GP Seattle-Tacoma 2018 – R/B Reanimator in Legacy

Ah, the beautiful city of Seattle, where the rain never stops, and the rules don’t apply. If you’ve never been to Seattle for a Grand Prix, or even just to visit,  I highly recommend going. I’ve been to quite a few Grand Prix now, and Seattle is definitely high up there on my must-see list. The convention center is right in the heart of downtown Seattle, so if you have a bad tournament run, there are still plenty of other activities to do just right outside the doors of the convention center.

For those that have never had the pleasure of playing in a Grand Prix, I have to say shame on you, because you are missing out on a whole different type of Magic: the Gathering. The moment you step into the convention center main hall alongside hundreds of other eager Magic players, you are bombarded with an electric energy, everyone’s excitement is palpable. The atmosphere is just amazing! You’ll immediately understand what I am talking about, from the massive amount of tournaments being played, to the vendors and artists happily assisting with any magic needs you may have. If the main event is not something you are interested in don’t worry, because there are on-demand tournaments of every format, from Draft to Commander, all weekend long.

I spent almost seven days in Seattle and Bellevue leading up to the GP, over a ten-day total stay. Starting with an RPTQ the week prior to GP Seattle, my week started off interesting as I drove to Bellevue on Saturday to play in the RPTQ on Sunday. I opened up a terrible sealed pool but still managed to go 4-3 which was good enough for prizing, so not a total loss. Immediately following the tournament, I drove back to Boise as I was by myself and did not want to pay 3 more days for the hotel alone. The trip back the first time was interesting as it snowed or rained almost the entire seven hours home, which along the way we saw a huge crash which left a car upside down in a tree down a mountainside! After a few days rest, Grae Gadzinski and I were driving back to Seattle on Wednesday so we could play inside events all day Thursday.

Oh boy, do I love side events, what a treat! For the first time in recent memory, I went 0-8 and didn’t win a single game in the four events I entered.  However, it wasn’t a complete blowout, as in my Masters 25 draft I did manage to pull a foil Ensnaring Bridge, foil Simian Spirit Guide and a bunch of $3-$5 cards. Not going to lie, I felt a little defeated and not very confident going into Day 1 of the tournament. I did have the privilege to start off with two byes, which allowed me to get a feel for the room and get my confidence went up a little, as I saw a lot of good matchups for me. You can find my tournament write-up on the ABU Facebook page for full details, but finishing 6-2 Day 1 felt very good, and 1 of my losses was due to a fourth topdecked Lightning Bolt from the opponent, sometimes there’s nothing you can do.

Day 2 started off extremely well as I won my first 3 rounds before taking my first loss. I ended up going into the last round in 79th place and knew even with a win it would be extremely close to still making top 64th. I ended up winning my last round against delver with 30 minutes left on the clock and had to sweat out about 45 minutes before final standings were posted. I kept missing my name on the standings sheet at first, thinking I was further from 64th then I thought, but then spotted my name at exactly 64th by .002 points on the tie breaks, phew! Another money Grand Prix finish, which marks 5 of 8 for money finishes, including barely missing top 64th in Vegas with the exact same record of 11-4. I will post the list that I played along with a brief sideboard guide and a few pointers so that you can pick up this relatively inexpensive Legacy deck and win your next Legacy tournament. Here’s the original decklist:



1 Grave Titan

1 Tidespout Tyrant

4 Griselbrand

4 Chancellor of the Annex

1 Sire of Insanity

4 Reanimate

4 Exhume

3 Animate Dead

4 Faithless Looting

4 Entomb

4 Unmask

2 Thoughtseize

2 Collective Brutality

4 Dark Ritual

4 Lotus Petal

4 Polluted Delta

4 Verdant Catacombs

3 Badlands

1 Underground Sea

2 Swamp


4 Show and Tell

2 Echoing Truth

1 Firestorm

1 Collective Brutality

3 Blood Moon

2 Simian Spirit Guide

1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

1 Iona, Shield of Emeria

As a brief note, considering the open field one would be up against in a Legacy Grand Prix, I would swap the Elesh Norn and Tidespout Tyrant’s slots from main to side.


Sideboard Guide –



This is a pretty tough matchup in my opinion, although not unbeatable by any means. Crop Rotation is by far their best card against you, as they can grab Bojuka Bog at instant speed to remove your graveyard, or grab Maze of Ith to fog your Reanimate target. The great thing about our Reanimator list, as opposed to others, is that they do not run Blood Moon in the sideboard, so we can often catch a lands player off guard to steal Games 2 and 3.

+3 Blood Moon

+2 Simian Spirit Guide

+1 Tidespout Tyrant (Since the new version would have this in the sideboard)

-2 Collective Brutality

-1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

-2 Animate Dead

-1 Grave Titan

Death and Taxes

This is another matchup that can be tough, as they have multiple Karakas for most threats and Swords to Plowshares the rest. If you let this deck get to late game, you just can not do anything at all, so consider this matchup combo early or bust. I did manage to beat this in round 3, so it’s not unbeatable. Not much to sideboard at all for this match.

-1 Thoughtseize

+1 firestorm


From my understanding, this is the absolute worst matchup you could face. However, I have dodged this deck in all 3 Legacy Grand Prix I have entered. I don’t see this deck running as rampant as it used to. If I were to play against it, this is how I would board.

+4 Show and Tell (gets around Chalice of the Void)

+2 Echoing Truth

-4 Exhume

-2 Collective Brutality

Sultai Control/Czech Pile/ Anything with Deathrite Shaman

I group these all together because they all have a similar game plan against us, and are very annoying to play against for a variety of reasons, but mostly DRS’ ability to exile a creature in a graveyard. Most would say these are not good matchups, but I strongly disagree. Most of my wins come from beating these decks very consistently, and I think a big reason why is that I am very patient in these matchups. I make sure that my Unmask, Thoughtseize, and Collective Brutality goes off first before I make a move. Most of the time I will not try and Reanimate anything until Turn 3 when I’ve stripped their hand, or I just Reanimate their creatures which happens very often. For any sideboard games, you must be very cautious of Surgical Extraction. 

+3 Blood Moon

+2 Simian Spirit Guide

+1 Firestorm

+1 Collective Brutality

-3 Animate Dead (Abrupt Decay kills this)

-4 Faithless Looting

Delver without Deathrite

This matchup is a lot better than its sister decks with Deathrite Shaman as they pack far less graveyard hate, but they are much faster than the others. You must pick careful spots to cast Reanimate, and preserve your life total in order to not die to multiple burn spells.

+2 Echoing Truth

-1 Collective Brutality

-1 Animate Dead

Show and Tell/Storm/Infect/Elves

These are your best matchups by far and I have yet to lose to either one of these decks as you are just faster. I don’t even sideboard these matchups as I am that confident in them.

Mirror Match

Good Luck!! Just remember that you can both Reanimate each other’s fatties, so Turn 1 Unmask them > take their Griselbrand > cast Reanimate on theirs is hilarious.


  • Don’t forget that you can target yourself with Thoughtseize and Unmask to allow for those Turn 1 Reanimates.
  • When on the draw, you can just draw and move to discard, pitching your Reanimate target even with land in hand.
  • Reanimate can target any graveyard, so don’t be afraid to grab your opponent’s Deathrites and Leovold, Emissary of Trest to smash them with their own cardboard.
  • Mulligan, mulligan, mulligan! – I can’t stress this enough. The deck mulligans extremely well and I have won multiple times going to 5 and 4.
  • Think about this: the deck can still combo off Turn 1 with only 4 cards in hand.
  • NEVER, EVER keep 4 land hands.

These are the big decks that I tend to see the most often although there are a ton of viable options in Legacy, so you’ll never know what you will see throughout the early parts of the tournament. All I know is that this deck can literally beat anything and everything in the field, because of how fast that it can be. As an entry point into Legacy, this deck is affordable and incredibly potent for the money you’ll sink into it. This is my first ever article I have written, so please let me know what you guys think and what you guys would like to see for future articles. I hope to see you guys down at ABU slinging those Reanimate spells.

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Joby Parrish is a 29-year-old Magic Player based in Boise, Idaho. He started playing Magic: the Gathering in 2001 with the release of Odyssey. Joby career highlight is his top 8 at GP Oakland in 2010, along with this he has numerous day 2s at a number of other GPs. He has aspirations of playing on the Pro Tour and is well on his way to making those a reality.