As frustrating as mulching a Centaur Healer, another Mulch, a Lotleth Troll, and a Grisly Salvage can be it’s worth it for the times you Mulch two lands, a Griselbrand, and an Unburial Rights. Junk Reanimator still seems pretty good in the current RtR Standard meta as its 75 contains answers to lots of things: Centaur Healers, Lotleth Trolls, and Thragtusk vs. aggro; Angel of Serenity and Griselbrand vs. anything; Acidic Slime vs. enchantments and/or awkward mana requirements; Restoration Angel for refreshing any of the aforementioned threats (except Angel of Serenity); Deathrite Shaman and Purify the Grave vs. opposing graveyard based decks or things with flashback; etc. The main problem for a player like me who likes to gasbag (read: talk a lot and make jokes) while playing MTG is that this deck likes to push the limits of time in a round. If one is playing against any control (Bant, UB, etc.) or midrange (Jund, Bant, other Reanimators – Junk, RWGB – etc.) deck the long game, while we have good odds against them, the games take forever as evidenced by my experience at FNM this week.

4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Mulch
4 Unburial Rites
4 Farseek
2 Griselbrand
4 Thragtusk
1 Gavony Township
4 Grisly Salvage
3 Woodland Cemetery
4 Forest
3 Isolated Chapel
2 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
3 Restoration Angel
3 Centaur Healer
3 Lotleth Troll
1 Swamp
1 Vault of the Archangel
4 Angel of Serenity
2 Acidic Slime

2 Oblivion Ring
2 Divine Reckoning
2 Sever the Bloodline
2 Purify the Grave
2 Garruk, Primal Hunter
2 Deathrite Shaman
3 Ray of Revelation

Round 1 vs. Li’s Seance of Uthuun. Li’d been talking about this deck. Nick Heppding was trading for Seances (claims his is different). I haven’t played Li much, or maybe I have, since Delver rotated, and always look forward to playing my buds. I don’t really remember how game one went beyond Li casting Seance and Sphinx of Uthuun or some other douchey creature infinite times and me feeling insanely frustrated. Game two the sideboard plan included me siding into three Ray of Revelation, two Purify the Grave, and two Deathrite Shaman – siding out Healers, Tusks and maybe a Mulch. This does the trick and I win. I’m pretty sure had I played faster I could’ve won game three. An aggro player taking on a reanimator strategy leads to slow play and this, as we see and will see more of, is the key to me playing this deck: familiarize and SPEED UP. We’re at turns in game three, Li thinks he has the win but doesn’t because when the Seance trigger is on the stack targeting Sphinx I Purify it and we shake hands, Li in utter frustration, me sort of giggling. Li thinks he could’ve won with Mirror-Mad Phantasm and I tell him I’d have just purified it instead and he agrees the draw was the best outcome for him. I would’ve eventually won, ten or so minutes later, after attacking a bunch with whatever I wanted to attack with after ruining his graveyard and Seances. PLAY FASTER – less chatting and joking.

Round 2 vs. Richard’s RWGB Reanimator. This one also ends in a draw with some “this joke’s getting old” Thragtusk and Angel of Serenity mirror shenanigans. I laugh a good portion of the match. Richard gets me to one life on turn five. We tie and then I scoop to him and the 4-0s the event. This could’ve been won with faster play from me, too. I drop with the idea of going home and getting some rest. I stick around and talk more instead and am thusly tired today.

Luis and I talked a bit about what kinda decks I should play. He and I agree that GW aggro is probably my best bet, fits my play style, etc., it’s just … I don’t want to play GW aggro. I want to play reanimator. It’s like Modern Jund in that there’s a significant randomized fun factor built in – Modern Jund has Bloodbraid Elf and Standard Junk Reanimator has its graveyard practice (turn four Griselbrand!). The random power or flop of these strategies is a big part of why I love MTG. It’s much less straightforward, not so controlling, and has a huge fun factor (added to a list of powerful and excellent ways to win a match in a more normal fashion).

Two days have passed since the above was written and I feel the whole post comes down to this: Standard is an expensive game to play and it’s best, I think, that if you think you have a chance with a deck just practice the hell out of it. Pick up your speed. Get better at making decisions. Throwing a Craterhoof Behemoth in is probably a good idea too.

Until next time,

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