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Saturday, July 14, 2018

A Style for Each – Reanimator + Sac & Recur

November 22, 2011 by  
Filed under FAQ, In-Depth FAQ

Sub Themes

Welcome back fellow EDH-ers. Hope you guys didn’t waited too long for this. As mentioned last article, we will now begin to introduce the other Sub Themes Play Styles starting with this week article. These Sub Themes, what we called Little Countries of Sub Themes, are like support themes to the 3 Major Archetypes. Although they could also be your deck’s main win condition, especially if a large pool of cards supports the Sub Theme, but generally it is not that advisable to depend on solely on one Sub Theme to win as it is very easy to be counter against. Good EDH decks usually packs one or two of these Sub Themes as means to recover or build up their board development. So without further delay, let us walk you through some of the many popular Sub Themes available thus far that you could consider putting into or building your deck. For this article we shall look at two rather similar Sub Themes which are the opposite of life and working from beyond the graveyard.



With that introduction done, let us look at the first of the Today Sub Theme, Reanimator. For Reanimator here, it works to fill your graveyard with creatures instead of putting them onto the battlefield. And the creatures in question here ain’t just any normal creatures we are talking about, but they are instead some of the biggest, meanest, most badass creatures around. Then once you had put them into the graveyard, you will then reanimate them onto the battlefield quicker than you would normally hard cast them. Creatures cheated in this way are normally too hard to deal with in the early game and would end games faster than your opponent could normally react. Normally in normal variant, the creatures of choice for Reanimator players are mainly based on the creatures’ abilities or badassness. Meaning the creatures in these decks could only be reanimated and not hard cast for the deck as they are totally off color, eg. having Iona, Shield of Emeria in a mono Black deck. But in EDH, you are bound by your General’s Color Identity when building your decks, thus you could only choose badass creatures as per your General Color Identity. This is not exactly a bad point really because if you do not get your reanimator spells or effects, you are still able to cast the creature eventually. Some “nice “creatures you can use are as follows:-

  • Akroma, Angel of Fury or Akroma, Angel of Wrath – Both Angels are packed with enough abilities as your finisher. Not easily dismissible as a reanimate target if your Color Identity allows it
  • Deep-Sea Kraken / Tidal Kraken – Both have the ability of being unblockable thus making them efficient attackers
  • Dragon Tyrant – A gigantic brute force in the air. Another final blow finisher. Combination of Double strike and fire-breathing ability makes killing an opponent no hard task. Added Trample to ensure damage is push through even when blocked. Combine with Dragon Breath, which could return itself when you have a creature with cc 6 or more Enter The Battlefield, to kill your opponent the same turn it Enter The Battlefield
  • Hellkite Overlord – Another powerhouse finisher in the air combining the best out of its color. Flying for a Dragon, Trample from Green, Haste from Red and Regeneration from Black & Green
  • Iona, Shield of Emeria – The bane of all mono color players. Very unfriendly play though….
  • Phyrexian Colossus – The minimum requirement of having at least three creatures to block makes this creature almost unblockable if you have creature removal. Being Artifact also makes it easier to splash into any deck
  • Silver Seraph – Big Flying attacker at 6/6 which pumps your whole army at the same time
  • Stormtide Leviathan – The infamous GimBakLaw (金目卢 or Sea Bass) of our play group, both an attacker and defender at the same time. Evasion is gained through its Islandwalk as it turns all lands into Islands, and the added ability to stop creatures without Flying and Islandwalk from attacking you
  • Victory’s Herald – Not a big fattie creature but let your whole army gain Flying and Lifelink allowing for the final strike

With the above creatures chosen, now you need ways to bring them back. Till date, tons of Reanimation spells and effects had been printed as far. You are not short of choices to bring them back. It is only a matter of choosing the right one. The following are some choices which you may consider when choosing Reanimation:-

Of course for the above win con to happen, you need to fill up your graveyard first. The following set of cards acts like Tutors to this Sub Theme:-

  • Buried Alive – A Tutor for three badasses
  • Dredge cards – A mechanic which replaces your draws by putting cards into the graveyard. Combine with Flashback cards for more synergy as you put cards into the graveyard while you Dredge
  • Entomb – Although this only search for only one card, this is effective a Tutor for any card which you need to be in the graveyard
  • Fauna Shaman / Survival of the Fittest + Squee, the Goblin Nabob – A set of combo cards, which if your Color Identity allows, could get you all the badasses in your deck
  • Iname, Death Aspect – Heavy Spirit Tribal theme which allows you to dump your whole army of Spirits into the graveyard



As with any other themes which depend on the graveyard, Graveyard Hate will totally ruin your game plan. An empty graveyard means end of business for Reanimator. Tormod’s Crypt, Wheel of Sun and Moon, Leyline of the Void are couple of the most effective Graveyard Hates to watch out for. That being said, you could also easily become the number one target of everyone at the table as you are first and fastest one to have the biggest threat on the table, causing everyone to devote their resource against you.


Generals of Choice:


Sac & Recur:-


Like Reanimator, plays from the graveyard are common and abundant. You also tutor for creatures and put them into your graveyard. But the difference here is that instead of searching for the biggest, meanest, most badass creatures, you are looking for creatures with Enter The Battlefield and Leave The Battlefield effects. The advantage of this theme is that those creatures are usually easier to cast and each of them could also add on to your beatdown. Most Creatures with Enter The Battlefield and Leave The Battlefield serve as utility Creatures, dealing with threats as needed. The following are some of the Cards used:-

As you need to abuse the Enter The Battlefield effects of the above, you need them to return from the graveyard back to the battlefield. Various means could be used here through the following:-

  • Iname, Life Aspect – A beatstick which discourage your opponent to off it. As killing it will return all Spirits Creature to return to your hand. Heavy Spirit Tribal theme require to pull it off though
  • Lifeline / Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker – Both return creatures which enters the graveyard from the battlefield back to the battlefield directly, saving you the trouble to cast them again
  • Living Death – Creates a mass entry of all your Enter The Battlefield effects creatures. This also serves as a mass effects for your Leave The Battlefield effects
  • Mimic Vat – A changeable reusable way for your Enter The Battlefield effect creatures, and occasionally Leave The Battlefield effects if the
  • Oath of Ghouls – Allows the player with the most Creatures to return a Creature from the graveyard back to the hand each turn, especially good for you as you are filling up your graveyard faster than everyone. Also serve as political tool as it affects everyone
  • Reveillark – Since most of the Enter The Battlefield Creatures are mostly low power, when build correctly, it could always bring in two Creatures every time it Leaves The Battlefield

As for the Leave The Battlefield effects, sacrifice outlets are used here. What you are looking for here are ways to get rid of the creatures to trigger their Leave The Battlefield effects. As always with EDH, permanent ways or ways which do it en mass are most welcome. Some examples of getting the Leave The Battlefield effects are as follow:-

  • Ashnod’s Altar / Phyrexian Altar – Allows you to sacrifice the creatures for their Leave The Battlefield while giving you mana in the process
  • Attrition – Allows you to deal with an opposing creature threat as you sacrifice your creature for its Leave The Battlefield effect
  • Goblin Bombardment – Deals one damage along with getting the Leave The Battlefield effect. Good for pushing for damage or offing small creatures
  • Mind Slash – Hand disruption along with getting the Leave The Battlefield effect
  • Natural Order – Although limited to only Green, this card lets you get the Leave The Battlefield while tutoring for another Enter The Battlefield effect creature too. At best, you could search for a badass and just end the game there
  • Perilous Forays – Mana development as you get your Leave The Battlefield effects from you creatures
  • Victimize – This works some sort like Reveillark bringing in two creatures at the price of one. Timed right, you could get three effects at the same time, one Leave The Battlefield effect for the sacrificed creature and two Enter The Battlefield effects for the two creatures brought back



As per Reanimator, Sac & Recur interaction with the graveyard also exposes it to the same threats that Reanimator faces. Any graveyard hate will easily spoil your whole game plan.


Generals of Choice:

  • Ghost Council of Orzhova: – A General who has an Enter The Battlefield effect and also act as your sacrifice outlet for your Leave The Battlefield effects creatures.

  • Teysa, Orzhov Scion: – Sacrifice outlet for your deck and also partially replenish you with more creatures to sacrifice.


  • Savra, Queen of the Golgari: – Although not a sacrifice outlet herself, Savra adds on effects to your sacrifices, making each sacrifice more beneficial than it already is.

  • Teneb, the Harvester: – The best of the Reanimator theme General, returning creatures for more of your Enter The Battlefield effects for each attack. Also serves as the finisher as its power is nothing to sneeze at (6/6).


Playing with the graveyard means that you will never run out of resources as your graveyard also serve as your hand as well. As with this week two Sub Themes, both work to fill up your graveyard with creatures and then recur them back. Reanimator cheats in badasses which are hard for your opponents to deal with early in the game, while Sac & Recur toys around with the Enter The Battlefield & Leave The Battlefield effects of your creatures by repeating their Enter The Battlefield & Leave The Battlefield process over and over again. While both Sub Themes have the advantage of not running out of resource, they both die horribly to any graveyard hate as that is where you stored your resources. So with that, we wrapped up with the graveyard theme for now. Do be back here for there are more Sub Themes to come.


This is yours truly, Edward “Reaper King” Leong, signing off.



10 Responses to “A Style for Each – Reanimator + Sac & Recur”
  1. nanoo says:

    Great info. Lucky me I discovered your website by accident (stumbleupon).
    I’ve saved as a favorite for later!


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