Optimal Primer: Affinity

by Spokes

Introduction

Few commons are as blatantly, disgustingly, obviously overpowered as Cranial Plating. In Pauper Classic’s infancy, Wizards saw that it would wreck the format and banned it quickly. However, with the artifact lands (Ancient Den, Great Furnace, Seat of the Synod, Tree of Tales, Vault of Whispers, and Darksteel Citadel) legal, Affinity has remained a fringe Tier 1.5 presence for the entire history of the format. As Wizards bans more and more degenerate combo pieces, turning 4/4s sideways until your opponent is dead is becoming more and more attractive.

As much as I’d like to continue to wax poetic about the history of Pauper and the changing Metagame, I’m not really an authority on anything but the best ways to put robots on the table. So hopefully I’ve done a good enough job of convincing you that you should be playing Frogmite that you want to keep reading. With that out of the way, let’s talk about how to build Classic Pauper Affinity.

The Core

Mana Options

Creatures

Ways to Abuse Our High Artifact Count

With the options laid out let’s take a look at our base. These cards are going to be standard in pretty much every Affinity list:

Lands (17)
Great Furnace
Seat of the Synod
Tree of Tales
Other Artifact Lands

Creatures (12)
Carapace Forger
Frogmite
Myr Enforcer

Spells (18)
Chromatic Star
Galvanic Blast
Prophetic Prism
Springleaf Drum
Thoughtcast

At 47 cards, we have a full 13 more we can put in to take the deck in whichever direction we like.

The Combo Package

The Creature Package

The popularity of the Atog / Disciple / Fling combo has gone up and down through Pauper Classic history due mostly to the popularity of Hydroblast and, frankly, how unfair Affinity has to be to compete. When Invigorate and Grapeshot were running around everywhere, Affinity players didn’t have the time to build up a strong board presence and win through superior card quality. Conversely, when Mono Blue Control and Cloudpost decks were the format’s strongest contenders, forcing a Fling through countermagic (especially Hydroblast) was both difficult and high-risk.

We’re at an interesting point now, however. The “unfair” decks have largely been neutered by bans, meaning that the fastest kill Affinity has to reasonably worry about is a Cyclops creature (Delver of Secrets, Kiln Fiend, Nivix Cyclops, Wee Dragonauts) swinging with an Assault Strobe on turn 3. However, with Blue Red Post out of the picture, countermagic isn’t as big a threat. So there’s arguments to play the Combo Package and there’s arguments to play the Creature Package.

Pros of Atog / Fling

First and most obviously, the combo is absolutely insane. Being able to dome the opponent for 20 out of nowhere is a huge threat and one of the most powerful things you can do in the format.

Atog is great in a deck where most cards are artifacts. Turning every card on your board into a Seal of Fire is a threat that needs to be respected at all times, and trying to do combat math against an Atog (on offense OR defense) is a headache.

Fling is an instant, meaning that the opponent tapping out on your end step for what they think is a safe draw spell can be their death. With Blue Red Post out of the picture, your chances of getting Fling countered against a random deck are dramatically lower.

Cons of Atog / Fling

The main argument against Atog / Fling is that it’s win-more. If you’re able to wreck them with a huge Fling, it certainly looks cool, but there just aren’t enough match ups where the combo wins games that strong board presence wouldn’t. Affinity’s main strength has always been to just throw undercosted 4/4s at the opponent until they buckle from the superior card quality. Half the deck being huge value creatures and the other half being a fragile combo is unnecessary and opens the deck up to faltering in-game.

Additionally, the match ups where you needed to Fling an Atog simply don’t exist anymore. You don’t need to race Grixis Storm or Infect. Playing the creature strategy against Blue Red Post was difficult because their card quality beats yours if they can stabilize, but they’re gone too. I’m certainly open to a discussion of a version of the deck that uses Fling, but I’d like to concentrate on the creature value version for this primer.

Here is (roughly) the creature list I’ve been playing for the last few years and what I’d play tomorrow while the meta is shaking out:

Creature Affinity
by Spokes

Lands (17)
Ancient Den
Darksteel Citadel
Great Furnace
Seat of the Synod
Tree of Tales

Creatures (20)
Auriok Sunchaser
Carapace Forger
Frogmite
Myr Enforcer
Quicksilver Behemoth

Spells (23)
Chromatic Star
Dragon Wings
Galvanic Blast
Prophetic Prism
Rush of Knowledge
Springleaf Drum
Thoughtcast
Sideboard: (15)
Ancient Grudge
Electrickery
Hydroblast
Pyroblast
Serene Heart

So, the obvious question (other than “What do Dragon Wings and Serene Heart do?”) is “What makes this better than playing Atog and Fling?”

As mentioned earlier, Fling is a very fragile card. None of the cards in this list are fragile, with the possible exception of the Rush of Knowledge, but when that fizzles it’s usually in a spot where other cards wouldn’t have helped. The name of the game in Pauper is card quality and a card that does nothing even 25% of the time is just not worth it. Other decks are playing Delver of Secrets, Mogg War Marshal, Nivix Cyclops and Glistener Elf (yes, still). We want to just put bodies in their way until they’re out of resources and we can take the game.

That’s not to say that Affinity is a slow deck, by any means. After all, there’s a reason we’re playing Myr Enforcer and not… Kindercatch. If a deck stumbles against us we have no problem switching gears and swinging for 20. But Pauper is moving toward a metagame where card quality is king and the path to victory is dominating the battlefield, not playing what’s effectively Kaervek’s Spite.

Every card in this deck is either huge value for its cost (all the creatures, Thoughtcast, Galvanic Blast, Rush of Knowledge) or mana fixing to get our hand onto the table as soon as possible. Specifically, though, I’d like to speak on why I’ve included specific cards and excluded others.

Mana

Lands (17)
Ancient Den
Great Furnace
Seat of the Synod
Tree of Tales
Darksteel Citadel

Spells (12)
Chromatic Star
Prophetic Prism
Springleaf Drum

17 lands has proven to be right about perfect over the hundreds of matches I’ve played with this deck. We can go quite far on one, and flooding is absolutely awful. The twelve extra “mana sources” cycle through the deck while fixing and accelerating, and starting our deck off with a 29-artifact manabase is great for our affinity creatures. Card selection is pretty straightforward here. Four of each color land and a Darksteel Citadel to round them out. Chromatic Star is chosen over Chromatic Sphere to give us a little utility if we’re saccing it to Krark-Clan Shaman or trying to get out from under an oppressive Gorilla Shaman. Springleaf Drum has been best friends with Affinity creatures since it was printed. Effectively lowering their casting cost and helping summoning sickness creatures make mana is super valuable. Finally, Prophetic Prism is a little expensive but it’s everything the deck needs in that spot. It’s an artifact, it’s repeatable mana fixing, and it cycles.

Creatures

(16)
Frogmite
Carapace Forger
Auriok Sunchaser
Quicksilver Behemoth

Frogmite and Myr Enforcer are the deck’s flagbearers. They’re oversized for their cost, they’re artifacts (of course), and they play both offense and defense incredibly well. (“How’s it going, Guardian of the Guildpact?”) Carapace Forger and Auriok Sunchaser were the shot in the arm Affinity needed. When Scars of Mirrodin was printed, Affinity got a great new tool in Galvanic Blast, but these two creatures are the reason the deck works so well. They’re almost always guaranteed to have Metalcraft active and are huge contributors to the games where the opponent doesn’t even get to play.

Quicksilver Behemoth is a more controversial choice and I’m happy to defend it. The 4/5 body isn’t as relevant now that Flame Slash isn’t everywhere, but it’s still well-suited for combat. The “drawback” allows it to attack and come right back down for a single blue mana and threaten to block. Additionally, it is synergistic with both Dragon Wings and Rush of Knowledge. I’ve chosen not to play Somber Hoverguard because it’s at the top of the “curve”, as far as this deck has a concept of one. It doesn’t pack the power of Myr Enforcer and Auriok Sunchaser is simply better. Somber Hoverguard doesn’t come down early enough to accelerate with Springleaf Drum, and it isn’t strong enough to stand on its own.

Spells

(11)
Galvanic Blast
Thoughtcast
Dragon Wings
Rush of Knowledge

Galvanic Blast and Thoughtcast are obvious inclusions. Casting Lightning Blast and Divination for one mana each does a lot to keep Affinity in the game against decks that are doing more unfair things. Dragon Wings is the less popular choice. Affinity doesn’t traditionally play cycling cards, especially ones that cost two valuable mana and don’t immediately contribute to development. However, Dragon Wings fits perfectly on Myr Enforcer and Quicksilver Behemoth and is the reason this deck wins the Affinity mirror match. It’s tough to find a good attack in a sea of 4/4s and 4/5s, but when your creatures fly it becomes a lot easier to break the stalemate. Finally, Rush of Knowledge is a huge trump any time the board stalls out, but it doesn’t have the immediate impact for me to recommend more than one or two. Even if you’re not a fan of Dragon Wings and Quicksilver Behemoth, I’d highly recommend testing the deck as is before making any changes. I’ve hammered this list out over thousands of games against everything the field has to offer and I’m confident that testing will demonstrate that it’s nearly ideal. However, I do very much encourage you to then test out alternate configurations. It’s certainly possible that I’ve drawn the wrong conclusion.

Sideboard Options

With the full five colors at our disposal, Affinity lists can choose whatever sideboard cards best suit the metagame, as long as they aren’t too expensive. The meta is currently in post-ban flux, so I’d recommend the following:

(15)
Ancient Grudge
Electrickery
Hydroblast
Pyroblast
Serene Heart

Hydroblast and Pyroblast are pretty straightforward selections. If the opponent is playing red or blue things (that you care about), bring them in. Gorilla Shaman, Shattering Pulse, Smelt etc. are all good targets. On the other side, bring in the Pyroblasts against Cloud of Faeries decks (which won’t be removed from the meta as much as anyone hoped) and any other blue combo list. Ancient Grudge is obviously for Affinity, but bringing one in to kill more than one Razor Golem or Spire Golem is perfect, since those match ups tend to be attrition wars. We’re (thankfully) no longer in the glory days when Electrickery was maindeckable, but there’s enough Goblins and Elves running around that it still earns a spot. The miser’s Serene Heart is for Green White Hexproof, but it might be worth looking at other options. This spot is definitely still being considered.

As far as difficulty to pilot goes, Affinity is not one of the more intricate decks in Pauper. More than half the playskill is in optimal sequencing and mulligan decisions. Specifically,

Springleaf Drum vs. Chromatic Sphere on Turn 1

This decision boils down to: “Be Quick but Don’t Hurry” Often, you’ll have a hand like

Auriok Sunchaser
Carapace Forger
Myr Enforcer
Chromatic Star
Springleaf Drum
Seat of the Synod
Great Furnace

We can play either land into Chromatic Star on turn 1 and then cast a creature on turn 2, but it won’t have metalcraft and doesn’t contribute much to the board. Playing a Springleaf Drum on turn 1 allows us to play the Chromatic Star on turn 2. We won’t have a creature until turn 3, but we have a whole bunch of possible turn 2 draws that give us new lines (Galvanic Blast, Thoughtcast, Frogmite, Prophetic Prism, another Chromatic Star or Springleaf Drum).

Artifact, Artifact, Thoughtcast

When playing a one cost artifact on turn 1 into a second plus Thoughtcast on turn 2, make sure that you cast the spell before using the mana fixing. For example, imagine your board is Darksteel Citadel (tapped), Ancient Den, Springleaf Drum, and Chromatic Star. If you sacrifice Chromatic Star for blue mana, your artifact count will drop to 3 and Thoughtcast will cost 1U, which you won’t be able to cast unless you mise a lucky Frogmite. But if you “cast” Thoughtcast, the game will ask you to pay simply U, which you can then filter through the Chromatic Star. Enjoy your Ancestral Recall!

Mulligan Decisions

Mulligans are the hardest part of playing Affinity. When your hand is Ancient Den, Darksteel Citadel, Frogmite, Frogmite, Myr Enforcer, Myr Enforcer, Springleaf Drum the decision makes itself. However, it’s usually the one-landers that are the most troublesome. You usually have to just grit your teeth and keep (especially on the draw), since your odds of a playable six cards with only 17 lands are pretty low. The only time I’d recommend a general rule in favor of one-land mulligans is when a second land isn’t going to help the hand get off the ground. For example, a hand like Ancient Den, Dragon Wings, Frogmite, Quicksilver Behemoth, Myr Enforcer, Myr Enforcer, Thoughtcast is going to be a tough one to save even with a land off the top, doubly so if it’s not a blue one. But part of playing decks with low land counts is rolling with the punches, and a couple rough starts is balanced out in the long haul by all the games where you’re attacking with twelve power on turn 3.

So the general rule is “keep and cross your fingers”. However, the close decisions where you have to consider mulliganing are much tougher because the only hands you’re automatically throwing out are ones with 0, 6 or 7 lands. Most of the 5-landers are garbage as well but they have to be looked at carefully. The difficult decisions are the 1-landers and the 4-landers, but the card quality and synergy needs to be considered as well. A 3 land, 4 Chromatic Star hand is probably not a keeper but if the colors are perfect and you can use the Chromatic Stars to cycle it might be worth considering. I’d usually toss it out, though. It’s match up dependent. Against Burn, Goblins or Infect it’s a clear mull, but for Delver or other grindy decks, going down a card is probably less preferable than slogging through the first couple turns.

Match Ups Overview and Analysis

Delver / Mono Blue Control

Delver was the deck to beat. Blue Red Post and Temporal Fissure storm rose up to compete but were promptly banned (well, less-than-promptly, Temporal Fissure could have gone three months ago). Delver is back in the saddle; Cloud of Faeries is still broken and needs to be banned. However, until that happens we’re going to have to deal with overpowered blue creatures that soar through the air.

The Mono blue deck attacks on more than one axis. They play undercosted fliers with huge upside (Delver of Secrets, Cloud of Faeries, Spellstutter Sprite, Spire Golem) and grind out advantage over longer games with Ninja of the Deep Hours returning utility creatures. So, how does Affinity stack up to them?

Luckily, pretty well. Affinity is a deck that prides itself on card quality, so we can negate most of Delver’s advantage in that area. Our flying 3/3s (and 4/4s and 4/5s, once we get Dragon Wings rolling) match very well against their 1/1 fliers, letting us attack relentlessly when the board stalls. Additionally, we always have the threat of blasting out of the gate with a stream of bulky creatures at a pace they simply can’t match.

It’s still, at best, probably a 50/50 match up because Delver of Secrets is an absolutely insane card and their ability to reveal Daze on turn 2’s upkeep and never let you cast a spell again just…happens, sometimes.

Because we’re not running the Atog / Fling package, we’re not as open to being blown out by Hydroblast. However, our Pyroblasts are stellar in the match up anyway. With their Spire Golems threatening to stonewall our Auriok Sunchasers, the inclusion of a single Ancient Grudge usually returns positive results.

Sideboarding:

-2 Dragon Wings
-2 Quicksilver Behemoth
-1 Rush of Knowledge

+1 Ancient Grudge
+4 Pyroblast

Taking out the high casting cost package and putting in a playset of cards that let us nuke anything allows us to compete with their card quality for a longer period before they lock the game up with boring grinding. As far as general strategy, just don’t let them get you with obvious two-for-ones and you’ll be fine.

Continuing on the subject of annoying Mono colored decks, next on the agenda is Goblins. Another throwback to happier (or at least “older”) days of the format, Pauper Classic Goblins is similar to its legacy version, with a bunch of little red creatures that all do miserable things. Luckily, it’s a deck that matches up very poorly against our robots. We’re just fast enough and just big enough to brick almost all their creatures. The agenda against Goblins is simple: Play 2-and-a-half 4/4 creatures and kill them as fast as you can, leaving just enough back to block (Half a creature, in this case, is a smaller guy like Auriok Sunchaser or Frogmite that will probably trade if forced to block. They have a deceptive amount of reach with their Lightning Bolts and Chain Lightnings, so you don’t want the game to go too long.

Goblins

The Goblins match up isn’t objectively more difficult post-board, but it does change significantly. You go from winning on every axis to trying to survive turn 2 without losing your board. If they resolve a Gorilla Shaman on turn 1 and you don’t have a Hydroblast or Galvanic Blast, welcome to Frown Town, population you.

Sideboarding:

-2 Dragon Wings
-3 Quicksilver Behemoth
-1 Rush of Knowledge

+2 Electrickery
+4 Hydroblast

Use the Hydroblast to counter their artifact destruction spells (Primarily Gorilla Shaman / Smelt / anything that will keep you from developing your board). Electrickery is good for value as well as pinpoint removal. Sparksmith is less dangerous against us than he is against other creature decks, since they don’t really have the life total to play around with and Sparksmith is too slow to be relevant in most cases. Additionally, the threat of double Galvanic Blast to the face makes taking six from your own guy a significantly less exciting proposition.

This is a great match up that doesn’t get too much worse post-board.

Elves

Continuing along the Mono colored creature deck path, we next run into Elves. Much like Goblins, Pauper Elves is similar to its Legacy version. Tap guys, do a thing, untap Nettle Sentinel, tap guys, Birchlore Rangers, tap guys, Distant MelodyViridian Longbow, 20 you? It’s a deck that takes advantage of the dearth of sweepers in Pauper, especially maindeck. Wellwisher takes away any hope we have of a game that goes long, and Green is no stranger to artifact removal. While Affinity has a good match up against creature decks in general, it struggles against combo. And when Elves is in combo mode, it’s no exception.

A well-placed Galvanic Blast can stop the combo from ramping up too quickly, but if they resolve a Distant Melody the game has probably slipped away. Be hyper-aggressive and try to steal game 1 and then try to win one of the post-board games with Electrickery. This isn’t a match up I like seeing, but if you get thrown into it the sideboarding is as follows:

Sideboarding:

-1 Dragon Wings
-1 Rush of Knowledge

+2 Electrickery

Trying to fight against Viridian Longbow is miserable, since if they’re going off they have enough Elves to just grind you to death and Wellwisher makes them pretty much immortal. Try to make them stumble with Electrickery and Galvanic Blast enough to kill them. Admittedly, I haven’t tested Pyroblast in this match up enough to feel comfortable recommending it, but it certainly is an intriguing sideboard choice. In the next version I should have enough data to make a decision.

Stompy

The flip side of the green coin is Stompy, a deck that is more beats than combo. Every deck that can jam in Rancor is a pain to try to grind out, and Stompy is no exception. Their cards aren’t better than ours, but they certainly stick around a lot longer (Rancor, Young Wolf, etc). Attacking through their defense is a pain, and they can kill you out of nowhere. However, our creatures are big enough that we can generally just ignore whatever they’re trying to do and hit them for four damage five times.

This is the first match up where Dragon Wings and Quicksilver Behemoth are huge. Outclassing their creatures both in size and evasion, we can attack, bounce our Quicksilver Behemoth, replay it, and threaten to block. Using Galvanic Blast to fizzle a Rancor is tempting, but it’s important to be aware of the Mutagenic Growth / Giant Growth / Hunger of the Howlpack threat. Don’t get 2-for-1’d and the match up shouldn’t be difficult.

Sideboarding:

No Sideboard changes.

The main deck is optimized to play big dumb creatures that are just evasive enough to get in, and that’s what works best against Stompy. It’s not a difficult match up, just play your game and cast 4/4s. Attack when you can, block when necessary.

White Weenie

White Weenie is next, a deck defined by putting Bonesplitter on flying creatures and attacking into blockers again and again. Unfortunately, it kind of works. Much like the Stompy match up, our creatures are big enough that what they’re doing doesn’t really matter. However, we can get additional utility from sideboarding in a couple of Ancient Grudges, since they hit Razor Golem and Bonesplitter. By virtue of playing big artifact guys, we gain a couple points of percentage since we get to sneer (colorlessly, of course) at Guardian of the Guildpact, who is a huge weapon against the rest of the field.

Sideboarding:

-1 Dragon Wings
-1 Quicksilver Behemoth

+2 Ancient Grudge

The Quicksilver Behemoth / Dragon Wings combo is good enough that we want to keep it in, but it’s the ideal place to start trimming so we can fit in Ancient Grudge. Kill their Bonesplitters, kill their Razor Golems, and deal them 20 damage as quickly as possible. This is another match up where we are favored. They can bring in Dust to Dust which hurts but we usually have our board developed enough by that time that it’s not a serious worry.

Mono Black Control

The last color is, of course, black. Mono Black Control has been attempted in most formats ever created and Pauper is no exception. Normal cards with a marginal upside, such as Phyrexian Rager, Chittering Rats, Sign in Blood (and more likely now, Read the Bones), and Tendrils of Corruption combine to form a deck that bleeds an opponent’s life total and hand size down painfully slowly, with the occasional huge nuke from Crypt Rats.

The name of the game against Mono Black Control is to play more cards than they can deal with. Resolving a Rush of Knowledge and not fizzling is going to be a win 90% of the time. They simply don’t have enough cards to actually kill creatures and you can usually get one to start connecting. However, this is in no way a guarantee and this match up can end up being pretty bad if they draw their cards in the right order.

Quicksilver Behemoth is usually clunky, but in this match up it’s perfect. The x/5 body dodges Grasp of Darkness and it requires more life than they can usually spare to kill it with Crypt Rats.

Sideboarding:

Again, no sideboarding. Our maindeck is fine and there’s not usually much they can bring in against us, so it’s generally a repeat of game 1. I’m not comfortable calling this match up anything better than maybe “even”, but I’m not optimistic that even that’s correct. But there’s not a whole lot of play to it, so roll the dice. Attack, attack, attack, and don’t leave cards in your hand because you’ll get timewalked with Chittering Rats.

Green / White Hexproof

With the mono colored decks out of the way, we can start looking at other combinations. Green White Hexproof offers Armadillo Cloak, which is about as annoying as you’d figure. Affinity is just slow enough that it can’t usually race a cloak on a hexproof creature, and adding an Ancestral Mask is usually curtains. This isn’t a good match up and there’s so little interaction that I won’t waste time describing it. Attack every time you can get through and save your Galvanic Blasts to finish them off, not that you’ll have any other targets.

Sideboarding:

-1 Rush of Knowledge

+1 Serene Heart

Cyclops

Another aggressive two-color deck is the old Wee Fiend list, updated to include Nivix Cyclops. Having a third
creature that gets pumped from every spell cast is a huge bonus to consistency, even to the point that some lists are cutting Wee Dragonauts. The good thing about this match up is that we have enough spot removal to prevent them from loading up a creature with too much power, and post-board we can put in the full eight blasts and destroy their creatures to three-for-one or four-for-one them. Afterward we can usually attack for the win while they try to assemble another 20/x. This is another match up that’s good and gets better after sideboarding.

Sideboarding:

-2 Dragon Wings
-4 Quicksilver Behemoth
-1 Prophetic Prism
-1 Rush of Knowledge

+4 Hydroblast
+4 Pyroblast

Blue Black Trinket Midrange

With Cloudpost gone, there’s very few control decks that can still compete in the Pauper metagame. One of the decks is Blue Black Trinket Midrange, which allows Trinket Mage to search up whatever artifact is most helpful at the particular time. This deck is slow and plodding and we have Pyroblasts. However, it’s not usually worth siding them in (or siding in the Ancient Grudges), since we want to focus on just killing them as soon as possible.

Burn

Burn has been a contender in Pauper since people realized that most of the Lava Spikes that go in the Legacy deck are commons. Fireblast, Lightning Bolt, Flame Rift, Rift Bolt, etc. Just like in Legacy, Burn preys on decks that try to play fair and we’re unfortunately one of those. These Burn decks run somewhere from 0-8 creatures (Keldon Marauders and Kiln Fiends in some configuration). Generally the more creatures they’re playing, the better off we are. They generally can’t clear our 4/4s out of the way to attack and we’re more than happy to trade one of our cards for theirs. There’s not a ton of play in this match up. Protect your life total wherever you can and kill them as quickly as possible without leaving yourself open.

Sideboarding:

-2 Dragon Wings
-1 Quicksilver Behemoth
-1 Rush of Knowledge

+4 Hydroblast

Post board, the play is usually not to leave mana open when you have a choice, even with Hydroblasts in hand. Save the Hydroblasts to counter their Fireblasts and Smash to Smithereens or destroy huge Kiln Fiends; we still need to develop our board as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of our better match ups but it’s fringe enough that we don’t have to worry about it in most dailies.

Affinity Mirror

Finally, the Affinity mirror. Depending on how much this deck surges into the metagame, it may be worth removing the Ancient Grudges #3 and #4 from the sideboard. With that said, the match up is pretty straightforward, and it’s one where the Dragon Wings and Quicksilver Behemoth really shine. In the land of 4/4 robots, the 4/5 is king. And flying over blockers makes it even stronger.

Sideboarding:

-4 Carapace Forger

+4 Ancient Grudge

This is some very dubious sideboarding, and I’m open to suggestions. But Carapace Forger is the least valuable creature in this match up and I’ve been happy cutting him so far. If you have the Ancient Grudges early, target their lands. If late, target their creatures (unless you have multiples, in which case continue to crush their lands).

Changes Going Forward

After looking at the sideboard plans, it becomes obvious that the big blue package gets sided out in most match ups. However, Affinity really only has 57 or so good cards and the last 3 are a metagame call. Depending on what decks fill in the meta, it may be correct to replace the Rush of Knowledge and Dragon Wings with something to shore up our poor match ups. With the metagame in flux, however, I’m fine just recommending playing those cards and modifying them at your convenience after testing. Maybe something like 2 Atog, 1 Fling is worth considering after all. I don’t have enough experience with it to recommend the combo, though.

Anyhow, thanks for reading what will hopefully be my first of many articles on Casting Commons. Questions, comments, concerns, bad beat stories etc. can all be directed to me on Magic Online at Spokes or on Twitter @spokes_. Good luck out there!

Written by
John Lance (Spokes)
The Official Metalhead of Casting Commons
Twitter: spokes_