Arctic_Ghost's picture
By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Jul 24 2019 12:00pm

In January of 2013, TPS (The Perfect Storm) was destroyed when it's 2 key win conditions (Grapeshot and Empty the Warrens) were banned. However, there was another deck that also was considered the boogeyman of the format and it got hit just as hard.


The archetype we will talk about today, is the good old Infect archetype. Although the archetype can still be played today, 1 card separates it from a fair deck, to pure horror for anyone who has to sit across from it. That card is Invigorate. A pump spell that gives +4 to your creatures power and if you control a forest, for the small price of giving your opponent a little life (which doesn't matter because you only deal Infect damage), you can win as early as turn 2 quite easily and consistently. Infect as an ability is so powerful, you can even play it in the Legacy format to good results.


Invigorate makes this deck a consistent turn 3 win deck and enables you to be able to win way on turn 2 then you should. Turn 1 Glistener Elf can spell doom for your opponent well over half the time when Invigorate is in the deck and it was extremely un-fun for almost everyone involved. Let's check out a list.



Ah the good old days of Pauper games barely lasting more than 5 minutes. This is just a rough draft of what the archetype could look like in today's Pure Pauper meta, but I believe it is a great place to start! What this archetype tries to do for those who are new to the game, is get your opponent to 10 Poison counters as quickly as possible and win the game. Very simple and very straightforward.


The Creatures – Glistener Elf, Blight Mamba,

Ichorclaw Myr, and Rot Wolf


Glistener Elf is your tied for your best creature in the deck because it is one mana. It honestly does not get much better than that. Blight Mamba is your other best creature IMO because it has Regenerate. Not only does it give your opponent a headache trying to kill it, it also makes it able to attack in every turn. Remember that Infect also gives -1/-1 counters to other creatures, so your opponent can not block Blight Mamba for ever.


The other 2 creatures in the deck are Ichorclaw Myr as another 2 drop, which is also very good in combat because whenever your opponent blocks it, it gains +2 power and toughness, making it difficult to beat. The best thing about the Myr is when you combine it with a card like Rancor to give it trample, the extra +2 power bonus you get from being blocked adds a huge bonus to your combat math to help win the game. Finally you have a 3 drop creature in the form of Rot Wolf (although you could also go with Cystbearer for the extra toughness). I like Rot Wolf because it draws cards when it kills a creature in combat, which since you have a ton of pump spells in your deck, it isn't very hard to win in the combat. The cool part is if you kill more than one creature in combat, you draw more than 1 card as well.


The Big Pump Spells – Invigorate, (Vines of Vastwood:ZEN, Groundswell and sort of Predator's Strike


I call these the “big” pump spells because they give +4 power, which when you are trying to only deal 10 damage instead of 20, it is quite a lot. Invigorate is the biggest spell in the deck and what really drives this archetype over the edge. It is a free (yes that is right, it is free because you are never trying to win through real damage, so giving your opponent life matters nothing) +4 power to any one of your creatures, which again, is a huge game because you only need to count to 10. Groundswell is also a big pump but you need to have played a land, so remember to hold lands in your hand in anticipation of using this spell.


Vines of Vastwood is one if your most powerful spells because it can also be a counterspell to your opponents removal, but it also gives a +4 pump to your creature for the kicker cost being paid. Also remember, Vines of Vastwood says target creature your opponent controls can't be targeted by them, so this can also counter cards such as Rancor in the mirror if need be. Finally we have 1 copy of Predator's Strike as a +3, which is a good amount and it gives Trample. Trample is a big thing in this archetype because again, you only need to count to 10, so every single point matters. Trample also allows you to go all in with your pump spells and not be thwarted by your opponent blocking.


Smaller Pump Spells – Rancor and Mutagenic Growth


Rancor is a huge card in this deck because it is a static +2 to your creatures power and it gives Trample. On Blight Mamba this means your opponent can't just chump all day with small creatures and stop your damage getting through. It is the same with Ichorclaw Myr, which in some ways can be better because of the +2 power bonus you get when the Myr is blocked. In my opinion, it might be the most powerful card in the deck. Lastly for the pump spells, we have Mutagenic Growth, which is great because it can be cast by paying 2 life, which basically makes it a “free” pump spell, allowing you to cast all your other spells as well.


The Non Pump Spells – Gitaxian Probe, Apostle's Blessing and Lotus Petal


When playing this archetype, the best way to play is by sequencing your spells correctly and playing around whatever answers your opponent may have. No card helps you do this better than Gitaxian Probe. For the small cost of 2 life, you get to look at your opponents hand, see whats going on and draw a card deeper into your deck, I would not suggest playing less than 4 of this card. Apostle's Blessing can act as both a counter to your opponents removal and a way to give your creature unblockable, so that you can attack in for the win, the reason not to play 4 is because you don't want to draw more than 1 that early, you just want 1 copy the for the turn you are going off. Do remember though, if you need to select the color green, play your pump spells before casting the Blessing. Finally we have 1 Lotus Petal so that you have a chance of casting one of your 2 drops on turn 1, so that your chances of winning on turn 2 go up.


The manabase is extremely straightforward. 15 Forests so that you can cast your spells and then 2 copies of Tranquil Thicket so that you can either use them to make a land drop, or you can cycle them to draw a bit deeper into your deck.


The Sideboard

3 Ranger's Guile – This is another good counter spell to your opponents removal and it gives a +1 power bonus as well to help you win the game a bit faster. If you are up against a removal heavy deck, such as MBC for example, then this spell is quite helpful.


4 Gut ShotGut Shot is very key in the mirror because it is a free removal spell. It is also very important because it is an answer to Standard Bearer. You used to play Hornet Sting in this spot, but since Gut Shot became legal, it is a great upgrade. Gut Shot can also help against faerie archetypes because it helps counter Spellstutter Sprite.


4 Nature's Claim – In the case of you facing Bogles, Affinity or Circle of Protection: Green, you will want this card to help you win the game. Remember you aren't dealing real damage, so your opponents actual life total does not matter in the slightest.


4 Fog – This is pretty much for the aggro mirror to help you buy another turn so you can win the game.


Cards that are very good against this archetype are spells such as Moment's Peace or Fog because when your opponent casts 2 or 3 pump spells in 1 turn, this effectively counters them and they are also now down a lot of cards, buying you a ton more time. Although I want you to be careful because the more experienced Infect players will grind out your Poison counters slowly to play around these spells. Edict spells such as Diabolic Edict or Chainer's Edict are also very good because they do not target and cannot be countered by spells such as Apostle's Blessing. Standard Bearer and/or Coalition Honor Guard are also extremely powerful against this archetype because it renders all the pump spells useless.

Verdict and Conclusion

There is a good reason Invigorate was banned back in the day. I believe that if it was legal in today's meta, even with all the new cards Pauper has to use after all these years, this archetype would be way to overpowered.


Where Infect shines in the pure speed in which it can win a game. Like I keep saying, it can win on turn 2 fairly consistently and it usually wins on turn 3. I believe the Mono Green version is the best version you could be playing as well.


That being said, you could splash blue for cards such as Distortion Strike and Blighted Agent for extra power. Don't get me wrong, blue offers a lot of powerful options, but you lose a lot of the speed that makes this deck extremely lethal and I don't think loss of speed is anywhere near worth the extra tiny bit of power you could get from splashing another color. Either way, I hope you have fun testing Infect today!


For more information on my tournament, please check out this link. Thank you all again so much for reading and remember to save the date of August 24th. See you all next time!