Infect without Gitaxian Probe

Modern forum

Posted on Jan. 10, 2017, 9:15 a.m. by clayperce

I've started trading for and (slowly) buying the core cards for a competitive Infect deck, and I'm wondering what to do with the slots from Gitaxian Probe ...

Thanks for your thoughts!

Scouty says... #2

Probably more Spell pierces. It helps protect yourself while comboing for cheap mana now that you dont have a free way to get perfect information. Peek is simply just too much mana for the effect.

January 10, 2017 9:25 a.m.

Delta-117 says... #3

Possibly Apostle's Blessing, Serum Visions or as you have said Blossoming Defense, and Distortion Strike. I myself am not quite sure exactly yet, but I will be using 4 Blossoming Defense, 1-2 Apostle's Blessing, 2 Distortion Strike, then probably cutting a Become Immense was one suggestion GeminiSpartanX told me down from 4-3 because of the loss of Gitaxian Probe and I agree on this as on average it's going to cost more.

I thankfully didn't buy my Gitaxian Probes for infect yet and so at least I can now spend that money towards getting my second Inkmoth Nexus or first Breeding Pool perhaps.

January 10, 2017 9:33 a.m.

clayperce says... #4

Yeah, just seems too high to me too. And even if only cast it at the end of my opponent's turn, I'd still be tapping out way too often and opening myself up for removal.

BTW, we can still get perfect information (and then some) for free from Surgical Extraction.


Oh I hadn't thought about Serum Visions. I will definitely have to try that.

I'm not a big fan of Apostle's Blessing in my current meta. There are just too many Eldrazi :-)

That's a really good point on Become Immense, which I hadn't thought about. So yeah, unless I go with Surgical Extraction I'll definitely want to adjust ...

I unfortunately picked up 4x Gitaxian Probes with some money I got for Christmas ... ah well! :_(

Thanks much to you both!

January 10, 2017 9:52 a.m.

rothgar13 says... #5

It'll be more protection effects of some kind, to keep you from getting blown out (since now you can't see the removal coming). Whether they'll be Apostle's Blessing, Spellskite, or Spell Pierce, I'm not sure.

January 10, 2017 9:55 a.m.

Slip Through Space is what I'd go with, but I'm not an infect player.

January 10, 2017 9:58 a.m.

clayperce says... #7

Makes sense. I was leaning towards Blossoming Defense on the protection side but I notice it didn't make your list. Are you already running four, or are you not a big fan?

Thanks much!

January 10, 2017 10:02 a.m.

clayperce says... #8

Yeah, I LOVE a good Unblockable effect, and it's great to hear it from the other side of the table too! :-)

I'm kind of partial to Distortion Strike over Slip Through Space though ... it seems the Pump + Rebound effect always pays off, but there's a lot of variance on the Draw effect.

Thanks much!

January 10, 2017 10:08 a.m.

rothgar13 says... #9

Blossoming Defense is a 4-of already in my mind. I'm a big believer in the "max protect" style of Infect.

January 10, 2017 10:39 a.m.

I added a Slip, a Groundswell, a Dismember, and a Spell Pierce to my maindeck (need to update the list online)

If youre running 19 lamd infect, I think its necessary to run the Dryad Arbor justbas a mana source with upside. I also think you need to up the one-of cards.

If you're going to run evasion, Slip might just be better. I think I'll also cut a Become Immense for either another Groundswell or a Serum Visions.

Im waiting to see what the likes of Tom Ross and ORAT say before I buy Serum Visions for the deck. If you don't own the cards, dont go buy any expensive carda, just because its not unlikely were all just wrong here.

January 10, 2017 12:11 p.m.

I figure that some of the cards that made the deck pre-Blossoming Defense will make a comeback. I'm personally adding a MD Viridian Corrupter (my meta has chalice decks), 1-2 Apostle's Blessings, and either another Dismember or Spellskite. It should free up some SB space as well to allow for some interesting cards I'd like to try out again like Wild Defiance or Carrion Call against removal-heavy decks.

January 10, 2017 1:28 p.m.

From my current list, my plan is to add two Blossoming Defense (up to four), an Apostle's Blessing (up to two) and two Groundswells for the four Probes and one Become Immense. I might end up cutting another BI, not sure on that one yet. The sideboard may also have to change to accomodate the increased overall mana cost and additional protection spells.

January 10, 2017 1:55 p.m.

deltacobra says... #13

I'd personally am not gonna cut any Become Immense yet even without Gitaxian Probe you have a ton of low cost spells that fill your graveyard. I've also looked at Surgical Extraction so I'm putting a few in my SB. I increased Blossoming Defense to 4 which I was only running 2. I've also have considered Manamorphose which is a free spell and u draw a card as well. But I'm still currently testing different ideas.

January 10, 2017 4:21 p.m.

Shane.Allen says... #14

these are all great idea's i shall do some play testing to see what ones work the best.

January 10, 2017 5:03 p.m.

rorofat says... #15

Since no one has mentioned it, Street Wraith does the free cycling and thinning aspect.

January 10, 2017 6:01 p.m.

Scouty says... #16

Those are the two aspects that didnt matter. It was the information probe gave WHILE cycling itself

January 10, 2017 6:26 p.m.

clayperce says... #17

Thanks so much for all the responses ... there's just a ton of great ideas here! It'll be exciting to see how it all shakes out.

Thanks again, and draw well!

January 11, 2017 7:27 a.m.

deltacobra says... #18

We never gonna get what Gitaxian Probe gave us for 2 life. So it really depends on what you want to go with if you wanna fill your graveyard for Become Immense you could use spells like Manamorphose which a free spell and you draw a card which is pretty good. We have Gut Shot kills some weenie creatures and can be cast for 2 life helps fill graveyard. We have Surgical Extraction look at hand,graveyard and library which extremely useful to see and plan for the next match. We have Peek which does everything Gitaxian Probe did but trying up a blue source for it just not worth it. Than we could use more protection spells to make up for the uncertainty of our opponents hand.

January 11, 2017 8:05 a.m.

rorofat says... #19

Scouty it's still an alternative.

January 12, 2017 2:23 p.m.

snarlmkiv says... #20


If anything, Gitaxian Probe was a defensive card. So I would have to replace it with something more defensive. Surgical Extraction is your next bet.

January 17, 2017 4:48 a.m.

So, my thoughts...

The main benefit of Probe was it told you whether it was safe to go for the kill. I think we should just accept that now we're going to be fighting blind just like everyone else. My answer is to play more protective cards, though I actually think I'm going to keep Become Immense at 3. I'll quickly go over a few things that could fill those 4 slots.

Wild Defiance. This was seen a lot in the pre-BI days, and it's not hard to see why. In a deck with mana dorks in the form of Noble Hierarch, you shouldn't have much trouble casting a 3 mana enchantment. It adds a ton of value to your pumps, even turning Mutagenic Growth into +5/+5 for no mana. But the real beauty of this card is it makes bolt useless for your opponent. Burn now can't do anything to you barring sided Path to Exile and artifact hate on your Inkmoth Nexus. Opposing Dismember now only gives -2/-2 and can easily be played around.

Spellskite. This has been seeing less and less play as it doesn't fuel BI in any way and there's plenty of artifact hate running around. But I kind of like it as an insurance card.

Spell Pierce, Blossoming Defense, and Apostle's Blessing. Whether you're upping your count of these or adding blessings into a deck that had none. Blessing is both a form of evasion and protection against removal, and it can be cast with colorless mana from Inkmoth. Spell Pierce is a fantastic card as no matter what it puts your opponent at a state of minus. 2 mana often means they can't cast an additional removal spell on the stack, and that's if they have the mana at all. If they know you're playing infect, they know you may have Spell Pierce, and they know they need mana open and that they cannot afford to go all-in. Blossoming Defence is a no-brainer. It's the little brother card to Vines of Vastwood. I was only running 2 due to issues of space, and I'm now looking back and asking myself why didn't I have at least 3. Well I'm running 3 now and considering going up to 4.

Dismember, Twisted Image, Distortion Strike, and Slip Through Space, or rather additional copies of any of the above. Every one of these is useful for obvious reasons. The main one being ensuring you can land a hit with Glistener Elf, or in the case of Twisted Image, killing opposing spellskites or the occasional hierarch. Image also cantrips. In matchups where no 'skite is present I more or less just think of TI as a blue 1 cmc instant that reads "draw a card". In that respect it's useful for Become Immense fodder.

Peek, Serum Visions, Forbidden Alchemy, Street Wraith. I don't like these. They seem like a half-hearted attempt to maintain the momentum probe gave us. As a previous commenter mentioned, we should just accept that we'll never have what probe gave us. Probe let us see their hand, put a card in grave, draw a card, and for no mana. It was incredible because it did ALL of these things.

Surgical Extraction. Guys, a big reason probe was so good was it replaced itself. This is usually complete minus. I see it as not worth the gamble.

So, that's my two cents. Discuss?

January 17, 2017 12:50 p.m.

I agree with everything YamishiTheWickedOne said above. I'll add that I wouldn't run more than 1-2 Wild Defiance in the 75, as the 2nd one is normally a dead draw, or will put you enough behind on tempo that you'll not want to play it.

The only thing I'd add to his list is the possibility of Groundswell seeing play in the deck again in place of the 4th Become Immense if you feel the need for additional pump. In my testing so far, sometimes you don't have the turn 3-4 kill due to lacking pump spells, but anything that cantrips should help cover that too, so it's up to your personal preference.

January 17, 2017 1:59 p.m.

Delta-117 says... #23

Here is my list for infect, I made some changes to it. How does this seem? I'm really unsure about the sideboard and whether or not I should include some of the "maybeboard" cards to either than main 60, or to my sideboard.

January 17, 2017 3 p.m.

Delta-117 says... #24

Oops, here is the list:

Modern Infect

Modern* Delta-117


January 17, 2017 3:01 p.m.

GeminiSpartanX I agree on 1-2 defiance at most. And I failed to give a bigger mention to groundswell because I was running out for the weekly modern locals. 2 other infect players there, one was a big advocate of Peek, the other was more of the mind of "aggro or bust" and was advocating 3-4 groundswell for fast, consistent kills.

Peek advocate was saying he'll probably go black and replace probe with Inquisition of Kozilek or Thoughtseize. And also running Phyrexian Crusader.

Also, oops, I meant Thought Scour, not Forbidden Alchemy.

January 17, 2017 6:34 p.m.

Oh also this is mine:

I feel like it's a bit slow.

January 17, 2017 8:20 p.m.

deltacobra says... #27

Here's my list

Does This Look Infected???

Modern deltacobra

SCORE: 88 | 134 COMMENTS | 18546 VIEWS | IN 55 FOLDERS

January 19, 2017 7:02 p.m.

Not_Jack says... #28

I'm crazy so I added 4x Tezzeret's Gambit I think it might be cool for longer games

Here's the deck: Infect 2017

January 20, 2017 4:32 p.m.

Not_Jack says... #29

on second thought in a removal heavy meta I'll go with Spell Pierces as they're also good for stuff like Blessed Alliance or Celestial Flare

January 20, 2017 5:44 p.m.

clayperce says... #30

Looks like we got our first post-ban 5-0 Infect deck:

January 21, 2017 4:29 p.m.

deltacobra says... #31

I'm on sold on Botanical Sanctum it's not fetchable which to me later this is a dead draw. Dryad Arbor is a must in the mainboard now,it fetchable it acts as a land and a creature and it helps against Lilly sack ability. And Apostle's Blessing I think have the fourth Blossoming Defense is strictly better Inkmoth Nexus and Blighted Agent basically go untested so really the only target we be using Apostle's Blessing on would be Glistener Elf. Serum Visions I haven't tried yet but I prefer to run a extra copy of Twisted Image and Spell Pierce. Twisted Image gets us a card and takes out threats so to me this better than visions. I'll be giving my build a go this Friday at my local shop.

January 22, 2017 11:22 a.m.

deltacobra says... #32

I can't see flare or alliance seeing much play modern has tons of strictly better spells.

January 22, 2017 11:25 a.m.

delta I'm kind of with you on lands. Dryad arbor is too important, and fetch lands thin your deck, throw a card in grave for Become, they're instant speed if you need arbor for an emergency block or Liliana, and fetches and shocks let you have a guaranteed untapped blue source. Would rather run them than botanical garden in this deck.

The reasons I use Apostle's blessing is protection gives both evasion and prevents targeting/damage. And it can be cast with just inkmoth, since green mana is at such a premium in infect. I do feel 4 blossomings and 4 vines is mandatory now, as is at least 1 spell pierce, but I feel 1-2 blessing depending on space is not a bad idea.

January 22, 2017 1:27 p.m.

deltacobra says... #34

I do run 1 blessing in my sideboard I just prefer to run a extra twisted image over the blessing we have alot of protection to get damaged tho and image kills lots of problem stuff and draws use a card and cast blessing using Inkmoth that is usually my go to attacker since your opponents have to deal with them on your turn.

January 22, 2017 1:42 p.m.

clayperce says... #35

Looks like Infect made Top 16 at SCG Columbus. Here's Matthew Hutton's list.

4x Apostle's Blessing seems rather excessive ... but I guess it worked for him! :-)

January 23, 2017 12:14 p.m.

I'm not a fan of using Grafdigger's Cage as the only grave hate in Onthestack's list. I've found that one of the worst matchups for Infect is Living End, and Cage doesn't stop them at all. I'd rather do a split of 1 Cage and 2 Relics or something to that effect. I do think that reducing B.I. to 2 while adding the Groundswells might be the most consistent option going forward, although I agree that Botanical Sanctum may not be the best idea.

January 23, 2017 12:38 p.m.

Not_Jack says... #37

I'm wondering arent Yavimaya Coast better than Botanical Sanctum we dont care about our life total so much right?

January 23, 2017 12:40 p.m.

deltacobra says... #38

I'll be honest I don't care for that list. Only 1 Mutagenic Growth that has been a standard 4 of before Become Immense was even made. And no Groundswell seems a bit strange this so easy to get the land fall trigger and allows turn 2 kills.

January 23, 2017 6:47 p.m.

Not_Jack says... #39

deltacobra I guess that's because of introduction of Blossoming Defense

January 23, 2017 7:45 p.m.

deltacobra says... #40

But for 2 life u get a plus 2/2 and a card in the graveyard it's a free spell. 4 Apostle's Blessing 4 Vines of Vastwood and 4 Blossoming Defense is a bit overkill. Groundswell gets u out of bolt range which one of the biggest removal spells out there and the biggest deck for removal u gonna run up against is jund and even than I feel 12 protection spells a bit much well 14 if you count dispel.

January 23, 2017 7:56 p.m.

deltacobra says... #41

Right now all these decks are testing which cards work and which don't I'd love to know what he played against and were all the blessings needed would more growth have helped these are answers we don't have.

January 23, 2017 7:57 p.m.

deltacobra says... #42

NieJacek even when Blossoming Defense came out Mutagenic Growth was still a 4 of this is due to the probe banning people feel they need to run mad protection spells

January 23, 2017 8:01 p.m.

It feels to me like people are testing out things that worked before in infect and just seeing what sticks. On mtgtop8 someone topped with green/black infect.

January 23, 2017 8:45 p.m.

clayperce says... #44

Yeah, JOHNNYHOTSAUCE got 21st in the Modern MOCS with a BG Infect list. Here's the link.

January 23, 2017 9:21 p.m.

To be fair, some older lists did seem to choose between running 4 Groundswells with 1 Growth or vice versa. I think people are just trying out things now that they have 4 more slots to play with.

January 23, 2017 11:32 p.m.

deltacobra says... #46

There so many cards to fill those 4 slots with I might even try 2 mainboard Spellskite again it gonna early blocker survives bolt and allows our infect creatures some safety

January 23, 2017 11:56 p.m.

deltacobra says... #47

Good not gonna

January 23, 2017 11:57 p.m.

I might try Skite too. I used to run 2 mainboard but now if I dropped a few instants I'm leaning 1 skite 1 corrupter both main and side.

And to the earlier comment, yes, I agree. I do like Apostle's Blessing but more than 2 is wasteful.

January 24, 2017 1:19 a.m.

clayperce says... #49

Fyi, [email protected] went 5-0 in MTGO's Competitive Modern Constructed League with this UG deck.

Also, I've started collecting the top lists below. I'm not actually sure how useful a consolidated list will be, but if nothing else I thought it was interesting to see the variety of cards people are playing in the top decks ...

January 30, 2017 12:19 p.m.

clayperce says... #50

For those who haven't seen it, I wanted to recommend MrZix44's piece about Surgical Extraction over at r/Infect: Surgical Extraction as a Replacement for Gitaxian Probe (update).

February 1, 2017 3:20 a.m.

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