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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Card of the Day

Daily Since November 2001!

Animate Dead
Image from Wizards.com

Animate Dead

Reviewed November 28, 2011

Constructed: 3.75
Casual: 4.12
Limited: 4.00
Multiplayer: 4.30

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale
1 being the worst.  3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating

Click here to see all of our 
Card of the Day Reviews 


Animate Dead

Notorious for its nigh-impenetrable block of rules text, its degenerate combo with Worldgorger Dragon, and for being hideously undercosted for what it does, you really have to look at this and wonder who in their right mind decided to reprint this failed experiment. The only advantage to having this in the new Graveborn set is that we now have a slightly cleaner Oracle wording for it-- in every other respect, Magic: the Gathering benefits more from consigning this one to the history books as a mistake not to be repeated.

But of course, revising the Oracle wording wasn't why they reprinted it. They reprinted it for the nostalgia. A surprising number of Magic players still remember playing with Animate Dead the first time around, and I'm sure they appreciate seeing their old favorite with the new borders, more legible text, and some new art. Good art, too-- Anthony Jones did a good job with this one.

Animate Dead is important for another reason as well. In many stories of magically reanimated dead, the resultant zombies have no inertia. They do not operate independently once raised; they are entirely dependant on the magic that animates them. A simple dispel, or killing the necromancer responsible, causes the entire zombie army to collapse into a pile of putrid bones, as though all this time they had actually been magical marionettes instead of autonomous monsters. Most Magic cards that return creature cards to the field, however, fail to capture the flavor of this terminal dependence on the master necromage's will. Animate Dead was an early attempt at a top-down card design. This is the spell you cast on a corpse in order to animate it without making it autonomous. The -1/-0 penalty is also flavor-driven-- it demonstrates that the shambling corpse you see before you is not the healthy living being it once was. Death has robbed it of its strength and free will, but black magics can grant it mobility.

Constructed- 4.5

Casual- 4.5

Limited- 4

Multiplayer- 4.75

David Fanany

Player since 1995

Today is Pojo's tenth anniversary, and between that fact and today's card of the day, I've been thinking a lot about history. Specifically, how often something looks different in hindsight than it does in the present day. A few years ago, I read something describing Animate Dead as one of the most broken cards in Magic, and I reacted with surprise (to put it mildly). This was before I was accustomed to looking at a card like this and see it pulling huge green or artifact creatures out of graveyards on the second turn - my only experience with the card was my sister using it on low-cost creatures, usually her own that I'd destroyed. So it's all a matter of perspective: do you want to see Animate Dead as dangerous, or do you want to make your own stories about it?

Constructed: 4/5
Casual: 4/5
Limited: 4/5
Multiplayer: 4/5


Magic The Gathering Card of The Day: Animate Dead
Welcome back readers todays card of the day is Animate Dead recently reprinted in the premium deck series Graveborn, but most importantly today’s card of the day is the 10th anniversary of Pojo’s card of the day! As a longtime fan of this site and someone who has been reading card of the days for many years this milestone is pretty cool. Anyways onto the card.  In standard and extended and modern this card is illegal therefore won’t see much play. In legacy there is more powerful reanimate cards such as reanimate itself and cards like Exhume that fill this role and are powerful choices. In vintage this card won’t see much play as far as I know reanimator is not that valid of an archetype and this card just doesn’t fit. In casual and multiplayer this card is pretty amazing the ability to hit anyone’s big creatures is certainly powerful and the -1/0 is not really noticeable this is a definite inclusion in reanimator decks. In limited if this card is able to be drafted it is somewhat powerful black card all though it doesn’t fit into many archetypes in limited. Overall a powerful reanimator card that is perfect for casual reanimator decks. Happy 10th anniversary!
Constructed: 2.0
Casual: 3.5
Limited: 3.0
Multiplayer: 3.5

Michael "Maikeruu" Pierno

Today's card of the day is Animate Dead which for two mana can bring a creature from any graveyard back into play under your control with the only drawbacks being a -1/-0 and being sacrificed if Animate Dead is removed.  Neither drawback is a major issue as any target chosen is likely to have high power or abilities that make power less important. 
The vulnerability to enchantment removal is a minimal risk as few dedicated enchantment hate cards are played and the chances of one being used on Animate Dead is far from high enough to avoid using the card. 
Overall Animate dead provides the potential for a major advantage in any game where it is played and is easily played in a variety of designs, but excels when combined with large creatures and methods of getting them into the graveyard early.
In Limited formats where Animate Dead can be played it is a game winning card when used on any bomb creature, especially ones that are difficult to destroy in some way.  Even if your opponent can remove the threat once it should be far more difficult to do so again in the format, particularly with maintained pressure from the creature.  An opponent's creature can be just as difficult, if not more so, for them to react to and has a psychological impact as well.  A first pick in Booster if the rare isn't truly impressive and should be played whenever possible in Sealed, even splashing Black if feasible.
For Multiplayer having the choice of any player's graveyard makes this card even stronger as at least one opponent should have a strong choice available to target.
Constructed: 4.5
Casual: 4.5
Limited: 5.0
Multiplayer: 5.0

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