In order to be a truly good Legacy player you need to be familiar with what decks that you will be playing against in addition to your own deck.  Starting this week I am going to start reviewing various popular Legacy decks to help people become more familiar with them.  I’ve written about quite a few already including many different Post decks, Dredge, Aluren, Infect and a few others but want to expand on that to help new (and even old players) better understand the decks that they are playing against.  This week I’ll be starting that new chapter by discussing Reanimator.


Reanimator is a classic Legacy deck that has been around for quite some time and consistantly does pretty well.  As many of you probably already know there are many different decks that focus on this same strategy of bringing creatures back from the graveyard such as Tin Fins and Dredge but I’m going to solely focus on U/B and B/R Reanimator for this week.


Traditionally U/B Reanimator works by using discard (in the form of Careful Study) or Entomb to put a creature card into the graveyard.  Most often  that creature is Griselbrand but sometimes is Sire of Insanity, Elesh Norn, Iona, Jin-Gitaxis, Sphinx of the Steel Wind or any other really overpowered creature you can think of.  Griselbrand is most popular due to its ability to draw cards and gain life but in various match-ups quite often the others will be favored.

After getting the creature into the graveyard Reanimator uses cards like Exhume, Reanimate, Animate Dead, or Shallow Grave (or a mix of any of the above) to cheat their big honkin’ creature into play.  It is very similar to a lot of other Legacy decks that are really just focused on trying to cheat a fatty into play.  It is also very popular to use Show and Tell in some U/B reanimator lists as it is another on color way of getting a fatty into play quickly.  It can be a bad play against some decks, such as Post or Show and Tell decks since often what they will drop off a Show and Tell will most likely be more powerful than the creatures that Reanimator will be looking to bring in.


U/B Reanimator decks also run cards such as Brainstorm and Ponder to help dig to what they need faster.  Lotus Petal also helps them get a turn one or turn two fatty more often.  In addition they normally run Force of Will and Daze and also occasionally Stifle to not only buy themselves more time but also to make their deck stronger overall.


The best form of hate against U/B Reanimator is graveyard hate. Leyline of the Void, Rest in Peace, Tormod’s Crypt, Relic of Progenitus, etc are all cards that really shut Reanimator down.  Between Reanimator and Dredge alone I find it’s silly to run a deck without graveyard hate unless you’re running a deck t6hat is graveyard dependant.  Surgical Extraction and Extirpate are also great options since they can take out all of the decks Griselbrands for instance.  Traditional blue hate can be good as well such as Force of Will, Daze, Counterspell, etc but remember that they run their own countermagic and you don’t want to end up in a counter-war.


Another popular version of Reanimator that has been seeing more play lately is B/R reanimator which has a few key differences from it’s U/B cousin.  B/R is much more focused on going off turn one but because of that it does not have the card dig or countermagic found in it’s U/B counterpart.  For dig it only has Faithless Looting which also helps it discard one of its fatties (normally they are very similar to U/B Reanimator except you might also see Chancellor of the Annex in their lists to help with the fact they do not run countermagic).  To help go off on Turn one you will see a lot of lists with Simian Spirit Guides, Lotus Petals and Dark Rituals.

They still run Entomb, Exhume, Reanimate, and Animate Dead to bring creature back in the same way as U/B.  Instead of Show and Tell you’ll sometimes find a couple copies of Sneak Attack in the sideboard and you’re more likely to find Thoughtseize maindeck to either get rid of hate to help them go off, or to get a creature out of their hand.  Collective Brutality from Eldritch Moon has also been seeing some hate since it has the escalate ability which lets them discard cards in addition to paying the mana cost to perform more abilities which include letting them eat their opponents hand a bit, killing a creature or gaining life (which counts when you’re running Reanimate).


Hating on B/R reanimator is the same as with U/B except countermagic is far more effective due to their lack of access to countermagic themselves.  Their sideboard often runs Blood Moon and Sneak Attack for the grindy match-ups so if your deck falls into that category I strongly recommend some enchantment removal.


Without a doubt Reanimator is a tier one deck that sees quite a bit of play.  It’s a deck that is important to be familiar with since it can win very quickly.  If you have any more questions about Reanimator hit me up on Twitter @BeauteCoulisses!

Kate hails from Worcester MA and also does a bit of Card Altering. Check her Stuff out on Facebook! She mainly plays legacy and modern though will occasionally find herself playing EDH. 

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