Pauper Deck Tech: Infect
04/07/21 0 comments
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!Edit Article
"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.
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. Of course, you can always take the opportunity given by your opponent and try to deal the lethal damage, especially if you have the necessary answers to whatever means the opponent might have to interact with you, but if your damage is not enough, there's no point trying to rush things, and it's often better to only deal 1 damage than deal 7 and not being able to protect your creature or push the rest of the damage later. Because of this, every spell used in Infect also counts as a protection spell, and this is essential for interactive matches and is something that players should consider. On the other hand, it's important to know when to try to seize the opportunities. A prolonged game against Faeries will often mean not getting enough damage because the deck has many cards that are commonly good against you and many ways to filter their draws. Therefore, Infect is a much more complex deck to pilot than you might think, as your perfect 2 or 3 turn hands come a lot less often than you would normally like, as you need a 4-card set. + lands, plus the deck doesn't interact well; therefore, often your option throughout the game is to plan ahead and sequence your plays to take advantage of each gap left by the opponent without getting carried away by the impulse that can often finish with your creatures dying before dealing damage. Another point to consider in your matches is that damage dealt by a creature with Infect is dealt in the form of -1/-1 counters. This is relevant in the current Metagame because a creature with Infect with the right pump spells can serve to weaken the opponent's attackers, permanently kill cards like Atog or creatures with Persist, and prevent the opponent from regenerating their creatures.