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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Nov 22 2018 12:00am
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Affinity is one of the oldest and best decks that Pauper has to offer. Although in this format, Cranial Plating is not legal, the archetype packs a huge punch with big creatures such as Myr Enforcer, with a strong burn spell in the form of Galvanic Blast and you don't even have to attack to win the game because you have Atog and Fling at your disposal.

Without a doubt, the best part of this archetype is you have access to all 5 colors and all of the Mirrodin artifact lands are legal in this format. In some games you can find yourself with multiple 4 power creatures on the battlefield by turn 3, which can be enough to win the game then and there. You also have the tools to construct your Affinity build in any way you want and you also have access to whatever sideboard cards you may need. Let's check out some lists you could be playing today.



This is what I personally consider to be the “Stock” list of Affinity in the Pauper format of today. The list is very straight to the point on what it wants to do and how it wants to win, so this a good place to start.


In the creature slots, first up we see Frogmite. Frogmite isn't the most impressive creature and is easily outclassed or blocked by commonly played cards such as Augur of Bolas or Kor Skyfisher, but Frogmite can be a decent creature in the early game, cost almost nothing to play and can help cast your bigger spells with the help of Springleaf Drum. Next up we see our big creatures, they consist of Carapace Forger, Myr Enforcer and Gearseeker Serpent. Myr Enforcer has the Affinity ability, can come out extremely early and can do so in multiples. Carapace Forger has the Metalcraft ability, which is extremely easy to achieve in this archetype and Gearseeker Serpent also has the Affinity ability, it just doesn't directly say the word on the card, it can also become unblockable if you have enough mana to pay for its ability.


Last up we see Atog and this is your big combo creature. You can win the game with Atog alone by attacking or you can win the game by building up enough power and using Fling to throw Atog at your opponent for lethal and you can do so at instant speed. The best thing about Atog is that it forces your opponent to play differently, because they always have to respect that you can win at any point. Even if Atog isn't very threatening, you barely have any creatures out, your opponent is at a high enough life total and/or you don't have a lot of things to feed to your Atog, your opponent might use a removal spell on Atog instead of a Myr Enforcer because Atog can just win in the blink of an eye. Do keep in mind, with Atog, if you decide to go all in, remember that when you factor Carapace Forger into your math, you may go under having 3 artifacts in play, so Forger will lose Metalcraft and thus only be a 2 power creature. I personally have lost many games because of this.


For the spells we see Galvanic Blast, which in this archetype is just a strictly better version of Lightning Bolt. Next up we see our main way of drawing cards in the form of Thoughtcast, it may not seem like much, but being able to draw 2 cards for 1 mana is huge in this archetype, especially with having your Atog and Fling combo. Never play less than 4 Galvanic Blast or Thoughtcast.


Next up we see a couple copies of Metallic Rebuke as the newest addition to this archetype. Metallic Rebuke allows you to save a creature from a removal spell, help fight a counter war to force through your Atog and Fling combo or counter a threat from your opponent. It is a nice flexible spell that can be a catch all and save you in a pinch. Finally we see Flayer Husk and this card is the mirror breaker because it allows your creatures to be a power and toughness bigger. If your opponent doesn't have a Flayer Husk and you do, you usually are a big favor in that game. Flayer Husk also brings along a Germ token to help use Springleaf Drum so you can cast your spells quickly as well.


Last up, but certainly not least we see the combo cards in the form of Fling and Temur Battle Rage. Although Temur Battle Rage helps win the game faster, Fling isn't blown out by a simple Doom Blade. It is good to play both so that you can keep your opponent guessing on which one to play around.


A quick note, if you use Fling and sacrifice for example: A Myr Enforcer with Flayer Husk attached, Fling will deal 5 damage instead of 4.


For help with color fixing we see Springleaf Drum, which is also a way to ramp out your bigger threats more quickly. Prophetic Prism which draws a card when it enters the battlefield and we see Chromatic Star, which draws a card when it enters the graveyard, meaning that even if you just sacrifice it to Atog, you still get to draw a card.


Finally we have the manabase and it is very straightforward. You play 4 Great Furnace, 4 Seat of the Synod and 4 Tree of Tales because Blue, Red and Green are your main colors. Then we have 4 Darksteel Citadel, mainly because it is Indestructible. A common way Pauper players might try to beat Affinity is to blow up your lands and leave you with non in play, DarkSteel Citadel helps stop that plan.


In this particular sideboard, we don't see a splash into White or Black, but that doesn't mean you have to do the same. First up we see 2 copies of both Hydroblast and Pyroblast, with 2 copies of Dispel as the middle ground spell.


We see 2 copies of Ancient Grudge to help fight the mirror and 2 copies of Relic of Progenitus to help fight graveyard strategies. Then we see Feed the Clan to help against archetypes such as Burn or Red Deck Wins and finally we see 3 copies of Krark-Clan Shaman as your big board wipe spell. I plead with all of you, please remember to hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard before you start and while using your Krark-Clan Shaman or else you will only get one use out of it.


This is not the only way to build Affinity and I have a couple more lists to show you, let's check them out!

This is a more combo-like version of Affinity that is usually referred to as Perilous Affinity. In this version you will find that there are no copies of Carapace Forger and only a single copy of Gearseeker Serpent. This is because this is more of a combo version of Affinity.

In this version we see 4 copies of Terrarion and a copy of Ichor Wellspring to be sacrificed to Atog so you can keep cycling artifacts to build up a big Atog and use Fling to burn your opponent out. We see 3 copies of Fling as opposed to 1 copy and we again see 1 copy of Temur Battle Rage because you are trying to end the game even quicker than the typical stock list. It is much more risky for a possible higher reward. You will also find 2 copies of Dispel in the main deck, which are crucial to helping you fight a removal or counter spell in a more concrete way.


We also see a couple copies of Perilous Research to draw even more cards. While yes you have to sacrifice a permanent to be able to use Perilous Research, you can easily sacrifice a Chromatic Star, a Terrarion or Ichor Wellspring to turn it into a draw 3 for 3 mana at instant speed.


We aren't done just yet, I have one more list to show you. It is a sort of old school version of Affinity.


This version of Affinity is a more in between of aggro and combo. It contains Carapace Forger, but we don't see Gearseeker Serpent because we need room for an old favorite in the form of Disciple of the Vault, so to help you finish out the game without actually having to attack.


The advantage of Disciple of the Vault is that you don't have to go all in with Fling and possibly lose to a counter spell. You can play around removal and keep playing the aggro game by chipping away at your opponents life total and slowly grind them out with Atog plus Disciple of the Vault.


In this version we do not see as many extra ways to draw more cards such as Perilous Research, nor do we see counter spells such as Metallic Rebuke to play a small tempo game. In this version, we want to attack and beat down, then combo Disciple of the Vault with Atog to get in the last few points of damage.


You will also see here that this list plays Krark-Clan Shaman in the main because it also can combo with Disciple of the Vault while also clearing the way of some ground creatures so your big 4 power creatures can attack. Please remember to hold the Ctrl key when using Krark Clan-Shaman. 


A key sideboard card we see here and in the Perilous Research list is Reaping the Graves. This is a huge help against any control deck or grindy matchup because it allows you to take some risks early to get in important damage and then play a bunch of spells in one big turn (which is easy with how cheap all your spells are and with the help of the Affinity mechanic) so you can return and rebuild your army.


Verdict and Conclusion

I will always have love for the Affinity archetype and it only continues to grow as the Pauper format evolves. Affinity is always a silent, but well respected threat in the Pauper format that can be extremely good in the right players hand.


Which version would I play in the leagues or your next challenge? I Honestly don't think you can go wrong with any of them. The stock list is perfectly fine and very consistent. The other 2 lists are a little more risky for different reasons, but also have a high reward as well.


With the stock version of Affinity, you are a straight to the point, no funny business aggro deck with a few combos. With the other 2 versions you have to do a lot of baiting and get your opponent to put them selves in positions to be blown out either by an all in Atog win or maybe a big board clear with Krark-Clan Shaman. They all want the same outcome, just do it in ever so slightly different ways.


Affinity in this format suffers from the same problem it does in every other format. There are many tools to beat Affinity in this format, with Ancient Grudge, Gorilla Shaman and Gleeful Sabotage to name only a small few.


You have to be able to prepare against any and all the hate cards you will see. From Blue decks you could see Annul or Steel Sabotage. From the Red decks, you can expect to run into Gorilla Shaman, Ancient Grudge, Smash to Smithereens and that is a small sample of what red can offer. Green and White have a plethora of Disenchant type of cards at their disposal, you just need to do research on what the most popular ones are.


At the end of the day, Affinity is always a good choice that could either be great or go horribly wrong. Affinity isn't easy to play, you need to constantly do math every turn and you have endless sideboard options so it is up to you on what to put in your sideboard for that event.


I don't claim to be an expert and these are just my opinions. In my opinion, give Affinity a try and do let me know how you do with it. I look forward to hearing good things.


Would you like to compete in a free Pauper tournament with some great prizes? Head on over to on Tuesday nights at 8pm EDT and play in our weekly Pauper Classic Tuesday's event! Join the chat #PCT to chat with us and feel free to find most of the competitors on Discord!


I'd like to thank the mirror on the wall for putting up with me and I would also like to thank you all so much for reading, take care for now!