Thursday, October 31, 2019

Reanimating Reanimator

On October 9th I posted about trying out a Reanimator deck:
I started to get interested in net-decking a UB reanimator deck when my best friend pointed me at his Grixis reanimator deck on his Untapped profile. This deck is massively different from anything I've tried before, including trying to run with three colours, but my friend is really smart and good at MtG so I copied his deck list into Arena and spent my stored up wildcards to craft the necessary cards. (Lucky for me I already had three Drakuseth cards in my collection because "hey big dragon!".)
It was quite a mind bender at first, trying to figure out what to discard, when to surveil, how to survive, what lands I needed when, etc but after 12 games in regular play I felt I had gotten the knack of it, so I'm going to try this deck out in Standard Ranked to see if it can help propel me higher than Gold.

But things didn't work out and I ended up going with Mono-black deck to get to platinum:
Last week I talked about how I was going to use my friend's Grixis Reanimator deck to try and climb the standard ranked ladder. It started out ok and I climbed into high silver but then stalled and fell a little. Basically, in many game I had a lot of trouble making all the moving pieces get into the right place before I died: Bond of Revival in hand, Drakuseth or Agent of Treachery in the graveyard, mana to cast it... and even if all the pieces were ready one kill spell or counter spell could spell my ruin. Don't get me wrong; when it works, it works really really well at turning games around, but lacking any life gain or ways to handle big creatures while I set up was severely hurting me. I tried some minor modifications but didn't really help the major weakness: just too slow to get going most of the time.

Since I made the goal last week I've been experimenting with new decks and really trying to find that sweet spot with a Reanimator deck focusing around my favourite dragon Drakuseth, and his constant companion Agent of Treachery.

This deck is where we left off. I had exchanged the Merchant of the Vale for the Murderous Rider for the kill/lifegain combo in hopes of giving me more time to get the Drakuseth/Bond of Revival going, but it made little difference.

 This deck goes straight Blue Black so no chance on casting Drakuseth right from the hand as a last resort, but beefs up with more creatures like Fae of Wishes, Brazen Borrower, Tomebound Lich, and the Doom Whisperer. This deck could survive longer with all the creatures while searching and discarding to set up the reanimating coup de grace, but I found it too slow at times and limited in discard ability. The Fae of Wishes seemed like a good idea but more often than not was too slow to fetch anything useful from the sideboard (usually Unmoored Ego).

 This was my attempt to speed up the setup by adding two Discovery cards which Surveils 2 and then draws a card.

The Doom Whisperer is nice with the built in pay 2 life to surveil 2, as well as being a threat as a 6/6 Trample-Flyer (sometimes reanimating him from the graveyard was game winning enough), but I felt he was competing with Drakuseth too much and exchanged him out for our favourite prankster, Rankle. He can attack two turns sooner than Doom Whipsy because he has haste, gives me an option to discard a card if he hits the other player, and can force a creature sacrifice. I also traded out some creatures for Cry of the Carnarium to give me from respite from small creatures overwhelming me early. In the end, though, these decks still seemed too slow to get to where I needed to be: reanimating Darkuseth to sweep the field and force the enemy to concede.

Some other decks I looked at included this one that went back to spells to hold the enemy off and left out Agent of Treachery altogether.

And this one that used Niv-Mizzet to push to the goal as a card draw / discard as well as big creature. Very interesting was that Bond of Insight spell which puts 4 cards in the graveyard and then lets me take two Sorcery/Instant cards to my hand from the graveyard.

I didn't have the wildcards to make those decks happen though but I took some of the ideas and combined them to create this current deck:

It looks more like where I started with the Ritual of Soot and Legion's End cards, very useful for surviving the early game along with Cry of the Carnarium, but with added Bond of Insight and Connive/Concoct cards. The former helps with the setup of the graveyard and finding Bond of Revival, while the latter either helps me survive by stealing a creature, or can be used like a slower Bond of Revival reanimation when I need it. After all, Agent of Treachery's big pay off is simply entering the battlefield.

I've got the Tomebound Lich as a possible replacement for the Merchant of the Vale as a creature with draw and discard functionality in the sideboard. I really liked this creature for the defensive ability of the deathtouch, but didn't like how I was forced to draw and discard when he enters the battlefield and attacks. Sometimes I'm happy with my cards, you know? So we will see how it goes from here first.

This current iteration is 3-1 in four quick play games, not enough for a strong indication of how well its working but I'm hopeful. We will see how it goes.

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