I was hoping Affinity would stay a little more under the radar, but it has not. Why would I hope this? Well, obviously because I am playing an Affinity deck at Champs! An Affinity deck is the best deck to utilize the awesome powers of all the Manakins running around in the environment. I have seen several builds of Affinity and I don’t like any of them besides my own. While all the conventional builds are fast, they all do the very same thing…
…they lose to very popular cards in the environment.
Let me illustrate.
Control Player:”I will Wrath of God.”
Affinity player:”I will attempt to get back in the game even after being savaged by that ten-year-old answer by Thoughtcasting a few times.”
My point is that most of the affinity decks out there are very quick, but not nearly fast enough to deal with any sort of control deck, especially since they will have answers for Goblins…All of which are good against Affinity as well. The way Affinity is built right now reminds me of some sort of one-shot wonder deck that blows its load a little to early. What happens if your opponent is playing with Wing Shards, Smother, or Terror? Yeah, all three of those cards are in the environment. I would think twice before sacking the team to Atog.
Some affinity decks out there seem to be missing the best card in the deck, Lightning Greaves. I can’t express how ridiculously good this card is. Even though I am playing eight Manakins in here, I gave the name of the deck to the Shoes. It is just so dumb when out of nowhere you attack for seven when you had nothing at the start of the turn. It also helps against some removal and makes sure you get a hit in before a Wrath of God occurs.
Aside from my love of Manakins, most of you will be wondering why I play the Myrs instead of Talismans, especially without any Bonesplitters in the deck. The answer is that the Myrs attack and block – this is crucial. Yes, they are 1/1s, but they still pack a slight punch. This is the secret to Manakins; if you do not respect them, they will smack you upside the head.
It Must be the Shoes
4 City of Brass
4 Vault of Whispers
4 Seat of the Synod
4 Great Furnace
4 Silver Myr
4 Pyrite Spellbomb
4 Leaden Myr
3 Cabal Interrogator
3 Voidmage Prodigy
4 Nim Shrieker
4 Lightning Greaves
4 Myr Enforcer
3 Assert Authority
The way this deck works is similar to the other affinity decks: Put out some artifacts and play some spells that are really good with artifacts. The one card that everyone seems to be missing out on besides Lightning Greaves is Nim Shrieker. Seriously, an 0/1 flying for four mana…Who could pass this guy up? In reality, the Shrieker hits from anywhere between four and seven damage in the early game. Later on, he is easily an eight-power dude, and sometimes ten. The Shrieker is made better by the fact that his low toughness is shielded by Lightning Greaves – it is not rock-solid protection against, say, Infest, but it helps.
The most popular things to do in the early game is to attack on turn three with Myr Enforcer or attack on turn four with Nim Shrieker. Against Control decks that use Wrath and Vengeance, you will want to try to start with an Interrogator to draw out a Wrath before going in with the heavy hitters. If you have a choice between a second-turn Myr and a second-turn Greaves, usually it is better to go with the Greaves, since you can effectively give the Myr haste when it comes into play the next turn, cutting its cost in half.
Once you get a bit of pressure, one of two things will happen.
1) You will discover that by playing the second one of your heavy hitters (Shrieker or Broodstar) you will just kill your opponent instantly via Greaves.
2) You will have some sort of countermagic to protect your assault with the large flier. This comes in the form of Assert Authority and Voidmage Prodigy. Assert Authority is amazing. It is simply a Dissipate for UU. Voidmage Prodigy is a counter that lets you put some pressure on, not to mention that you can also sacrifice your Cabal Interrogators as counterspells later on.
Vs. Mono Black
Mono Black is a deceptively easy matchup. The only card in their deck that worries you is Visara the Dreadful, and Lightning Graves helps a lot against her. In most cases, you are just too fast. I have played games where Mono Black played out Oblivion Stone on turn 3 and died before they were able to activate it. Just in case that bothers you, there are a few Stifles and Detonates in the sideboard, Really, if they don’t blow a Stone, they have little shot. Try to keep counters up for Consume Spirit.
Goblins is a fast deck, but so is affinity. While this deck doesn’t have Frogmites (which are only good in this matchup), it still has great game against Goblins in the form of Myr Enforcer and Pyrite Spellbombs. Just put a little pressure on with Nim Shriekers and Broodstars while holding back with your ground guys. Boarding in some Gempalm Incinerators should tip the matchup highly in your favor. Another Voidmage Prodigy to block Goblin Warchief wouldn’t hurt, either.
Vs. U/W Control
This matchup is probably the hardest, since it involves your arch-enemy Akroma’s Vengeance. If you get an Interrogator down early, just ride it until they are forced to Wrath him away. Activate for as much as possible until they are able to make six mana, and then start leaving back counter mana and only Interrogating for one.
The other way to take this matchup is by being very aggressive and using Voidmage Prodigies to stop all the answers. You can pull it off, but be wary of attacking your Voidmages into a Decree of Justice!
After sideboard, bring in the Disciple of the Vault. Yes, Disciple of the Vault. The Akroma’s Vengeance play will find it difficult to play up your side since they will pretty much get Searing Fleshed for each one of these little buggers you have out. They are not the best cards ever, but they make the deck just a little more aggressive and give your opponent a big enough smack on the wrist for Wrathing that you should be able to win the game.
You can sideboard in Stifle too, but it isn’t that great except against Decree.
I expect enough Affinity decks to show up with all of these articles flying around. Against normal affinity, this deck is the control deck. Just make sure you don’t get hit by any Atogs. Sideboard in Detonates and Disciples of the Vault – one-mana Stone Rains and a little beating for Atog helps a lot.
Overall, I find this to be the most effective Affinity build. I will be playing this deck and serving it up with my Manakins. Other good disruption cards to use are Hollow Specter and Persecute. If you want more anti-Goblins, put in the Frogmites.
Well, now you know what I am playing at States. It is in fact a block deck, but from a block yet to be seen. Just the fact that this type of deck can be a powerful entity in Standard will give us an idea of what to expect when Block eventually does roll around.
P.S.: Thanks to everyone who congratulated me on my second-place finish at Kansas City. I will be writing a report for next week.