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Pauper: Rakdos Affinity Deck Tech & Sideboard Guide

Magic: the Gathering

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Pauper: Rakdos Affinity Deck Tech & Sideboard Guide

Let's talk about the new improved version of Rakdos Affinity with the new Crimson Vow additions, and bring an updated sideboard guide!

By Muhammad, 12/24/21, translated by Humberto, with help from our readers

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Introduction

Today we will do about the deck that I played the most on Pauper, Affinity, more specifically the "new" version, Rakdos Affinity. Since Sojourner's Companion was banned, it seemed that Affinity would get weaker, but be a good deck as we could use the new indestructible lands... but we were all wrong! The addition of Deadly Dispute came pretty much with the ban happening, and the card is just insane, and because of it, I decided to make the list only with Black and Red, where we'll be able to use more Ichor Wellspring and less Prophetic Prism, which is the perfect synergy the deck needed to move up a notch on the tier list.

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Constructing the Decklist

Here, we see the first version I built and managed to get a first place on a Pauper Challenge.
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I won't comment on the list above, as the idea is to illustrate that it was already possible to do a great result without blue in the deck. But I'll show you that the next version is even more broken:
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Now we have the addition of two cards: Blood Fountain and Wedding invitation, the first one being pretty obvious to many, as for one black mana, we generate two artifacts, while also having a sort of Reaping the Graves effect on maindeck, plus a possible looting effect during gameplay, and immense synergy with the rest of the deck! The second one I was initially reluctant, but I give credit to Gabriel Mota (known on MTGO as LuffyDoChapeuDePalha) who tested only one copy instead of a Fling copy in the Grixis version and I decided to test it together in the same Challenge. I ended up in third place, and I'm not saying that the card was insane, but the synergy is absurd, as it is a turn 2 play, permanent for affinity, it replaces itself, and it's a wincon in the end. Now the difficulty was to fit more copies of it into a 3 color version, so I decided to cut the blue again, which brought us to the list already mentioned. We see that we cut all the Prophetic Prism, not that it's bad in the RB version, but it does open the Wedding Invitation slot along with a copy of Fling and Makeshift Munitions. Yes, I prefer Terrarion over Prophetic Prism in Rakdos, I think it's very important to have cadence plays in this version, and it's one of the reasons I prefer this version in the current metagame because we won't have an absurd card advantage as the Grixis version, but we are faster. This is one of the reasons Frogmite joins our list; I call it the Nettle Sentinel of the deck, as it's not good, but it's there to pave the way for victory, and it's hardly useless in many scenarios, as it's going to have some interaction. Finally, the main reason to use this deck is that it is generally one turn faster than Grixis, and in this format of 11 sideboard cards against Affinity in multiple decks, it's critical to get a board built as soon as possible. Rare Myr Enforcers on turn 2 are enough to win a game 2 or 3 where your opponent can be loaded with hates, and there's no time for them to interact as well. A last analysis is the use of a single Swamp, which is there because we now have 7 black one-drops, in addition to "protecting" us from Cleansing Wildfire among other artifact land removals.

Sideboard Guide

Given an explanation about the deck, now let's go to the part that most likely want to know; I would even say it's the part where it involves most of the player's skill. About the sideboard guide in this metagame, understand that it is not a general rule, but I noted how I have been sideboarded against the main matchups of the format. Don't hesitate to leave your suggestions and comments about some changes you'd make!

MONO GREEN STOMPY

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In this match, the idea is quite simple: we don't need to

win

, we need to

not lose

, so I take out pretty much all the alternative winconditions like Fling and Disciple of the Vault and add all removals. The other 12 creatures are enough to win, especially if it's an Atog after stabilizing the board.

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BOROS BULLY

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Game 1 has to be ours because their Game 2 with Dust to Dust in play, added to Boros' little creatures, will win the game many times over us; I would say that the best card, oddly enough, is Fiery Cannonade: delaying the defeat, that is, clearing the opponent's board, gives you plenty of time to recover from some disruption, and our topdeck tends to be better than theirs. Duress is good, but doesn't win, and Makeshift Munitions is a great way to get around hates and have removals for birds, and it's even a wincondition alongside Disciple of the Vault.

FOG TRON

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In Game 1, this game tends to be easy for us, as fog effects don't counter Fling nor Disciple of the Vault, and sometimes they don't have enough time to interact with our fast hands. Post-sideboard, things get complicated, as this is where we have to deal with Hydroblast, Gorilla Shaman, Ancient grudge and worst of all, Fangren Marauder. In this matchup, we're attacked from many angles, and that's one of the reasons I don't like bringing Duress; not removing Marauder is a huge problem. I would say that it involves a bit of luck because we have to have the right answer to the right hate, or our opponent isn't fast or efficient enough, which is more common.

DIMIR & IZZET FAERIES

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From a game of what I would say is 55-45 pre-board for Affinity has seen a significant boost with the addition of Blood Fountain, the new Ux executioner. The card simply gives out value on trades during the game, making you never lose gas, as well as being a looting effect for that tenth land you drew, as the game often lasts too long. Stealing the Monarch with an unblockable creature is very relevant too! Post-side it's still a good match, we bring interactions for the most problematic creatures like Spellstutter Sprite, Ninja of the Deep Hours and Gurmag Angler from Dimir. Against Izzet, the post-side is even because the red hates are better, but against Dimir would say that the match is very favorable for Affinity. I'll make an addendum to Mono U Delver in this section, where in addition to the aforementioned cards, I bring Fiery Cannonade in place of a second Wedding Invitation. I'd say it's a tough matchup because Delver of Secrets added to the low-cost interactions makes the game very complicated many times, and then we get into the same idea of โ€‹โ€‹playing against Mono Green: not losing is the key to win the game.

UW FAMILIARS

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I think this is a pretty tough match, as Frogmite is pretty bad, bordering on useless, and we often end up going for the combo route, and their deck does it better than ours. Things get worse post-sideboard because it will have interactions like Revoke Existence, Dust to dust and Hydroblast and the icing on the cake is the Archaeomancer + Ephemerate to repeat it all over again.

JESKAI WILDFIRE / EPHEMERATE

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This deck is made to beat us post-sideboard, having the 3 colors with the best answers. The Game 1 is very favorable for us, despite that. Post side. I try to keep all the creatures, I even tried to bring Gorilla Shaman to have more creatures to go aggro, but the point is that the opponent attacks our mana base efficiently many times, so try to make a full board of creatures is a way to win, and unlike UW Familiars, where Pyroblast could help against Archaeomancer, they have its red cousin, Ardent Elementalist + Ephemerate which is basically another board construction lock. The entire deck has an absurd advantage over Affinity, but it's still possible for us to win, as several times the opponent comes up with slow hands full of tapped lands, which gives affinity time to make a reasonable and consistent board.

AFFINITY (mirror match)

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This matchup is decided by who is on the play in Game 1 90% of the time, and in Game 2 and 3 by who draws better. There really isn't much to talk about, there are simple sideboard decisions, and who knows how to better sequence your cards and make the most out of their resources usually wins. It is important to note that in this match, Hydroblast is the card I miss the most, much more than Thoughtcast.

Regarding some Sideboarding decisions

Many will notice that there are some weird side-outs on my guide, like taking 1 Galvanic Blast against Fog Tron, that's because the decks have had so much hate, that they end up having to deface their deck to make the match favorable for them. There are many cards that are good in Game 1, but in the post-side it ends up being mediocre, so I choose to take them out. This is very important because a lot of discernment goes into always analyzing cards that are not appearing in Game 2, to better prepare for a possible Game 3. Remember that we can always side the same cards on a certain matchup, but different opponents with the same deck are not necessarily doing the same thing. So, my tip is to always analyze and pay attention to what your opponents are playing!

What About the Bans?

We all know that Affinity is almost Tier 0 right now, not as absurd as Chatterstorm was because, as strong as the deck is, there are still plenty of answers for it and this provides some diversity so far (it's the case that even decks like Mono-White Aggro has shown up because it has a reasonable match against the deck with so much sideboard choices that it has), the problem is that several decks need more than half of their sideboard dedicated against Affinity, and that's not healthy. You can read more about it on this article. Another point is that the deck isn't hard to play, so it's rewarding for almost any player who just clicks to play with it, and that's something that, at least for me, is frustrating because on a mirror match, you're hardly rewarded at all for having more knowledge than the opponent about the deck, unlike a Tron or Ux mirror, where you have to know very well what you're doing.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this brief story about the deck and sideboard guide! Certainly, some change will be made by the current state of the format, but while it doesn't change, enjoy and test the deck.

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And keep in mind: Right now, either you play Affinity, or something to beat Affinity! Comment on what you think and what possible positive changes you would make! See you next time!
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Muhammad

Born in Santa Maria-RS, with Arab ancestry. I play Magic since 2007. I play Pauper, Modern, Pionner whatever I have hahaha, I prefer more aggressive decks but I don't do without the old controller when necessary. Stream live on https://www.twitch.tv/hamudamtg from Monday to Saturday at 8pm

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