Conditions Allow - Akul the Unrepentant EDH

Ben Doolittle • May 19, 2024

Akul the Unrepentant by Kekai Kotaki

Akul Unrepentant to the End

Welcome back to Conditions Allow, where I take a legendary creature with a drawback and build a deck to turn it into a strength. This week I'm getting the gang back together on Thunder Junction to brew around one of the central antagonists of the set, Akul the Unrepentant.

Akul the Unrepentant is a four-mana 5/5 with flying and trample with the ability to put any creature directly from your hand by sacrificing three other creatures, but you can only do this once per turn as a sorcery. Unlike similar commanders, like Ilharg, the Raze-Boar or Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded, you don't lose your big creature at end of turn. Akul the Unrepentant also doesn't require any additional mana, making it much easier for you to protect your big beaters. Three creatures is a steep cost, though, and being limited to sorcery-speed means you can't surprise opponents in combat. It also makes the fact that Akul doesn't grant those creatures haste especially apparent. Still, putting creatures into play for free is strong no matter how you're doing it. First, though, you're going to need a few spare creatures lying around.

The Rule of Threes

My first thought was to lean on small, recursive creatures, like Bloodghast and Reassembling Skeleton. In testing, however, I found that it took too long to assemble three of these creatures in play, even with the help of token-producers. Instead, I'm leaning on creatures that create two or more tokens when they enter the battlefield. This smooths out the early turns of the game tremendously, since you can focus on ramping or setting up your card advantage engines. Then, you can easily create three bodies to sacrifice the turn after you cast Akul the Unrepentant

These army-in-a-can creatures also help offset the natural card disadvantage of Akul the Unrepentant's ability. Even if you can sacrifice Bloodsoaked Champion and Skyclave Shade multiple times, it still requires an initial commitment of three cards from your hand. Redcap Gutter-Dweller, on the other hand, gets you there with a single card, which also makes it much easier for Smothering Abomination and Liliana, Dreadhorde General to net actual card advantage.

Finally, not all of these creatures need to be simple sacrifice fodder. Abhorrent Overlord can set Akul the Unrepentant up for several turns, and Myr Battlesphere still knows how to end games. Even something more fragile, like Riders of the Mark, helps to keep the pressure up while still leaving a body or two behind for more traditional threats.

The Best of the Worst

When it comes to big, scary creatures, there's no shortage of options for the discerning Rakdos player. I'm including as many creatures as possible that keep you moving towards your next threat. Bladewing, Deathless Tyrant makes all the tokens you could need, while Rakdos, Patron of Chaos and Harvester of Souls make sure you find your next threat. Rune-Scarred Demon and Razaketh, the Foulblooded are even more direct, putting exactly what you need into your hand.

If you need pure damage, however, then you can't do much better than Archon of Cruelty. Etali, Primal Storm lets you sneak the biggest threats from your opponents' decks into play as well, while Ancient Brass Dragon brings back anything that ends up in graveyards. That could be your opponents' creatures again, your own big threats, or just the little token-makers you had to sacrifice along the way. 

Right Tools for the Job

With all this sacrificing, it only makes sense to include a few include a few extra ways to profit when your creatures hit the graveyard. Not many effects let you draw when tokens die, so I'm including every one that does. Drawing three cards with Smothering Abomination alongside a free Rakdos, Patron of Chaos is a great way to never run out of cards.

... which is perfect, because you want to find a haste-enabler as fast as possible. Akul the Unrepentant doesn't let your creatures attack right away, and you don't want to wait around for a Day of Judgment. Lavaspur Boots and Lightning Greaves also hedge against targeted removal, which this deck is also vulnerable to. 

With that in mind, I'm also including a few ways to help your creatures weather a little removal. Living Death is especially fun because it brings back all your token-makers as well. Your opponents will be worried about big Demons, so they may not be prepared to stop a hasty army of Elemental, Eldrazi, and Zombie tokens.

Throw in some ramp and removal, and here's the final list.

Commander (1)
Creatures (31)
Artifacts (10)
Enchantments (3)
Planeswalkers (1)
Sorceries (7)
Instants (10)
Lands (37)

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We've had a few iterations on a fair Sneak Attack in the command zone now, and I'm still not sure Wizards has managed to pull it off. Even with all the restrictions placed on Akul the Unrepentant, he's still fast and powerful. He's also relatively flexible, depending on the creatures you choose to sneak into play. 

What do you think, though? Are there any cards or synergies I've overlooked? How would you build Akul the Unrepentant? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading!

Ben was introduced to Magic during Seventh Edition and has played on and off ever since. A Simic mage at heart, he loves being given a problem to solve. When not shuffling cards, Ben can be found lost in a book or skiing in the mountains of Vermont.