Owen’s Pick of the Week for Modern

UG Infect

My pick of the week for the Modern format is Infect. I played it at the Pro Tour to a 7-3 record and I played it at the last Modern Pro Tour, Fate Reforged, to a 7-3 record there as well. I love this deck! It appeals to me because it’s just badass to attack from a unique angle (infect) and end the game as soon as possible.

I’ve always liked it in Modern and I thought it was a solid choice for PT Oath of the Gatewatch—though clearly not the best choice, since if I could go back, even I would play the Eldrazi deck. That said, Infect is better positioned than it was then and is a great choice for Modern.

The biggest change here is to revert back to 4 copies of Mutagenic Growth in the main. It does two things extremely well: it combines with Become Immense to make a convenient number of poison while fueling delve, and it gives you insulation against all the Gut Shots running around.

When I say 8 is a great number of poison, it’s because you can either sneak in an attack, then the second attack plus 8 is lethal, or you can Noble Hierarch into Might of Old Krosa. It makes you a combo deck where you can have either Might of Old Krosa + Vines of Vastwood or Mutagenic Growth + Become Immense to get the magic 10 poison as quickly as possible.

I only ran 1 copy of Mutagenic Growth at the PT largely to keep people honest and it’s good to draw only 1—multiples are bad. If you’re playing close and longer, interactive games so that Mutagenic Growth’s 2 life is a high cost and it’s low power—it doesn’t save your creatures from a Lightning Bolt. In this new Eldrazi Winter wonderland we live in, you won’t often even be paired against a person with Lightning Bolt, and the goal is just to goldfish where Mutagenic Growth is much better.

At the Pro Tour, one area in which we did an excellent job was to make sure that Spellskite was a bad card against us. By playing a large number of Twisted Image, Viridian Corrupter, Dismember, and Nature’s Claim, there were many matchups where it was to our advantage to have the opponent sideboard in Spellskite since it led to favorable exchanges. Twisted Image and Viridian Corrupter are especially strong here. If everyone is on the Spellskite and Chalice of the Void plan, then at least the Spellskite part of that plan will be woefully inadequate.

I’ve moved from Rancor back to Distortion Strike as a concession to the Eldrazi matchup. When you don’t draw Blighted Agent, it can be hard to battle through a large number of blockers and whereas Rancor shines against Affinity, it’s inefficient against Eldrazi decks. Distortion Strike is extremely well positioned right now.

I will freely admit that the Apostle’s Blessings seem like they’re a bit out of place and I’m dubious as to whether they should retain their spot, but they are still strong enough against every deck that isn’t Eldrazi that I think it may still be acceptable. It’s clearly a poor choice to have a card that grants protection from colors in a format where the most popular deck is colorless. Although even in that matchup, you could still use this card to counter a Dismember. It’s certainly the first card you sideboard out but it’s not like it has no uses. I’d be in favor of cutting it from the deck, but I can’t think of a comparable card that provides protection from removal and evasion.

I’ve still got 1 Dismember in the main as a concession to the rise in popularity of Eldrazi Displacer. This card can be hard to beat in some games, but in general, I suspect it’s far too slow. Infect kills on turn 3 with shocking regularity, so for them, to cast a 3-cost spell and have 3 mana available for the rest of the game is no easy feat. This can also be beaten by having two infect creatures that can punch through for the win. If you are worried about Eldrazi Displacer, I recommend playing a copy or two of Spellskite in the main deck.

Lastly, in the sideboard, I’ve moved from a mix of 3 Nature’s Claim to 1 Nature’s Claim, 1 Deglamer, and 1 Krosan Grip. I like a mix to help beat people who play with problematic permanents, and Welding Jar or Spellskite. If you happen to play against a Lantern deck, Krosan Grip is a nightmare card—they can’t leave up activations of Ghirapur Aether Grid or protect an Ensnaring Bridge with Welding Jars and Spellskites. I also like the ability to Deglamer a Spellskite when the opponent has a Welding Jar and they feel safe. Krosan Grip is appealing to me since it’s well within the realm of possibility that I Krosan Grip a Chalice of the Void on 1 that they’d prefer to redirect to Spellskite but can’t, unlocking Twisted Images to clean up. I would play more copies of Krosan Grip but 3 mana is quite expensive for this 20-land deck and playing multiple spells in a turn is how this deck thrives. One is great because it’s unique and unexpected, but multiple would be poor. I still run one Nature’s Claim because it’s simply the best option available against Affinity.

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