Rankle, Master of Pranks - Is he the new Braids, Cabal Minion?

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darrenhabib
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Post by darrenhabib » 4 months ago

OK, so I know they are very different cards and I don't ask this question on a truly serious level of comparison. Braids, Cabal Minion was infamous for feeding upon mana sources like lands or early artifacts, rather than creatures.

But I haven't seen or heard anything about Rankle in Commander yet, and he does seem like a really efficient resource denial commander.

Sacrificing a creature and discarding a card each turn, really might put opponents into top deck mode actually pretty quickly.

Has anybody played him as your general yet or had experience with him?

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Post by Cow31337Killer » 4 months ago

I hate playing against Rankle. It's honestly miserable. Is it as bad as playing against Braids, Cabal Minion? Probably not but I can't say for sure since it was banned before I started playing EDH.

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Post by DirkGently » 4 months ago

Played him in limited and he ruled. I love his flexibility.

Something that occurred to me is that, besides obvious stuff like bloodghast to keep him going, you could also bounce/blink him (if there's any blink in black) so you don't have anything to sac.
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Post by pokken » 4 months ago

DirkGently wrote:
4 months ago
Played him in limited and he ruled. I love his flexibility.

Something that occurred to me is that, besides obvious stuff like bloodghast to keep him going, you could also bounce/blink him (if there's any blink in black) so you don't have anything to sac.
Phyrexian reclamation is the black approach there. Just sac him and recast him. Infinite flesh bags with discard for 6 is good.

Or oversold cemetery ofc

Not aware of any slow blink in black but there's a lot of stuff like corpse dance etc.

Rankle feels oppressive to me. Grave pact already locks a lot of decks out and if it can be your commander that's foul.

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Post by DirkGently » 4 months ago

It's still max on sac per turn in most cases though. Well, and a discard. Although if you're doing discard it's less synergistic with erratic portal.
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Post by gilrad » 4 months ago

He seems oppressive in a very soft way. In a "if nobody had a removal spell lined up within two turns of him coming out the whole table is going to have a bad day" kind of soft way.

Not nearly as oppressive as past oppressive commanders because commander tax-ing him out before he gets more than three triggers can shut him down. It's only one card per turn, one creature per turn, and requires somebody have no instant speed removal or flying blockers. If everybody's gameplans are mostly going forward without trouble that shouldn't be too hard to attain.

If he gets three or four triggers starting from turn three, the table is going to have a bad game.

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Post by toctheyounger » 4 months ago

I was waiting to hear more too. He looks like a great tempo boost for a deck that needs opponents' creatures to die. I'm thinking of trying him out in a Glissa build. The haste and combat evasion seem great, and being able to choose any or all of his triggers seems excellent.

I can see how he'd be miserable with classic black edict enchantments, but there's worse culprits for that anyway. Off the top of my head Yawgmoth triggers them far more easily, and there's a lot of sac engines from the command zone splashing black too.

I actually think from the command zone he's a reasonable commander for black politics, given that his effects are global. I won't be attempting that personally but I definitely think there's a lot of value attached to him and I'm just surprised it's taken this long for someone to bring him up.

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Post by pokken » 4 months ago

gilrad wrote:
4 months ago
He seems oppressive in a very soft way. In a "if nobody had a removal spell lined up within two turns of him coming out the whole table is going to have a bad day" kind of soft way.

Not nearly as oppressive as past oppressive commanders because commander tax-ing him out before he gets more than three triggers can shut him down. It's only one card per turn, one creature per turn, and requires somebody have no instant speed removal or flying blockers. If everybody's gameplans are mostly going forward without trouble that shouldn't be too hard to attain.

If he gets three or four triggers starting from turn three, the table is going to have a bad game.
It's pretty bad deck design to make a mono black deck discard and sac deck where you want to recast the commander from the zone repeatedly if it dies. Rankle is gonna get reanimated.

Your only real hope is to steal it or grave hate it most likely. Or just not be on a strategy that cares about developing creatures.

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Post by vandertroll » 4 months ago

I played against him once. Guy was running many expensive rocks so he could get rankle at least one turn earlier. The deck also had a reanimator subtheme and ways for punishing any extra draws for his opponents. It was a really fun deck and suprisingly, even if he played Rankle on turn 4, on a 4 player pod, he would almost always manage to find a way to do damage. If I didn't have my Yawgmoth deck I'd definately consider running him. Given [mention]darrenhabib[/mention] 's exceptional deckbuilding skills I think he'd brew a very cool deck!
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Post by darrenhabib » 4 months ago

vandertroll wrote:
4 months ago
I played against him once. Guy was running many expensive rocks so he could get rankle at least one turn earlier. The deck also had a reanimator subtheme and ways for punishing any extra draws for his opponents. It was a really fun deck and suprisingly, even if he played Rankle on turn 4, on a 4 player pod, he would almost always manage to find a way to do damage. If I didn't have my Yawgmoth deck I'd definately consider running him. Given darrenhabib 's exceptional deckbuilding skills I think he'd brew a very cool deck!
That is very kind of you to say. Right so I did make a build and tried to make it the most oppressive prison deck. Think Nether Void, Oppression, Contamination, Pox, Smokestack, and a bevvy of other "fun" cards.

However I've had varying success with the general idea. Firstly and mainly you become the archenemy very quickly. And I don't mean just the target for odd attacks, I mean everybody will throw everything at you and even when you might be the only thing saving players from a particular player winning, they will still target you. So I only recommend these types of decks among experienced players who are looking to win, rather than getting revenge on the person who slowed down the game.

Then the general deck usually isn't quite strong enough to hold off 3 opponents focused on you.

The games where I have won, honestly it's simply come down to having Waste Not early in play. This card is just simply incredible with Rankle discard ability, and it just allows you to draw into action, have zombies to sacrifice to his ability. Getting mana during the combat damage step isn't the best, but I have been able to pump it into some of my graveyard recurring creatures like Tenacious Dead and Reassembling Skeleton nicely.

The simply answer is that Rankle is really amazing, but I still got to find the right shell before I'd post a dedicated thread for a deck build.
I think the reanimation idea you mentioned might be a better way to go given that archenemy is just so much harder to win through. However even if I don't play hard-core prison pieces, discarding cards and sacrificing creatures probably just going to make you the target regardless.

Anyway I still keep plugging away with the prison version and see if I can tweak it for better results.

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Post by onering » 4 months ago

If by new braids you mean the new mono black stax commander of choice, yes. He's fixed braids. Drop him turn 1 off of rocks and he'll be punishing, but he won't auto win, and there are strategies that can ignore him.

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Post by KMA_Again » 4 months ago

I built my mono-B stax with Liliana, Heretical Healer/Liliana, Defiant Necromancer since she dodges a lot of removal and mass removal as a planeswalker and gives the ability to recur if necessary. Stuff like Death Cloud, Smallpox, etc only empower her since it keeps creatures off the board that would attack her while a commander like Rankle needs extra bodies to profit off that. He seems strong still but not as strong.

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Post by vandertroll » 4 months ago

darrenhabib wrote:
4 months ago
vandertroll wrote:
4 months ago
I played against him once. Guy was running many expensive rocks so he could get rankle at least one turn earlier. The deck also had a reanimator subtheme and ways for punishing any extra draws for his opponents. It was a really fun deck and suprisingly, even if he played Rankle on turn 4, on a 4 player pod, he would almost always manage to find a way to do damage. If I didn't have my Yawgmoth deck I'd definately consider running him. Given darrenhabib 's exceptional deckbuilding skills I think he'd brew a very cool deck!
That is very kind of you to say. Right so I did make a build and tried to make it the most oppressive prison deck. Think Nether Void, Oppression, Contamination, Pox, Smokestack, and a bevvy of other "fun" cards.

However I've had varying success with the general idea. Firstly and mainly you become the archenemy very quickly. And I don't mean just the target for odd attacks, I mean everybody will throw everything at you and even when you might be the only thing saving players from a particular player winning, they will still target you. So I only recommend these types of decks among experienced players who are looking to win, rather than getting revenge on the person who slowed down the game.

Then the general deck usually isn't quite strong enough to hold off 3 opponents focused on you.

The games where I have won, honestly it's simply come down to having Waste Not early in play. This card is just simply incredible with Rankle discard ability, and it just allows you to draw into action, have zombies to sacrifice to his ability. Getting mana during the combat damage step isn't the best, but I have been able to pump it into some of my graveyard recurring creatures like Tenacious Dead and Reassembling Skeleton nicely.

The simply answer is that Rankle is really amazing, but I still got to find the right shell before I'd post a dedicated thread for a deck build.
I think the reanimation idea you mentioned might be a better way to go given that archenemy is just so much harder to win through. However even if I don't play hard-core prison pieces, discarding cards and sacrificing creatures probably just going to make you the target regardless.

Anyway I still keep plugging away with the prison version and see if I can tweak it for better results.
Did you use any dredge cards? He did some nice shenanigans with Golgari Thug. Hopefully next week I'll run into him and check the deck again.
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Post by Dunharrow » 4 months ago

Seems really good. I like the idea of a reanimator subtheme since you can discard fatties easily.
I also like pairing him with Waste Not and all the Megrim effects since it is a slow clock.

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Post by darrenhabib » 4 months ago

vandertroll wrote:
4 months ago
Did you use any dredge cards? He did some nice shenanigans with Golgari Thug. Hopefully next week I'll run into him and check the deck again.
No dedge cards as of yet. But the reanimation version I put together isn't majorly focused on reanimation anyway, it's more like a sub-theme, with the main theme still being control.

I will say that as a Yawgmoth, Thran Physician player, Rankle just doesn't compare in power level now that I've played him. Sure this might have been fairly obvious, but I really need to try him myself (like all Commanders) to get a feel for the strength of it.
I'll throw some analogy comparing them. Rankle feels like just nickle and dime advantages, where as Yawgmoth is a good at both doing nickle and dime, but can also do Swiss bank type transactions as the game goes on.

With Rankle you have to get the board state to be clear later on in the game to make the sacrifice ability effective, so you are very reliant on wrath effects.
The number of times that opponents have managed to squeeze out a few tokens to basically make him not worth the sacrifice ability happens a lot.
Now the discard is still really good, but even without all the Stax/Prison hate pieces in the deck, people HATE discard and you soon become enemy number one.
The problem is that his power level doesn't reflect the amount of hate you receive.

Now I'm probably completely playing him wrong. Maybe the trick is to just go for the draw ability early on and pretend you are a hug deck :P Be patient and then switch modes when you have the cards to back it up?
There is a lot of scope with this guy, but it's just hard when I have such a powerful deck with Yawgmoth, Thran Physician at the same mana cost from the Command Zone.

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Post by toctheyounger » 4 months ago

Honestly, I can't see how they're even comparable. Yawgmoth is ridiculously strong, and moves at a speed I can't see Rankle keeping up with. Rankle seems just much lower on the scale of advantage, at least in a vacuum.

I personally think Rankle will be a star player in the 99, for decks that want easy death triggers. I'm hoping for really good things in my Glissa grind build; his edict gives me 3 rocks from 'yard to hand, an extra Phyrexian Arena trigger, and I guess discard if needed, but that last is not where my focus is. The combat evasion is just excellent too - being able to drop him T2/3 and swing immediately with relative surety of getting triggers is excellent.

All that aside, I think the things he needs to be absolutely busted from the command zone are things that struggles with - additional attack phases (traditionally , additional turns (traditionally ), double (or more) strike (doable with equipment). Without being able to optimally leverage these for knockout wins, my guess is you end up the archenemy pretty quick and get summarily stomped. Maybe that's the way you build him - make him hit hard ASAP for voltron wins while you choke the rest of the table as much as you can. I dunno.
Now I'm probably completely playing him wrong. Maybe the trick is to just go for the draw ability early on and pretend you are a hug deck :P Be patient and then switch modes when you have the cards to back it up?
I know it's not particularly your jam, Darren, but I think that's kind of a cool way to play him from a 75% perspective. Bargain with the table via Phyrexian Arena triggers, edict triggers, and use that to keep heat off of you like an evil Phelddagrif; 'who wants to take 3 so I can solve this problem for us?' 'who wants 3 so we can draw?' and so forth. It means you can play kingmaker until you have resources to finish the table off, but it does mean having control options to keep people honest. It sounds like fun to me :grin:

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Post by Cow31337Killer » 4 months ago

Rankle is one of those cards that is good by himself, but absolutely broken and downright oppressive when you add fast mana to the mix. Turn one Sol Ring or Mana Crypt into a turn two Rankle (or even turn one in some cases) leads to a game that's not even worth playing in my experience. Obviously this is just one of a thousand things that become absurd with fast mana though haha😅

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Post by gilrad » 4 months ago

I agree that even as a 75% commander focusing on reanimation, he's going to end up the archenemy simply because of the public information problem - what I like to call the Elesh Norn effect.

Any time he's in the command zone and his triggers have the potential to disrupt a players' plans, all removal is going to be saved for him. Opening hand with a utility dork and instant-speed removal? The kill spell will be saved for Rankle to protect the dude. Late game with one relevant card in hand and a removal spell? No trigger for Rankle. Multiply this for each player at the table and there's an increasingly high chance Rankle will get one or two triggers the whole game and that's it.

It sucks but it's kind of the fate of all disruption/removal commanders to be archenemy to some extent.

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Post by darrenhabib » 4 months ago

Cow31337Killer wrote:
4 months ago
Rankle is one of those cards that is good by himself, but absolutely broken and downright oppressive when you add fast mana to the mix. Turn one Sol Ring or Mana Crypt into a turn two Rankle (or even turn one in some cases) leads to a game that's not even worth playing in my experience. Obviously this is just one of a thousand things that become absurd with fast mana though haha😅
There are a bunch of 4 mana Commanders where that Turn 1 Sol Ring or Mana Crypt turns into a very hard to deal with game.
Brago, King Eternal, Arcum Dagsson, Urza, Lord High Artificer, Krenko, Mob Boss, Grand Arbiter Augustin IV, Mizzix of the Izmagnus, Captain Sisay, Rashmi, Eternities Crafter, Prime Speaker Vannifar all come to mind as one or two color commanders as you can get appropriate colors to cast for the second turn.
I will say that Rankle has a pretty good grip early on like these. Even with Yawgmoth I find that there is a wind-up period so not casting him on turn 2 in preference to other plays.

I did have a couple of games where I first or second turn played him, (Dark Ritual and Mox Diamond) and got the discard going and I was using Auntie's Snitch as a little combo to mitigate any card disadvantage. I got that one from looking at EDHREC :P. My opponents just couldn't play out any creatures until they got removal (as I had a recurring creature outlet in Dreadhorde Invasion) and by that stage it was too late as they had discarded too many resources to deal with him further, as I just cast him out again.
So there are games where you just get opponents. But it's not consistent by any means. The best way to describe is that it's a casual deck that makes you the most hated player on the planet, so good luck with that :P

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