Get this Deck a Doctor! Modern Infect and You.
Hey Magic players! Today I’ll be giving you a basic rundown on the modern deck I’ve been playing the past couple years: UG Infect. Since its invention, Infect has been a prominent archetype in multiple formats. The deck is a two-front assault. It has the ability to explode very early with cards like Glistener Elf, Groundswell, and Might of Old Krosa, while cards like Blighted Agent and Become Immense scale into the late game. These cards, combined with utility such as Gitaxian Probe, Spellskite, and Viridian Corrupter make for a dependable strategy. Here’s an example decklist that I’ve been running:
4 Glistener Elf
4 Blighted Agent
4 Noble Hierarch
1 Viridian Corrupter
4 Might of Old Krosa
4 Mutagenic Growth
3 Become Immense
3 Vines of Vastwood
2 Apostle’s Blessing
4 Gitaxian Probe
2 Slip Through Space
4 Inkmoth Nexus
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Windswept Heath
3 Breeding Pool
1 Dryad Arbor
4 Nature’s Claim
2 Spell Pierce
2 Wild Defiance
1 Twisted Image
The core of the deck operates on its namesake: Infect! Creatures with the infect mechanic deal damage to creatures in -1/-1 counters and damage to players in the form of poison counters. If a player has 10 poison counters at any point, they lose the game.
Creatures with Infect:
4 Glistener Elf: An all-star who gets you the turn 2 kill with the nut draw in Magical Christmasland. As far as infect creatures go, GE is by far the best. Having the ability to present a turn 1 threat that has to be dealt with immediately is beyond powerful, and it might as well eat up an opponent’s entire turn 1. Combined with a couple of pump spells on the play, this card is close to unbeatable.
4 Blighted Agent: Lingering Souls got you down? Fear not! Nothing can stop Blighted Agent from sneaking through to your opponent. A huge problem that Infect has is that it can’t go wide in an efficient manner. Blighted Agent more or less solves that problem, as it allows you to freely attack through a wall of creatures and keep the infect coming.
4 Inkmoth Nexus: Pyroclasm is a good Magic card that this card just so happens to more or less beat. Not only that, but this card has decent evasion given the fact that it can fly over all of those Reality Smashers and Tarmogoyfs your opponent could be casting.
1 Viridian Corrupter: We live in a crazy world where mainboard Spellskite isn’t all that uncommon. Spellskite is crippling to an Infect deck. This card takes care of Spellskite and presents another threat. It’s also worth noting that its 2/2 body won’t succumb to the likes of Gut Shot and Izzet Staticaster so easily.
4 Might of Old Krosa // 4 Groundswell: These cards are easily the best pump in the deck. Under the right conditions, either of them serve as a 1 mana +4/+4, which can quickly make an infecter large enough to ice your opponent.
4 Mutagenic Growth: Life is a resource, use it! While MG only pumps +2/+2, the fact that it’s free of mana cost is actually insane and should not be undervalued in an aggressive deck like Infect.
3 Become Immense: Oh boy is this card fantastic. Due to the 8 “free” spells (4 MG, 4 GProbe), Fetchlands, and the fact that most of the pump spells in the deck cost 1 mana, this card is easily castable on turn 3 and sometimes turn 2. With a pump of +6/+6, if you can resolve a Become Immense, chances are you’ll be winning the game that turn.
2 Pendelhaven: A land that has built in creature pump? Sign me up. Not only does this land tap for G or pump up a GE or BA to take down your opponent, it also saves your low toughness creatures from Pyroclasm or Electrolyze.
4 Noble Hierarch: While not actually a pump spell, the Exalted mechanic on Hierarch can really start to add up once you’ve swung a couple of times. The fact that it’s free pump on a mana dork is just an added bonus.
2 Slip Through Space: A card the deck really needed. It turns your GE into a BA, and replaces itself upon resolution.
3 Vines of Vastwood: An evasion spell that doubles as a conditional pump spell when you have the mana for it. Used to be a lot better as a “Gotcha” against Splinter Twin, but still a very decent card.
2 Apostle’s Blessing: This card can save a creature from most target removal and can also sneak them through a board of creatures if need be.
Other Sweet Goodness:
4 Gitaxian Probe: Knowledge is power! If you know your opponent doesn’t have the removal spell in hand, you know you can safely jam a couple pumps onto your infecter. Assurance in your course is a good feeling. This card is also a freebie because it costs life instead of mana and replaces itself upon resolution.
1 Dryad Arbor: People never expect you to fetch a Dryad Arbor and then destroy them with it the following turn. Being able to get this card from your deck whenever you need it is critical, as it can let you close out games or have a safe out to an edict effect.
1 Spellskite: This card is just too good not to run in the main deck. It stalls a lot of strategies, protects your infecters, and has a large body to block with. The flavor text is a good summary of the card.
4 Nature’s Claim: If you’re on Infect, you really don’t mind if your opponent gains life when you destroy their artifact or enchantment. The great part is that boarding it in doesn’t increase your average CMC, so it fits nicely into the engine of the deck. I bring this in against Affinity and every deck that runs Spellskite (which isn’t all that uncommon these days).
3 Dismember: Have I mentioned that “free” spells are good? Because they are. Being able to deal with large threats is something that the deck struggles to do, and this card can help out against a Goyf or Tasigur.
2 Dispel: You have blue, so use it if you need to. Being able to counter your opponent’s counterspells or removal can go a long way if they were banking on it resolving.
2 Spell Pierce: More versatile than Dispel, but not as good in the late game. I find myself bringing this card in against decks like 8 Rack or Lantern Control, where the main objective is to create a lock as soon as possible.
2 Wild Defiance: It feels so good to resolve this card on turn 2 against decks that run Lightning Bolt and/or Electrolyze. Wild Defiance protects your guys from damage-based target removal and makes your pumps better. Bringing this in against Spellskite and Lightning Bolt decks is usually a safe bet.
1 Spellskite: Who doesn’t like increasing their chances of drawing good cards?
1 Twisted Image: A removal spell for Spellskite, as well as Noble Hierarch and Birds of Paradise. It also cycles at instant speed, which is pretty good.
Generally speaking, you want to resolve a creature on turn 1 and a creature on turn 2. If you have the hand of Glistener Elf, Mutagenic Growth, Mutagenic Growth, Might/Swell, Might/Swell, Land, X and you’re on the play, by all means keep it. We aren’t always living the dream. If you can present one or two threats by turn 2 or 3, chances are you’re in a good position.
Once you have your threats down, the important part is to avoid over-dedicating to a creature that could potentially die to removal before it deals its damage. If you can allocate your resources effectively, your opponent won’t be able to chump all the infect damage, and they’ll eventually succumb to it. If you can put yourself on a course to kill your opponent by or on turn 4, you’re doing an alright job.
Why choose Infect?
Infect is one of my favorite decks because it puts you ahead before you even sit down to play. In its most basic form Infect is an Aggro/Combo deck; you’re trying to kill your opponent as fast as possible using a volatile combination of cards. It just so happens that Infect cuts the amount of damage you have to deal to your opponent in half. From a competitive point of view, if I have to do less than my opponent to win, then that’s the opportunity that I’m going to take. So if you like to get up in your opponent’s face from the get-go and never stop sending the heat their way, Infect is the deck for you!
While there is so much more that I would like to say about this deck, I have to cut it off here for now. Stay tuned for more articles in the future from us down here at RSG!