There are some decks that are well-oiled machines, hammered out and tuned after years, with every piece falling into place. But there are some decks that contain a powerful engine of cards that don’t have quite enough support to fill out an entire deck list. These decks have “packages” of cards that can fit into a variety of shells. You can find a great example of this is the new “Food” decks – these lists have a powerful engine consisting of Urza’s Saga, Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar, Witch’s Oven and Ovalchase Daredevil. You see lots of deckbuilder’s pairing this package of cards with a variety of other existing decks, since there isn’t quite enough support to build a deck completely around this engine. Another new package of cards is what we’re going to be discussing today, and where I think the best home for these cards is in Modern Esper Reanimator.
I’m often asked about including other reanimation targets in these decks, but Archon of Cruelty is enough better than any other other option that I haven’t felt the need for a different tutor target (at least in the main deck).
The copy of Unburial Rites may look odd, but the ability to grab a reanimation spell with Unmarked Grave is really important. Some reanimator decks will run additional reanimation spells and/or discard outlets, but because Persist and Unmarked Grave are so much more efficient and powerful than any other option, if you build an all-in reanimator deck, your draws will feel anemic when you draw your less powerful enablers. All-in reanimator decks also are much more vulnerable to graveyard hate than reanimator decks that have a plan B as well.
With these thoughts in mind, finding the best home for the reanimator package can be a difficult task. I’ve built a few different shells, and this is the deck that I think is the best.