Monday, 26 August 2013

Modern Infect

After the popularity of Modern Masters, Chaos City (St Albans) decided to hold a modern tournament. It was announced well in advance to allow everyone to build decks if they didn't have one, and get cards etc.

Not sure what to play, I went with an old standard deck I had, which I had updated once already.

In the second incarnation, I lost the Vampires Bites as they had rotated out, but I could add then back in to update the deck to play in modern. I also changed it a bit to make it more efficient.

On the night, I went 3-2, coming 14 out of about 30, which I'm fairly happy about, it being the first time I've played modern and all.

Here is the deck list, somewhat organised into sections, with commentary of the reasons I put it in the deck and what I thought about playing it.

The main core of the deck; the path to victory. I think I need to play a couple more, although I think I did OK with this number.

2 Plague Stinger - this was an extra source of infect, cheap and with evasion. I think the deck needs more creatures and this is on my list of creatures to add to increase the numbers. Did have one get Pyroclasm'd as the only creature out, so if my opponents are that desperate to get rid of it, it is certainly worth considering

4 Phyrexian Crusader - I've said before this is the best card in the deck, and it's still true. A short list of spot removal in modern this dodges: Lightning Bolt, Path to Exile, Lightning Helix, Doom Blade, Victim of Night.

4 Phyrexian Vatmother - this is the top end of the curve and mainly here to finish games. It's hard to find something bigger for a similar cost, and if you do, this will shrink it down significantly. I had two out at once one game and didn't get close to poisoning myself.

This is to speed up a victory with the creatures. Some as a surprise and some on board.

4 Vampire's Bite - a decent amount of power for one mana. On an unblocked Crusader and they're on 5. On an unblocked Vatmother will do 7 in one hit. When the target is 10, those are good numbers. The lifelink can occasionally be useful, but as this deck runs no shock lands and no fetches, I don't often “start” on 17 or 15 so don't always need to catch up.

2 Bonesplitter - picked up these in Modern Masters drafting. I think they worked OK; a decent turn one play (better than just playing a land), and efficient equip cost. I can usually equip and play something else in the same turn which is nice. Plus activating and equipping to an Inkmoth Nexus only requires 3 land (for the same amount in poison counters).

2 Mutagenic Growth - nice as a surprise, even when tapped out. Part of me would like to play 4, but I'm not convinced on that. Don't think I got a chance to play one this tournament, but it has finished games for me before.

3 Rime Transfusion - wait, what's that? Coldsnap was an interesting block to say the least. I don't think I saw any snow creatures at all, which effectively makes one of my creatures unblockable, with a permanent boost (Crusader hits for 4 unopposed, Vatmother ends the game in two unblockable swings). This gives the deck inevitability. I think 3 is the correct number to play here; costs more than the other pump, less of a surprise and less mana efficient, but it is nice to see once in a game, especially if it is going on a bit longer.

2 Liliana of the Dark Realms - not the best Liliana, but works well in this deck. 4 mana is the top end anyway, but it is nice to get card advantage, and be sure you can play everything you draw. The middle ability is the important one, either getting rid of a problem creature, or a decent pump to one of mine,  possibly to finish a game. Even playing 2 I managed to get both in my hand one game and I seemed to want to be playing cheaper spells instead. I think I'll keep one for certain, but I'm unsure about the second one.

This is just a category for everything else. 

2 Devour Flesh - Good against hexproof/indestructible creatures, cheap, instant, and I don't care about my opponent gaining life. While I was playing, my opponents didn't have many creatures out that often anyway, so this would either get something good when I cast it, or, as it is cheap enough, I can cast it early enough that it will get their only creature on the board. 

2 Devour in Shadow - I had only found out about this one recently. Kills something unconditionally, which is great. Double back is doable in this deck (only 4 colourless lands, everything else gets me black mana). The life loss can be bad, but as I've mentioned, not running shocklands/fetches puts me in a good position against a lot of the other decks that might expect their opponents mana bases to lower their life for them. Can work nice with the Crusader - put -1/-1 counters on with first strike damage, and lose 2 less life when destroying it before it deals damage to the Crusader. 

2 Disfigure - These only cost 1 mana and can get a lot of annoying/utility creatures. Can also be handy to slow down fast starts, or even improve combat for my creatures. 

4 Inquisition of Kozilek - Nice to mess with my opponents early plays. As the deck is mono black, this is one of the ways to get rid of stuff I would otherwise have trouble with. The theory is that by turn 3 or 4, I should have a powerful infect creature out and ready to win in a turn or two. Unfortunately my first match was against a deck running the Urza lands, so I think Thoughtsieze would have been better here (maybe both would work well together). Heres hoping its in Theros :-)

4 Night's Whisper - Card Draw, helping me draw into extra creatures/pump. Sometimes helping smooth out land drops as I'm running 23. I chose this over Sign in Blood because I'm not killing my opponent with life loss so will hardly ever want to target them, and I can cast this off a Swamp and Inkmoth Nexus whereas I need two Swamps for the Sign in Blood. 

Need something to cast spells. 

19 Snow-Covered Swamp - Black mana, allows me to activate the ability granted by Rime Transfusion

4 Inkmoth Nexus - Extra infect creatures, and I have enough coloured mana that the colourless rarely affects what I can play. 

I had no idea what the meta game would be (I read about Modern decks sometimes, but the store hadn't run a Modern tournament so I didn't know what people would be playing), so got some more generic answers. 

2 Disfigure - For a total of 4. Kills less, but it means I have one drop removal which can help against really fast decks. 

1 Devour Flesh - For a total of 3. I had read about the hexproof deck recently, so wanted an extra spell that can deal with those

1 Devour in Shadow - For a total of 3. Just another targeted removal spell. 

3 Infest - I never sided these in, but then I never played any aggro decks that they would be useful for. If sideboards were 16 cards, I would probably play 4 here. I went down to three for the extra Disfigure though - it is a smaller version and as it is cheaper I can get one creature instead of many, but that will hopefully slow things down enough. The aggro strategies are more likely to be White or Red based, so Phyrexian Crusader will do more work than normal in those cases. 

4 Pithing Needle - I really like this card, usually in the sideboard (although I really enjoyed playing a Standard deck a few years back with this and Goblin Guide). It is my generic answer to something I might have trouble with otherwise. Mainly going to name a Planeswalker, although if I see a fetchland with Inquisition of Kozilek...

4 Nihil Spellbomb - Generic Graveyard hate. The instant speed card draw was useful when I sided it in against a discard deck