Magic: the Gathering
Pauper Deck Tech: Infect
In today's article, we dissect Pauper's Infect, which made Top 4 on Pauper Masters Online championship and looks like a great anti-meta option in the current format!
"There is no bad match if you win in turn 2". This saying was created by Leo (Bukareste) after the endless times I played the in-person events with lists that had as a strategy to win as quickly as possible, going through Inside Out, Infect, several variants of Kiln Fiend decks, etc. But, in the case of JherjamesB, that's exactly what happened. In one of the matches, we saw the player win the event's champion, A_AdeptoTerra, winning both games in turn 2. This past week, I've come to the conclusion that Pauper no longer has room for attrition-oriented games or value-based decks. The Metagame is prone to non-interactive games, quick games and where your goal is to go to the race and try to do your absurd thing before the opponent does their absurd thing. The goal today in the format is not to be able to stop Storm and/or hold Affinity. You need to be faster than them, you need to be more explosive than them, you need to present a bigger threat than they present to you, and as unlikely as it sounds, this is the perfect Metagame for Infect because it's essentially the fastest deck in the format. The deck's primary objective is to make the opponent gain 10 poison counters as soon as possible. Because of how Infect's ability works, pumps like Groundswell or Mutagenig Growth are essentially double what they would in other decks since the player has virtually 10 life. The task seems easy, and because of the amount of low-cost spells that increase the deck's power, this can be done even on turn 2. However, Pauper is a format that, in a common metagame, is heavily geared toward creatures and interactions with creatures. Until the release of Modern Horizons II, the main keys to the format were attrition and card advantage, and Infect doesn't have as much space when absolutely every deck in the format will have the removals needed to handle your deck, as that means needing to create a setup beforehand which often won't be enough, especially against Black-Based or Tempo decks. This doesn't mean that Infect can't play long games, it just has more difficulties in winning those games, as the opponent will always be planning to interact with it, which means it needs more resources and play more securely, looking to always take advantage of the smallest gaps that the opponent will use.
needscreatures to function. Everything else in the deck is completely useless if you don't have at least one creature on the board that you need to present as a constant threat to your opponent. Therefore, the use of your spells needs to be conscious and keep pace with the game.