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Thread: [Primer] BRx Griselbrand Reanimator

  1. #1

    [Primer] BRx Griselbrand Reanimator

    "Avacyn emerged from the broken Helvault, but her freedom came at a price—him."
    —Thalia, Knight-Cathar

    If any of the following situations seem like the best way to win a game of magic, read on:
    -Casting a lethal Tendrils of Agony with 3 cards left in deck on turn 1
    -Your opponent sitting with Leyline of the Void in play and saying “but I thought you were Reanimator…” as they stare at the ritualed-out Sire of Insanity
    -Casting Stronghold Gambit
    -Deathrite Shaman waiting to overcome summoning sickness while staring at a Reanimated Griselbrand

    Why BR Reanimator over UB Reanimator?

    Besides price differential, there are other reasons to pick Badlands over Underground Sea. This deck has different matchups across the board, some of which are very appealing. Miracles decks in general can struggle to beat this deck unless they can assemble a quick Counterbalance with a Force of Will or unless they have Surgical Extraction in their sideboard. Nonblue decks need to pack lots of hate cards that come down on turn 1 in order to have a chance against this deck - there's no guarantee that a turn 2 [/CARDS]Rest in Peace[/CARDS] will cut it. While being able to counter hate cards is great, and is one of the appealing features of blue cards, having more action in the deck is better in some matchups. This deck arguably has the best topdeck potential in the format.

    Playing Reanimator:

    The goal of this deck is to use either Reanimate, Exhume, or Animate Dead to return a giant, game-ending creature such as Griselbrand into play. If it’s Griselbrand himself, usually games will end on that turn or the next turn due to the power level of this deck when allowed to draw 7, 14, or 21 cards.

    Opening hands will either be protected turn 1s, unprotected turn 1s, protected turn 2s, unprotected turn 2s, or worse. A hand that doesn’t threaten to have a creature enter play in the first two turns is usually a mulligan, unless you have already mulliganed, in which case you can use your best judgment, or consult a handy-dandy Hypergeometric Distribution to determine the likelihood of drawing a certain card in the first few available drawsteps. Here are some common numbers that are good to know when making mulligan decisions. The math here is calculated assuming 10 fatties (4 Griselbrand 6 others), 12 Reanimation Spells (4 Reanimate 4 Exhume 4 Animate Dead), and 22 mana sources (14 lands, 4 Lotus Petal, and 4 Dark Ritual). Be aware that the math can vary here depending on whether a fetchland is used:

    7 card hand, with Faithless Looting, looking for a creature: 34.5%, 47.3% in 3 cards
    Looking for a creature or entomb? 46%, 61% in 3 cards

    6 card hand, with no land, looking for any land or Lotus Petal: 56% in 2 cards, 71% in 3 cards

    6 card hand, looking for a creature or entomb: 45.5% in 2 cards, 60% in 3 cards

    Source for DIY calculations:

    Relevant Cards:

    Deathrite Shaman – this is a popular turn 1 play from BGx decks. However, unless they know you are on Reanimator, they will likely use it for mana on turn 2 or not leave up available green mana.

    Baleful Strix – if you are constrained on life or experience the worst draw 7 ever, this card can be pretty annoying, even though it puts Griselbrand back into the graveyard for re-reanimating. Fortunately, every version of this deck has its own way of beating this card, see below where versions are discussed.

    Karakas – this stops Griselbrand’s flavor text, but he still draws a ton of cards for you. Most builds run non-legendary creatures that can get around Karakas.

    Scavenging Ooze – this takes a while to come online, but once it hits with green mana available the graveyard is pretty much off-limits. Very few decks run this, typically only Nic Fit, Elves, Maverick, and other fringe green decks. Not typically played by BUG decks.

    Chalice of the Void / Thorn of Amethyst – these can shut down some of our reanimation or slow us down. Fortunately, our deck isn’t completely based on casting 10 spells in a turn, so Thorn doesn’t hurt us as badly as Storm.

    Force of Will / Spell Pierce / Daze – these very rarely are a problem when on their own because the deck is so redundant, likely containing more reanimation spells than they have counterspells. When they have time, though, they can dig for more of these and continue to deny Griselbrand.

    Swords to Plowshares – if the creature you reanimate is Griselbrand, you can draw plenty of cards in response. However, if your creature is not Griselbrand, then this will be pretty effective. Exiling hurts when it hits a one-of Entomb target because you can’t get it back.

    Sensei’s Divining Top / Counterbalance “lock” – This two-card annoyance is beatable with 2 drops. We have 8 2-drop Reanimation spells or we can look into hardcasting a creature. These are usually problems only later in the game, but sometimes the opponent can set this up on turn 2-3 and be fast enough if they also have a way of stopping us early.

    Irrelevant Cards:

    Jace, the Mind Sculptor – this usually costs too much mana to interact with our creatures. It can lock us out through his +2 ability, but better players will likely brainstorm with him a couple times to accumulate enough interactive spells to beat us however they like.

    Liliana of the Veil – this is usually pretty bad against us. We like to discard cards from our hand and we’re usually fine if our creatures end up in the graveyard again.

    Maze of Ith – in most cases this will do absolutely nothing. It doesn’t stop Griselbrand’s draw 7 so it only works on the flying lifelink 7/7 part – the flavor text. Reanimating an Archetype of Endurance or Tidespout Tyrant from the draw 7s blanks this card.

    Sideboard Cards you will encounter:

    Leyline of the Void – turn 0 effect stops turn 1. Not a lot of decks run these in the sideboard, so some versions choose not to run any way to deal with these, in which case your graveyard is off-limits. Note that this does not affect your opponent’s graveyard.

    Containment Priest – turn 2 instant speed effect. Can be beaten with discard, removal, or a fast turn 1 or turn 2 on the play. Some versions run Keranos, God of Storms specifically to beat this.

    Rest in Peace – same as above, but also beatable with alternate ways to sneak in creatures

    Tormod’s Crypt / Nihil Spellbomb / Grafdigger’s Cage – online turn 1 and annoying, although the first two are easier to beat than Cage.

    Relic of Progenitus – This is the turn 1 artifact hate that is too slow sometimes. It costs one mana to activate, so typically this will do nothing if you have a fast enough hand.

    Null Rod – opponents bring this in sometimes if they have no better cards. It can slow us down a turn or prevent us from completely comboing out with Griselbrand, but it isn’t very effective.

    Fringe Cards / Situations:

    Reanimator mirror – this is a fun one. Everything you try to do to set up: it helps your opponent too. Reanimate and Animate Dead can target creatures in opponents’ graveyards. Exhume returns fatties for both players more often than not, and the threat of Entomb in response to Exhume probably spells disaster. See the matchups section for more details.

    Exhume awkwardness – sometimes you have to discard a card from your opponent’s hand and it comes back to haunt you – literally. Sometimes this can be avoided, so be careful discarding big threats when you are planning on casting Exhume whenever possible.

    Glacial Chasm – this only stops damage, not Tendrils of Agony.

    Reanimating opponent’s creatures – I always wanted one of these!

    If opponent plays a one-shot grave hate card such as Nihil Spellbomb, Relic, Tormod's Crypt, Bog, etc. :

    1) Put a creature in the graveyard (ideally good enough but not necessarily the "optimal" card)
    2) Cast Exhume. Opponent will use their card if they are scared of your creature.
    3) Cast Entomb with the Exhume still on the stack and put the optimal creature in your graveyard.
    4) Let Exhume resolve.
    5) Profit!

    This trick also works against a single Deathrite Shaman, assuming that you can pull off all 5 steps in quick enough succession that Deathrite can't exile both creatures.

    General Tips and Tricks:

    Exhume – this does not target, so it can get around Surgical Extraction or Deathrite Shaman. See above section.

    Animate Dead – unfortunately, this can be Stifle ‘d or stopped with Abrupt Decay if your opponent knows what they’re doing.

    Griselbrand's draw 7 ability can be targeted with Stifle.

    After winning game 1, you can mulligan pretty aggressively looking for a powerful hand or a disruptive/interactive hand in G2 when on the draw. On the draw, discard spells are not as powerful as removal such as Abrupt Decay (assuming that the hate you are fearing can be hit by Decay and can come down on turn 1). Your opponents, once they know that you are on turbo-combo, will likely mulligan aggressively for Force of Will or turn 1 Deathrite Shaman, Karakas, or one-mana artifact graveyard hate. However, if you lose G1, you are in trouble because you need to win 2 games post-sideboard. You likely still need to bring in Abrupt Decay or other answers to permanent-based hate because it will be in their deck for G2.

    Sequence cards carefully to play around potential countermagic on a key combo piece (usually Entomb). NOTE: most oppontents will not counter a discard spell targeting yourself, a Faithless Looting, or a main-phase Entomb with Force of Will. If they have Daze, Spell Pierce, or Flusterstorm, they are likely to use them whenever they have an opportunity. Remember that you can respond to single soft counters with Dark Ritual to pay the extra cost.

    When falling behind or flooded on mana, casting an extra Entomb to get a Faithless Looting into your graveyard is a fine play. You can even spend a Dark Ritual to do this all in one turn, and this composes a powerful turn 2 play when digging for Reanimation spells. Entomb can also put any card in your graveyard, so you can use it to thin your deck of lands if you have few available draw steps remaining in the game.

    It is sometimes correct to hold extra lands and fast mana to pitch to Faithless Looting in case you draw one.

    You can run a 1-of Unburial Rites and a Scrubland to be able to cast Entomb for a reanimation spell when flooded on mana - as long as you can produce white by fetching Scrubland or cracking a Lotus Petal.

    Scrying – remember to scry after mulligans. The scry is very powerful in this deck, as it really helps some of our percentages to find crucial cards (see above for percentages). Scrying lets us keep no-land hands. That’s how dumb this deck is.

    Winning with Griselbrand:

    Tidespout Tyrant lock – Once you have a grip full of cards, casting enough spells to bounce all their permanents each turn isn’t very difficult.
    Iona, Shield of Emeria / Archetype of Endurance lock – Very few cards can deal with this. Against Miracles, Iona on White and Archetype of Endurance out is a lock unless they can kill you with damage or deck you somehow. Against BUG decks, Iona on black and Archetype is a lock. Iona locks out the crucial color of board wipe and Archetype protects from Karakas, bounce effects such as Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and other spot removal.
    Sire of Insanity / Griselbrand “lock” – Once Griselbrand makes a Sire of Insanity to accompany him, you should be able to win. Be aware that you will discard your newly drawn cards.
    Children of Korlis -> Tendrils of Agony – Entombing and Reanimating Children of Korlis allows you to keep drawing with Griselbrand, until you can have pretty much your entire deck in your hand. Between draw 7s, plenty of fast mana, and Faithless Lootings, you should be able to draw the Tendrils >99% of the time. If it’s the bottom card of your deck and/or the mana is drawn awkwardly (ex. Using all 4 petals or 3 Rituals before finding Tendrils) then this might not work. Play it safe if you are getting low on cards in deck. Be aware that you can Entomb any card out of your deck to bring it from 8 cards down to 7 at the cost of one mana.
    Unmask / Thoughtseize lines -> If you draw 7 or 14 and you can’t make another threat, then you can use Unmasks and Thoughtseizes to discard all the relevant cards in your opponent’s hand

    Winning without Griselbrand

    When Griselbrand gets Surgical’d, you hope that you have another powerful threat in your deck such as Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur , Grave Titan, or another threat that shuts down your opponent’s deck, such as Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite or Iona, Shield of Emeria.

    Card Choices:

    4 Reanimate 4 Exhume 4 Animate Dead– don’t leave home without these. If you are shaving 1-2 to make room for something, make it the Animate Deads because they are the easiest to interact with.

    4 Entomb – the most powerful card in the deck, besides freaking Griselbrand, hands down.

    4 Faithless Looting – helps smooth out draws in our colors, discards fatties, draws towards sideboard cards, and has flashback. Flashback is very relevant in our deck with enough fast mana to flash it back turn 2 and use the cards we draw.

    4 Dark Ritual, 4 Lotus Petal – fast mana is how we present game-winning threats on turn 1 or 2.

    6-8 fetchlands, 2-4 Badlands, 1-2 Swamp, 0-1 Mountain 0-1 Bayou/Scrubland – depending how heavy you are on red, you can make room for more Badlands or even a basic Mountain. If you are splashing a color, you probably only need 1 splash dual. In a version with 4 Faithless Looting and a green-based sideboard, you would want 8 fetches, 2 Badlands, 2 Swamp, 1 Bayou at the very least. 14-land versions would run another Badlands or fetchland. The second swamp isn’t necessary but nice to have against Delver decks so that you can keep ramming 2 mana reanimation spells into counterspells and Wastelands. You want only 13-15 lands total.

    A note about Shocklands: you definitely want your Badlands to be pain-free. If you are trying out a splash color, you can get away with a Shockland in that slot because you are only going to want to fetch it when you need it. You need your Griselbrand activations every time, so conserving life is a top priority – don’t skimp on these and get your Badlands heavily played if you have to.

    Creature choices:

    You are going to want 8-10 reanimation targets in this deck.

    4 Griselbrand – the first reanimation target is this guy 95% of the time. The only time you can make an argument to get someone else is if one or more of the following is true:
    Griselbrand is Pithing Needle’d / Phyrexian Revoker’d
    Karakas is in play and you know that the coast is clear for another creature
    At a very low life total and Elesh Norn / Iona is required immediately
    Other 5% circumstance that is unpredictable

    0-4 Jin-Gitaxias, Core Auger – A great Griselbrand impression if Mr. Griz gets Surgical’d. The draw 7 is probably powerful enough in this deck to make another creature to help out his flimsy 5/4 body. Be aware that Swords to Plowshares and Karakas stop this guy in his tracks very easily.

    0-4 Sire of Insanity – Depending on how much you like this guy, you can run up to 4. He’s like a non-legendary Jin-Gitaxias that destroys hands instead of refilling yours. Your opponent still topdecks every turn, so this is not great against decks that could potentially deal with him. Examples of good situations: turn 1 against anything, turn 1-3 against Storm / Show and Tell. Bad situations: Tundra and top already in play (searching for Swords to Plowshares or Terminus). 4 turns isn’t a very fast clock and when he’s dealt with you might not have an immediate follow-up, giving your opponent time to rebuild.

    1 Iona, Shield of Emeria – Shuts down a key color, which beats a number of decks. Vulnerable to Karakas.

    0-1 Archetype of Endurance – Shuts down targeted removal and Karakas.

    0-1 Tidespout Tyrant – bounces lots of permanents, including opposing big creatures (Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, Griselbrand, etc.)

    0-3 Grave Titan – creates a board presence big enough to get around Liliana of the Veil, and leaves behind tokens even if he dies immediately. Combat math with Grave Titan? The answer is: “always attack.” Remember he has Deathtouch as flavor text.

    0 or 4 Chancellor of the Annex - reveal this from your opening hand to steal back the play when you're on the draw. Delays 1 mana artifact and Deathrite Shaman by a turn unless they have fast mana or Gitaxian Probe to interrupt the trigger. This is also not the worst when Reanimated against decks with Swords to Plowshares, and is actually almost a complete lock against Storm. Either run 0 or run 4. Sometimes these are in the sideboard instead of the maindeck and replace Sire of Insanity on the draw.

    Fast mana choices

    Chrome Mox – a good replacement for the 15th and/or 14th land if you want a bit more speed. If you are running the Children of Korlis combo version, you want as many initial mana sources as you can squeeze in so that your draw 7s find more mana.

    Simian Spirit Guide – more red-intensive versions can make good use of these monkeys. Be aware when using these that a hand of Faithless Looting, Spirit Guide x2, Exhume, Fetchland, Griselbrand can still turn 1 if you are completely all-in. Pitch a spirit guide to cast Looting, then use the Fetchland and other Spirit Guide to cast the Exhume. The more conservative line would be to fetch Badlands to cast the Looting, but then you don’t have guaranteed black mana for the Exhume.

    Mox Diamond – we run too few lands for this to be as powerful as Chrome Mox most of the time.

    Different Versions with Sample Decklists and Sideboards:

    Faithless Reanimator / “Dindon Rea” – more fast mana in the maindeck allows access to a more mana-intensive but sneaky sideboard option – Sneak Attack.

    Burning Wish Sideboard – Burning Wish grants flexibility so that you always have the right anti-hate, or a reanimation spell / discard spell if you need one.

    Green Sideboard – powerful green sideboard options include Abrupt Decay and Reverent Silence

    White Sideboard – Wear/Tear answers Leyline of the Void, artifact based hate, but not creatures. White also gives access to Silence.

    Blue Sideboard - Show and Tell package out of the sideboard evades graveyard hate. Sol lands allow a rapid Show and Tell.
    Mono black – Not many good anti-hate cards other than Ratchet Bomb and plenty of discard spells.

    Other Sideboard slots:

    Stronghold Gambit – To explain how this card works, follow this wording closely: Each player reveals a card from their hand. The creature card(s) with the lowest CMC get put into play. Why would we play this when we are toting big daddy Griselbrand at 4BBBB? Well, if the opponent has no creatures in their hand / deck, we get a 2 mana Griselbrand! This gets boarded in against Storm, Lands, Show and Tell, and other combo decks that run few to no creatures. You could also bring it in against Miracles, but some versions run a plethora of Snapcaster Mage, Vendilion Clique, and even Venser, Shaper Savant to stop this. However, this is easily the most fun card to resolve in the deck.

    Pithing Needle – Stops Karakas, but we have some creatures that do that for us. Something to consider, but likely there are few cards that you want to cut when sideboarding anyway.

    Faerie Macabre / Surgical Extraction / Leyline of the Void – Other sideboard options are usually pretty terrible because we aren’t ever boarding in more than 4-5 cards, because we don’t want to dilute our deck. With the rest of our sideboard space, there is no problem with trying to win the mirror or pseudo-mirror against UB Reanimator or Dredge.

    Lightning Bolt – For pesky Delver decks. Some players have opted to change into a more controlling role against Delver decks, boarding in 4 Bolt 4 Abrupt Decay and focusing on killing threats until a definite combo is available.

    Young Pyromancer / Monastery Mentor – Without cantrips, these are less than ideal and a bit slow. Young Pyromancer is easily on-color but his tokens still get eaten by Deathrite Shaman. Monastery Mentor is a bit slow and mana-intensive but can quickly generate a large board presence. The problem with both of these is that they take up a lot of sideboard space and the matchups where you want these or don’t are still ill-defined. More testing is needed with Mentor.

    Goblin Rabblemaster – A possible sideboard option, yet to be tested as far as I know.

    Tasigur, the Golden Fang / Gurmag Angler / Tombstalker – delve creatures are a sideboard option but struggle against Leyline of the Void and Rest in Peace, as well as Swords to Plowshares if they resolve.

    Ingot Chewer - A clever answer to Chalice of the Void and its friends.

    Sideboard Entomb targets:

    If you can make room in your sideboard, these are some options that will handle opponents’ threats handily. Keep in mind – there has to be a reason that you would want these. If you are planning on getting one of these INSTEAD of getting Griselbrand, they have to be pretty good.

    Keranos, God of Storms – gets around Containment Priest. A good sideboard Entomb target. Run 0-1

    Blazing Archon – stops some aggressive decks, namely Eldrazi. In some situations, this is a better target than Griselbrand. Run 0-1

    Archetype of Endurance – if not maindeck, this is crucial for stopping Karakas. Run 1 if not maindeck.

    Ashen Rider – exiles permanents, but Tidespout Tyrant is probably better.

    Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite – handles most creature-based threats in the format but the primary gameplan of Griselbrand is probably better against creature-based threats due to the lifelink.


    Miracles – Counterbalance / top is good against us if our hand is a bit slow. Some versions have Karakas which makes it harder. There are a lot of different versions of Miracles but expect either Rest in Peace or Surgical Extraction out of their sideboard.

    Shardless BUG – A very interesting matchup if neither of us have nut hands. They have ways of dealing with our creatures, but not necessarily effectively. They can have artifact hate, Deathrite, Force of Will, Surgical Extraction, and/or Meddling Mage. The versions with the Meddling Mage sideboard are better for us, because Mage costs 2 and doesn’t shut us down completely.

    Grixis Delver – a hard matchup due to the fast clock coupled with plenty of free countermagic, plus Deathrite Shaman to make comboing off harder and Surgical Extraction out of some sideboards.

    UR Delver – no Deathrite Shamans make the matchup a little easier, but they can actually kill a Griselbrand with the right burn spells.

    Eldrazi – depending on how disgusting their sideboard is, this matchup could be very good or very bad. Typically we only lose G1 if they have a Chalice of the Void on turn 1. Post board, I have faced Leyline, Faerie Macabre, Thorn of Amethyst, and a mix of all 3. One of my paper opponents had 4 Leyline of the Void, 4 Thorn of Amethyst, the 3rd Karakas, and a Pithing Needle in their sideboard. Their sideboard options are so bad against their other bad matchups that they overboard for the one they can beat: us.

    Storm – we are both combo decks with discard, but this deck doesn’t need a critical amount of spells or time to set up. Typically we win almost all the games we’re on the play and most on the draw, just because this deck is faster than storm. A relatively easy matchup made easier with Stronghold Gambit. Sometimes Storm opponents can have Surgical/Extirpate or Flusterstorm.

    Lands – a very interesting matchup. Maze of Ith, Glacial Chasm, Karakas, and (potentially)The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale can all interfere with our creatures while Wastelands and Rishadan Ports interfere with our mana. Stronghold Gambit is very strong in this matchup and makes it far less tense to play. Their best interaction by far is Crop Rotation at instant speed, finding Bojuka Bog to stop our graveyard or one of the above lands to stop creatures in play. Postboard they can also have Sphere of Resistance / Thorn of Amethyst / Chalice of the Void effects.

    Death and Taxes – Although typical UB Reanimator struggles against this deck, we are usually so fast that a lot of their good cards are too slow. Karakas can hurt, and Rest in Peace / Containment Priest out of the sideboard can cause problems for slow hands. Also watch out for Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Phyrexian Revoker, and Mother of Runes + flyer to stop Griselbrand.

    SneakShow/OmniShow/OmniTell – a tense matchup to play. We are happy with them casting Show and Tell because we can put in Griselbrand or Animate Dead -> Griselbrand. Usually our draw 7s are more powerful. Stronghold Gambit helps this matchup because they have a variety of annoying cards against us such as Grafdigger’s Cage or Cunning Wish -> Surgical Extraction in addition to plenty of countermagic and draw spells to find the previous.

    Reanimator mirror – Very tense. Exhume is the worst card from both decks, and either player can cast Entomb in response to it to completely change the effect. Reanimate and Animate Dead can target creatures in the opponent’s graveyards. Entomb and Faithless Looting are both ideally resolved before a guaranteed reanimation spell. Discard spells excel here to inform you on the opponent’s hand composition and what plays are safe or deadly. Best reanimation target G1 is Iona on black, assuming your opponent doesn’t have board presence yet. Remember basic combat math (not what you signed up for I guess): a 7/7 flyer doesn’t race a 7/7 flying lifelink, and a 6/7 flyer (animate dead) doesn’t beat a 7/7 flyer.

    Burn – Griselbrand’s best mode is flavor text – 7/7 flying lifelink. Don’t draw cards unless you have to. If given the option, Iona on Red should lock it up. Sideboard cards include Tormod’s Crypt, Surgical Extraction, or Faerie Macabre, though usually only one of the above in any given list. Burn players have to choose what kind of combo hate they run, so it’s kind of a guessing game.

    BUG Delver – Deathrite plus plenty of discard spells after board make this a hard matchup on the draw but a decent matchup on the play. Depends on the sideboard, but not the most popular Delver deck nowadays.

    RUG Delver – Notable to this deck specifically is the inclusion of Stifle. Don’t activate Griselbrand into any blue mana up, but activating Griselbrand against Delver decks is not usually correct anyway because he is a giant lifelinker that’s hard to race.

    Esper Deathblade – Stoneblade decks can run any amount of hate cards for whatever matchups they like, because they are playing three or four colors. Deathblade is the only deck bold enough to run Rest in Peace alongside Deathrite Shaman, and can sometimes have Containment Priest or discard spells or Surgical Extraction.

    Jund – Deathrite Shaman and discard spells for interaction G1. Sideboard varies a lot: they can have Leyline of the Void or one-mana artifact hate.

    Dredge – They should have no interaction G1, so as fast as possible is great. Discard spells are usually pretty effective against mana dredge, taking Careful Study or Breakthrough. After sideboarding, Dredge usually brings in 4 Leylines or 4 Faerie Macabres.

    Elves – Deathrite Shaman is their turn 1 interaction, but if they don’t have it turn 1, they’re probably heading for a turn 2 Scavenging Ooze. Post-board, they can have discard spells, possibly Surgical Extraction / Leyline of the Void.

    Belcher – unless they have a turn 1 Goblin Charbelcher in two games, you should easily win this matchup. Discard spells excel here. Preferred target should be Griselbrand to draw cards and cast discard spells. Iona on Red or Green can be beaten by mana spells of the opposite color, but can probably be good enough in most cases. Elesh Norn can kill Goblins or Griselbrand can race them pretty effectively. Tidespout Tyrant can bounce Belcher if it makes it on the field and doesn’t activate.

    Merfolk – This is a very interesting matchup because of Phantasmal Image. Usually it costs too much mana to matter because we are focused on comboing as fast as possible, but sometimes drawing cards with Griselbrand could kill us on the swingback if we miss on the draw 7. Use your best judgment when forced into a racing situation, and watch out for Mutavault activations. Merfolk decks are also known to run Chalice of the Void and Daze in addition to Force of Will, and can also have Grafdigger’s Cage in sideboard games.
    Last edited by DNSolver; 12-31-2016 at 09:59 AM.

  2. #2

    Re: [Primer] BRx Griselbrand Reanimator

    Stay tuned to @Griselbrand_ for screenshots and threatening Griselbrand remarks.

    Reserved for future updates.
    Last edited by DNSolver; 07-11-2016 at 11:57 AM.

  3. #3

    Join Date

    Jun 2011



    Re: [Primer] BRx Griselbrand Reanimator

    Quote Originally Posted by DNSolver View Post
    Reserved for future updates.
    WOW, this is awesome. Thanks for doing this.

    Is there any reason for not including Chancellor of the Annex in the creature section

  4. #4

    Re: [Primer] BRx Griselbrand Reanimator

    Forgot about Chancellor of the hopelessness. Adding now.

  5. #5

    Re: [Primer] BRx Griselbrand Reanimator

    Great job putting this together! :)

  6. #6
    Weapon X's Avatar
    Join Date

    May 2014

    Winnipeg, Mb


    Re: [Primer] BRx Griselbrand Reanimator

    Isn't this just burning reanimate then?
    The Parfait Meta-Game

  7. #7

    Re: [Primer] BRx Griselbrand Reanimator

    A Burning Wish sideboard plan is only included in some versions of this deck. Most people right now are not running any Burning Wishes, and I haven't seen a version with Lion's Eye Diamonds.

  8. #8

    Re: [Primer] BRx Griselbrand Reanimator

    Tournament Report from Tuesday night Legacy, playing this decklist:

    4 Griselbrand, 3 Jin-Gitaxias, 1 Grave Titan
    1 Children of Korlis, 1 Tendrils of Agony
    4 Entomb, 4 Faithless Looting
    4 Reanimate 4 Exhume 4 Shallow Grave
    4 Thoughtseize, 4 Unmask
    4 Lotus Petal, 4 Dark Ritual, 1 Chrome Mox
    2 Swamp, 2 Badlands, 1 Bayou, 8 black fetches

    4 Abrupt Decay
    4 Reverent Silence
    4 Stronghold Gambit
    3 Faerie Macabre

    My current list super-subscribes to Shallow Grave, so I cut all the creatures that don't play nicely with it (Iona, Tidespout, etc.) to maximize my chances at beating Surgical, Deathrite, and graveyard removal effects.

    R1: Abzan Stoneblade
    G1: turn 1 on the play.
    G2: he mulls to 4, Thoughtseizes me when I kept 2 land, Looting, Grisel, Exhume, Decay, something. I turn 2 him.

    R2: Storm
    G1: turn 1 on the play.
    G2: a strugglefest with discard spells. He has the option of spending his whole hand to discard my Reanimate as my last card in his hand, but is then vulnerable to my great topdecks. He chooses to let me have Reanimate. My single draw 7 is amazing and kills him.

    R3: Storm again
    G1: turn 1 on the play.
    G2: I keep a 7-card turn 1 on the draw but I get Therapied for my Entomb after he mulls to 5. I struggle to assemble things from my Faithless Lootings and get killed on turn 4 or 5.
    G3: turn 1 on the play.

    R4: Shardless BUG
    G1: We both mull to 5 looking for interaction when I'm on the play. I'm willing to mulligan pretty low looking for a good hand if my opponent knows what I'm on, because my opponent is also going to mulligan aggressively if he's good. I keep land, Children, Entomb, Reanimate x2. I Entomb mainphase for Griselbrand. He has USea pass. My first Reanimate gets Forced, but he's now down to 2 cards in hand when I cast my second Reanimate. My draw 7 gets there.
    G2: I keep Land x3, Entomb, Reanimate, Decay, Griselbrand? He leads off with Deathrite. I play it safe and land go. He does too. I play my second land and get ready to Decay him on his turn 3 endstep. He responds to it with a Notion Thief using his Deathrite. That's unfortunate. I draw Faithless Looting. I entomb Grave Titan, cast Looting (unfortunately he draws 2 cards, forgot about that part), then Reanimate Grave Titan. Unfortunatley, he finds enough disruption from the draw 2 and his next few turns to stop Grave Titan with 3 Deathrites, the Notion Thief, 2 Goyfs, and a Liliana of the Veil.
    G3: I mull to 6 on the play while he keeps 7. I Entomb Griselbrand. He plays Deathrite off of USea. I try for a Reanimate but it gets Forced, pitching Jace. He plays his second land (a fetch) and passes. I pass with 2 mana up. He suspects Shallow Grave (knows that I play it) and just draws for his turn. Unfortunately, he's missing on his third land, so he is forced to crack his fetch to try to cast a Baleful Strix. In response I make Griselbrand. He finds his third land, Brainstorms, and passes. I draw 7 on endstep and consider my options. If I draw another 7 I can't use Children of Korlis to good effect on my turn, because I lost all my life to Griselbrand on his endstep. I decide that my chances are probably better with a second set of 7, so I do that. I carefully consider my options, playing around Surgical Extraction off of his Brainstorm, finally passing the turn with Griselbrand and Grave Titan in play, petal up, 2x Decays in hand. He plays 2 Goyfs but is looking pretty screwed (although I am at 5 life). I Decay his Strix and attack with Griz, Grave Titan, 2 zombies, and he blocks 2 Zombies, going to 4 (his Goyfs were 5/6s at this point). His draw for turn isn't enough to kill me - he wanted a Maelstrom Pulse to kill my new untapped Zombies and attack for 10 with Goyfs and kill me with Deathrite, but my 2nd Decay would have stopped that.

    R5: Burn.
    We split for $50 each. We played for fun and I lost game 3 due to mulligans, keeping a 5 card no lander on the play that didn't pan out because he found Tormod's Crypt and I couldn't get around it in time.
    Last edited by DNSolver; 07-24-2016 at 07:45 AM.

  9. #9
    The Fire of Justice Burns Like Nothing Else
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    Jun 2014

    Jacksonville, FL


    Re: [Primer] BRx Griselbrand Reanimator

    Great primer. Needs the original artwork and some Taylor Swift quotes though.

  10. #10

    Re: [Primer] BRx Griselbrand Reanimator

    Thanks for the primer. I've been watching this as it's been putting up results on MTGO leagues the past few weeks, definitely something exciting to keep in my rotation, the ability to play through so many T1 hate cards is incredible.

    On the other hand, when things go wrong, this is just miserable. I played this against burn last week in a weekly event and on the play, he mulled to 5, and I still lost when I kept a hand with land, Dark Rit, Petal, Looting x 3, Exhume, because in all of the looks I was unable to find a creature off the lootings (which given 8 looks over 3 turns is a 93% chance to hit something).

    My preferred creature suite seems to be somewhere between 2-3 Sire, 4 Grisel, 4 Chancellor, and possibly Iona.

  11. #11

    Re: [Primer] BRx Griselbrand Reanimator

    Updated the primer to include more in the "Tips and Tricks" section. No Taylor Swift jokes yet, although I hear she has a ban list baby, and she'll write Griselbrand's name.

    @Nocley 8 looks over 3 turns is ridiculous, and missing on that is why it's not a 100%. The math is with you. Looking at that hand, though, it looks like you could have flashbacked a Looting or two over the next few turns (assuming you got any) to dig even deeper.

  12. #12

    Re: [Primer] BRx Griselbrand Reanimator

    Excellent work on this. Nice to see some high quality Legacy content on these boards.

  13. #13
    Hey guys, let's do it! The blue yonder awaits! Yahoo!
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    Apr 2011

    The World


    Re: [Primer] BRx Griselbrand Reanimator

    Looks like a version of Burning Reanimator, but I believe you when you say this is a different beast all together. Good looking primer! Just one request: either I didn't see one clearly, but could you include a sample deck list in the op?
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  14. #14

    Re: [Primer] BRx Griselbrand Reanimator

    Decklists are under "Different Versions with Sample Decklists"

    Thank you so much for the nice comments!

    I just 5-0'd a Legacy Competitive League to qualify for the Magic Online Legacy Festival Championship, but I will likely be busy on that day and unable to play. Matches went like:

    R1 - Burn 2-1
    R2 - Merfolk 2-1
    R3 - UR Delver 2-0
    R4 - UR Delver 2-1
    R5 - BR Reanimator mirror 2-1

    Decklist I used:

    4 Griselbrand 3 Jin-Gitaxias 1 Tidespout Tyrant
    1 Children of Korlis 1 Tendrils of Agony
    4 Reanimate 4 Exhume 4 Animate Dead
    4 Entomb 4 Faithless Looting
    4 Thoughtseize 4 Unmask
    4 Lotus Petal 4 Dark Ritual 1 Chrome Mox
    2 Badlands 1 Bayou 2 Swamp 8 black fetches

    4 Abrupt Decay
    2 Stronghold Gambit
    4 Reverent Silence
    1 Archetype of Endurance
    4 Faerie Macabre

  15. #15

    Re: [Primer] BRx Griselbrand Reanimator

    If I have the cards for the UB version of this, is there really any advantages to playing BR? Which version is better against Miracles?

  16. #16

    Re: [Primer] BRx Griselbrand Reanimator

    Easily this version is better against Miracles. Getting under Counterbalance easily is very powerful.

    There are plenty of hands in both versions that are extremely hard to beat, example:

    Land, fast mana, bin creature effect, reanimate effect, protection.

    However, this version has more of those, and that's what you need curently to beat Miracles as well as being able to turn 1 Eldrazi or Delver decks on the play. Unmask is our protection that works against Faerie Macabre as well, at the cost of needing more black cards in the deck.

  17. #17

    Re: [Primer] BRx Griselbrand Reanimator

    I'm going to play in a big Brazilian tournament next month and I`m going use B/u reanimator with green splash in sideboard.

    After reading this thread, what is the Sideout - sidein plan ? I'm having troubles putting 4 abrupt decay in main deck and reducing the speed of the deck. There is any case where you need to side in 4 abrupt decay and 4 reverent silence ? What I need to side out in these case ? T for helping !

  18. #18
    Site Contributor

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    Mar 2010

    Pittsburgh, PA


    Re: [Primer] BRx Griselbrand Reanimator

    Just wanted to thank OP for the fantastic primer -- among the best on this site! Thorough and informative without being needlessly bloated.

    I've encountered this deck a few times with online play testing, but have never seen it irl or had the guts to run it myself. Has there been a consensus as to which build is optimal?

  19. #19

    Re: [Primer] BRx Griselbrand Reanimator

    Certainly the maindeck is agreed upon at this point. Any person looking to play the deck should definitely obtain:

    4 Griselbrand, 6 other combo creatures / cards
    12 Reanimation Spells
    4 Thoughtseize 4 Unmask
    4 Dark Ritual 4 Lotus Petal
    4 Entomb 4 Faithless Looting
    8 black fetches, 2 Badlands, 2 Swamp, 1 B/X splash dual land

    I played the Burning Wish sideboard for a few months but since switching to a green sideboard I've been pretty impressed with 4 Abrupt Decay as a catchall answer that you bring in against almost every deck, expecting hate. I choose to be able to beat Leyline post-board so I also have 4 Reverent Silence in my sideboard. I think that you are only bringing in 4 cards at most against almost any deck, so I fill my sideboard with 4 ofs as much as possible.

    My current creature suite is 4 Griz, 3 Jin-Gitaxias, 1 flex slot, and then 2 slots for 2 Children of Korlis + Tendrils of Agony. The flex slot started out as Grave Titan, switched to Tidespout Tyrant, but there's a lot of Swords to Plowshares running around. It will likely become Inkwell Leviathan or Archetype of Endurance.

  20. #20

    Re: [Primer] BRx Griselbrand Reanimator

    Just got a 5-0 League with the 2 Sire 4 Grisel 4 Chancellor 1 Iona creature MD plan, Green SB (3 Decay 2 Reverent Silence) only league I played during the Festival Q's, so I guess I'm playing Sunday now. Also forgot to put in the last 3 Stronghold Gambits after I bought them, so getting that with a 12 card SB felt great too. I like the Green/Gambit plan much more than the Blue Show and Tell plan that's been going around online.

    If I get time, I may test Children + Tendrils plan, allows the Griselbrand hands to be so much more powerful it seems. Chancellor seems like the best card and the worst card all at once.

    Definitely going to cut the 2 Pithing Needles SB for the 3rd Reverent Silence and something else...maybe the fourth decay, but I was already flooding out enough, but I did play decks that were relatively light on GY Hate. But at the same time, don't know what else I'd throw in that slot. But 2 Reverent Silence is definitely not enough to deal with Leyline of the Void.

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