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By: stsung, Ren Stefanek
May 29 2017 11:00am
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When 1v1 EDH Leagues were introduced to Magic Online it was time to come up with a deck with which I could participate in them. Initially I had 2 conditions for my first deck - it had to be able to deal with mono blue decks and it needed a fast win condition (combo). My usual win condition of choice was Necrotic Ooze, Phyrexian Devourer, Triskelion combo. Since this combo works when two cards are in the graveyard and one is in play it seemed natural to fit this deck into a reanimator deck. First, I needed to see if the combo isn't bugged. There was a long period during which Phyrexian Devourer and Animate Dead didn't work. I did not want to be surprised the same way Baral players who just found out that cards like Synthetic Destiny don't work with the general being the only creature in play.

The good (or bad?) thing about Necrotic Ooze combo is that it just needs black identity. So there are plenty decks and generals that are viable. It can be played in Sidisi, Undead Vizier - a five mana tutor that is always available - or any other general being partly black. Playing mono black is actually sufficient for the combo plan. One practically plays disruption in the form of discard, tutors and the combo (usually often containing also Helm of Obedience and Leyline of the Void as secondary win condition). Black color is too restricting for me though so I started looking around for multicolored generals. I switched to The Mimeoplasm. This gave away that my deck was a reanimator deck but confused many players anyway because of its text. Thanks to The Mimeoplasm I was able to fit in a secondary 'immediate' win condition - Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon. This dragon paired with a creature with power 6 or more would create a power 10 creature that could gain haste for one black mana and deal 10 poison damage killing the opponent. This looked sweet in theory but in practice it wasn't that awesome even though I beat any unsuspecting players with this (I wasn't known for actually casting my generals). In 1v1 EDH Leagues this is hardly a viable win condition and that is why I cut it from my deck and decided to switch generals because BUG deck wasn't that good in a sea of blue decks. The green color I played was primarily in the deck to make it faster but I needed more control since opposing decks could counter from turn 1. I cut the green cards and added permission. A Blue-Black shell came to existence but I lost cards like Terastodon, Woodfall Primus, Sylvan Primordial. I started to look for similarly annoying cards and immediately thought of Ashen Rider and Angel of Despair. White would become the replacement color and the best Esper general is by far Oloro, Ageless Ascetic.

For whom is this deck?

If you do not have the need to play a tier 1 deck that puts Baral, Chief of Compliance or Tasigur, the Golden Fang at the deck's helm you can play another general that breaks Magic design - Oloro, Ageless Ascetic. This general gains you life in upkeep each turn which means that life can be abused as a resource. This deck doesn't use that resource as much as it could but even the few cards I play make a big difference. Oloro also laughs at aggressive decks. For example a dedicated reanimator deck struggles against Elfball because the deck can win by turn 4. While Reanimator deck can also win by that time it sometimes needs the time to look for some cards. Oloro won't die that soon. If you don't mind playing something that has 'unfair' written all over it, try it out. The deck is also for someone who doesn't mind winning on the spot while still likes to control the game. While this deck is not an oppressive tier 1 deck, it is still a deck that can bring negative player experience to some players. This deck is fine in a tournament environment but is not for casual play.

Card Choices

The deck contains the combo - Necrotic Ooze, Phyrexian Devourer, Triskelion - and other reanimation targets. Angel of Despair, Ashen Rider can get rid of a permanent which sometimes is relevant. Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite can stop aggressive decks. Rune-Scarred Demon is a 6/6 Flying tutor. Sphinx of Uthuun is a pet card of mine. It brings more cards and is also a solid evasive beater. Iona, Shield of Emeria shuts certain decks down completely. Last, Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur is a card that if by a chance stays in play till opponent's cleanup step it usually means good game. Our primary win condition is the combo though so we need cards to find it.

The best way is to use 'tutors' that allows us to search our library and put the card in our hand or on the top of our library. The deck contains Vampiric Tutor, Mystical Tutor, Demonic Tutor, Personal Tutor. These cards either look for Buried Alive or a reanimation spell. Then there are other tutors like Lim-Dul's Vault and Intuition (and aforementioned Buried Alive). Lim-Dul's Vault is a card that used to be bugged in a funny way on Magic Online. From time to time it showed you the whole library, so you could stack it the way you want making it another Vampiric Tutor that required a lot of clicking. If the card works as it is supposed to it lets you look at 5 cards of your library. If you do not like those cards you can put them on the bottom of the library, lose 1 life and look at another 5 cards. When you find the five cards you like, you shuffle the rest of your library and put the five cards you liked back on top of the library in any order.

Since this deck looks for specific cards it also needs card selection and if possible these spells should also be able to discard a card because we want our reanimation targets in our graveyard. The best card draw or selection spells are Brainstorm, Ponder, Preordain, Impulse, Deep Analysis for example. The cards that allow us to discard in addition are Cephalid Coliseum, Careful Study, Compulsive Research, Frantic Search, Pulse of the Grid, Thirst for Knowledge, Careful Consideration. When we have our targets in the graveyard we need to reanimate them. It is good to have the cheapest reanimation spells available (Reanimate, Exhume, Animate Dead, Dance of the Dead) because often we need to kill fast or be able to play another spell on the same turn Counterspell. I also like instant reanimation spells and those cost more but help a lot to win against blue based decks. Necromancy costs 3 mana and deserves to be in the deck as it is the most versatile reanimation spell ever printed. Makeshift Mannequin is a card I do not like much but being it a second instant reanimation spell and one that can be cast with the help of Boseiju, Who Shelters All makes it also perfect for this deck.

The rest of the deck is primarily filled with control cards. Either permission in the form of cheap counterspells, discard and little bit of removal (notably Toxic Deluge). These cards altogether are not enough to make the deck switch to a control role but if both decks are slow in a game, this deck can reach the late game and either cast Oloro and draw more cards or start casting the reanimation targets. This deck is still stronger in late game than BUG colored reanimator decks. Neither of the decks want to get there though!

After countering my opponent's Oversold Cemetery with his own Mystic Snake thanks to Necromancy I reanimated Elesh Norn and thought that it could be the game without me forcing a combo kill. To my surprise though Joshua made a copy of my Elesh Norn which ruined my plan since my 1/5 Elesh Norn became useless as an attacker. That was certainly one of the weirdest board states I've ever seen.

There are still cards I didn't talk about. One of the cards is Flash. Even though there are no cards like Woodfall Primus in this deck, it is still an efficient way how to put something into the graveyard and still gain the comes into play effect of the creature 'flashed' into play. This way we can destroy/exile a permanent with Ashen Rider/Angel of Despair, tutor a card with Rune-Scarred Demon and reanimate it the following turn or we can get Fact or Fiction effect with Sphinx of Uthuun. Unfortunately it doesn't work with Elesh Norn's static ability or Jin-Gitaxias ability that triggers at the end of your and opponent's turn. Next card is Dark Confidant. This card will likely die very soon or get countered but if it sticks in play it will give you additional cards for a very small price. With Oloro's life gaining ability you don't need to fear that cards like Jin-Gitaxias would deal lethal damage to you. Liliana of the Veil is a planeswalker I like more than it deserves but the card is very strong. It disrupts opponent's hand, gets rid of annoying generals and can also help you get a card into your graveyard. Sometimes Liliana just wins the game on its own. Jace, the Mind Sculptor is similarly strong card even though it does something totally different. Show and Tell is a card I'd include in the deck too. Sometimes it's better to put a big creature from your hand into play, beware of opponent's Emrakul though!


This deck is a combo-control deck and that is how it will behave in most cases. During the early turns the deck tries to either reanimate something soon or to find the two pieces needed to 'bury' Phyrexian Devourer, Triskelion and Necrotic Ooze and then reanimate the Ooze. This usually means finding a tutor for Buried Alive and a reanimation spell. Sometimes the combo amasses in your hand and then all you need is to either discard it or play the cards one by one (playing cards for 6 mana though means that something went seriously wrong). Since Phyrexian Devourer and Triskelion can kill themselves it is safe to play them in most cases. Note that Necrotic Ooze does not need to be reanimated. It can also be played from hand (that's why there is Cavern of Souls in the deck). The biggest threats are cards like Dissipate which weren't usually popular in this format but due to Baral being the most played deck players started to play cards that exile spells from stack rather than countering them. Against a blue deck one needs to amass also some disruption or permission. Since about 70% of the field are blue decks that run many counterspells it is more of a must. This deck has only one chance at comboing off usually even though it may look like you can have a second attempt - do not count with a second attempt, ever. Your best cards to combo off are Necromancy and Makeshift Mannequin. Both cards can be played at instant speed which helps against blue decks (some players have tendency to tap out).

Sometimes the win condition of the deck ends up removed from the game. When this happens there is still a chance to win with a big fatty or the general itself but this is something that takes more time and the deck needs to keep the game under control which is not that easy since this deck wasn't built for that purpose so keep that in mind.

If you play this deck against a blue deck you need to be careful and patient to find the right moment when to try to win the game. This can take a long time but most of the time there will be a moment when you will be able to take the initiative and win. No deck can win when doing nothing so your opponent will have to become proactive sooner or later. Non-blue decks don't usually struggle a lot unless they are on Crucible of Worlds Life from the Loam Wasteland lock. If you will be facing a heavy green deck, fetch for a basic Swamp or keep a black source in hand so you can later play your reanimation spell when you need to.

If you'd like to play this deck in events I would advise you to try the combo out first. It takes a little bit of clicking. Remember that this combo cannot be interrupted if you keep priority. In paper you just announce this but on Magic Online you need to hold down CTRL key. If you have only the two combo pieces in the graveyard your first click on Necrotic Ooze will automatically use Devourer's ability. Then after there is at least one counter on it, you will have to choose which ability you want to use. Set auto-yield on the ability the first time you use it, it will disappear from the stack. Get the amount of counters you need and when you want to shoot your opponent also use auto-yield on that ability. This way if you keep priority during the whole process the abilities won't show on the stack (eventually hiding the Ooze if your stack is in the middle of the screen as mine is). The whole process takes me 4 minutes with my very laggy client so it shouldn't take you any longer (people usually concede so you won't need to click through the whole thing).


Now it is time for the decklist. The deck can be tweaked. For example I do not run Imperial Seal which is another 1 mana tutor that can find its way into the deck. Many decks run Treachery, Bribery or Control Magic so you might want to consider running Homeward Path. Boseiju, Who Shelters All is a card I used to play but for some reason did not include it in my deck when I put it together on Magic Online. The card in general isn't that good and slows one down. Note that Boseiju makes instant and sorceries uncouterable. You can't pay for majority of the tutors with Boseiju because they cost 1 mana. The same applies to reanimation spells. Some are enchantments. Cavern of Souls though proved to be way more efficient. That's a card you keep in hand and play it the turn you want to play something. There aren't really creatures that share a type (except for the two Praetors). If there will be even more blue decks in the future though, this deck will need more disruption or ways how to go through all the counters. Damnation is a card I never cast and would really appreciate Swords to Plowshares instead. Otherwise I was fairly content with the performance of the deck.

Oloro Reanimator
by STsung, 522tix
1 Angel of Despair
1 Ashen Rider
1 Dark Confidant
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1 Iona, Shield of Emeria
1 Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur
1 Necrotic Ooze
1 Phyrexian Devourer
1 Rune-Scarred Demon
1 Snapcaster Mage
1 Triskelion
11 cards

Other Spells
1 Animate Dead
1 Brainstorm
1 Buried Alive
1 Careful Consideration
1 Careful Study
1 Compulsive Research
1 Counterspell
1 Cryptic Command
1 Damnation
1 Dance of the Dead
1 Deep Analysis
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Dispel
1 Duress
1 Exhume
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Flash
1 Force Spike
1 Force of Will
1 Frantic Search
1 Impulse
1 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Intuition
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Lim-Dul's Vault
1 Makeshift Mannequin
1 Mana Leak
1 Mental Misstep
1 Miscalculation
1 Muddle the Mixture
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Necromancy
1 Personal Tutor
1 Ponder
1 Preordain
1 Pulse of the Grid
1 Reanimate
1 Remand
1 Show and Tell
1 Skeletal Scrying
1 Spell Snare
1 Sphinx of Uthuun
1 Swan Song
1 Thirst for Knowledge
1 Thoughtseize
1 Toxic Deluge
1 Unburial Rites
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Vindicate
50 cards
1 Adarkar Wastes
1 Arid Mesa
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Cavern of Souls
1 Caves of Koilos
1 Cephalid Coliseum
1 City of Brass
1 Command Tower
1 Creeping Tar Pit
1 Darkslick Shores
1 Drowned Catacomb
1 Flooded Strand
1 Glacial Fortress
1 Godless Shrine
1 Hallowed Fountain
4 Island
1 Mana Confluence
1 Marsh Flats
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Polluted Delta
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Scrubland
1 Seachrome Coast
4 Swamp
1 Tundra
1 Underground River
1 Underground Sea
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Wasteland
1 Watery Grave
1 Windswept Heath
38 cards

1 cards


Baral and Mass Polymorph effects by stsung at Tue, 05/30/2017 - 10:51
stsung's picture

'If you play Baral Polymorph on MTGO, make sure to set Baral "to exile" if you cast Mass Polymorph or Synthetic Destiny.' Use this as a workaround till it gets fixed.