I've run various iterations of this deck in local tourneys, and it usually does well. Best I did was 4-1 out of 26 players, but it usually finishes .500 or better. It's very fast, but can just run into the matchups that have the perfect sequence of counters/removal or a turn 1 kill (and it can't leverage FoW well with the limited blue count).

It's really fun and does some stupid fast things. Would be open to feedback and suggestions at this point. Maybe there's something I just overlooked.

// Eric Miller: vintage infect (61)

// 61 Maindeck
// 4 Artifact
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Sapphire

// 18 Creature
4 Blighted Agent
3 Noble Hierarch
3 Phyrexian Crusader
1 Leovold, Emissary of Trest
4 Glistener Elf
3 Collector Ouphe

// 14 Instant
1 Ancestral Recall
4 Berserk
4 Invigorate
1 Mental Misstep
4 Vines of Vastwood

// 20 Land
3 Bayou
1 Forest
4 Inkmoth Nexus
2 Tropical Island
2 Mana Confluence
2 Wooded Foothills
2 Misty Rainforest
1 Windswept Heath
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Nurturing Peatland
1 Pendelhaven

// 1 Planeswalker
1 Narset, Parter of Veils

// 4 Sorcery
4 Scale Up

// 15 Sideboard
// 7 Artifact
SB: 4 Grafdigger's Cage
SB: 2 Sorcerous Spyglass
SB: 1 Null Rod

// 3 Creature
SB: 3 Spellskite

// 1 Enchantment
SB: 1 Propaganda

// 4 Instant
SB: 2 Force of Vigor
SB: 2 Abrupt Decay

Some details on the card selection...

Scale up is just the best one-mana growth card you can play. Might of Old Krosa used to claim this spot, but it just got outclassed.

Vines are great as removal is your Achilles' heel. Being a +4/+4 for GG is solid, and makes any creature + berserk lethal. Berserk is obvious, and invigorate is a free "might" that shrugs off the life gain since you kill with poison.

The deck needs SOME disruption to stop turn 1 kills to your face, so Narset, Leovold, and 3x ouphe are a decent spot to start. Leo is not hard to slam turn 2 with nobles, but he's really rare to stick turn 1. Narset also needs lotus to hit turn 1, but is doubly good for being able to grab pump spells while disrupting. Sometimes these are just not enough.

The creature suite is fairly straightforward - 4 elf for speed, 4 agent for evasive threat, 4x inkmoth for uncounterable/evasive threats, 3x noble for ramp and exalted (I like 4, but would need to cut something for #4), and 3x crusader. Crusader is slow and usually gets FoWed...but if he does stick, he's immune to bolt and plow and has evasion to mentor/pyromancer. BUG just makes him look bad, though.

The other cards rounding out the deck are ancestral, miser's misstep, and mana.

The Sideboard - basically anti-grave/oath cards, a handful of answers to Oko and Maze of Ith (vs lands). 3x spellskite is good vs jeskai and propaganda is aces vs hollowvine/dredge/mentor (if you can resolve/stick it).

Some cards I considered and may have tried:

  • Time Walk — Tried it and it's really slow. You want to kill in one swing, and the second swing with no pump rarely puts you over the top. It's by no means a bad card, but I never found it to be the winning card where a different spell wouldn't have often been better. I guess at the worst it cantrips and is an extra land drop and attack, so it could be added back in. It's never "dead", it's just usually not game winning.

  • Thoughtseize—I tried 4x thoughtseize, and while they do "clear the path" for your first threat, they also take up your 1st turn when you could play glistener and win turn 2, giving them an additional turn to cantrip into an answer or just win first. TSZ is also the worst topdeck this deck can draw.

  • Demonic Tutor—There doesn't seem to ever be a single card I want in hand. The deck is a pile of redundant, so I basically always just tutor for ancestral, which makes it a sorcery speed 1UB draw 3 - not so hot. Maybe more card draw is better.

  • Sylvan Library—Slow. It's good CA, but waiting to turn 3 to draw +2 cards and skip my turn on turn 2 (tying up my 2 mana) is really not what infect wants to do.

  • Gush—haven't tried it. It could be a decent turn 2 spell to draw the pump I need...but I worry I won't have double tropical consistently.

  • Plague Stinger Faster than Crusader, but dies to every removal. Does have evasion though. Could be a possibility.

  • Treasure Cruise/Dig Through Time/Become Immense—Anything leaning on delve has been bad. This deck wants to win by turn 3 and filling the grave is rarely happening.

Suggestions welcome!

last edited by Thewhitedragon69

I noticed 2 things, the list is 61 cards, and your running 20 lands. Any chance you could drop 2 lands, and run 1 Gitaxin Probe? As small a change that is, I think it will help smooth out the draws.

I usually run 61 cards as most of my decks are full of tutors and i love the silver bullet package. It should be 60 cards in this case.

I think cutting 2 lands would leave me with 1 land or 0 land too often. Considering most are nonbasic, wastelands hurt. I ran 17, then 18, then 19, and finally stuck on 20 as drawing them frequently enough without flooding. I could go to 19, add probe, and cut 1 more card (maybe a crusader, as he's the slowest of all cards). Or I could try 18 and add back the 4th heirarch for more explosive turn 2s.

Brainstorm would also seem to be a nice hand/land smoother, but I have only a few fetches as shufflers and no tutors, so it's really not so great in practice. Is 6x fetches + narset enough to make brainstorm viable?

I'd cut 1x crusader, 1xbayou, +1 git probe.

Other question, is main leovold worth it? He comes down turn 2 often and turn 3 sometimes. By then, they've already ancestraled or whatever, and it's a 3-mana sorcery-speed, non-infect guy that doesn't do much else. what other piece of explosiveness can be better? I could maindeck one of the spellskites for protection in place of leovold...but ouphe and skite don't play nice together.

last edited by Thewhitedragon69

Phyrexian Crusader feels like you're breaking your mana to reinvent the wheel. The same removal exists in Legacy, yet the successful Infect lists are often only blue/green with the occasional white card due to the incidental mana generated by Noble Hierarch: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/archetype/infect-7b20fad1-e9bb-45d7-88ea-056f8fc9638f

Since you're able to cite a 4-1 record, can you give a breakdown of what those 5 decks were?

@80percentbuffoon In the 4-1 that I remember:
I lost to hollowvine/survival match 1 as the double vengevine, double hollow one off bazaar was just too fast.
I beat merfolk (I'm just faster)
I beat DPS (ouphe is awesome, and leovold did work here)
I beat dredge (not the pitch-dredge version, which I think would have easily stopped my cages)
I beat oath (turn 1 elf, he follows with oath, I follow with 10 damage - both games. This was pre-oko which is a killer vs me.)

I think pitch-dredge would be much harder to beat, but I found pitch-vine and pitch-dredge to be some of the hardest decks to beat nowadays. Jeskai usually eats my lunch, thus the crusaders. Oath with Oko would be a harder matchup than non-Oko Oath, but I'd still be able to pump a 3/3 bear for big damage and just try to win that way. Decay/Vigor/Cage/Spyglass/Spellskite are all good vs Oko-Oath, but diluting the deck with 12 sb cards would be an issue.

last edited by Thewhitedragon69

@thewhitedragon69

Oh. I was hoping your data was more recent than >9 months ago.

@80percentbuffoon Nah - last tourney I played was virtual. I played a welder deck and scrubbed out horribly. The last paper tourney that was held was pre-January with Covid.

@thewhitedragon69

The nice thing about Infect is, if built properly, it'll pray on the Xerox decks that have been doing well recently. This past weekend had a deck with 4 Pyroblast in the maindeck win a Challenge. Presenting a slew of green spells seems adequately prepared to sidestep that, and since they aren't white decks they'll have to rely on Lightning Bolt which can be "countered" by Invigorate and other +4/+4 instants. Phyrexian Crusader, while good on paper, seems bulky compared to just dropping a small threat early and running it to victory before they can dig deeply with their Preordains and restricted draw.

Focusing on blue/green, with maybe a splash of white, would fix the horrendous mana (Mana Confluence being the flagbearer for how bad your mana is) by alleviating the need for BB in an otherwise two-color deck. The utility lost by Leovold and Abrupt Decay could probably be made up by powerhouse cards like Oko, Thief of Crowns and, honestly, Brainstorm/Ponder. The hypergeometric chance of Leovold showing up in a deck with only Ancestral Recall as extra card selection made him nearly a blank anyway.

last edited by 80PercentBuffoon

@80percentbuffoon I run U/G in legacy and G/B in Modern. I like G/B just used stinger in place of agent, and it was great there. I could try a more counter-heavy approach with FoW/Daze and just run 12 infectors (with the inkmoths). The issue with bolt is that they don't just bolt willy nilly that I can counter with invigorate. They take the 1 infect-damage all day long and bolt in response to the invigorate when I try to kill them in one turn. Only my G/B builds seem to do well vs Jeskai. U/G runs into the issues of no creatures with protection and making pyroblast a good card vs me.

Bolt/Plow are still big removal spells, but now decay and trophy are also issues. Even FoV can now pick off a pumped inkmoth. Pyroblast is still a problem, as it kills 33% of my infect creatures in U/G builds.

Running Oko myself seems really bad. That's a slow control card and damage from 3/3s doesn't complement infect at all.

The Allousaurus Shepard might be a decent card to try now to make green infectors uncounterable - but that's basically elf (which I also want to drop turn 1) or viridian corruptor, which is slow.

Here's a UG version, similar to my legacy build, but with blue power and such. Still doesn't feel like it has the blue count to support 4x FoW (maybe mindbreak trap in the SB or defense grids would work), but the dazes are nice.

// Eric Miller: vintage infect_UG

// 60 Maindeck
// 3 Artifact
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Sapphire

// 14 Creature
4 Blighted Agent
3 Noble Hierarch
4 Glistener Elf
3 Collector Ouphe

// 1 Enchantment
1 Sylvan Library

// 17 Instant
1 Ancestral Recall
4 Berserk
4 Invigorate
1 Mental Misstep
3 Vines of Vastwood
4 Daze

// 17 Land
1 Forest
4 Inkmoth Nexus
4 Tropical Island
4 Misty Rainforest
1 Pendelhaven
1 Island
2 Waterlogged Grove

// 1 Planeswalker
1 Narset, Parter of Veils

// 7 Sorcery
4 Scale Up
1 Gitaxian Probe
1 Time Walk
1 Treasure Cruise

// 15 Sideboard
// 7 Artifact
SB: 4 Grafdigger's Cage
SB: 2 Sorcerous Spyglass
SB: 1 Null Rod

// 3 Creature
SB: 2 Spellskite
SB: 1 Collector Ouphe

// 1 Enchantment
SB: 1 Propaganda

// 4 Instant
SB: 4 Force of Vigor

last edited by Thewhitedragon69

@thewhitedragon69 said in Vintage Infect:

The issue with bolt is that they don't just bolt willy nilly that I can counter with invigorate. They take the 1 infect-damage all day long and bolt in response to the invigorate when I try to kill them in one turn.

If you're going to respond to my advice with mansplaining Infect gameplay then I don't see any further reason to help you.

@80percentbuffoon Lol - wasn't trying to mansplain. Was just saying you noted invigorate was a "counter" to bolt. In my experience, I've never had a player bolt my creature unless it was in response to the pump. I've almost never, for example, had them at 8 infect and swung with an exalted elf after a 4th or 5th turn where invigorate was in my hand as protection for bolt. I'm just not sure what you meant by "they'll have to rely on Lightning Bolt which can be "countered" by Invigorate and other +4/+4 instants" since that's never been how bolt was played against me. What I was trying to say is, no matter what colors I use for my deck, pump spells have never been a good answer to bolt for me, since bolt usually gets played after I pump for a kill.

Most Xerox decks I've run into are of the dredhorde/Mentor/Jeskai variety, so they definitely have plow too.

last edited by Thewhitedragon69

Cards I would consider, based on my legacy play

  • Elvish Spirit guide - helps you get lethal on the turn that matters, and your deck really is not looking for long game. Like it over Lotus Petal because it can get around Null rods and COTV on 0. Also let's you surprise them from tapped out with vines which basically becomes force of will for green in a lot of cases.
  • COTV - I see little reason not to run this at least in the side. On 0 it does not do much to you, and on 1 you still have threats to push through.
  • Rangers Guile - Vines is typically better for combo kills, but I had some luck with this guy in games where I had to do chip damage. If you find that you never cast vines on 2 then this is obviously better.

@protoaddict
ESG - definitely a card to consider. Would you cut lands for it? Nobles?

Chalice - On 0, it's okay, but mainly on the play. I'd think null rod or ouphe #4 is more what I'd want where I'd want Chalice on 0, no? I'd have to disagree on chalice @1. I HATE playing against chalice @1. It hits my elfs, nobles, vines, scale up, berserk, ancestral, misstep — like literally >50% of my non-land deck. It leaves me with only 4-8 infectors and only invigorate as pump. It is one of the best weapons against my deck, so I don't see how I could run it @1 myself.

Ranger's Guile - Blossoming Defense is just a strict upgrade to RG. I had tried BD as vines 5-8 at one point, but ran into the issue of "getting over the hump." Scale or invigorate or kicked vines + berserk = 10. Exalted 1/1 with two +4/+4 spells = 10. But no matter how I dice it, +2/+2 means I need an additional pump spell or an additional attack. In the end, I decided on 4x vines alone, and even preferred Might of Old Krosa to Blossoming Defense, just because the +4/+4 was better than hexproof and +2/+2 when trying to close out a game fast.

Forgot about blossoming, been a hot min since I played the list. I still think it's worth looking at the times when you cast vines on one and ask how often it happens. Defense also protects you against pyroclasm though it has not been relevant for some time.

I think my last legacy list was 17 lands and 2 of them were inkmoth so with moxen and lotus 20 does seem high. The list is super soft against wastelands and getting stuck on colorless sucks.

@protoaddict Yeah - I'd really love to run some kind of mono-green infect list that leverages allosaurus shepherd. Lots of basic forest and still pendelhaven and inkmoth. Uncounterable glisteners, ouphes, pump, vines, corrupters...could be something. The removal spells are always problematic though. I wish there was just ONE good green infector besides elf that cost 2 or less :(. Blight mamba costs 2, but at 1/1 with no evasion, it's just so bad.

last edited by Thewhitedragon69

I used Vector Asp for a long time and it did what it needed to do. Likewise in a more creature heavy meta Ichorclaw Myr was a total trap for my opponent. If they blocked with a chump like an elf or snapcaster I would be able to trample it and get that built in Bushido 2 so the opponents block would often wind up being the thing that gave me lethal. I don't think that paradigm holds here but being colorless is a big help.

I very much like the Green Black build of the deck more than any version I ever played with Blue. It was far more consistent a combo kill by using discard proactively where as with blue the games turn into chipfests. I do like the Probe for information in the deck and the single MM of course.

I wonder how great Hierarch actually is. The +1/+1 attack is important but I wonder how many games you are using her for mana 1 time in total, in which case having an off color mox or the ESGs may make more sense.

@protoaddict Re: Noble, I often use her like a great colored mox, more than exalted - but exalted has ground out some games. Moxen in general are not great off-color, and ouphe is a necessary evil that makes moxen worse. ESG is nice, but I think I want them WITH nobles, not in place of. The repeated mana is important often.

Ichorclaw had its place, but with FoV now, I feel it just adds a target to get blown out - killing my dude and a mox, or worse the ichorclaw and an inkmoth.

I'm considering BG as my modern version is a solid deck, whereas my legacy version is just super fast with daze protection that sucks wind after turn 2 or 3. I think if I have ESG and noble, I can turn 2 a crusader easy enough with a 2-color build, especially clearing the road with a duress/seize. Or I could use ritual and a mox to turn 1 duress/crusader. I also get Stinger, which is a fine replacement for Blighted Agent. Having trophy/decay is also fantastic. And black has some bomb spells.

I'll post a BG version tomorrow.

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