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.

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.
  • Dread Presence - can be card draw, and is quite good at it too, especially with Urborg
  • 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
  • Midnight Reaper - see above, except this one can draw from itself dying
  • Moldervine Reclamation - includes token deaths AND gains life; nutty
  • Satyr Wayfinder - comes down early and finds land drops while filling the graveyard
  • 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
  • Yawgmoth, Thran Physician - if this isn't the most busted sacrifice outlet in all of magic, I don't know what is; it draws cards, it's removal, and it's a sac outlet

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
  • Finale of Devastation - this searches the library OR graveyard, which is completely invaluable
  • 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
  • Springbloom Druid - can help mana fix in a pinch or just ramp you via a Harrow style effect; sacrificing the lands isn't bad for me because I get them back with World Shaper
  • 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
  • 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 World Shaper
  • Casualties of War - it's Golgari Decimate that is significantly better
  • Cavalier of Night - it's Ravenous Chupacabra with upside; card is unfair
  • Damnation - black Wrath of God; if you're playing black, you're playing Damnation
  • Dismember - solid cheap removal, hits most relevant creatures
  • Force of Vigor - a two for one that's free is almost too hard to pass up; exiling a card isn't great for this deck, but it's a downside that's worth playing through
  • Gaze of Granite - just cleans up all permanents
  • Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet - I needed more graveyard hate for creature decks, and this one gives me dudes along the way; also in a (really) tight pinch can be a sac outlet for zombies
  • 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
  • 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 and is only until end of turn; honestly, the best board wipe in the colors
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 , Yawgmoth, Thran Physician , and Yahenni, Undying Partisan - sacrifice outlets; these let your things die at instant speed
  • Field of the Dead - this isn't even a lands deck, but with World Shaper this card is aboslutely unfair; even as a standalone, this card generates a fair amount of value over the course of a game if it comes out early enough
  • Izoni, Thousand-Eyed - makes tokens as blockers, sacrifice fodder for Savra or Moldervine, and a sacrifice outlet in a pinch
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 are two ways to do so easily.

  1. Dread Presence - with enough World Shaper activations you can just kill your opponents this way
  2. Field of the Dead - again, with enough World Shaper activations you can make enough zombies to kill a table
Thanks for stopping by and reading this. Any feedback is always welcome, and if you liked the list, please upvote!


Updates Add

Three sets worth of changes and I defoiled the entire deck. This means Survival of the Fittest will probably be coming soon when I get some cash.


  • Cavalier of Night - Ravenous Chupacabra with upside; card is very good
  • Dread Presence - card draw OR removal/life gain/kill condition; great combo with World Shaper
  • Field of the Dead - an insane value engine on it's own and completely bonkers with World Shaper; make enough blockers to save you from even the elves or just swing with them and win
  • Finale of Devastation - the fact that this searches graveyard OR library is absolutely huge; acting as a backup win condition with Izoni is just a bonus
  • Force of Vigor - exiling a card from your hand isn't great, but even hard cast this card is playable; hitting two targets is what really sells it for me
  • Gaze of Granite - hits all non-land permanents unlike Pernicious Deed, and Planeswalkers are relevant since WAR
  • Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet - graveyard hate that gives me creatures; exactly what I want
  • Lake of the Dead - sacrificing a swamp isn't that bad initially but making four extra mana in a pinch is quite useful
  • Moldervine Reclamation - counts token creatures AND gains life; it's an enchantment, which means it's harder to recur, and it is a forced draw, but these are rarely downsides
  • Nurturing Peatland - dual land that comes in untapped and can filter for a draw late game
  • Springbloom Druid - Harrow on a creature; ramp with no real downside
  • Thespian's Stage - here to copy Coffers, Field of the Dead, opposing Cradle's, or anything else of value like a Glacial Chasm or something
  • Twilight Mire - why I let myself cut this I don't actually know; untapped dual land with no life loss is an auto-include
  • Vesuva - see Thespian's Stage
  • Yawgmoth, Thran Physician - the godfather of all aristocrat decks; a truly, truly unfair card that I am more than willing to abuse the fuck out of until it's banned, because drawing a card, shrinking a creature, and being a sacrifice outlet is completely unheard of on a single ability


    • Agent of Erebos - not that great, honestly; I have Scavenging Ooze and Bojuka Bog, so I'm pretty set
    • Chainer, Dementia Master - this might seem uncanny to some people, but here's my reason(s) why; it takes the infinite combo out of my deck and it really wasn't THAT good to begin with because it's mana and life intensive, and early game it's hot garbage because there is little to reanimate
    • City of Brass - the worst dual land and I need a relatively high number of basics for Steve/Springbloom Druid and a high density of basic swamps for Dread Presence
    • Dark Confidant - neat, but bad
    • Destructor Dragon - useful, don't get my wrong, but not worth the six mana in a majority of situations
    • Forest - cut for a dual
    • Krosan Grip - quite a good card against something like Relic of Progenitus, but honestly any smart opponent cracks this the second they have priority
    • Mausoleum Secrets - it occurred to me that perhaps fifteen tutors was a bit much; cut this for Kalitas
    • Memorial to Folly - god this card is awful
    • Memorial to Unity - god, this card is somehow more awful than the one above it
    • Necrotic Ooze - has very few useful targets; has won me a game before with an opposing Kiki-Jiki, but I'm honestly never thrilled to see it anymore
    • Pernicious Deed - a hard cut, honestly, because I own both an original Apocalypse foil and non-foiled which are both signed, but Gaze of Granite is strictly better about ninety-five percent of the time
    • Swamp - cut for a dual
    • Silhana Wayfinder - just a slightly worse Satyr Wayfinder
    • Temple of Malady - cut for a better dual

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Revision 76 See all

5 months ago)

+3 Forest main
-3 Snow-Covered Forest main
-3 Snow-Covered Swamp main
+3 Swamp main