Hi all,

The goal of the first in this article series, published as often as Inspiration permits, is to expand a single strategy into multiple eternal formats (Vintage, Legacy, Modern, and Pauper) for players who either:

1) Want to try player run events in a new format.

2) Are unable to play their favorite format in dailies because of the awkward event schedule (spoiler alert, keep this in mind).

I want the strategies to be competitive, and the budgets will range from $100 for three formats to $200, or of course their equivalent in tickets. For ease of the process, I will simply plug all of the cards into one online vendor, but of course know that using penny bots and shopping around will save money.

Interestingly, sharing a strategy between formats is more difficult than it looks. Consider Goblins, for example. Since Vintage Masters has been released, the deck has plummeted in value, so the time is right to buy in. Here is a list that posted 3-1 in 2 Legacy Dailies this past month:

Jrickard Goblins

Lands (22)
Bloodstained Mire
20 Mountain

Creatures (32)
Gempalm Incinerator
Goblin Chieftain
Goblin Lackey
Goblin Matron
Goblin Piledriver
Goblin Ringleader
Goblin Sharpshooter
Goblin Warchief
Krenko, Mob Boss
Siege-Gang Commander
Skirk Prospector
Tuktuk Scrapper

Other Spells (6)
Aether Vial
Tarfire

Now for $60, you really can’t do much better in Legacy. This deck has so much reach, with uncounterable creatures (personally, I’d take Cavern of Souls over Bloodstained Mire, but I’m not the one making money on the list), Goblin Ringleader, and the four Goblin Matron for tutoring. This isn’t like your Modern aggro list; I’ve won a surprising number of games in practice against Nic Fit loaded with Pernicious Deed, Terminus miracles, and other decks that go for the long game. Still, it can stand toe-to-toe with Dredge and Burn as well, which you’re going to have to be ready for in events today.

So what’s the problem, then? Well, when you port this to Modern, you’ll find that you share 2 cards: 2 Goblin Chieftain. This is very disappointing. Actually, due to the differences in the lists, I think Modern Goblins, with its Goblin Guide, Goblin Bushwhacker, and Shared Animosity have some things to learn here and should be going mid-range, especially considering how good Blood Moon is in the format. But I digress.

The point here is that we want to try and have an archetype that shares as many cards as possible between formats, and the first answer is Poison.

Mono-Green Poison has been quite infectious online lately.* Some time earlier in the year, results of a $35 deck peaked the attention of quite a few players, and very little innovation has been required for the deck to top 8 a number of Modern Premier Events, winning one, and routinely cashing in dailies as well. I myself won at least a booster box of Theros block packs with the deck in 2-man and 8-man queues and 2 daily events (I am an example of the #2 reason above).

*I actually changed the title from “Mono Green Infect” to “Mono Green Poison” for this pun. Nailed it.

Here is the list I used to pay for a playset of Noble Hierarchs:

Mono Green Infect

Lands (20)
Cathedral of War
14 Forest
Inkmoth Nexus
Pendelhaven

Creatures (12)
Glistener Elf
Ichorclaw Myr
Noble Hierarch

Other spells (28)
Apostle’s Blessing
Giant Growth
Groundswell
Mutagenic Growth
Rancor
Sylvan Scrying
Vines of Vastwood
Sideboard (15)
Dismember
Nature’s Claim
Spellskite
Tormod’s Crypt
Viridian Corrupter

This list parted ways in a few areas from the Infect standard floating around. I asked myself, “What happens when we throw money on a budget list?” And played 4 Hierarch main and 2 Spellskite in the side. I won’t talk about this list much because it isn’t the final we’re going with, but I will explain a few choices.

First of all, the Hierarch won me a handful of games against opponents that did not value their life total. One or two Rancor, a handful of pump, and a couple exalted triggers, and the opponent was toast, even with Melira, Sylvok Outcast or what have you. Beyond that, Hierarch developed my board, gave me extra green mana (something the deck is hungry for when going off), allowed me to play turn 2 Sylvan Scrying and drop the Inkmoth Nexus.

That brings me to the next distinguished card: Sylvan Scrying. This is practically Demonic Tutor here. Want protection from Electrolyze, Pyroclasm, or Grim Lavamancer? Pendelhaven. Want pump? Cathedral of War. Most importantly, want the most effective win condition in your deck? Inkmoth Nexus.

Still, this list isn’t inherently optimal. A lot of the differences you see in Mono Green Infect lists simply are based on play-style. The Noble Hierarch does make you softer to Zealous Persecution, Electrolyze, and mass removal, which is relevant, so that expenditure isn’t necessary.

Here, instead, is a more stock list, which is significantly more budget-friendly:

Modern Mono Green Infect

Land (22)
Cathedral of War
13 Forest
Inkmoth Nexus
Pendelhaven

Creatures (8)
Glistener Elf
Ichorclaw Myr

Other spells (30)
Apostle’s Blessing
Dismember
Giant Growth
Groundswell
Mutagenic Growth
Rancor
Sylvan Scrying
Vines of Vastwood
Sideboard (15)
Creeping Corrosion
Dismember
Guttural Response
Nature’s Claim
Ranger’s Guile
Tormod’s Crypt

Here are a few tips with playing the deck, from the beginning of the game until the end.

Mulligan until you have a creature in hand, as if you were playing Bogles.

On the first turn on the play, not knowing what you’re up against, it is better to play Cathedral of War than Glistener Elf. I may get some disagreement here from people, but I think a turn 2 Elf representing Apostle’s Blessing than an attempt to win early and just lose your condition. On the draw, when you see a blue mana source, it is probably better to play the Elf before your opponent has counter mana available.

Before you make a land drop, consider how much you need, and that a Groundswell may pop up later.

Don’t Pendelhaven or otherwise pump your creature first unless you can win. Your pump doubles as protection.

Wait until you have enough pump in hand plus an Apostle’s Blessing or Vines of Vastwood before going off. Remember that Apostle’s Blessing also makes your creature unblockable in a lot of situations, but be wary of things like Vendilion Clique.

This is actually a midrange combo deck that, when against Tron, Storm, Ad Nauseam, etc. shifts into the turns 2-3 combo deck.

Every game, just side out the 4 Mutagenic Growth for 4 cards that fit except against Affinity and Burn, where you also side out the 2 Dismember. Over-sideboarding can really hurt your plan.

When porting to Legacy, however, we simply have to go for it. This is an especially nice time to go for it because Vintage Masters has given us Berserk at a ridiculously low price. Here is my submission for a turn 2 combo Mono Green Infect deck in Legacy:

Legacy Mono Green Infect

Land (20)
Dryad Arbor
14 Forest
Inkmoth Nexus
Pendelhaven

Creatures (8)
Elvish Spirit Guide
Glistener Elf

Other Spells (32)
Apostle’s Blessing
Berserk
Crop Rotation
Green Sun’s Zenith
Groundswell
Invigorate
 Rancor
Vines of Vastwood
Sideboard (15)
Bojuka Bog
Ghost Quarter
Guttural Response
Nature’s Claim
Ranger’s Guile
Sylvan Safekeeper
 Tormod’s Crypt
 Viridian Corrupter

Now we see between the two lists that we share 47/75 cards, and besides the Elvish Spirit Guide playset, we don’t have to invest much more money. The core cards of the Legacy combo are actually quite cheap: Berserk, Invigorate, and Crop Rotation.

This deck aims to be much faster than the Modern version; it has to be. Crop Rotation can work as a creature in your opening hand, but it is best to find Inkmoth Nexus, Glistener Elf, or Green Sun’s Zenith.  Turn 2 or 3, play Invigorate and Berserk. As always, a few tips:

Remember to rotate your Inkmoth Nexus for another if their removal does get through.

Be wary of Terminus. When you have the budget, move for Bayou and Abrupt Decay.

Use Bojuka Bog at instant speed during your Dredge opponent’s draw phase, before they’re able to cast Cabal Therapy.

The deck’s good matchups are Dredge and Burn, which is good, because these two are played quite frequently online right now. It seems counterintuitive that a deck depending on low-toughness creatures would be good against Burn, but in practice, I always know that I’m going to win whenever the Burn player starts focusing on my creatures. It spreads his offensive too thin.

And finally, if we want to queue up another event or enter a Player Run Event on a new night, we move to Pauper. A lot of our cards are common, after all.

Pauper Mono Green Infect

Land (18)
18 Forest

Creatures (16)
Cystbearer
Glistener Elf
Ichorclaw Myr
 Llanowar Augur
Rot Wolf

Other Spells (26)
Apostle’s Blessing
Giant Growth
Groundswell
Mutagenic Growth
Predator’s Strike
Rancor
Vines of Vastwood
Sideboard (15)
 Corpse Cur
Fog
 Hornet Sting
Nature’s Claim
Nourish
Pistus Strike
Tormod’s Crypt

*Deck has been edited for format legality and per suggestions of someone with more format experience.

This deck operates between the two others and can take the early combo role or the longer protective role. The biggest difference between the formats is the number of Edict effects in Pauper make your creatures more vulnerable; in other formats, Ranger’s Guile, Vines of Vastwood, and Apostle’s Blessing save you.

What is our grand total, then, to play Infect in three formats? Well, the cost of the Modern deck that has been placing is $53.40.

As of July 11, 2014, the grand total for all three decks is $83.43. We only added $30 to have a strong option in two other formats.

The fun, number, though, is the cost shared between Modern and Legacy: $33.66. If you want to play Legacy on a budget, essentially you can have a Modern deck for $20 of leftover costs.

In the next article we will bring Burn in three formats. Where this article is geared to the Johnnies and Timmies, the Burn article is for Spikes, grinders, and lovers of the double queue. In the meantime, thanks for your time and comments!

-Drinkard

drinkardmtgo@gmail.com

drinkard on mtgo

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