Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Making Magic in the Arena - Sultai Reanimator

One of the best parts about this new Core Set 2020 is the way that it's opened up a ton of new possibility space for deck building in standard, to the point where I get to try new strategies that I've always wanted to, but could never get to work quite right.

This reanimator deck is one example. There haven't been many of either good resurrection targets, or spells in Standard while I've been playing. With the introduction of Core Set (and War of the Spark), there are enough of each that a viable deck can be built.

The decklist can be found here.

The first thing you'll notice is that despite having Drakuseth in the deck, which requires 4RRR to cast, we don't have a single Red mana source in our deck. That's because he'll be our reanimation target. His stat line and ability are such that one he does hit the board, it'll only take a few big swings to quickly clean up and opponent's board by wiping away small creatures and hitting for face.

As for how we'll do that, Bond of Revival is the choice spell. It may be a 5-drop, but it has the benefit of giving Drakuseth haste, so he can immediately swing in. When I first saw the deck, I was surprised not to see Blood for Bones on the list, but since there's an overall lack of creatures in the deck, and the card doesn't give Haste, I understand why the deck doesn't use it.

Most of the rest of the deck's goal is to assemble these two key pieces, cycling through the deck for Bond of Revival while (hopefully) pitching Drakuseth before we get to a point where we can cast it for a speedy win. This makes it something akin to a combo deck in that sense. There's also some spot removal in the form of Tyrant's Scorn and a few board clears like Cry of the Carnarium and Ritual of Soot to deal with aggressive decks. Tomebound Lick also servers double duty in this respect, sifting through the deck while also being a solid blocker in most situation.

But another key star of the show, the reason why this otherwise Dimir deck splashes for Green, is Tamiyo, Collector of Tales. This has the benefit of protecting us from enemy discard and sacrifice effects, but that's merely a side effect. The real benefit is her +1 ability to both filter out unneeded cards (and hopefully Drakuseth) while getting to those Bonds of Revival quickly. In addition, her -3 allows her to reuse that card over and over until Drakuseth can stick onto the board, or if he keeps getting removed.

In terms of winning, it's a bit hit-or-miss, but it's fun and I had a great time running it.

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