Affinity Primer

Affinity

Decklist:

Lands:
x4 Tree of Tales
x4 Seat of the Synod
x4 Great Furnace
x4 Darksteel Citadel

Creatures:
x4 Frogmite
x4 Myr Enforcer
x4 Atog
x4 Carapace Forger
x2 GearSeeker Serpent

Instant/Sorcery:
x4 Thoughtcast
x4 Galvanic Blast
x2 Metallic Rebuke
x1 Fling
x1 Temur Battlerage

Artifacts:
x4 Springleaf Drum
x3 Flayer Husk
x4 Prophetic Prism
x3 Chromatic Star

Sideboard:
x1 Hydroblast
x1 Electrickery
x1 Dispel
x3 Krark-Clan Shaman
x2 Pyroblast
x2 Relic of Progenitus
x1 Ray of Revelation
x1 Ancient Grudge
x2 Feed the Clan
x1 Serene Heart

The Lands:

Each land in Affinity counts as an artifact which serves the purpose of fueling Metalcraft, beefing Atog, and playing the Myr Enforcer earlier. With the fact that the lands also produce 1 mana each, It is very easy to vomit everything in your hand and run all over your opponent. The Reason for having Darksteel Citadel in the deck as opposed to using other Artifact lands that branch in color is because it is very common in the pauper format to be on the other end of Artifact destruction on the opponent’s turn 1 or 2. Piloting the deck, you will find that out of 100 games, Darksteel Citadel will save you from getting blown out by a well timed artifact removal about 25% of the time.

The Creatures:

Affinity is a deck that denies other players the right to brew their own decks and be successful. The reason being is simple, the creatures are too big for decks outside the meta to handle. 4/4’s in multiples are almost impossible to deal with early game, and as the flow of the match moves toward the midrange area, Affinity begins to drop Gearseeker Serpent and Atog with Fling backup. If the opponent somehow manage to survive the volley of 4/4’s and 2/2’s, a couple of Galvanic Blasts and a Fling generally finishes the opponent off.

The Sideboard:

If you have been having conversation with the other players in the Pauper community you will have undoubtedly heard the phrase “Affinity Beats Itself”. This phrase refers to how temperamental Affinity is about its deck slots. Affinity’s Sideboard is something that can act as a self-destruct button if you have no idea what you are doing. There are pieces to the deck that act as a glue, holding the structural integrity of the deck and without this glue, the deck becomes inconsistent and far less dependable. Below are the cards that have nothing to do with the performance of the deck.

Under no circumstances should anything other than these four cards be taken out to bring cards from the Sideboard in. your choices are always: 2 Metallic Rebukes, 2 Gearseeker Serpents, 1 Prophetic Prism, and 1 Chromatic Star. Most of the time you will not need all six of these cards taken out so it is imperative to know which of these cards are favored over the other. The rule of thumb is that if the matchup ends very quickly, Gearseeker Serpent comes out because the card takes too many turns to be able to cast it and effectively block or attack. Metallic Rebukes come out in situations where Gearseeker Serpent gives the opponent a hard time and you have a better utility than “Counter a spell unless the opponent pays 3” Prophetic Prism and Chromatic Star are simply filler slots for your Sideboard but should only be taken out in singles otherwise the deck will lose consistency.

Notable Plays:

Aside from 4/4’s Beating the opponent to death, Affinity has an additional win condition. Sacrificing all of your artifacts when the opponent is tapped out or has no cards in their hand to Fling/Temur Battle Rage Atog will close the game about 40% of the time. It is important to note that you will need to tap the mana needed for Fling or Temur Battle Rage before start sacrificing all of your artifacts. Subsequently, when you Fling, MTGO will ask you to choose your target first, Then ask what Creature you wish to sacrifice. I have seen games where the opponent accidently flings but chooses the Atog as a target.

Many times when piloting Affinity you will run into a scenario where there are 4 Artifacts and you only have one mana open. For example, It is turn two with a Darksteel Citadel in play coupled with a Great Furnace. You already have a Chromatic Star in play from a turn before and you tap one mana to cast a Frogmite. You now have one mana open, a Chromatic star on the board and a Thoughtcast in your hand. Unfortunately, if you tap the Chromatic Star and filter blue, you will draw a card but your artifact count will go down to 3 making Thoughtcast impossible to play. Fortunately for you, there is a way around this. By declaring that you are casting Thoughtcast before filtering the mana for Chromatic Star, you lock in the Affinity for 4 off of the Thoughtcast. This means that you are able to draw three cards from this combo. You can accomplish this in MTGO simply by clicking Thoughtcast in your hand prompting the game to ask you to pay 1 blue, then use the Chromatic Star to to produce the blue mana. For those of you who play pauper on paper and have to explain to your opponent why this nifty trick works, I will post a section of the rules explaining why this is possible. Remember, the same trick can be used for Gearseeker Serpent if you need to filter the second blue, but only have 5 Artifacts in play.

601.2e The game checks to see if the proposed spell can legally be cast. If the proposed spell is illegal, the game returns to the moment before the casting of that spell was proposed (see rule 721, “Handling Illegal Actions”).

601.2f The player determines the total cost of the spell. Usually this is just the mana cost. Some spells have additional or alternative costs. Some effects may increase or reduce the cost to pay, or may provide other alternative costs. Costs may include paying mana, tapping permanents, sacrificing permanents, discarding cards, and so on. The total cost is the mana cost or alternative cost (as determined in rule 601.2b), plus all additional costs and cost increases, and minus all cost reductions. If multiple cost reductions apply, the player may apply them in any order. If the mana component of the total cost is reduced to nothing by cost reduction effects, it is considered to be {0}. It can’t be reduced to less than {0}. Once the total cost is determined, any effects that directly affect the total cost are applied. Then the resulting total cost becomes “locked in.” If effects would change the total cost after this time, they have no effect.

The interaction between Krark-Clan Shaman and Flayer Husk is very important to mention as the combination locks your opponent out of several games where Krark-Clan Shaman gets boarded in. The Flayer Husk gives Krark-Clan Shaman +1/+1, Allowing you to to board wipe every turn against Elves and Boggles without killing your Shaman. This combo will also allow you to lock Tireless Tribe out of the Inside Out combo every turn.

Once the Flayer Husk has done its job in helping with mana, It is imperative that it gets attached to a 4/4 so that it does not die To Flame Slash and Galvanic Blast. This is especially true when you are playing the mirror matchup or facing the Opposite end of a Gurmag Angler. Most mirror matchups are dependent on who abuses Flayer Husk more. Also remember that against Boros, Equipping a Frogmite with Flayer Husk will kill both their 2/2 Glint Hawk and Their 2/3 Kor Skyfisher.

Matchups:

VS Bogles: +1 Ray of Revelation, +1 Serene Heart, +3 Krark-Clan Shaman, -4 Galvanic Blast, -2 Gearseeker Serpent. One of the only exceptions to the rule of Sideboarding with Affinity is Galvanic Blast against Bogles. Because all of the creatures are Hexproof, Galvanic Blast is a dead card and thanks to Armadillo Cloak, Galvanic Blast does not do much in the way of finishing the opponent off. Gearseeker Serpents are coming out because they are entirely too slow. You have two options to deal with the Hexproof shenanigans. One option is to Blow up pertinent enchantments with Ray of Revelation or Serene Heart, the other is to Utilize an early Krark-Clan Shaman which should bide you enough turns to draw into more enchantment removal or lock your opponent out of the game by equipping a Krark-Clan Shaman with a Flayer Husk for a seemingly infinite board wipe. It is important to mention that all of the Hexproof creatures in Boggles are 1/1’s so Electrickery seems like a good idea to board in; and it is. But only if you are on the play. The reason for this is because Bogles will usually play a turn 1 Hexproof creature and a turn 2 enchantment that will put it out of Electrickery range. To reiterate, Electrickery is not wrong to board in, but for consistency purposes I would suggest boarding it in only when you are on the play. The opponent will simply board in Dispel to stop Electrickery and Serene Heart/Ray of Revelation.

VS Burn: +1 Hydroblast, +1 Dispel, +2 Feed the Clan, -2 Gearseeker Serpent , -1 Prophetic Prism, -1 Chromatic Star. Pre-Sideboard, The game depends on who can win the race for damage. Post-Sideboard depends on getting Feed the Clan or a very well timed Counterspell. You might be asking “Why is game two not a race for damage?” The simple answer is because Smash to Smithereens exists in the format. Used correctly, Smash to Smithereens can make the race impossible by blowing up a 4/4 while at the same time doing 3 damage. The game especially gets tough if Smash to Smithereens is drawn in multiples. I have lost games on two land hands where Smash to Smithereens was played on turn 2 destroying a land. Regardless, Smash to Smithereens can severely set you back. Galvanic Blast their Creatures and make Counterspelling their burn spells a priority. As long as you are in a good board state, using Feed the Clan will almost always results in biding you enough turns to kill your opponent.

VS Elves: +3 Krark-Clan Shaman, +1 Electrickery, -2 Gearseeker Serpent, -1 Prophetic Prism. Although not impossible, this is a very tough matchup. Pre-Sideboard you only have 5 removal spells while the opponent has approximately 8 spells that reload their hand. Save the removal for the Timberwatch Elf and the Wellwisher as these cards are what mainly stands in the way of victory game 1. Removing the first mana dork you see off the board is almost never a good idea game 1 unless you have multiple removal spells. Game 2 you should shoot the first guy you see to stall until you draw an Electrickery or Krark-Clan Shaman. The matchup becomes significantly more difficult post sideboard because of Gleeful Sabotage. Paired with Nettle Sentinel and Quirion Ranger, Gleeful Sabotage can blow up two lands while spitting creatures on the board as early as turn 2. Another card worth noting is Wrap in Vigor, which can save the opponent’s creatures from being board wiped. Many individuals i have talked to have suggested that Carapace Forger needs to be taken out in this matchup as Carapace Forger is an Elf and fuels several Elf abilities. I personally believe this is a mistake because with 4 less 4/4’s on the board, you will have that much harder of a time finishing the game.

VS Inside Out: +3 Krark-Clan Shaman, +2 Pyroblast, +1 Dispel, -1 Chromatic Star, -1 Prophetic Prism, -2 Gearseeker Serpent, -2 Metallic Rebuke. Pressure is the key to winning this, accept the fact that the opponent will sometimes blow you out on turn 2 or 3. If this does not happen, you need to race the deck while at the same time leaving one creature to block and one, if not two Galvanic blast mana open. A perfect scenario is to set up Krark-Clan Shaman and equip it with Flayer Husk and every turn during their upkeep, sacrifice a land to do one damage to everything, this essentially “Time Walks” you to victory. Gearseeker Serpent always comes out in matches where you will die before you get a chance to play him and is irrelevant due to Shadow Rift, Metallic Rebuke is a worse version of Pyroblast and Dispel and Chromatic Star/Prophetic Prisms are the only cards you can take out of the deck without ruining the flow of things.

Vs Izzet Blitz: +2 Pyroblast, +1 Hydroblast, -2 Gearseeker Serpent, -1 Prophetic Prism. This depends on a very specific plan that usually results in victory. First, understand that the Izzet Blitz player is more scared of you then you should be of them. Essentially, if the Izzet Blitz player attempts to drop a Kiln Fiend or Cyclops by tapping out, it will suffer a Galvanic Blast. If the player waits until turn four or five to be able to cast Kiln Fiend/Cyclops while having protection mana open, that creature will have summoning sickness and the Izzet Blitz player will be dead from attacks the next turn. Because of this, you have the advantage both games. There will be games where the opponent will sneak out a win by dropping a Cyclops and having Mutagenic growth backup on turn three. This kind of situation is rare but it does happen. It is important to note that under no circumstances do you attempt to deal with a Blitz creature on the opponent’s turn. All this does is assist in pumping the opponent’s creature when they respond. The trick is to attempt to shoot the opponent’s creature on your turn. It will make it that much more difficult to achieve the combo. Keep everything off the board and do not fall into the trap of wasting your only removal spell on a Delver of Secrets.

Vs Izzet Delver: +2 Pyroblast, +1 Hydroblast, +1 Electrickery, -2 Metallic Rebuke, -1 Prophetic Prism, -1 Chromatic Star, The entire match is a toss up on both ends. Out of 100 games i would honestly say the outcome is going to be 50/50 as long as neither player makes any play mistakes. Izzet Delver can Skred your 4/4’s off the board and counterspell an Artifact or Galvanic Blast with a Spellstutter Sprite, then turn around and block a 4/4 with it and lightning bolt that 4/4 without losing card advantage. Hydroblasts come in to deal with your Atog and Pyroblast and Swirling Sandstorm is a nightmare to deal with late game. The one big mistake you can make is overextending your side of the board early game thinking you will be able to race the Swirling Sandstorm. Giving your opponent the ability to 5-for-1 you generally results in a game loss. Hydroblast comes in to save your 4/4’s from being Skred off the board and stops the occasional premature Swirling Sandstorm. Atog is the overprotective big brother that gives Izzet Delver a hard time but the real MVP here is Gearseeker Serpent as it is almost impossible for the opponent to have 6 Snow-Covered Lands in play and Gush consistently. The Metallic Rebukes come out because Pyroblast is better due to the fact that late game the opponent can simply pay 3. Dispel does not come in because there is no room without hurting the deck’s consistency.

VS Kuldotha Boros: +1 Ancient Grudge, +1 Ray of Revelation, +1 Hydroblast, +1 Dispel, -2 Metallic Rebuke, -1 Star -1 Prophetic Prism. This is one of your better matchups in the format. Kuldotha Boros is a deck that uses Lightning Bolts, Galvanic Blasts and Journey to Nowhere in order to control the board while slowly creeping card advantage by constantly bouncing Prophetic Prism and Alchemist Vial with their Glint Hawks and Kor Skyfishers. The reason Affinity does well in this matchup is because the deck is very slow. As the Affinity player you have more 4/4’s than they have Galvanic Blasts. Furthermore, Affinity can win out of nowhere with Atog and Fling/Temur Battle Rage. The opponent will be boarding in Circle of Protection Red to attempt to stop Atog. This and Journey to Nowhere is why Ray of Revelation is being brought in. Once your board is tapped down, the opponent will attempt to Gorilla Shaman your board away and lock you out of the game. Hydroblast prevents the Gorilla Shaman from hitting the board. And Dispel helps with getting an early Fling without falling into a Prismatic Strands. Dispel also saves one of your 4/4’s form getting Galvanic Blasted. Finally, Ancient Grudge prevents the opponent from further gaining value from Kor Skyfishers and Glint Hawks by Blowing up the Prophetic Prism or Alchemist Vial on the stack. Ancient Grudge can also lock in an early upset by blowing up an artifact land with Boros Garrison’s ability on the stack.

Vs Mono Blue Delver: +2 Pyroblast, +1 Dispel, +1 Electrickery, -2 Metallic Rebuke, -1 Prophetic Prism, -1 Chromatic Star. The Pre-Sideboard matchup against Mono Blue Delver is an absolute joke. Keeping a hand that might lead to slow starts could potentially be a problem but as a whole, if you were to stick a 1/1, 2/2, and a 4/4 (assuming the other 4/4 was counterspelled) the game is won. This is leaving out the fact that Atog can win games where the opponent is tapped out and a Resolved Gearseeker Serpent forces the opponent to both Snap and Counterspell to deal with 1 threat. Save the Galvanic Blasts for either a Spellstutter Sprite that is attempting to counterspell a 4/4, or a Ninja of the Deep Hours. Pre-Sideboard, the only removal Mono Blue Delver has is the ability to Snap and Counterspell a creature upon re-entry. Post-Sideboard things get a little more awkward. Annul and Hydroblast come in. Annul is a problem because you are no longer able to trick your opponent into allowing you to slip a 4/4 creature onto the board. Now they can counterspell or Spellstutter Sprite a Carapace Forger and Annul the Myr Enforcer. More than likely, the opponent will Annul the cards that produce red, locking you out of Pyroblast so protect your mana base, and when the opponent has tapped out, play around Daze and vomit your 4/4’s on the board.

VS Mono Green Stompy: +1 Electrickery, +3 Krark-Clan Shaman, -2 Metallic Rebuke, -1 Prophetic Prism, -1 Chromatic Star. Mono Green Stompy wins against Affinity by using what i call the Bottleneck technique. Essentially Green Stompy will have three 2/2’s on the board. One 2/2 will be equipped with a Rancor while the other 2/2’s stay untapped for gang blocking one of Affinity’s 4/4’s. This forces the Affinity player to sacrifice a 4/4 to deal with a 2/2. Once the Rancor is returned to the hand, the opponent will simply play another 2/2 and equip the Rancor to an unsick creature and start the cycle over again. This cycle will continue until one of three things happen: A vault Skirge becomes equipped with Rancor and therefore becomes unblockable with lifelink, the opponent plays Silhana Ledgewalker with Rancor or Hunger of the Howlpack, or you play a Atog with Fling (Remember, Vines of Vastwood stops Temur Battle Rage). Both game on and two flow this way however, game two has two additional factors. The Affinity player can blow the opponent’s board out using Krark-Clan Shaman and the Green Stompy player early game can blow up two Lands using Gleeful Sabotage. Late game the Gleeful Sabotage can hit two Myr Enforcers.It’s not wrong to board in Ancient Grudge to deal with Vault Skirge, the problem is that if they decided to take it out game three, you have a dead card. This matchup is about 60/40 in the opponent’s favor.

Vs Tron: +2 Relic of Progenitus, +1 Dispel, +1 Pyroblast, -1 Prophetic Prism, -1 Chromatic Star, -2 Metallic Rebuke. Any version of Tron besides RUG Tron is your dream matchup. A turn 2 4/4 opening hand makes the game almost impossible to win. The reason being is that. Tron is attempting to do several things at once. Build Tron, set up for future combo plays, and attempt to stay alive. Its very hard to do all three at the same time. Relic of Progenitus comes in to stop the use of Pulse of the Murassa, Mnemonic Wall, and Moment’s Peace. Dispel counters fog spells and Pyroblast stops Mnemonic Wall and Mystical Teachings, which can be removed from the graveyard after it is cast with Relic of Progenitus. One of the big silver bullet cards against Affinity that Tron Variants board in is either Gorilla Shaman or Ancient Grudge. Gorilla Shaman late game can blow out the whole board due to the Urza Lands and Ancient Grudge allows the opponent to 2-for-1 Affinity decks which can be a nightmare. Make sure to use Relic of Progenitus every turn and play aggressive.

Vs UB Control: +2 Pyroblast, +2 Relic of Progenitus, +1 Dispel, -2 Metallic Rebuke, -1 Prophetic Prism, -1 Chromatic Star, -1 Gearseeker Serpent. This matchup is very difficult. Chainer’s Edict is awful paired with disfigure against us. Counterspells and Gurmag Angler can be a little too much to deal with. Post-Sideboard gets easier in one aspect because Relic of Progenitus can be a blowout against them but harder in another aspect because Duress and Annul sets you back significantly. Try to sneak your spells under the radar by giving the opponent an impossible choice like having a germ token in play and casing an Atog on turn three, when the Atog gets counterspelled, drop the Relic of Progenitus. If you are against an experienced UB Control player with a good list, you will lose more than you win. By following this guide however, you may be able to skate by with a few wins.

 

Banned List: 19 Jan 15 Announcement

On 19 Jan 2015, WOTC announced a change in the Banned/Restricted List which mainly affects the Modern Format. Coincidently, Pro Tour: Fate Reforged is less than a month away and Modern is the selected Format for the event. The Meta suffers a loss of three cards and will take on an unexpected twist with the return of another.

Modern Format (Banned)
Birthing Pod
Treasure Cruise
Dig Through Time

Modern Format (No Longer banned)
Golgari Grave Troll

Legacy Format (Banned)
Treasure Cruise

Legacy Format (No Longer Banned)
Worldgorger Dragon

Vintage (Restricted)
Treasure Cruise

Vintage Format (No Longer Restricted)
Gifts Ungiven

Birthing Pod
Birthing Pod has been the spotlight of the Meta in Modern for the past year. When players sat at the testing tables with either homebrew decks hoping to take it to the top or lists found from past major tournaments after the cut to the top eight, there was one question that was always asked. Can it beat Pod? Every set that has entered into the Meta over the past two years have added at least one creature to the toolbox of options when using Birthing Pod. Birthing Pod has won five out of the twelve grand prix over the last year and continues to keep decks with unfavorable matchups out of the Meta. WOTC has always supported formats being diverse and in good faith with keeping the format alive, WOTC has banned Birthing Pod.
TreasureCruise DigThroughTime
Delver has been a deck in Modern that has slowly started to gain attention since the second half of this past year but exploded in popularity with the release of Khans of Tarkir due to Treasure Cruise. The ability to draw three cards for one blue manna after the use of fetch lands, cheap cantrips, and Thought Scour is good. In fact, WOTC believed it was too good due to multiple successful deck archetypes running Treasure Cruise. So why ban Dig Through Time? The answer is simple. Dig Through Time is the card players will choose if Treasure Cruise never existed. If Dig Through Time took Treasure Cruise’s place, would the results be all that different? WOTC decided to ban both cards. Due to the same reasons Treasure Cruise is banned in Modern, it is also banned in Legacy and restricted in Vintage.
IvGGolgariGraveTroll
Golgari Grave-Troll’s Dredge effect will have an interesting impact on the current Meta for players looking to “break” the format. Though I can’t say for sure if we will be seeing him in any top eight decklist, WOTC believed unbanning Golgari Grave-Troll would add variety to the Meta without having any significant impact.
Worldgorger Dragon
Aside from Worldgorger Dragon’s Synergy with Animate Dead and a few other cards, the Legacy Format should have the same impact unbanning Worldgorger Dragon as the Modern Format would have unbanning Golgari Grave-Troll.
giftsungiven
There was a time when Gifts Ungiven wrecked the vintage format causing it to be restricted. Currently however, Gifts Ungiven rarely makes an appearance, occasionally being seen in Vintage tier 2 decks. This card is back and unrestricted.

That’s the rundown of WOTC’s recently announced update to the Banned/Restricted list. What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below. We want to know if you agree or disagree with the recent changes and how it’s going to affect you. For more information on blog updates, MTG News, and Event Coverage, Like our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/MTGFleaMarket