I’ve written about a couple of different reanimator variants here on ChannelFireball, and I’ve built and playtested even more variants. Before the release of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, the archetype has been lots of fun and solidly playable without any clearly obvious best way to build the deck. This dynamic made for a fun deck building challenge, but now with the printing of Faithful Mending in MID the deck has become easier to build, more powerful and more consistent.
When playing Reanimator decks pre-MID, I’ve been really impressed by the power level of Archon of Cruelty, Persist and Unmarked Grave. However, I’ve always felt like the deck needed one more powerful enabler. Since the banning of Faithless Looting, the options for spell-based looting effects in the Modern format have been lacking. Faithful Mending is now the most efficient spell-based looting spell in Modern, but when compared to the next best options like Izzet Charm or Chart a Course, you’ll see that the title of “best looting effect in Modern” isn’t incredibly high praise. That being said, Faithful Mending gets the job done better than any card we’ve seen in a while, and I’ve been pretty impressed playing it. Let’s break down what makes Mending so good:
- Looting effects that flashback are very powerful. Flashback plays really well with the graveyard-focused strategies that looting effects slot into. You can discard additional copies for value, put them in your graveyard with cards like Unmarked Grave or Gifts Ungiven and are resilient to discard spells and counterspells.
- Being instant speed makes it harder for your opponent to play around, and lets you hold up other instant speed interaction to give yourself more options on your opponent’s turn.
- The two life might seem inconsequential, but buying time against aggro decks while you try to buy time to reanimate a creature is really important. The lifegain on Mending will also really add up over the course of a game, as you’ll likely play and flashback multiple copies as you filter through your deck. I expect players to be surprised how good the incidental lifegain is.
With these thoughts in mind, let’s slot Faithful Mending into Modern Reanimator. There are still some interesting deckbuilding decisions to make, and different options to explore, but I’ve been really happy with this deck list in my testing so far: