Modern Legacy: The Thinking Machine Scourge
Let’s revisit the banned list. On the top of that list is the five artifact lands. Does that mean Affinity as a deck is dead? I think not. I believe that the deck is very viable if you take an objective look at what exactly makes it tick.
In regular Affinity decks, the five artifact lands are a very valuable part of the deck. It guarantees the ability to achieve a great number of artifacts on the battlefield, with minimal effort. In modern, we do not have that luxury, so we have to reexamine components of the deck, see what we cannot support anymore.
First up is the classic Affinity spells- Frogmite, Myr Enforcer, and Thoughtcast. Frogmite and Myr Enforcer both act as pesudo-free creatures, while Thoughtcast is the means by which you reload your hand. With the decreased artifact count the deck will have, we have to take a close look at the time by which we can cast these spells. Frogmite usually costs 1 mana or zero on the second turn, which is very acceptable in this deck. Myr Enforcer keeps on costing three mana on turn two, and 1 or 2 on turn three, which makes it slightly clunky. A third turn vanilla 4/4 always gets trumped by a Tarmogoyf. For Thoughtcast, we have to look at the role it fulfills. It is often cast as the last spell in your hand, and is used to refill your hand. This makes it a valuable tool for this deck.
Next up is the nonartifact spells. Affinity decks tend to run either Disciple of the Vault, or Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. I believe with the lack of artifact lands, the Disciple cannot pack enough of a punch to be truly effective. The issue with Tezzeret that I have is the whole deck’s mana cost averages out at around 1.5 mana, with the highest costing card being three. Tezzeret’s 4 mana cost is a stress on the deck that I do not want it to have.
So right now the deck that we have looks like this:3 Mox Opal 4 Signal Pest 4 Ornithopter 4 Memnite 3 Arcbound Ravager 4 Darksteel Citadel 3 Springleaf Drum 4 Frogmite 4 Cranial Plating 3 Master of Etherium 4 Thoughtcast (40 cards)
Now, we need to figure out the direction we want to go with the manabase. What we have now is:Mana: 10 4 Darksteel Citadel 3 Springleaf Drum 3 Mox Opal
I would like to have 18 lands, and the 6 extra mana sources to have a total of 24. This means we need to fill out the lands with 14 more cards. What we can do is to add both Nexuses (Blinkmoth and Inkmoth). This inflates our artifact count, while still being threats. Bonus. 6 more lands left. I would prefer these to be colored lands, so now we look at what we have in the deck. 7 cards requiring blue mana to cast is present. Do we need any other colored cards? I personally do not think so, so Islands it is.Mana: 24 4 Darksteel Citadel 3 Springleaf Drum 3 Mox Opal 4 Inkmoth Nexus 4 Blinkmoth Nexus 6 Island
We’ll work on creatures next. What we have, in order of converted mana cost is:Creatures: 22 4 Ornithopter 4 Memnite 4 Signal Pest 4 Frogmite 3 Arcbound Ravager 3 Master of Etherium
I want more creatures here. Normally we would have Myr Enforcer and Disciple of the Vault here, but as discussed above, its not going to happen. Now, to replace these two cards, we need to look at cards that fulfills their roles. Myr Enforcer is a really cheap beater. There is nothing else that we can have instead of the Myr Enforcer that is similar, so I looked to my Standard Tempered Steel deck for ideas. In it, Vault Skirge is very good. What it does is to be an evasive creature that helps immensely against aggressive decks, even better in conjunction with Signal Pest and Cranial Plating. For Disciple of the Vault’s utility slot, we again look at the Tempered Steel deck. In there, Steel Overseer jumps out to me. What Steel Overseer does for me is to often double the damage that my army of artifacts can deal. It is also very good, when we look at it alongside Ornithopter, a card that we have to play but is mediocre most of the time. Steel Overseer gives us another way to make use of the Thopter.Creatures: 28 4 Ornithopter 4 Memnite 4 Signal Pest 4 Frogmite 3 Arcbound Ravager 3 Master of Etherium 3 Vault Skirge 3 Steel Overseer
Our non-creature, non-mana cards round out our list, giving us this deck.BlueSteel Mana: 24 4 Darksteel Citadel 3 Springleaf Drum 3 Mox Opal 4 Inkmoth Nexus 4 Blinkmoth Nexus 6 Island Creatures: 28 4 Ornithopter 4 Memnite 4 Signal Pest 4 Frogmite 3 Arcbound Ravager 3 Master of Etherium 3 Vault Skirge 3 Steel Overseer Other: 8 4 Cranial Plating 4 Thoughtcast
I am not going to construct a sideboard for you, because the sideboard in this deck depends entirely on the metagame. To beat Hypergenesis, use Chalice of the Void and/or Ethersworn Canonist. To combat graveyard decks, use Tormod’s Crypt. To fight targeted combo decks like Protean Hulk, look to cards like Leyline of Sanctity. To fight tokens, use Echoing Truth or Engineered Explosives. For creature decks, you could have Dismember.
This deck can explode out of the gates very quickly. I believe that this deck is positioned very well in the metagame, because it is able to race most combo decks, and becomes better after sideboarding, while being able to overpower an normal control deck that aims to beat combo. Heavily aggresive decks such as Zoo will give this deck problems, but since Zoo loses to combo and certain styles of control (12post), Zoo’s presence shouldn’t be prevalent in the early stages of the meta.
A few things you need to be aware of are:
- You can tap Nexuses to make themselves artifacts for the purpose of affinity and/or Steel Overseer.
- You need to be very careful when you are doing your math. This deck can pull out wins out of nowhere, if you do your math correctly.
- Be aware when you are figuring out what to sacrifice to Arcbound Ravager, while a Cranial Plating is on the battlefield.
- Inkmoth Nexus’s infect is a very real route to victory
I hope you enjoyed our sojourn in building this deck.
Until next week.