Animar, Soul of Elements (combo)

  • #1
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    Glimpse the Soul of Elements...



    "There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose,
    the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it."
    - Napoleon Hill

    _____________________________________________________________________________________________

    History of the deck
    When Animar was first spoiled I knew we had a very special Elemental on our hands. At the time I had but one EDH deck built around Ghost Council of Orzhova. It seemed serendipitous that Animar, Soul of Elements would fill out my colour pie so neatly between just two decks. I set about finding all the infinite combos possible to throw into one deck. I constructed a proxy monster and set about testing the deck via gold fishing while still waiting for the official Animar to be released. I soon realised not only that there was tremendous power and potential from this little elemental that could, but also that having every combo under the sun was completely unnecessary. Storm got dropped to the way side (by the time you’ve got storm, you have an infinitely large General), followed by Earthcraft and Squirrel nest. I kept Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker because he facilitated more than just a million attackers, but my main focus was on winning via Psychosis Crawler after drawing my deck off the back of infinite creature casts in the presence of Primordial Sage and Glimpse of Nature. Something about killing all my opponents at once, while still simply gaining resources made me all warm and gooey inside. When my Commander decks arrived, a quickly put my new baby together and promptly smashed my play group, after which I was public enemy number one and Animar was rarely able to venture from his Command zone for long. The deck as it appears now has been tempered somewhat for multiplayer play. It is still a very synergistic and powerful deck, but I try not to combo out as soon as an infinite loop becomes available and only in the face of absolute destruction after a long game will I Tooth and Nail for Kiki-Jiki and his infinite Zealous Conscripts (now more Zealous than ever!). Perhaps unfortunately it is disgustingly easy to combo off with Animar and I continue to come across loops I haven’t seen before, as such I have to be judicious with how often I pull Animar out and set him free, but I love my little combo enabler and I hope you do too.
    Why choose Animar, Soul of Elements?

    Animar's abilities, combined with his built in protections, makes him an excellent build around Commander. The cost reduction he facilitates for casting creatures allows for both combo and aggro strategies, while Animar himself can become a huge monster in a relatively short amount of time and protection from white and black prevents the most effective spot removal from targeting him.

    As a commander he allows access to two of the most powerful colours in the format, Blue and Green, while his access to Red mana allows for a couple of quick win combos, land denial strategies and haste effects to enable aggressive strategies. Animar gains the most benefit from playing a large number of creatures, and has particular synergy with artifact, colourless and morph creatures as he is able to reduce their cost to zero mana. Phyrexian mana creatures also benefit from this reduced cost (allows casting for life cost only, although the list of choices is short with Phyrexian Metamorph the only good choice in my opinion) as will evoked creatures cast for their evoke cost (see Mulldrifter).

    Animar also allows the reduction of additional costs including kicker (again limited choices Mold Shambler or Verdeloth the Ancient probably the best choices) and X costs (Useful for casting Apocalypse Hydra among others). Basically Animar hates to see colourless mana and works tirelessly to banish it forever, only coloured mana shall be recognised as a cost for creatures!

    You will enjoy playing Animar if:
    • You want to build around your Commander.
    • You love creatures, the fatter the better.
    • You love getting discounts.
    • You enjoy tempo plays and complicated loops involving multiple triggers from creatures entering the battlefield.
    • You enjoy defeating your opponents without having an attack phase, even though you have all the creatures!

    You will not enjoy playing Animar if:
    • You want a Commander just for its colours.
    • You think creatures are dumb and should die as often as possible Frown
    • You hate resolving multiple triggers on the stack, per creature.
    • You don't like playing with yourself ("I know my turn has taken 20 minutes, but I still have more triggers to resolve...)
    • You don't like all future games to become Archenemy

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    The Deck

    Below I detail my take on Animar, Soul of Elements with explanation. Please note that there are other completely viable strategies to play Animar, and I briefly discuss these in the strategies section of this primer. Also note, this deck is not optimized to win 1 vs. 1. Card choices are made with multiplayer in mind, and some cards which are very good I have chosen to exclude because I don't enjoy playing them (either they let me win too easily or cause the other players to stomp my deck before I can do anything about it). If you're interested in average mana cost and colour break downs, deck statistics can be found here.

    If you're looking for a dueling deck, I recommend that you take a look at Jester831's 1 vs. 1 deck that aims to combo out as early as possible. For a completely different take on Animar combo, I suggest you check out JaiK's MANimar deck list (Soul of loneliness).


    Every life is an opportunity

    Deck by type and casting costMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
    General
    3 Animar, Soul of Elements

    Creatures (50)
    1 Shrieking Drake
    2 Cloud of Faeries
    2 Dream Stalker
    2 Fauna Shaman
    2 Merfolk Looter
    2 Sakura-Tribe Elder
    2 Sylvan Ranger
    2 Willbender
    3 Eternal Witness
    3 Farhaven Elf
    3 Fierce Empath
    3 Man-o'-War
    3 Raven Familiar
    3 Wood Elves
    4 Bloodbraid Elf
    4 Fathom Mage
    4 Glen Elendra Archmage
    4 Nantuko Vigilante
    4 Ondu Giant
    4 Oracle of Mul Daya
    4 Phyrexian Metamorph
    4 Purphoros, God of the Forge
    4 Solemn Simulacrum
    4 Venser, Shaper Savant
    4 Voidmage Husher
    5 Acidic Slime
    5 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
    5 Mulldrifter
    5 Peregrine Drake
    5 Psychosis Crawler
    5 Prophet of Kruphix
    5 Urabrask the Hidden
    5 Vesuvan Shapeshifter
    5 Xenagos, God of Revels
    5 Zealous Conscripts
    6 Deadwood Treefolk
    6 Duplicant
    6 Etherium-Horn Sorcerer
    6 Prime Speaker Zegana
    6 Primordial Sage
    6 Soul of the Harvest
    6 Steel Hellkite
    7 Garruk's Horde
    7 Palinchron
    8 Maelstrom Wanderer
    8 Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
    9 Artisan of Kozilek
    9 Nullstone Gargoyle
    10 Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
    11 Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

    Artifacts (2)
    3 Cloudstone Curio
    4 Birthing Pod

    Enchantments (4)
    2 Earthcraft
    2 Sylvan Library
    3 Equilibrium
    3 Words of Wind

    Instants (2)
    1 Crop Rotation
    3x Chord of Calling

    Sorcery (3)
    1 Glimpse of Nature
    3 Fabricate
    6 Time Spiral

    Land (38 - by quantity)
    1 Ancient Ziggurat
    1 Breeding Pool
    1 Cascade Bluffs
    1 Command Tower
    1 Fire-lit Thicket
    1 Flooded Grove
    6 Forest
    1 Gaea's Cradle
    1 Gruul Turf
    1 Hinterland Harbor
    7 Island
    1 Izzet Boilerworks
    1 Llanowar Reborn
    1 Misty Rainforest
    1 Mosswort Bridge
    2 Mountain
    1 Opal Palace
    1 Reflecting Pool
    1 Rootbound Crag
    1 Scalding Tarn
    1 Simic Growth Chamber
    1 Steam Vents
    1 Stomping Ground
    1 Sulfur Falls
    1 Winding Canyons
    1 Wooded Foothills



    "... on second thoughts let's just plant Gaea's Cradle."

    Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.
    - William Penn
    Deck by card purposeMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
    General
    1 Animar, Soul of Elements

    Aggro
    1 Maelstrom Wanderer (+ draw)
    1 Urabrask the hidden
    1 Xenagos, God of Revels

    Bounce
    1 Dream Stalker
    1 Cloudstone Curio
    1 Equilibrium
    1 Erratic Portal
    1 Man-o'-War
    1 Shrieking Drake
    1 Words of Wind

    Clones
    1 Vesuvan Shapeshifter (morph)
    1 Phyrexian Metamorph

    Draw
    1 Bloodbraid Elf
    1 Etherium-Horn Sorcerer
    1 Fathom Mage
    1 Garruk's Horde
    1 Glimpse of Nature
    1 Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
    1 Merfolk Looter
    1 Mulldrifter
    1 Prime Speaker Zegana
    1 Primordial Sage
    1 Raven Familiar
    1 Soul of the Harvest
    1 Sylvan Library

    Ramp/Tempo acceleration
    1 Cloud of Faeries
    1 Earthcraft
    1 Farhaven Elf
    1 Ondu Giant
    1 Oracle of Mul Daya
    1 Palinchron
    1 Peregrine Drake
    1 Prophet of Kruphix
    1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
    1 Solemn Simulacrum
    1 Sylvan Ranger
    1 Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
    1 Wood Elves

    Recursion
    1 Artisan of Kozilek
    1 Deadwood Treefolk
    1 Eternal Witness
    1 Time Spiral (+ draw)

    Removal
    1 Acidic Slime
    1 Duplicant
    1 Nantuko Vigilante (morph)
    1 Steel Hellkite
    1 Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

    Spell Defense/Counters
    1 Glen Elendra Archmage
    1 Nullstone Gargoyle
    1 Venser, Shaper Savant (+ bounce)
    1 Voidmage Husher
    1 Willbender (morph)

    Tutors
    1 Birthing Pod
    1 Chord of Calling
    1 Crop Rotation
    1 Fabricate
    1 Fauna Shaman
    1 Fierce Empath

    Win conditions (Combo)
    1 Psychosis Crawler
    1 Purphoros, God of the Forge
    1 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
    1 Zealous Conscripts

    Basic lands
    6 Forest
    7 Island
    2 Mountain

    1 Ancient Ziggurat
    1 Breeding Pool
    1 Cascade Bluffs
    1 Command Tower
    1 Fire-Lit Thicket
    1 Flooded Grove
    1 Gaea's Cradle
    1 Gruul Turf
    1 Hinterland Harbor
    1 Izzet Boilerworks
    1 Llanowar Reborn
    1 Misty Rainforest
    1 Mosswort Bridge
    1 Opal Palace
    1 Reflecting Pool
    1 Rootbound Crag
    1 Scalding Tarn
    1 Simic Growth Chamber
    1 Steam Vents
    1 Stomping Ground
    1 Sulfur Falls
    1 Winding Canyons
    1 Wooded Foothills

    How to play the deck:
    Mulligans
    You want your opening hand to contain a G mana source, a U mana source and either some ramp or some draw, preferably both. There is quite a high curve on this deck, so it’s worth shuffling away large creatures if you’re using the Partial Paris Mulligans rules. Ramp is very important as this is a mana hungry deck and if Animar is destroyed the first time you cast him it can stall the deck for a long time.

    Early game
    Often the first spell you will cast is Animar, Soul of Elements. Although there are a number of two drops in the deck, creatures are worth holding onto until after Animar hits the field. If you have Sylvan Library or Earthcraft they are great turn 2 drops. If you require mana fixing to cast Animar turn three and have Sylvan Ranger or Sakura-Tribe Elder in hand, then it is fine to cast them turn two. Once Animar hits the field we accelerate into the mid-game.

    Mid game
    Now we need to build Animar’s counters up. The first three counters are always the hardest (usually requiring 6 to 8 mana). During this stage of the game you want to find the combo enablers: Cloudstone Curio, Peregrine Drake or Palinchron, Gaea's Cradle, and the draw engines: Glimpse of Nature, Fathom Mage, Primordial Sage or Soul of the Harvest. (If Animar is killed at this point you still want to find these pieces, as even without Animar you can still combo off in the late game, it just requires a lot more mana, but Palinchron and Vorinclex will generate infinite mana and card draw with one of the engines out.)

    End game
    Once we have our combo engines established, it is simply a matter of choosing a win condition. My preferred choice is Psychosis Crawler plus the mass draw caused by creature cast chains or loops. Purphoros, God of the Forge similarly kills all opponents if you get a creature cast loop going. Kiki-Jiki plus Zealous Conscripts can create a quick and mana efficient win if things are looking uncertain. Using Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre to destroy all your opponents’ permanents or Venser, Shaper Savant to bounce them all will usually cause a scoop, and then there is always the option of swinging with a huge Animar for general damage and a large army of various sized creatures for the combat win.

    Assuming Animar isn’t destroyed you can reach end game by turn six or seven using this build. The amount of coloured mana available is usually the only limit to the number of creatures you can cast in a turn, so it requires some careful management especially of your green and blue mana, late game red mana is usually as useless as colourless.

    Tips
    This deck relies heavily on its commander, however it does function (albeit much slower) without him. Animar is weak to cheap red/blue/green targeted removal (burning/bouncing/tucking Animar before he can gets counters on him) and to mass sweepers (undoing the advantage of casting lots of creatures cheaply). If you’re facing a meta where Animar is easily dealt with early, then it’s probably worth holding him back until you’re sure you can protect him and combo off.

    Torpor Orb is also particularly mean to this build, but luckily it isn't a common EDH staple. If Torpor Orb is part of your meta, then you’ll need to add some tech to deal with it, as the only thing this build can do is cast Ulamog, turn Nantuko Vigilante face up, or attack with Steel Hellkite to deal with it.


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    Individual Card explanations

    Creatures in my decklist
    Through passion, I gain strength

    Through strength, I gain power

    Through power, I gain victory

    Through victory my chains are broken.
    (sorted by mana cost, smallest to largest)

    Playing Animar encourages deck building with a higher percentage of creatures compared many commander decks, while simultaneously encouraging the inclusion of high casting cost creatures which benefit the most from his cost reduction ability. Animar provides such a powerful discount that some creatures which are usually considered inefficient in terms of cost for effect, gain enough value to be included. However, it is also important to include cheaper creatures to get those first few counters that facilitate the large discounts in the long run.

    Shrieking Drake - This little gem can return itself to your hand, and thus with Animar in play essentially reads "Pay X, put X +1/+1 counters on Animar, Soul of Elements (spend only U mana on X)." It also facilitates the bouncing of other creatures you control to reuse their enter the battlefield effects. (See here for a list of creatures that could play a similar role)

    Cloud of Faeries - Ends up producing mana when it is cheaper to cast compared to the lands it untaps. Bonus with karoo lands and Gaea's Cradle!

    Dream Stalker - Shrieking Drake number two. This creature bounces a permanent instead of a creature so potentially it can also be used to replay Gaea's Cradle or reuse Birthing Pod.

    Fauna Shaman - Cheap creature, excellent with haste and finds the creatures you need when you need them.

    Merfolk Looter - Not glamorous, but improves card quality if it survives a turn (or has haste).

    Sakura-Tribe Elder - Chump blocks, ramps and fixes your mana.

    Sylvan Ranger - Turn two play that lets you ensure land drops and a turn three Animar, if that's what you're aiming for.

    Willbender - Morph is important to facilitate several of the infinite combos. This guy protects Animar from targeted removal, but can also redirect spells like Time Warp, Blue Sun's Zenith and Cruel Edict AND can redirect abilities like Mindslaver . Furthermore he acts as a rattlesnake card; if your opponent knows you run Willbender, keep 1U untapped and they will play around any facedown creature you have on the battlefield.

    Eternal Witness - Get an important card back from the graveyard to use again. Especially useful with Glimpse of Nature (it is great if you can cast this multiple times in the same turn) or Tooth and Nail.

    Farhaven Elf - Basic land ramp.

    Fierce Empath - Tutors for a creature (converted mana cost 6 and up) and puts it into your hand. With 14 suitable targets this acts as a toolbox of sorts.

    Man-o'-War - Bounce a creature. Can put multiple counters on Animar just like Shrieking Drake, provided Animar has two counters to start with. Usually used as a tempo play against opponents, or to reuse your own enter the battlefield effects.

    Raven Familiar - Digs three cards deep and nets a card. (Possibly to be replaced by Sea Gate Oracle to avoid echo cost)

    Wood Elves - Forest ramp. Able to find Stomping Ground or Breeding Pool, and puts the land into play untapped.

    Bloodbraid Elf - Almost always two creatures for RG, but sometimes it will get non-creature combo piece instead. Only two possible 'bad' cascades: Willbender and Chord of Calling.

    Fathom Mage - Not quite as reliable as Primordial Sage or Soul of the Harvest, but she does draw a fair few cards before Evolve stops working and can be reset with bounce.

    Glen Elendra Archmage - Mainly protection from Wrath of God effects, but also protects Animar from targeted removal spells.

    Nantuko Vigilante - Morph redundancy. A Naturalize when you need one. Great for dealing with Torpor Orb.

    Ondu Giant - Decent defensive body and basic land ramp.

    Oracle of Mul Daya - Filters your draws and ramps.

    Phyrexian Metamorph - Whatever creature or artifact you need it to be!

    Purphoros, God of the Forge - A difficult to remove win condition, Purphoros is essentially a Warstorm Surge for this deck able to be cast for a single R! He is also able to pump my whole team if I've got a bunch of weenie utility creatures and a lot of mana to spare. Unlikely to reach devotion because I don't run that many red mana symbols, but it doesn't matter much anyway, the chances are if this god sticks your opponents will be dead in short order.

    Solemn Simulacrum - Basic land ramp, and nets a card when it dies.

    Venser, Shaper Savant - Bounces a spell on the stack or any permanent. Powerful tempo play and offers temporary protection from the most powerful spells.

    Voidmage Husher - Can shut down some infinite combos if played at the right time and acts as protection from powerful effects such as Nevinyrral's Disk. Also bounces herself for reuse.

    Acidic Slime - Destroys an artifact, enchantment or land and acts as an excellent chump blocker.

    Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker - Gains advantage from doubling the value of any other non-legendary creature, but also enables an infinite combo with Zealous Conscripts. Awkward RRR cost offset by unique effect.

    Mulldrifter - Card draw. Can be evoked to build those important first few counters on Animar.

    Peregrine Drake - Ends up producing mana when it is cheaper to cast compared to the lands it untaps. Bonus with karoo lands and Gaea's Cradle!

    Prophet of Kruphix - The love child of Seedborn Muse and Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir, Prophet of Kruphix essentially works like a Lighthouse Chronologist at max level in this deck. If you manage to stick this creature, it becomes difficult to lose due to the tempo advantage and ability to play reactively.

    Psychosis Crawler - Combo piece and can be a huge beater (although easily chump blocked).

    Urabrask the Hidden - Haste enabler, but also slows down opponent creature swarms.

    Vesuvan Shapeshifter - Morph redundancy. Whatever creature you need it to be!

    Xenagos, God of Revels - A difficult to remove permanent, it gets the benefit of Animar's discount while providing the utility of an enchantment. It grants haste to a single creature, which is less useful than Maelstrom Wanderer or Urabrask, however it survives most board wipes allowing us to haste a creature the turn after the wipe, which is a pretty strong upside. It can also activate Mosswort Bridge with a single 5/5 creature on the board. Devotion is not too hard to reach with green mana symbols, so expect Xenagos to be a hardy blocker a lot of the time too.

    Zealous Conscripts - Combos with Kiki-Jiki, but useful in its own right for breaking stalemates caused by particular permanents and stealing Planeswalkers that are about to go ultimate. Don't underestimate the power of selecting to untap your own permanents! Getting an additional use from Birthing Pod or Gaea's Cradle is sometimes the best way to get ahead.

    *All creatures below this line are tutorable by Fierce Empath*
    Deadwood Treefolk - Get an important creature back from the graveyard to use again, both when it enters the battlefield and when it leaves. Amazing value when discounted by Animar.

    Duplicant - Exile target creature (for free? Thanks Animar!)

    Etherium-Horn Sorcerer - Usually two creatures for RU and self bouncing for repeatable cascade, this creature generates a lot of card advantage even when I'm out of cards in hand. Note that it doesn't trigger Cloudstone Curio itself, but the likelihood of cascading into something that will is pretty high. It does use a lot of red and blue mana, so it can be difficult to really abuse but it rarely disappoints.

    Prime Speaker Zegana - With Animar out the chances are you'll be drawing a lot of cards of Zegana. At the very worst she cantrips, but usually expect to refill your hand.

    Primordial Sage - Draw a card for every creature you cast. One of the deck's most powerful draw engines. Note that you draw a card even if someone counterspells the creature spell.

    Soul of the Harvest - Primordial Sage 2.0! Draw a card for every non-token creature that enters the battlefield. A powerful draw engine with a bigger body and trample for the same cost as the Sage. You don't get the draw from a countered creature spell, but you do from Chord of Calling and Birthing Pod.

    Steel Hellkite - A decent beatstick with evasion (for free? Thanks Animar!) with the ability to sweep tokens and destroy non-land permanents for the right price.

    Garruk's Horde - The Future Sight for creatures! This replaces Sylvan Primordial after its recent ban. It serves a very different purpose than the primordial, firstly ensuring that my Birthing Pod chain has adequate targets at cmc7 and secondly generating card advantage by casting creatures straight from the deck. This slot may change again in the future if I get my hands on a Sphinx of Uthuun.

    Palinchron - The most consistent way to get infinite mana or simply double the effectiveness of your land base for a turn.

    Maelstrom Wanderer - Three spells for URG with Animar's discount and grants all creatures haste. This guy is amazing value. It is possible to hit bad cascades, but chances are pretty low. I ended up cutting Tidespout Tyrant for this guy, which was a tough cut but frankly the immediate impact and value is much higher.

    Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger - Effectively doubles your mana, while brutally stunting your opponents' mana.

    Artisan of Kozilek - Reanimates one of your creatures when cast (for free? Thanks Animar!). Switches on Mosswort Bridge by himself, and a 10/9 Annihilate 2 creature is a decent beatstick too.

    Nullstone Gargoyle - Disrupts counter magic and more likely to mess with opponents' game plan than our own. We also have the option to bounce it when we need to cast non-creature spells. (All for free!)

    Kozilek, Butcher of Truth - Decent card draw engine and a huge creature with Annihilate 4. Did I mention he might be free?

    Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre - Removal, indestructible, huge and Annihilate 4. For free? Thanks Animar! Combo piece that destroys all your opponents things.

    Non-creature spells in my decklist
    This can bounce anything except artifacts

    (sorted per type by mana cost, smallest to largest)

    Because of the emphasis on creatures, the non-creature slots in the deck are very tight. Generally if you have a choice between a non-creature spell and a creature with a similar effect, you choose the creature. However, some effects just simply aren't available on creatures. Below I explain those spells I consider vital to my deck.

    Artifacts

    Cloudstone Curio - The cornerstone artifact that enables virtually all the Animar combos. This is indispensable. But what does it DO?! I hear you ask. Anytime a non-artifact permanent enters the battlefield, you may return a permanent that shares a type with the entering permanent to your hand. In this deck we mainly use this to return a creature to our hand whenever a creature enters the battlefield. As such we get to reuse our enter the battlefield abilities and put counters on Animar to reduce the cost of further creature spells. This has particular synergy with those creatures whose cost is reduced to 0, but note it doesn't trigger from artifact creatures, which is why this build features several creatures with the morph ability and Eldrazi. With two morph creatures, provided there are sufficient counters on Animar, you can keep casting one to return the other as many times as you like. For more details see the Combo section below.

    Birthing Pod - Takes advantage of the excellent curve in the deck and great for finding value creatures and win conditions. For example: Wood Elves -> Solemn Simulacrum -> (draw a card from Sad Robot) Peregrine Drake (untap your mana) -> Deadwood Treefolk (get Drake back) -> (get Sad Robot back from Deadwood leaving the field) Palinchron -> Vorinclex. So much value and lots of choice for a very cheap mana cost!

    Enchantments

    Earthcraft - This little enchantment grants a lot of reach by extending the mana available. With Animar's discount, often a creature can pay for itself by tapping to untap the land that payed for it.

    Sylvan Library - This enchantment is amazing at both setting up your draws or simply trading life for extra cards during your draw step.

    Equilibrium - Lets you reuse your own creatures or sets back your opponents creatures for the low cost of 1 per creature cast. In a pinch this can do the job of Cloudstone Curio, but not nearly as efficiently (that is it costs something, rather than nothing).

    Words of Wind - Lets you reuse your own creatures while simultaneously forcing all opponents to bounce a permanent. It does cost a draw and 1, but once you've got a card draw engine running you can afford to miss a few draws to bounce all your opponents permanents.

    Instants

    Crop Rotation - Next best thing to a Primeval Titan in my opinion. Mainly used to find the powerhouse that is Gaea's Cradle, but instant tricks can blank land destruction.

    Chord of Calling - Instant creature tutor, places the creature directly into play and can be cast for free with enough creatures on the battlefield to tap. This is a great card to overcome a stalling creature cast chain; simply tap all the creatures with summoning sickness and pull out the creature you need to continue the chain. Also a great combat trick.

    Sorcery

    Glimpse of Nature - A combo piece and cheap card draw engine. Once you get going with this and Primordial Sage or Soul of the Harvest, the card advantage is ludicrous!

    Fabricate - Artifact tutor, card into hand. A great way to pick up combo pieces: Cloudstone Curio or Psychosis Crawler respectively. Also a tool box for ramp (Solemn Simulacrum), removal (Duplicant, Steel Hellkite), repeatable card advantage (Etherium-Horm Sorcerer) or a clone (Phyrexian Metamorph).

    Time Spiral - Sometimes you just need to turn back the clock. But seriously, this does good things with Psychosis Crawler out.

    Mana base

    In any Animar deck it is important to limit the number of colourless mana sources. Once he has got going, Animar is very mana hungry and usually the limiting factor in any given turn is the amount of U, R and G mana you can generate. Green is the least problematic to produce, simply because Gaea's Cradle is godly, but blue (especially blue) and red requires careful planning to maximise each turns potential. My land base as presented is limited by the cards I have access too which is why I don't have the original dual lands in here. They are on my wish list, and maybe one day I'll fork out the hundreds of dollars required to get them, but as is the land base is very consistent. There are numerous creatures that put lands directly into play and I rarely find myself colour screwed.

    Basics

    I like to keep my basic land count quite high because virtually all my ramp only finds basic lands. Red is the least represented colour in the deck, so my Mountain count is low.

    6 Forests
    7 Islands
    2 Mountains

    Non-basics (sorted alphabetically)
    The cradle of combination


    Ancient Ziggurat - Pretty much Command Tower two in this creature heavy deck.

    Breeding Pool - UG shock land.

    Cascade Bluffs - UR filter land.

    Command Tower - The best commander land ever.

    Fire-lit Thicket - RG filter land.

    Flooded Grove - UG filter land.

    Gaea's Cradle - An engine in any creature heavy deck. With Oracle of Mul Daya out, you can use the Cloudstone Curio trigger or a Karoo land to get twice the mana out of the Cradle: Tap it for mana, play a land to return it to your hand, replay and tap it for mana again. Also extremely good with the untap effects from Palinchron, Snap and Time Spiral.

    Gruul Turf - RG Karoo land, two lands in one. Useful for resetting Mosswort Bridge and very good to untap with Cloud of Faeries, Peregrine Drake and Palinchron.

    Hinterland Harbor - UG check land (check: got an island or forest? yes, untapped I am!)

    Izzet Boilerworks - UR Karoo land.

    Llanowar Reborn - Because I don't aim for a turn 2 Animar, I can play this either turn 1 or 2 and then play Animar on turn 3 and start getting discounts immediately!

    Misty Rainforest - Can find any of the shock lands or a basic Forest or Island.

    Mosswort Bridge - Allows card filtering, and a cheap cast once you set off the condition of 10 power on the board (which is really easy in this deck given Animar's ability). Important to note it is cast, which means you get Eldrazi effects, draw from Glimpse of Nature and Primordial Sage, can trigger Equilibrium and put a counter on Animar.

    Opal Palace - Mana fixing, if taxing to produce coloured mana. It also adds +1/+1 counters to Animar when we pay that small tax, so I'm testing it out.

    Reflecting Pool - Essentially Command Tower number three.

    Rootbound Crag - RG check land.

    Scalding Tarn - Can find any shock land or a basic Island or Mountain.

    Simic Growth Chamber - UG Karoo land.

    Steam Vents - UR shock land.

    Stomping Ground - RG shock land.

    Sulfur Falls - UR check land.

    Wooded Foothills - Can find any shock land or a basic Mountain or Forest.

    Winding Canyons - Flash for creatures, allows for a draw-go reactive play style rather than proactive play style.


    Protecting Animar

    Because Animar is so central to the smooth functioning of the deck it seems like a good idea to include protection to prevent opponents from killing, tucking or stealing him. Due to the way the deck is constructed there is limited room for defensive cards and unfortunately no protection is going to be absolute; dealing with Animar's death is just part of the game. That said there is a great deal of options for protection and often those options are dependent on the meta you play in. In my meta, spot removal is less of an issue compared to Wrath of God effects. If Animar's death or removal is a major problem you could consider increasing the control element of the deck by including more counterspell effects, by far the most effective solution, however one that changes the feel of the deck significantly.

    Animar is fortunate to be naturally protected from the most common and versatile spot removal (Protection from white and from black), however he is weak against theft effects and red burn when he is small (lucky for us this is generally viewed as 'unplayable' in the Commander format). If you're facing a metagame where spot removal or theft is a problem, try some of these gems (listed from most effective to least effective in my opinion):
    • Glamerdye - Reusable protection from any colour for Animar seems pretty good especially as it has the advantage of acting as evasion as well as thwarting spot removal. (Careful though, if you give Animar protection from blue you Glamerdye can't target him anymore).
    • Whim of Volrath - As Glamerdye. Resistant to graveyard hate, but effect lasts only until end of turn.
    • Plaxmanta - Bonus because it's on a creature, but effectively acts as an instant spell. Shrouds your whole team as a one off effect for U. Likely to die immediately as cost reduction prevents us paying the G.
    • Asceticism - Expensive enchantment, but hexproofs your entire team and offers regen. Not much synergy with Animar but general goodstuff.
    • Archetype of Endurance - Bonus because it's a creature, although base cmc is very high. Hexproofs your team and acts as tech against Sigarda, Host of Herons (and other hexproof commanders).
    • Elgaud Shieldmate - Bonus because it's on a creature, grants hexproof! Removal in response to soulbond trigger is still possible.
    • Lightning Greaves - Shroud is good and haste is useful to a lot of creatures, but equipment is common and easily disrupted. Free equip cost is a bonus. Doesn't prevent 'removal in response to equip.'
    • Swiftfoot Boots - Hexproof is better than shroud, otherwise this is very similar to Lightning Greaves, although the equip cost of 1 needs to be considered if you're moving this around for the haste bonus.
    • Vanishing - Doubles as pseudo-removal, and can protect Animar from everything, while letting him keep his counters. Activation cost is a downside, as is the potential card disadvantage as an aura.
    • Vodalian Illusionist - Similar to Vanishing, phasing is tech! It requires an upkeep or haste to be effective immediately. Bonus points for being on a creature and can save Animar from a board wipe as well as spot removal, but it can't protect itself at the same time it protects Animar and the activation cost is another downside.
    • Diplomatic Immunity - Shroud is solid but risks card disadvantage when 'removal in response to attach' happens.
    • Plaxcaster Frogling - Advantage that it is on a creature, and graft has some synergy with Animar, but the activation cost is a big downside.
    • Ring of Evos Isle - The activation cost is a problem especially in multiplayer. The +1/+1 counter effect isn't completely irrelevant.
    • Blind Seer - Bonus because it's a creature. If you don't want to use Whim of Volrath or Glamerdye to alter Animar's protections, alter the colour of the threats instead! ("It would be a shame if your lightning bolt was a black spell...") Unfortunately doesn't protect itself.

    Protecting against wraths and sweepers is somewhat more difficult. I've included options that prevent Animar being destroyed, but also some that make playing a sweep effect less appealing:
    • Darksteel Plate - Saves Animar from most wrath effects (indestructible), and somewhat resistant to removal itself. The 3 equip cost is undesirable in the early game (when Animar is most vulnerable).
    • Eldrazi Monument - Requires an upkeep sacrifice but buffs the whole team with +1/+1, flying and indestructible. Supports an aggro game plan while also protecting from most wraths.
    • Spearbreaker Behemoth - Only protects Animar once he gets 4 or more counters on him (barring other buffs), however also protects other large creatures in the deck. Has an activation cost.
    • Kamahl, Fist of Krosa - As long as you keep green mana available, you can threaten to turn an opponents' land base into creatures in response to a board wipe. Also acts as an aggro finisher.
    • Stalking Vengeance - Once your board is sufficiently developed, this guy threatens your opponents' with a lot of damage if they try to clear the board. Can be a win condition with a sacrifice engine.
    • Fecundity - Lets you replace your board with a card draw after a sweep, but also benefits your opponents. Relatively cheap to cast, but situational depending on your meta and the board state.
    • Vicious Shadows - An expensive enchantment, but like Stalking Vengeance it turns a board wipe into a crap load of damage.

    Other protections:


    .
    Strategies

    Aggro

    Animar facilitates the ability to drop a lot of creatures quickly and to drop BIG creatures early, so it is entirely possible to win simply by turning your creatures sideways. Animar himself will usually become a huge creature in a short amount of time which works towards this win condition. Note that it is very important to have haste if you're using this strategy to try and win as creatures won't always live until your next turn, especially in multiplayer. If this was the main focus of your deck, I would increase the number of haste enablers to 4 or 5.

    If you're playing enough creatures with power 3 or greater Garruk's Packleader is effectively another Soul of the Harvest/Primordial Sage.

    You can find a good example of an Aggro Animar list here by Volango.

    The best defense is a strong offense.


    Combo

    A tough lesson in life that one has to learn is that not
    everybody wishes you well. - Dan Rather
    Animar's cost reduction ability facilitates numerous combinations involving creatures. I've outlined several of the interactions that enable combo wins, most centering around Cloudstone Curio.


    1) Infinitely large Animar:

    The simplest loop: Cloudstone Curio + Animar, Soul of Elements (3+ counters) + 2 morph creatures = infinitely large Animar.

    Animar reduces the Morph creature's cost to 0. When you cast the creature, Animar gains a +1/+1 counter. When it enters the battlefield it triggers Cloudstone Curio, allowing you to return the other Morph creature to your hand. Cast the second Morph creature, giving Animar a counter and returning the first. Repeat as often as you like :).

    A slightly different loop: Shrieking Drake + Animar, Soul of Elements (no counters required) + Earthcraft + Island = infinitely large Animar.

    Cast Shrieking Drake, Animar gets a +1/+1 counter, then target Shrieking Drake with his own enter the battlefield ability. In response to this ability, tap Shrieking Drake to untap a basic Island. Resolve the enter the battlefield ability returning Shrieking Drake to your hand. Repeat until your hands get tired. In this loop Shrieking Drake can be replaced with Dream Stalker or Man-o'-War provided Animar has one or two counters already.

    Note: Other loops are possible involving Cloud of Faeries, Peregrine Drake and/or Palinchron (who loops himself) and these also generate infinite mana as well as an infinitely large Animar. Equilibrium can be used in the place of Cloudstone Curio, but it's effect is limited by your mana (see 4) below).

    A non-infinite loop that makes Animar big enough: Shrieking Drake + Animar, Soul of Elements (3 counters ideal) + Phyrexian Metamorph = 21/21 Animar (at the cheap cost 36 life)

    Here we have Animar and Shrieking Drake already on the field, and then cast Phyrexian Metamorph for 2 life, copying Shrieking Drake to bounce the Metamorph back into hand. You may not want to get Animar all the way to 21 power, but instead just put enough counters on to play a free Eldrazi. Note that this is part of the Imperial Recruiter combo, but without having Imperial Recruiter we don't get to finish up with an Ulamog.


    2) Mass card draw = mass life loss: (my preferred victory condition)

    Incorporating any of the creature casting loops above with Glimpse of Nature/Primordial Sage/Soul of the Harvest active will draw you as many cards as you desire (until your library runs dry). Adding Psychosis Crawler to the mix turns card draw into a win condition:

    Psychosis Crawler + Glimpse of Nature and/or Primordial Sage and/or Soul of the Harvest + Animar, Soul of Elements + chain creature casts = huge Animar AND draw most of your deck AND mass life loss to opponents!

    Glimpse of Nature/Primordial Sage/Soul of the Harvest turn every creature spell into a cantrip (or better) and Animar's cost reduction to creature spells allows you to cast many creatures in a turn. By chain casting and card drawing the 1 life loss to all opponents adds up until they are all dead (provided they have not gained large amounts of life). Note: You can cast Glimpse of Nature multiple times in a turn (via Eternal Witness recursion) to draw multiple cards per creature cast.

    Usually you will require additional mana support from Palinchron and friends to keep casting (see 4) below). Fathom Mage, Mulldrifter and Kozilek assist with card draw to avoid running out of creatures (although Cloudstone Curio allows you to reuse creatures you already have). In previous builds I included Whirlpool Drake to assist this combo (Whirlpool Warrior can also help) allowing a hand reset if it fills with lands (and also to do a huge chunk of life loss to opponents with Psychosis Crawler out). Likewise Time Spiral lets you start the draw chain all over again by restocking your library.

    Incorporating the Cloudstone Curio loop and Kozilek has the same mass card draw effect:

    Psychosis Crawler + Cloudstone Curio + Animar, Soul of Elements (10+ counters) + Kozilek, Butcher of Truth + 1 morph creature = huge Animar AND draw your entire deck AND mass life loss to opponents.

    As with "the simplest loop" (see 1) above) Animar reduces costs to 0. Kozilek's cast trigger draws four cards, and then you can repeat the loop as often as you need to (until you run out of cards in your library).

    2a) Creatures ETB = mass life loss:

    Purphoros, God of the Forge offers a very similar win condition to Psychosis Crawler by dealing damage whenever a creature enters the battlefield. With Purphoros we can forgo the card draw, so any infinite loop will result in victory without requiring an attack step. If you don't have an infinite loop, chain creature casting will also deal a lot of damage, and likely draw into an infinite loop eventually anyway.

    3) Destroy every permanent controlled by opponents:

    Cloudstone Curio + Animar, Soul of Elements (11+ counters) + Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre + 1 morph creature = huge Animar AND all opponents permanents destroyed.

    As with the "simplest loop" (see 1) above) Animar reduces costs to 0. In this case Ulamog's cast trigger allows you to destroy target permanent, and you can do this as many times as you like.

    3a) Bounce every permanent controlled by opponents:

    Words of Wind + Glimpse of Nature + Cloud of Faeries + Earthcraft (or Animar with 1+ counter) = all opponents permanents bounced (and huge Animar)


    4) Infinite Mana:

    The easy way(s):
    Palinchron + Animar, Soul of Elements (5+ counters) = infinitely large Animar AND infinite mana (requires UUUU mana to achieve)
    Palinchron + Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger + 12 lands (no Animar cost reduction) = infinite mana (requires UUUU mana to achieve)

    The easy methods rely on Palinchron's self bounce ability. With Animar's cost reduction it requires UU to cast Palinchron and 2UU to bounce him. With 7 lands in play, you always net 1 mana as you repeat the loop. Vorinclex and Zhur-Taa Ancient double the mana output of your lands. So you need to tap 4 lands to play Palinchron, another 2 lands to bounce him and he untaps 7, gaining 3 mana per loop.

    Adding Cloudstone Curio to the mix can reduce the cost of bouncing Palinchron, gaining more mana per loop (and possibly decreasing the U mana required per loop). Cloudstone Curio also allows Cloud of Fairies and Peregrine Drake to generate infinite mana either with Animar's cost reduction ability, or lands that tap for more than 1 mana (Karoos, Gaea's Cradle or care of Vorinclex).

    Slightly less easy way(s):
    Cloudstone Curio + Animar, Soul of Elements (5+ counters) + Peregrine Drake + 1 morph creature = infinitely large Animar AND infinite mana.
    Cloudstone Curio + Peregrine Drake + Cloud of Faeries + Gaea's Cradle (taps for GG or more) or Karoo land = infinite mana
    Shrieking Drake + Earthcraft + Island + Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger = infinite U mana

    The hard way:
    The hard way relied on bouncing and recasting Oracle of Mul Daya or Azusa, Lost but Seeking to generate multiple new permissions of "You may play an additional land". But then M14 came out and changed the rules, so now it doesn't work at all.

    "Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker
    what he thinks into it."
    - Ernest Holmes

    YOINK!
    4a) Infinite Mana + Enter the battlefield effects:

    Once you have infinite mana you can pretty much do whatever you feel like:

    Infinite Mana + Equilibrium or Cloudstone Curio and:


    5) Infinite Creatures:

    Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Zealous Conscripts.

    To facilitate this combo, tap Kiki-Jiki to create a copy of Zealous Conscripts. When the Zealous Conscripts token enters the battlefield target Kiki-Jiki with it's ability: "Gain control of target permanent until end of turn. Untap that permanent." The gain control part of the ability is irrelevant, but untapping Kiki-Jiki lets you use his ability to create another copy of Zealous Conscripts. Repeat until you're satisfied you have enough conscripts to wipe the floor with your enemies.

    This combo is tutorable using Tooth and Nail allowing that one spell to effectively end the game. Personally I steer away from this combo, although it is possibly the best outcome in a situation where Animar himself is unable to stay on the board, or other combo pieces have been exiled from the game.

    Zealous Consripts can be replaced with several other creatures for redundancy if you choose to pursue this combo more diligently:

    • Pestermite - Has the advantage of being able to tap or untap permanents and flash.
    • Deceiver Exarch - Can tap a permanent controlled by an opponent or untap one of your permanents. Again flash!
    • Intruder Alarm - Lets you use any creature as your Kiki-Jiki target (reminding us of the enter the battlefield possibilities of 4a) above).

    Likewise Kiki-Jiki can be replaced with Splinter Twin for extra redundancy.

    The final combo I will mention was ultimately not included in my build but did make the initial list:

    Earthcraft + Squirrel Nest.

    Enchant a basic land with your Squirrel Nest. At the end of your opponent's turn, tap the land to create a Squirrel, then tap the Squirrel using Earthcraft to untap the land. Repeat until you are satisfied with your Squirrel army. You have to make the Squirrels at the end of your opponents turn, so they untap and are no longer effected by summoning sickness during your turn. In the end I excluded this combo because there isn't much synergy with enchantments or tokens in my build.

    And really how many ways of going infinite do you need in a single deck?

    Control

    Finally, it is entirely possible to gain control of the game through recursion, card advantage and tempo advantages gained from Animar's cost reduction ability. Flash enablers allow the deck to be much more reactive and responsive by allowing a draw-go style of play, while numerous creatures can act as counterspells. You could focus on permanent destruction to gain control (although that is less effective in multiplayer with the creatures available). Perhaps a land destruction or Stax build would be possible?

    At the present time I have moved away from this strategy, because it requires quite a different style of play compared to the tap out style of the current deck. The suggestions I make below focus almost entirely on creatures to take advantage on Animar's abilities, however there is nothing stopping you from playing a less creature heavy build with Animar at the helm (except, you know, you're probably better off playing Intet, the Dreamer or Riku of Twin Reflections if that is the direction you want to take the deck).


    ^ Seedborn Muse doesn't grant flash, but ensures you have mana every turn.

    * A lock is created with both Brine Elemental and Vesuvan Shapeshifter on the field.

    ** It that Betrays could make an excellent finisher for an Animar land destruction deck, especially with Keldon Firebombers.

    It would be an interesting exercise to play Animar as a control deck, although in doing so you lose out on a lot of the synergy that lends itself so well to combo and aggro, both which proactively make use of Animar's strengths. However through the use of Cloudstone Curio or Tidespout Tyrant and EtB creatures it is possible to disrupt and prevent multiple opponents affecting the board. Tidespout Tyrant especially permits formidable tempo advantages because of it's ability to return opponents lands to their hands. The card draw engines listed in the combo section will win games through pure card advantage. Further more additional card advantage is generated from almost every creature cast due to the heavy contingent of EtB effects.

    .
    Why aren't you playing this card?

    Why not include storm? - During the initial construction phase of the deck, I did include some storm cards (Grapeshot and Brain freeze) intending to create an infinite storm count facilitated by the Cloudstone Curio loop detailed in the Combo section of this primer. Preliminary testing revealed this to be 'win more' scenario, because once you have Animar and Cloudstone Curio in play, either you're able to use EtB effects to gain control of the game or produce an infinitely large Animar to attack for the win. Considering the same combo that enables infinite storm also makes Animar infinitely large, it simply seemed unnecessary to dedicate card slots to spells that would really only be effective after you've already created other win conditions.

    Why not include cards that put extra counters on Animar? - In many Animar lists I see cards such as Increasing Savagery, Forgotten Ancient, Bond Beetle, Hunting Moa and Predatory Hunger included, and given the upside of having +1/+1 counters on Animar I can see the temptation to include cards that have this effect, so why don't I use any these cards in my list? Quite simply the hardest counters to get on Animar are the first 3 or 4, after which the cost reduction effect makes casting creatures so efficient that in no time you have more counters than you really need to track. Simply including creatures in the list fulfills this role, so a card that only adds counters isn't worth a slot in my opinion. If you're finding yourself in situations where you can't cast most of the creatures in your hand without the discount effect from Animar, I would suggest increasing the number of low casting cost creatures in the deck before considering adding cards that only add counters to Animar. Cards that add counters as part of another effect or as a modal choice (Graft and Reinforce abilities spring to mind) may find room in some Animar decks, as long as they serve a purpose beyond adding +1/+1 counters to Animar.

    Why don't you play with proliferate? - By and large proliferate in this deck is another effect that only puts +1/+1 counters on Animar, and much less efficiently than simply casting more creatures. If you were building around a theme of counters on permanents and/or poison kills, then it might be worth including proliferate effects.

    Why don't you use planeswalkers? - The biggest problem with Planeswalkers in this deck is the limit of one use per turn. Once this deck gets going you can do a lot during your turn, by extending your mana through untap effects, getting extra uses out of enter the battlefield effects and drawing cards by getting creatures onto the field. When effects are once per turn or require your opponents to have their turns (such as Consecrated Sphinx, Lurking Predators, Erratic Portal) they really end up being sub par compared to things that can be used many times per turn. Once we consider Animar's cost reduction ability too, we often have a situation where there is a choice between casting a six casting cost enchant or planeswalker for six, or multiple six cost creatures for one or two each. In that case the powerful enchant/planeswalker will probably just sit in your hand.

    A brief evaluation of relevent planeswalkers you may consider:

    Why not play mana dorks? - The main reason to include mana dorks (Birds of Paradise, Arbor Elf and co.) is to push for a turn two Animar. If you are able to cast Animar on turn two, you will often combo to victory on turn four before your opponents are able to set up their defenses or respond with removal. For the fastest victories, mana dorks or similar fast mana starts are essential (for example using Exploration or Lotus Petal). However dedicating enough slots to ensure a turn two Animar makes the deck less versatile if the early combo victory does not work out. In my opinion fast combo becomes less reliable the more opponents you're likely to be facing, as you're more likely to be disrupted by savvy opponents. Mana dorks are especially prone to removal in a deck which is already weak to board wipes. A well timed removal spell will set back the fast mana plan and also slows future turns. If your fast mana does work and you win by turn four, the game may also feel like an anticlimax. Personally I prefer a longer game and so I forgo the potential of a turn two Animar in favour of a more versatile deck that promotes (slightly) longer games.

    Why don't you play [insert good card here]? (sorted alphabetically)
    • Aluren - I tested Aluren during initial construction, but ended up cutting it because it effectively did the same thing as Animar + Cloudstone Curio, only worse. While it does allow infinite loops (with Man-o'-War and Aether Adept) it doesn't have synergy with larger creatures and it also allows opponents to cast their cheap creatures for free and with flash which didn't sit well with me.
    • Avenger of Zendikar - Clutters up the field with plants, which have the potential to grow (aww, how cute). I try to avoid cards that are simply 'beatsticks' and that is what I feel this is. Animar doesn't really interact well with tokens and I don't run any Overrun effects so I have given this elemental a miss.
    • Consecrated Sphinx - This is a great card advantage engine and also gets bonus points because it's a creature, but I don't include it because once the deck gets going any opponents may not get another draw step. In this deck it fails to draw many cards at all and since it doesn't facilitate the combo it loses it's place in my version of the deck.
    • Deadeye Navigator - I haven't had a chance to play around with him yet. I can see the potential he has to gain huge advantage from enter the battlefield effects, to protect creatures from spot removal (although not Animar, because he doesn't want to lose all his counters) and generate infinite mana combined with Palinchron (or other 'free' creatures) but I think at this stage he wouldn't facilitate anything the deck can't already do.
    • Defense of the Heart - As Tooth and Nail number two this is a good way to consistently win via Kiki-Jiki, mirror breaker + Zealous Conscripts. Again this deserves a place in a cutthroat meta, but I choose not to run it.
    • Erayo, Soratami Ascendant - Easily flipped into Erayo's Essence severely disrupting my opponents' ability to cast spells, I feel this card is a bit too oppressive for my meta. Deserves a place in the most cutthroat version of the deck.
    • Future Sight - I lack enchantment tutors and enchantments lack synergy with Animar. It also has a difficult casting cost. I did trial Magus of the Future (had an awkward UUU cost) and Garruk's Horde (has been replaced with more card draw) neither of which excited me that much.
    • Lurking Predators and Wild Pair - Expensive enchantments that cheat creatures into play for free. Given our heavy creature count these would provide consistent value, although putting creatures directly into play doesn't have synergy with Animar. It could be a worthwhile backup for when Animar is unable to stay on the battlefield.
    • Mirri's Guile and Sensei's Divining Top - Replacements or redundancy with Sylvan Library (which is better). The Divining Top gets better if you're playing Trinket Mage.
    • Niv-Mizzet the Firemind - I like Niv-Mizzet and he plays well with Psychosis Crawler, but his colour heavy mana cost doesn't play well with Animar. He does draw a card though...
    • Primeval Titan - It was banned 19th of September 2012. Lest we forget.
    • Recycle - An expensive enchantment that nerfs your hand size and essentially does the same as Primordial Sage and Soul of the Harvest in this deck. The difficulty is that you want to cast this the turn you go off (to avoid discarding down to two), but it's simply too expensive to do that most of the time.
    • Sages of the Anima - A powerful card advantage engine, but replaces draw and thus does not combo with Psychosis Crawler. Perhaps someday I'll replace the Crawler with these Sages.
    • Skullclamp - It is possible to build around Skullclamp in an Animar deck and acts as an efficient cheap card draw engine with enough fodder to clamp. I have chosen creature based card draw engines instead.
    • Sneak Attack - I think this enchantment requires a change in focus for the deck, but it could potentially be a powerful tool in the right build. Find further discussion here.
    • Sphinx of Uthuun - I don't run this monster simply because the cards are put into hand and not drawn from the deck. No synergy with Psychosis Crawler? No place in deck!
    • Survival of the Fittest - Perhaps I should get around to testing this tutor, although it seems a bit too easy to get all the combo pieces in hand using this. In a completely cutthroat metagame this deserves a place in the deck, but at this time I choose not to run it.
    • Tidespout Tyrant - A long time member of my deck list, it acted as Cloudstone Curio number two. Had to make a cut to fit in Maelstrom Wanderer, and the Tyrant was the unlucky one...
    • Tooth and Nail - The one card combo that pulls out Kiki-Jiki and Zealous Conscripts. Also an excellent tutor for other combo enabling gems such as Palinchron, Vorinclex, Eternal Witness or simply a pair of Eldrazi titans. I ran this card for a long time, but in the end I felt it was a bit anti-climatic.
    • Warstorm Surge and Pandemonium - Both of these cards have the potential to combine with the Cloudstone Curio loops to deal infinite damage to opponents and all their creatures. The fact that these are expensive enchantments makes them difficult to include, when for the same cost I could cast several creatures. That said, as soon as we have this effect on on a creature, I'll probably have to find room for it.

    Are there any cards you're considering adding to the deck? - I have a few cards that I like to keep a note of just to remind myself to try them out sometime. You might want to test them for me and let me know how they work out! This is my list of cards I'm considering but haven't yet made room for (sorted alphabetically).

    • Apocalypse Hydra - Gains a lot of +1/+1 counters and can act as removal or burn with enough red mana.
    • Azusa, Lost but seeking - Extra land drops are helpful when drawing lots of cards.
    • Kederekt Leviathan - While global bounce might seem strange (resets Animar), there will be times that I will be able to recover faster than my opponents while undoing all of their permanents and protections.
    • Legion Loyalist - When Battalion activates grants first strike, trample and 'can't be blocked by tokens.' A pretty effective way of pushing through damage.
    • Novijen Sages, Sage of Fables and Zameck Guildmage - Turns excess counters on Animar into card draw.
    • Phantasmal Image - The cheapest of the clone variants. Since the change in the Legendary rule with M14, this loses it's 'Legend Doomblade' versatility, but it still gains a lot of value when you can copy any creature for 1U even without Animar to provide a discount.
    • Phyrexian Ingester - Duplicant number two (and bigger for U).
    • Purphoros, God of the Forge - When I get one, it will go in the deck. Effectively Warstorm Surge for R (care of Animar's discount).
    • Primal Surge - Requires reshaping the deck a little, but potentially acts as an "I win" spell. Combine with Laboratory Maniac or Epic Struggle just in case.
    • Slithermuse - Can be cast for cheap thanks to evoke, and will almost always draw several cards because there is always someone in mulitplayer with a massive draw engine. Note also 'when it leaves play.' This and bounce can refill your hand several times in a turn.
    • Verdant Eidolon - Nets one mana on the turn you cast it, is recurred by casting my general, and converts green mana to other colours... could be very good!
    • Worldly Tutor, Weird Harvest and Signal the Clans - Creature tutors with various pros and cons.

    Wish List! - These are cards I'm hoping to get some day. The only limitation is $$$:

    • Gilded Drake - Just so efficient at stealing people's creatures.
    • Imperial Recruiter - I don't own one and at this time cannot afford to buy one, otherwise it would be in!
    • Taiga - The original Mountain Forest. Simply the best.
    • Tropical Island - The original Forest Island. Better than all the rest.
    • Volcanic Island - The original Island Mountain. Better than anyone I've ever met.


    Work in progress. Feedback and suggestions appreciated Smile
    Last edited by gelf: 7/8/2014 8:46:50 AM
    Commander
    URG Animar, Soul of Elements [Primer]
    WBW Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter
    RWR Tajic, Blade of the Legion
    WGW Torsten Von Ursus
    GUG Edric, Spymaster of Trest
    RRR Ashling the Pilgrim (she's back!)

    Not MTG related - check out my creative writing blog allthingsdevours
  • #3
    How have things changed?

    - Deceiver Exarch
    - Splinter Twin

    + Artisan of Kozilek
    + Greater Good

    Removed some redundancy from the deck by removing this additional infinite combo. Greater Good offers additional sac mechanics and draw (can be used to combo out with Psychosis Crawler even if discarding more cards than are being drawn). Artisan of Kozilek can come down for free and recurs a creature to play for more EtB effects.

    - 1 Forest
    - 1 Island
    - Kazandu Refuge
    - Rupture Spire
    - Temple of the False God
    - Vivid Crag

    + Fire-Lit Thicket
    + Flooded Grove
    + High Market
    + Miren, the Moaning Well
    + Mosswort Bridge
    + Tolaria West

    In the process of sprucing up my land base. Still far from optimal, but it's a work in progress.

    - Pilgrim's Eye
    - Simic Signet

    + Duplicant
    + Sakura-Tribe Elder

    Pilgrim's Eye never really gained enough advantage, because it didn't put the land into play. Although Sakura-Tribe Elder doesn't have as repeatable an effect, if can come down as a second turn drop to ramp or mana fix. Simic Signet also never really accelerated me enough to warrant playing it. Duplicant instead is another creature that can come down for nothing and acts as removal!

    - Dosan the falling leaf
    - Trench Gorger
    - Faultgrinder

    + Garruk's Horde
    + Magus of the Future
    + Bloodbraid Elf

    Dosan didn't do that much when I cast him, and sometimes stopped me using my counterspells :(. Trench Gorger proved to be a pain to play in terms of removing lands then shuffling them back in again. Faultgrinder was ok, but Acidic Slime, Terastodon and Ulamog do his job with more flexibility.

    Garruk's Horde and Magus of the Future both let me cast (creatures) from the top of my deck, which can assist my chain casting. Bloodbraid Elf is likely 2 counters on Animar for RG or one of the important combo elements for free!

    Mana Changes:
    - Sol Ring
    - High Market
    - Miren, the Moaning Well
    - Blasted Landscape
    - Forgotten Cave

    + Raging Ravine
    + Sulfer Falls
    + Winding Canyons
    + Forest
    + Island

    Other changes:
    - Genesis
    - Magus of the Future

    + Chord of Calling
    + Steel Hellkite

    Removed a number of colourless mana sources and replaced them with coloured sources. Miren, the Moaning Well was usually too expensive to activate. High Market is good, but I decided to replace it with Winding Canyons to see how the instant creature casts play out. (Note: Mana Base is still budget. I would like to get Kessig Wolf Run and Hinterland Harbor among other more expensive lands)

    Magus of the Future proved too difficult to cast reliably (for the same UUU reason Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir seems likely to be cut). Genesis allowed for a degree of recovery against discard and heavy creature removal, but was also too expensive to use consistently. Steel Hellkite is another 'free' creature with built in utility (was previously on my 'want to fit in' list) and Chord of Calling is another tutor that makes use of the large number of creatures I can have sitting around to find a key critter for combo (Palinchron, Kiki-Jiki, Primordial Sage, etc...).

    On review, likely to be swapped out: Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir and Chromeshell Crab. I've already metioned Teferi's problem. The Crab is mainly morph redundency, but I might try and put in a better morph creature.
    In response to ban list announcement
    Out:
    - Primeval Titan (banned)

    In:
    + Crop Rotation

    It's sad to replace such a powerhouse creature with a non-creature, but I think this is the best way to find Gaea's Cradle in the absence of Primetime.

    Out:
    - Mad Prophet

    In:
    + Swan Song

    Set Reviews

    18 Jul 2014 - Core Set M15 - pg 24

    06 Jun 2014 - Conspiracy - pg 23
    02 May 2014 - Journey into Nyx - pg 20
    07 Feb 2014 - Born of the Gods - pg 18
    01 Nov 2013 - Commander 2013
    27 Sep 2013 - Theros
    19 Jul 2013 - Core Set M14
    03 May 2013 - Dragon's Maze
    01 Feb 2013 - Gatecrash
    05 Oct 2012 - Return to Ravnica
    Last edited by gelf: 7/9/2014 12:02:46 AM
    Commander
    URG Animar, Soul of Elements [Primer]
    WBW Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter
    RWR Tajic, Blade of the Legion
    WGW Torsten Von Ursus
    GUG Edric, Spymaster of Trest
    RRR Ashling the Pilgrim (she's back!)

    Not MTG related - check out my creative writing blog allthingsdevours
  • #9
    Mulldrifter ---> Arcanis the omnipotent. He will probably cost 3B, which isn't as great, but he draws 3 and protects himself for 4.
    Trench Gorger ---> Inkwell Leviathan (protects himself, trample and can be dropped for the same cost via Animar)
    Vesuvan Shapeshifter ---> Phyrexian Metamorph is more versatile, can cost 1 (or 2 life).
    Rites of Flourishing ---> helps your opponent and is unnecessary. Maybe Jin Gataxias (can cut down cost) or Consecrated Sphinx (constant draw, power flier). Both are creatures too
    Phyrexian Altar --->Swiftfoot Boots or Lightning Greaves for Animar or otherwise.
    Evolving Wilds --->Strip mine? Maze of Ith? mystifying Maze? Useful lands are more important then fixers for this deck.

    Just my initial thoughts
    Last edited by matrix91: 7/13/2011 12:23:49 PM
  • #10
    You should really consider doing a Man-O'-War + Earthcraft combo in here for infinite counters on Animar. You can also toss in Squirrel Nest + Earthcraft combo for infinite squirrels.
    [EDH Primers] Jenara | Marton | Thrun | Lin Sivvi | Toshiro
    [EDHNon-Primer] Obzedat
    [STANDARD]
    [MODERN]UWR Flash Control

    My helpdesk
  • #11
    @Matrix91: Thanks for the suggestions, but I'm not sure they take the deck in the right direction.

    This is a tough choice, but I think you under estimate the value of coloured mana once Animar has several counters on him. With UUU I could potentially cast Mulldrifter 3 times drawing 6 cards. Mulldrifter's evoke cost also allows early plays to put the first few counters on Animar (the hardest to get).


    Trench Gorger is not in here to be a beater (although it serves that purpose well), it is here because it is a Mana Severance on a creature, which makes my Glimpse of Nature/Primordial Sage creature cast chain more consistant. Inkwell Leviathan is a strong creature, but more suitable to an aggro build.


    Phyrexian Metamorph is already in the deck! Grin (Also Vesuvan Shapeshifter serves a twin purpose as legend removal and 'free' morph cast).

    Quote from matrix91
    Rites of Flourishing ---> helps your opponent and is unnecessary. Maybe Jin Gataxias (can cut down cost) or Consecrated Sphinx :

    Rites of Flourishing does help your opponent, but I quite like the ability to drop an extra land and draw extra cards. Once this deck gets going the card advantage generated offsets any symmetrical gains caused by this card. Also as a multiplayer designed build, the 'group hug' effect can be politically beneficial. Obviously in a 1v1 build this card loses some value and it could be argued that the effect is not competitive. In an optimised build this card would probably be cut for Survival of the Fittest or even Azusa, lost but seeking. For the moment it has paid off for me, but it is one of the cards that could be cut more easily than some.

    Regarding Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur and Consecrated Sphinx. I choose not to run Jin-Gitaxias, because it's effect is very unfair and un-fun. Again in an optimised build it probably deserves a spot. Consecrated Sphinx is a very powerful draw engine and also forces the game to warp around it. However, when this deck goes off I hope that my opponents will never draw another card, while I draw my entire deck. I will play around with the Sphinx and add it to my 'want to add' list.


    These serve different purposes. Haste is rarely as relevant as extra mana, especially when I can keep chaining creature casts. Again I reiterate the importance of coloured mana to the functioning of the deck. Phyrexian Altar has some great synergy with Fecundity as well. Perhaps I should find more room for cards that protect my general, although Glamerdye would get a spot before the Greaves or Boots.

    Quote from matrix91
    Evolving Wilds --->Strip mine? Maze of Ith? mystifying Maze? Useful lands are more important then fixers for this deck.

    As I've mentioned before, coloured mana is so valuable to this deck, and colour fixing is good :D. I will admit though, the mana base is the weakest part of my current build. I will work on an optimum mana base which would include Dual lands, the shock lands and the sac lands to search them up, however financially I cannot include them in my deck at the moment.
    I'm not sure how valuable either of the Mazes would be in the deck, generally I'm not that fussed by attacking creatures (I usually have plenty of my own to block). Strip mine could be useful, but I do include several creatures that are capable of taking out troublesome lands already.

    @ ISBPathfinder: How does the Man-O'-War + Earthcraft combo work?

    Quote from ISBPathfinder
    You can also toss in Squirrel Nest + Earthcraft combo for infinite squirrels.


    Initial plans included this infinite combo as well, however on their own I don't feel either card does enough to warrant inclusion (Earthcraft is better than Squirrel Nest, but is it good enough?). I'm also trying to minimise infinite combos, really there are so many that can be included!

    In a 1v1 optimal build this deserves a spot. In multiplayer I want to avoid becoming the target that is always hated out of the game as quickly as possible.
    Last edited by gelf: 7/13/2011 12:17:12 AM
    Commander
    URG Animar, Soul of Elements [Primer]
    WBW Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter
    RWR Tajic, Blade of the Legion
    WGW Torsten Von Ursus
    GUG Edric, Spymaster of Trest
    RRR Ashling the Pilgrim (she's back!)

    Not MTG related - check out my creative writing blog allthingsdevours
  • #12
    Have a similar Animar deck to yours. I've attempted at being as cut throat as I possibly can be, there are some minor differences with my build. The one card that I do not think you should overlook for it's value with Animar: Voidmage Husher. He strings together nicely even when you aren't playing him for the Stifle effect. Many times I'll play a creature return him, recast at a single blue (99% of games), play another creature, return... He's a great reusable stifle and is very synergistic with "cantrippers" to amass a counter laden Animar.

    Edit: Wow, noticed him on the list! Well then don't I feel like a fool.
    Last edited by EDHismygirlfriend: 7/12/2011 10:17:47 PM
  • #13
    I agree Voidmage Husher is fantastic! (Especially for a single U mana :D)
    Commander
    URG Animar, Soul of Elements [Primer]
    WBW Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter
    RWR Tajic, Blade of the Legion
    WGW Torsten Von Ursus
    GUG Edric, Spymaster of Trest
    RRR Ashling the Pilgrim (she's back!)

    Not MTG related - check out my creative writing blog allthingsdevours
  • #14
    1 mana squelch that's repeatable? Sign me up!

    Yeah, that card is pretty bonkers, and hits the table like a plane. However, how you you feel about Teferi, the card? It gives all your guys flash, and could definitely make you THAT much faster for a cheap, cheap UUU. Hell, on its own it's like a preator's effect, helping you, screwing others up. At worst, it's a faerie.
    :symr::symg::symw: Mayael the Anima


    :symr::symb: I hate your deck(Kaervek the Merciless)
    Wait, how do I even hide it as a name title?

    white mana Kemba, Kostume Ka... Oh god that's not a good alliteration.
    Wait, how do I even hide it as a name title?
  • #15
    I have included Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir in my build to enable control style play (Draw-go) and as protection to prevent disruption once the combo gets going. I'll admit though I haven't actually had him in play yet since I've started play testing.
    Commander
    URG Animar, Soul of Elements [Primer]
    WBW Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter
    RWR Tajic, Blade of the Legion
    WGW Torsten Von Ursus
    GUG Edric, Spymaster of Trest
    RRR Ashling the Pilgrim (she's back!)

    Not MTG related - check out my creative writing blog allthingsdevours
  • #16
    Gelf, I've seen some interest in some cards from M12 like warstorm surge (I cut it from a potential build because it was god awfully slow). However the two sleeper cards for this style deck are Sphinx of Uthuun and Garruk's Horde. The former seemed really good because of a reusable FOF. From my testing I've had it easily castable around turn 5. It also helps that I've tried to use more bounce, such as erratic portal, crystal shard and tradewind rider. I had to have my leg pulled for the latter card from M12. The card actually has been really good. I always tutor for Primordial Sage first then Garruk's Horde which allows you to chain together nicely, that is if I don't need a single combo piece and need value. It's effect makes the card feel like the Animar specific Future Sight. I haven't had a problem casting it so I'm not sure how slow it may actually be.

    You made a comment about Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur being in the optimal build, I would like to see what other griefer cards you would add in. I've had Jin hit turn five and it's just win. I hope that is the reason that opposition isn't on the list because that card is brutal in here.
    Last edited by EDHismygirlfriend: 7/13/2011 12:10:45 PM
  • #17
    Consistency and adaptability seem to be the main problems for this deck and most other infinite combo Animar decks I see. Most of the ways I see you pumping Animar is with infinite combos. Relying so much upon cloudstone curio, tidespout tyrant, and psychosis crawler can be a drawback against many people. All it takes is a sadistic sacrament, hide//seek, jester's cap, mill, etc to kill your main ways of winning.

    I'm not saying its wrong to build a deck like this, but looking over your list and explanations makes me think of the deck almost exclusively as a combo deck, not really aggro. And as a combo deck with very little control to it, you'll be open to others' control/removal. It feels like you have to combo out as fast as humanly possible otherwise you will die to others feeling like you are a huge threat, or not being able to deal with others' threats coming at you.

    Also, doesn't it seem a bit early to be creating a primer for something that just came out? Seems like more testing needs to be done.
    EDH/Commander Decklists:

    Tolsimir Wolfblood G/W
  • #18
    Don't forget to add Brine Elemental in competitive play for "Pickles Lock" with Vesuvan Shapeshifter
  • #19
    However the two sleeper cards for this style deck are Sphinx of Uthuun and Garruk's Horde.


    I will have to test these out. Garruk's Horde looks more interesting to me than the Sphinx, but only because I try to avoid cards which don't have synergy with Psychosis Crawler (that is effects that put cards into hand, rather than drawing them).

    You made a comment about Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur being in the optimal build, I would like to see what other griefer cards you would add in. I've had Jin hit turn five and it's just win. I hope that is the reason that opposition isn't on the list because that card is brutal in here.


    Opposition was on my original draft before I started putting the deck together. I had a lot of trouble cutting non-creature cards because I was absolutely certain I wanted to run 50 creatures. I think my build at the moment has 46 (including Animar) which doesn't leave much room for non-creatures. I would like to run Opposition, but I don't want to cut any more creatures.

    In terms of griefer cards that would be in the optimal build, I'll have to get back to you on it. Personally I'm trying to build a deck that balances between 'fun to play with/against' and competitive. If I make the deck too competitive, I'll never to get to play it because it will be hated off the table by my friends or win before games get started. However for the purposes of building the best possible Animar combo deck (and the Primer) I should explore the griefer options even if I choose not to play them.


    Quote from candeewolf
    Consistency and adaptability seem to be the main problems for this deck and most other infinite combo Animar decks I see... Relying so much upon cloudstone curio, tidespout tyrant, and psychosis crawler can be a drawback against many people. All it takes is a sadistic sacrament, hide//seek, jester's cap, mill, etc to kill your main ways of winning.


    Consistency hasn't really been an issue for me. This deck runs plenty of tutors to find the combo pieces (mostly creatures) and enough ramp to avoid colour screw and gain tempo advantage. Likewise I feel it is highly adaptable. Almost every creature has an effect when it EtB or sits on the board. This deck can attack opponents mana bases quite easily (and I haven't even focused on mana denial as a strategy) and set back opponents tempo by bouncing permanents. Alternatively it can combo out, or simply play a mass of creatures and attack every turn.

    Targeted library hate to remove combo pieces won't stop the deck, it will merely change it from a combo deck into an aggro deck. If my opponent is committing resources to destroying my library, chances are he/she doesn't have the blockers to prevent a ground assault. I also stress that this deck generates card advantage very effectively.

    Quote from candeewolf
    Most of the ways I see you pumping Animar is with infinite combos.


    I'm sorry, but you have this completely wrong. Most of the ways the infinite combos go off ALSO pump Animar to infinite counters. Animar himself will grow for every creature cast. Once he's at 3 or 4 counters, it is so easy to keep dropping creatures that he quickly becomes a huge creature and is very much a legitimate threat. The combos that make him infinite only do so because he makes casting some creatures cost nothing. If the combo pieces are removed, this deck still packs 45 creatures other than the general. Some of these creatures can bounce themselves for extra casts, or return other creatures from the graveyard. There shouldn't be any difficulty switching to an aggro strategy if the combo is disrupted.

    Quote from candeewolf
    I'm not saying its wrong to build a deck like this, but looking over your list and explanations makes me think of the deck almost exclusively as a combo deck, not really aggro. And as a combo deck with very little control to it, you'll be open to others' control/removal. It feels like you have to combo out as fast as humanly possible otherwise you will die to others feeling like you are a huge threat, or not being able to deal with others' threats coming at you.


    I have focused on the combo explanations in my descriptions, because they are not as intuitive as the aggro strategy. Dropping creatures and attacking with them, doesn't need explanation, but even if you're following the path to a combo victory, this deck is always dropping creatures.

    This deck has significant tempo advantages over other decks because of Animar's creature cost reductions ability. If a control deck wants to counter your creatures, fine! You still get to put a counter on Animar (trigger on cast, not EtB) and chances are you still have a lot of mana left to cast more (heavily discounted) creatures. Also don't underestimate the 'control' that creatures such as Vorinclex and Urabask grant you by denying your opponents mana/blockers.

    Obviously if the table is gunning for you, you will have trouble, but that is the risk of playing powerful/combo strategies.

    Quote from candeewolf
    Also, doesn't it seem a bit early to be creating a primer for something that just came out? Seems like more testing needs to be done.


    My understanding of a primer was that it was merely a well explained deck build, which guided other users to certain strategies that a particular commander could enable. Perhaps it is too early, but at least it generates discussion and encourages further testing.


    Quote from Lasty
    Don't forget to add Brine Elemental in competitive play for "Pickles Lock" with Vesuvan Shapeshifter


    Yes, I remember seeing this when I was searching through morph creatures and thinking: "I would hate to play against this." I will add it to the "griefer build", when I have the time. Thanks Smile
    Commander
    URG Animar, Soul of Elements [Primer]
    WBW Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter
    RWR Tajic, Blade of the Legion
    WGW Torsten Von Ursus
    GUG Edric, Spymaster of Trest
    RRR Ashling the Pilgrim (she's back!)

    Not MTG related - check out my creative writing blog allthingsdevours
  • #20
    I just recently got back into EDH, looking for any interesting generals I could use. Searching the forums, I stumbled upon this thread. I began looking at it and thought "Why haven't I built something like this already?" HEY LOOK, FREE FATTIES WITH HASTE! That's my favorite thing to be doing in EDH. Looks really fun.

    The only thing I'm worried about is this: Just how resilient is this deck to wrath effects? In multiplayer games, there usually tends to be a few.

    Is this a budget list? I'm just asking, seeing as there's no dual lands or fetch lands. I don't mind either way.

    Anyway, I have a few ideas off the top of my head. Some might be good, some probably not. Here they are:


    Clone (why not?)
    Frost Titan (another fatty)
    Inferno Titan (see above)
    Duplicant (basically free removal if Animar is big enough)
    Azusa, Lost but Seeking (maybe, if there's a way to constantly have lands in hand)
    Deceiver Exarch (Pestermite #2)
    Seedguide Ash (there's a few sac outlets in here... could be good)
    Wickerbough Elder (not sure if it's really needed but it's an idea)
    Borderland Ranger (another Pilgrim's Eye, but there IS a colored mana in there)
    Elvish Visionary (replaces itself)
    Indrik Stomphowler (see Wickerbough Elder)
    Sakura-Tribe Elder (one-mana ramp with Animar)
    Wilderness Elemental (can be massive in long multiplayer games)
    Wood Elves (Ondu Giant but costs 1 less)

    Non-creature cards (It might be just me, but I CAN'T play a green deck without these):
    Cultivate
    Explosive Vegetation
    Skyshroud Claim
    Kodama's Reach
    Hunting Wilds


    Standard [ The Aristocrats ] :symw::symr::symg:
    Modern [ UWR Flash ] :symw::symu::symr:
    Legacy [ U/R Delver ] :symu::symr:

    Quote from Arkay
    MTG Salvation: where people who have never won a tournament criticize decks they have not tested because they are not carbon copies of three month old lists.
  • #21
    @CronoSabre: It is a really fun deck Grin I hope you enjoy building your own.

    Quote from CronoSabre
    The only thing I'm worried about is this: Just how resilient is this deck to wrath effects? In multiplayer games, there usually tends to be a few.


    Wrath effects can be problematic, however with greater good and/or fecundity in play you can usually find enough gas to start again. It usually takes more than one or two sweepers to really set Animar back (and usually then it's his mounting casting cost that is the biggest problem). Also saving counterspell effects to stop sweepers is a good idea.

    Quote from CronoSabre
    Is this a budget list? I'm just asking, seeing as there's no dual lands or fetch lands. I don't mind either way.


    Not a budget list per say, as some of the spells are quite $ pricey. The mana base is functional, but I'm aware it needs work. Unfortunately I can't really justify spending hundreds of dollars on a few lands at the moment :(.

    Ideally I would run dual lands, shock lands and fetch lands for them and cut some of the cheaper mana fixers (like Evolving Wilds and Terramorphic Expanse). It won't be for a while though.

    Quote from CronoSabre
    Anyway, I have a few ideas off the top of my head. Some might be good, some probably not. Here they are:


    Clone (why not?)
    : I already run Vesuvan Shapeshifter and Phyrexian Metamorph both of which can be cast for free (morph or 2 life respectively). It comes down to how many of these effects I can find room for in my deck. Two seems like the right number to me.

    Frost Titan (another fatty): Frankly, tapping down one permanent doesn't feel like it's doing enough by EDH standards.

    Inferno Titan (see above): Again, 3 damage (even when repeatable) doesn't feel like enough to be effective removal in EDH. Poor Inferno Titan really needs evasion to be worthy of a spot.

    Duplicant (basically free removal if Animar is big enough): Yes, this is great! I'll add it to my list of potential additions Grin

    Azusa, Lost but Seeking (maybe, if there's a way to constantly have lands in hand): Probably a good replacement for Rites of Flourishing if you don't like helping your opponents out.

    Deceiver Exarch (Pestermite #2): Was in the list, cut because I don't actually want to use the Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker infinite combo that often. It's more a back up combo. Pestermite actually has more versatility also, being able to untap an opponents permanent (if you want to play politically).

    Seedguide Ash (there's a few sac outlets in here... could be good)
    : I'm not sure I run enough forests for this to be worth it... but it's pretty good mana advantage if you build around it.

    Wickerbough Elder (not sure if it's really needed but it's an idea): I think there are better cards for this effect. EtB abilities are probably better with Animar than activated abilities.

    Borderland Ranger (another Pilgrim's Eye, but there IS a colored mana in there): Pilgrim's Eye is probably going to be cut from my list. Lands into hand doesn't seem to be a problem with all the card draw. Much better to get the lands straight into play.

    Elvish Visionary (replaces itself): Could work, but not sure it does enough, a 1/1 for G and draw a card, doesn't seem to be worth it.

    Indrik Stomphowler (see Wickerbough Elder): Much better than the Elder, but I prefer Acidic Slime and Brutalizer Exarch for more versatile effects. I guess it depends on what other cards you run, and how problematic artifacts and enchantments in your meta are.

    Sakura-Tribe Elder (one-mana ramp with Animar): Probably going to replace Pilgrim's Eye in my deck.

    Wilderness Elemental (can be massive in long multiplayer games): Hmm... interesting. Not sure I'd use it, but it could be pretty aggressive. Trample is good. Low toughness is bad. Always nice to see a card I've never seen before!

    Wood Elves (Ondu Giant but costs 1 less): Not quite an Ondu Giant... it only finds forests. Was on my initial draft list, but got cut early because of its specificity.

    Quote from CronoSabre
    Non-creature cards (It might be just me, but I CAN'T play a green deck without these):
    Cultivate
    Explosive Vegetation
    Skyshroud Claim
    Kodama's Reach
    Hunting Wilds


    Honestly while these are excellent ramp spells, I'd focus on creatures that do the same thing (like Ondu Giant, Sakura-Tribe Elder, Farhaven Elf and Solumn Simulacrum). Animar needs creatures to become the powerhouse he is. You get much more value from casting creature spells compared to non-creature spells once Animar is on the battlefield.
    Last edited by gelf: 7/16/2011 1:40:25 AM
    Commander
    URG Animar, Soul of Elements [Primer]
    WBW Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter
    RWR Tajic, Blade of the Legion
    WGW Torsten Von Ursus
    GUG Edric, Spymaster of Trest
    RRR Ashling the Pilgrim (she's back!)

    Not MTG related - check out my creative writing blog allthingsdevours
  • #22
    Deck list updated.

    Played several multiplayer games today (3 or 4 people games) and managed to combo off a couple of times.

    The second game (a two headed giant game) My partner and I managed to stabilize at 2 life, and then I got out Tidespout Tyrant, Cloudstone Curio and Animar before finding 2 morph creatures to return all permanents back to opponents hands for the win. Was a difficult fight, but considering one of the opponents was playing Oona, Queen of the Fae and had successful exiled my other combo pieces (Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, Primordial Sage and Glimpse of Nature) I'm happy with how the deck performed. I'll also note, most of the game Animar was not on the battlefield, because of Capsize and Tradewind Rider :p

    One problem with the deck (perhaps with combo decks in the general though) is that my turn can go on a long time before I'm actually able to finish everyone off. Especially if I cast multiple tutors (even if they're basic land ramp).

    Anyway, among my playgroup now I'm pretty much prime target once I pull Animar out.
    Commander
    URG Animar, Soul of Elements [Primer]
    WBW Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter
    RWR Tajic, Blade of the Legion
    WGW Torsten Von Ursus
    GUG Edric, Spymaster of Trest
    RRR Ashling the Pilgrim (she's back!)

    Not MTG related - check out my creative writing blog allthingsdevours
  • #23
    You might want to consider Future sight/Magus of the future (specially the magus since its a creature), too bad he's triple blue

    Cheers
  • #24
    Quote from tenzoku
    You might want to consider Future sight/Magus of the future (specially the magus since its a creature), too bad he's triple blue

    Cheers


    Yeh, pretty much Garruk's Horde number two (and three) in this creature heavy build. I'll put them on the 'to be considered list' and do some play testing when I get a chance Smile

    25th July 2011: At the moment I'm seriously considering removing Trench Gorger. While it does make my 'chain draw' combo smoother, it isn't essential for making the combo work. On it's own it's a huge beater, but at the significant risk of future mana screw. It's also a pain to actually play, because the action of removing all the lands from the deck takes time and means I have to spend longer shuffling between games to reduce the likelihood of mana screw. All in all, not that impressed with it. This will probably make room for Garruk's Horde... no official change as of yet though.
    Last edited by gelf: 7/25/2011 3:54:55 AM
    Commander
    URG Animar, Soul of Elements [Primer]
    WBW Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter
    RWR Tajic, Blade of the Legion
    WGW Torsten Von Ursus
    GUG Edric, Spymaster of Trest
    RRR Ashling the Pilgrim (she's back!)

    Not MTG related - check out my creative writing blog allthingsdevours
  • #25
    I've been working on a stompier build. I'm not a controllish guy, and I play online, where infinite combos are just a bunch of clicking no one wants to do.
    I've found Garruk's Packleader and Bloodbraid elf to be allstars with this guy. Stompy is hard to play though, in 4 player multiplayer games where control and combo are just so dominant.
  • #26
    Quote from Kryptnyt
    I've been working on a stompier build. I'm not a controllish guy, and I play online, where infinite combos are just a bunch of clicking no one wants to do.
    I've found Garruk's Packleader and Bloodbraid elf to be allstars with this guy. Stompy is hard to play though, in 4 player multiplayer games where control and combo are just so dominant.


    I've looked at Garruk's Packleader a few times as I've flicked through my cards, but I'm put off because most of my creatures are actually smaller than required for his card draw ability.

    Bloodbraid Elf though... hmm... casting him for RG then getting a free cast of CMC 3? Practically always going to put 2 counters on Animar. Worst outcome would probably be Glimpse of Nature... seems good Grin

    I agree, stompy for me is a back up if all else fails. Aggro simply can't perform as well as control and combo in multiplayer because they can afford to wait and see what threats come down, while aggro has to be proactive and attack as soon as possible. Having said that, Animar lends himself to an aggro strategy due to the sheer speed with which he can land big threats (and become a big threat himself).

    EDIT: Just counted potential targets for Bloodbraid Elf = 24. Worst would be Willbender and Glimpse of Nature. Best would probably be Cloudstone Curio or Equilibrium. Could be a fun 'chaos' addition.
    Last edited by gelf: 7/26/2011 2:20:54 AM
    Commander
    URG Animar, Soul of Elements [Primer]
    WBW Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter
    RWR Tajic, Blade of the Legion
    WGW Torsten Von Ursus
    GUG Edric, Spymaster of Trest
    RRR Ashling the Pilgrim (she's back!)

    Not MTG related - check out my creative writing blog allthingsdevours
  • #27
    Quote from gelf
    I've looked at Garruk's Packleader a few times as I've flicked through my cards, but I'm put off because most of my creatures are actually smaller than required for his card draw ability.

    Bloodbraid Elf though... hmm... casting him for RG then getting a free cast of CMC 3? Practically always going to put 2 counters on Animar. Worst outcome would probably be Glimpse of Nature... seems good Grin

    I agree, stompy for me is a back up if all else fails. Aggro simply can't perform as well as control and combo in multiplayer because they can afford to wait and see what threats come down, while aggro has to be proactive and attack as soon as possible. Having said that, Animar lends himself to an aggro strategy due to the sheer speed with which he can land big threats (and become a big threat himself).

    EDIT: Just counted potential targets for Bloodbraid Elf = 24. Worst would be Willbender and Glimpse of Nature. Best would probably be Cloudstone Curio or Equilibrium. Could be a fun 'chaos' addition.


    I have a very similar decklist. The main difference is that I run even more creatures as I have only 8 non-creature spells.
    And I should tell you that Bloodbraid Elf is absolutely stellar here. 2 counters for Animar, key spells that may be played for free (Curio, Equilibrium, ramp...). It's a must have.
  • #28
    Hmmm. a bloodbraid elf in this deck? Let's check again the deck list....

    Seems good, the only thing I'll try to do is add more top of the library manipulation for it to work better, but since the curve of this deck is so bloody low, it's not gonna hit anything TOO bad.

    Also, have you tried to use drift of Phantasm? It helps you search up more 3 drop creatures, like the general and the combo pieces (equilibrium and cloudstone is two I can think off). It's not THAT bad, just never cast it, okay?
    :symr::symg::symw: Mayael the Anima


    :symr::symb: I hate your deck(Kaervek the Merciless)
    Wait, how do I even hide it as a name title?

    white mana Kemba, Kostume Ka... Oh god that's not a good alliteration.
    Wait, how do I even hide it as a name title?
  • #29
    @KingChewie: I think I'm going to have to review my list and add the Bloodbraid Elf.

    Quote from xlich
    Also, have you tried to use drift of Phantasm? It helps you search up more 3 drop creatures, like the general and the combo pieces (equilibrium and cloudstone is two I can think off). It's not THAT bad, just never cast it, okay?


    @xlich: I can see the value of a tutor, but I'd rather want a creature to put a counter on Animar, than a tutor that costs 3 and only finds CMC 3. Sure it finds Cloudstone Curio and Equilibrium but I'm just not sold on it (and urgh terribad Bloodbraid cascade!)

    Changelog: Testing
    -1 Dosan the falling leaf
    -1 Trench Gorger
    -1 Faultgrinder

    +1 Garruk's Horde
    +1 Magus of the Future
    +1 Bloodbraid Elf
    Last edited by gelf: 7/27/2011 3:47:44 PM
    Commander
    URG Animar, Soul of Elements [Primer]
    WBW Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter
    RWR Tajic, Blade of the Legion
    WGW Torsten Von Ursus
    GUG Edric, Spymaster of Trest
    RRR Ashling the Pilgrim (she's back!)

    Not MTG related - check out my creative writing blog allthingsdevours
  • #30
    Hunting Moa seems like an awesome booster for Animar. Basically gives it three +1 counters at worst. At best you can bounce it and play it again for G.

    Keldon Firebombers
    I don't think I have seen this in any Animar list, but it looks like it would work great.

    Spellskite would be nice to cast before Animar or just later for free.

    The good old Seedborn Muse+ Vedalken Orrery 'combo' looks great here too.
  • #31
    Quote from Egarran
    Hunting Moa seems like an awesome booster for Animar. Basically gives it three +1 counters at worst. At best you can bounce it and play it again for G.


    It does look good, but it's already very easy to load Animar up with counters, so I prefer my creatures to have utilities other than just pumping Animar. I mean, this creature could make the short list of Animar bombs, but in the end it just doesn't do enough to warrant a spot in the deck in my opinion... Frown

    Quote from Egarran
    Keldon Firebombers
    I don't think I have seen this in any Animar list, but it looks like it would work great.


    Wow, this creature is mean. I think if you were building the right sort of Animar deck (read, land denial Animar) then this creature could find a spot, but my deck is actually pretty mana intensive because once I go off I cast so many spells in a turn. Having said that, I'm going to put this creature on my 'not included, but potential' list, cause I don't want to forget it exists!

    Quote from Egarran
    Spellskite would be nice to cast before Animar or just later for free.


    I haven't played Spellskite in EDH before, but I've seen others play it, and to be honest it doesn't seem to do much... I have a couple of other spells on my potential list that protect Animar so much better (Whim of Volrath, Glamerdye, Lightning Greaves) and that haven't even made the list at this stage.

    Quote from Egarran
    The good old Seedborn Muse+ Vedalken Orrery 'combo' looks great here too.


    If only the non-creature slots were not so few! Perhaps this could find a spot. Seedborn Muse is so very powerful on her own, and combined with Vedalken Orrery, Leyline of Anticipation and/or Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir...

    Alas I fear this is not for this build, but perhaps another Animar build would focus on this style of trickery?
    Last edited by gelf: 8/1/2011 9:36:47 AM
    Commander
    URG Animar, Soul of Elements [Primer]
    WBW Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter
    RWR Tajic, Blade of the Legion
    WGW Torsten Von Ursus
    GUG Edric, Spymaster of Trest
    RRR Ashling the Pilgrim (she's back!)

    Not MTG related - check out my creative writing blog allthingsdevours
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