sacrifice archetype, which now has the Preypiercer among its trump cards. But the deck wouldn't be as successful without a way of bridging the gap between Obosh and its early game.
When talking about any deck that has a companion, the first subject of discussion is always how poweful these are. Like strong creatures with game-changing abilities weren't desirable enough, the fact that you don't even have to draw these is heavily overwhelming. Not only do they often act as an eighth card in your hand, they also complement your whole game plan.
They may have been designed with a huge drawback in mind, but it turned out rather quickly that at least half of them get around that way too easily. MTGGoldfish's metagame standings of the past week perfectly illustrate this, as two Yorion decks topped the charts with a Lurrus one inbetween. Even though Yorion's companion condition should make a deck less consistent, it still claimed the throne.
The Lurrus-Versus-Obosh Debate
Similar to the Cycling deck, incorporating a companion into a Rakdos Sacrifice deck is not that painful, regarding the limitations. Both Lurrus and Obosh variants lose pieces crucial to the original game plan, but gain immense power in return, each in their own way.
While Lurrus prevents the inclusion of Mayhem Devil and Woe Strider, it gets to keep Priest of Forgotten Gods, which has tremendous synergy with Lurrus's ability. It's the flashier companion with a power level so great that that version soon found itself near the top of the Arena metagame when Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths had its online release.
However, as time went by and companion decks got a little bit more refined, Obosh started incurring better results. In the last several days, it started appearing in MagicFest Online Qualifier Finals much more often than its Lurrus counterpart. This version does lose Priest, Kroxa, and some minor 2-drops, but it gets to keep Mayhem Devil. To further understand the specifics, a decklist showcase is in order.
|Aaron Barich's Obosh Sacrifice|
One cannot stress enough that the Preypiercer specifically works great with exactly Devil, as the latter explicity deals damage, so Obosh's ability makes it twice as efficient. This is especially important, as companion lets you time your Obosh more perfectly than you could otherwise. For one thing, you're guaranteed to have it, and while the opponent knows what's coming too, they can't make you discard it from your sideboard. People initially used to say that untapping with Lurrus downright wins you the game, but I'd argue that the same stands with Obosh.
Other Improvements and Additions
What's more, the previous statement might be even more accurate for Obosh in Rakdos Sacrifice because, although the deck is aggressive, it has no problem with going into the late game. That said, it's a solid way of battling Yorion Lukka decks, which is something that a deck must be capable of in the current metagame. Being resistant to sweepers is crucial, which this deck does well thanks to the Cauldron Familiar/Witch's Oven package, coupled with a lot of small nuisances such as Serrated Scorpion and Whisper Squad. It's also a tad bit more resistant to graveyard hate — as well as possible bans, should Lurrus actually require such.
Several notable experts have claimed that Mayhem Devil is the most powerful card in the entire deck. But it's not the only crazy 3-drop. Judith, the Scourge Diva also works great here, as well as … Heraldic Banner?
An uncommon 3-drop that mostly remained unnoticed has proved to be an ingenious addition to this archetype that just stuck. It is important for two huge reasons: enabling an Obosh drop a whole turn earlier for when you're far ahead, and making your creatures hit harder. All your creatures, to be precise, as all of them are black, and you do need the black mana much more often anyway. There is a thing that the Banner does even better than Devil, which is bridging the gap. The jump from three to five mana, which is important here, is pretty painful, but the Banner is making it much more bearable. This is not a small thing because you usually end up with ten 3-drops without the Banners.
The sideboard is also full of threes. Act of Treason is still great here, and so is Midnight Reaper, which even sees main-deck play in some versions due to its synergistic nature. Since Rakdos Sacrifice in part also runs just plain powerful black and/or red cards, Rotting Regisaur usually finds a spot within the 14-card sideboard as well. The downside is particularly small in a deck where you can empty your hand quickly, have a follow-up that you never have to discard, and can dish out 14 damage in one swing with the Zombie Dinosaur!
Further Innovations and Directions
Other than being outrageously powerful, one incentive to play companions is also experimenting. They usually carry a deck pretty hard anyway, so why not try and look for more ways of improving an old archetype, or just having fun? That's exactly what people did with Obosh Sacrifice!
Bastion Obosh Sacrifice
A card that's not too unexpected in Obosh Sacrifice, but works well and even manages to take the occasional spotlight in the main deck, is Bastion of Remembrance. We might even keep seeing it in the future as it further increases the lifesteal and makes a token that's ideal sacrifice fodder.
I'm not really sold on the complete lack of Claim the Firstborn and Mayhem Devil in the main deck. But there's something to be said for a version that's geared maximally to beat Yorion Lukka. Judith and Bastion definitely put opponents who cast Shatter the Sky or Deafening Clarion in a world of pain, and do so without requiring a sacrifice outlet.
|Jacob Wilson's Obosh Sacrifice|
The previous list might not be that janky in the end, but if that's what you're looking for, look no further. Obosh Lukka plays like some sort of Obosh Aggro, but with the extra win condition of Lukka into Yidaro, Wandering Monster. Besides raw power, Yidaro is a particularly good fit for Lukka, in two ways: Unlike other prohibitively expensive monsters, it's never a dead draw. And unlike other decks of the past that wanted to cheat something big into play, one never needs to worry about drawing too many of Lukka's payoffs. Where Dragonstorm could use a See Beyond, Yidaro sees beyond all by itself.
All of this means that yes, you should only rely on 1-mana creatures, Yidaro, and the Obosh in the sideboard to inflict damage. But this does open up some alternatives. With such a fast clock, getting spectacle online is both easy and tempting. Light Up the Stage makes a return. It's a great way of applying additional pressure here because chances are you'll easily play both of the top cards of your library just in time. Since this specific list ditches the Cauldron Familiar/Witch's Oven package, it's not very good against sweepers, so Drill Bit gets bonus points as well. At least you still get to keep the Heraldic Banner.
|Matt Sperling's Obosh Lukka|
As Sperling himself admitted on Twitter, he had added Grafdigger's Cage in the sideboard by mistake, so if you do take this list for a spin, don't forget to take those out. They shut down Gutterbones, Call of the Death-Dweller, Lukka, and, a bit less importantly, Yidaro, Wandering Monster's own ability. Also note that you might still want to cram in Cat/Oven somewhere, if you find the space.
Odds and Ends
There's a lot more you could do with Obosh, the Preypiercer. You can play straight-up Rakdos Aggro without any sacrifice synergies, add some copies of Lurrus of the Dream-Den while keeping Obosh as your companion, go monoblack or monored, brew up something with Venerated Loxodon, or try out a Jund Adventure list! With so many available directions, the possibilities maybe aren't endless, but there's at least some large, probably odd, number of them.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.