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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Mar 29 2022 11:20am
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Affinity is one of the oldest decks in Pauper and has consistently been of the safest decks to build because it is a good contender, assuming the meta allows for it. There are tons of good artifact removal and other ways to beat the deck, but if you are a Bazaar of Baghdad player in Vintage, then you know having enough hate is never a guarantee.

The answer to your question is no. Disciple of the Vault seems it was not enough to keep Affinity fully down as today we are going to be looking at the winning list from the Pauper Challenge posted on 3/14/2022 and was piloted by the mtgo grinder Hamuda. It may not have Atog or Disciple shenanigans anymore and sadly isn’t playing Carapace Forger, but I guess it just doesn’t need them in the end. Oh and also, Glaze Fiend Affinity took second in the same challenge to Hamuda. Seems like our Robot overlords are here to stay.


Myr Enforcer and Frogmite – The staples of the archetype. While Enforcer never left, it seems that playing 4 copies of Frogmite is the normal again. This makes sense because you are still trying to beat your opponent down quickly and Frogmite does do work against slower/control decks.

Krark-Clan Shaman – You may not have Disciple of the Vault anymore, but Shaman is still a powerhouse against a number of the aggro decks in the format. Remember to hold the control key before and during the use of the ability.

Trinket Mage – This one is interesting. It is a little costly at 3 mana, but it can fetch a number of different cards to help further your midgame plan and that includes lands. I like Mage as a one of. I personally don’t think I would play more than 2.

Myr Retriever – This one is spicy. You don’t see it often, but it can be a somewhat infinite loop with Blood Fountain. You are also a deck with tons of artifacts and so you should always have something good to return with Retriever.

Gurmag Angler – Man I am happy to see this. You can put cards in the graveyard pretty quickly in this particular list and Gurmag Angler is still a power house. Especially when you can cast it very early.

Thoughtcast – Well, I know I have always said never play less than 4. In this particular build though, we only see 2 and that makes sense as the other draw spells in the deck do more of what you want. Still kills me a little inside though.

Galvanic Blast – Seems the rule of never play less than 4 of these still apply.

Deadly Dispute and Reckoner’s Bargain – Here are your main ways to draw cards in this deck. Again do not get it wrong, Thoughtcast is still a main part of Affinity because it is, most of the time, draw 2 cards for only 1 mana and in this deck that is huge because you are trying to play as many spells in a turn as possible.

However, in this deck and in particular this list, Deadly Dispute is surprisingly better I think. It combos with Chromatic Star and Ichor Wellspring to draw a third card from them, it helps you with color fixing which is crucial because you play a lot of spells that require color to cast and it can ramp you. Do remember the token it brings is also an artifact which adds to the Affinity count as well. Bargain isn’t as good as Dispute, but it does something important against a matchup like Burn and that is that it gains you life. I am not sure if 3 Bargain is better than 3 Thoughtcast, but I am sure Hamuda had their reasons.

Makeshift Munitions – Still a great card that can help win the game in a few ways. Either by controlling the board or dealing the final points of damage.

Blood Fountain – I love this card. Its an artifact, brings along an artifact that can be used to dig a bit deeper if need be and is a great card in the late game. I am sad there isn’t 4, but you gotta make cuts somewhere.

Experimental Synthesizer – A great card in Pauper period in my opinion. In this deck this you will often be able to cast whatever you exile when you first cast it. Later in the game, it can combine well with Dispute or Bargain or you can make a token with it and maybe cast a Myr Enforcer in the same turn to add a lot of power to the battlefield. I like 2 copies as well. You could add a third, but I think the card can end up being clunky if you draw 2 of them a little to early.

The Manabase

Drossforge Bridge – You are mainly a Rakdos deck, so you have 4 copies of this dual.

Mistvault Bridge and Silverbluff Bridge – Blue is mainly a splash color and you don’t want all of your lands coming into play tapped. I like 2 copies of each of these.

Vault of Whispers and Great Furnace – Your main lands of the deck. Again, you are mainly black and red so you max out on these.

Seat of the Synod – Blue is mainly a splash color so we only see 2 copies of Seat here. Man how the times have changed.

To finish off the manabase, you have 1 copy of Swamp as opposed to something like Darksteel Citadel. Swamp actually casts draw spells, where Citadel doesn’t. Either way, you have protection from artifact removal.

The Sideboard

Krark-Clan Shaman – If you face a token based strategy or something like Elves, a third copy is a good thing to have.

Chainer's Edict – Bogles seems fairly popular at the moment so you are gonna want a couple of Edict effects to help.

Duress – Great against spell heavy decks. Remember, you do not have to cast Duress on turn 1 and the spell gets better as the game goes on because you can either rip a counter or removal spell out of their hand to protect yourself, or rip their best spell that they have been saving. This of course depends on the matchup.

Fiery Cannonade – A great board wipe against a wide variety of archetypes.

Gorilla Shaman – Gotta have that mirror tech. Not sure how much I like it, but Shaman is usually a good bet.

Hydroblast and Pyroblast – For their colors respectively.

Spell Pierce – Here we go again. There are non instant spells you want to counter these days so I understand Spell Pierce here. Depending on the meta this is a bit more helpful than Dispel.

Final Thoughts and Verdict

I read in some places that people were upset that Affinity was there go to/fall back deck just in case and since Disciple was banned, that may not be the case anymore. Seems that you can rest easy as it seems Affinity is here to stay and still remains to be one of the top decks.

Disciple of the Vault was definitely a good ban in my opinion and one I was saying myself should be the card to go. Affinity moved from being an aggro deck into more of a Midrange deck that can draw tons of cards and overwhelm your opponent. You can play a control game against aggro, out card advantage control and you can keep getting your big threats back constantly while also being able to play them quickly and early.

Disciple gave Affinity an out to winning games with almost no way for your opponent to interact in the format and that was the big problem in my opinion. While Affinity is certainly a powerful deck, at least it is still a normal deck to play against. Disciple however said otherwise. Will Affinity remain extremely broken? Is Pauper doomed after all this time? Should we ban the indestructible artifact lands? While I don’t believe any of these questions are true, I say we let the dust settle. I think it is fairly unclear now how Affinity will fair in the long run compared to when Disciple wasn’t banned. It might be the case that people still need to take it more seriously. Again, if it comes to the point where people need to pack 8-9 hate cards just for Affinity and Affinity becomes the Bazaar of Baghdad like deck of Pauper, then I definitely agree we need to take stricter actions. Until then, I am not willing to say anything drastic needs to be done.

Do I think you should play this deck? Yes I do. Affinity is still great. Go build it, go learn it and above all have fun with it. You may not win 100 percent of your games, but Affinity is definitely a deck that will give you a damn good shot at winning most of them. I will say however, be careful about investing a lot of money/tickets into this archetype. We don’t know what the future truly holds.

However, with all this being said, as always, do remember my words are not gospel. I will always encourage you to try a deck that I bring you despite my personal feelings. Remember that results will vary and always remember to practice!

Would you like to compete in a free Pauper tournament with some great prizes? Head on over to Gatherling.com 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!

Thank you so much for reading. Best of luck to you in your next tournament and I’ll catch you all next time!