Blue-Black Reanimater in Modern

Parker Ackerman
October 03, 2018

Goryo’s Vengeance has long been the most popular reanimation spell in Modern, typically being used to get a quick Griselbrand win, but occasionally being used for more grindy midrange lists like Esper Goryo’s. Today’s list, from reddit user mackslc (and this post), is a sort of combination of the two, having a quick Griselbrand/Emrakul wincon, while also being able to play a more midrange game when needed with cards like Tasigur, Gurmag Angler, and Fatal Push.

UB Reanimator is easy to pick up and play, but very difficult to play optimally. The deck makes sense when you look at it on paper, and you’ll often see good lines of play during a game while missing the best lines. The deck is flexible; switching between a quick combo strategy and a midrange one is usually easy. Jace helps filter your draws, giving you a discard outlet for your reanimator targets while also getting back Goryo’s and midrange pieces. Emrakul is the primary reanimator target for the deck, almost always winning the game on the spot, even if she doesn’t kill the opponent in one hit. Griselbrand is our next choice, drawing us enough cards to usually win on the next turn, or just gaining enough life to help us survive a little longer. Tasigur is a great midrange piece, profitably blocking a lot of things in the format, while also fueling other delve creatures and searching for combo pieces. Gurmag Angler, while lacking Tasigur’s utility, is a better clock, and can contain creatures slightly bigger than Tasigur can.


Thought Scour is great fuel, cantripping at instant speed while also filling our graveyard with reanimator targets, and also acts as a Dark Ritual for delve creatures. Thoughtseize does fantastic work here, tearing away our opponent’s most important cards early on, and then allowing us to discard an Emrakul or Griselbrand to Reanimate later on. Serum Visions is just generally great for smoothing our draws, and Chart a Course helps us dig deeper into our deck while giving us another discard outlet. Fatal Push comes in as one of our great midrange cards, clearing away the board when we need to buy time, and Collective Brutality is an amazing flexible card that lets us drop reanimator targets into the graveyard. Finally, we have Goryo’s Vengeance, the one piece of this deck that makes the whole thing work so well. With it, we can reanimate any creature in the deck save Angler, with Emrakul and Griselbrand being the most obvious (and usually correct) choices.


The lands are mostly a standard two-color fetch-shock manabase, with fastlands and some extra black fetches thrown in as well. We also have a single Creeping Tar Pit, which can sneak out wins when the game is at a standstill, a Geier Reach Sanitarium for another discard outlet, and one Gemstone Caverns to potentially help us win even earlier. In the sideboard, Leyline of the Void can come down turn 0, shutting down the opponent’s graveyard while keeping ours active. Liliana of the Veil acts as a free discard outlet for us in the event that we want to combo off, but usually will just be brought in when you need to play more of a midrange game. Flaying Tendrils kills most of what you need it to on turn 3, while also turning off any chance of them coming back. It’s also worth noting that anything you kill later in the turn with cards like Fatal Push and Emrakul will be exiled by this effect. Echoing Truth can slow the opponent down, buying time to dig for more important cards, while also getting around the exile clause of Goryo’s Vengeance by bouncing the reanimated creature back to your hand. Stubborn Denial is fantastic protection, being enabled by any creature bigger than a Jace, and Ceremonious Rejection is a nice, clean, one-mana answer to Affinity and Tron. Of course it doesn’t stall these decks forever, but sometimes one more turn is all you need to set up your win with Emrakul. Finally, we have Damnation as our “hard” sweeper, taking out any boardstate that doesn’t involve a Selfless Spirit.


  • You need to have enough mana to cast Goryo’s before you discard your Emrakul, since she shuffles herself back into your library. Discard her, and then respond to the shuffle trigger to get your hasty 15/15.
  • Try not to overcommit to the graveyard. If you’ve already discarded a Griselbrand, discarding the second copy just hurts even more against decks with graveyard hate.
  • Don’t be afraid to switch into midrange mode. Sure, you’re playing a fast, fun reanimator deck. But sometimes you need to not lean too hard on that win condition, and just grind for a while.
  • You can Goryo's Jace, tap him, and if there are enough cards in your graveyard, you’ll  get to keep the Planeswalker he turns into.
  • Read mackslc’s reddit post on the deck here, and his primer from almost a year ago here. The primer itself is a bit outdated, but there’s quite a bit of information in those posts that don’t necessarily fit here.

The deck is a blast to play, and can win at just about any point in the game. Watching your opponent sacrifice all of their permanents to a hasty Emrakul is way more satisfying than it should be, and being able to stonewall the opponent with delve threats is a fantastic backup plan. Give the deck a shot, and I think you’ll find that both halves of this deck are incredibly fun and effective.