Paupers and Kings, Ep. 10: Robot Uprising


Hi everyone, and welcome to the tenth and final episode of Paupers & Kings, my series on porting Pauper decks into the Modern format while staying on a budget. I hope you have enjoyed the series, and have taken advantage of some of the crossover archetypes to break into either Modern or Pauper (or both). I’ve had a lot of fun playing lists across the formats and have myself learned a lot more about Modern in the process. If you missed an episode, here is a link to all ten articles.

For our final week we’re taking a look at Affinity. The goal in both formats is similar: smash down a bunch of robots and/or artificers and beat face. In Modern our guys tend to be free or very cheap, and we get a lot of them, and we gain value with cards like Signal Pest, Cranial Plating, and Arcbound Ravager. In Pauper we rely more on the metalcraft ability and Affinity for Artifacts to cheat out 4/4s before our opponent knows what’s happening.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

Affinity in Pauper

We’re playing Eredion’s list in Pauper, a choice I made after he stomped me with it in a Daily Event while I was playing Hexproof. His mastery of the list notwithstanding, I like a lot of the choices he has made in putting his list together as well. Here is his 75:

[d title=”Affinity by Eredion (Pauper)”]
4 Great Furnace
4 Seat of the Synod
4 Tree of Tales
4 Darksteel Citadel
2 Vault of Whispers

4 Atog
4 Carapace Forger
4 Frogmite
4 Myr Enforcer

4 Thoughtcast
4 Galvanic Blast
2 Perilous Research
2 Fling

2 Flayer Husk
2 Ichor Wellspring
3 Prophetic Prism
3 Springleaf Drum
4 Chromatic Star

3 Dispel
2 Doom Blade
2 Electrickery
1 Krark-Clan Shaman
2 Serene Heart
3 Ancient Grudge
2 Relic of Progenitus [/d]

The stars of Affinity in Pauper are Myr Enforcer and Carapace Forger, and many a match is won by simply swinging in with these mighty 4/4s before your opponent has a chance to mount much of a defense. Even so, the creature that really inspires fear in the list is, of course, the wily [c]Atog[/c]. Anytime he is on the table, especially in the mid- to late-game, he can be a game-winning threat. Because of his potential for explosiveness, your opponent is often forced to make bad blocks, lose advantage on the board, and eventually be either overrun to have something giant [c]Fling[/c]ed at his face.

[c]Flayer Husk[/c] is great in the mirror and gets your guys out of [c]Flame Slash[/c] range, while also providing another 1-drop artifact to fuel your Affinity count. Six draw spells help ensure that you don’t run out of gas and, combined with nine cantripping artifacts, you can really draw cards with the best control lists, at least for awhile.

Eighteen land feels right, and the [c]Vault of Whispers[/c] help enable [c]Doom Blade[/c] out of the board, a necessity for guys like [c]Fangren Marauder[/c] who will, left unchecked, completely ruin your day.

Eredion’s list is on the cheap end, even for Pauper, mainly because he doesn’t run [c]Hydroblast[/c] or [c]Pyroblast[/c] in the sideboard. That said, it’s a well-tuned list that will compete with any deck you run up against; you’re more than getting your money’s worth. It’s under 10 tix to put together online, and just $34 to build in paper.


Affinity in Modern

For Modern, we started with iBelieveable’s list, and modified it to be slightly more on the budget end. You have a lot of choices when building Affinity in Modern, which I love. Some lists run as many [c]Master of Etherium[/c] as possible alongside [c]Welding Jar[/c]s to protect them, while others focus more on exploding out of the gate and winning as early as possible. Affinity can win on turn three and will often win by turn four, well before some opponents have done more than put down a mana dork or gotten their mana bases under control. Here is the Modern list we played.

[d title=”Affinity (Modern)”]
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
4 Glimmervoid
4 Inkmoth Nexus
4 Darksteel Citadel
4 Island

4 Arcbound Ravager
1 Etched Champion
3 Master of Etherium
4 Signal Pest
4 Steel Overseer
4 Vault Skirge
4 Ornithopter
4 Memnite

4 Thoughtcast
4 Cranial Plating
4 Springleaf Drum

3 Etched Champion
2 Chalice of the Void
4 Dismember
2 Torpor Orb
1 Whipflare
2 Ancient Grudge
1 Illness in the Ranks [/d]

The number of must-answer threats here is huge. [c]Arcbound Ravager[/c], [c]Steel Overseer[/c], [c]Master of Etherium[/c], and [c]Cranial Plating[/c] all have a major impact and will win unless answered. Even if they take care of your creatures on the ground, your lands are ready to transform and start flying over the battlefield. [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c] can easily win in a single swing with a cranial plating later on in the game, and at that point your opponent will be hoping to top-deck answers since they’ve likely used all their resources handling your other threats.

I like drawing two cards for {U} so I added in 4x [c]Thoughtcast[/c] from the original list. Some lists run [c]Galvanic Blast[/c] or even [c]Dispatch[/c], but I liked staying in a single color as much as possible. I was tempted to try out [c]Ensoul Artifact[/c] because it works so nicely with [c]Darksteel Citadel[/c] and [c]Vault Skirge[/c] but it didn’t end up in this list. All of our threats are viable on their own, using an extra card and opening ourselves up to a 2-for-1 situation didn’t seem ideal.

You can make Affinity a budget list in Modern, more or less, just by taking out [c]Mox Opal[/c]. I’m sure it’s handy for explosive starts, but at $150 for a playset online, I’m happy to pass. After that, you’re looking at $15 for the 4x [c]Arcbound Ravager[/c]s, $50 for the 8x Nexus lands, and less than $30 for the rest of the mainboard. That’s under $100 online for the main 60.

For the sideboard, [c]Etched Champion[/c], [c]Ancient Grudge[/c], [c]Whipflare[/c], and [c]Dismember[/c] all are important players, and none of them are too expensive. After that you can fill in with whatever awesome artifacts you have laying around: [c]Pithing Needle[/c], [c]Chalice of the Void[/c], and [c]Torpor Orb[/c] are all cards that can do work. [c]Glimmervoid[/c] and [c]Springleaf Drum[/c] mean you can bring in nearly any color from the board, so cards like [c]Rule of Law[/c] and [c]Illness in the Ranks[/c] are viable options too, just don’t get greedy with any cards that require double mana unless it is {U}{U}, since that’s the only color we can really call our own.

Affinity on the Play

Three videos for each format this week. I played far, far more in Modern as I enjoyed the deck so thoroughly, but only filmed three. My current record with Modern Affinity is 10-2, though, and it is now my favorite Modern list alongside U Tron.


In Pauper, Affinity rewards practice and expertise. I’ve played against Eredion twice now in Daily Events, and while we are 1-1, his expertise with Affinity is apparent regardless of if he wins or loses. My point is that the deck is stronger than it seems by watching me play it; I’m sure my misplays were numerous and costly.

Next week on Paupers and Kings

Sadly, there is no next week on Paupers and Kings. Thanks for tuning in to the series, and I hope you enjoyed it! My next endeavor will have a stronger, more particular focus on Pauper and the competitive metagame. Let me know what directions you’d like to me to take, or if you’d like to see anything in particular covered for Pauper.

Until then, may your craniums always be plated.