Hi my name is Barbarian King and I'm an addict. I inhaled paper Magic from Ice Age Block to Mercadian Masques before the small, local scene unraveled and I was forced to quit cold turkey. I'm a lot less technologically savvy than the average human but compared to my fellow barbarians I do alright so by 2010 I owned a computer, not a good computer but a computer none the less. With way too much free time on my hands I ended up reading about Magic, a lot, and by December I was feeling the itch and downloaded MTGO and started mainlining virtual Magic.
After a computer melt down forced me into rehab for a couple of months I returned and binged on MSS 4-3-2-2 drafts for a few days. A long string of failing to open any money mythics (the Liege of the Tangle I took for my Dino’s deck decisively does not count) I found myself looking at having to either build a seriously budget deck or run two more drafts gaming my ability to play until my birthday which was not a pleasant sounding prospect. Budget deck it is. By budget I mean not playing planeswalkers at all and trying to avoid mythics in general and even expensive rares. So I went out in search of a deck and in my desperation I actually found something pretty sick.
Here's my current build of the deck in it's absolute most budget form:
I would also like to present another version of the deck, it does add a few more tickets to the overall cost but in all it's not that much more and gives you a few staples for standard.
The difference is fetch lands over Putrefax and I'll explain why after I've explained the rest of the deck (or if you must know now Control F for Putrefax) but if you can afford the extra tickets I'd suggest the fetch land version. Another money addition to consider would be a Sword of Body and Mind over your least favourite sideboard card (I'd suggest the 3rd Canopy Cover). Also feel free to mess with the sideboard, I change it constantly and there's still room for improvement, but the Viridian Corrupter's and Obstinate Baloth's more than earn their keep and deserve their slots.
I've been running it in the 2-man queues for about 3 days now, which doesn't sound like much but I'm an addict and I can easily run 20 matches a day so I've got a pretty good feel for the deck and thought I'd write a primer for it in case anyone's interested in this underrated deck. As for my results I'm annoyingly close to 50 % but still positive and if think you can play better than some nobody who's never even attended a PTQ there could be a lot of free packs in this deck for you. If not, it's still incredibly fun deck to play combining the Spike thrill of winning on turn 3 or 4 with the incredible Timmy rush of doing so with Giant Growth variants and poison creatures which once were so terrible only my little brother and Mark Rosewater could love them.
The deck is made up entirely of cards that look like reasonable picks in draft that you wouldn't expect to see in a constructed deck built by anyone over the age of 12 but Giant Growth variants combined with cheap infect creatures allow for explosive kills out of nowhere. The deck is an absolute blast to play, at least assuming you enjoy killing your opponent in one or two hits around turn 3 or 4 and offers a reasonably high level of redundancy with a lot of your cards being fairly interchangeable.
The deck has a very low creature curve that essentially runs from 2-3 with a strong emphasis on 2 with good reason. The 2 drops are all 1/1 infect creatures with slightly different applications that are fairly obvious. Plague Myr is often the best turn 2 play allowing quick acceleration, Ichorclaw Myr is an offensive weapon able to attack fearlessly into almost any early blocker your opponent can put in his path and Necropede can threaten a 2 for 1 if your opponent tries to trade with it and works as a fine defensive line when you're in a pinch.
Moving up the curve to 3 Rot Wolf over Cystbearer is a personal choice and both have their merits but mostly their just keeping me from having to play Blight Mamba (which is terrible) without messing up the curve too much. A Viridian Corrupter crept it's way in from the sideboard since it comes in for so many match ups but I'd advise against more than 1 main deck because it's not a may trigger and can cause problems if your opponent doesn't provide a target.
Giant Growth and the best of it's variations all function very similarly and allow you to kill in one or two attacks depending on how much mana you have available (Inkmoth Nexus often takes two attacks as it eats up mana but makes up for it with evasion). Giant Growth needs no real explanation as it's the standard and when it's right to play Groundswell over another pump spell is fairly obvious. Vines of Vastwood is both the best and worst pump spell in the deck as it cost the most to actually pump the creature but it's an awesome second pump spell in response to removal after you cast the first Giant Growth. A misers Unnatural Predation is my no longer secret tech because sometimes you draw a lot of pump spells and all you want is for your little dude to trample, it's especially good when cast on a blocked Ichorclaw Myr.
Being mono-Green your removal options are limited to well, artifacts. That's okay though, Contagion Clasp does a fine job of killing off potential blockers and offers some occasionally relevant inevitability/reach. Tumble Magnet is even better although it needs to sit on board for mana concerns it can remove two blockers for the turn you want to make your alpha strike on.
Piston Sledge and Sylvok Lifestaff offer a little bit of permanent pump to your guys. Lifestaff is a nod to the prevalence of aggro decks in the online meta whereas the hammer is just a straight up beating. Re-equipping the hammer isn't so bad, Contagion Clasps, used up Tumble Magnets don't really feel like sacrifices and at times you really want to be able to have Necropede die before combat and a mana free pump keeping your Forests free to cast actual pump spells can be very advantageous.
Inkmoth Nexus is the only card you really need for the deck that actually costs multiple tickets but you really do need to run a set. Between it's evasive abilities and preventing flooding it's contributions are invaluable.
Fetch lands for land thinning would be great in this deck as it does not have a curve in the traditional sense with almost all the creatures costing 2 and most of the spells costing 1-3 mana. Ideally you want 2-4 lands in play and it would be nice if one of them was an Inkmoth Nexus. The deck deck functions much better when you get stuck on 2-3 lands than when you flood out. (I put Misty Rainforest in the deck list because right now they're cheaper, if you've already got Verdant Catacombs go with those).
In case of flooding Putrefax does not save you at least not enough to be worth running if you can afford to run some land thinning instead. I've won and lost games with Putrefax sitting idly in my hand, far more often than I've won by playing him but still he's not horrible at least the times he isn't hit by a removal spell. I really wouldn't recommend running more than 2 though because honestly the games where you hit 5 lands aren't the games you want to be playing and you never want to draw enough lands that you can cast him and pump spells in the same turn.
Once you've got Inkmoth Nexus's and fetches keeping adding basic Forest until you hit 24 lands. Personally I like my basic lands to all look alike so I hit up MTGOTradersFreeBot for a bunch with a picture I liked.
When mulliganing the deck what you're looking for is 2-3 land (preferably and Inkmoth Nexus) and a mix of little creatures and pump spells. Remember your draw step is more likely to yield land, creatures and pump spells in that order.
For what appears to be a stupid, gimmicky aggro deck it's actually incredibly hard to play optimally especially if you don't like math (don't worry it's not hard math, you just have to be able add up to 10 a lot of different ways). I often find despite spending my opponents turn running numbers to figure out the best way to play out my hand and what possible draws could do to change that I still tank for a while between my draw and attack phase.
The hardest part of playing the deck is attacking into open mana, a tapped out opponent is often just dead in the water waiting for you to strike him down. Obviously red mana threatens to hit your creatures with burn which by the time you're ready to kill them on turn 3 or 4 actually isn't that scary. If they bolt your creature in response to a pump spell you can just pump it again. Black and White mana are scarier as Condemn and Doom Blade aren't undone by a simple Giant Growth and you really want to have a back-up Vines of Vastwood. If they don't blast your creature with removal when you pump your creature up you might want to hold onto Vines for the next attack.
When your side boarding never cut a 2 drop creature or a pump spell. If you're not running fetches and have a lot to bring in going down to 23 land on the draw is acceptable.
Some common match-ups.
Valakut is a great match, essentially you both goldfish and your clock is faster, just remember to play it safe if they have untapped Mountains on your turn. In side boarding you have very little to bring in against them but that's okay since it's a good match anyways. If you do have a Sword of Body and Mind assuming you saw creature based ramp this is a decent match for it and if you suspect they run target removal Lightning Bolt rather than sweepers Pyroclasm Canopy Cover is worth considering.
Caw-Blade in all it's incarnations is tough especially the games where they draw Squadron Hawk but Stoneforge Mystic into Sword of Feast and Famine is still very beatable and Sylvok Lifestaff is a joke. Make sure you kill them before they play Gideon Jura though. In boarding you want to bring in (Viridian Corrupters) and Tumble Magnets to keep them from landing a hit with a sword. The Pistus Strikes are for Baneslayer Angels commonly found in the traditional UW builds.
Boros is a reasonably good match since their best creatures match up very poorly in combat against infect. Steppe Lynx and Adventuring Gear wearing 1/1's die at end of turn from a single poison token and Plated Geopede's first strike is useless when going into battle against a Necropede. Board in Corrupters for their equipment and Obstinate Baloth's to buy you a little extra time.
Mono-U Architect is starting to make it's way out of Block and into Standard. Contagion Clasp the (Thrumming Bird)s and board in more Contagion Clasps. You can lock down their Steel Hellkites and Wurmcoil Engines with a Tumble Magnet if it comes to that but usually they spend a few turns mana accelerating and then you kill them.
Vampires is still a presence online (also a good budget option but I got bored with it in January) and is a reasonably even match up. Inkmoths really pull their weight here as long as you can keep them from being bolted. In boarding Canopy Cover is amazing and all the Obstinate Baloths come in as well to block and gain life. Additionally Vampires does so much damage to themselves with Vampire Lacerators, Dark Tutelage and fetch lands it's possible to chump with your poison guys and attack with a pumped up Baloth for lethal damage. Also they may board in (Demon At Death's Gate) against you so don't skim of the Tumble Magnets but I wouldn't suggest Pistus Strike as it easily could be dead.
(pic=Lanowar Elves)Elves might as well be a bye, you attack with Inkmoth Nexus and kill them, it's that simple. I've never lost this match-up, they have no fliers and no removal. Board similarly to Vampires and add in the Sword for pro-green if you have one.
Kuldotha Red on the other hand... Good luck, you'll need it. They clog up the ground and have enough removal to make animating a Inkmoth Nexus risky. Board similarly to Vampires and spend the remainder of the 3 minutes your given in prayer. This match is responsible a startlingly large portion of my losses and a good match to hope to dodge.
RUG is a rare match-up but a pretty good one. They tend value their Lotus Cobra's heavily and not block with them. Make sure this is a fatal error on their part. Another good match for Sword of Body and Mind as Jace bouncing is about their best play for stalling you out.
In closing I would like to say that writing articles is much harder than reading them and if you've got any questions I'll try to pry myself away from smashing people's faces in long enough to answer them in comment section and I hope this article was of use to you.