Junk Rites is one of the most popular deck builds in Magic: the Gathering Standard format right now. Junk is a word used to describe a group of mana colors that simply don’t fit with one another (W/B/G in this case), and Rites is derived from the deck’s main spell, Unburial Rites. Junk Rites is a re-animator deck, meaning that players generally play the bulk of their spells and creatures from the graveyard rather than their hand. If you’re looking for some guidance on how to build and play a Junk Rites deck, look no further.
One of the best features about Junk Rites is the fact that you can play practically any creature. You aren’t nearly as restricted by your mana in regards to creatures, although it is still wise to include creatures you can play from your hand. We will begin by discussing some of the most powerful cards you should expect to include in a Junk Rites deck.
- Avacyn’s Pilgrim – mana ramp is important in this deck, you want to be able to cast your instant and sorcery spells as soon as possible.
- Arbor Elf – just another mana dork, as aforementioned, you want to ramp up your mana as fast as possible to get your spells into play.
- Angel of Serenity – this card is more often than not a game-winner. Unless your opponent has something to remove Angel of Serenity from the game very quickly, the effect of exiling three creatures is usually too difficult to overcome.
- Lotleth Troll – this is the card you want to have on the battlefield early in the game, Lotleth Trolls let you discard those big creatures into your graveyard so you can cast them with Unburial Rites.
- Craterhoof Behemoth – yet another game-winner, if you have five or six mana dorks on the battlefield and you bring in Craterhoof, you’ll be swinging an easy 20 – 30 damage with trample at your opponent.
- Restoration Angel – never a bad choice, Restoration Angel allows you to rescue some of your other creature cards from destruction or exile while also allowing you to flash in a blocker when necessary.
- Griselbrand – bringing out a 7/7 flying creature with lifelink can be absolutely devastating, but doing it on turn 3 (which this deck can do) is simply ridiculous.
This deck has the potential to get the ball rolling around turn three, bringing out massive creatures that your opponents will have an incredibly difficult time dealing with. Since this deck relies heavily on getting creatures into your graveyard, however, we need to talk about the best ways to do that. We need to talk about the key instant and sorcery spells that will fill your graveyard quickly.
Instants and Sorceries
- Mulch – a wonderful card early in the game, it provides you with a dual benefit. Mulch lets you ramp your mana while also putting creatures in your graveyard, this is what Junk Rites is all about.
- Grisly Salvage – yet another great way to fill up your graveyard while grabbing a key creature or land card.
- Lingering Souls – being able to throw out a few blockers early in the game will sustain you long enough to get out your big beaters, and with a flash-back cost it doesn’t really matter if you cast it from your hand or your graveyard.
- Unburial Rites – the whole deck’s namesake, Unburial Rites is what makes this build work. Without this card, you’re just playing a bunch of huge creatures with mana ramp.
When Junk Rites is firing on all cylinders it is practically impossible to beat. At the bottom of this article is a sample deck build for those of you interested in a little more guidance. I hope you have fun playing Junk Rites, and I’ll see you at Friday Night Magic!
Example Deck Build