Prosper, Tome-Bound | Illustration by Yongjae Choi
I’ve been a Rakdos () player for more than 10 years now. The first deck I ever built myself was a Rakdos Cult deck during the original Return to Ravnica set. I love the way the archetype plays, not to mention the aesthetics and fun characters related to it.
That very love for Rakdos didn’t translate well when I started playing Commander about six years ago. The commanders that I found for the colors usually weren’t all that much fun, very tribal (I’m sorry goblins), or just plain bad compared to other colors. It took some time until it got truly solved with cards like Anje Falkenrath.
On the other hand, one of my all-time favorite Dungeons & Dragons class is warlock. Extremely fun concept, very malleable depending on what you want to play, and they’re certifiably the edgiest class on the game. So when I look at Prosper, Tome-Bound, what I see is a perfectly functional commander in my favorite color combination, with my favorite D&D class attached to it, and mechanics that actually feel very in-line with warlocks.
One of the things I have to give huge kudos to Wizards for is that the Planar Portal precon is absolutely incredible straight out of the box. It’s very powerful if you play it right and it brings some incredibly unique support for Prosper, Tome-Bound’s strategy.
I don’t personally like competitive EDH so I can’t say for certain if the Prosper-led deck I’ve got for you today could compete against the higher-end competitive decks. What I can say is that I’ve played this deck (with some slight changes due to personal preference) and it’s an absolute blast. It’s powerful and it feels chaotic and fresh every time you play it.
With all that said, let’s just get right into it!
Fevered Suspicion | Illustration by Rudy Siswanto
Dire Fleet Daredevil
Disciple of the Vault
Etali, Primal Storm
Florian, Voldaren Scion
Gonti, Lord of Luxury
Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos
Kalain, Reclusive Painter
Laelia, the Blade Reforged
Magda, Brazen Outlaw
Valki, God of Lies
Temple of Malice
Since Magic is a game that needs to be pretty clear with its wording and the areas where cards go, “exile” is the go-to place for cards that aren’t in the regular areas (graveyard, battlefield, hand, library). That means that any spell with weird, alternate ways to cast it, like adventures, foretell, cards stolen with your creatures or spells, etc., all go to exile.
So the two interconnected strategies of the deck are simple: exile as many spells as you can so you can play them, and have as many ways to create or take advantage of tokens as you possibly can.
The most important thing about Prosper, Tome-Bound is that it’s an engine. Its two abilities make it a pretty powerful card on its own as part of the 99 in any other deck. Impulse draw for free at the end of your turn, you get to play that card on your next turn, and if you do you get free mana. It really is a beast of a card. But it’s also incredibly easy to build around.
This is the main body of the deck. Most of the cards in this list have a way to play cards from exile, whether it be themselves, other cards you own, or your opponents. These cards include:
- Chaos Wand
- Conspiracy Theorist
- Draugr Necromancer
- Dire Fleet Daredevil
- Dream Devourer
- Etali, Primal Storm
- Florian, Voldaren Scion
- Gonti, Lord of Luxury
- Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos
- Izzet Chemister
- Murderous Rider
- Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor
- Wild-Magic Sorcerer
- Dead Man’s Chest
- Share the Spoils
- Stolen Strategy
- Theater of Horrors
- Valakut Exploration
- Chaos Warp
- Commune with Lava
- Hurl Through Hell
- Poison the Cup
- You Find Some Prisoners
- Spinerock Knoll
- Chandra, Torch of Defiance
- Fevered Suspicion
- Ignite the Future
- Light Up the Stage
- Reckless Impulse
- Throes of Chaos
- Volcanic Torrent
That’s 32 cards that let you play cards from exile in one way or another. These are the main engine of your deck, and a lot of them also play other roles in the deck like removal, board wipes, or game-turning spells.
The other big thing for this deck is Treasure. I’d dare say that this list will be a bit obsolete by the time New Capenna comes out considering the huge amount of support Treasure tokens are getting with this new set.
In any case, this part of the deck cares about creating Treasure tokens, making them even more useful than they already are, or rewarding you for sacrificing them.
Some of the most important cards here are Disciple of the Vault, Marionette Master, and Reckless Fireweaver. These don’t win with one grandiose shot but rather through death by a thousand cuts. Play a ton of spells from exile, create a ton of Treasure to damage your opponents, then sacrifice those Treasures to deal more damage and cast more spells and so on and so forth.
In short, these make your Treasures more useful than just one-time mana generators. Not like that’s bad, anyway.
This is a very chaos-adjacent deck. It’s not a full-on chaos deck that makes everything go wild, but it’s not one of those decks that work like snipers, taking out opponents in very calculated and sure-fire ways. This is a bit more wild. It wouldn’t be Rakdos if it wasn’t.
A well-played and lucky Fevered Suspicion can be pretty close to a game-ender, but it almost exclusively depends on stealing the right cards at the right time.
Blasphemous Act is a must-have for any Commander deck that plays red, so I’m not gonna talk about it much more than that.
What could be a way more fun card to play here is Volcanic Torrent. It isn’t all that great at first glance. Dealing two damage to each creature and planeswalker for five mana isn’t perfect, but keep in mind this deck aims to cast a ton of spells per turn, some of them even for free, and that can make this card way more powerful than it may seem at first.
I play my Prosper deck with relatively few lands thanks to the huge amount of Treasure tokens you get to put into play. Keep in mind that playing lands from exile will still give you a Treasure if you have Prosper on the battlefield, so having a few more lands in the deck can actually be really helpful.
I know a lot of players like to cut Zhalfirin Void from this deck, but I think having a scry land or two in a deck that exiles cards from the top of your own library really good. Which also justifies the addition of Temple of Malice.
Liquimetal Torque made its way into the deck thanks to all the cards that care about artifacts both on your own side and your opponents’. Might as well turn one of your opponents’ creatures into an artifact and net yourself an extra Treasure if you’re gonna play Dockside Extortionist. It can also be very useful to you can deal with a problem creature when playing Vandalblast.
Inspiring Statuary isn’t technically a rock but it’ll help turn all your tokens into reusable sources of colorless mana for your spells, which is always helpful.
Marionette Master | Illustration by James Ryman
I think I’ve made it pretty clear at this point that the strategy is to keep Prosper, Tome-Bound in play as much as you can and exile anything and everything you can get your hands on, then play those cards from exile. This’ll give you tons of Treasure, and from there you can rinse and repeat.
But you’ll still have tons of ways to play even if Prosper, Tome-Bound isn’t in play. All your impulse draw can keep you a step ahead in the match and you still have a ton of ways to create and use Treasure tokens.
I believe I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a huge fan of combos and combo decks. I like fun interactions between cards, which this deck has a ton of, but not combos. I’m sure you can use the cards in the deck to build a nice combo, but I didn’t delve into that space.
Rule 0 Violations Checks
It’s worth noting that Hellkite Tyrant could count as a Rule 0 violation. I don’t personally consider it to be that, but some players might not like that you can cheat it into play with Magda, Brazen Outlaw and instantly win so be sure to check beforehand.
The only card I’d cut for budget reasons is Dockside Extortionist. Whatever you choose to replace it with should be focused on Treasures. Something like Revel in Riches can net you a quick win and it’s still a decent Treasure generator.
Next in line would be Goldspan Dragon, but the truth is that there’s nothing that can properly fill its spot. You can replace it with something along the lines of Skullport Merchant which can still allow you to take advantage of your Treasures but in a different way.
Most of the other cards are within the $10 range which I consider reasonable.
I don’t think Prosper, Tome-Bound can be taken in a lot of different directions. Its two abilities are very specific and work perfectly together. You can obviously change the cards that I included in my decklist and could arguably take the deck in a more Treasure-centric path.
Inspiring Statuary | Illustration by Kirsten Zirngibl
As you may have noticed from this list, a lot of the cards in this deck are actually from the Planar Portal precon. And my honest recommendation is that you start by getting that. It’s an incredible out-of-the-box deck with tons of incredible support for its commander.
Prosper, Tome-Bound is one of my favorite commanders so far. It’s super interesting, it has mechanically solid abilities, and it’s just a pleasure to play with all around.
But enough about me. What do you think? Do you like Prosper as a commander? Have you found ways to build it without focusing too much on exiling or Treasures? Let me know in the comments below or find us over on the Draftsim Twitter.
That’s all from me for now. Have a good one, and I’ll see you next time!
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