I propose that now is the best time to play standard reanimator since Unburial Rites
was printed. The recent improvement in the mana base is a big reason for this. My claim is that reanimator allows for the ultimate value deck in standard – one that is able to play with consistency putting it’s mana to good use in the early game, quickly establishing board presence while dominating the mid and late game.
Since the release of Return to Ravnica, at least 4 different color combinations have seen their respective reanimator lists to top finishes at noteworthy tournaments. As of late, the human reanimator decks with the creature removal package of Nightshade Peddler
and Izzet Staticaster
has been very popular. Before that, Brad Nelson’s “Hoof There It Is” (Junk Frites splashing blue) rocked out quick victories occasionally as soon as turn 4. If we go back to just after the Return to Ravnica release, Junk Frites splashing red for Faithless Looting and perhaps Huntmaster of the Fells/Olivia Voldaren/Zealous Conscripts was seen as the leading reanimator deck for a short time.
At the time, I really liked Faithless Looting, but I didn’t care for the mana base, and I wasn’t convinced that Olivia or Huntmaster offered anything unique that couldn’t be obtained through Angel of Serenity
. Also, the right application of Deathrite Shaman
was still being experimented with while the choice of fatties seemed somewhat arbitrary. Since then, Deathrite Shaman has proven to be good enough to design around and the pick of fatties has become fairly simplified. Either you play Angel of Glory’s Rise in a human reanimator deck, OR, you play some number of Angel of Serenity and Craterhoof Behemoth
. Angel of Glory’s Rise favors a combo finish that functions from a graveyard that is built up over the course of the game. However, Angel of Serenity and Craterhoof Behemoth are excellent, albeit a little less awe inspiring, as soon as you can get them into play. I favor the last two fatties as they seem more straightforward in their quest to win the game.