Deck Spotlight: U/G Infect (and beating it)

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Notice how I call the deck “U/G Infect”, and not “Simic Infect”. #sultaidelver

First, a disclaimer: I have never, in my life, shuffled up a cardboard version of Infect on a tournament. I have played its progenitor – Berserk Stompy – and I have played quite a bit against it with plenty of other decks, primarily Team America. As such, I will mostly discuss how to beat the deck, and not how to play it, but chances are that any given reader is part of the “does not play infect” crowd than “does play infect” crowd.

Most of the post will be written from a Team America (BUG Delver) stand point, but it is also very applicable to other decks in the format.

For reference, I will be using this list, piloted by Brad Nelson and Todd Anderson to a second and third place respectively at SCG Atlanta a couple of weeks ago. The only difference between the two decks are the names of the green fetchlands, and in all other respects, they are identical. Nelson’s list is available here with card-tags and all.

4 Blighted Agent
4 Glistener Elf
4 Noble Hierarch

2 Berserk
4 Brainstorm
2 Crop Rotation
3 Daze
3 Force of Will
4 Invigorate
1 Spell Pierce
1 Stifle
4 Vines of Vastwood
3 Gitaxian Probe
1 Ponder

1 Forest
4 Inkmoth Nexus
4 Tropical Island
1 Wasteland
4 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills
2 Pendelhaven

Sideboard:
2 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Spellskite
1 Sylvan Library
2 Blue Elemental Blast
1 Flusterstorm
1 Force of Will
2 Krosan Grip
1 Nature’s Claim
2 Submerge
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Karakas

Infect is in many ways a combo deck and can sometimes completely blow you out with a god hand. Turn one Glistener Elf, turn two Invigorate and Berserk is a 10/5 Infect creature with trample attacking you for a one-shot. However, the fact that both Nelson and Anderson plays only two Berserk suggests that they seldom count on the turn 2-3 kills and instead opts to grind for a bit more. It is truly frightening to utter the words “no blocks” against an Infect pilot, even if he or she has no mana untapped, Invigorate means you can get four extra poison counters out of nowhere that you didn’t count on.

inkmothnexus.hqPlaying against Infect almost always means that, unless you yourself are piloting a really fast combo deck, need to go on the defensive in the early game, and this is true for Team America as well. The deck’s creatures are very fragile and dies to all removal in the format, Inkmoth Nexus notwithstanding. Speaking of the latter, I’d always save my Wastelands for Inkmoth Nexus if possible, trying to waste them off mana is tough since the deck’s curve is very low, in this case Nelson and Anderson runs thirteen free spells and only Vines of Vastwood possibly cost more than a single mana, and only if kicked. As such, nailing their Inkmoth Nexus is probably the best thing you can do with your Wastelands, although sandbagging them on hand in order to lure out Inkmoth Nexus might be dangerous due to Crop Rotation. This is also especially important since Inkmoth Nexus is immune to Abrupt Decay and Liliana of the Veil.

vinesofvastwood.hqTwo of the trickier cards in the deck to play against are Vines of Vastwood and Crop Rotation. Vines of Vastwood means that Infect can sometimes blank your spotremoval and get a boost in the same card, which is very potent. It is, however, quite expensive by the deck’s standard, especially if the Infect pilot is also using mana to activate Inkmoth Nexus or casting cantrips. It’s very worth looking out for, however, it is one of those cards that can swing a boardstate from safe to catastrophic for two green mana. Watch out for it, it will win many games for Infect if not considered. It is also, coincidentally, on the sweet-spot of netting an infect creature 4 extra power, meaning that it only takes that and a Berserk, or two of them and an Exalted trigger/Pendelhaven activation for it to be lethal.

croprotation.hqCrop Rotation is another box of worms, it is one of the more techy cards in the deck and it can be used in a number of different ways to further the boardstate. It is often seen in Elves as further copies of Gaea’s Cradle, but in this case, it’s used primarily to find Inkmoth Nexus when needed, meaning the threat count isn’t as low as 8 infect creatures, it’s 12 infect creatures and two Crop Rotations. On the other hand, if it’s countered, it means severe card disadvantage for the Infect pilot, and a set-back on the board. It is an Instant, which means it can be played mid-combat for some tricks, and let’s not forget the one-of Karakas and Bojuka Bog in the sideboard against certain match-ups.

Post board, Spell Pierce is great for winning counter-wars and for countering their pump spells and cantrips, since their deck is so mana tight. Disfigure and Dismember are of course great additions to the deck as well.

In summary:

  • You are control
  • Keep Wasteland for Inkmoth Nexus
  • Watch out for Vines of Vastwood
  • Be careful about letting them resolve Crop Rotation
  • Board in Spell Pierce and Disfigure
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1 Comment

  1. Grim Lavamancer

     /  October 9, 2014

    Never been much of fan of the infect deck. It’s a beatdown that only have to beat you for half the damage. And that’s unfair.

    Like

    Reply

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