olaw's picture
By: olaw, Oliver Law
Jun 18 2015 12:00pm
Login or register to post comments


Welcome to another Becoming a Modern Man!  The release of Modern Masters 2015 saw a lot of very desirable Modern cards reprinted, which is always exciting for a Modern fan like myself.  One of the biggest reprints in the set was Mox Opal which held a hefty price tag previously.  The reprint has caused the price of Mox Opal to drop considerably and I have now been able to pick up a playset for myself.


Mox Opal's primary home is in the Affinity decks in Modern.  So let's take a look at the list I'm currently working with:

This list is my own interpretation of some of the more successful list I've seen in the Dailies.  You can do a lot to tweak the numbers but this was what I settled on.  I could definitely be convinced to change around some of the numbers here.


The 0-mana drops are creatures that also help you quickly achieve a high artifact count for the purpose of Metalcraft and Affinity.  Ornithopter may look fairly useless on the face of it but Signal Pest can boost it into an evasive attacker and it is also a very nice wearer of Cranial Plating.

Signal Pest
Signal Pest
Signal Pest doesn't look like much, however, it can be very powerful in the Affinity deck.  Battlecry is very effective in a deck that can play out so many creatures so quickly.  It works well with Inkmoth Nexus and Blinkmoth Nexus as a way to further pump their power.  The fact that it can only be blocked by flyers also means that it is a worthwhile recipient of a Cranial Plating if you have no other evasive threats available.

Vault Skirge
Vault Skirge
Although it is technically a 2-drop you will most often be playing this guy for just one-mana.  Not setting the world alight alone, as 1/1 flyer, but cards like Signal Pest, Steel Overseer and Cranial Plating can give it a significant boost.  The lifelink helps to win races too.

Arcbound Ravager
Arcbound Ravager
Ravager is one of the most complex components of the deck.  Though the basics are pretty simple its ability opens up a lot of different possible plays.  Thanks to Modular you can also sacrifice Ravager to itself to put the +1/+1 counters it has gained onto another creature.  This Modular ability can be particularly potent when combined with an Inkmoth Nexus, where you can suddenly be hitting your opponent with a lethal dose of poison.  Learning how and when to use Ravager is one of the big challenges of the deck.

Steel Overseer
Steel Overseer
A Lord of sorts for the deck.  Overseer can put a permanent +1/+1 counter on each of your artifact creatures, which includes your manlands if they are active as Inkmoth Nexus and Blinkmoth Nexus both turn into artifact creatures.  Overseer usually has a pretty big target on its head because unchecked it can be pretty insane.  That said it can be a little slow to get the full impact of the Overseer, which means a better early play than a late game play.

Etched Champion
Etched Champion
Etched Champion is about as untouchable as you can get.  Metalcraft is very easy to obtain and maintain in this deck and so the Champion will almost always have Protection from all Colours.  This means that it is unblockable and untargetable and so can swing as much as it likes without fear.

Master of Etherium
Master of Etherium
Master of Etherium is a creature that has fallen in and out of favour in Affinity lists.  A Lord for all your artifact creatures and often a very sizeable creature in its own right, Master of Etherium is very powerful.


Mox Opal
Mox Opal
The card that has been holding me back from building this deck properly for a long time.  It is possible to build Affinity without Opal but it's not nearly as fast or efficient.  Opal allows you to drop your hand much more quickly.

Springleaf Drum
Springleaf Drum
Springleaf Drum looks like a bad limited card and in many ways it is.  However, in Affinity it is actually quite potent.  It's a cheap artifact that can help great fast mana while also increasing your artifact count.

Cranial Plating
Cranial Plating
Plating is an extremely powerful piece of equipment.  At a very cheap cost it can provide a huge power boost to any creature it becomes equipped to.  The deck has a lot of evasive creatures to take advantage of Plating and also Inkmoth Nexus which can be a very quick clock when combined with Plating.
The double black mana equip ability may seem unexciting on the surface but it can be used to move the Plating at instant speed if you have access to the coloured mana required.  This means you can move the Plating during combat when your equipped attacker eats a removal spells.


Drawing two cards for just one mana is pretty awesome.  I like Thoughtcast as a way to restock as Affinity certainly has a way of dumping its hand very quickly.  Thoughtcast can be a useful way to find one of your big impact cards, like Cranial Plating, or can help you rebuild your board after removal.

Galvanic Blast
Galvanic Blast
One mana for 4 damage is also amazing value for mana.  Blast can be a great removal spell or a way of pushing through the final damage.  I'm currently only running one in the main deck but I could certainly could be convinced to run more.  Galvanic Blast is very powerful.


Blinkmoth NexusInkmoth Nexus
Blinkmoth Nexus/Inkmoth Nexus
The manlands in the deck are a real highlight.  Sweepers like Pyroclasm and Drown in Sorrow are really bad news for our little robots but our manlands mean we have an untouched and evasive alternative source of damage.

One of the big challenges is knowing when you want to pursue Infect or normal damage when you have a choice of Nexuses to work with.  Infect kills quicker but as Inkmoth is the only source of Infect in the deck, if they remove Inkmoth your work stands for nothing.  Being savvy about how and when you use your manlands is key to playing the deck well.

Lands that can create any colour of mana are a dream.  However, they also tend to come with hefty setbacks.  Glimmervoid's setback is fairly easy to manage though in a deck that is so artifact heavy, particularly if you can drop a Darksteel Citadel.  You can be occasionally blown out and forced to sacrifice your Glimmervoid but that is pretty rare.

Darksteel Citadel
Darksteel Citadel
The last of the Artifact lands standing in Modern and the least broken.  A land that counts to your artifact count is pretty awesome and the fact it is indestructible means you are never really punished for it being an artifact.

There are actually a lot of potential sideboard options open to an Affinity deck as between Glimmervoid and Springleaf Drum you have access to any colour of mana.

Ancient GrudgeWear/TearBack to NatureWhipflareChokeRelic of ProgenitusDragon's ClawWelding JarGalvanic Blast

  • Ancient Grudge, Wear/Tear and Back to Nature provide us with answers to pesky artifacts and enchantments.  I'd argue Back to Nature isn't particularly needed as Bogles is no longer a very popular deck, which is where that card really shines.
  • Whipflare can be a one-sided Wrath effect in this deck.  All our creatures are artifacts so Whipflare is a Pyroclasm just for our opponent's creatures.  A very useful way of clearing the way for our attackers.
  • Choke is a very powerful card against Blue Control deck.  Locking down their mana is very powerful and there's a reasonable chance that they won't be expecting it out of an Affinity deck.
  • Relic of Progenitus deals with graveyard shenanigans while also be an artifact for Metalcraft and Affinity purposes.
  • Dragon's Claw is a specific anti-Burn card.  I'm a little skeptical about how good it can be against Burn but it certainly can't hurt.  I haven't played the Burn matchup enough to know exactly how good this would be.
  • Welding Jar can help out against decks that are heavy on the targeted removal.
  • Galvanic Blast is already great in the main and I wanted an additional copy for the board.  Great to bring in against decks with problematic creatures that need removing.

Aggro decks sometimes get the reputation of being easy to play.  I think that reputation is generally unfair but I think especially in the case of Affinity.  The deck has a lot of nuances and complex plays, particularly surrounding Arcbound Ravager and the manlands.

Our first matchup is against Jund.  Liliana of the Veil really isn't at her best against Affinity - the edict ability is fine but we can finish her off on 1 loyalty counter pretty easily and the discard isn't so great when we are able to drop our hand so quickly.

Our second matchup is against The Rock.  Tarmogoyf can get very big very fast against us, particularly if they use a discard spell on Turn 1 to put an Artifact Creature into the bin.  Fortunately, we are pretty capable of racing the 'Goyf provided they don't have too much removal on top, as shown in Game 1.  In Game 2, a Damnation hits us hard but not before we have got a few shots in on our opponent.  Our opponent does start to stabalise but an Etched Champion backed up by Cranial Plating is too much for our opponent to deal with.

Our third matchup is against Sultai Control.  Our opponent hits us with some very hand disruption in Game 1 but we were able to drop enough early pressure to take it down.  Game 2 is much tighter with a slow start from us allowing our opponent more time to stabilise.  However, we managed to survive the pressure and use a couple of Cranial Platings on Inkmoth Nexus to hit with a lethal dose of poison.

Our fourth matchup is against Esper Control.  Three-Colour Control decks should be favourable matches in my estimation but this isn't how this matchup worked out unfortunately.  Lingering Souls in particular is a real problem for our deck, fortunately it's not as popular as it once was in the format but still sees some play and is something to watch out for.

I haven't had the best of experiences playing Affinity so far.  I can appreciate I probably have quite a lot to learn about the deck but I just haven't had much success with it so far.  The blazing starts have been lacking and I've found myself losing matchups where I would expect to be winning.  My experiences are probably reflective of two of the great weaknesses of the deck. 

The first weakness is that the deck is pretty high variance.  Ornithopter, Memnite and Springleaf Drum are great when you have a Cranial Plating or Steel Overseer out but without support they really aren't doing a lot for you.  Sometimes you draw your haymakers and sometimes you draw the chaff without the support.

The second weakness of the deck is hate cards.  If you look in the sideboard of a Modern deck there is a pretty good chance (depending on the colours of course) that there is some form of artifact hate in there.  From Stony Silence to Ancient Grudge to Creeping Corrosion there are some devastating hate cards that can be wielded against Affinity.  Then there are sweepers like Pyroclasm, Anger of the Gods and Drown in Sorrow that are also very potent against our deck.  This can make post-sideboard games much more tricky, particularly if we end up on the draw.  Affinity can certainly thrive in the right environment but when people are prepared for it you can really struggle.

I had a bit more success with the deck after some more practice but still struggled a little.  I'm not sure if the current metagame is the best place for Affinity but it remains a very solid deck and a reasonable choice for any tournament.  The deck is also very customisable which makes it quite versatile and a deck you could spend a lot of time on if you were so inclined.

It was great to finally get a chance to try out Affinity at full-power.  There are many different flavours of Affinity available and I may come to cover those in future articles.  However, until then, that's all I've got for this week.

Thanks for reading,

Oliver Law (olaw on MTGO)


The game should be over by Rerepete at Thu, 06/18/2015 - 18:30
Rerepete's picture

The game should be over before they have a chance to cast creeping corrosion. That being said, I find cranial plating mostly to be a non-bo with ravager. I don't have the Opals yet either, but I am liking Hardened Scales instead of Plating.

This is my Current List :

1 x Triskelion
3 x Ornithopter
4 x Steel Overseer
3 x Memnite
4 x Etched Champion
4 x Arcbound Ravager
4 x Chronomaton

4 x Springleaf Drum
4 x Hardened Scales
3 x Chromatic Star
4 x Thoughtcast
4 x Galvanic Blast

4 x Blinkmoth Nexus
3 x Darksteel Citadel
4 x Inkmoth Nexus
4 x Glimmervoid
1 x Wooded Foothills
1 x Forest
1 x Mountain


1x Dismember
3x Path to Exile
2x Torpor Orb
4x Whipflare
1x Steel Hellkite
4x Corrosive Gale

Thanks for the comment. It's by olaw at Fri, 06/19/2015 - 08:45
olaw's picture

Thanks for the comment. It's true that Ravager and Cranial Plating are not the most synergistic combination.

I really Hardened Scales and would like to try and brew with it in Modern. MadKat's Allies deck looked sweet as does your +1/+1 counter-centric Affinity deck. Might have to give something like this a try. Steel Overseer seems nuts with a Scales in play.

Hardened Scales+Steel by Elbinac at Fri, 06/19/2015 - 14:26
Elbinac's picture

Hardened Scales+Steel Overseer is neat.
It seems like a roundabout Tempered Steel if you are trying to go wide.
Still, cheaper and easier to cast is better for the deck overall..

Good read, as always by Adam_the_Mentat at Fri, 06/19/2015 - 14:54
Adam_the_Mentat's picture

Hardened scales: I always thought this card was underplayed, under-brewed, and under-valued. I hope to see it rise in Modern