My girlfriend hates zombies, the undead, and frankly most gross things (or gross as far as non-necromancers are concerned). Not me! I’m a big fan of those things when it comes to movies and boy did I love me a Zombies deck back during pre-RTR cycle Standard. But the Undead, Angels, Beast, and Demons are a real problem in standard right now. Games are once more grindy time consuming…well, grinds. Something has to give.

It’s that part of the format when for two weeks everyone LOSES THEIR GODDAMNED MIND and stops playing graveyard hate in their sideboards. One thing leads to another and suddenly, everyone is casting Unburial Rites on Angel of Serenity or Griselbrand and people start shouting about how it’s not fair that Griselbrand is a card. It’s marginally terrible for half a month then we all collectively play maindeck Deathrite Shaman and things get back to “normal”.

Today I’ll highlight the best graveyard hate cards for the top decks in the format. Every deck has an answer of some kind and there many options/strategies if you want to stop Dan_Brown.dec from winning.

In your next Standard tourney, you’ll likely find yourself up against a deck that abuses the graveyard. Depending on your deck you’re gonna need a way to interact with your opponent’s most important resource.

Currently, I’m piloting Esper Control and Prime Speaker Bant. I’m favoring Esper Control this week. My deck looks like this:

1 Obzedat, Ghost Council
1 Restoration Angel
2 Snapcaster Mage
4 Augur of Bolas

4 Azorious Charm
3 Think Twice
1 Murder
2 Tribute to Hunger
1 Victim of Night
1 Ultimate Price
2 Supreme Verdict
2 Terminus
2 Dissipate
2 Syncopate
2 Planar Cleansing
4 Sphinx’s Revelation

1 Jace, Memory Adept

3 Isolated Chapel
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Drowned Catacombs
3 Watery Grave
3 Godless Shrine
3 Hallowed Fountain
4 Nephalia Drownyard
1 Islands
1 Plains

3 Rest in Peace
2 Purify the Grave
2 Evil Twin
2 Jace, Memory Adept
2 Negate
1 Appetite for Brains
2 Supreme Verdict
1 Obzedat, Ghost Council

Thanks to my creature control heavy deck, I’m able to focus my board at both Junk and Jund. The mill plan can start to look a little dicey when your opponent is filling his yard with fatties. With Rites being just as effective in the yard as the hand it’s important to run countermagic. Purify the Grave works as spot removal for the times you don’t have a Rest in Peace or counters. Junk has ways to get rid of Rest in Peace. Acidic Slime plus Cavern of Souls means you’ll need to hold those PtG’s as a just-in-case measure. Knowing that they have a plan against your plan—and having a plan for that plan—means you’re two steps ahead. Esper has a good matchup vs aggro if you can last through turn five. You have countermagic (YOU MUST HOLD THIS FOR RAKDOS’ RETURN) against Jund and Naya. American Flash is a bit of a problem but you have maindeck ways to deal with Geist. So you have a leg up there.

Prime Speaker Bant has many of the same outs as Esper but you have the added bonus of casting your Angels of Serenity after your opponent Unburial Rites theirs into play. This match can be a real grind. I’m not entirely positive that you shouldn’t be running a Craterhoof or two yourself here to provide a much-improved clock. You have the mana dorks and the midrange creatures, why not smash a beast down and trample your opponent the way he was gonna trample you?

Other decks have their own outs. Jund decks can run Ground Seal, has a proactive strategy in Slaughter Games, but also can react with Cremate and Beckon Apparition. Blue’s answers are slightly more awkward. You can bounce creatures that get reanimated. That’s okay, but Angel, Griselbrand, and Craterhoof all get massive value upon entering play. Red has…well Red has Tormod’s Crypt. Which is a fine option for Red’s win by turn five or six plan. A little disruption goes a long way, so it’s possible that Red’s best graveyard hate could be Electrickery. Kill the dorks and try to do 20 damage as fast as you can.

Frankly, I like angels, beasts, and demons, and I adore the undead, but I can not abide by this current meta. Stack your decks with cardboard “Boom Sticks” and let’s get through these dark times. Together we will survive the Reanimator apocalypse.

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