The Pantheon Deck Tech: Affinity

I decided to stick with what I knew best and ran Affinity in Atlanta. I thought Infect was the superior deck, but I figured my win percentage would be similar, if not better, if I sleeved up the robots, because I had so much experience with the deck and Modern is a format that usually rewards that.

Here is what I registered on Friday morning:


The biggest difference between my list and most other lists is that I run 14 zero-casting-cost artifacts as well as 4 Thoughtcast. I know most players don’t like to play too many copies of the blue sorcery, but they’ve always been good to me. I wanted to maximize my chances of enabling Mox Opal on turn 1 and be as explosive as possible—I feel my numbers make sense.

I ran two copies of Welding Jar hoping to protect a turn-1 or turn-2 Overseer, since you’re usually in very good shape if you untap with it.

For a while, I had 9 or 10 colored spells in the main deck. I was running 1-2 Master of Etherium and 4 Thoughtcast as well as 4 Galvanic Blast, since the card was very good against what I thought would be the three most popular decks: Infect, Affinity, and Burn. I know Frank Karsten advocates 6-7 colored spells maximum, but I felt like I could get away with it, and if I didn’t draw colored mana I would be in bad shape anyway.

I was still undecided on what to play on the Thursday before the PT, hesitating between Affinity, Infect, and Kiki Chord. I decided that I hadn’t played enough games with Infect and that I would be better off playing Affinity unless I wanted to gamble with Kiki Chord. I had been doing well with Kiki Chord in the MTGO Leagues, but the deck performed poorly in my teammates’ testing and by the time I joined the group, everyone had pretty much dismissed the deck. I didn’t get many games in against tough real-life opponents and the few sets I played against Infect weren’t convincing at all.

I decided to play it safe and settled on Affinity. I Googled some of Frank’s old articles, read them, and after reflecting on the numerous games I had played, I decided to cut down on Galvanic Blasts. The other card I cut down on was Vault Skirge since I felt it didn’t add much to the deck and just made it more vulnerable to cards like Lingering Souls, Anger of the Gods, etc. I know they’re good against Burn and okay in the mirror, but I had been doing well versus Burn without them. They get much worse after sideboard in the mirror and against most decks when people have more ways to deal with your Cranial Platings.

The sideboard is fairly standard. The last few additions were the 1 Chalice of the Void and the 2 Etched Champions for 1 Ray of Revelation, the second Thoughtseize, and a Torpor Orb. One card that doesn’t appear in most lists but that I love is Unified Will. The card is very good against decks like Tron or Scapeshift, helps you fight Shatterstorm and Creeping Corrosion, and you can even bring it in against Burn.

I’m supposed to turn this guide in on the Thursday night before the PT, but I’m almost never done deciding what I’m going to play and what my numbers are going to be until Friday morning. On top of that, I forgot my power cord—which delayed my writing even more—so I’m not going to pretend like I don’t know what happened last weekend. I obviously wish I had figured out the proper way to build the Eldrazi deck, but it seems that Affinity was still a fine choice even though clearly not the best. It’s interesting that Maynard and Dickmann both had 4 Master of Etherium in the main deck. I feel like 4 might be too many, though I can easily be convinced otherwise. I’m not sure now is the best time to be playing Affinity, but here is what I’ll most likely play the next time I fire a MTGO league:

Affinity, Post-PT


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