Last week I looked at Modern Death’s Shadow, which was the deck likely to suffer most from Gitaxian Probe’s banning. The information, delve fuel, and life loss were exactly what those decks need. Losing Probe from Infect decks wouldn’t be quite as impactful, but we’re talking about taking Modern’s likely public enemy number one, and taking it down a few pegs. We know the construction of the deck will have to change, but a strategy this strong is sure to adapt.
The selection of creatures isn’t going to change. Turn-1 Glistener Elf is still incredibly threatening. Without Probe to fuel delve, turn-2 kills are much more uncommon, but turn 3 is still possible. Assuming you stick with traditional U/G Infect, Blighted Agent is your best option. It comes down early and you never have to worry about clearing away blockers.
Noble Hierarch is commonly viewed as the most important card in the deck. It comes down on turn 1, accelerates you, fixes your mana, and pumps up your creatures. Against decks that deal lots of damage to themselves, such as Death’s Shadow or Burn, it can even end the game quickly with some pump spells.
Inkmoth Nexus is tough to interact with. Sorcery-speed removal and planeswalkers can’t touch it, and it isn’t a legal target for Abrupt Decay. The threat of a Nexus activation means your opponents will often be unable to tap out. Throw in flying to make it difficult to block and it’s part of what makes Infect so dangerous.
With Probe’s banning, the reliance on Become Immense for a kill in the early stages of the game is diminished. You no longer want to see Become Immense in your opening hand, so those numbers are going to get shaved. 4 copies are now down to 2.
Without Probe’s information, cards that protect your creatures from removal that you couldn’t see coming go up in value. Vines of Vastwood is already a 4-point pump spell that has added protection, so it’s an easy 4-of. With 4 additional copies of both Blossoming Defense and Apostle’s Blessing, you’re maximizing the ways to stymie interaction with your infect creatures.
Trying to find the best pump spells in a world where you can’t rely on Become Immense isn’t easy, but Might of Old Krosa is still going to make the cut as a 4-of. A single mana for 4-point bonus is huge in a deck trying to close out the game on turn 3. Mutagenic Growth increases your chances of a turn-2 kill, but otherwise it’s also one of the weakest pump spells since it only bolsters by 2 points and doesn’t grant hexproof or evasion.
Rancor has the added benefit of both returning from the graveyard and giving your creature additional evasion. Trying to get an Inkmoth through Lingering Souls isn’t easy, but Rancor goes a long way. Slip Through Space can also make it impossible to block while helping fuel your few remaining delve spells.
Infect is not the consensus-best-deck-in-the-format that it might have been before the Probe ban, but it’s still a strong deck. An unprepared opponent is still sure to get poisoned out quickly.