Meren Reanimator Toolbox

Hello, and welcome to my Golgari on-board Control deck. This deck started from the pre-constructed deck and eventually became my pet project. As it stands, the goal of the deck is to win via a stax-lite game plan and answer almost any threat along the way. This will be a basic primer detailing how the deck functions and discussing almost each individual card choice. This list isn't hyper competitive or super casual, but it's honestly my favorite deck to play so I thought I'd spend some time writing a primer.

Foil Count: 94/94 All cards are in the printing shown and in foil or signed if marked as such.

Signature Count: 37/100

Why Golgari?

Golgari is one of the most powerful color schemes in Magic. It contains two of the best colors, lacking only Blue, and can quite literally answer almost anything your opponents throw at you. Black can deal with creatures, and Green can deal with pretty much anything else. Also, the lore behind the Ravnican guild is quite cool.

Why Meren?

This deck started from the pre-constructed Commander 2015 deck, so it started with Meren at the helm. I have considered changing the commander several times, most namely to Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord , but realized I would be taking the deck in a different direction than I wanted. Meren is such a powerful recursion engine that if you’re looking for raw value based on dumping cards into your graveyard and sacrificing creatures, there is no other commander that can compete with her, at least not in these colors. She comes down early and is high-impact even with few experience counters. Meren in no way helps me combo, but she is the conductor on the value train from your first draw all the way to victory.

The card draw section may seem a little lacking, but the deck makes up for it with plenty of tutors and recursion. Also, Underrealm Lich is disgustingly good card advantage/selection.
  • Dark Confidant - good early, not terrible late game because it can still draw cards or just be sacrificed to something better
  • God-Eternal Bontu - the best draw engine in the deck, hands down; combos grossly with World Shaper
  • Grim Haruspex - on theme and very efficient card draw
  • Krav, the Unredeemed - an amazing sacrifice outlet despite not being free because it both draws you cards and is a flat rate of one mana no matter how many creatures you sacrifice; that's a big deal on it's own
  • Liliana, Dreadhorde General - haha, this card is nuts; it's Grim Haruspex with activated abilities
  • Matter Reshaper - this card is better than Elvish Visionary and it’s ilk because of the fact that occasionally you get something into play for free; despite having to reveal each card drawn, that doesn’t outweigh the upside this card brings to the table
  • Midnight Reaper - see above, except this one can draw from itself dying
  • Satyr Wayfinder - comes down early and finds land drops while filling the graveyard
  • Silhana Wayfinder - it's like Satyr Wayfinder that finds creatures but doesn't mill
  • Underrealm Lich - this card is all kinds of value and let me tell you why; you cannot draw yourself out with this card, it’s essentially a Dredge 3 on every draw, it’s card selection versus just raw card draw, and it can protect itself with its activated ability

Tutors are not hard to explain. They find what you need when you need them, and in G/B, there are tutors galore. If you can't draw what you need, just go get it straight out of the deck.
  • Buried Alive - our graveyard is kind of like our second hand in this deck, so why not get any three creatures we need right there for easy access at the end of turn with Meren or at instant speed with Chainer
  • Chord of Calling - instant speed to the battlefield creature tutor that has convoke
  • Demonic Tutor - arguably the best card in the game; becomes any card in your deck for a small price of two mana; we're in black, there's no reason not to run this
  • Diabolic Intent - sacrifice a creature, oh no, what a downside; see Demonic Tutor
  • Entomb - basically an instant speed demonic tutor for one mana
  • Fauna Shaman - it's Survival of the Fittest on a creature; discarding creatures really isn't a downside for us, and it helps us find the answers we need
  • Final Parting - Diabolic Tutor and Entomb stapled together; I couldn’t really justify Entomb by itself in the list, but now that I get to do two things for one spell, it’s worth having the effect
  • Mausoleum Secrets - instants speed, can find any answer spell except for Rec Sage and Bane of Progress, and is both less expensive in terms of money and mana cost than Grim Tutor
  • Pattern of Rebirth - this card is really good because sacrificing a creature is easy and it puts anything I want into play; this isn't necessarily a staple for Meren, but it is a really solid card that I'm glad I tested
  • Protean Hulk - when this dies, you tutor for six mana's worth of creatures directly into play; so happy they unbanned this beauty
  • Sidisi, Undead Vizier - this card doesn't seem great at first, but Diabolic Intent attached to a body, even at a higher mana cost, is always good value for us
  • Tooth and Nail - this card is nuts and is not hard to cast in this deck; why I refused to run so many staples for so long is beyond me
  • Vampiric Tutor - a classic black tutor that can come down early and is still relevant late game
  • Worldly Tutor - good staple is good; essentially Vampiric Tutor for a creature, which is good early for finding a draw engine or late game for finding a combo piece
We're in green, so we're ramping. More mana means more fun for us.
  • Cabal Coffers - early game this card isn't an allstar, but late game this card alone can essentially give you an extra turn's worth of mana; with Urborg, this gets stupid\
  • Earthcraft - great way to ramp because I'm generally not attacking with my creatures anyways
  • Pitiless Plunderer - this ramps this deck far faster than anything else could hope to
  • Sakura-Tribe Elder - the second best card in the entire deck, second only to Spore Frog; seriously though, this card gets out of control really fast and takes you miles ahead of the rest of the table
  • Wood Elves - just standard green ramp
  • World Shaper - seems like the card I’ve been looking for to slam all those dredged lands in my graveyard into play; now part of the win condition
Now for this section I decided to lump together all of my spot removal, board wipes, and all the random cards that are in here to answer specific situations or strategies. This was the most exciting part about upgrading this deck for me personally, because I found that I could answer almost anything in the game (literally).
  • Abrupt Decay - can’t be countered and hits a surprisingly large amount of targets in this format; instant speed makes this a must have
  • Agent of Erebos - this is simply in here for hating other graveyard decks with more force than Faerie Macabre
  • Assassin's Trophy - possibly the best piece of spot removal ever printed in these colors, maybe ever; if I weren’t playing this I would slap myself
  • Bane of Progress - this is just for wiping artifacts and enchantments; doesn’t hurt me because the only one in the entire deck is Pernicious Deed
  • Beast Within - one of the best spot removal spells in the colors I'm playing; deals with anything cleanly for three mana
  • Bojuka Bog - easy way to clean out someone else's graveyard, hard to interact with, and I can use it multiple times with Worldshaper
  • Casualties of War - it's Golgari Decimate that is significantly better
  • Damnation - black Wrath of God; if you're playing black, you're playing Damnation
  • Destructor Dragon - a slightly worse Woodfall Primus, but it is a death trigger and not an ETB; plus it’s two mana less
  • Dismember - solid cheap removal, hits most relevant creatures
  • Krosan Grip - answers Relic of Progenitus, Nihil Spellbomb, Tormod’s Crypt, etc.
  • Living Death - this can act as a board wipe and a mass reanimation spell
  • Maelstrom Pulse - probably the best spot removal in these colors; deals with tokens, gets around Gaddock Teeg, and will hit any non-land permanent
  • Massacre Girl - a board wipe on a creature that Protean Hulk can find that goes way bigger than Havoc Demon or Massacre Wurm
  • Pernicious Deed - this is an all around board clear; isn’t an ETB trigger and can be used at instant speed whenever you need it
  • Plaguecrafter - hello this card is like Fleshbag Marauder but on some very prohibited steroids and it is all kinds of value against more than just creature decks; this is the kind of card that can just lock anyone out of the game
  • Prowling Serpopard - for when you're worried about your creatures being countered; we have a heavy lean towards creatures, so this makes a good chunk the deck unable to be countered
  • Ravenous Chupacabra - I found that Shriekmaw was too narrow too much of the time and that it was a dead card in my hand, so I found something more all-encompassing
  • Reclamation Sage - every green deck plays this spell, and it's not hard to see why; we can abuse this by recurring it, which makes it even better
  • Savra, Queen of the Golgari - this is a card with dual functionality; it can gain life and it can also act as a pseudo edict effect
  • Scavenging Ooze - just some more targeted graveyard hate and life gain
  • Spore Frog - the best card in the deck; this card is extremely difficult to remove and protects you against all combat strategies for at least a turn and can also be used politically to stop the threat of the table from killing anyone else
  • Sylvan Safekeeper - helps protect key creatures at a small cost and also part of the win condition
  • Thrashing Brontodon - just another way to blow up artifacts and enchantments that is not and enter the battlefield trigger
  • Toxic Deluge - very similar to BSZ, except it costs life instead of mana; I've always had this in, but later decided to put BSZ in because of situations where you have a lot of mana but not a lot of life and need to wipe the board
  • Vivien Reid - can destroy artifacts, enchantments, or Atraxa's
This section is going to be all the cards I felt warranted explaining but didn't fit into any of the other categories.
  • Carrion Feeder , Viscera Seer , Yahenni, Undying Partisan - sacrifice outlets; these let your things die at instant speed
  • Chainer, Dementia Master - reanimate out of any graveyard at instant speed; part of the win condition
  • Izoni, Thousand-Eyed - this card I am testing to see how valuable making insane amounts of tokens is as blockers or as sacrifice bait for Savra
  • Liliana, Heretical Healer   - this card is insanely good because it's like a Liliana of the Veil but with better minus abilites; and honestly, just making everyone discard a card once a turn for three mana is relevant
  • Memorial to Folly - it is technically only a one time recursion spell, but sometimes that is all I need; also, lands are very easy to recur in this deck, so it's not necessarily a one time thing
  • Mikaeus, the Unhallowed - this card works wonders with both a reanimator deck in general and with a deck including only seven humans
  • Necromancy - instant speed animate dead; testing it out
  • Necrotic Ooze - becomes any creature with an activated ability in the yard; works wonders with Buried Alive
  • Noxious Revival - instant speed free pseudo-Regrowth; useful for saving specific things in my graveyard from hate pieces or just for getting something I need back
  • Reanimate - staples are good and in a reanimator deck paying one mana for a Protean Hulk is really good; seriously though, the deck can easily gain the life lost back and it's just such good value
  • RIP Svogthos, the Restless Tomb - okay, I saw this card originally and just jammed it in; it's honestly not that good, but killing someone with a 36/36 land is both hilarious and extremely satisfying. [This card has been cut from the list, but it lives on in my heart.]
  • Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth - I've mentioned this card a lot so far, and this is just an auto include in most B/Bx decks; it helps with color fixing and synergizes extremely well with Cabal Coffers
  • Volrath's Stronghold - super useful for recurring any needed creature in the graveyard

Actually Winning

Now that we've gone over all the individual cards, let's talk about actually winning the game.

This deck mostly wins through grinding your opponents into concession. If you need a way to really win, there is an infinite combo I will explain.

Izoni, Thousand-Eyed Chainer, Dementia Master Savra, Queen of the Golgari Pitiless Plunderer

Generate infinite treasures, infinite 1/1s, infinite life, and with Krav mill your opponents out.

Thanks for stopping by and reading this. Any feedback is always welcome, and if you liked the list, please upvote!

Suggestions

Updates Add

Holy hell, this set is amazing. The most cards for Meren I've seen in a single set in a while, and just an absolute masterpiece of lore and design space. Onward to the tweaks!

IN

  • Casualties of War - Casualties of WAR, am I right? Because, WAR is the abbreviation for War of the Spark... okay I'll see myself out; bad jokes aside, this is the Golgari Decimate I've been dreaming of that doesn't require one of each target to be legal to cast it
  • God-Eternal Bontu - hello WOTC this card is absolutely busted and should be banned; just kidding, please don't ban the best draw engine to ever happen to this deck, because combining Bontu with World Shaper is unfair
  • Liliana, Dreadhorde General - this card is bonkers, and the only true planeswalker I think will have ever made the cut and survived testing; it's a Grim Haruspex on it's own, which is not quite playable at six mana but it's a good start; It makes creatures, which is nice, it can double edict everyone at the table, which is REALLY nice, and the ultimate just says "-9: Win the game unless someone has Teferi's Protection or Tajuru Preserver"
  • Massacre Girl - now if this ain't a card made for an aristocrats deck; it's a massive board wipe that you can tutor for with Protean Hulk and that can snowball throughout a turn and kill almost anything that isn't infinitely big

OUT

  • Skirge Familiar - this card is nice, it's neat, and it fills a niche role, but does little else; at five mana, being a mana engine at the cost of cards isn't what I needed
  • Soul of the Harvest - worked quite nicely, but just isn't quite there on power level
  • Guardian Project - again, similar to Soul in that it's nice, but not quite up to par; also being an enchantment isn't my fancy for this deck
  • Dread Return - flashback is a nice mechanic, but I don't like to exile my own things, and four mana Reanimate isn't what I'm looking for

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