Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Scars of Mirrodin: Saying "NI!" To Infect

"Shrubberies are a source of
many medicinal remedies."

In an earlier post, I made a joke about Knight Exemplar being afraid of a new ability to be found in Scars of Mirrodin called Infect. Infect deals damage to players in the form of poison counters and creatures in the form of -1/-1 counters. If this reduces an indestructible creature to 0 toughness, it will be destructed nonetheless, so--

Wait, no wavy red underline? "Destructed" is a real word? AWESOME!

*erhem* Anyway, this has resulted in people at my local FNM speculating that knights will be far less potent once Scars comes out due to the Knight Exemplar becoming less reliable.

I'm about to get into card spoilers beyond the existence of the "infect" ability, so if it bothers you that much, flee like I just said ni.

Thing is, however, the Knight Exemplar's boons aren't the only thing knights have going for them. For one thing, every knight in my deck has, or quickly level up to having, first strike. With the exception of a particularly nasty looking 4/4 dragon and a 1/5 horror, my knights are pretty well equipped to block and kill anything with infect without having to deal with -1/-1 counters. White Knights offer significant protection, and they're in my main deck for being 2/2 first strikers for WW alone. The protection from black is a happy bonus.

Plague Stinger, the flying 1/1 black creature with Infect, is a considerable threat given that it's flying, but my knights are still equipped to deal with them via my own flying creatures and creature removal spells. It's possible the flying knights in my deck will lose first strike should I trade my current ones for the weaker-but-less-expensive Kemba's Skyguard (2/2 flying for 1WW, gain 2 life when it enters the battlefield), but it still beats the Plague Stinger.

I'm not saying things aren't going to get more difficult for knights. The themes of Scars means much more -1/-1 shenanigans, be they via infect or something like Grasp of Darkness, a black spell for BB that gives a creature -4/-4 until end of turn, so the knights are definitely more vulnerable.

My point, however, is that I don't think knight decks will suddenly become non-viable. They will still be effective against other decks and capable of holding their own against infect decks. In fact, I look forward to facing off against an infect deck with my knights. Assuming I'm right, those will be intense, fun games.

Of course, that probably won't happen for a while if I get all the cards I need for my Myr deck before the first October FNM. Tap and roll out, Myrs!


  1. You should look into some older myrs if you want some fun times. I know you want to build your decks for standard, but it can be fun to have a standard deck that you can change a few cards out of to make it a nonstandard casual deck. If I might recommend a couple, Myr Enforcer, Myr Matrix and Myr Servitor are fun ones that can do fun things.

    I'd definitely keep Crusader over Skyguard if you have a glut of Infect decks running around (first strike is awesome), but if you don't, then the skyguard isn't a bad choice at all.

  2. Dan, being the proud owner of my own Knight deck (though significantly less than ideal, I'm sure. Only two exemplars), I can safely say that I'm looking forward to the Skyguards, and am considering running them alongside - rather than replacing - my Cloud Crusaders. Specifically against alot of the stuff that's being run in my circle of friends (Damn you Naya allies!), flying is an extremely potent force, and being able to get hits hit through a huge creature wall is an enormously potent ability.

    Good work with these posts. I'd be interested in seeing your opinion of proliferate, and how it's going to factor in. Is it too slow as a mechanic to really make the difference, despite how powerful it is?

  3. Thank you, Sadrach ^_^

    I don't claim to be an expert, but I think proliferate will be useful in Infect decks while not being overpowered due to that speed issue you mentioned. At this point, I expect to use Contagion Clasp in my own infect deck.

    I think the Infect combo to look out for, however, is Putrefax (green) and Mimic Vat (artifact).

    Confession: I was about to post a hastily put together infect deck here, thinking it would be a cut and dry green/black deck, but Wizards has provided enough of each color and enough artifact creatures that I think there'll be a variety of infect decks and I haven't decided what variety I want. I'm fairly certain Ichorclaw Myr will be involved, however.

  4. If I might make another recommendation GET THE WHITE INTRO PACK. It comes with a Myr Battlesphere and 2 myr galvanizers. It looks like a great base for your Myr deck and Sunblast Angel can probably be traded for any number of other myr cards, since it's considered to be a highly valuable card.