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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Aug 28 2017 12:00pm
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Reanimator has been a namesake archetype in magic for quite some time now. I believe it all started when the actual card Reanimate was printed in Tempest block. Reanimator is a combo deck centered around throwing big creatures such as Iona, Shield of Emeria or InkWell Leviathan (or in the case of Pauper, Ulamog's Crusher usually) into the graveyard and using reanimation spells such as Exhume or Reanimate to get them back as fast as turn 1 or 2 and win the game.


This deck is not a dedicated reanimator deck however. The archetype I am bringing you today is a UB Tempo deck with Striped Riverwinder as the main win condition. The big plan of this deck is to get the big serpent into your graveyard quickly and then use Exhume to bring it back on turn 2, then a few swings later, you win the game. Let's break the deck down piece by piece and see what this deck is made of.


UB Reanimator
- 75 Cards Total
1 Augur of Bolas
4 Gurmag Angler
4 Striped Riverwinder
9 cards

4 Brainstorm
4 Counterspell
2 Dispel
2 Gush
2 Mental Note
1 Rush of Vitality
1 Think Twice
4 Thought Scour
3 Vapor Snag
23 cards
3 Exhume
3 Ponder
6 cards

1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 cards
4 Delver of Secrets
4 cards

3 Ash Barrens
4 Dismal Backwater
9 Island
1 Swamp
17 cards

2 Aura Flux
1 Deep Analysis
1 Deprive
1 Dispel
2 Nihil Spellbomb
2 Shrivel
3 Spontaneous Mutation
2 Stormbound Geist
1 Vampiric Link
15 cards


The Creatures

Striped Riverwinder – This is your main win condition. It is great because it cycles for only a single blue and you can return it to play with Exhume as quickly as turn 2. The fact that it has Hexproof is also icing on the cake because there is an extremely small chance it will never die. You can also just cast it for its full mana cost and it will still be a good threat.


Gurmag Angler – The Zombie Fish shows itself again. With 4 Thoughtscour and 2 Mental Note, it should be easy to cast this big creature extremely quickly and put your opponent on a ton of pressure.


Augur of Bolas – A great creature to play early and it also helps you look for a Counterspell or an Exhume.


Delver of Secrets – It isn't the most crucial creature in this deck and I sideboard them out a lot because they aren't very powerful and turn on removal for your opponent that otherwise would be dead draws, but game 1 when you are trying to just do your thing and win quickly, Delver will get the job done.


The Spells

Counterspell – This deck has nothing in the way of removal and so you need a way to not only keep your creatures from dying, but also keep threats off the board so that they can get through for damage.


Brainstorm, Gush and Ponder – These are your draw spells. Ponder is better than Preordain here because being able to shuffle is a good combo with Brainstorm and being able to see 3 cards deep instead of 2 can be huge when trying to set up. Brainstorm is great because it combos with Mental Note and you have a lot of shuffling effects and then you have Gush because you don't need a lot of mana to work with and being able to draw 2 cards for free helps a ton when trying to resolve multiple spells in a turn.


Mental Note and Thought Scour – They help you fill the graveyard quickly help you cast Gurmag Angler, while also being a very good combo with Brainstorm and Ponder.


Think Twice – A good quick way to draw a couple of cards at instant speed and combos well with Mental Note because you can use its Flashback ability.


Exhume – This is one of the big cards of this archetype. Being able to cycle a Striped Riverwinder on turn 1 and get it back with Exhume on turn 2 is a really big play, but being able to return a Striped Riverwinder or a Gurmag Angler is what this deck does best.


Nihil Spellbomb – One of the downsides of Exhume is that it can help your opponent as well. Nihil Spellbomb helps to counter that interaction and draws you a card in the process.


Dispel – A quick and good way to protect your creatures or force through a key spell for only 1 blue mana.


Rush of Vitality – I love this card because not only does it protect one of your creatures and counter a removal spell, it gives Lifelink and that is huge when you are trying to prolong the game against any opponent that has you on the ropes.


Vapor Snag – This is a good way of getting a creature off the board and out of the way for your big monsters to swing in for damage. You also make your opponent lose 1 life in the process and you will find that the little points of life add up quickly.


The Manabase is very typical and there is not much to touch on. I will say that you want Ash Barrens over Evolving Wilds because you can use it as a regular land to cast your spells and that does come up eventually.


The Sideboard

2 Aura Flux – Bogles is really just not a good matchup for you and this helps to try and win that particular matchup.


1 Deep Analysis – A great way to fight in the long game against any control deck. Being able to draw cards for basically free (the 3 life can matter) because of the Flashback ability will help a ton in the long run.


1 Deprive – When you need a 5th copy of Counterspell, this is your best option.


1 Dispel – When you need another cheap way to fight removal or a counter war, this is your best option.


2 Nihil Spellbomb – A great way to fight any graveyard strategy you might come across. However if you find yourself against an aggro deck, it might be a good idea to bring in one of these to help out your Exhumes.


2 Nausea – This helps when fighting against Elves, Tokens, Goblins, Faeries or anything that swarms with 1 toughness creatures.


3 Spontaneous Mutation – Since you are putting so many cards into your graveyard so quickly, this is a great way to make a creature useless for your opponent and only for the cost of 1 mana. It also has Flash which can help a ton when trying to get your opponent to fall for a big play.


2 Stormbound Geist – This is a great creature to fight in the air with and it takes 2 removal spells to kill. It is also a great counter to any edict effects.


1 Vampiric Link – I love this card because it fights any aggro deck or any red mage in general. I might suggest to throw in a second one because it helps so much.


The Videos


Verdict and Conclusion

I find this deck to be fun, but I am personally not a big fan of the deck. I am not big on decks that self mill in this format and never have been. I will say that this deck continues to surprise me the more I play it, but I do have some gripes with it.


I don't like how this deck has no removal (such as Doom Blade for example) and the only way to remove a creature from the battlefield is to use Vapor Snag and although the loss of 1 life is good, I'd rather kill the creature instead. I know that your win conditions are big and hard to kill, but if an opponent swarms you with creatures, they can build up enough of a board to block your big dudes with multiple creatures or just throw them in the way and go around them instead. I hate that your creatures do not have trample as well and I feel that is a big problem here because as I said, any good aggro deck will just keep throwing blockers in front of you until they swing enough to kill you.


I feel that the regular Angler Delver archetype is better than this. It has more control elements and better card draw, as well as actual removal to deal the board state. While I do not claim to be an expert and KungFuTrees is better than I am, I do not feel I can recommend this deck and would tell you to go with Angler Delver instead.


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Thank you all so much for reading and watching! See you guys next time!