Hello again friends! Here at my Pauper Flophouse of fun I bring you a variety of sweet Pauper decks and give them some quick and dirty brawls in the leagues. Hopefully showing off what the decks can do, having some sweet games and making suggestions on how to make things even better. Let’s go!
Do you want to know a deck that people keep mentioning, but I’d never actually played against in Pauper? Infect. I’ve played against all kinds of decks, but since Invigorate got the axe I’d never battled against it in a league or even in tournament practice, and some of the decks I’ve seen in the MTGO tournament practice room are not mentioned in polite company.
On a related note: I really love the card Reckless Charge. It’s one of my favourite cards from ‘back in the day’ and I go out of my way to put them into decks on a regular basis, even if they haven’t made their way into many videos thus far. So when I saw a post over on Reddit’s Pauper section about a hypothetical turn 1 kill featuring the Charge, I was intrigued.
Now, my deck is not capable of turn 1 kills. Regular readers/viewers will know I favour building significantly more stable decks rather than crossing my fingers for scenarios known as ‘Magical Christmas Land’ where many things need to go right. For this reason, there are no Lotus Petals or Simian Spirit Guides or other such cards in my deck. However, it’s still plenty explosive, and the resilience may surprise you too. Here is the deck!
4 Rugged Highland
3 Gruul Turf
2 Teetering Peaks
1 Hickory Woodlot
4 Reckless Charge
4 Mutagenic Growth
4 Vines of the Vastwood
3 Temur Battle Rage
2 Apostle’s Blessing
1 Kodama’s Reach
3 Flame Slash
2 Aerial Volley
1 Flaring Pain
3 Corpse Cur
Yes, I’m going to explain some choies. Many of which are covered in the deck tech video, but maybe you can’t watch it right now, and you need answers!
First, I need to talk about the mana, and that Kodama’s Reach. Gruul Turf? Hickory Woodlot? Isn’t infect supposed to be ultra-fast? So, part of the philosophy of this deck is while it *can* be a super aggro, all-in linear deck, it also can play a more deliberate game. Reckless Charge opens up a new dimension to Infect strategy. You can now kill the opponent despite not having any creatures in play at the start of the turn, meaning the opponent can die at any time… as long as you have more than just a few mana. The bouncelands and Kodama’s Reach are great whenever the opponent has a bunch of removal spells, especially sorcery ones, as they let you build up to a big turn of:
Infect creature -> Reckless Charge -> 2 pump spells -> protection spell.
You certainly board out Reach in match ups where it really is just a race, or you are boarding in disruption of your own and it’s going to become a naturally longer game, but the times where the opponent is sitting there with removal spells, leaving up mana and waiting for you to cast creatures, it’s great.
Secondly, the pump spells. Temur Battle Rage is a staple in Izzet Blitz, but it doesn’t get the full treatment here. I kept finding it fairly tricky to use, so I ended up on only 3 copies rather than 4. The problem is that unlike the other pump spells, it’s pretty miserable on it’s own. I still think a few are desirable, as the deck lacks some evasion and it is great in game 1 race scenarios, but it often gets boarded out as opponents become more prepared to interfere with a big one-turn kill.
Only having 3 Groundswell is quite probably a mistake. However much of the ‘large damage output’ role is taken by Reckless Charge, and in testing games it was sometimes difficult to get the full benefit. I’d probably move to 4 in the future, since in the good draws it’s *so* good.
Hammerhand is kinda sweet, but optional. It doesn’t excel at any particular role, but it’s a 5th haste effect, an extra psuedo-evasion effect, and slight power/toughness boost all in one.
Lastly: conspicuous by its absence in the sideboard is any form of artifact/enchantment hate. The theory is that Flame Slash solves the main problem against Affinity (4/4 creatures) and you should beat Hexproof decks anyway.
That’s most of the unusual things, everything else is fairly straightforward. Onward to matches!
Not too shabby, right? That match against the mill deck though… showing what happens if the opponent doesn’t have anything to interact with us.
If you want to pick up this deck for a go, here are some thoughts moving forward:
- It is certainly possible to make the deck faster if you want to, at the cost of being less able to play around removal. Larger Than Life is powerful for example, but sorcery-speed pump spells are notoriously difficult to set up against opposition.
- You could go mono-green, like my last round opponent. You miss out on Reckless Charge angle of attack and the red sideboard cards, but you become better in match ups that end up as un-interactive races.
- Similarly, you can make the deck a little slower, but better against removal. You could play some Khalni Garden like the Hexproof decks do to eat some Edicts for example, or maindeck a couple of Corpse Cur.
- There are various neat Auras you could play, depending on what you play against locally. Volcanic Strength, Dust Corona, Madcap Skills and more all could be good, if you notice Goblin decks, Squadron Hawk decks or decks that like to tap out for big creatures respectively. I personally like Briar Shield.
- The Hickory Woodlot might be better off as just a normal basic land. It’s been better than a basic forest a bit more than half the time, but draws where you get it after a mulligan are harsh.
- Just remember that you can bide your time with this deck. Look at this screenshot, where I refused to expose my Glistener Elf to the Icatian Javelineer (and any number of other cards) until turn 6, before surprise killing them through 5/5 worth of blockers.
So that’s Green-Red Infect. What do you think? I think it’s pretty fun and challenging to play, but make sure you know what removal you’re likely to have to face before picking it up!
Stephen ‘Jecht’ Murray, over and out.