In Magic: the Gathering I’m a big fan of doing everything.
I like to tap all the mana. I like to draw all the cards. I like to cast all the spells.
I like to return EVERYTHING.
Rally the Ancestors brings a return EVERYTHING effect to Standard.
It’s a weird one. It doesn’t let you untap and attack with the creatures, but you can play it at instant speed. Trade-offs.
If you don’t get to attack, you need this card to win the game off of creatures’ enters-the-battlefield abilities. There happen to be some good ones.
These are your game-winners off of Rally the Ancestors. If you can get to a late-game situation where you have a stocked graveyard of drain Rhinos and devotion Merchants, Rally the Ancestors can start to add up to 20 or more.
A 7 mana Rally the Ancestors to return everything requires having played a long game leading up to it, and the drain life creatures are not only great finishers but great ways to extend the game.
Satyr Wayfinder is especially useful as a small creature to trade or chump with in the early game. You can do a lot with the 1/1 body.
An untouched Nyx Weaver in this deck can take over the game. Turn after turn you flip 2 more cards. And if you ever flip Rally the Ancestors you can cash in your Spider to return your game-winning spell.
Nyx Weaver is not a fast kill, but it is an inevitable kill.
The Executioner is especially potent against hexproof Dragons, but trading a Satyr Wayfinder for anything meaningful is a great trade.
Grim Haruspex gives you some fuel to dig and get value. If you get any extra cards out of trades and chumps it pushes you further toward your victory condition.
These 3-drop creatures also work well with 5-mana Rally the Ancestors. For x=3 you can bring these back at instant speed in combat—make them sacrifice, draw a card, chump block, send them back to the graveyard for later.
Sidisi, Undead Vizier is a sweet one—a big, solid body that digs up Rally the Ancestors or whatever else you might need.
Sidisi coming back for Rally the Ancestors is pretty amazing as well, as you can sac Sidisi and find another Rally.
Standard Mass Reanimator Control
In order to return EVERYTHING you need to play the control game. You want to extend the game, trade, fill the graveyards, gain life, survive, slowly turn over your deck into your graveyard until it is time for a lethal Rally the Ancestors.
Every creature in the deck should work toward a game-winning Rally the Ancestors by stalling the game out and helping to finish once you get there.
You could try to modify your version as an aggro deck, but I find mass reanimator archetypes like this to work better as over-the-top control decks.
Thanks to Jamal Sims for sending me this list. Standard at times can be too straightforward, and decks like this are deckbuilding treasures that offer something totally different.
Sideboarding vs. Archetypes
When sideboarding we often think of what cards are good in specific matchups—this card is good for this matchup, this card will help stop that card, and so on, and we fill our sideboard with cards like that.
Another way to go which I’ve really been liking is sideboarding by cost for specific archetypes—that is, presenting an improved turn-by-turn plan for games 2 and 3.
The main deck is extremely light on 1- and 2-mana plays and at risk of getting run over by early-game decks. It doesn’t matter so much what this deck’s 1- and 2-mana plays are, it matters that you have MORE of them.
So it makes sense to sideboard a card like Sylvan Caryatid just so you have more early-game action.
This deck’s strength is against the slower, more midrange and controlling decks. It has an instant-speed, game-winning trump in Rally the Ancestors and lots of midgame value to build toward it.
Its weakness is certainly the hyper-aggro decks. The remedy is more early game plays to match pace in the first few turns. Against other types of decks you can modify less and stick with your core game plan.
Bringing it ALL Back
If you’re looking for something different in Standard that does everything of something, this deck is a good way to go. It plays with a certain amount of inevitability that grows and grows and grows towards a massive haymaker Rally the Ancestors.
A lot of Standard decks are creatures and planeswalkers and removal and counterspells and that’s mostly it, but decks like these keep things fresh.
Hope you enjoy this brew and let me know what you think! Stay tuned for the videos.