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Budget Magic: $56 Rakdos Reanimator (Standard, Magic Arena)

ฮัลโหล, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! Oko, Thief of Crowns is gone, which means it's time to start exploring Throne of Eldraine Standard 3.0! For that, we're looking to jank out some opponents by reanimating a hasty Drakuseth, Maw of Flames with Bond of Revival! The power of Drakuseth, Maw of Flames is that thanks to the damage it can throw around, it can usually close out the game in just two attacks, which means our deck is really good at putting our opponent to the test early in the game. Either they have a way to answer our Drakuseth, Maw of Flames or they will die in a fury of dragon fire the following turn. Can an ultra-budget version of Rakdos Reanimator work in Throne of Eldraine Standard 3.0?  Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Budget Magic: Rakdos Reanimator (Standard)

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The Deck

Rakdos Reanimator is basically an all-in reanimator deck. We spend our early game digging through our deck and filling our graveyard with big threats to reanimate, and then starting on Turn 5, we begin the process of cheating out huge, often hasty threats into play and hopefully closing out the game in short order.

Filling the Graveyard

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The first step to reanimating a huge threat is getting it in the graveyard. For this, we have three different cards, giving us a lot of redundancy when it comes to rummaging through our deck. Rix Maadi Reveler gives us an early-game chump blocker that also allows us to discard an Agent of Treachery or Drakuseth, Maw of Flames when it comes into play. In theory, we can spectacle it later in the game, although in practice, this doesn't happen all that often. Meanwhile, Thrill of Possibility and Honor the God-Pharaoh give us additional ways to discard cards from our hand and keep churning through our deck to find our reanimation spells. Honor the God-Pharaoh also comes with the upside of giving us a 1/1 chump-blocking Army to help make sure we can stay alive until Turn 5, when our reanimation comes online.

Reanimation Targets

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We have two primary reanimation targets in our deck. Drakuseth, Maw of Flames is our most powerful reanimation target in most matchups since it's the fastest clock in Standard. The combination of hitting for seven damage in the air and also throwing three or four damage at our opponent's face means that it only takes two attacks for Drakuseth, Maw of Flames to finish the game (while also helping us stay alive by killing some of our opponent's creatures). Meanwhile, Agent of Treachery is our backup reanimation target. While it isn't much of a threat on its own, the ability to steal our opponent's best permanent is very powerful, especially against decks playing a lot of planeswalkers or big creatures. Most importantly, Agent of Treachery joins Drakuseth to give us eight total reanimation targets, which helps to ensure we have one in our graveyard by Turn 5 every game. Oh yeah, since we are a Rakdos deck, we can't actually cast Agent of Treachery naturally, so make sure to discard it to cards like Thrill of Possibility, Honor the God-Pharaoh, and Rix Maadi Reveler. It has zero value in our hand since we don't have blue mana.

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Cavalier of Flame does double duty in our deck. While not nearly as exciting as Drakuseth, Maw of Flames, it's a fine reanimation target if we don't have any other options. More importantly, it gives us a threat that we can hard cast in games where we don't draw into a reanimation spell for Turn 5. The other big upside of Cavalier of Flame is that it gives us another way of filling our graveyard. If we get stuck with a hand full of Drakuseth, Maw of Flames and Agent of Treachery, we can play Cavalier of Flames, rummage away our hand, and hopefully draw into a reanimation spell for the following turn. Finally, since we are so good at filling our graveyard, it can sometimes be difficult for our opponent to kill Cavalier of Flame since they risk dying to its damage-dealing death trigger.


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Much like reanimation targets, we have two different reanimation spells in our deck. Bond of Revival is by far the best since it returns the creature it targets to the battlefield with haste, which is especially devastating with Drakuseth, Maw of Flames's attack trigger. Meanwhile, Cauldron's Gift is our backup reanimation spell and is especially good with Agent of Treachery, which doesn't really need haste to be good since it isn't much of an attacker anyway. We have enough black mana in our deck that we should be able to cast Cauldron's Gift with adamant, making it another way to stock our graveyard with reanimation targets as well as a reanimation spell.


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Last but not least, we have some removal to help make sure we stay alive long enough to win the game with our reanimation plan. Lava Coil answers most early-game creatures and has the additional upside of permanently getting rid of annoying threats like Arclight Phoenix and Cauldron Familiar. Bedevil has the upside of killing planeswalkers and artifacts as well as creatures, which is very important in our current format. Planeswalkers are everywhere, and killing Witch's Oven is essential to slowing down Cat Food Aristocrats decks. Finally, Ritual of Soot gives us a sweeper that is great against various adventure decks and Mono-Red Aggro. While it's much worse against various control decks, thanks to Thrill of Possibility, Honor the God-Pharaoh, and Rix Maadi Reveler, we have plenty of ways to rummage it away when it's bad.


All in all we finished our video matches 3-2, although this comes with a bit of an asterisk. While trying to record this episode, I ran into blue control decks five or six times in a row, to the point where I just starting scooping in game one. The control matchup is very likely our deck's worst in the format since a single counterspell on a Bond of Revival or Cauldron's Gift can undo all of our hard work of stocking the graveyard with big threats. On the other hand, we managed to crush Mono-Red Aggro twice and take down Jeskai Fires, which is one of the hottest decks in Throne of Eldraine Standard 3.0.

As far as changes to make to the budget build of the deck, I think it really depends on how the metagame shakes out. If control is the most popular archetype in the format, it might be worth moving Ritual of Soot to the sideboard and Duress to the main deck. Oh yeah, if you have Blood Crypt and Fabled Passage in your collection, you should certainly play them over the tapped dual lands. While Rakdos Reanimation can get away with playing eight tapped dual lands better than most decks since we don't have any Turn 1 plays (giving us a good window to play a Bloodfell Caves or Rakdos Guildgate) and because we can always rummage away tapped duals when they are bad, there are still occasions where we end up having to play off-curve thanks to our mana base.

In the end, Rakdos Reanimation is a reasonably effective way to jank opponents out of the game. Thanks to the prevalence of Fires of Invention, a lot of decks lack the ability to kill Drakuseth, Maw of Flames at instant speed, which makes it pretty easy to get in the two attacks necessary to win the game. While the control matchup is problematic since counterspells are really good against our deck, the ability to beat up on aggro and Jeskai Fires makes Rakdos Reanimating a fun and at least semi-competitive ultra-budget option for Throne of Eldraine Standard 3.0. If you like reanimating strategies or janking opponents out with huge Dragons, give is a shot!

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Since the list we played for the videos is already ultra-budget in paper, let's look at an Arena Budget list of Rakdos Reanimator, designed to minimize the number of rares and mythics needed to build the deck. The core rares of the deck are Agent of Treachery, Drakuseth, Maw of Flames, and Bedevil, which are basically uncuttable if we want our deck to function (there might be an argument for cutting Bedevil, but having no way to kill a planeswalker or artifact is risky in our current format). But we can get the deck down to just 14 rares by dropping Cavalier of Flame and cutting back on Ritual of Soot and some sideboard rares. The goal and plan of the deck are the same as the budget build, and while some number of upgrades are probably needed to make the Arena budget build tournament-worthy, it still should do a fine job at janking opponents out with Drakuseth, Maw of Flames in casual play.

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Finally, for our non-budget build this week we splash into blue for Grixis Reanimator. While adding blue mana to the deck does give us access to a few additional options, the biggest upside of the change is that it means we can actually cast Agent of Treachery in a pinch. That said, we also get Thought Erasure in the main deck, which works with the reanimation plan by filling our graveyard and also gives us a card to help clear away counterspells against control, which is key to improving the matchup. We also get Mystical Dispute in the sideboard, which gives us another way to fight thought countermagic. While the cost of the upgrade looks high, it's worth mentioning that this is mostly because of the costs of shock lands and Fabled Passage. If you already have the tier Standard mana base, you can go form the budget build to the non-budget build without spending much money at all.


Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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