How They Brew It – The Ten Dollar Reanimator Deck

Michael Celani • July 26, 2021

Mila, Crafty Companion by Yongjae Choi

It was a lonely Tuesday night at the agency. I was lounging at my mahogany desk with my feet up, reading the Times: two o’clock, then four o’clock, then ten. The neon glow of the city shone in through the blinds, but I’ve spent enough time in the business to know that appearances aren’t everything. I took a drink from my cigarette and a drag off my coffee. Everyone has sins, and mine is being too damn handsome.

The boys had already packed up and gone home to their wives that they’re all cheating on with me. I stayed behind. I had to go over the case file one more time. You see, in a city as unforgiving and heartless as Leawood, Kansas, crime never sleeps. That’s why I don’t either. My dreams already died a long time ago.


Man of Mystery

It all started when she walked through that door and into my life. She was sly, wily, and stunningly beautiful. Though her hair was white, she moved like a diva across the office to my desk. In her eyes burned a fiery passion. This is the type of broad that comes along once in a lifetime. She was Mila, Crafty Companion, and she was a fox if I’d ever seen one. I glanced up from my copy of There’s Totally Something Weird About That Guy Monthly and rubbed my eyes to see if I was dreaming.

I was, because it was actually Lukka, Wayward Bonder, and he was about to send me on one case I’d never forget. One where I learned that just because someone’s dead, it don’t mean they’re gone.

Corpse Corps

It started off like any other — kid brother gone missing. Usually I’d send these cases packing like an Amazon worker who gets no bathroom breaks, but something he said got my attention. He mentioned the ol’ smoke factory down by the docks. The place where they manufacture all the smoke in the city… I chuckled. It reminded me of a case I took years ago. So I forded the river to check it out, and like a leftover burrito put in the microwave two days later, things were starting to heat up. It wasn’t just kid brother’s body I found there; it was every major criminal Leawood’s seen in the past five years. If these guys were ever to come back, it would be a problem. In case it was relevant, I made a note of everyone I found at the old smokestack:

  • Humble Defector — card sharp. Once he made his mark, he’d dip out of the game before anyone else could copy his tricks. Johnny “the Prosopagnosiac” Tender claimed that he had a perfect poker face.
  • Grinning Ignus — getaway driver. A total coward who would always drop his loot and skedaddle whenever danger came calling.
  • Goldnight Commander — Don of the Goldnight Mafia. Had a knack for setting up ambushes with the boys. Near his body I also found:
    • Reverent Hoplite and Evangel of Heliod — capos. Their soldiers were known for being especially fierce.
    • Adriana, Captain of the Guard and Captain of the Watch — People on the inside. No wonder Goldnight lived as long as it did.
    • Geist-Honored Monk — money launderer. Funneled illegally-gotten gains through her dojo, which upon investigation had only two students that were both already dead.
    • Myr Battlesphere — bank vault containing smaller, cuter bank vaults. The Goldnight Mafia once stole an entire bank vault just to get at Her Majesty’s Gigantic Bounty, a safe containing thousands of dollars in precious metals. Its current whereabouts are unknown.
  • Karmic Guide — unlicensed doctor. Questionable medical practices made her lose her license, and maybe even her life.
  • Crater Hellion and Bloodfire Colossus — pyromaniac arsonists. Liked to target fire stations, which really is a minor inconvenience for them.
  • Spitebellows — army sniper. Once the war ended, he found himself unable to integrate back into society. Looks like someone had their sights on him, but who?
  • Soul of Eternity and Zetalpa, Primal Dawn — experiments gone wrong. Information on these two is classified.
  • Returned Pastcaller and Revolutionist — fellow detectives who got in too far over their heads. Serves them right; they’d always call me a dick when I was investigating.

Not Dat Card

The high concentration of unconscious bodies in a single location made me suspect that something was off about the smoke factory. I checked several of the victims for a pulse, and was surprised when I didn’t quite find any — but I didn’t quite not find any, either. It was as if they all had a half-pulse, and as such were not really one-hundred percent murdered. I put the pieces together and ended up at Chimera Chemicals Inc., a company known for manufacturing turbo-poisons. It was there I learned the terrible truth as to how these people were ending up in graveyards without dying first.

  • I noticed a nearby Excavated Wall where an addition to the building was planned. I swiftly donned a reflective vest and clipboard, my all-access pass to blending into places without arousing suspicion, and waited around for an opportunity.
  • After what felt like forever, I finally overheard a manager’s Tormenting Voice berating an employee and made a Thrilling Discovery: the executive board was to meet with a group only known as “PREPCON” at 5 PM, and the entire facility was to be locked down.
  • Once the manager was left alone, I quickly knocked him out with a sucker punch from behind so I could Seize the Spoils: his keycard to the building proper.
  • Though it was dangerous, the Thrill of Possibility kept me going as I sank deeper into the building.
  • I found an Unexpected Windfall in the fourth floor laboratories: samples of a suspicious chemical. I swiped some to anaylze later.
  • I finally reached my target: A small security monitoring station on the fifth floor, where I could monitor the rest of the building and conference rooms.
  • The meeting started. Mad Prophets, titans of academia like Plargg, Dean of Chaos, and even underworld crony Rummaging Goblins entered the meeting room. I leaned forward in my seat to watch the meeting, and that’s when everything went black.

Blink and You’ll Miss It

I woke up with my hands tied to a chair inside the trunk of a car within a dark underground basement. It was at that moment, when Lukka, Wayward Bonder walked up to me, that I realized he may have something to do with this whole thing. He explained that Chimera Chemicals discovered a way to suspend people in a half-dead, half-living state where they would require no food or oxygen, making it possible to ship criminals across the globe for cheap. Once delivered, he would wake them up remotely with his smartphone. By doing this, they could commit crimes in specific places where the government planned to develop high speed rail to systematically lower property values. Then, Chimera would buy up the land and make money by the millions on eminent domain. It always came back to real estate.

The only thing I couldn’t figure out was how they were able to wake people up permanently once the scheme completed. What he told me blew my mind.

Although Lukka, Wayward Bonder could revive each person for a short amount of time, if they stayed in that state for long enough they’d well and truly die. But the poison breaks down rapidly in a zero gravity environment, which is why once each conspirator is done committing crimes they were launched into space for a brief period. Livio, Oathsworn Sentinel was behind this part of the scheme, and once he confirmed it would work after using a certain CEO as a test subject, the poison was no more an inconvenience than your yearly shower.

Pinot Noir

Of course, I won’t bore you with the details of how I escaped, took down Chimera Chemicals, and got the fox in the end. Ultimately, I got a raise for solving the case involving every single criminal in the city, and I used my extra $10 a year to purchase the following commander decklist. I laughed as I took a puff from my pipe and another one from my bag of Pirate’s Booty. For once in this dull city, things might be just fine.


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Newly appointed member of the FDIC and insured up to $150,000 per account, Michael Celani is the member of your playgroup that makes you go "oh no, it's that guy again." He's made a Twitter account @GamesfreakSA as well as other mistakes, and his decks have been featured on places like MTGMuddstah. You can join his Discord at https://discord.gg/xWWqD2G8Fj and vote on which decks you want to see next. In addition to writing, he has a job, other hobbies, and friends.