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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Feb 17 2022 12:30pm
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Affinity is quite the interesting archetype in Pauper. There is never just one way of building the deck and that is the best part, you can play many different combinations of cards to suit your style of play and your general liking. You can go aggro, you can go the heavy combo route or you can even go a more midrange build. Today however, aggro is where we are going.

Glaze Fiend is an interesting card that has been used in Affinity before, but has never really taken off. Now however, with Atog gone, it might be the time for the Fiend to shine however as today the list we will be looking at got second place in the challenge that was posted on 2/7/2022 and was piloted by the player Edel. Yes this is in fact Willy Edel, the Brazilian hall of famer and still a known mtgo grinder. (I believe he still grinds mtgo). Without anymore wait, let’s do this!


 
Myr Enforcer – Never play Affinity without 4 copies of these at your side. That is my opinion anyway.
 
Frogmite – I am not a fan of Frogmite in all honesty. However, with Glaze Fiend in your deck and you wanting to be more aggressive, I understand it. I am just not happy about it.

Glaze Fiend – This little one might not look like much, but it can pack a big punch because even just playing a land triggers their ability. One thing to note here is that (and I could be wrong) usually with Affinity you want to vomit cards out of your hand as quickly as possible. With Fiend though, you might want to hold a few things back to get in extra damage.

Disciple of the Vault – You still have a combo kill in the deck and in the end, Disciple is really good at getting through the last few points of damage to your opponent when the red zone isn’t working anymore.

Thoughtcast and Galvanic Blast – Both staples of the archetype. While Blast can sometimes be at 3, Thoughtcast should always be 4.
 
Blood Fountain – This is definitely one of my new favorite cards for Affinity. It just provides so much card advantage is multiple ways. I don’t think I would ever play less than 4.

Deadly Dispute – Another staple for the archetype in my opinion. This is basically a better version of Perilous Research. It can’t even be Pyroblasted.

Makeshift Munitions – This is just a good card in general for this deck. It allows you to either play the control roll against aggro decks or it can help finish off your opponent for the final points of damage. The reason for 2 copies is because you only need 1 out at a time and you don’t necessarily want it early.

Ichor Wellspring – Not the most amazing card in the world, but it is free fodder to your sacrifice effects and draws 2 cards.

Chromatic Star – A staple of the archetype. Does pretty much everything you want it to because it draws a card, costs only 1 mana and helps you cast your spells.

The manabase is really the same as always with 4 copies of each artifact land in the forms of Great Furnace, Seat of the Synod and Vault of Whispers. Then you have some duels to further help with your fixing. You don’t need anything else and unless you want to switch around the dual land numbers, I would leave it as is.

The Sideboard

Blue Elemental Blast and Hydroblast – For those pesky red spells we all love so much.

Cast Down – If you need some extra removal, this is basically the best you can have.

Krark-Clan Shaman – Having access to a board wipe is always a good thing. Just remember, hold the control key down while using its ability and also remember it hits your creatures as well. However, it does not hit your Fiends since they fly.

Pyroblast and Red Elemental Blast – For those pesky blue mages.

Shenanigans – If you need artifact destruction, this is one of the best you can have as it can be used again and again.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

It seems that the banning of Atog and Prophetic Prism (mostly banned to hurt Tron I think) has done nothing to slow down the power of Affinity at all. I won’t have much to say here because in all honesty, it is no secret how good Affinity is right now.

In the Pauper meta today you will find many different builds of Affinity and they are all winning. If you want to go more of a midrange route, there are builds with Gurmag Angler and main deck Krawk-Clan Shaman. If you want to go a more aggro route, there is this version with Glaze Fiend. There are many more, it is all a matter of play style. I do think this version is a bit easier to hit with artifact hate though, so do keep that in mind.

Do I think you should play this deck? I think it is pretty safe to say that Affinity, in whatever capacity, is a damn good choice right now. Is there a lot of hate for the archetype? Yes there is, but it continues to put up numbers in force and most of the top mtgo grinders continue to play this deck for good reason. Will Affinity for sure bring you success? No, but it will give you a damn good shot.

While this is not the point of this article, I am sure the question is coming up in most of the players base mind. Should more cards be banned from Affinity? Some have suggested the artifact dual lands. I don’t think this will necessarily hurt Affinity enough and in my opinion, it hurts the midrange/control decks that use the Cleansing Wildfire strategy and I like this strategy as it brings a cool element to the format that in my opinion is not overly broken.

Are we at the point where Affinity has become unstoppable unless we take drastic measures? That I am unsure of as I do not have enough evidence or research to back up any claims. What I will say, is that it is clear that Affinity is one of, if not, the best deck in the format. It is possible that people are not taking it seriously enough on one day and then the next day they are, or many players are not playing against it correctly or not packing the right hate cards. It is also possible the better players are playing Affinity one day and then playing something else trying to beat it the next.

Some top 8s have 5 Affinity decks in the top 8 and then the next day there are only 2. This is important because this could be due to many factors. However, the big factor to look at and think hard about, is if on the day where 5 spots were Affinity, less hate was packed and then the next day, people would be over packing hate. For example, let’s say most players were only packing 4 hate cards, if the next day most were packing 8 or 9, that is a problem to me, It shows how dominant one deck is and takes away from being able to prepare for a meta. At that point you are preparing to beat a deck and accepting you will lose to a lot of things due to this. Is the problem the archetype/deck itself being too powerful or is it the player base just wanting the deck banned instead of actually trying to beat it? I can’t answer either with certainty, but these are the 2 questions I am asking myself.

Before the Atog ban, I even heard of some players playing main deck Dust to Dust. If we get to a point where this becomes popular or we see people packing main deck Ancient Grudge type of cards because Affinity is that big of an issue, then yes, more bans might be warranted. For now though, it could just be that players aren’t preparing for Affinity correctly. We will see as time goes on.

What I have said here should be taken with a grain of salt. I am not expert and am by no means an almighty genius when it comes to discussing bannings. I am just giving my perspective on things, which for me, if what I said isn’t clear, I apologies because sometimes putting my thoughts into text can be a bit difficult.

Basically my point is, I am not at the point where I think something needs to be done about Affinity because I am unsure if its the players or the deck is really just too damn good. While I agree Atog probably needed the ban hammer, if Affinity continues to be as dominant as it is not matter what people do, I say it might be time for Disciple of the Vault to get the axe and take away the combo aspect. This way we might see Affinity turn back to cards such as Carapace Forger and become more of the aggro deck it used to be.

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!