Reanimator Versus Maverick

Last weekend, Reid Duke took down StarCtiyGames Open: Worcester (the Legacy portion) with a powerful reanimator strategy. I had the pleasure of him asking me to do a video with him this past Wednesday. He wanted to showcase the interactive Maverick-versus-reanimator matchup, so I did some research and came up with a Maverick list that I think is a reasonable choice and packs some unexpected cards. In the research I did, Adam Cai's Maverick list from the SCG Open: Baltimore open seemed incredibly powerful and underplayed, although that may be due to budget reasons since Loyal Retainers is an expensive uncommon from Portal: Three Kingdoms.

In Adam's original list, he had a small blue splash for cards such as Flusterstorm and Spell Pierce, which are both certainly very reasonable against combo decks. I chose not to strain the mana and cut the blue from the deck, and I instead focused on having a reasonable plan against the top-tier decks: R/U/G Delver, reanimator, Sneak and Show, and Stoneforge variants.

I believe Fauna Shaman into Loyal Retainers on either Iona, Shield of Emeria or Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite is an underplayed combination that is quite powerful. While Iona is easily answerable by Karakas, generally, the decks you want it against (combo decks) don't play Karakas. Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite still gains value by killing opposing men in a Maverick mirror even if it is bounced by Karakas.

Besides the maximum number of Fauna Shaman and one Loyal Retainers, the main deck is pretty much a typical Maverick list. The second Karakas plays a major role in combating reanimator and Sneak Attack decks alike.

The relevant sideboard cards against reanimator are Bojuka Bog (to Knight for), Thalia, Guardian of Thraben (taxes opponents’ constrained mana), and Purify the Grave.

I did consider Choke, but I think it's a little too slow to be relevant against them.

After playing these matches with Reid, he said he thought reanimator was slightly ahead, while I felt Maverick was slightly ahead. With such a small sample of games played, it's kind of hard to draw any real conclusions except that the matchup certainly feels very close and a lot of decisions are made in each game.

Reanimator is certainly the real deal yet again, since Griselbrand is the ideal fatty for the deck—it can win races, it can draw cards, and it has evasion.

I would recommend reading Reid's article on about the deck, and I can answer any questions you might have about this particular Maverick list.

I also welcome any suggestions about what you might want to see me do a video on.

Twitter: @jkyu06