nfect is a strategy that has been widely avoided in Standard. A lot of readers have been excited about the potential strength of All-In-Fect; I wrote about All-In-Fect a few months ago. The deck quickly garnished a decent following. People really like decks that are capable of winning on the third turn. Now, after the introduction of New Phyrexia, the deck is capable of winning on turn two. Glistener Elf makes the deck very dangerous, especially when it wins the die roll.
I don't think anyone expected a one-mana infect creature in New Phyrexia. As a result, no one has really paid much attention to the archetype. Some really absurd things happen when you have a Glistener Elf and an Assault Strobe in your opening hand. A single Groundswell, or a Mutagenic Growth and a Prey's Vengeance or Giant Growth, will be enough to close the game on the second turn.
Mutagenic Growth gives this deck a whole new angle of attack. The amount of "burst" poison you're able to output without any mana available makes the game very scary for opponents, especially if they don't have spot removal.
I decided to start things off by giving you a very budget-friendly deck list that's capable of turn-two kills.
Standard (with New Phyrexia)
You'd be surprised how often this deck just offs someone on the second or third turn. People are often frustrated by the blisteringly fast draws this deck is capable of. The card choices are all pretty obvious and the deck functions exactly how you would expect it to.
I played a few matches with the above deck list. Here's an example:
(Pyro-Twin features the Deceiver Exarch / Splinter Twin combo in a Pyromancer Ascension shell.)
I lost the roll and kept Copperline Gorge, Forest, Glistener Elf, Blight Mamba, Groundswell, Mutagenic Growth, and Giant Growth. My opponent played a Scalding Tarn, cracked it for an Island, cast Preordain, and passed the turn. I drew a Prey's Vengeance, played my Copperline Gorge, cast Glistener Elf, and passed the turn. My opponent played a Mountain and passed the turn. I drew a Flame Slash, played my Forest, and attacked. I decided to go for it and cast Giant Growth on the Glistener Elf. My opponent responded with a Lightning Bolt, but I responded to the Bolt with a Groundswell. My opponent let the Groundswell resolve, I cast a Mutagenic Growth for the cost of 2 life, and my opponent had ten poison counters.
While I was impressed with its ability to close games, like the above, on very early turns, I was often frustrated by the fashion in which it sputtered out when I didn't kill my opponent immediately. This was one of the first games I played against Pyro-Twin, and my opponent didn't quite understand what my deck was designed to do. If my opponent had used an Into the Roil or had a Spell Pierce, then that game would have ended very differently.
I wanted the deck to have more late-game resilience. I didn't want to depend on the random win factor as much as I wanted the ability to win some real games of Magic. I decided to try a mono-green version of the deck again and see how it went.
Initially, I began building the mono-green deck in a similar fashion to the red-green list. Then a friend brought an interesting deck list from Magic Online to my attention. I was impressed with the deck's resilience and defense. I don't have the exact list on hand, but the player chose not to play with any actual infect creatures. Instead, the player played a full playset of Inkmoth Nexus, Expedition Maps to find more copies of Inkmoth Nexus, pump spells, proliferators, and artifacts that benefit from proliferate.
The deck I had seen was from pre-New Phyrexia Standard; the deckbuilder didn't have access to cards like Mutagenic Growth or Glistener Elf. I still wanted to include Glistener Elf, though, as having this card on the play can make for some very scary situations on your opponent's end. In fact, a lot of decks just fold to a Glistener Elf on the play. I've never been hugely impressed with the two-drops, and I wouldn't be upset if I had to leave all of them on the bench.
Inkmoth Nexus is the most impressive threat here. This card isn't exceptionally difficult to trade for and it's the only non–Contagion Engine rare in the main deck. The sideboard will likely have a few Obstinate Baloths, but that doesn't seem like the end of the world. They shouldn't be too hard to trade for.
Inkmoth Nexus and Glistener Elf should be all the win conditions I need. I'm going to play a healthy suite of pump spells. I want to make the game very dangerous for my opponent. I don't want anyone to feel safe when they tap out against me.
Now I need to build a support shell. Tumble Magnet is the most obvious inclusion. Tumble Magnet does excellent work against opponents who plan on using equipped creatures to dominate the battlefield. (Boros and Caw-Blade). Tumble Magnet is also an excellent way to clear a path through your opponent's blockers to win with a lethal attack from an Inkmoth Nexus or Glistener Elf. Tumble Magnet is especially strong here because it works so well with the proliferate mechanic. I want the deck to have an inevitability in the late game that's based around using proliferate cards to up my opponent's poison count while charging up my Magnets and keeping the board in a state of calm.
Tezzeret's Gambit is another obvious inclusion. For three mana I get to cast Sign in Blood in a green deck. I already love that idea, but Tezzeret's Gambit is so much more. It charges up Tumble Magnets and increases my opponent's poison count. It also fuels my ability to close games with scary quickness by filling my hand with pump spells for the key attack.
Contagion Clasp is necessary here. I need Contagion Clasp to deal with Lotus Cobra draws. Contagion Clasp is also an excellent tool that I can use to keep my Tumble Magnets live. Again, it's not unreasonable to kill an opponent with a few Clasp activations after a single healthy attack from a Glistener Elf or Inkmoth Nexus.
I decided that I wanted access to a single copy of Contagion Engine. It may seem silly, but I feel like it's necessary against a lot of midgame positions that come up when fighting against the Tempered Steel decks. It's also nice to have access to a "kill all Squadron Hawks" effect. The double proliferate presents a fast clock that also ensures your Tumble Magnets will never run out of juice.
I was pretty worried about Gideon Jura when I initially started working on this deck, but I quickly learned how to play around the bomby white planeswalker. The most important card is Tectonic Edge. I've included a playset of Tectonic Edge that will help us keep our opponents off five lands. It's usually safe to assume you've gotten one clean hit in by the time your opponent resolves a Gideon. From this point, you can simply proliferate your way to victory. I also included a miser's copy of Beast Within to help deal with the Gideon problem.
This deck is all but immune to Day of Judgment. In fact, usually you shrug off Day and just bash back in with an Inkmoth Nexus. People will probably have trouble sideboarding against the mono-green list, too. They need to mold their deck to deal with a noncreature-spell-based strategy, but at the same time they need to deal with the potential for a lethal attack on the second turn of the game.
I decided to play a few copies of Nature's Claim in the main deck. I think Nature's Claim is a main-deck-worthy card in this type of strategy. It deals with Swords, Pyromancer Ascension, Splinter Twin, Tumble Magnet—heck, it even deals with Khalni Heart Expeditions from Valakut players.
I also decided to include a single copy of Dismember. It's nice to have more action against turn-two Lotus Cobra and the ability to off a blocker for a colorless mana is very impressive.
Here's the final list once I worked out all the kinks.
Standard (with New Phyrexia)
I was able to acquire all the cards from New Phyrexia by borrowing them from friends. My good friend Chris Lachmann was kind enough to play a match against me with an updated Caw-Blade deck.
I won the roll and kept Inkmoth Nexus, Forest, Tectonic Edge, Expedition Map, Groundswell, Mutagenic Growth, and Tezzeret's Gambit. I played my Inkmoth Nexus, cast Expedition Map, and passed the turn. Chris played a Seachrome Coast, cast Preordain, and passed the turn. I drew a Forest, played it, activated the Inkmoth Nexus, and attacked. I decided to use my Mutagenic Growth immediately and put Chris up to three poison counters. Chris cast a Squadron Hawk, searched up some Hawkage, and passed the turn. I drew a Tumble Magnet, cast it, and passed the turn. Chris played a Celestial Colonnade, thought for a moment, and passed the turn. I drew a Glistener Elf, cast it, and attempted to cast a Tezzeret's Gambit, which also resolved. Chris went to four poison and I drew a Groundswell and Forest.
Now I knew what Chris had in hand. He chose not to cast another Squadron Hawk, so he had to have had a play on my turn. He didn't counter my Tezzeret's Gambit, even though I tapped out to cast it. I could be sure, then, that Chris had at least one Condemn in his hand. Chris played a Plains, cast Sword of Feast and Famine leaving the Plains untapped, and passed the turn. This was a strong play from Chris; he left a basic land untapped, which prevented me from using Tectonic Edge to blow up his Condemn mana. I tapped his Hawk on his end step. I drew a Giant Growth, played my Forest, activated my Inkmoth Nexus, and attacked with both infect creatures, I cast Groundswell on the Glistener Elf and Chris used a Condemn to deal with that. Then I cast Groundswell and Giant Growth on the Inkmoth Nexus and we were off to Game 2.
Sideboarding: I'm going to take the Glistener Elf out of my deck when I'm on the draw. It seems very dangerous to waste slots on a card like this when it isn't going to be capable of very early wins.
-4 Glistener Elf, +1 Nature's Claim, +2 Beast Within, +1 Dismember
I mulliganed and kept 2 Forest, Tectonic Edge, Tezzeret's Gambit, Tumble Magnet, and Contagion Clasp. Chris led things off with a Celestial Colonnade. I drew an Expedition Map, cast it, and passed the turn. Chris played a Seachrome Coast, cast Stoneforge Mystic, grabbed a Sword of Feast and Famine, and passed the turn. I drew a Mutagenic Growth, played my Forest, and passed the turn. Chris played a land and passed the turn with three mana open. I cracked my Expedition Map and found an Inkmoth Nexus. I drew Beast Within, played my Inkmoth Nexus, and attempted to cast a Tumble Magnet, Chris had the Spell Pierce. He dropped the Sword of Feast and Famine with Stoneforge Mystic's ability on my end step.
On his turn, Chris equipped the Sword to Stoneforge Mystic, cast a Squadron Hawk, and attacked me. I discarded Tezzeret's Gambit, and he untapped all his lands, cast a second Squadron Hawk, and passed the turn. I drew a Groundswell, played my fourth land, and passed the turn. Chris played a fifth land and cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I tried to Beast Within the Sword of Feast and Famine in response, but Chris had another Spell Pierce. He attacked me with his Stoneforge Mystic and a single Hawk, used Jace's 0 ability, cast another Hawk searching up the Hawk he'd just put on top of his library, and passed the turn. I drew a Groundswell, and he showed me two Mana Leaks and a Condemn. I decided it was time to pack it up.
Sideboarding: I want to bring the Glistener Elf back into the deck now that I'm on the play. The potential of very quick wins is enough for me to happily pack some number of this spell.
Changes from original list: -1 Contagion Engine, +1 Dismember
I kept Forest, Inkmoth Nexus, Glistener Elf, Groundswell, Giant Growth, Contagion Clasp, and Nature's Claim. I played my Forest and cast Glistener Elf. Chris cast a Preordain off a Seachrome Coast and passed the turn back. I drew a Tectonic Edge, played Inkmoth Nexus, attacked with Glistener Elf, cast Groundswell, and passed the turn. Chris cast a Stoneforge Mystic, found his Mortarpod, and passed the turn back. I drew a Tezzeret's Gambit, played my Tectonic Edge, activated my Inkmoth Nexus, attacked, cast Giant Growth, putting Chris at nine poison, and passed the turn to Chris. Chris cast the Mortarpod, and passed the turn with Condemn and Spell Pierce mana open.
I drew a Forest, and figured I would play around everything. I played my land, cast Contagion Clasp, and put a counter on Chris's Germ token. Chris used the Germ to shoot my Glistener Elf, and I activated my Inkmoth Nexus and attacked. Chris drew the Condemn cast the Condemn he'd drawn last turn. Chris cast a Squadron Hawk, searched up a few Hawks, and passed the turn with two mana open. I drew a Tectonic Edge and activated my Contagion Clasp for the last poison counter.
All-In-Fect wins the match 2-1.
Find a Launch Party Near You!
Find a Launch Party Near You!
This is a very real deck that has some exceptionally dangerous draws. If you're a fan of poison like I am, then this should be a very fun and interesting deck to play at your local tournaments. I know I'll continue working on this deck in the future, and I'd love to hear what you guys have decided to include in your lists in email or in the forums using the links below.
Make sure you check out the Launch Parties for New Phyrexia this weekend. The new set is sure to shake up every format. Be a part of the change and find your nearest Launch Party!