Video Daily Digest: The Infection Returns

What a difference a year makes! Infect used to be a Tier 1 Modern deck, but now it makes waves when it does well. Ross Merriam highlights an intriguing Sultai build ahead of SCG Louisville!

A year ago, I wouldn’t have thought of featuring an Infect deck in this
space. At that time, the deck had been one the best-performing archetypes
in Modern for over a year, resulting in some clamor for a ban to halt the
string of turn 3 wins, often with one or more pieces of protection.

Those pleas were answered when Gitaxian Probe was removed from the format
earlier this year, and despite it being a powerful card, I did not expect
it to sink Infect entirely. Unfortunately for Tom Ross and others, the deck
has failed to make significant waves since the banning, although the
printing of Fatal Push has contributed to that at least as much as the
removal of Gitaxian Probe.

But as is often the case in Modern, archetypes lay dormant rather than die,
and an updated version of Infect has put up some results in MTGO, with one
notable addition: Disrupting Shoal.

The lesser-known pitch counterspell, Disrupting Shoal is perfect for
countering cheap removal on the early turns, letting you tap out more
aggressively than you otherwise would and thereby mitigating the deck’s
struggle with Fatal Push and other cheap removal spells.

To support Shoal, the deck plays a full eight one-mana cantrips, which also
serve to fuel delve for Become Immense and let you consistently find the
pieces you need. Spell Pierce also serves as a pitchable blue card, but
this one also counters removal spells, completing a nice turn 2 sequence if
you open with Noble Hierarch.

With all this effort invested in protection from removal, this version of
the deck is less able to attack through blockers, making Glistener Elf a
liability, so the former staple is gone and in comes Scars of Mirrodin Draft all-star Plague Stinger as the third part
of the triumvirate with Inkmoth Nexus and Blighted Agent.

This version of Infect is slower than its predecessor, but given how much
the format has slowed down this year, it’s plenty fast enough for the
current metagame, and now it has better tools to ensure that speed isn’t
just shooting from a glass cannon.