Reanimator in Rivals

Hello Alchemists,

Spoiler season is back and Wizards just came back with a lot of awesome cards that make old standard staples usable again. Many people clamored for better dinosaurs, merfolks, vampires and pirates and Rivals seems to deliver.

There are obviously awesome cards spoiled these past few days and some not so, but today I will focus on 1 cards that I think will influence standard game play.

Let’s take a look at Journey to Eternity // Atzal, Cave of Eternity.


I’m all over the place when this card was spoiled. It’s a Golgari lover’s holy grail of graveyard and creature recursion wrapped into one cheap aura spell. If you’re concerned about cards worth enchanting and getting back from the yard, well there are a LOT of stuff in these colors that is worth getting back twice and many times over!

Gonti, Lord of LuxuryNoxious GearhulkRazaketh, the Foulblooded

Black definitely has the juicy ‘enters the battlefield’ creatures with Gonti and Noxious Gearhulk. Razaketh is a powerful creature we can cheat into play and survives almost any form of damage-based removal.

Carnage TyrantRipjaw RaptorVerdurous Gearhulk

Green may not have the best ETB triggers but they have the better power-cost ratio that adds the needed muscle power to overwhelm the opponent and close the game quickly. Apart from that, green creatures tend to be hard to kill and getting them back after the opponent unloads his removal on them is back-breaking!

How to we get them into the yard you ask?

Seekers' SquireMerfolk BranchwalkerLiliana, Death's Majesty

Seeker’s Squire and Merfolk Branchwalker help us not only get our lands but also pitches big dudes to the yard for free and getting a +1/+1 counter off of it. They also provide early board presence and they block and trade effectively.

Liliana returns with her innate ability to mill our dudes or cheat one into play by turn 5. She’s also quite difficult to remove and survives a Glorybringer thanks to her 5 starting loyalty.

Now how do we find Journey to Eternity effectively?

Benefaction of Rhonas  Vessel of Nascency

Benefaction of Rhonas gets the much needed love just like how Vessel of Nascency had its days of the spotlight back in Delirium town, Innistrad. Benefaction not only digs up 5 cards to find an enchantment, but it also finds a creature for us to play. The clincher – it puts everything else in the graveyard making Liliana and Atzal useful the moment it flips!

Let’s look at how a BG Reanimator deck may look like in Standard!

Creatures: 19

4 Seekers’ Squire
3 Merforlk Branchwalker
3 Ripjaw Raptor
2 Gonti, Lord of Luxury
3 Noxious Gearhulk
1 Verdurous Gearhulk
1 Carnage Tyrant
1 Razaketh, the Foulblooded
1 Tetzimoc, Primal Death

Spells: 17

3 Search of Eternity // Atzal, Cave of Eternity
4 Fatal Push
3 Benefaction of Rhonas
2 Essence Extraction
2 Vraska’s Contempt
3 Liliana, Death’s Majesty

Lands: 24

4 Blooming Marsh
2 Evolving Wilds
8 Forest
10 Swamp

Sideboard: 15

4 Kitesail Freebooter
2 Duress
2 Vraska, Relic Seeker
3 Appetite for the Unnatural
1 Vraska’s Contempt
1 Carnage Tyrant
2 Doomfall

I’m not focusing on Tetzimoc on this deck but he guest stars in this deck primarily because he’s a 6/6 with death touch, but he’s a great way to put a target on things you can’t deal with at the moment, then cash him in and wrath the opposing board clean. It’s also a great way to force the opponent to burn energy and protect their Bristling Hydras from its pending demise.

We will pack value removals because we need ways to interact while we set up our board states.

Fatal PushEssence ExtractionVraska's Contempt

Fatal Push and Essence Extraction helps us stay alive against Ramunap Red, on top of the early critters we chump block with. Vraska’s Contempt is a clean mainboard answer to Chandra, Hazoret, Glorybringers and the likes. It’s also there to deny the opponent from playing Scarab God and use our dudes against us.

For the sideboard, we want to be ready against control, midrange that can go toe-to-toe with our go-long strategy.

DuressKitesail FreebooterDoomfall

Duress is just a two-off because I do not want to dilute our creature base so much making our Journey to Eternity less powerful. Kitesail Freebooter helps cover what Duress can’t take and Doomfall is both hand disruption and a way to kill The Scarab God.

Vraska, Relic Seeker

Vraska comes to help Liliana clutter the board with 2/2 pirates and 2/2 zombies. She comes in against decks that don’t have good answers to Planeswalkers outside combat.

Appetite for the Unnatural

Appetite for the Unnatural is worth our 2-slots because we have to protect our Journey to Eternity somehow. But aside from that, we need answers to Ixalan’s Binding, Cast Out, God-Pharaoh’s Gift, Search for Azcanta, Heart of Kiran and many more!

I’m so excited to see what other creatures will come out of Rivals that can call this deck shell home, what do you think? Let me know by commenting below!



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