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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Jul 12 2021 12:00pm
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Modern Horizons 2 has made me fall in love with Pauper again. I know it didn’t give a ton to the format, but seeing Affinity shine again and being able to play Storm again (more on that at another time) has me feeling nostalgic.

I want to take a look at 2 more Affinity lists this week because I find them both very interesting and I want to show that there are different options when building the archetype.

The lists we will be looking at today took the second and third place spots in the challenge that took place on 6/27/2021. The first list we will look at was piloted by the player Hamuda and the second list was piloted by the player PintuMtg. This is normally where I banter on, try to make you all laugh with a corny joke and so on. This time, let’s just get right into the lists.


Myr Enforcer and Sojourner's Companion – These are the staple creatures of the Affinity archetype. In my opinion, you never play less than 4 of either of these creatures.

Atog – No matter what version of Affinity you are playing, Atog is always a staple. Atog by itself can threaten lethal at any time, it will always be one of the best threats you can have.

Gearseeker Serpent – One of my favorite creatures to play in Affinity. It costs 2 blue to cast, but it is a big 5 power beater with a whopping 6 toughness, making it really difficult to deal with. On top of that, it can also become unblockable if you find yourself with a lot of mana in play.
 
Galvanic Blast and Thoughtcast – Staples of the Affinity archetype no matter how you build it, always have 4 of these.

Dispel – We have been seeing 2 copies of Dispel in the main deck more and more. Personally, I like having 2 copies because Dispel is such a good catch all to keep the tempo going. Affinity is an archetype that can run out of gas a little quickly, so having a silver bullet like Dispel comes in handy a lot.

Counterspell – Now this one took me by surprise. With the addition of Sojourner's Companion, you can now play a midrange version of Affinity with extra counter magic and since you have tons of color fixing, you can easily hold up 2 blue mana. I love the addition of Counterspell here and look forward to trying it more and more.

Echoing Truth – Not only is this a good catch all to help against just about anything, but Squirrel Storm is everywhere and this helps a ton against that matchup.

Witching Well – This is becoming much more popular in Affinity these days and for good reason. For 1 blue mana, you get an artifact to build Metalcraft/your Affinity count and you get to Scry 2. Later in the game, you can use it to dig 2 cards deeper. It is a little slow, but it does a lot to help.

Fling – Always a good way to end the game. I suggest always have at 1 copy in your main deck at the very least.

Prophetic Prism and Chromatic Star – Here are extra ways of not only building your Affinity count, but more importantly, they help you cast your spells. These are very important to the archetype and should be taken as such.

The Manabase

Darksteel Citadel – An indestructible land that comes into play untapped is a good thing to have access to because you don’t want to be too slow.

Island – I like having a copy of Island here because it not only comes into play untapped, but helps you cast your blue spells and that is a very important thing to do.

Great Furnace and Seat of the Synod – Staple lands of the archetype. We all know why they are here.

Silverbluff Bridge – This is your main dual land of the archetype. Make sure to keep this at 4 copies.

Tanglepool Bridge and Mistvault Bridge – You have some splashing of Green and Black in the archetype so having 1 copy of each of these helps a lot. You don’t need more than 1 of either in play to do what you need them to and don’t want too many lands that come into play tapped, keep that in mind.

The Sideboard

Ancient Grudge – Helpful against the mirror and good tech against Tron to try and make casting their spells difficult.

Blue Elemental Blast and Hydroblast – For those pesky red mages and they are helpful against the mirror.

Fiery Cannonade Krark-Clan Shaman – Everyone needs board wipe spells these days and for this archetype, these 2 are the best you can have. Remember to hold the control key before and during the use of Shaman or else it won’t work correctly!

Pyroblast – For those pesky blue mages.

Reaping the Graves – Against control or any matchup that will go long, this is a huge way to get a lot of card advantage.

Shenanigans – A really good shatter effect that can be used again and again because of Dredge. I like this over the third copy of Ancient Grudge.

I would like to show you another way to build the Affinity archetype. The list we are going to take a peek at, was piloted to a third place finish in the same event by the player PintuMtg.


Here we see a more slightly more aggressive version with Frogmite and another new creature, Etherium Spinner. Although Spinner can be eliminated easily, it helps you create a go wide plan, however I am unsure how effective that is without any mass pump spells like Rally the Peasants to really take advantage. I am not a huge fan of the card honestly, as I think Geerseeker Serpent is just a better card than the go wide plan as a hole, but that doesn’t mean I think the card or this list is bad. I just personally like Hamuda’s list better, but that is just my opinion.

Verdict and Conclusion

At this point, I think it is pretty easy to tell I love the Affinity archetype (as if it wasn’t already obvious). With Modern Horizons 2, I think Affinity is now one of the best decks in the format and will remain one of the decks to beat for quite some time moving forward.

Now you may be asking yourself this question. “With all the hate available against the archetype, how long will this honeymoon period last?”. In my opinion, the new dual lands and the addition of Sojourner's Companion, are enough to put Affinity over the edge.

The dual lands not only help fix your colors, but also make the land destruction plan from cards like Gorilla Shaman almost impossible, which means there will be less free wins and longer games, which gives Affinity time to set up. Sojourner's Companion gives you another 4 power creature that doesn’t require you to play extra colors, making your draws more consistent and allowing you to cast your spells easier. The Companion also allows you to play cards such as Counterspell and Gearseeker Serpent with little problems, which is also a big reason why I believe the deck is better than it has ever been.

Out of the 2 lists, which one would I suggest you play? I am biased towards Hamuda’s list because I like the midrange plan with Counterspell. It allows you to curve out early, play a few 4 power creatures and then hold up counter magic. I also like how Counterspell gives you more ways to protect your Atog or your Fling. I don’t think that the list PintuMtg played is bad. I honestly do not think that at all. I am just not a big fan of it because I think Frogmite is just not a good creature and could be something better. Also, as I said earlier, you don’t have a way to really take advantage of going wide with tokens and with all the board wipe spells being played these days, I just think that Geerseeker Serpent and spells such as Counterspell or even Lightning Bolt would be better.

I won’t bother asking the big question, because you already know the answer. I think Affinity is one of the best decks to play right now and I have no doubt that it will bring you success in both the leagues and challenges. Whichever way you build your list, the Affinity shell as a whole is just really good right now and that makes me extremely happy.

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!