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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Apr 08 2021 12:00pm
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The last time I talked about a Reanimator deck, we took a look at an all-in Grixis version. This time around, we are going straight Dimir, but this time, we are looking at a straight control version, with a tiny Reanimator shell.

While you do have 4 copies of Exhume in the list we will be looking at, the core of this version is a typical Dimir control shell that doesn’t mind going a little into the late game. Eventually, you will end up casting your big win conditions or you can cycle Striped Riverwinder as quickly as turn 1 and then use Exhume as quickly as turn 2. So this time around, you can win the game quickly or you can actually play a normal game of Magic the Gathering.

The deck doesn’t mind going to the late game, but you also don’t want the game going too late. The reason I say this, is because you don’t actually have enough “stuff”. You have some removal spells and counter spells, that is true, but if you hit a small patch of lands or if your opponent goes a little too wide, you can end up getting overwhelmed quickly. While yes you are a control deck, you want the game over rather quickly if you can do it.

The list we will be looking at today was piloted by MrWishyWashy and was part of the 5-0 dump from 3/3/2020. I could keep going and butter you all up, but instead I will just get into the list.


Striped Riverwinder – Here is your main win condition of the deck. It is on the expensive side to cast, but it is big and has Hexproof, making it extremely hard to kill. It also has Cycling for just 1 blue mana, making it easy to put in the graveyard early and Exhume it back, leading to fast victories.

Gurmag Angler – Your other win condition for the deck. I am sure we all know about the big fish at this point, so I won’t go too much into detail, as I am sure there isn’t much else needed to be said.

Mulldrifter – One of the best creatures of all time in Pauper.

Augur of Bolas – As much as I loathe this particular creature, I can understand why it is in this deck. At your core, you are a control deck, which means you have plenty of good spells for this creature to find. It also has 3 toughness, making it a good blocker in combat. Do remember though, it will put your win conditions on the bottom because you can’t take creatures, so just keep that in mind. If you wanted to replace it, Sea Gate Oracle is a decent choice, but being a 2 mana is the big appeal of Augur for me.

Exhume – If you want early wins, this card will help you. Just keep in mind that your opponent gets a creature back from their graveyard as well. This means that late in the game, Exhume can cause more harm than good.

Disfigure – Not the best removal spell in the format, but it is cheap, deals with a good amount of threats and does it very early. Not taking too much damage in the early game can be crucial when trying to go late.

Cast Down – One of the best removal spells in the format. I am not thrilled to only see 2 copies as opposed to having at least 3, but you have to make cuts somewhere for other spells.

Chainer’s Edict – There are plenty of reasons to have access to an edict effect and this is the best one for control decks in my opinion. It also has Flashback, so you get 2 uses for the price of one card.

Echoing Decay – This removal spell can be very effective against any aggro deck and especially against token based strategies. Even if it just a small 2 for 1, it can buy you a lot of time, which is key for this deck because you don’t mind the game going a little late.

Agony Warp – A great spell that can lead to many 2 for 1’s in your favor. What I mean by 2 for 1 is, you deal with 2 threats for only the price of one card.

Counterspell – We all know this card. Love it or hate it, you know why it is here.

Forbidden Alchemy – This is a great one for this archetype. Not only is an instant, but more importantly, It helps fill the graveyard for Gurmag Angler, it can help put your big creatures in the graveyard for Exhume and it digs 4 cards deep, which should have an excellent chance at finding you whatever you need. It also has Flashback, making it even better if the game goes long.

Preordain – One of the big card advantage spells for blue, it is no surprise to me that it is here. I like it over Ponder because you need to push bad cards to the bottom so that you have less chance of drawing dead cards as the game goes on.

The manabase consists of 12 basic lands. 4 copies of Dimir Aqueduct to help take advantage of your other come into play tapped lands and Aqueduct helps you keep hands with less lands in them so that you can mulligan less often.

Then for our special lands, we see 3 copies of Bojuka Bog because having graveyard hate is always a good thing to have access to these days and we see 3 copies of Dismal Backwater for extra dual lands to help fix your mana. They also gain a life, which can add up in the long run.

The Sideboard


Chainer's Edict – There are plenty of archetypes where have another Edict effect is a good thing and this is the best one.

Azure Fleet Admiral – Against slower decks where you aren’t going to be taking combat damage often, becoming the Monarch is a great way to overwhelm your opponent with card advantage and take over the game.

Blue Elemental Blast – If you hate red decks and Affinity, here is a big help for that problem.

Bonder's Ornament – Against other decks that also play Bonder’s Ornament, having a copy of your own is great. It can ramp into your win conditions, it can draw you cards if hey don’t have their copy and it can make it difficult for them to activate the draw ability.

Dispel – Great for fighting Burn and counter wars. I like it better than Duress because it is just more flexible and can counter instant spells that your opponent will play on their own turn.

Echoing Truth – I’ve been liking this card more and more. It is always good to have a spell that can sort of deal with anything and save you for a turn or 2. I like it better than the second copy of Echoing Decay because it is flexible.

Evincar's Justice - A great board wipe against aggro decks. It also has Buyback, so you can use it multiple times. Be careful though, as it does deal you damage and you don’t have Pristine Talisman to offset the life.

Negate – If you need more hard counter magic, this is a great one. You could play Prohibit in this spot, but I would only do that if you expect more aggro decks, where you most likely won’t need to fight a counter war. The extra 2 mana to counter big spells could end up hurting you when trying to cast more than 1 spell in a turn.

Against control, when trying to fight a counter war, Negate is always 2 mana to counter big spells, which is cheap enough to allow you to cast another Counterspell, but with Prohibit, you might need to pay the Kicker and so the difference between needing 4 mana to fight a counter war and needing 6 mana to fight a counter war can be a big difference.

2 Unexpected Fangs – In the past, you would see Vampiric Link in this spot, but now with Fangs, you get to make your creature bigger and give it Lifelink in the process.

Verdict and Conclusion

I am sure many of you may have not seen this archetype show up often. This isn’t a brand new archetype, but it isn’t very popular either. However, it does show up from time to time and I personally find it fun.

A problem I have with this archetype is that, as I said earlier, it doesn’t have enough “stuff”. Your thin on each aspect of your deck and although this is not a deal breaker, it does make it hard when playing this deck. You have a little counter magic, some good removal and good some good creatures, but it is easy to draw the wrong parts of your deck, or not enough of one or the other. You don’t have to draw specifically well to win, but you do need to draw your spells in a good order.

I do however like this version better than the all in version I brought you last time. I think this version is more consistent and actually allows you to play the game, rather than goldfish and hope.

Do I think you should play this deck? I think you can try it in the leagues, but I would personally not play it in the challenges. I think this archetype has a hard time against the more established decks, such as Faeries, Tron and Bogles. This doesn’t mean you can’t ever win against these archetypes, but it will be quite hard.

In the leagues, I am sure this will bring you success, especially when you consider the list we are looking it is a 5-0 itself. However, I don’t think it will get you many wins in the long run. If you are asking me on how fun is the deck to play, I’d say 9 out 10 for me personally.

However, with all this being said, as always do remember my words are not gospel. I will always encourage you to try a deck that bring you despite my personal feelings. Remember that results will vary and always remember to practice!

Would you like to compete in a free Pauper tournament with some great prizes? Head on over to Gatherling.com on Tuesday nights at 8pm EDT and play in our weekly Pauper Classic Tuesday's event! Join the chat #PCT to chat with us and feel free to find most of the competitors on Discord!

Thank you so much for reading. Best of luck to you in your next tournament and I’ll catch you all next time!