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Spreading Cheese – Double Cheese

Hello everyone. I’ve been trying to do something cool for this column lately, but I’m running into technical difficulties, so last week there wasn’t a column, and this week’s won’t be too long. Also, we might not have a column next week either, but afterwards the column will come back full force with a few surprises.

In other news, Mirrodin Besieged is now legal in Standard! I don’t know about you guys, but I’ll be playing Infect for a few weeks. You know, just to annoy people, since many people seem to hate it. Does that make a difference? Believe me it does. Ever played EDH/Commander? The person with the most broken general usually gets picked on first, even if they had a bad draw. Impressions matter in this game, we’re not just machines playing, we’re humans. Infect is a new player in the game, and this time it even seems like a viable deck. It also requires half the damage to kill a player, which is intimidating.

While we’re on the subject, I want to make a point. Many people make bad comparisons when trying to define Infect damage. Some people call a 4/5 Infect creature an 8/5, some say it’s like having double strike. Personally, those comparisons bother me. It’s not an 8/5, because it can’t face off with a Platinum Emperion and kill it, and it’s not like double strike because of similar reasons. Here’s another PSA by me: Don’t think of Infect creatures like that. Infect creatures are creatures with Wither that accumulate numbers towards a different win condition. I know the other comparison is an easy one to make, but think of it like this: Let’s say I make a mechanic called “Mindnumb”. It deals damage to players in the form of milling. Now, would you call that mechanic “One-third strike”? Please don’t. Whenever something new and out of the box becomes available in any medium, critics try to compare it to some older thing that’s kind of familiar, and they usually end up making bad comparisons. Just consider the extra dimension. Virulent Wound, on the other hand, can be safely compared to a Shock that also puts a -1/-1 counter on a creature. But the creature combat aspect makes infect more complicated.

So, what’s the deck I was thinking of playing? Well, right now, without too much time to think about cards and doing too much play testing (I was busy recording songs for my band, so this week’s metal plug is my own music! The Anachronist, go to the facebook page and click “Eternal Sands (pre-master)”), I’ve been giving some thought to Mono Black Infect. Patrick Chapin posted a very similar list today, but I have an innovation of my own too.

Now, Phyrexian Vatmother and Phyrexian Crusader are obviously the strongest infect creatures, so they are an auto 4-of. Just remember to think about your Vatmothers in the mirror match. Plague Myr is great because it is a ramp and a 1/1 for 2 (not going to call it a 2/1!), and Plague Stinger is also good because it flies. Skithiryx is a good finisher that can alpha strike out of nowhere, and Go for the Throat is of course great removal. The regular discard suite of Duress and Inquisition is obviously a staple, and Sign in Blood is good card draw.

Now, for the artifacts. Adventuring Gear is obviously great, but I don’t see the merits of Piston Sledge. At best, there are 14 artifacts in Chapin’s list, including the amazing Inkmoth Nexus and the Sledges themselves. The others are Adventuring Gears and Plague Myrs. None of those are artifacts I’d be willing to sacrifice. The Nexus is both a land and a valid kill condition (and doesn’t work well with the Sledge itself either, since it unequips after each turn), I wouldn’t want to sacrifice Gears if I still had lands, and I wouldn’t want to sacrifice the Myr either since it’s a perfectly valid body. So I can’t really see a good reason to add the Sledge. Yes, it puts your opponent on a very short clock, and it doesn’t cost any mana to equip, but if things go wrong then you end up getting screwed, because you just sacrificed one of your options. Even though I agree with his reasoning on Vampire’s Bite, I don’t think the Sledge is worth the price.

I have another card that can make up for the lack of the Sledge, though. So far, I haven’t seen anyone include this card in an infect list, which surprises me. It’s not the best card, but infect gets more value out of it than other decks. I’m talking about Contested War Zone. Since you need to get through just half the amount of damage to win with infect, this card is double the value (unless the opponent has blockers—I’m not falling into the trap I described in the first paragraph—in which case it’s slightly less value but still devastating), and I think it is a valid inclusion. Of course, there are some complications associated with playing this card, but I’ll leave figuring that out to you.

Other than that, my list is exactly the same as Chapin’s, I run Bites instead of Sledges and Zones instead of Edges. I’m looking at a few other decks, namely Spenser (listen to YMTGT if you don’t know what I’m talking about!), a more sophisticated infect deck, and of course, a Tezzeret deck. There are a lot of brews to think about, but so little time to test them! We’ll see how it goes.

Speaking of interesting brews, did you check out The results from the latest SCG Legacy Open? There are a few results that particularly excite me. First of all, there’s the completely new archetype of Forgemaster combo, of course, as I said in a previous article, it’s too early to tell if this is just a fluke, and it might simply be a case of no one knowing how to play against the deck, but if the deck ends up proving itself, it will be very interesting, because Forgemaster is not a card that anyone could see in a good deck, and a new archetype is always interesting to play around with, especially if it’s combo (you should all know that I like combo by now). Another interesting deck is Junk and Taxes, which mixes up Junk with Death and Taxes. Both decks always felt like they were missing something to me, and this new combination just might be the juice the deck needs. Personally, I’m playing around with Dredge (What? Don’t give me that look), but I want to try a few different things in Legacy too. Infect is an obvious choice, and cheating a Blightsteel Colossus into play is every Johhny’s dream, even in Standard (I want to try that one too!). It seems that the new block has quite a bit of cool toys for Legacy that are slowly revealing their potential, and I hope there will be at least one more interesting deck.

That’s all for this week, and as I said, there probably won’t be an article next week (maybe there’ll be one on Thursday), but stay tuned for a surprise in the following week! Until then, may you all play new decks and have fun.

All will be one!

P.S. For questions, comments, feedback, send an e-mail to me at Spreading.Cheese [at] gmail [dot] com or follow me on twitter @nayon7

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