Are reanimator decks dead in Vintage? I tried to make one from a post I put out there some time ago asking about Bazaar of Baghdad beyond the Dredge deck.

Building a reanimator deck is hard in this format, more so that Legacy or Modern because Dredge exists now, and Vintage is a graveyard heavy format.

The hate for the graveyard is real and every deck has something to disrupt it either main deck or some significant sideboard cards.

I have been looking at various cards and I wanted to put this out there. Can a reanimator deck succeed in Vintage?

There are a variety of valid reasons people avoid Reanimator strategies in vintage - Dredge hate, Mental Misstep, other options like Oath ...

But to be perfectly honest, I don't think people have really put the work in to know for sure.

As much as it has against it, Reanimator doesn't really break the cardinal rule of brewing - "don't be a worse version of something else." Entomb+Reanimate->(Griselbrand or comparable) does something no commonly used vintage cards can do at that mana cost. Despite the drawbacks, I think that means it's worth looking at if you have interest in it. Legacy reanimator is probably a great place to look for inspiration.

Personally I might also look into an Oath/Reanimator hybrid - starting from the more traditional Griselbrand Oath decks and making it even faster/lower to the ground.

I tried to play Reanimator in a Power 9 Challenge in the summer - truth told, you fill your deck with really clunky do-nothing cards, and just get blown out by variance.

@13nova do you remember your list well enough to post it as a starting point?

The last time I brewed something, the deck looked a lot like the Legecy Sneak Attack deck with Animate Dead. I had 4 Griselbrand and I played around with value creatures like Thought-Knot Seer, Reality Smasher, Stormbreath Dragon and Hellkite Overlord.

I never found a good combination of creatures. My biggest challenge was figuring out the balance of speed and defense. It's like playing Storm, how much discard and counter magic do you need versus acceleration.

I'm not sure storm is a good place to start, really? With Storm decks you're assembling strings of cards, and playing big value spells to draw into multiples of everything. In reanimator you're just trying to get "Card A and Card B". This is a lot closer to how Oath, Painter, or Tezzeret operates than storm. I would look to those decks for inspiration first - I don't know that storm decks have the same challenges and advantages a reanimator deck would.

Good point, maybe that is where I went wrong. I am inspired by Zacama, Primal Calamity. I still like Sneak Attack and maybe Show and Tell.

Playing some discard spells and search spells are obviously required. I just cannot see the combination of how to put this together in this meta-game.

I have played against a Legacy reanimator list several times during informal MTGO Vintage tournaments. If the player added Power, I don't think it would have helped to be honest. All the Dredge/graveyard hate we already pack works just as well against reanimator.

@brass-man Sorry, I don't. I do recall it was Animate x4, Reanmate x4, entomb x4, with 2 or 3 griselbrands, an Iona, and the guy who's played in legacy that makes players discard hands.

One thing Im interested in Reanimator for is Goryo's Vengeance + Emrakul/Griselbrand. I think Goryo's Vengeance is superior to Animate Dead for its ability to put a hasty Emrakul into play. It's strong in Modern, though inconsistent.

It is an instant, which makes me worried about flusterstorm and other cards. The advantage of Animate Dead is the 2 - World Gorger Dragons that you play to just win.

last edited by moorebrother1

im running reanimator in a league right now. I won the first match, Turn 1 wins both times. First entomb gets Griselbrand and then with Grisel I just set up Goryo's + Emrakul.

Playing this list with Emrakuls over Chancellors, Goryo's over Exhumes and artifact mana. Seems promising. Definitely a more explosive Dark Ritual deck than Storm.

Turn 1 Ritual + Entomb + Goryo is good game.

pretty inconsistent though

last edited by Guest

@desolutionist said in Reanimator:
I'm having an issue seeing how you reanimate Emrakul. Do you put the graveyard shuffle on the stack then cast Goryo's Vengence?

last edited by moorebrother1

@moorebrother1 Yep. Emraku's trigger stacks automatically and then its just as simple as casting Goryo's.

With the path ya'll are going down, consider looking at Legacy Tin Fins

I haven’t tried straight Reanimator seriously in Vintage but I can safely say that Reanimate the card is extremely potent in a couple of my brews built a very specific way.

I built a straight reanimator/ storm deck that did well. 4x cabal ritual 4X dark rit, add artifact mana and go for it. plan A was reanimate. plan B was hard cast grizz. plan C was tendrils. It worked pretty well but it might just be the 2nd best graveyard strategy in vintage.


I don’t know about second best; since if you could stack your hand Reanimator would be a faster deck than dredge. I was playing against dredge yesterday and he had to turn one Cabal Therapy my Dark Ritual rather than play Bazaar just to be in the game

I have been working on a deck and the first thing that jumped out at me was the high number of 1 drops in the deck.

In Vintage, I generally avoid 1 drops now unless they are must play spells. Dark Ritual is not a must play spell but it is a must counter spell if someone has a Mental Misstep in hand.

Thoughtseize is another card this is awesome if it resolves but it is really bad in a lot of Vintage match ups now. Even against Shops, I do not like the card over Collective Brutality.

I'm curious about opinions on this belief I have about 1 drops in decks like this.

A local named Dan played Junk Reanimator in our proxy tournament yesterday. I don't know his record off hand but he finished 6/14 in Swiss + 1, so I'd guess that's 3-2. Here's his decklist. Sorry for the formatting - we ran out of deck-reg sheets, so he resorted to a page from his lifepad.

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