Budget to Tiered – Reanimator

Legacy is a fast format, full of complicated situations, barred by an expensive price tag. But what if I told you that it was affordable?

I’m sure dropping $1,500 at once is unlikely for most people looking to get into legacy, but that doesn’t mean you have to be out of a deck. Don’t let the costs put you off; you’re likely able to offset some, if not most, of your costs by trading in other cards and taking prizes in the form of store credit. I’ll take you through a way to go from Mono Black Reanimator – a deck that can win on its own already – to Black-Red Reanimator – a deck that reaps the benefit of additional quickness and consistency by pulling in another colour – in just 6 months. And if you fall behind, or suddenly are able to drop more than expected, that’s fine! Either skip a month or add another, depending on the situation. There’s no hard and fast rule to buying cards, besides not breaking the bank. Now, let’s start off with your base deck:

Month 0 – $325
Buying into Budget Reanimator

mono black reanimator
Click here for the List

Cheaper than most modern decks, you’re able to fully buy into a deck that is able to win at your LGS. Sure, you’re probably not going to Day 2 a GP with this list, but that’s not the point; we’re starting off with a cheap list that teaches you the deck. To offset the costs even more, you’re welcome to replace any amount of 2 Grave Titan, 2 Massacre Wurm, and the sideboard Ashen Rider with any big boi you have inherently have in your collection. These 4 mainboard baddies, along with the sideboard Toxic Deluge, are tricky because they are the only expensive cards that don’t inherently move over into Black-Red Reanimator. The Griselbrands, Tidespout Tyrant, and Sire of Insanity all will, however, and are key in building a creature suite that can handle any deck, no matter how many Force of Wills you face.

Month 1 – $175-200
Fetching up some Lands


+8 Black Fetches
-8 Swamp

This month will show improvement in the consistency department. Even if the thinning effect of fetching is negligible, it’s important to be able to get a Badlands at the time you need for a Turn 1 Faithless Looting, for example. Also, it stops being locked from Portent or Jace in the event you’re facing UWx Control.

Month 2 – $200-250
The Lands are Bad


+1 Badlands
-1 Swamp

In order to not break the bank, we’re spacing out buying our duals into portions. However, this is not in vein. If you have any spare Faithless Lootings or Abrades lying around, throw them in this bad boy, because you are now the proud owner of a dual land.

Side note: Please don’t ever pay full price for a near mint dual. Every legacy player I know uses nasty, gummed up, Heavy Play, Revised duals that we got for a nickel. If it’s in a sleeve and doesn’t fall apart, it’s just as good as a near mint Alpha.

Month 3 – $130
Finishing the Mainboard


+4 Thoughtseize, +2 Unmask, +4 Chancellor of the Annex, +4 Lotus Petal, +4 Faithless Looting
-4 Duress, -4 Hymn to Tourach, -2 Grave Titan, -2 Massacre Wurm, -2 Inquisition of Kozilek, -2 Cabal Ritual, -2 Cabal Therapy

Whew, a lot happened this month. With at least one red land in the deck, and four Lotus Petals, you’re now able to say you’re the proud owner of Black-Red Reanimator. This deck is leaner and meaner than before; Lootings pick up the pace, Thoughtseize and Unmask are outright better hand disruption than what you were playing before, and Chancellor allows you to have a better match up against every single deck in the field. Don’t get rid of all those Grave Titans yet; we’ll be seeing them soon. Now the only thing you’re missing is the sideboard and the last lands. Oh, speaking of –

Month 4 – $200-250
One card, Two-hundred Dollars


+1 Badlands
-1 Swamp

Not much to say here. We’re in the business of being reasonable in our purchases, so having a one card month is perfectly reasonable when you’re buying a dual land.

Month 5 – $200-250
Sideboard and … another Dual ?


+1 Scrubland, +1 Faerie Macabre, +2 Abrade, +2 Magus of the Moon, +1 Iona, Shield of Emeria, +4 Wear//Tear, +2 [Big Bad Bois]
-1 Swamp, -3 Nihil Spellbomb, -1 Toxic Deluge, -2 Flaying Tendrils, -2 Ratchet Bomb, -2 Diabolic Edict, -2 Infernal Reckoning

A sideboard overhaul is much needed. Now that we’re a faster deck, there’s no need to play fair. Out go the spellbombs and board wipes; your opponents are now the ones that are tasked with both not losing and winning. A pair of Magus of the Moon for any match up that cares about lands (Lands, Eldrazi, Infect – Actually, any deck that isn’t playing many basics or red is punished by Magus), and a set of Wear//Tear round out your “Chalice on 1” removal package. I’ve priced the two [Big Bad Bois] as an Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite and Grave Titan from your earlier collection; however, any pair of meanies will do the deal. I’ve forced Iona and Ashen Rider, because Iona punishes any blue deck, while Ashen Rider is a win vs any Sneak and Show variant.

Oh hey, there’s another dual land in there, isn’t there! One of Scrubland allows you to beat Leylines/Rest in Peaces that come in by casting Wear//Tear on Tear.

Month 6 – $200-250
Finishing what you started

black red reanimator
Click here for the List

+1 Badlands
-1 Swamp

And there you have it! In just 6 short months, you’ve budgeted your way to top tier Legacy deck! Does it feel good?


Daniel Darity

6 thoughts on “Budget to Tiered – Reanimator”

  1. This is a great format for an article on how to build a tier Legacy deck on a budget! It may take me closer to a year, but it did an excellent job highlighting the key cards and illuminating the path to improvement. Great job!


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