This little guy is one of the reprints that Modern deckbuilders have been waiting for. Rancor was going to break the format open. Bant Aggro was looking for that little push to put them in the top tier. Zoo was looking for a comeback. Infect was looking to finally be a deck. Today I’m going to discuss BUG Infect and whether or not Rancor has finally pushed it over the top.
In a known meta, there are several places to get ideas for rogue decks. One is taking new cards or synergies and trying to build around them. The decks that spawned from the printing of Worldfire would be a good example, but this is slightly different. This is a known archetype, just a weak one that has the potential to emerge if the right cards are printed or added to the card pool. The good news is that there are archetypes to build from, the trap is to try to keep using strategies that don’t work while squeezing in new cards like silver bullets.
When testing any new deck, especially a deck that I haven’t played before, I like to fill the slots differently than I would if I were trying to play the most streamlined version. Sometimes I will put in cards that might be weaker, or already proven to not work to see if they are stronger elsewhere. I always like to put a variety of cards in the deck over a list of automatic four-of’s. I might find a card is particularly strong against a strategy employed by some decks but not others. These cards may end up in the sideboard after testing, or they may get removed depending on how the metagame I expect to face is shaping up.
Today’s list is an adaptation of a couple of UG Infect lists from MTGO daily events with a splash of Black suggested by DrWorm on MTG Salvation. Here is the deck we are testing:
Modern BUG Infect
I started my testing against Jund and did surprisingly well. We played 5 games which isn’t a huge sample size but it gave me an idea. These games like all preliminary testing are all mainboard. My test partner was my wife Nancy who has been a big encourager of me continuing this blog.
Jund Game 1 -
I was on the play with a first turn Glistener Elf. She opened with a tapland having no first turn play. My second turn consisted of getting in for 1. She untapped and played Dark Confidant who quickly ate Dismember. My third turn involved double Groundswell for nine poison counters ending the game. She revealed Jund Charm. I guess it pays to be on the play.
Jund Game 2 -
I opened this game with a Glistener Elf again and a series of two drops along with Groundswell and Vines of Vastwood. Turn two I swung in with Groundswell and vines backup rather than deploy one of my two drops. Thoughtsieze took the vines from my hand and Jund Charm ate my board. My opponent started chipping away with Bob and a resolved Liliana of the Veil threatened to lock me down. Unfortunately for her I started in with my second Inkmoth Nexus. With no further instant speed removal Inkmoth Nexus eventually got there on the back of a topdeck vines.
Jund Game 3 -
This game was practically a repeat of game 1. With Duress and a plenty my opponent started shredding my hand. It was tough having to pick between Groundswell and Rancor. She picked Rancor and got five poison counters next turn as a thank you. Thoughtsize ate a two drop but Terminate was thwarted by Apostle’s Blessing.
Jund Game 4 -
This was a fairly long game that I nearly lost. With no turn one Glistener Elf. I did manage to find all four Blighted Agents this game many of which died to removal. Fortunately the last one stuck and I was able to ride it to victory the turn before I died to Huntmaster of the Fells. This is the only game that I actually cast Rancor but it was countered for no legal target when my Blighted Agent found himself electrified.
Jund Game 5 -
My opponent started this game with a pair of Inquision of Kozilak trying to clean up my hand. I had a lot of pump this game but only the lone Glistener Elf to protect. At one point I had to crack a fetch on my opponent’s turn to save my elf from a Lightning Bolt. She got down Dark Confidant as a blocker but had to sacrifice him to answer a Mutagenic Growth. Jund Charm gave him two +1/+1 counters to force the trade, but Inkmoth Nexus and Pendelhaven sealed the game.
I was rather impressed by the deck’s ability to handle a deck I was sure would be trouble. I’m sure Jund will have a better chance post board bringing in even more removal.
My second test match was a set of five vs UW Restoration Delver.
Delver Game 1 -
Nancy had an incredibly hard time getting delver to flip in this game. Despite holding me at bay for a bit with Snapcaster Mage and Gut Shot eventually she succumbed to mana flood while Pendlehaven managed to push damage through.
Delver Game 2 -
Against UW its very easy to take a lot of pain early. I had to mull this game but quickly found out that her only counter magic was Spell Snare and Deprive. Deprive stopped Rancor but left her down mana out and unable to answer a double Groundswell the next turn.
Delver Game 3 -
This game showed me no turn 1 elf which is a very important play. Delver of Secrets flipped on the first try and Vendilion Clique stripped my Plague Stinger. At six a turn this game was soon over.
Delver Game 4 -
This game I opened with a Glistener Elf, a Plague Stinger, and a Blighted Agent but no source of green. In a ranked match I would have thrown this back, but I was holding Groundswell and Vines of Vastwood.
Delver Game 5 -
This game could have gone either way. I was low on pump spells so I started out with a batch of steady poison. I got her to 7 counters before Restoration Angel and Snapcaster Mage wiped my board. I took one turn of beats and topdecked Dismember to deal with the offensive angel. Fortunately I had just enough mana to get through Spell pierce. Inkmoth Nexus came down and sealed the deal.
While the results came out 3-2, I think had I continued to play they would have been pretty even. The aggro deck is going to be better against pure UW Restoration Builds but not as effective against Delver Decks. I would rate this match 50/50 or at best 55%.
Next time, I’ll be covering results from a couple of the interactive aggro decks including Affinity and Boros.