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Frankenstein's Monster- Modern Infect (Primer)

Modern Aggro BUG (Sultai) Combo Competitive Control Infect

BodhiQL


Introduction

"It's Alive! It's Alive!"

Thirteenth highest score Competitive Modern Infect deck on TappedOut as of July 2018!!

Welcome to my deck, and thanks for stopping by!

Modern Infect is a deck that has been around since circa the beginning of the format. It revolves around using small, cheap creatures with the keyword "Infect" and an arsenal of pump spells to place 10 poison counters on your opponent. Infect was first printed in Scars of Mirrodin on October 1, 2010. It was a Phyrexian allied mechanic, printed on a wide assortment of creatures, the best including Glistener Elf, Blighted Agent, and Plague Stinger.

Dominating some of the first Modern tournaments, earlier Mono-Blue versions relied on casting Blazing Shoal to exile Progenitus or the like onto a small Infect creature, killing your opponent on turn 2 or 3. This, however, warranted the ban of Blazing Shoal. After this, Infect players added Green to their lists and an array of pump spells, including the likes of Vines of Vastwood and Giant Growth. Infect decks became more varied, and players began to try different color combinations, such as Mono-Green, Mono-Black, Red/Green, Green/Black, Green/White, Blue/Green/Black, and Blue/Red/Green.

Infect was a feared Tier-1 deck that played a fast aggressive game. It could steal games on turns 2 through 4, and became well known because of this. It can overcome the card disadvantage associated with non-permanent pump spells by only having to deal 10 damage, and doing so before your opponent had the chance to deal with your creature. Many pro players such as Jon Finkel and Tom Ross piloted the deck with great success. But only a few short years later, disaster struck.

On January 9, 2017, Wizards of the Coast banned Gitaxian Probe in Modern. Only 11 days later on the 20th Aether Revolt was released, and with it, the printing of Fatal Push. These two major events spelled the end to Infect, as almost immediately afterward, it dropped from the map completely in competitive scenarios. The deck was dead, but I intended to revive it.

I have been playing Infect for around 4 and a half years, and it is easily my favorite Modern deck to pilot, if not my favorite deck for any format. Despite it being a dead deck, my "Frankensteined" list can still snatch games by turn 2, and hold its own in the later game. I often win or place high in my game stores Modern FNMs, and I top eighted a PPTQ, which is the farthest into more competitive Magic I have been able to attend so far. Enough on me though, lets get started. May I introduce you to:

Frankenstein's Monster- Competitive Modern Infect



Overview

So, before we get started I have a few things to cover. First off, since the banning of Gitaxian Probe, Infect has evolved from a blitz-type win fast deck to a more reactive deck, drawing out your opponents removal until it is time to strike. This is done using protection cards such as Vines of Vastwood and Blossoming Defense. I believe both of these are must-haves for any Infect list because we lack the free "perfect information" granted by Git Probe. I will explain more on this concept later in the primer.

Secondly, in Magic, there are three main categories of decks- Aggro, Combo, and Control. Some people regard Infect as strictly Aggro, because you play small creatures early and win fast. Others call it a Combo deck. You need a few certain cards played in the right order to win. All of this is understandable, however, I would classify Infect as all three types of deck. Albeit, a loose definition of Control, but I believe all three archetypes to be present in one 60-card pile of paper and plastic sleeves. Infect fits under Aggro as I stated before, however, also as stated, it has become more reactive, which is where the Control aspect comes in.

Third, Infect is by no means easy to pilot. Lots of players give me crap about playing a deck that requires so little intellectual plays. All I do is play a creature and count to 10, right? In reality, there is a lot more to it than that. Starting from when I draw my first hand I have to start thinking. Hopefully this primer will clue you in to my thought process

Well now that I have my personal matters covered, lets hop into the primer!

I have sorted the list into the following categories. Creature, Land, Pump, Protection, and Disruption

Creature- All 24 of them! Although generally it is a small number for a 60-card deck that relies on winning with them, this is all we need. Glistener Elf, Plague Stinger and Blighted Agent are the main beaters, with Inky as a third option. It is more mana expensive, but it also causes your opponent to think much more than they would opposed to you having just a Glistener Elf. Noble Hierarch is also another significant piece. She would be unplayable without the Exalted text, just a strictly worse Birds of Paradise, and unplayable without the mana ability, simply a worse Aven Squire. However, with both, she is easily one of the best cards in the deck, and well deserving of her high price tag. She gives your creature an extra +1/+1, which can often be the 10th poison counter needed to finish a game, threatens another pump or protection spell, and gets under Ensnaring Bridge for beats. All around a great card.

Pump- These are what make Infect scary for you opponent. They could lose out of nowhere if they tap out, and if they don't play around the pumps correctly they still lose. Might of Old Krosa is probably my favorite here. +4/+4 for can't be beat. Notable excludes are Groundswell, because Landfall isn't very consistent, and any 2 mana pump (other than sort of Vines of Vastwood) because they are too slow.

Protection- As stated in the Overview, Vines of Vastwood and Blossoming Defense are must haves for Infect. They are both equal to me, with Vines being slightly ahead just because it has the possibility for more damage, and in rare situations I can cast it in response to an opponents pump or Equip trigger to basically Stifle it. Thanks pre-Hexproof Hexproof wording!

Disruption- I have been playing one mainboard Dismember for quite a while, and I really like it. I can snuff out a Tasigur, Death's Shadow, or some Eldrazi nuisance. In most other matchups though, it comes out. Spell Pierce is my mainboard counterspell which is, in my opinion better than Dispel because I can deal with much more. Versatility is value. Inquisition of Kozilek was chosen over Thoughtsieze because I take a lot of damage from lands already, and pretty much anything I would want to get rid of costs 3 or less anyway.

Land- You'd think there isn't much to say about lands, but this is probably the most important section of the deck. First thing is the importance of fetch lands. They fuel Delve for your Become Immense, filter land out of the deck, so you don't draw it late game when you need a pump or creature, and can fetch out Breeding Pool or Overgrown Tomb for untapped Blue/Black OR Green on turn 1. This leads into a notable exclude of any land that enters the battlefield tapped. Budget versions of Infect play cards such as Evolving Wilds or Simic Guildgate. I cannot stress enough how much these hurt the deck. Not having untapped mana every turn is the worst feeling in the world. This is why I removed Dryad Arbor, because I kept getting screwed over by basically not hitting my land drop. Finally, you may notice the only basic land I play are Forests. Green is the most important color in the deck, and having something that can only tap for Blue or Black mana hurts consistency. This is why I play mostly shocks and fetches.

As I explained in the Introduction, there are many ways to build Infect. After some more testing, I opted for the Blue/Green/Black variant. For quite a while, I was very adamant on staying strictly Blue/Green, however, I have found that the cards granted by black, notably Inquisition of Kozilek, Fatal Push, and Plague Stinger made the deck a lot stronger. As for other colors, White gives Path to Exile, un-Boltable Priests of Norn, and a few other powerful cards, however it doesn't add enough in my opinion. Red can make the deck faster, with Assault Strobe effects, but it made the deck inconsistent, and unless you had some kind of evasion the Sorcery speed Double-Strike enablers were useless if my opponent had any blockers.

If you want to see the original Simic list, here it is-


Frankenstein's Monster- Simic Edition

Modern BodhiQL

SCORE: 1 | 53 VIEWS | IN 1 FOLDER


So, I believe that the banning of Git Probe hurt the deck, but it also took it off the radar of many players. Some casual players still mess around with it, but in the semi-competitive environment of Modern FNMs at my local game store, I have found that newcomers have less of an idea on how to deal with me. Even people who have played at the shop as long or longer than I have trouble, because it isn't something they practice against. Infect is strong against anything that is slower but doesn't pack much removal, faster decks I can race, and people who underestimate and misjudge my deck.

Positive Matchups- Tron (GR, BG, Mono Green, Eldrazi variants), Merfolk (Mono Blue and Simic variants), Ad Nauseam, Living End (Blue and Jund Variants), Nahiri/Emrakul decks (Jeskai, Mardu, Boros variants), Scapeshift, Hatebears, Elves, Mardu Tokens

The main weaknesses are removal and hand disruption. If the opponent keeps us off our creatures for too long, its hard to come back. Usually the high amount of protection and disruption in the main and side help against these. If I run out, or I don't have enough creatures to keep the pressure on, I lose. However, if I always save mana by keeping lands open, I can sometimes bluff having a protection spell. The few cards I have found that absolutely wreck my deck are Chalice of the Void and Blood Moon, but more on this later. Hyper aggressive decks have proven to be harder to deal with, because if I don't have the right starting hand I get raced.

Poor Matchups- Burn, Control (Grixis and Blue/White variants), Deaths Shadow (Grixis and Jund variants), Storm, Revolt Zoo, Humans


The Strategy

The game begins when I draw my first opening hand. The first thing I have to do is figure out what my opponent is playing. If it is a shop regular, I usually know, however, if it is someone I have never played against, I sneakily check for clues. Verbal clues from before the game even begins like them talking to a friend about what deck they're playing, etc. Even the color of sleeves or deckbox might give hints to colors, or if they have a stack of tokens nearby. Basically anything to help me make the choice of whether or not to keep. In any matchup, you want somewhere around this for your starting hand. 2-3 Land, 1-2 Creatures, 2-4 Noncreature spells. Usually a decent mix of Protection and Pump. Against control, I am more obligated to keep more creatures, and more protection. Against aggro, more pumps. Just logically think about how much removal you will need to break through before you can win.

Turn One-Three: So many newer Infect players will jam whatever creature they can on turn 1, only to see it be killed off on their opponents turn. If I know my opponent, I will sometimes save up mana and play the Elf on turn 2 with a Spell Pierce backup. Now, if you have the magical turn 2 win, or even a turn 3 win, and you think you are safe and/or have at least one other creature in your hand, go for it. Watch for bluffs. This is an important clue. Also, the more cards they have in hand, the more likely they have something. Be wary and play carefully and reactively. Against opponents with fast decks, the best thing you can do is race. However, a turn 1 Inquisition of Kozilek can be game breaking for some decks or if your opponent kept a risky hand.

Turn Four-Six: If you've made it this far with a creature on the battlefield, you should be set. Inky is especially good at this stage of the game. By this point, they should have few cards left in hand, and hopefully a few poison counters. Play it safe though, don't get too hasty.

Turn Seven+: This is probably the worst stage of the game to be at. Usually you get into "topdeck mode," and rarely still have your creature. The best thing you can do is try to bluff and hope you draw into something helpful. Don't let your opponent stabilize, or you lose for sure.

I spoke briefly about mulligans earlier, but here is a list of cards you want in hand based on matchup. They don't define a keeping hand, but if you have them plus a good base then keep it. Mulligan aggressively, a bad starter will lose the game.

Control- Spell Pierce, Blossoming Defense, Vines of Vastwood, Inkmoth Nexus

Aggro- Creatures (other than Inky) and Pumps more than anything, Inquisition of Kozilek

Combo- Spell Pierce, Inquisition of Kozilek

This section will go over what cards to exchange in certain matchups. I will only include decks I play against often, because those are what I have experience against. If you have any requests for matchups put it in the comments and I'll try to help.

Grixis Control:

-----In: 2x Shapers' Sanctuary, 1x Spellskite

-----Out: 3x Mutagenic Growth

Mardu Tokens:

-----In: 2x Shapers' Sanctuary, 1x Spellskite

-----Out: 1x Dismember, 2x Mutagenic Growth

Storm:

-----In: 2x Graffdiggers Cage

-----Out: 1x Dismember, 1x Plague Stinger

Burn:

-----In: 2x 2x Shapers' Sanctuary, 1x Apostle's Blessing, 1x Spellskite

-----Out: 3x Mutagenic Growth, 1x Dismember

Green/White Hatebears:

-----In: 2x Fatal Push

-----Out: 2x Spell Pierce

Merfolk:

-----In: 2x Fatal Push

-----Out: 2x Spell Pierce


Other Information

So, here are some cards I have opted not to play. If you want to try and argue any of these please do, but as of now I have deemed them below the cut for my deck. Most of these are popular choices, and many of them are played in the few decks popping up here and there, I just don't like them personally.

Twisted Image- I see this card a lot, and personally, it doesn't even seem that good. Best case scenario you spend a blue to kill a Spellskite and draw a card, but Dismember or any artifact destruction does it as well, and is more versatile, as I am using precious card slots for cards that do more than just one thing. Because, other than killing Spellskite, Image is just a bad cantrip that doesn't progress the game. Its basically Cycle. Dissenter's Deliverance has the same effect for green, which we have more sources of, and is more versatile.

Jace, Vryn's Prodigy  Flip- Still on the fence about good ol' Jace. He seems kinda slow and dies to removal but he has some major upside. He might make an appearance at some point.

Dispel- I like the versatility of Spell Pierce over just instants. Admiral's Order seems better, because worst case scenario its still Cancel

Dryad Arbor- Taken out recently because I hated having the effect of a tapland. Only really good agaisnt decks with card:Lilliana of the Veil|Lilly

Island- Blue is the least important color in the deck, and I have enough duals to support it with out needing Islands. They hurt consistency and therefore aren't included.

Livewire Lash- I see this card a lot in Infect sideboards, and I don't understand why. It super slow, and while it does give direct damage it uses up mana I would otherwise use for protection and makes the creature a larger target.

Cathedral of War- As stated above, Noble Hierarch is only good with both the mana ability and Exalted on the same card. Having a land that enters tapped, can only produce colorless mana, doesn't ramp, and only grants Exalted is bad.

Chalice of the Void- Chalice on 1 hoses my deck. My only hope is Viridian Corrupter or a similar effect, unless I can pull off a Spell Pierce. Another trick is purposely casting spells, having them countered, then Delve them away for an early Become Immense.

Blood Moon- Also a pretty big hoser because I only play 2 basics. However, there is a lot more I can do about it, as long as I have one of my Forests, or to float mana before it hits, then cast a Golgari Charm or something afterward.

So, not everyone has a ton of money to spend on pieces of cardboard, which is completely understandable. For most of my career playing this deck I had lots of budget replacements, so here are some of the good ones. Lots of thanks to Forceofnature1 for the idea for this section!

Noble Hierarch-->Birds of Paradise: While not ideal, Birds can be a decent substitute for Heirarch, however I wouldn't play the full playset. Just one or two of these and maybe Groundswell or something for the rest.

Inkmoth Nexus-->Ichorclaw Myr: This is a hard one, because Inky is vital to the deck. However, you need some creature thing to replace it, and Ichorclaw Myr is your best bet.

Land Replacements: Dual lands are the most expensive section of most Modern decks (Wizards just needs to reprint them more), but there are some cuts for cheaper versions of the deck. One option is to play just basics, however I strongly advise against this, because it makes the deck inconsistent. If it is really a problem, consider a Mono-Green version of the deck, because you can just play basics, but if you need some budget duals, pain lands like Yavimaya Coast and check lands such as Woodland Cemetary work fine. Temple of Mystery and other Scry lands are the best of the "enters the battlefield tapped" lands, but I still wouldn't play the full set. Maybe like 2, and increase the basic land count by a bit.

List of Other Infect Decks

WillowtheCouncil has a fantastic primer on building Modern Infect. Be sure to check it out if you want to try other colors and variants of the deck!


A Study in Infectious Diseases [Infect Primer]

Modern* WillowtheCouncil

SCORE: 8 | 8 COMMENTS | 718 VIEWS | IN 2 FOLDERS


Modern Infect Discord- come chat with me and other players about Infect or just hang out https://discord.gg/3tHScgX

Epochalyptik- base for primer

Deckbuild130081- coding help

WillowtheCouncil- promotion



Conclusion

NEW! Modern Infect Discord! Join and come chat with me about Modern Infect or just hang out- https://discord.gg/3tHScgX

Well, thanks for reading my primer! I hope you learned something, or this was an interesting read. If you're wanting to build Infect, best of luck to you! Anyway, please leave an upvote, and if you have any comments, criticism, or questions just leave it below and I will get back to you ASAP. May Phyrexia rule again!

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Compare to inventory
Date added 1 year
Last updated 2 months
Exclude colors R
Splash colors W
Legality

This deck is Modern legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 1.49
Folders Competetive, Build it yourself, Modern Infect, Interesting Modern Decks, Low Count Modern, Infect, Infect, Modern infect, Infect, Favorites, See all 11
Top rank #8 on 2018-02-01
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Revision 17 See all

2 months ago)

-1 Polluted Delta main
-4 Plague Stinger main
+4 Glistener Elf main
+2 Become Immense main
-2 Spell Pierce main
-4 Noble Hierarch main
-2 Pendelhaven main
-2 Forest main
+4 Inkmoth Nexus main
+2 Breeding Pool main
-4 Inquisition of Kozilek main
-2 Become Immense main
+2 Spell Pierce main
-4 Blossoming Defense main
+2 Pendelhaven main
+4 Inquisition of Kozilek main
+2 Forest main
+1 Polluted Delta main
-4 Mutagenic Growth main
+4 Vines of Vastwood main
and 55 other change(s)