JMCraig Deckling

According to Sheldon Menery, Lotus Petal is a great card for EDH because when someone casts it, you "know exactly what kind of player they are." I guess I'm that kind of player!

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Said on Ancestral Animar...


Oh btw, how do you feel about Ulvenwald tracker with GSZ in the deck? it ends up being decent cheap creature removal at effectively 1 CMC, a lot like Caterpillar. I really like situational cards that can "turn on" or just be 1-drops in the deck.

March 22, 2018 6:53 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


Def keeping Ainok; that little guy is a lifesaver at best, and dece value at worst.

Vizier and sotrmtamer have both proven themselves for sure. mildly situational, but very solid for what the do.

GSZ is def a bit finicky, but i'm liking it in my testing.

March 22, 2018 6:51 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


Sabretooth can do a lot of cool stuff, for sure. Having a bounce outlet on hand that can also make stuff indestructible is definitely powerful. In my testing though it's been a little situational and overcosted. I'll def keep trying it out though.

March 20, 2018 12:22 p.m.

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Aluren always seemed too high on the curve for me. by the time I have 4 mana I want to be casting 2-3 creatures per turn and looking for statue, not making it even easier to cast cheap creatures. honestly, the latter is just not something animar ever has issue with.

Zenith has been excluded for the longest time bc more often than not the only available targets are more manadorks, which are either redundant or not something i want to pay full CMC for. Basically, it doent fit well into any existing combo lines. the reason i'm liking it more now is bc the hate cards are more relevant and more powerful than before. even if GSZ ends up being a toolboxy answer card not a combo enabler it may still have a real home in the deck.

Thran: is the bad old days of UB storm being the best deck, wraths were a lot more common than they are now that everyone's playing 6+ dorks in their decks. there a lot fewer gamestates where an opponent wants to fire off a wrath, meaning the chance of Quarry killing itself and hurting your ability to rebuild are a lot lower.

Exotic: similarly, a lot more decks are running green now that hulk and partners make it trivially easy to do so. previously i had excluded it bc it was worthless in a meta of UBx storm and UW stax and shit. I think it's chances of being relevant on turn 1, when it really matters, are a lot better now.

March 15, 2018 3:16 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


Regarding Animar's tier: I think the disagreement is mostly just a matter of definitions, since I'm not a fan of half tiers, especially in multiplayer but I do see your point. We have a strong, consistent and resilient plan-A, and at the moment we're positioned pretty well against the meta at large (though EDH is much more local, and has a lot more variance overall). I kinda see Animar like Modern Bogles: We'll play right through a lot of decks, but there's one inherent flaw in our gameplan that renders certain games almost unwinnable. We can avoid those games with good deck tuning and play out of the hole if we have time, but a savvy opponent will find away to tech against us. That's how i define tier 2: a really strong linear, proactive deck with an easily exploitable inherent flaw. By contrast, tier 1 decks are a lot more redundant and flexible, like Zur who can play control at a combo table and combo at a midrange table, or Affinity, that can go wide or tall. Even more linear decks can be tier 1 if they have so many layered combo lines that they can adapt to the specific game. Basically Animar is always gonna be really good Statue-casting deck, but a true tier 1 deck like sans-red Hulk can do Flash, Druid, Bomberman etc depedning on the meta or even the gamestate on any given night. That's enough of a qualitative distinction for me.

March 15, 2018 10:24 a.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


I'm still testing out some big changes! Here's my current test build:

cut: Earthcraft+RishkarAdd: GSZ+Sylvan Safekeeper.

cheap green hate creatures keep getting better and kore meta-relevant, so im liking Zenith a lot more. It may stil seem like a way to fetch over-costed mana dorks, but you get some great targets like Arbor (t2 Animar enabler), Sylvan (protection), ScOoze (everyone's doing GY stuff now) and of course 3-mana Fuana Shaman still wins games if you don't need any interaction. It's been pretty good so far.

Cutting earthcraft has given me more room to tinker with lands, and I'm also getting to try out a lot of old gold lands that didnt work before:

Tainted citadel: shouldve been in already. we never pay life outside fetching and Library

Thran Quarry: fewer decks seem to play wraths now that more are using dorks.

Exotic ORchard: Evroyne's on green now!!

Gemstone Cav: been meaning to test this. it's a little rough bc the downside of making colorless mana is really bad for us, but it's amazing when it goes off. im on the fence.

To make room, i'll prob cut some combination of the painlands and a few basics. still figuring it out.

March 15, 2018 10:02 a.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


It'll def be a little sketchy for our first casts, but the combo itself is unaffected once it gets going; that's the main thing. I'm confident that it'll be a lot easier for me to cook up an extra counter or two than for, say, a storm or DDay deck to win through sphere! like a lot of stax effects (Thalia, Null Rodd, etc), Animar is certainly affected, but substantially less so than a lot of decks, particularly other storm decks. On balance, I think the damage done to other decks is enough to make it a net benefit to us in most scenerios.

March 14, 2018 9:58 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


Regarding the new stax spell: man, i hope so! Animar plays right through it, so i'd be happy of every deck that has a home for it slots it in. They prob wont rush it out aganst us, but if the table that night is Stax, Storm, Storm, Animar, We may do very well.

Regarding Animar edits: yeah, man, good stuff! I'll be you really love the new stuff.

March 14, 2018 5:37 p.m.

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yeah, having a major dependency on the commander is a real hurdle for the deck. no amount of tuning ever fully eliminates it, and it keeps us from being a true t1 deck. that said, i think a well-tuned animar deck can easily be t2, and a good pilot can put up decent results at any table.

March 13, 2018 11:20 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


Very good points. In particular, I also hope to see more viable combo lines open up for Animar going forward. As it is, even classic lines like Earthcraft, Kiki/Pod and Recruiter/Hoverguard can seem a little slow. Every one requires more pieces and more time to set up then just bashing out Statue asap. Hell, I only like Cloudstone for the 1/20 games where I need to generate a ton of value to unclog a stalled board. Here's hoping DOM or another upcoming set gives us some spicy new stuff!

So if you want to build the deck for maximum consistency and speed, focus on Statue. Pretty much every Animar player I know has come to about the same conclusion. BUT you don't have to go that route! If your meta or your playstyle calls for more midrangey threats, then by all means, add stuff like Ruric Thar, Winnower, Sphinx etc. Just bear in mind that every play and deckslot you dedicate to something other than casting Statue fast is possibly reducing your winrate. If that's what matters most to you, I stongly suggest looking into the suggestions made by Sabre, AlarmedNine, Frank and others on this thread.

March 13, 2018 10:36 p.m.

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Countermagic: Animar doeesn't ever want to hold up mana, so I stick to the three free options (force pact and misstep) plus the two good on-board guys (glen and tamer). That, plus the amount of proactive stuff you can do (skite, negator, ScOoze, caterpillar etc) have been more than enough to hold a table in check for a little while. You cant play full control or anything, but if a certain deck needs to be stopped, you can usually tutpr up glen and keep that under control. I often find myself using an early Glen to keep something like Hulk on the back foot long enough for my combo to come together. Playing 2 CMC counters in particular really hurts your momentum, and your proactive stuff can usualyl just do a better job.

Deadeye/Palinchron: it's slow and janky. No idea how this is saving you when you can Empath into something like Ulamog2 or Brutalizer Exarch. Both parts don't do anything on their own, and together they make infinite mana which you dont need to spend. These slots should probably be more ways to get your statue online or techy meta answers.

Kiki: you know whats easier than tutoring for Kiki+Untapper? tutpring for statue and then making a giant animar. that alone is an easy enough way to kill at least one guy, and you can spend the other tutor on ballista if you need it. This way also you don't need 3-4 dead slots in the deck, since all the parts of the kiki combo are pretty dead outside the combo.

Trophy: I know it gets cloudstone. But then you need 2 other pieces and need animar on board. cloudstone is only good when the game gets grindy and you need a solid value plan, but this isnt a scenario you should be tutoring into in most games. again, commit to the Statue win, it's way faster and easier than anything else you can do.

Void Winnower: i get the appeal, but animar isnt a deck that wants to stall the game. other decks are better at breaking parity in stalled games and better at establishing control. If animar is on 4+ counters, why nbot use this slot for a tutor and just win the game?

The big takeaway here is something that took me a long time to figure out: The deck wins by getting statue out. once animar is on 3-4 counters, getting and protecting statue is your only goal. Thats why the big creatures are unnescessary, bc nothing you can do is as powerful as just winning. You can try to establish board control or make infinite mana, but you have to remember, that deck slot could be used for more ways to get statue out. Figuring that out and tweaking my build accordingly as VASTLY improved the deck's speed and consistency. When i say animar isnt a "big mana" or a "big creature" deck, this is exactly what i mean; its an Ancestral Statue deck, and that's why its in the name!

March 13, 2018 8:42 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


Kess storm, Thrasios/Tymna Breakfast Hulk, Zur DDay, Gitrog combo, Blood Pod. Sometimes we get a Kiki Jiki deck, but its mostly those guys. All maxed out builds, pretty much no budget concessions (proxies are allowed).

March 13, 2018 5:25 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


I'd remove the extraneous combos and high CMC creatres:

  • Deadeye/Palinchron
  • Kiki Combo
  • Vig
  • Consecrated Sphinx
  • Void winnower
  • Wanderer

Then shave the bad creatures:

  • stunt double
  • strat dancer
  • sabetooth
  • trophy mage
  • rattleclaw
  • joiner
  • caryatid
  • somberwald

Then the bad noncreatures:

  • arcane denail
  • counterflux
  • cyclonic
  • drain
  • fluster
  • pod
  • greaves
  • thran dynamo (?????)
  • aluren
  • growing rites

With those spots freed up, you can add a lot better interaction and speed. Have a look at my list, and those of a couple of the regular commenters on here.

March 13, 2018 12:39 p.m.

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Oh no doubt. Im hoping the "legendary matters" theme results in a few decent cards for decks that want their commander out. A Mox was honestly more than i would've expected! Hopefully we'll get a couple otuer neat hyper-efficient effects.

March 12, 2018 2:32 p.m.

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Fuck. I thought I was being super pro with my syntax. Anyway its a mox that adds one of any color among the legendary creatures+PWs you have in play. So Animar comes down turn 2, mox, play another guy that turn. Great for stuff like Bond Beetle into Skite, Safekeeper, or just a dork. Should be a very solid addition.

March 10, 2018 12:02 a.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


Oh, man, it's better than i could've imagined:

Spicy spoiler!! Show

I'll be pre-ordering my foils basically ASAP!

March 9, 2018 8:26 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


I'll def try the kiki package out and see if it's a good fit. its definitely a strong way to win.

Regarding Hoverguard: yeah, def worth cutting. the wincon is plausible but way to hard to set up. it ended up winning me maybe one in every maybe 20+ games. pass.

Empath, however, doesn't need the help. You've got Kozi and Ulamog for different purposes, both the Enchantresses (i run both, still works fine with one), and of course, Brutalizer. I was definitely skeptical as well, but he ended up being is a very useful part of the deck. removal or tutoring that works well with our top-deck manipulation/draw and can fit neatly into a lot of storm lines. try it and i think youll see what i mean!

Dominaria could be great. we've seen 2/3 of the set by now, and without spoiling it, i'll say we're def getting one very strong ramp option!

March 9, 2018 12:34 p.m.

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oh also: Pod. I've always found it clunky, prob bc i dont have a kiki line to pod through. with all the good green tutors, it always just seemed pricey, and came down at an awkward point in the curve. def worth considering to test alongside kiki tho.

March 8, 2018 10:37 p.m.

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Hmm, so the way i see it, kiki is still mainly a backup plan, and while the untappers can be useful, they prob wouldn't be played in the deck without kiki himself. I've always maintained that the main issue with including kiki was that it added 3-4 dead cards to the deck. the conclusion i came to was that keeping those slots open for meta tech or just plain speed served me better and led to fewer dead draws, which have always been a problem for a deck with little native draw power. the thing about it costing RRR is definitely a RED herring, since we have access to tons of great gold lands, which i find essential to landing an early animar. Evo is a fantastic one I hadn't considered in that capacity though.

If your pod packs excessive wraths or non-WB removal i could see needing kiki, but i play against Kess Storm, Thras/Tymna Hulk, Blood Pod, Gitrog and a few diff Zur decks, none of which can afford to kill Animar very often, so he dies maybe 2-3 times in a bad game. It doesn't hurt that I have glen, skite, stormtamer and counterspells also preventing that. It's prob a meta/play-style thing, but i'm still not sold.

I did finally order a set of Kiki cards, so I'll be trying it out in my meta soon. will report back!

March 8, 2018 10:35 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


Def some good input here. I think Earthcraft is prob a safe cut, since it feels pretty win-more without needing the extra win. its just to tough to set up.

Cloutstone is also def staying in; its worth having a solid backup midrange plan, and durdling around with value guys can keep you in a grindy game surprisingly well.

Rish is def strong ramp and can do cool stuff like tap animar and glen for mana, but the deck doesnt really need it.

Scales is actually one i really like. There are def games where making a big beater will be more than enough to KO an ad naus player or just kill a guy with commander damage. ugly, but it works. more crucially, it is a great way to rebuilt when Animar gets killed, as you say. it'd def be better in a midrangey build, but it can dig you out of a bad spot, and the ceiling is sky-high for 1 CMC.

Kozi is an interesting case. Its not easy to make a logical case for him, but he does a lot of little things well. Feels wrong to cut him, despite people always telling me to do so. I'll prob keep the guy around.

Statue doesnt target? holy shit youre right. i had just assumed. thats so sweet. definitely gonna enjoy that interaction.

GSZ is another one i'll prob end up cutting like i always do, but the thought of adding safekeeper made me want to try it again.

Since it seems like we're on the same page here, I went and looked at your list again and have a few ideas i wanted to run by you:

How's kiki going? I've always found it a little clunky and unnecessary given how easy it is to set up Statue. but i'd be super curious to her how its going for you. is there a play pattern im missing, or do you just do the old Modern play of flashing in the untapper then mainphasing kiki? Your package seems to be the two untappers, zealous and kiki. are any of those cards dead outside the combo? do you get utility out of the untappers?

alright, last thing: Scryb Ranger is something i've always found neat. is it good utility or just a pet pick? is there a sweet combo line im missing?

March 8, 2018 7:33 p.m.




Ancestral Animar

Commander / EDH JMCraig

SCORE: 75 | 221 COMMENTS | 30470 VIEWS | IN 48 FOLDERS

Ad Nauseam Zur

Commander / EDH JMCraig


Phage STAX

Commander / EDH JMCraig


Finished Decks 9
Prototype Decks 0
Drafts 0
Playing since Magic 2014
Avg. deck rating 16.38
T/O Rank 238
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Favorite formats Commander / EDH
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Last activity 12 hours
Joined 3 years