Modern Infect by toondoslav
Modern just underwent a huge upheaval, which Matt Nass and I covered in a pretty big Ban Wagon, so today I’m taking a look at a deck that didn’t get hit by the flurry of bannings. Infect has been a Modern staple ever since the format began, and it actually picked up a new addition to its arsenal in Snakeskin Veil. Let’s take a look!
If you can count to 10, you can play infect (okay, it’s not quite that simple). It’s all about getting in 10 points of poison damage, which isn’t hard when your deck has 20 pump spells.
This deck really takes advantage of the fact that your opponent’s life total is effectively halved when you deal infect damage, so every pump spell is doubled. Even a lowly 1/1 can one-shot the opponent, and an Inkmoth Nexus lurking in play is a scary sight indeed.
This deck specifically didn’t get hit by the bans, and it’s certainly good for it that the various Valki, God of Lies cascade piles got taken out. The Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, Field of the Dead and Mystic Sanctuary bans are less clear, but in general, if a bunch of Tier 1 decks got weaker, it’s good for decks that weren’t affected.
This bears mentioning by itself, because it’s by far the best infect creature in the deck. You essentially “cast” it just by playing your land for the turn and it even has evasion. Whenever you have Inkmoth in play, your opponent has to worry about it, and if they leave mana up for removal, you can just decline to activate it. Games where you have Inkmoth are much easier than ones where you don’t, and it’s a card I always love to see in my opener.
These are your other two poisoners, and both are important to see early. Agent is more powerful, but slower, and Elf is what leads to your juicy turn two kills. You don’t really want to draw too many creatures, but the difference between zero and one is the whole game.
There are too many pump spells to list all of them, and they all combine to accomplish the same goal: counting to 10. Some of these deal more, some protect your creatures and Mutagenic Growth stands out because it’s free.
This is the only accelerant the deck plays, and that’s all on the exalted ability (plus the ability to tap for blue and green both). Noble acts as a mini-pump spell every turn and can make your start much more threatening than it would be otherwise.
The most important thing to look for is an infect creature, and Inkmoth Nexus definitely counts. A hand would have to be exceptional to keep without one, as this deck doesn’t do much if you don’t lead with a creature capable of winning.
Mulligan. The only way I’d keep this is if I knew I was facing a deck where Spell Pierce is needed (like fast combo). This hand just can’t kill them unless it draws an infect creature, and there’s too big a risk of not drawing it.
Keep. The mana situation is a bit awkward, but double Nexus plus pump spells (one of which is free) is a good place to be.
Keep. This hand does need to draw pump spells, but leading on two infect creatures plus a Spell Pierce is solid. It even can cycle Waterlogged Grove on turn four or so.
- When you have Glistener Elf and Noble Hierarch in your opener, you usually want to lead with Hierarch (unless you have the turn two kill). You give up one attack, but it lets you deploy your threats and keep up protection.
- Sometimes, you just have to go for it. While it’s always nice to be able to threaten a kill with an extra Snakeskin Veil or Vines of Vastwood in hand, if you play this deck, you’ve gotta be ready to just throw your cards on the table and hope it works.
- Remember to lead by activating Pendelhaven before your creature grows via other effects.
Err, maybe that’s not the best phrasing these days. In any case, this is a good deck, and it satisfies the primal urge of playing creatures and casting Giant Growths on them. Good luck if you pick it up and don’t be afraid to just slam.