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...


Yeah, I think you'll like it a lot! I was skeptical at first too because it felts like adding a 2-card combo that cost 3 deck slots would be less efficient than just using Curio or Earthcraft. As it turns out, there were a lot of hidden costs to running the latter two, like needing to play too many bad morphs and basic lands. Further, since neither of those cards can be tutored, and they both require a couple other pieces to really work optimally, Kiki ended up being a lot more usable in the deck. And once I was able to shave some mediocre support cards, the deck slot inefficiency pretty much disappeared.

August 15, 2018 4:43 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


This is super cool tech, and it's a great example of how minor tweaks to the core list can suit different players' styles. I tend to prefer economy in deck construction (which is why i kept Kiki out for so long) whereas you prefer a bigger toolbox for creative interaction.

I'm 100% certain that you can get substantially more value out of Metamorph than I can because you set yourself up for flexible plays like this while I tend to build and play for redundancy and resiliency. For example, in your first scenario I'd either go straight to EWitt to repeat my combo (redundancy), or just fetch a relevant hate piece to counteract whatever pressure my opponent was exerting (resiliency). Your idea of fetching Metamorph to make a beefy Animar is super creative and powerful, but narrow enough that it doesn't suit my personal style with the deck.

All this goes to show there's no substitute for good tuning! I hope nobody copies one of the decklists shared here 1:1 without taking the time to evaluate some of the less "core" inclusions.

By the way Sabre, have you tried the new Gilded Drake? I've been dicking around with Zur a lot in the last few weeks and haven't had as much time to evaluate it as I need to make a final decision. I'd say it's been useful prob 2/3 of the time i use it, but it's absolute crap in Kiki games, for example. As a Commander-Matters card, i find its less obviously powerful than Mox Amber, which at least is always free and works with a few other creatures (our other wincon, in particular). I really want more draw for the deck so im leaning towards swapping it in, but i may be too optimistic. Curious to hear if anyone on here has had some experience with it.

August 14, 2018 11:32 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


Yes! That's the new Recruiter line and its glorious. No need to sac all your life, you can do it without Animar (for tons of mana, but still) and you kill the whole table with it, not just one guy. Rec became the namesake card for the deck a long time ago, and honestly shouldn't be now that Statue exists. But with kiki in the deck he's very much still a one-card win.

August 14, 2018 4:15 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


yeah, that line is the reason Rec built up a reputation in the deck, but its very risky in multiplayer, and I don't think we really want to rely on it these days. Duel/French/MTGO 1v1 may be a different world, but it's not work it to me.

August 14, 2018 4:01 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


You can cast Rec, get metamorph, copy rec to get Shreiking Drake, then cast it to bounce the metamorph. this sets you up to spam metamorph for free until animar hits 18, cast copying Rec to get empath (19) cast empath to get Ulamog (20), clear blockers with ulamog (21) then swing. it's VERY life intensive tho.

August 14, 2018 3:59 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


The metamorph kill sacrifices most of your life to wing into one guy with a big (non infinite) Animar. Thtas quite a gamble even in duel. Statue and Kiki are no-risk ways of winning, and Kiki is actually also a 1-card win with recruiter. Frankly, Recruiter is oversold as a 1-card win for the deck; its a solid enabler, but your best lines don't revolve around recruiter unless you put a ton of mana into it (Rec>Empath>Brutalizer for Statue is painfully time consuming but works, at least).

So if youre doing a lot of 1v1 matches you may want to keep Metamorph, but in multi he was a mediocre value card in like 90% of games or more. he's just a victim of the deck growing and evolving to find better, more efficient wincons.

August 14, 2018 3:56 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


@Sabre, regarding game length: yeah, things get grindy between turns 4-8, as you noticed. That actually is what i'd call a drawn-out game. Thing is, i have a pretty small, inbred meta and we know one anothers decks very well, so we usually have the tools necessary to interrupt one another, and know when to interact and when not to. its often impossible to bluff bc we're very experienced with one anothers decks and playstyles. when games are that close, we can burn one another out pretty quick.

@Daedronus, regarding burgeoning (and exploration too): the 1 CMC extra land enchants are very interesting and powerful cards in the deck, but there's a big caveat. namely, yo untap with 4 lands, you'd have had to have kept a 4-land hand, which is a terrible idea. If I can use Wiuld Growth to get Animar on turn 2 just as easily and have room for a couple other creatures in hand, the game will go much better. not to mention that we have some mild untap synergy in the list already. so basically i want to avoid playing too many extra lands, and if the payoff is just more lands its not too compelling. I'd rather have more cheap creatures in play turn 3 than more lands, for example. The goal is to maximize the deck for creature casts, which are our main gola all game, even after generating more mana is totally irrelevant. Burgeoning/Exploration become irrelevant almost immediately after your first cast, once mana is already not a limiting resource anymore. I'm very open to being proven wrong here, but how often do you find youself with plenty of lands and nothing to cast? thats the kind of inefficiency i'm trying to tune out of the deck. I suspect my fellow cEDH pilots will agree.

@Daedronus, regarding Venser: its the 4 CMC and UU that bug me to some degree, but mainly i hate having to hold mana up. thats not whatAnimar wants to do. We can def use Venser like a bad remand if we want, but once we have a couple Animar counters, the goal is almost always "find a wincon and win" not "counter something or do a value bounce". techy bounce spells are fine in the mainphase for 1CMC, but if i hold up 2CMC, theres a risk that my opponenent/s dont do anything relevant and I just wasted that mana. animar hates that.

@helldanno: between staue and Kiki, I've never needed another wincon, basically. And midgame beats from Emrakul are always inferior to casting statue once you have a "medium pumped" Animar too. Tish seems like a viable alternative to Kozilek if you want one, but I prefer Kozi just bc he can be cast on his own and still give me some draw and iommediate board control. This slot is flexible tho. I certainly do not run the full Aluren, Earthcraft or Curio combos, just bc between Statue and Kiki i've never had a problem winning. I played several of these cards for years, and the number of times i won by Curio or Earthcraft were negligible. Kiki, however, started putting up numbers as soon as I added him. Therefore He stayed (and is a Recruitable one card combo, BTW) but the others did not. Regrading Wraths; if your meta really has so many that you cant surviv by getting an early glen, then def play some more counters. I've never needed them tho. must be a meta thing!

@SynergyBuild: you saved me a lot of time; this is pretty much exactly what I wanted to say! I specifically like highlighting some of the more unique uses for Kozi. He may not be an allstar in any one aspect, but hes a very capable role-player, and does a lot of interesting little things for us.

August 14, 2018 12:17 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


Yeah, good point; many cEDH decks begin to lose out when there's more mana on board; if you have Dispel and your opponents are using Time Stop etc, you're playing their game. That's the main reason fast combo is so good for a mixed meta. if we can combo off on turn 3-4, there's no way to beat us with big 7-mana sorceries and dragons and shit.

Actually, longevity is one thing I've been attempting to address with this deck lately. The reason I like Oracle and Vig and a few other cards is bc when the game gets grindy, we can use these kinds of parity-breaking effects to stay in it. With Clamp/Oracle, all your early dorks and spent ETBs become fresh topdecks, and with Vig every topdeck is a tutor. it gives us real legs past turn 6. Now, I'm not about to add Consecrated Sphinx and Vorinclex to the deck, but if we can keep our slim combo wincon relevant as long as possible were gold. even late game, winning outright beats doing something powerful every time.

August 13, 2018 11:43 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


Loyal Drake has been pretty good. It's not super powerful, but its pretty good, and its rarely terrible. I'll prob keep it in the deck.

I'd certainly be interested to see a good guide to tuning decks for various levels of competition. It's 100% true that you will expect very different forms of interaction at different levels. Importantly though, i think the advice will need to be heavily deck-dependent. Something like UBx storm will want different tech than Animar or Gitrog or Tana/Tymna stax. Some decks only need a few tweaks (Animar is probably among them) while others basically won't function (super teched-out stax/control, etc).

Animar, for one, can probably still survive in more midrangey, creature-combat pods just by comboing out fast, and having some minimal interaction set up for stuff like Wrath or Damnation. I've somewhat accidentally found myself stomping pods every now and then when an opponent or two swears their deck is unbeatable, but it usually goes well for me. against mediocre decks, even if we get wrathed, we're usually faster to set back up and combo out just by vitrue of tutor density and spell efficiency. blowing the board then dropping Jace's Phantasm just isnt strong enough to beat a nicely tuned Animar deck.

August 13, 2018 9:05 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


Hey, welcome! I've had a fair bit of experiemce with these cards, so I'll chime in, but I know a few of the other pilots on here have opinions too

Sylvan vs chord: honestly not a real dichotomy here. Sylvan is a staple for the deck; 1 CMC for a tutor is too good a rate to pass up. yes,they can see it coming, but the deck is super linear, so they'll probably already know (yes, its statue). and If they're not already prepared for it a turn early, then they're losing either way. we run a very linear deck. Chord is good as an instant, and the convoke can infrequently come in handy, but its always been too expensive and awkard for me to get much use out of it. Finally, we actually run a crazy amout of topdeck manipulation for a creature combo deck. Stuff like Dark Dweller Oracle, Vizier, any ETB-draw guy, Vig and the enchantresses all make topdeck tutors much faster.

Counters: you're missing the most important one, Glen. I play in a fullon cEDH meta, and have never needed more counters than I play now. It's all about knowing when to tutor into Glen and when not to. remember, you're not gonna be the fastest deck at a cEDH table most of the time, so you cant just gun for combo every time. and holding up extra mana for a 1CM counter can be a total waste unless it also advances your gameplan like Glen does. I agree that wipes hurt us, but most decks run 0-1 of those, and glen is aperfect way to catch them before they hit us. Or just let Animar eat the wipe then pivot to a different wincon like Kiki.

Emrakul: frankly, this doesnt win the game on its own in a 4man pod, so I'm not seeing the benefit. leading to a win in a few turns is a profoundly less powerful effect than just winning, and there are already card i'm not playing that could facilitate the latter. for example, chord in that slot gets me a wincon right now. Hell, I could even add back Cloudstone, Earthcraft or even Aluren, all of which are wincons that interact better with our primary gameplan than a massive creature that relies too heavily on having Animar in play to be worthwhile. If i need a big monster finisher, it's almost more worthwhile to use Jin to ruin everyones hand, or even sphinx to draw a million cards. being occasionally free doesnt really make this kind of effect worthwhile to me.

Tishana: yeah, this can be a ton of draw for 2 mana. in fact, with animar, tishana and 5 other creatures (assuming thats how animar got 5 counters) you could draw 7. but when you're not casting with animars bonus, she's a horribly dead card. in fact, i often need draw most when I'm in trouble on board, which is exactly when she's at her worst. so the ceiling is high, but the floor is unplayable. If you can consistently cast her for two without having her sit in had for too long then def run her, but she was always too dead for me at critical times. also, Library and Clamp have always been better draw for me! Kozi is just a roleplayer.

Glad to have your input man!

August 13, 2018 3:43 p.m.

You bet! Tuning your suite if answers really improves the deck's performance, so dont be afraid to make some cuts and test some new cards. Good luck!

August 3, 2018 10:39 a.m.

Also just realized Sylvan Safekeeper isnt in this list. Added him immediately, bc hes your next best protection after Glen.

August 2, 2018 11:46 a.m.

We've been discussing this a lot lately on the main thread lately, but the consensus we came to was that most cEDH counterspells can't hit creatures anyway, so there's a risk of directing more hate onto you're crucial noncreature spells, or in the case of Gaea's or Dosan, of protecting opponents' plays. The conclusion we came to was that if your meta is REALLY counter heavy, then Shusher is the best pick, but for most situations even in fullon cEDH, being proactive in your plays and fetching out Glen as needed is usually sufficient.

Now in more casual settings i could see stuff like 3CMC counters and Mana Leak etc. causing more trouble. Also, you won't have access to Ceverns, which is a pretty relevant card. I'd suggest adding in Shusher and trying to play a bit more conservatively. You won't always be the fastest combo deck, so it's important to know what the right play is a defensive one. When I play agianst something like Grix storm or Gitrog, I often spend my first tutor on protection, let the faster decks fight one another to combo, then go off with a lot of backup in the next few turns. classic "Who's the Beatdown" stuff. Good luck!

August 2, 2018 11:42 a.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


Lol fair. if i still used peregrine drake i could just go full tribal!

July 29, 2018 1:08 a.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


Ohhhh, if you're referring to Loyal Drake, I'm testing him in Dream Stalker's slot. The bouncers are super synergistic when theyre good, but they need you to already have a solid ETB effect on board or else they're terrible. Same issue I've always had with clones. Sheiking Drake gets a pass bc 1CMC is worth a lot, and Man-o-War can clear opposing blockers, but Stalker is jut a bit more situational than I'd like.

July 29, 2018 12:30 a.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


He's been there from the start! All my recent changes are in the log. The most recent cuts were Ainok and Metamorph in favor of better consistency to dig up our good answers.

July 29, 2018 12:27 a.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


GG dude! Always happy to see Glen and Safekeeper watching your back; they're some of my favorite guys in the deck (GSZ is there almost just for Safekeeper!)

Creature removal is a meta call I've been thinking about for a while. it hasnt been to relevant for me, but you have a few options:

  • Inferno Titan: very powerful, but expensive. I'm not a fan of paying that much, esp if you may want to use this when you're already at risk. that said, the attack trigger gets around Torp/Hushwing.
  • Flametounge Kavu: potentially really favorable cost-to-damage ratio, but its not cheap, and fails to ETB negators.
  • Grim Lavamancer: repeatable, cheap and evades the usual hate! needs to to have at least a modest GY tho.
  • Gilded Drake: cheap, and has no extra restrictions. only downside is that it fails to universal effects like ETB negators.

So I maindeck Gilded mainly bc it synergizes so well with the rest of the deck and at worst its just a cheap cast. Lavaman would be my next pick, just bc even at worst its an Animar counter for just R. it also really shines when we're behind on board, unlike the other red options. only downside is the lack of haste and the limited damage (though it does cover most relevant bears).

I'd recommend you give him a shot, if your meta calls for it. with the meta you described, and your record tho, it may be overkill!

And yeah, C18 doesn't have too much gold for us, or most cEDH decks. I'm pretty confident the Drake is a winner tho. he did well in testing last night.

July 28, 2018 8:10 p.m.


Ancestral Animar

Commander / EDH* JMCraig

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Commander / EDH* JMCraig


Finished Decks 10
Prototype Decks 4
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Playing since Magic 2014
Avg. deck rating 20.62
T/O Rank 35
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