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Playing Pauper: Eldrazi Reanimator


Playing Pauper is back! Last week we had an Instant Deck Tech for a crazy Eldrazi Reanimator deck in Pauper and today we're taking the deck out for a spin in a Pauper league to see how good it actually is in the format. The idea of the deck is pretty simple: get an Ulamog's Crusher (or Eldrazi Devastator) in the graveyard as quickly as possible, use Exhume to reanimate it and hopefully annihilate away the opponent's board to pick up the win. While building an entire deck around reanimating Ulamog's Crusher might sound strange, especially if you are used to reanimating Emrakul, the Aeons Torn or Griselbrand, in the all-common Pauper format Ulamog's Crusher is basically the Emrakul of the format, being bigger and scarier than any other common creature, but is it good enough to lead a successful Pauper deck? Is Eldrazi Reanimator a competitive plan or just a cool, fringe strategy? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Playing Pauper: Eldrazi Reanimator

The Deck

  • First off, we finished our league with a solid 4-1 record, only losing to Burn. Burn is a weird matchup for the deck. We should be able to win if we can reanimate a bit threat by turn three, but otherwise we don't have many ways to interact with our opponent's gameplan. We probably should have mulliganed more aggressively for a turn two/three reanimation hand. 
  • Apart from the Burn matchup, the deck felt strong. It has one of the best nut draws in the format, which was on full display against UB Control. A turn two hasty Ulamog's Crusher (annihilating both of our opponent's lands) pretty much just ends the game on the spot against pretty much any deck in the format. 
  • Even when we aren't just winning on turn two, the deck has a surprising ability to go long thanks to Stinkweed Imp. While it might not seem like a big deal, playing what is essentially a deathtouch flier every turn by dredging it back from the graveyard is pretty effective against decks like Delver and being able to trade up for bigger creatures like Gurmag Angler is also nice. 
  • The one problematic part of the deck throughout our league was the mana. Pauper is a strange format when it comes to building manabases because all of the dual lands enter the battlefield tapped. As such, it makes sense that Eldrazi Reanimator wants as many basic lands as possible to facilitate the turn two Exhume plan. On the other hand, we lost some games because we were color screwed thanks to our lack of dual lands. Ash Barrens might be the best solution since it can enter untapped as a colorless land in a pinch, but also helps fix our mana. Playing another bounceland or two could also be helpful, and please, for the love of god, cut the Radiant Fountain!
  • We also learned the hard way that Dragon Breath can attach itself to opposing creatures, so be careful with Exhume. If your opponent puts something big into play make sure you choose the correct Dragon Breath trigger. 
  • Speaking of accidentally putting Dragon Breath on the opponent's creature. The Eldrazi Reanimator mirror is one of the weirdest matchups you'll ever play in any format. Neither player can really do anything, because Exhume is symmetrical, so if you reanimate your Ulamog's Crusher your opponent probably gets one as well, and unless you have Dragon Breath they also get the first attack, so you end up down in the exchange. Unfortunately there isn't another reanimation effect in the format, so there isn't much we can do about it other than using hoping we draw Shred Memory
  • Shred Memory is way more important than I initially thought. While we do use it to tutor up Exhume, being able to exile creatures from the opponent's graveyard before casting Exhume is also key in some matchups. 
  • Otherwise, the deck felt really solid. While graveyard hate can be an issue it's also much less popular in Pauper than in Modern or Legacy, which makes Eldrazi Reanimator especially powerful. If you're looking for a deck that's good at picking up free wins, but can also go long, or you just like annihilating away the opponent's board it seems like a solid, competitive option in the format! Just make sure to cut Radiant Fountain and touch up the manabase a bit.

Conclusion

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 SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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