Arctic_Ghost's picture
By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
May 05 2021 12:02pm

The last time I spoke about Affinity, I talked about a very aggressive build with cards such as Ardent Recruit. While I do still like the list and think it is fun, I know there are plenty of players who love a good combo build of Affinity.

The list I want to talk about today took second place in a Pauper Challenge that was published on 4/19/2021. The list was piloted by the player mashmalovsky, who is Mtgo grinder that I’ve seen put up a good amount of results. If you have a need for using Disciple of the Vault, then I will stop ranting and get right into it.

Myr Enforcer – The best creature that this archetype has. I would personally never play less than 4.

Frogmite – While I do not like this creature, it serves its purpose. Being a free artifact that can come down early and either help activate a Springleaf Drum or chip in for some damage, can help go a long way.

Atog – Your main combo engine. Sometimes Atog can just attack for the win without any help, but in this archetype you also have Fling and Disciple of the Vault to help you win from outside the red zone.

Disciple of the Vault – While Disciple can get in for damage by attacking, the real strength of this card is its static ability. With a Disciple or 2 on the battlefield and an Atog, you can win the game extremely early and not even have to attack. The best part is this combo is loss of life, so prevention cards such as Prismatic Stands do nothing. Only annoying part is that it targets, so a bit of clicking will be needed if on mtgo.

Trinket Mage – This card has popped up recently and I like the idea. It can get a land, a Chromatic Star or one of your mana fixers. Although it is 3 mana for a 2 power creature, its enter the battlefield ability is its real strength.

Thoughtcast – The best draw spell for this archetype, never play less than 4 in my opinion. 1 mana to draw 2 cards is a huge help.

Galvanic Blast – 4 damage for only 1 mana and at instant speed. It just doesn’t get better than that.

Chromatic Star – Not only does it help you cast a colored spell, but it also draws you a card. The best part is you don’t need to use it to draw a card, so you can sacrifice it to Atog and still draw a card.

Prophetic Prism – A staple of the archetype. It draws a card and helps you cast your spells. It does just about everything you need.

Ichor Wellspring – While this artifact doesn’t do anything at first glance. It is 2 mana for an artifact that draws a card, then can be sacrificed to Atog and draw another card. Being able to dig 2 cards deep for 2 mana and pump Atog goes a long way.

Witching Well – I like this card. You are getting some value off of it no matter what. If you find yourself with 4 mana, it can draw you a couple of cards, if you don’t, at worst it let you Scry 2 and it is fodder for Atog for only 1 blue mana. You could play 2 more Ichor Wellspring or Perilous Research in these spots, but I would try the Well first.

Springleaf Drum and Navigator’s CompassSpringleaf Drum turns a creature into a sort of Birds of Paradise, helping you accelerate and cast your spells. The compass gains you a bit of life, which is good against red based aggro decks, but more importantly, it helps you fix your mana without needing a creature to be in play. I like the 1-1 split because both are good in different situations. You can also fetch them with Trinket Mage.

Dispel – A good silver bullet to help fight removal or a counter war. Even if you don’t draw it, your opponents must respect it, which could help you bluff and get spells through.

Makeshift Munitions – Another good way to combo with Disciple of the Vault. However, you need untapped mana to use it, it is still very good at driving home the final points of damage for the win.

Fling and Temur Battle Rage – Your big combo finishers with Atog. While Battle Rage is faster, it requires your opponent to not have a removal spell, which is why there is only 1 copy, I would still play it as a one of. Fling however is also very good, but also gets thwarted by a counter spell of some kind. The good thing about both of these spells however, is they don’t necessarily need to be used to with Atog because Myr Enforcer is also good enough if your opponent is low enough.

The manabase is pretty much the same as always with 4 of each of your main color artifact lands. Then you have 1 copy of Ancient Den because you play a white card in the sideboard and a basic Island so that if Gorilla Shaman or some land destruction happen, you can still cast your draw spells.

The Sideboard

Dispel – When you are attempting to combo off, having a Dispel to help fight removal or a counter spell is always a good thing to have.

Blue Elemental Blast – As always, for those pesky red mages. Also decent against the mirror.

Duress – I like Duress because it gives you perfect information at the time and you get to take your opponents best answer to what you are currently doing. It also cannot be countered by Dispel, which is a small bonus.

Electrickery – Always good to have access to a board wipe spell. I am not sure if this is necessarily better than Fiery Cannonade, but being 1 mana less to cast definitely helps better in certain situations.

Krark-Clan Shaman – The Shaman is always a good card to have bring in from the Sideboard against any aggro deck. Not only does it usually wipe any board state, but it also can combo with Disciple of the Vault for the win. Just remember to hold the control button on your keyboard when using the Shaman’s ability or else it won’t workout for you.

Leave No Trace – Bogles can be a pain, here is something to help with that pain. There are other matchups where Leave No Trace can also be useful, so I like the copy.

Reaping the Graves – Affinity is a deck known for being able to resolve a good number of spells in a single turn. Reaping the Graves being able to return a bunch of creatures from the graveyard is a really big game against any matchup where the game will go late. The best part, it can also be done at instant speed.

Red Elemental Blast – For any blue mage that is in your way of progress.

Verdict and Final Thoughts

I love Affinity, all versions of it. However, I will say that I lean more towards playing this version of Affinity than the hyper aggro build I talked about last. The reason is, I think this is much more fun, not necessarily better.

I like that this build doesn’t need the red zone to win. It is easy to just sit there, draw cards, lock down the board and set up for a combo kill. This way, removal doesn’t hurt you all that much and helps you attack from multiple angles, which can make it hard for your opponent to play the game. It is also great against aggro opponents because if the board is stalled, you have a good amount of ways to draw cards and set up your combo.

Do I think you should play this deck? I definitely do. I love this version of Affinity and in my personal opinion, is the better version to go with in a Tron meta. I also think the deck does fairly well against the Faeries decks because you can still be aggressive, while also being able to win out of no where.

You also have a very good sideboard against aggro and a lot of card draw to rebuild after wiping the battlefield with Krark-Clan Shaman. Remember, you also don’t need to attack to win, since you have Disciple of the Vault to combo your opponent out. Overall, I think this will do well in the leagues and give you a good chance in the challenges.

Do take note though, Affinity is usually a well prepared for archetype. It is possible you lose early because you face opponents who are prepared with the right sideboard cards. So play Affinity with a bit of caution.

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 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!