Keep or Mull – Infect

This is the Infect list I played at Pro Tour Fate Reforged to a Modern record of 7-3 and I was very happy with the deck. Today I want to talk about some keep/mulligan scenarios and explain to you some of my strategy with the deck that may not be obvious.

Hand #1

This hand, on the play or the draw in any matchup, is a snap-mulligan! Yes, believe it—you can’t keep this hand. I made a rule for myself going into the Pro Tour and that was that I wasn’t going to keep any hand that didn’t have at least 1 infect creature in it. As a result I mulliganed a lot, but I feel it was what needed to be done to give myself the best chance of winning. Part of the value of this deck is that it wins on turn 3 roughly 35% of the time and when you keep hands that rely on topdecking an infect creature and miss you lose that. Yes I acknowledge that the hand has a Gitaxian Probe in it, and I like to gamble as much as the next guy, but it’s just too thin to hope you have an infect guy in the top 2-3 cards, I would rather mulligan and hope to see one in those 6 or the top cards after that.

Hand #2

This hand is an easy keep. We have one of our better starts in the form of turn 1 Noble Hierarch into Wild Defiance with an Inkmoth Nexus. These hands aren’t as speedy as some hands, but what they lack in speed they make up for in resilience. An opponent won’t last long against this hand if they try to Path to Exile my Inkmoth Nexus, triggering Wild Defiance, as I Vines of Vastwood to counter it and trigger Wild Defiance again. Or don’t try to kill it and see how long they last. This hand kills on turn three if you draw Mutagenic Growth or Might of Old Krosa and there’s a couple draw steps to hit it.

Hand #3

This is a hand I got after sideboard against a 5-color Zoo deck and I decided to keep. It’s a bit borderline but when you live by the sword you die by the sword and mulling great hands with no infect creatures in them means some of the time you need to keep bad hands that do have infect creatures in them. This game turned out to be long and grindy and there were a few highlights—using my fetchland to get Breeding Pool despite it not being convenient so I could have one Forest remaining in my library for a Path to Exile, a Twisted Image resolving on his Noble Hierarch, and a topdecked Pendelhaven which made my Glistener Elves frightening in combat. This is the type of hand where Become Immense is a one-card kill.

Hand #4

This is a hand I got against RG Tron on the play and I kept. It’s soft to Pyroclasm, but I refuse to mulligan when I have a somewhat passable hand with an infect creature in it. Plus I have Mutagenic Growth to hedge against Pyroclasm and I know the matchup is great for me, so as long as I don’t mulligan into oblivion I should win. I started off with turn one Noble Hierarch into turn two Blighted Agent holding my second Hierarch. he did nothing of consequence so on the next turn I played my Hierarch and attacked for 3 poison, he did nothing, and on the following turn I had drawn another Mutagenic Growth so I had lethal on turn four. A turn-four kill because I topdecked my worst pump spell in a three-turn window is relatively impressive.

Hand #5

OK, I admit I included this hand just to have a little fun. It’s the hand I got in the second game of that match against that poor guy playing RG Tron and he died on the second turn of the game. This hand is so good in fact that even if he had his primary form of interaction, Pyroclasm, he still would have died on the second turn of the game. This is pretty rare of course but it’s a blast when it happens—and speaks to the power of the archetype.

I didn’t mulligan many of these hands, but that’s largely because I didn’t cover more hands that had no infect creatures. To succeed with this deck you can’t keep hands that don’t have a clear and direct game plan. It’s also worth noting that your better hands have multiple infect creatures so if one dies, you can keep on attacking.

Owen Turtenwald
qazwsxedcrfvtgyhnuj on Magic Online

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