Power and Toughness—Everything-But-Blue Reanimator in Standard

On Friday my studio assistant/friend/artist/all-around-good-guy Eric and I, in preparation for moving my studio mid-Month to a new location, cleaned the hell out of my in record setting time giving me a half our to walk to Twenty Sided and participate in the early FNM draft. The deck I drafted was ok – a decent UW fliers/etc. type deck. Some detain. Some guildmage action. Sean crushes me round one with the most aggro BR deck I think I’ve ever faced. In the six-person pod I get paired up against Kyle who totally slaughters me with GW (I think) and kinda smugly I may add (watch it, Kyle). The loser-finals saw me battling Jason Chan. He makes some gentle threats and promises (mostly about me losing and him winning this match) and I beat him in three games. It felt good to play it out. Who knows if I’d say that had I lost?


A couple hours were spent Thursday night building a GW version, Conly Wood’s Reanimator (everything but blue), and a BR deck. The BR deck looked so boring and GW was only slightly less so. I know I said I’d play BR. I just didn’t want to. Conly’s deck seemed good and had all of my favorite cards in it: Huntmaster of the Fells, Bonfire of the Damned, Loxodon Smiter, Armada Wurm, Restoration Angel, and Tragtusk. Here’s the list I ran:

2 Blood Crypt
2 Rootbound Crag
4 Temple Garden
4 Overgrown Tomb
1 Isolated Chapel
3 Clifftop Retreat
3 Forest
1 Plains
1 Swamp
1 Mountain
2 Kessig Wolf Run
4 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
4 Loxodon Smiter
4 Huntmaster of the Fells
4 Restoration Angel
1 Borderland Ranger
4 Thragtusk
2 Armada Wurm
4 Farseek
2 Ultimate Price
1 Mizzium Mortars
3 Bonfire of the Damned
3 Unburial Rites


1 Rakdos’s Return
1 Bonfire of the Damned
3 Slaughter Games
1 Zealous Conscripts
1 Sever the Bloodline
2 Golgari Charm
2 Triumph of Ferocity
1 Olivia Voldaren
1 Acidic Slime
1 Rest in Peace
1 Oblivion Ring

Round One vs. Zil Goldstein American Mid-Range


Zil and I have an excellent rapport, both hailing from Rochester, both being generally awesome people, so it’s pretty easy. We shoot the shit as we’re wont to do and, when Zil’s two hours of shuffling are complete, play. My hand is fine but slow and I’m punished for it. By the time I get to Tusk mana I’ve had my ass handed to me from Geist and his Angel minion. I tap out for Tusk and it’s Syncopated. More beats come from Geist and Angel on Zil’s turn. I tap out for Tusk and it’s countered again. Next game.

Are there any creatures that make a token if they’re countered? What if Tusk is cast and then if countered made a 3/3 beast and you gain 3 life instead of 5 life? That’d be neat.

Game two I side in three Slaughter Games and get to the mana on turn three, cast it, take all of Zil’s Geists. The game is fairly lopsided and I win. I had sided in a Rest in Peace and in hindsight think it’s pretty shitty in this match up though I didn’t get to play it, just thought about it. Ultimate price would’ve been better than Rest in Peace.

Game three I mulligan to four and lose. Zil says it’s not as much fun beating one’s friends and I agree though I know she’s feeling good because I’d be feeling good if I’d have won! Next round!

0-1 Matches. 1-2 games.

Round Two vs John Fung’s American Mid-Range (YAY! BLUE!)


I love me some John Fung. John rarely plays Standard anymore because Jace, the Mind Sculptor isn’t legal. Game one I have multiple Huntmasters and win pretty easily – John’s deck is failing him. I saw a Feeling of Dread (which was good against me but not good enough). I saw no counters but continue to fear them as I assume he’s playing them.

Game two I sided in three Slaughter Games, took out three Unburial Rights (as I did with Zil). We start slow, I cast Tusk early and other things and start the smash. I over extend because I hadn’t seen a Verdict yet and I’m not a very patient or cautious player (and need lots of improvement in this area). He digs and digs for one, comes up empty, and I win.

1-1 Matches. 3-2 Games.

Round Three vs. H.T. Rajan’s Bant Control (three blue decks in a row! HOORAY!)


My notes say I drew two lands all game one and say Tusk beneath losses of five life. Seems like H.T. crushed me with one of my favorite creatures. It always seems abusive to be a green player beaten by a blue deck with a green card. No respect.

Game two H.T. is in control the whole time. I kept loosely with no red mana and drew a bunch of spells requiring red mana. When I get red mana H.T.’s Jace was up to six loyalty counters. The Zealous Conscripts in my hand got me pretty amped and I cast it hoping to take his Jace, ultimate it, and win the game. He counters my Zealous Conscripts and I scoop up my cards. I have a really shitty record against H.T. and enjoy playing matches against him regardless due to his lovely dimenor.

1-2 Matches. 3-4 Games.

Round Four vs. Chris Tobin’s Grixis Control (four blue decks tonight, yes!)

The notes for this match didn’t make it to my desk this morning. Chris and I recently attended a The Sword concert unintentionally together and had a blast. We chat a bit about that and then get under way. Game one I cast a total of six Huntmasters via reanimation, hard casting, and Restoration Angels and win.

Game two he gets to Bolas and wins.

Game three he kinda stalls out and I cast tons of beats and win.

2-2 Matches. 4-4 Games.

I had fun playing this deck. The mana, as Dana noted early on in the evening, is tough (or can be). I think I’m going to lose the black spells and play Naya at TNM this week.

Later in the weekend I won a draft with the shittiest deck I think I’ve ever built in limited and the luckiest draws of all time (ok probably not, I’m Lirek’ing a little bit here). The guy to my left drafted UR, too, totally ignoring all the sick GW populating cards I passed him. Oh well. I faced him round one and was the luckier bad UR player with more dudes doing more beats. Round two I played a guy on BG. Game one he gets me down to very little life and I stabilize and single Doorkeeper him before he eventually concedes. Game two something silly happens, him stalling out on lands, something, and I win with flying creatures. Round three I a face my bud Jordan, we agree to split packs, he doesn’t want to give me the store points as he’s interested in having a shot at making Top 16 and entry into the Season One Championship. Fine fine. I’m happy to split packs as my deck is far worse than his very aggro deck I watched smash an opponent in round two. Game one he stalls on two lands, I Mortars and win. Game two he has a shitty time with lands again and I win another three store points. My prize packs are put to the next draft (which I go 1-2). I managed to have fun drafting despite 1-2’ing and because I 3-0’d. How many 3-0’s does it take to keep an Obliterator happy?

There’s no lengthy 20SS Legacy report. I tilted round one game one pretty hard (sorry Hugh) and went on to play out all of my matches as debilitating and frustrating as most of them were. I appreciate John Fung and Li Xu being patient and helping me play my deck in the final round of the tournament and winning (two on one isn’t fair, sorry Li). I will continue to play Maverick in Legacy (or maybe Junk – I like Jess’s list) and work on patience and holding back the emo bullshit. No one has fun when you’re an emo mess while playing MTG. My knowledge of the format can only grow – let’s grow together!

I’ll have a TNM report on how my Naya deck does sometime mid-week.

Oh! And I read this article by PV and loved it – highly recommended: http://www.channelfireball.com/articles/pvs-playhouse-how-to-become-good/

Keep on tappin’,
Matt “The Obliterator” Jones

6 Responses to “Power and Toughness—Everything-But-Blue Reanimator in Standard”
  1. tim akpinar says:

    Thragtusk is a blue card. They just misprinted the wrong mana symbol on it, so we have to play Temple Gardens and Sunpetal Groves.

    • Matt Jones says:

      Tim, you’re sick. Blue doesn’t just get to take all the awesomest creatures green has. Tarmogoyf still has a green mana symbol, too. You’re just envious that non-blue cards are cool. 😉 Thanks for reading!

  2. Rich Stein says:

    You should be able to play around Syncopate. One idea I had for a SB against control for you would be to run Yeva. The only creature in your deck that isn’t green is Restoration Angel. Giving all of your creatures Flash could really put pressure on a control deck or even a mid-range deck.

    Against control, especially Geist of St. Traft, you could probably board out Ultimate Prices for Yeva. I dunno. I don’t play a lot of constructed anymore, but I know what will put the hurt on control decks. If you EOT Yeva they basically have to counter it, giving you the opening to cast Thragtusk. If they don’t counter it, then you should be able to do some pretty brutal things.

    • Matt Jones says:

      I hear you, man. Yeva is super awesome. My main issue is that my brain gets going on “I hate counter spells I hate counter spells” and it’s hard to get it on another track. It’s more about getting my brain around the fact that counter spells exist, deal with it, and play around them. Instead I’m a baby and whine about blue being a douchey color, etc. when that’s not true.

      I’m going to try this list out tonight:

      4 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
      4 Huntmaster of the Fells
      4 Loxodon Smiter
      4 Restoration Angel
      4 Thragtusk
      4 Thundermaw Hellkite
      4 Selesnya Charm
      4 Bonfire of the Damned
      4 Farseek
      4 Forest
      3 Mountain
      4 Cavern of Souls
      3 Clifftop Retreat
      2 Kessig Wolf Run
      4 Rootbound Crag
      4 Temple Garden
      3 Angel of Serenity
      2 Zealous Conscripts
      2 Rest in Peace
      2 Garruk Relentless
      2 Garruk, Primal Hunter
      4 Pillar of Flame

      Maybe +1 RIP, -1 Relentless

      I beat a four color control deck with it last night on MTGO (after 3-1’ing a modern daily with GWb Bears). Game 1 creature smash. Game 2 I fought through 3x Curse of Death’s Hold. I had Garruk at 6 a few times, went up to 7 thinking that my opponent could board wipe or something and then I’d have lost my Garruk if I’d -6’d AND I’d lose all my wurms. The third time I got him up to six I went for it, s/he had no removal/wipes, and commented “I figured you wouldn’t not kill me a third time” and I laughed saying I was playing around a wipe (s/he had more than a couple cards in hand). Then they conceded. I’d have been up Shit’s Creek if they managed to wipe the board and I lost my Garruk.

      • Josh says:

        Give Triumph of Ferocity a look. It’s a great source of card advantage against control and most decks won’t be prepared to deal with an enchantment game 2 (nor want to board in specific hate for it g3). I don’t know what you’ve been boarding out in those matchups, but Huntmaster of the Fells and Bonfire of the Damned are both worthy of serious consideration. As your board is now, I’d go -4 Huntmaster, -4 Bonfire, +4 Garruks, +2 Zealous Conscripts, +2 Angel of Serenity. The changes make you a lot more resilient to sweepers. If you can fit 1-2 Triumphs of Ferocity into your board, I’d bring those in instead of the Conscripts.

        What have you been bringing in the Zealous Conscripts for and why? How have they been for you so far?

      • Matt Jones says:

        I mostly use Conscripts to grab a Tusk or Angel and smash for the win (or supreme pressure). I’ve tried using it to grab a Jace but without success. I’ve only played BGWR reanimator one time at one FNM and never on MTGO. I’ve only played one match with the Naya list on MTGO and zero IRL.

        Triumph sounds good. Maybe I’ll put it in mah board.

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