Animar, Surge of Value

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Post by Mookie » 2 years ago

Let the flow of life become a tidal wave.



In Magic, there are eight different card types - Artifact, Creature, Enchantment, Instant, Land, Planeswalker, Sorcery, and Tribal. Different card types are better at doing different things - Lands generate mana, Enchantments and Planeswalkers provide ongoing effects and incremental advantage, Instants and Sorceries provide powerful one-shot effects, Artifacts provide utility without regard to color, and Tribal.... exists.

Most decks play a healthy mix of card types, taking the best cards from each category. This deck goes the opposite direction: it focuses almost exclusively on a single card type - Creatures. Creatures are a pretty flexible card type - they can draw cards, ramp, and provide removal. They may not always do so as efficiently or impressively as the best options in other card types, but we make up for this by playing lots and lots of payoffs for having lots of creatures..

This is a deck built around playing lots of creatures, and occasionally casting Primal Surge.


Commander Analysis

Mana cost:
Animar is in Temur colors, granting access to blue, red, and green mana. This provides a lot of flexibility - these colors are great at drawing cards, ramping, and dealing with noncreatures. Animar also costs only three total mana, meaning it can come down pretty early and be recast several times before it becomes too expensive. Animar does, however, have a pretty strict mana cost - one of the biggest restrictions this deck often faces is access to large amounts of specific colors of mana.

Type: Legendary Creature - Elemental.
Elementals are a fairly common creature type, appearing on many planes. Most notably, they were a major plane on Lorwyn / Shadowmoor, with many cards such as Mulldrifter with the Evoke mechanic, alongside tribal support such as Horde of Notions and Smokebraider. More recently, Elementals were a theme in M20, with support cards such as Risen Reef and Omnath, Locus of the Roil. They aren't a tribe with a ton of support, but it is out there, and with all the Evoke cards, the tribe has a lot of versatility.

Stats: 1/1
Animar starts out pretty small, vulnerable to any burn spell. Repeatable ping effects, such as Staff of Nin or Goblin Sharpshooter are particularly annoying. Animar is, however, capable of growing pretty large, so it is common to just cast it and cross your fingers that it lives until we can untap.

Protection from white and from black
The primary reason why Animar tends to stick around - white and black are the two best removal colors, and most decks with access to them rely on those colors for spot removal. This means that Animar can be surprisingly tricky to deal with, depending on what colors our opponents are playing. Protection also means Animar can function as a pretty good blocker for nonevasive creatures, and can be difficult (or even impossible) for monowhite or monoblack decks to block. On the other hand, while Animar is immune to white and black spot removal, those colors also have access to the best board wipes, so they do still have outs.

Whenever you cast a creature spell, put a +1/+1 counter on Animar, Soul of Elements.
Creatures are good, creatures are great. We're running a ton of creatures, so Animar can grow very, very large from this ability. Note that this is a cast trigger - Animar won't grow from flicker effects like Ghostly Flicker, but it will grow even faster off things like Cascade and Possibility Storm casting more spells. On the other hand, because we want to cast so many spells, taxing effects like Rhystic Study are extremely annoying.

Creature spells you cast cost less to cast for each +1/+1 counter on Animar.
The most powerful individual ability on Animar - cost reduction abilities are very, very powerful. It also feeds in nicely to the previous ability. This lets us do stuff like play a 1, 2, 3, and 4-drop creature the turn after we play Animar, turning four instances of colored mana into ten mana of value. It also means we prioritize running creatures with fewer colored mana symbols (such as artifact creatures, morph creatures, and Eldrazi), because colored mana symbols can't be ignored. This ability also works well with Hydras and other creatures with in their casting cost.

This deck may not be for you if:
  • you want to play instants and sorceries
  • you dislike needing to do mental math
  • your meta has tons of board wipes
  • you're not comfortable being archenemy

You may enjoy this deck if:
  • you like playing lots of creatures
  • you want your commander to be the centerpiece of the deck, but to still function without it
  • you value explosiveness, speed, and 'going off'
  • you enjoy casting Primal Surge

Other Commander Options
Maelstrom Wanderer - another powerful option in Temur. Often functions as a ramp deck, casting Wanderer as early and often as possible to cascade into big scary things.

Riku of Two Reflections - a different flavor of creature-based Temur, Riku is capable of copying any creatures you play, doubling up on Mulldrifter triggers. Or you can copy instants and sorceries, if that's your sort of thing.

Omnath, Locus of the Roil - an Elemental tribal commander. Can fill a variety of roles - it provides spot removal, card draw, and the ability to pump your team. Also really likes lands.

Intet, the Dreamer - another commander dedicated to generating value and casting things for free. Seems like a recurring theme in Temur.

Surrak Dragonclaw - a somewhat more casual commander for people that really hate countermagic. Also works well with big, stompy, non-trampling creatures, or as the head of a flash-based deck.

Horde of Notions - another option for Elemental tribal decks, if you want access to all the colors of mana.



Decklist by Function
Approximate Total Cost:


Card Discussion

a brief note on card choices
Something to note when looking over these cards is that I have a self-imposed budget restriction of $2 per card, with exceptions for things I happen to already own or trade for. As a result, when looking over the card choices, I will recommend focusing more on the categories of cards than the individual selections.
Animar allows us to dump our hand very quickly by reducing away colored mana costs. Similarly, Animar wants us to have lots of creature spells to cast so it can grow. Both of these things mean that we want a lot of card draw, both in the form of one-off card draw (such as Elvish Visionary or Mulldrifter) and recurring card draw (such as Beast Whisperer).

Elvish Visionary - there aren't any one-mana creatures that cantrip, so our curve starts at 2. Cheap and replaces itself, and great for getting fast counters on Animar.
Evolutionary Leap - we run a lot of small creatures with ETB effects, and this lets us turn them into more action. Also works well as board wipe insurance.
Fblthp, the Lost - Elvish Visionary #2.
Hydroid Krasis - scales really well with Animar's discount. There aren't many other options to draw 3+ cards off a creature, and this is very capable of refilling our hand.
Edric, Spymaster of Trest - depends on our opponents' boardstates, but turning all our random 1/1 creatures sideways to draw a bunch of cards is quite useful.
Generous Patron - one colored mana, two cards. It's like a Divination that has synergy with our deck, and can also pump Animar in a pinch.
Risen Reef - draws a card and occasionally ramps. We don't have a ton of elementals, but we do have one in the command zone, and making Animar also cantrip is sweet.
Runic Armasaur - a bit of a tech choice, but it has a large body for its cost, and draws 2+ cards surprisingly often.
Sea Gate Oracle - yet another cantripping creature.
Tireless Tracker - we don't have as strong of a land-ramp package as most green decks do (due to not running Cultivate and friends), but turning lands into card draw is still useful.
Ulvenwald Mysteries - primarily here as boardwipe protection. Turns most Wrath of Gods into a new hand.
Beast Whisperer - an engine card. Glimpse of Body on legs is quite nice and lets us churn through our deck.
Fathom Mage - we have a lot of big creatures, so evolving it is pretty easy.
Guardian Project - turns all our creatures into cantrips. Not being a creature is both an upside and a downside - no Animar discount, but also harder to kill.
Voice of Many - we run a lot of creatures, and should usually have more than our opponents. Harmonize is a good card for us.
Mulldrifter - gold standard for card draw in this deck - one colored mana for two cards.
Soul of the Harvest - an even bigger Glimpse of Nature. We don't do much flickering, but options do exist.
Sandstone Oracle - a bit expensive, but it's colorless and refills our hand.
Sphinx of Uthuun - a bit expensive, but Fact or Fiction gives us a lot of selection.
Maelstrom Wanderer - cascaaaaaade! Haste is also pretty useful. Then cascade again!
Primal Surge

This is a Primal Surge deck. This card, for the low, low price of ten mana and not running any other non-permanents in our deck, allows us to flip our entire deck onto the table. This is usually enough to win, either by assembling a combo from the cards we flip, or by just by attacking with all of our creatures.

Not running instants and sorceries in our deck is a pretty strict deckbuilding restriction - most of the best ramp spells we could use to get to ten mana are sorceries that we can't play, and we also can't play most counterspells to protect Primal Surge. As a result, we need to get a bit creative, by using our creatures to fill the holes usually filled by instants and sorceries.

This deck is not capable of tutoring up Primal Surge, and it also isn't designed to ramp into it as quickly as possible. Primal Surge is a very, very flashy plan B for if the game goes long. We'll reach the necessary mana eventually, and hopefully we'll be able to draw into it before our deck gets too thin for it to matter.

A few things to note when you cast Primal Surge:

-Decking out is a concern. While some of our card advantage comes from tutors or filtering, we do have a fair amount of mandatory card draw - you'll want to have a mental model of how many cards are left in deck, and how many you'll have to draw.
-it's pretty easy to leave a few extra cards in your deck for Mulldrifter, but Guardian Project requires a lot more care. Primal Surge is different from most similar effects in that it explicitly puts permanents onto the battlefield in a specific order, which means Guardian Project will only see creatures entering after it, as will any other cards which trigger off things entering.
-Words of Wind is in the deck to prevent decking out, since it turns any excess draw we have into bouncing our opponents' permanents. We can pay for it with Cryptolith Rite, or any other way to generate mana (such as Peregrine Drake).
-if you have access to them, Eldrazi titans are another good way to get more cards into your deck.
other options
Blue, red, and green have many options for drawing cards, even when limited to only permanents.

Slithermuse - a pretty efficient way to refill our hand if we're running low.
Etherium-Horn Sorcerer - cascade has some nice synergies with Animar. Also works as a draw engine in a pinch by bouncing itself to cascade again. Beware of cascading into morph creatures and X-costing creatures though.
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth - Eldrazi titans are very nice inclusions for the deck. Kozilek in particularly is good at refilling your hand, although it really needs an Animar discount to be castable.
Sages of the Anima - lets us draw lots of creatures. Personally, I enjoy drawing more lands, since access to colored mana is such a huge restriction, but they can do good work.
Primordial Sage and Lifecrafter's Bestiary - more options if you want more of this effect.
Bloodbraid Elf, Shardless Agent, and other cascade cards - worth consideration, although they can be awkward with some of our creatures.
Prime Speaker Zegana - excluded primarily because it makes Primal Surge harder to resolve. Still, she provides enough card draw to be worth the four colored mana.
Vizier of the Menagerie - lets us play cards off the top of our deck, plus it helps with color requirements.
Temur Ascendancy - depends on how many big creatures you're running. Haste is also nice.
We're running a very focused deck, which means there are some cards we are inherently vulnerable to, such as Humility, Rule of Law, and Wrath of God. We want to be able to deal with these, either by removing them after they are on the field, or by stopping our opponents from resolving them in the first place.

Ainok Survivalist - Naturalize on a morph. Morph abilities are pretty hard to stop, since they aren't an activated ability and aren't shut down by Torpor Orb.
Scavenging Ooze - grave hate, and a bit of incidental lifegain.
Stratus Dancer - one of the better counterspells we have access to.
Willbender - "It's always Willbender". Redirects removal from our creatures to other targets.
Champion of Lambholt - grows big, and makes it very hard for our creatures to be blocked.
Reclamation Sage - Naturalize on an ETB creature. As cheap and efficient as we can get.
Possibility Storm - messes with a lot of spells our opponents may want to cast, while also giving us extra counters on Animar (or cast triggers from Eldrazi). Also a lock with Teferi.
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir - stops our opponents from casting instants, which lets us combo off more easily. Also lets us flash things in, which is nice - most of our deck usually functions at sorcery speed. Also a lock with Possibility Storm.
Bane of Progress - mass removal for artifacts and enchantments, which we don't have many of.
Ruric Thar, the Unbowed - we don't have a lot of options for interacting on the stack, but Ruric Thar makes operating very painful for most other decks.
Phyrexian Ingester - expensive, but we don't have a ton of options for spot removal.
Void Winnower - another way to proactively shut down our opponents. Makes blocking hard and does interesting things with Possibility Storm.
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger - more expensive spot removal. Also, eats our opponents' decks. Yum. Works well with bounce effects for us to cast it again. The only way we have to deal with Humility.
other options
We have access to three colors, which gives us many options for interaction, even when limited by Primal Surge. Your removal suite should reflect your meta, whether it be more artifact/enchantment removal or more countermagic.

Seal of Primordium - notable mostly because it is one of very few removal spells we have access to that isn't a creature. Consider it if you encounter Humility frequently.
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre and Emrakul, the Promised End - Eldrazi titans are good. Ulamog blows stuff up, while Emrakul lets us Mindslaver an opponent.
Trygon Predator - if you want repeatable removal on a creature.
Kheru Spellsnatcher and other morphs - there are a lot of morph cratures with useful abilities.
Acidic Slime, Qasali Slinger, Duplicant, and other ETB creatures - more good options for interaction.
Mystic Snake - one of the few counterspells we have access to.
Warstorm Surge - turns all of our creatures into removal spells or direct burn.
Purphoros, God of the Forge - provides a lot of burn alongside all our creatures, chipping away at life totals.
While utilizing our general is the easiest way to accelerate out expensive creatures, it isn't the most consistent method, especially if Animar has been removed several times. Our curve is also very high, which makes ramp important. Most of our ramp comes from creatures which either tap for mana or fetch out lands - because we care about creatures so much, we aren't running any mana rocks. Land ramp is slightly preferred as additional resilience to board wipes, but we also want to keep our curve low.

Hardened Scales - doesn't produce mana by itself, but it doubles Animar's rate of growth, allowing us to accelerate even faster.
Wild Cantor - actually free, and enables turn 2 Animar.
Beastcaller Savant - effectively free with Animar out, since it has haste.
Cryptolith Rite - makes all our random little creatures into mana dorks.
Rattleclaw Mystic - effectively a ritual with Animar active - costs two mana to morph an flip, and produces three mana.
Sakura-Tribe Elder - Rampant Growth on a body.
Sylvan Caryatid - a hard-to-kill mana dork.
Wall of Roots - free with Animar's discount, since it provides mana immediately.
Farhaven Elf - land ramp stapled to a creature.
Rosethorn Acolyte - a bit of ramp and filtering, but the real draw is its combo with Possibility Storm to cheat out Primal Surge.
Wood Elves - more land ramp.
Nikya of the Old Ways - a mana doubler! The downside is pretty easy to ignore, and we have ways to bounce it back to our hand if necessary.
Peregrine Drake - a busted ritual - pay one mana to generate five. Enables a lot of explosive plays.
Oblivion Sower - works well with Animar's discount, and usually ramps out at least two lands, although it is possible to get a lot more depending on what has been happening in the game. Can also mill people out if looped repeatedly.
other options
Birds of Paradise, Elvish Mystic, and other one-mana accelerants - getting Animar out on turn two is pretty powerful, and can speed things up significantly.
Sylvan Ranger - Elvish Visionary, but it always draws a basic land.
Cloud of Faeries, Palinchron, and other 'free' creatures - these are all crazy rituals with Animar out. Palinchron can go infinite by itself, assuming you have enough blue sources.
Bloom Tender, Shaman of Forgotten Ways, Somberwald Sage, and other creatures that tap for more than one mana - all worth consideration if you want to ramp into expensive things more consistently.
Oracle of Mul Daya, Courser of Kruphix, Solemn Simulacrum, and other ways to get more lands - these tend to be a bit more expensive, but also higher-value. Good if you want your deck to be grindier at the cost of explosiveness.
We have a lot of creatures with ETB and cast triggers that we are interested in reusing. More importantly, bounce effects work really well with Animar - if we have a creature return itself to hand repeatedly, then we can turn that into a bunch of counters on Animar, and more card draw from out Glimpse of Nature effects.

Shrieking Drake - the cheapest version of this effect available. One mana to pump Animar as many times as we want is really nice.
Dream Stalker - costs an extra mana, but it comes with a bigger body. Also nice for saving Animar if it is locked under something like Song of the Dryads.
Cloudstone Curio - a key engine in the deck, allowing us to repeatedly bounce and replay discounted creatures, generating lots of value. Also does gross things alongside Morph creatures and Eldrazi with cast triggers.
Words of Wind - mostly here because of Primal Surge, but we have a lot of creatures that draw cards - paying a mana to pick them up again doesn't really affect us, but it can set back our opponents.
Ancestral Statue - goes infinite with an Animar of sufficient size. Also lets us reuse other ETB effects if necessary.
Temur Sabertooth - a way to reuse creatures repeatedly, and does silly things with Peregrine Drake. Also a good way to protect creatures from a board wipe.
other options
There are many options for this effect in blue, along with a few others in green.

Roaring Primadox - lets us bounce a thing every turn.
Crystal Shard - not a creature, but instant speed and repeatable. Good for saving things from spot removal.
Man-o-war - a classic bounce creature. Can also hit our opponents' creatures.
Venser, Shaper Savant - bounces anything, and gives us some interaction on the stack.
Deadeye Navigator - requires more mana investment, but it lets us reuse ETB effects repeatedly.
Kederekt Leviathan - bounces everything, then Unearths to do it again. One of the few board wipes we have available.
Green provides some good options to recur arbitrary cards, which is useful if we want to get back a destroyed combo piece, or if we need some other effect.

Den Protector - morph is still a useful ability, making this a cheap recursion spell.
Eternal Witness - format staple, and the gold standard for recursion on a body.
Genesis - a bit slow, but can recur whatever we want, repeatedly.
Greenwarden of Murasa - more expensive, but it recurs things twice.
other options
Deadwood Treefolk - returns a creature from hand to graveyard, then does it again when it leaves.
Riftsweeper - worth consideration if you're even more all-in on a specific combo. Usually pretty niche though.
Loaming Shaman - due to Primal Surge, just having a card somewhere in our deck can have value. Can also provide some grave hate by shuffling an opponent's graveyard back in.
Artisan of Kozilek - Even more expensive, but free with a discount. Reanimates creatures directly as a cast trigger, making it difficult to counter.
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre and Kozilek, Butcher of Truth - in addition to their large bodies, colorless cost, and cast triggers, these also let us shuffle our graveyard back into our deck, refueling it for a Primal Surge. Also do very good things alongside Survival of the Fittest, if you have it.
We run a lot of creatures in our deck with a wide variety of effects. Being able to tutor up the perfect card is pretty valuable.

Genesis Hydra - strictly speaking, it isn't a tutor, but does a good impression when cast for a sufficiently large X. Also a way to apply Animar's discount to noncreature permanents. Can also be amusing with Warstorm Surge, if you're running it.
Fierce Empath - tutors up any big creature, providing access to card draw. removal, and more.
Birthing Pod - tutors up creatures directly into play, repeatedly. There are some interesting chains that can be done with untap effects, but we usually use it for toolboxing or to fetch combo pieces.
Woodland Bellower - tutors up a cheap creature, directly into play. Grabbing something like Eternal Witness or Reclamation Sage is pretty good value.
other options
Green has other options for tutoring up creatures.

Survival of the Fittest and Fauna Shama - a powerful way to fetch exactly what you want, repeatedly. Also very powerful with Eldrazi titans, if you're running them.
Prime Speaker Vannifar - Birthing Pod #2. Summoning sickness makes it worse, but being a creature give it more synergy with the deck.
Brutalizer Exarch - provides a bit of interaction or a tutor. Not particularly efficient though.
Imperial Recruiter - can tutor up a wide variety of small creatures. Also the namesake of Imperial Animar, a cEDH build.
A catch-all category for flexible cards with unknown effects. Clones and theft effects let us access cards that we wouldn't otherwise be able to play in our deck.

Phantasmal Image - the cheapest Clone available, letting us copy the best creature on the battlefield. Sometimes this will be one of our own creatures with an ETB effect, sometimes it will be something else.
Diluvian Primordial - lets us cast instants and sorceries from an opponent's graveyard. Can be matchup-dependent, but grabbing something like Cultivate or Fact or Fiction is always useful. Also one of the few ways we have to get a board wipe.
other options
Mindclaw Shaman - lets us see an opponent's hand, which can be useful if we want to check if the coast is clear for a combo. Very high variance though - sometimes you'll miss, sometimes you'll make them effectively discard something nasty, and sometimes you'll hit the jackpot.
Dire Fleet Daredevil - another way to cast casts from our opponents' graveyards. Doesn't do it for free, but the body is much cheaper.
Stunt Double, Phyrexian Metamorph, and other clones - provide additional flexibility, letting us double up on our ETB effects, or anything else.
Chancellor of the Spires - Similar to Diluvian Primordial. Note that it doesn't exile the card that was cast, which means it does silly things with cards like Saheeli's Artistry and Ghostly Flicker.
utility lands
We have some pretty strict color requirements, which means that we don't have many slots available for utility lands, and there is a very high bar for the ones that we do include.

Mosswort Bridge - easy to turn on, taps for colored mana, and lets us cheat out something big at instant speed.
Opal Palace - Animar really likes starting with counters on it. The first few counters are usually the most difficult ones to acquire, and this lets us recover much more quickly from Animar being removed. Colorless mana is unfortunate, but the filtering can be useful at times.
Oran-Rief, the Vastwood - not quite as good as Opal Palace for pumping Animar, but can also pump up our other creatures a bit.
Pendelhaven - enters untapped, and can protect Animar from ping effects.
other options
Llanowar Reborn - a one-shot effect, but starting Animar with an extra counter can be relevant.
Kessig Wolf Run, Strip Mine, and other colorless utility lands - not worth running. When Animar is active, we won't have a use for colorless mana.
fixing lands
We're running green, which means we have decent number of ways to fetch out basic lands. We also have ways to repeatedly play cards like Farhaven Elf and Wood Elves, which means we don't want to run out of basic lands too quickly. Nonbasic land hate such as Back to Basics and Blood Moon can also be important, depending on your meta.

Basics: 6x Forest, 5x Island, 1x Mountain

I'm not going to delve into nonbasic fixing lands because, more than any other category, your manabase is going to be dependent on your budget. High-budget decks may be playing a full set of dual lands, fetches, and shocklands, while a low-budget deck may be running guildgates. This is a deck that values fixing very, very highly, so it can be worth it to play a tapped fixing land over an untapped basic... but if you play too many tapped lands, then you will be sacrificing a lot of speed. Use what you have access to.

Note that this deck skews very heavily towards blue and green over red - we usually only need one or two red mana sources available. We do, however, really want to hit all three colors by turn 3 so we can play Animar on curve.


Using Animar

This deck is capable of operating at three speeds, depending on whether Animar is in the command zone, on the battlefield with few counters, or on the battlefield with many counters.

Many games, our first action is going to be casting Animar on turn 3. We want to get it down as soon as possible so we can take advantage of our deck's explosiveness. Our best openers involve curving Animar into something like Elvish VisionarySakura-Tribe ElderWood ElvesAncestral StatueAncestral Statue, which lets us take someone out with commander damage and start dropping Eldrazi on turn 4.

On the other hand, if we have a slower hand without a bunch of cheap creatures, it may be appropriate to hold Animar back until after a board wipe - if we can generate some card advantage from something like Evolutionary Leap or Tireless Tracker, then that will mean we don't run out of action later on. Playing out Ulvenwald Mysteries or Stratus Dancer to play around a board wipe can also be worth doing.

Once we have Animar out, we want to start accumulating counters. This usually involves curving cheap creatures into each other - the process becomes much slower if we only have expensive creatures available, so it can be a good idea to hold back creatures in hand for building up Animar.

When Animar has several counters on it (usually at least 3), things start accelerating quickly - Morph creatures become free, and we rapidly approach Eldrazi territory as we ignore all the generic mana costs. At this point, we really want to find Beast Whisperer or some other card draw effect to keep things going. Even if the board gets wiped, we will hopefully draw enough cards to refill our hand.

Once Animar is big, there are two main routes to victory. The simple route is commander damage - Animar is very capable of one or two-shotting people if they lack blockers. This does depend on what other people have - protection from black and from white is very relevant here. However, we also have cards like Champion of Lambholt and Void Winnower that can prevent blocking.

The other route is combo - looping Eldrazi with Cloudstone Curio, generating a ton of mana with Peregrine Drake and bounce effects, or just cantripping through our deck with Soul of the Harvest until we flood the board with enough power. This is when things start to feel like a Storm deck.



Our deck often plays out like a hybrid of Voltron and Storm - the easiest path to victory is to cast lots of creatures, grow Animar really big, and use its cost reduction to cast more creatures (while also drawing cards). Eventually, we'll draw into a combo and win off that.

Plan B if we can't storm off (usually because Animar is shut down) is to pay full cost for our many big stompy creatures and beat down with them. We have a lot of card draw to help hit land drops, which means we will eventually be able to just hardcast our Eldrazi and other big creatures.

The final strategy we can go with is Primal Surge, which allows us to put the remainder of our deck onto the battlefield. This is usually enough of an advantage to leverage into a victory - either by comboing off with the cards we flip, or just beating down with our new army.

Opening Hand
Most hands are going to be evaluated by whether or not they can cast Animar on curve. It can be okay to keep a hand without red mana, but blue and green are both pretty necessary. Beyond that, try to aim for a hand with a low curve - most of our cheaper creatures are ramp and card draw, and they help set us up for the future, along with growing Animar quickly.

Early Game
The first few turns are often uneventful - our first spell is often going to be Animar on turn 3. However, playing a mana dork on turn 2 is often a good idea, since it sets up for a better turn 4. On turn 4, if Animar is still alive, start playing creatures from hand to grow it, ideally while drawing cards and keeping our hand relatively full.

Mid Game
Once we hit turn 5 or 6, things start to diverge. If Animar is alive and has a bunch of counters on it, then we can continue playing lots of creatures. Try to land a Glimpse of Nature effect such as Soul of the Harvest or some other way to keep the cards flowing. Alternatively, hunt for combo pieces such as Ancestral Statue.

If Animar is dealt with, slow down a bit and try to refuel with more cheap creatures so it can be grown quickly when we replay it. Alternatively, just focus on accumulating card advantage and letting our opponents deal with each other. The deck can be extremely explosive, so we can shift from no board position to a commanding board position pretty quickly. Wait for a good opening before redeploying (such as after a board wipe).

Late Game
Late game is largely a continuation of mid game. If we've been able to build up Animar and have an active draw engine, we will usually be able to win pretty quickly. Keep drawing cards until you find a combo, while beating down with any creatures you have.

If we haven't been able to find a way to keep our hand full, things get more difficult - this deck is capable of dumping its entire hand pretty quickly, which can leave us vulnerable to board wipes. The deck is alright at topdecking, but not great - we have a lot of small, low-impact creatures.... but we also have a lot of card draw and big, scary things. At this point, things mostly come down to drawing enough action. When all else fails, ramp to ten mana and try to resolve Primal Surge.


Change Log

8/20/2019 - initial version
Last edited by Mookie 2 months ago, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by Mookie » 2 years ago

Throne of Eldraine is out, so logging my thoughts on the new cards. Not a ton of stuff for this deck, but still a few interesting cards.

The Great Henge - a bit high-variance in its cost - I usually don't have any large creatures unless Animar is active. Still, if Animar is active, then it comes own for cheap and draws a bunch of cards. Seems worth testing, at least.

Castle Garenbrig - will often enter untapped, and effectively taps for two mana. Only green mana is a significant restriction though, so would need to do some testing.

Fabled Passage - oh hey, a new format staple. I really want to increase the quality of lands in this deck, but can be difficult due to the budget restriction. Still, nice to have new options.

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Post by Mookie » 1 year ago

First update in a while! I'm testing out a somewhat leaner build, with a little less topend and a bit more acceleration. We'll see how it goes....

  • Genesis - I'm pretty light on recursion, so trying this out as a lategame value engine.
  • Voice of Many - this deck can go very wide, so should usually at least draw two cards, and hopefully three.
  • Wild Cantor - testing out as a way to get Animar out on turn 2. Also a free spell to accelerate Animar counters.
  • Risen Reef - testing. I don't have a ton of elementals, but one sits in the command zone, so we'll see how it goes. Two color pips is a concern though.
  • Rosethorn Acolyte - filtering and mana are fine, but I'm actually testing it because of Possibility Storm. One mana Primal Surge?
  • Fblthp, the Lost - cheap ways to build Animar counters are always appreciated.
  • Pendelhaven - effectively a strictly-better basic. Animar can be vulnerable to pingers due to starting with only 1 toughness, so testing this as a way to provide a bit of incidental protection.

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Post by Mookie » 2 months ago

Been a long time since the last update - didn't have a playgroup for a while, but I'm finally playing regularly again. Got a bunch of new cards for testing too, which is always fun. That said, the list is pretty tight, so it's always difficult to find cuts. I actually think Primal Surge may be the cut - it's definitely a powerful card, but I'm not a fan of 1-card combos. I think my current plan is to pull off Possibility Storm + Rosethorn Acolyte // Seasonal Ritual to knock it off my bucket list, after which I'll reevaluate.

  • Song of Creation - testing. It is definitely possible that this will backfire horribly, but my favorite thing to do with this deck is to storm off, cast a bunch of spells, and draw a bunch of cards. The extra land drop isn't irrelevant either.
  • Parcelbeast - testing. Throwing on a random 1/1 and using it to immediately draw a card seems fun.
  • Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty - cascaaaaade is one of my favorite mechanics, and this deck has a lot of big creatures to cast.
  • Lonis, Cryptozoologist - the cheapest Glimpse of Nature-on-a-permanent available. Two mana to crack clues is a bit pricy, but potentially an upside if I'm discarding my hand to Song of Creation.
  • Cloud of Faeries - fair and balanced, or so I hear.
  • Ghostly Pilferer - testing. Drawing cards whenever an opponent casts their commander seems fun. Its other abilities are pretty niche though.
  • Oakhame Adversary - testing. Two mana Ophidian with deathtouch seems like it could be good, assuming it's discounted consistently enough.
  • Tangled Florahedron // Tangled Vale - testing. MDFCs are sweet, and it seems to be a mana dork with a rather low opportunity cost.
  • Path of Ancestry - solid fixing, even if it does enter tapped. I have a decent number of elementals in my list.
  • (honorable mentions that I couldn't find space for: Foundation Breaker, Dualcaster Mage)
  • Sandstone Oracle - I feel like I've been drawing enough cards recently (and my opponents sufficiently low on cards) that this hasn't been drawing as many cards as I would like. Also, seven mana is a lot.
  • Genesis - feels a bit slow for my taste. May come back someday though.
  • Voice of Many - again, may come back someday, but I feel like I've been drawing enough cards.
  • Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir - I like his combo with Possibility Storm, but I have yet to actually pull it off. Three blue pips is really steep, and it's not like I have other uses for the mana that I can hold open.
  • Fierce Empath - probably wrong to cut it, but I don't mind going down a tutor.
  • Phyrexian Ingester - seven mana is a lot for removal. On the other hand, it is one of the few pieces of creature removal I can run, so...
  • Fathom Mage - yet another card that is probably wrong to cut, but it feels like it stops growing a bit too quickly. Hmmm...
  • Thornwood Falls, Vivid Grove - my least favorite of the taplands currently in the deck.

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Post by Sefir » 2 months ago

Do not be afraid of Song of Creation!!
I run it in my Animar Morphs deck and it basically just makes the deck go off whenever it hits the table.
In fact, I advise you to put as many effects as this in the deck as possible.
Beast Whisperer, Soul of the Harvest, Primordial Sage, The Great Henge and of course Recycle are the ones I personally use along with Song.
EDH decks:
Zedruu the Greathearted tstorm823's : list
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The Ur-Dragon Changeling tribal: list
Search for Blex: Dredge: list
Phelddagrif Political Hippo: list
Hans Eriksson Smash: list
Grenzo, Dungeon Warden's 100€ Budget Casino; list
Animar, Soul of Elements Morphs: list
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Post by Mookie » 2 months ago

Sefir wrote:
2 months ago
Do not be afraid of Song of Creation!!
I run it in my Animar Morphs deck and it basically just makes the deck go off whenever it hits the table.
In fact, I advise you to put as many effects as this in the deck as possible.
Beast Whisperer, Soul of the Harvest, Primordial Sage, The Great Henge and of course Recycle are the ones I personally use along with Song.
Ha, no arguments there - I'm already running a bunch of Glimpse of Nature effects. My current list has Beast Whisperer, Soul of the Harvest, Lonis, Cryptozoologist, and Guardian Project. I will also call out Fathom Mage, which I just cut (and may add back).

Primordial Sage was in an earlier build, but it got cut when Guardian Project came out. My main issue with it was that by the time I was casting 6-drops, I was usually already out of creatures in hand, and it doesn't really help refill. I imagine Recycle may run into similar issues.

The Great Henge would be in this deck if not for price. Similar story for Vizier of the Menagerie and Augur of Autumn - Future Sight effects aren't quite the same as card draw, but they're usually close enough in practice.

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