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Modern Goryo's Reanimator Guide

Santiago Bigatti
17/03/2024 · 12 min read
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Introduction

The growing popularity of Goryo’s Reanimator is due to its recent success in MTGO tournaments and leagues, where players like @rvng_mtg have piled up multiple results with the deck.

Last weekend alone, the deck won a Regional Championship in SEA and achieved a top 4 finish in South America. I have always liked decks that utilize the graveyard, so after the Pioneer Pro Tour and with the upcoming Regional Championships, I dove into Modern, ready to reanimate some Atraxas, and oh boy, was I surprised when this deck overperformed.

After a couple of leagues, I was committed 100% to play this deck at the RC, and the refinement process began!

Decklist

This was my final list:

Goryo's RC. Builder: Santiago Bigatti.MTGA - Magic Arena
Other in 15-Mar-2024
MTG Decks Maindeck (60)
Creature [17]
4  Atraxa, Grand Unifier   $29.99
4  Fallaji Archaeologist   $0.49
4  Grief   $29.99
3  Solitude   $32.99
2  Griselbrand   $2.29
Instant [16]
4  Tainted Indulgence   $0.39
4  Faithful Mending   $0.69
4  Goryo's Vengeance   $16.99
4  Ephemerate   $2.29
Sorcery [5]
2  Thoughtseize   $10.99
3  Prismatic Ending   $0.35
Enchantment [2]
2  Touch the Spirit Realm   $0.79
Land [20]
1  Watery Grave   $14.99
1  Undercity Sewers   $12.99
1  Shadowy Backstreet   $4.99
1  Meticulous Archive   $8.99
1  Hedge Maze   $7.49
1  Otawara, Soaring City   $27.99
1  Hallowed Fountain   $10.99
1  Godless Shrine   $13.99
4  Flooded Strand   $29.99
3  Polluted Delta   $37.99
2  Marsh Flats   $18.99
1  Island   $0.01
1  Swamp   $0.01
1  Plains   $0.01
Sideboard [15]
1  Emrakul, the Aeons Torn   $14.99
3  Celestial Purge   $0.35
1  Supreme Verdict   $2.99
3  Subtlety   $22.99
2  Teferi, Time Raveler   $8.49
2  March of Otherworldly Light   $1.79
2  Force of Negation   $47.99
1  Chalice of the Void   $59.99
Buy this deck:

$282.63 Tix @cardhoarder   $7.07 / Week @cardhoarder   $943.28 @tcgplayer   $1,062.37 @cardkingdom  


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The deck’s idea is to win by reanimating an Atraxa or Griselbrand for 2 mana and sticking it on the field thanks to Ephemerate. To set up this combination we utilize multiple enablers like Tainted Indulgence, Faithful Mending and Fallaji Archaeologist.

It's too soon to say how the ban on Violent Outburst will affect the format. Living End was a very good matchup for the deck, but I have high hopes for the future, and I believe that Goryo's Reanimator can become a top-tier deck in the format.

I believe that Goryo's Reanimator can become a top-tier deck in the format

Card Choices: Mainboard

Fallaji Archaeologist


It is our best enabler. For itself, it can not only put a reanimate target on the graveyard but also give us the card to reanimate it. It’s also a very good Ephemerate target. In some niche cases against Ragavan decks, you can decide to not pick up a spell to play around lightning bolt.

Grief

This deck has access to 4 Ephemerates, so Grief is a clear inclusion. Even if you can’t pressure your opponent after scaming like Rakdos, taking 2/3 cards out of their hand give us a lot of time (and information!) to set up. As any combo deck, Grief is also great to clear the way for your combo, but in this particular one, you can also pick up a Grief from Atraxa/Griselbrand after reanimating to make sure they have no follow-up. Also, remember you can Ephemerate Grief on your opponent’s draw phase.

Solitude

Not even near as good as Grief, but you can also Evoke+Ephemerate it. It’s always good to have free spells after drawing a million cards with Atraxa/Griselbrand, and it shines against creature-based strategies.

Atraxa/Griselbrand


Your reanimate targets. Both having lifelink is huge to stabilize. If having the chance to reanimate either one, I will probably pick Griselbrand only if I’m against a deck like Tron where life is irrelevant. Beware of Orcish Bowmasters if you reanimate Griselbrand.

Prismatic Ending

Universal answer to creatures, graveyard hate, etc. You can make 4 colors so you can even exile The One Ring.

Thoughtseize

Extra discard is always nice and having more sorceries is also relevant to hit extra targets from Atraxa, but it’s a flex slot. You could play 4 Endings and 1 Seize if you prefer it.

Tainted Indulgence/Faithful Mendin

More enablers, and if you have to pick one Indulgence is better. Not being required to discard in the late game is usually upside. Mending is just fine, especially if you mill it with Fallaji.

Touch the Spirit Realm

Weakest card in the deck in my opinion, definitely a flex slot. It’s versatile, and the channel ability has some sick uses in niche situations, but is always expensive. Even if it can answer any creature/artifact, being weak to Boseiju is a big problem, it’s always a risk to exile cards like The One Ring. Being an extra card type for Atraxa is very nice, though.

Goryo’s Vengeance

Our win condition. Remember to attack before blinking the reanimated creature. Use the card during your opponent endstep to play around Force of Negation or to make it use mana on their turn, remember that the creature gets exiled at the beginning of the next end step.

Ephemerate

The card that makes this deck great. Even if Goryo’s is the reason to play the deck, it would be trash without Ephemerate. It enables everything and it has many uses. You can Goryo’s in response to the Rebound trigger to get an extra look from Atraxa in case you don’t find another blink effect.

Card Choices: Sideboard

Celestial Purge

Our main answer to Leyline of the Void, but is also very good in a lot of match ups against black/red/rainbow decks.

Subtlety

Mainly used against Endurance, but is also key vs Amulet and Tron.

March of Otherworldly Light

One of the first things I realized after testing was how weak the deck is against Urza's Saga. Sometimes, even if you use Grief + Ephemerate to remove every card from their hand, the two constructs and graveyard hate generated by the Saga are enough to defeat us.

March is a clean 1-mana instant-speed answer to Saga, and it's also effective against some decks when you need additional removal. It's nice that you can pitch extra cards to cover the mana cost, especially since we won't be short on cards after reanimating.

Force of Negation

Either to protect a Goryo’s casted on your opponent turn or a free spell to pick up from Atraxa after reanimating, preventing a possible The One Ring/other big spell follow up from your opponent. In theory is very good, in practice I was not that impressed so I could see myself cutting 1 or even both copies in the future.

Teferi, the Time Raveler

Early versions of this deck include Defense Grid, but I’m not the biggest fan of that card. Even at 3 mana Teferi is a better Defense Grid in my opinion. Is not only great against cascade/countermagic/every reason we already know but now bouncing a Leyline is very relevant to remove hexproof from Scion of Draco as well.

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Even if we can Grief+Ephemerate turn 1, the mill matchup is very complicated. Emrakul helps, a lot. Against Tron you can also discard it+reanimate it for 4 mana, but I could never do it so I’m not completely sure if it’s worth it.

Supreme Verdict

After early testing, I realized I used Damn 99% of the time as a wrath effect. So I figured, why not play one that is actually good? The mana-intensive cost is not a problem for the deck since we prioritize white mana anyway.

Chalice of the Void

I was initially torn between adding 1 Chalice of the Void or 1 extra Teferi to the deck. I decided to opt for the Chalice, and I was pleased with my decision. The ability to retrieve it using Fallaji and then immediately play it on turn 2 is fantastic!

Matchups & Sideboard Guide

Rinos (favorable):

  • Try to have a follow up before going for a reanimate on their turn. Use either Subtlety, Force of Negation, or double Goryo's Vengeance. If we resolve a Goryo's Vengeance, the game is pretty much over.
  • Chalice of the Void  buys time but they have answers for it. Teferi on the other hand is harder to resolve.
  • Evoke Grief before their turn 2 if they had a Leyline start. An early Scion of Draco with hexproof is one of the ways we can lose this matchup.

Yawg (slightly unfavorable):

  • Is good to kill mana accelerators but you should save an answer for Cauldron.
  • Yawgmoth is a highly synergistic deck, Grief + Ephemerate early can destroy their game plan.
  • Our deck draws many cards, so beware of Bowmasters.

Amulet (favorable)

  • Touch is not effective because they have access to Boseiju.
  • Destroying their amulets with Endings and Marches significantly delays their game plan.
  • If we resolve a Goryo's and manage to pick up a Subtlety for backup, the game is over.

Scam (unfavorable)

  • Save removal for Dauthi, it is a nightmare if unchecked.
  • Fetch basics for Blood Moon. White is the most important color.
  • Solitude + Ephemerate is key, wait for an opening.
  • Don't forget about Bowmasters; sometimes it's better to play your draw spell on your turn when they are tapped out.

Murktide (even)

  • Prioritize killing their early drops, especially Dragon Rage Channeler. We can wall Ragavan with Fallaji.
  • Fetch basics for Blood Moon. White always first.
  • They have a lot of countermagic so Grief is important. Try to play as much as possible on their turn to force them to tap.

Zoo(favorable)

  • Prioritize removal while mulliganing.
  • Since they are creature heavy deck, Solitude + Ephemerate is great.
  • Evoke Grief before their turn 2 if they had a Leyline start. An early Scion of Draco with hexproof is one of the ways we can lose the matchup.

Tron (unfavorable)

  • Aim your removal to their artifacts, they might choke on green mana.
  • Delay their Tron as much as possible, prioritize taking out cards that fetch lands from their hand with Grief.
  • Prioritize taking a Force of Negation and/or Subtetly after resolving a Goryo’s.

UW Control (even)

  • Try to play as much on their turn as possible to force them to tap.
  • If possible, try to Evoke Grief before playing an important card like Teferi or Goryo’s.
  • Prismatic Ending can deal with cards like Narset, The One Ring and Rest in Peace.

Mirror

  • Try to disrupt their gameplan as much as possible with Grief.
  • Try to Goryo’s on their turn to avoid Force of Negation
  • Celestial Purge is pretty bad but it answers both Atraxa and Griselbrand.

Scales (even)

  • Prioritize discarding problematic creatures, such as Patchwork Automaton, using Grief. Save your Endings for cards like Cauldron, Scales, Ozolith, Cage, and Relic.
  •  If you don’t have information of opponent’s hand it might be a good idea not to discard Griselbrand, if they get it with Cauldron it’s over.
  • We are in no rush to end the game, answer problematic cards and take your time. Sometimes is better to leave a Cage/Relic on board and answer a Saga instead if you cannot Goryo’s right away.

4c Control (favorable)

  • Prismatic Ending can answer Wrenn and Six, The One Ring, Omnath and Teferi so we leave them in.
  • The matchup plays similar to UW Control, but they have less countermagic and more interaction (Binding, Solitude).
  • I don’t think Teferi is good in this match up even against some amount of countermagic, they have too many ways to untap and resolve it, like Leyline Binding.

Hammer (favorable)

  • Similar gameplay than vs Scales. They are creature based but highly synergistic deck, so taking out some key cards with Grief can leave them hanging with a useless hand.
  • Prioritize removing their board over progressing your plan, for example Ending on turn 2 might be better than going for Tainted Indulgence.
  • Surge of Salvation is a problematic card for us, but they can’t leave mana up for it on the early game, that’s why is important to prioritize removal on early turns.

Burn (favorable)


  • They don’t have that many permanents so 2 Celestial Purge should be more than enough.
  • Try to turbo reanimate, they can’t beat a big flying lifelinker.

Mill (unfavorable)

  • Very complicated match up. Grief + Ephemerate is necessary to win this game.
  • If they try to Surgical Atraxa/Griselbrand you can Goryo’s in response.
  • If you fetch on their endstep and they trap you and mill Emrakul you can Goryo’s in response to the trigger and defend it with Force of Negation

Merfolk (favorable)

  • I tend to ignore Aether Vial and save removal for creatures.
  • They play Force of Negation maindeck, so try to Goryo’s on their end step.
  • Solitude + Ephemerate is amazing on this matchup.

If you liked this article maybe you will also find interesting on of the following ones Pioneer Rakdos Racrifice-Midrange Guide, Modern Rakdos Scam primer & sideboard guide, Pioneer Atarka Red Deck & Sideboard Guide, Getting ready for the Vintage Superqualifier: Vintage Simic Fair Primer

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Santiago Bigatti
Expert in card games and memes.
Santiago Bigatti is an avid card game enthusiast and meme expert hailing from Buenos Aires, Argentina. With a passion for games like Hearthstone and Magic, he is also known for his love for cats, proudly declaring himself a cat person 🐈

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Published: 2024-03-17 00:00:00
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