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Budget Magic: $99 (75 tix) Standard Ever After Reanimator


Lachho dives, Budget Magic lovers! It's that time again. This week, we are heading to Standard once again, this time to explore the potential of the rare Shadows over Innistrad reanimation spell Ever After (don't worry, we'll have a Modern Budget Magic soon)! While we usually have some sort of reanimation effect in Standard, the thing that sets Ever After apart is the fact that we can get not one but two creatures back from the graveyard at the same time. This allows for a combo-like finish with the help of Dragonlord Kolaghan and Dragonlord Atarka, which together represent 14 evasive, hasty damage while also clearing away any blockers thanks to Dragonlord Atarka's "deal five damage" ability! 

Let's get to the videos; then, I'll talk more about Ever After Reanimator. A quick reminder: if you enjoy the Budget Magic series and the other video content on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish Youtube Channel to keep up on all the latest and greatest.

Ever After Reanimator Deck Tech

Ever After Reanimator vs. Mono-White Humans

Ever After Reanimator vs. Four-Color Rites

Ever After Reanimator vs. UW Control

Ever After Reanimator vs. Esper Dragons

Ever After Reanimator vs. Grixis Control

The Deck

The basic idea of the deck is simple: we fill our graveyard, hopefully with Dragonlords, and then resolve an Ever After, which often wins the game on the spot! Otherwise, our goal is to disrupt our opponent with removal to buy enough time to pull off the reanimation finish. 

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Considering that most modern reanimation spells cost five mana and get back one creature, Ever After is clearly the best reanimation spell we've had in Standard since Unburial Rites. Think of it this way—if you're willing to pay 5 mana for a Necromantic Summoning, instead you pay 1 extra mana and get a literal Reanimate that doesn't cost life. It's this double-reanimation ability that makes out deck possible. Instead of simply trying to get back one big threat that will close out the game in a couple of turns (like Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, for example), we get to reanimate two threats, which by themselves are not quite game-ending but together will almost always get the job done—often immediately. 

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The whole idea of the deck is to Ever After a Dragonlord Kolaghan and a Dragonlord Atarka, which together allow us to hit for 14 damage in the air immediately, thanks to Dragonlord Kolaghan's "creatures you control have haste" ability and Dragonlord Atarka's ability to clear away any flying blockers. A decent amount of the time, this will end the game on the spot, assuming we've gotten in some random damage here or there; otherwise, we put our opponent in a position where they need to deal with both huge dragons on their next turn or lose. Even if they can somehow kill both Dragonlords, they are one Ever After or Dragonlord Kolaghan away from dying out of nowhere. 

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Mindwrack Demon is the only other creature in our deck, and it works extremely well with our plan. For one thing, thanks to our focus on filling the graveyard, we'll almost always have Delirium by the time Mindwrack Demon comes down, which eliminates the downside of losing four life a turn. Second, it fill our graveyard with Dragonlords for our reanimation plan. Third, as a big, flying trampler, it offers a way to get in the six points of damage necessary to win with the Dragonlord Atakra/Dragonlord Kolaghan/Ever After combo. Fourth, it isn't the worst thing to reanimate. While Mindwrack Demon isn't nearly as scary as either of our Dragonlords, getting a couple of 4/5 fliers with Ever After is fine; plus, they mill more cards, making it likely that our second Ever After will be able to reanimate Dragonlords. 

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Vessel of Nascency and Gather the Pack are simply ways to move cards from our library to our graveyard to facilitate our reanimation plan. Vessel of Nascency is usually the better option, mostly because Gather the Pack tends to whiff a lot, since we only have 10 creatures in our deck, but also because it gives us an enchantment in the graveyard for Mindwrack Demon's Delirium and because it can hit a land (which is often important). Remember: it's sometimes right to "fail to find" a Dragonlord with either of these cards—especially if we have an Ever After in hand. We don't want to get stuck in a position where we have nothing to reanimate because our hand is full of Dragonlord Atarkas and Dragonlord Kolaghans. 

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Speaking of getting stuck with Dragonlords in hand when we want to resolve an Ever After, Tormenting Voice is in the deck for this very reason. While Vessel of Nascency and Gather the Pack are good at getting cards from our library into our graveyard, they don't help if we just naturally draw a bunch of Dragonlords. Say, for example, that we somehow end up with all three Dragonlord Atarkas in hand. This could be a disaster, especially if we can't draw our seventh mana. Tormenting Voice fixes the problem by allowing us to discard a Dragonlord Atarka, while also giving us the ability to cycle through our deck for removal, Ever Afters, and Mindwrack Demons. 

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Corrupted Grafstone might look strange, but it's actually pretty good in our deck (when it's not getting blown up by Kolaghan's Command). We just don't get 2-mana mana rocks anymore, and while entering the battlefield tapped is super annoying, we usually have all three colors of cards in our graveyard, making it fairly powerful. Basically, Dragonlords and Ever After are expensive, and I was afraid that just naturally drawing up to six or seven lands would makes us too slow. My first thought was to play Deathcap Cultivator, but then I realized that we really, really needed some sweepers, so I decided to give Corrupted Grafstone a chance instead, mostly since it wouldn't die to our own Radiant Flames or Languish. Overall, I was happy with it, although it's certainly a level or two below things like Mind Stone or Signets. 

As for the sweepers, they are necessary to stay alive long enough to cast Ever After. The upside is that they don't kill any of our creatures, but against decks like Humans, Rites, or Company, they should get rid of our opponent's board and hopefully allow us to win with a Dragonlord Atarka or Dragonlord Kolaghan

Ultra-Budget Ever After Reanimator

The problem with the ultra-budget version of Ever After Reanimator is that we don't have access to Dragonlord Atarka, which makes our Ever Afters much less devastating. In her place, we get an unruly mob of options, including Breaker of Armies (which can be a wrath, in the right situation), Angel of Deliverance (exiles a creature, but not until after it deals damage), and Void Winnower (which is great if the opponent is all evens, but otherwise it's just odd). Honestly, I almost didn't include an ultra-budget version for this one, just because the Ever After/Dragonlord Atarka/Dragonlord Kolaghan synergy was the entire reason I built the deck in the first place, so without this package, it almost doesn't feel like the same deck. That said, if you are looking for a cheaper Ever After deck, this is probably a fine place to start—just don't expect to win all that often if you're playing competitively. 

Non-Budget Ever After Reanimator

Basically, the non-budget version of Ever After Reanimator is just a more streamlined version of the deck we played in the videos. We get to max out on Dragonlord Atarka and Dragonlord Kolaghan, plus we get the full four copies of Languish and a Dark Petition to find Ever After or a sweeper. We also get a vastly improved manabase. While having a ton of enters-the-battlefield-tapped lands isn't a huge deal for the deck, being able to access our mana right away is especially helpful in the late game, when waiting an extra turn for Ever After or Dragonlord Atarka can be the difference between winning and losing. 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. Overall, we went 3–2 with the deck, winning against aggro and midrange but struggling against true control decks that could strip away our hand with Transgress the Mind, backed up by counterspells. The deck felt really fun and explosive, and confirmed to me that Ever After is a really powerful Magic card—it's just a matter of figuring out how best to use it. 

As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive, or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.

 

 


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