One of my all-time favorite strategies is Reanimator. Putting a huge fatty into the graveyard and bringing it back on the cheap is a ton of fun, and leaves your opponent scrambling to find an answer. These days, reanimation tools are nowhere near where they used to be, but the strategy is still undeniably powerful. There are two reasons why I feel that Reanimator may be viable in Standard today, and that is what I will be talking about today.
First, allow me to briefly explain the concept of Reanimator. This is a combo deck that involves discarding a very powerful and very expensive creature into your graveyard, and then summoning it using another card that says to bring a creature back from your graveyard to the battlefield. Usually, this means that you will be paying far less for the creature, and will be able to use it to overwhelm your opponent before they can assemble enough resources to handle it. One of the best examples of this is Legacy Reanimator, which can have a Griselbrand in play as early as turn 1 given the right opening hand.
Reanimator in Standard is a far cry from decks of ages past. Reanimation spells have gotten much worse, going from 1 mana to 5 mana through cards such as Rise from the Grave. However, thanks to the slower pace of Standard, this doesn’t mean that Reanimator is out of the question even though the rate is much worse. With a high enough density of good targets and decent reanimation spells, this deck could very well be viable.
One of my first reasons for wanting to explore Reanimator in Standard is because of The Eldest Reborn. This card is a value engine in a single card, and given enough time is simply 3 for 1. The last chapter of the saga is what intrigued me, however, as you can pitch something incredibly powerful and bring it back without having to pay any mana for it. The Eldest Reborn is really slow though, and in some situations, you may be dead before you even get a chance to get to the third chapter.
This is where my second reason for playing Reanimator comes in, and that is because of Connive // Concoct. A 5 mana reanimation spell is already on rate for Standard, and being tacked onto a conditional Mind Control is very sweet upside. With these 2 cards serving as the backbone of our reanimation, we can have really sweet turns where we can bring back 2 fatties at the same time. But Reanimator is only as good as the targets it brings back, fortunately for us, this Standard season is packed with massive creatures that can singlehandedly win the game on their own.
One of the first cards that come to mind is Pelakka Wurm. It’s restrictive casting cost usually keeps it from seeing too much play outside of mono green. Reanimator doesn’t care about pips, however, and this allows us to play a card that can singlehandedly turn around an aggro matchup. Another great card to bring back on the cheap would have to be Zetalpa, Primal Dawn. This indestructible dino puts a huge clock on your opponent, and can only be removed via very specific cards, many of which aren’t seeing play at the moment.
The last target to reanimate largely depends on whether you choose to splash white or not. For the time being, I believe that straight UB is the way to go, as there is little to reason to play white. However, thanks to the brand new card Emergency Powers in Ravnica Allegiance, splashing white may actually be correct. In the UB version of the deck you want to play Nezahal, the Primal Tide as this is a very powerful card that can be reanimated but also can be hard cast in a pinch. If we were splashing white, however, I would much rather play Chromium as it is much easier to protect, and has evasion.
With Allegiance coming out soon, hopefully, we will see some other cards that could see play in this style of deck. Orzhov is notorious for bringing things back from the dead, and if they print one more good reanimation card this deck might actually become real. In the meantime, you can enjoy a deck that has many powerful plays, and get to cheat out the timmiest of creatures. Thank you all for reading, I hope you have a great week and an amazing Tuesday!
Link to Decklist: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/1533401#paper