This card is one of the more impressive reanimate spells we’ve gotten in recent memory. Getting haste on the thing you’re cheating into play is a serious rider, making it much easier to get your money’s worth before your opponent can untap to answer. I built a lot with Connive//Concoct previously, and this card adds redundancy and some interesting upside to our potential options. Previous good targets like Chromium, the Mutable, Nezahal, Primal Tide, and Pelakka Wurm remain, but War of the Spark has brought a powerful new target, Ilharg, the Raze Boar:
Ilharg is an incredibly powerful card as a hasty reanimation target, but Ilharg’s real power in a reanimation archetype is offering us an additional path to cheat our gigantic threats into play. While Ilharg only puts a creature in play until end of turn, and that creature misses any attack triggers it may have, any enters the battlefield effects the creature has will trigger and the size of most creatures you will be cheating in with Ilharg will very quickly lead to 2-turn kills uninterrupted. There are also several creatures in standard with particularly potent synergies when repeatedly entering the battlefield, and I immediately set to work building a pile of decks around Bond of Revival.
Let’s start with fair and conservative:
Tetzimoc, Primal Death is one of those creatures that synergizes particularly well with the Raze-Boar, as you can pay B and reveal it to mark creatures, and the when Ilharg brings Tetzimoc along for combat Tetzimoc’s trigger destroys all those creatures. You then return Tetzimoc to hand to do it all over again next turn, generally killing them in short order. Etali, Primal Storm is also another premium Bond of Revival target, as you can immediately attack to trigger Etali and snowball from there. I opted for a creature heavy, fair enabler package that gives us a decent chance to actually cast cards like Pelakka Wurm naturally, but we can obviously go much deeper and try to dedicate ourselves to cheating things into play.
Let’s go all in:
7 reanimation spells,12 targets, no fluff. Sailor of Means plays defense and helps us jump-start to 5 mana where we start playing all our powerful spells, and Enter the God-Eternals does double duty as life gain and removal. Discovery and Chart a Course help set up the whole operation, and Chromium and Nezahal are our biggest threats. Nezahal in particular is very nice with Ilharg because once Nezahal is in play you can discard 3 cards to exile Nezahal to itself and simply keep Nezahal forever.
Was that too tame? How about this one:
Gishath, Sun’s Avatar is another potent threat to cheat into play with Ilharg or Bond of Revival because it will immediately deploy more dinosaurs to the battlefield. Thunderherd Migration and Gift of Paradise help ensure we can cast our spells on this somewhat shaky manabase and make sure we can cast our heavy curve in a meaningful time span. The downside of these more linear decks is that they can be somewhat fragile and clunky.
What if we aim for a sturdier, more inevitable game plan?
This version is still heavy on reanimation, but Enter the God-Eternals helps stabilize the board, helps us fill our yard, and makes Search for Azcanta into a powerful tool for inevitability. Nezahal and Pelakka Wurm are the main targets of choice because they are so safe. Pelakka wurm gives us a lot of life and gives us our card back if answered, and Nezahal is quite difficult to answer. Because this deck can have a hard time applying pressure to planeswalkers, Assassin’s Trophy is the cheap removal of choice here, as our game plan goes large enough to largely ignore the mana we’re giving away in exchange for flexibility.
What if we just play an engine deck with that inevitability?
This is my favorite deck of the lot. Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner is a mana engine that doubles as a source of card advantage. Kiora allows you to draw cards as you play threats repeatedly with Ilharg, as you chain Dream Eaters together, and as you remove the opposing board with Enter the God-Eternals. Enter the God-Eternals, Dream Eater, and Chart a Course allow us to fill our yard for Bond of Revival, but we can also cast the vast majority of our threats fairly. Ilharg has synergy with every other creature in the deck, either in repeatedly abusing the enters the battlefield abilities of Dream Eater, Nicol Bolas, the Ravager, and Tetzimoc, or simply being able to permanently keep Nezahal by discarding 3 cards. You can also cheat Nicol Bolas in for free and transform him postcombat to get access to the planeswalker side of Nicol Bolas.
War of the Spark preview season has been an absolute delight, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the set to continue deckbuilding. If you want to keep up with all of the decks I’m building you can follow me on twitter @yoman_5, you can check out my pastebin folder of decklists here, and you can watch me stream on twitch.tv/yoman5. Let me know what you think in the comments, and feel free to reach out to me with any potential combos, synergies, or shells you’d like to see me build around or write about!
Adam “yoman5” Hernandez is an up-and-coming pro player, recently earning an invite to MC Cleveland with a top 8 finish at GP Milwaukee. He has a strong focus on figuring out key aspects of decks, matches, and gameplay, digging past the what to figure out the why. In addition to his written content, Adam regularly streams on Twitch.