If you know me well enough, you know that I firmly believe that Modern is the best format to ever come to Magic. I love how the format has a seemingly huge number of decks that can potentially win a tournament at any given day. I also love that despite that huge amount of decks, there are still what one would call best decks. Over time that has changed. It was Splinter Twin, then Eldrazi, then Tron, then Death’s Shadow, then Lantern Control, then Hollow One, then Ironworks, then whatever is next. I think what I love about Modern the most is that if you know your deck and put in the reps you can be rewarded greatly. We saw that recently at Grand Prix Hartford with Michael Mapson and his Amulet Titan deck. The deck is already incredibly complicated to play, but Michael put in a lot of work, learned the matchups, and while falling just short of the title, finished second at the Grand Prix. Someone like Daniel Wong can do the same thing with Taking Turns. Corey Burkhart can do things with Grixis control that nearly no other player can do.
There also exists windows in time where a certain deck goes under the radar and can attack the field. We’ve seen it with Affinity whenever it seems to do well. I recall after the Eggs ban that Affinity rose up because people stopped bringing the hate against Eggs, which was also hate against Affinity. If your opponent is trying to win on turn four, it seems natural that you would want a deck that can win on turn three, and right now, I feel like Infect has room to maneuver in the crowded landscape of Modern. Dealing ten damage is much easier than dealing 20, and with Infect that is what you are looking to do.
Breaking the deck down is super easy as we have a linear game plan here. Ideally we start off with a Glistener Elf, a 1/1 with Infect for one mana. If we miss that we have Blighted Agent on turn two, which is also a 1/1 but it can’t be blocked! There are also copies of Inkmoth Nexus and a one of in Viridian Corrupter in case our smaller creatures are dealt with. We then have a ton of spells that buff our creatures and bury in a tidal wave of marshalades, the marshalades in this case being poison counters.
Noble Hierarch pulls double duty here, acting as acceleration for the deck, which is great because sometimes the difference between winning and losing a game with the deck is being able to cast just one more pump spell, and acts as a pump spell as well with the Exalted ability. Blossoming Defense is a great spell here, the added two damage is great of course, but giving our creature hexproof really makes this shine. Groundswell and Might of Old Krosa do the heavy lifting of the deck. With Landfall, Groundswell gives us four more damage, Might of Old Krosa does the same if we cast it in our main phase. Both spells give our creature a plus two bonus if cast and the conditions are not met, it’s not like these are dead draws. Mutagenic Growth can be cast for the grand total of two life, so if you turn one Glistener Elf, the threat to win on turn two exists and your opponent has to play accordingly. The remaining pump spells in the deck are no joke either. Vines of Vastwood protects our creature and pumps when kicked. Become Immense takes the cards we’ve cast or the lands we’ve fetched and turns them into a really cheap Might of Oaks like spell thanks to Delve.
There are a lot more one of’s in the deck than I am comfortable with. Personally I’m not a huge fan of Wild Defiance, but I understand why some might be. The enchantment gives a plus three bonus when your creature becomes the target of an instant or sorcery. The increases the clock you present to be sure, but it also serves as protection against damage based targeted spells like Lightning Bolt. I’d prefer to have more copies of Spell Pierce, which helps protect your team and disrupts your opponent, or more copies of Dismember in the main. Having an answer to Spellskite may not be as badly needed now as it has been in the past, but it’s still a great way to remove a blocker to push through your damage. Paying a mana and four life to get rid of a creature is not the worst deal, especially when we plan on just beating them before our life total is low enough to matter. Rancor is also great, as it pumps and gives trample. I’m not sure what the ideal list looks like after the core of the deck is assembled, but I do know there are a lot of options!
Is it time for Infect to take Modern by storm? I can see it. We’re fast, often times breaking the turn 4 rule that WotC likes to keep for Modern. We can slide under other combo decks, and we don’t have to interact with our opponent unless they try to kill off a creature. I’d sleeve it up if I were getting ready for a Modern event!
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