Modern players have been cooking up a storm with the new cards from Phyrexia: All Will Be One. Atraxa, Grand Unifier‘s potential in a reanimator deck has been a known variable thanks to innovations to the Legacy archetype. Players didn’t know that Atraxa’s reanimation potential was so good that it put the archetype back on the map for the Modern format. Fresh off a Modern challenge win is a new deck that combines potent Evoke elemental combos like what is seen in Rakdos Scam with reanimation strategies straight from Legacy. This has caused an old staple to see a massive explosion in price on the secondary market. Let’s take a look!
Goryo’s Vengeance is the newest powerhouse of the Modern format. This card can resurrect a creature at instant speed for the low cost of two mana. While this is generally used to bypass Emrakul, the Aeons Torn‘s shuffle ability to get a quick Annihilator six swing, the strategy seems to be even better with Atraxa, Grand Unifier.
Atraxa only cares about entering the battlefield and doesn’t care too much about disappearing at the end step. This is because Atraxa will, generally, net you a ton of cards upon entry, making the interaction a heavy net positive. That said, you can find Ephemerate off your Atraxa trigger, which, when used on Atraxa, will let it stick around AND will net you even more cards.
Goryo’s Vengeance’s sudden explosion in popularity means that these cards are worth a decent penny now, but were worth a bit more long ago. The card was only worth about $2.50 in January and climbed to about $4 by the end of February. Since then, Goryo’s Vengeance has skyrocketed to about the $15 range.
Esper Reanimator is Back!
This is the decklist piloted by MTGO user Willoufouf to win the Modern Challenge. As mentioned previously, this deck is trying to juggle a few different combos to leverage a ton of advantage. While there is the reanimator aspect that caused Goryo’s Vengeance to jump in price, there are turn-one Ephemerate combos with your Invoke elementals. Similar to the Rakdos Scam combo, one powerful opening play is to Evoke your Grief turn one with an open land in play, and Ephemerate it in response to it dying to its Evoke trigger. This way, you can take two cards from their hand while having a body on board.
Remember to order your triggers, so you get to see something with the Grief before you Ephemerate it. Otherwise, you might end up getting three-for-one’d by a removal piece in their hand you could’ve taken otherwise. This also allows you to see if your Ephemerate will get messed with even after taking a card, allowing you to save it for later.
You can do something similar with Solitude. The reward is a bunch of Swords to Plowshares, and a Lifelinking body. Since you can Flicker your Atraxa once you reanimate it, you’ll constantly end up with too many cards after your combo, but that isn’t necessarily bad. Since they will get discarded anyway, use your Evoke combos to gain extra advantage and ensure your opponent’s chances of coming back are next to none.
Decks that you may need to watch out for when playing are decks that have an abundant amount of graveyard hate and counterspells. Murktide can be pretty tricky without the Grief start, and Endurance is a fantastic card against you. It’s rather tough for you to close the door without your graveyard, so make sure you have a plan if that happens.
Other Price Hikes
Notably, Ephemerate is also starting to see a significant price uptick. This is likely due to the Reanimator deck, but Ephemerate, honestly, is just a powerful MTG card that sees play in all kinds of places. This is likely the cause for its increase, but you can find Ephemerate in Commander and Legacy as well.
Ephemerate has actually been increasing in price since the release of Phyrexia: All Will Be One. The Mystical Archives version of the card was worth about $1.50 near the end of January of this year but has risen to $4 since. The cheapest Ephemerate has seen a sudden rise in market price from about $1.50 to $4 as well but is selling for lower values currently.
Grief is always a hot card, but it has seen a recent spike. However, this may not be directly the result of the reanimator list since Grief sees play in top Modern decks already. Grief experienced a slight uptick in price near the end of February, rising from $14 to $18.
If you’re interested in trying to cheat in your own Atraxa, Grand Arbiters as early as turn two, consider giving this deck a try!