November 4, 2016

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Going for the Gold: Counting to 10

When I was first thinking about what to write this week, I considered talking about the other decks available in Standard. You know the decks that you’d play if you had handicapped yourself and wouldn’t play UW. However, since I’m a really nice guy I wouldn’t want to give you any advice that could end up costing you time and money. So, if you really don’t want to play UW flash then you should probably just play Modern.

GP Dallas is this upcoming weekend and it is one of the last few GPs this year before we ring in the holidays. Professionals and players alike will be flowing to sunny Dallas Fort Worth to get some precious pro points and cash. Unfortunately, I’ll be taking a break from competitive Magic in November so you get to benefit from my absence. If you haven’t been living under a rock the title of my article should have already given away the deck that I’m going to suggest you play….Infect!

What will you need to play Infect? Patience, Poison Counters and a good decklist. I certainly can’t help you with the first, and I’m sure that Wizard's Tower can sell you some poison counters, but I definitely got you covered with a great decklist. Where’s this decklist you ask? Well before we even get into what it will look like, let’s talk about what makes Infect great.

  • Infect has so many great matchups in the field
  • People add Spellskites and removal to their deck and think they have a great Infect matchup
  • You don’t need that many cards to win
  • You don’t care about what life your opponent is at
  • The spells you are playing are very versatile: protection, pump, removal
  • No matter what you play against, you have a shot of nutdrawing them

In order to explain the effectiveness of Infect, I have split up the deck by the various categories below.


Infect has a core set of infect creatures that are each great in their own right. Glistener Elf is at its best against non-creature decks as it comes down early and can enable a kill as early as turn 2. Blighted Agent is great against creature decks as its unblockability allows it to get past creatures, especially those pesky Lingering Souls tokens that cause Infect players many headaches. Finally, Inkmoth Nexus allows you to have an infect creature waiting in the wings that can dodge pinpoint removal or mass removal spells until you are ready to engage. Finally, the last 4 creatures in the deck are Noble Hierarchs. They function as a mini pump spell if you have lone attackers and also increase your mana output, especially when you play the UG version of Infect.


Modern is a format with very low mana costs and this deck is no different. Since most of the spells in the deck cost between 1 and 2 mana, there is no need for more than 20 lands. Nine of the lands are fetchlands which not only reduce the number of lands in the deck, but also fuel Delve cards such as Become Immense. Four of these lands are Inkmoth Nexus which are also very potent threats. One of the lands is a Dryad Arbor which is an excellent way to mitigate mana flood and can also be fetched at instant speed to protect against Liliana of the Veil. Finally, Pendelhaven allows you to pump your infect creatures to 2/3s before applying your other pump spells or letting exalted triggers resolve.


Gitaxian Probe does everything that this deck could ever want. You are able to see what your opponent has in hand, draw an extra card and fuel delve all for the low cost of….0 mana and 2 life!?! The information that you get about your opponent’s hand is critical and the best Infect players will wait to cast this spell until they can take advantage of the information.

Protection Spells: (defined as a spell that protects one of your 12 infect creatures from non-damage based removal spells)

Blossoming Defense is the new poster child coming out of Kaladesh and is already seeing a lot of play in Standard. It really shines in Infect where it acts as a Mutagenic Growth that is able to give hexproof to your creature. Vines of Vastwood is the other hybrid pump / protection spell, which prior to the release of Kaladesh was a four of in all Infect decks. However, it is much weaker than Blossoming Defense since an extra green mana is required to pump the creature on top of the protection effect. This would not have been a deal-breaker, if Become Immense was not in the deck. Finally, Spell Pierce is a “catch-all” card that is typically played to spike random spells from Lingering Souls to Collected Company or other removal spells.

Pump Spells:

The best spell in this deck and the one that makes it a great choice for Modern, Become Immense, allows you to close out games very fast, especially utilizing fetchlands and cheap cantrips. On top of the protection pump spells, this deck features 4 copies of Mutagenic Growth which is a great pump spell that does not cost you any mana. Rounding out the pump spells is another great pump spell, Might of Old Krosa. This may typically look like a sorcery speed spell considering that it must be cast in the main phase, but Infect has many evasion and protection spells that allow you to play it sorcery speed at minimal cost.

Evasion Spells:

Distortion Strike edges out Slip through Space as it gives +1/+0 and unblockable twice. This allows Glistener Elf and Inkmoth Nexus to attack through cluttered boards with ease.

Removal Spells:

In order to win games where an opponent has a Spellskite, it is imperative to run Dismember and Twisted Image. The image allows you to kill these “so-called” trumps as a cantrip spell. Dismember can also kill Melira, Sylvok Outcast and is a fantastic removal spell in the mirror.

Putting all of that together, here is the completed decklist:

Some of your best matchups: (decks that have minimal interaction)

RG Scapeshift
Ad Nauseum
Lantern Control

Some of your worst matchups: (any deck with discard and creature removal)

Grixis Control
Jund / Abzan

Unlike, Standard I won’t be providing a sideboard guide as there are too way many matchups and many completely different builds within archetypes. It is important to understand what you are trying to do in each match, making sure that you balance your disruption with your clock. Infect’s biggest strength is its explosiveness and raw power to win when uninterrupted. Moreover, if you have an opponent who is getting in your way, you still have the tools to sidestep them.

Good luck in Modern, and remember if all else fails…there is always UW Flash. Until next time,

Sammy T