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Budget Magic: $88 (36 tix) Standard Poisonless Infect


Χαῖρε, Budget Magic lovers! It's that time again. This week's theme is "if you can beat 'em, join 'em." Last week on stream, we kept getting crushed by this deck that was killing us with Electrostatic Pummeler on Turn 4. I even lost a game where I left back a 12/12 Verdurous Gearhulk to block and the opponent just calmly untapped and attacked me for 50-something with Electrostatic Pummeler. After having this happen to me several times, I decided to actually look into the deck and found out that it is not only super cheap but pretty much a Standard-legal version of Infect, and I knew we had to play it for Budget Magic. As such, this week we are looking to kill some opponents on Turn 4 with energy creatures and pump spells, with a deck I like to call Poisonless Infect!

We'll talk more about Poisonless Infect after the videos, but first a quick reminder: if you enjoy the Budget Magic series and the other video content on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish YouTube Channel to keep up on all of the latest and greatest.

Poisonless Infect: Deck Tech

Poisonless Infect vs. GR Energy

Poisonless Infect vs. Grixis Emerge

Poisonless Infect vs. Temur Aggro

Poisonless Infect vs. WB Control

Poisonless Infect vs. Every Equipment

The Deck

Probably the easiest way to think of Poisonless Infect is as the Standard version of Modern Infect except with a better backup plan, since it can win without comboing off (unlike Modern Infect, which is left to beat down with Dryad Arbor and Noble Hierarch. How we go about winning the game is really dependent on our hand. If we have an Electrostatic Pummeler, the goal is to get at least three energy over the first two turns, play Electrostatic Pummeler on Turn 3, and then win on Turn 4. If we don't have an Electrostatic Pummeler, we plan on playing a fair, aggressive game with creatures like Voltaic Brawler and Bristling Hydra.

Energy Production

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One of the unique things about Poisonless Infect is that it only plays 20 lands, which makes sense because the deck doesn't usually want to draw more than four or five. The problem is that playing only 20 lands is risky and having one-land openers can be a problem. This is where Attune with Aether comes into play, essentially being lands 21–24, except these lands cost us one green mana and add two energy. One-land hands with Attune with Aether are often keepable, and two-land hands with Attune with Aether are usually ideal. 

As far as Aether Hub, it's worth talking about because unlike other decks, it isn't simply a mana fixer in Poisonless Infect. Instead, it's an important part of having three energy by the end of our second turn, which allows us to have six energy on Turn 3 if we play an Electrostatic Pummeler, which allows us to win the game on Turn 4. While we do use it to fix our mana when necessary, there are also times when we intentionally avoid tapping Aether Hub for colored mana because we need the energy counter. 

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Servant of the Conduit and Voltaic Brawler do double duty in our deck. Most importantly, they each add two energy, which means any two-card combination of Attune with Aether, Aether Hub, Servant of the Conduit, and Voltaic Brawler gives us three or four energy over the first two turns of the game, which is the primary goal of our deck. That said, Servant of the Conduit and Voltaic Brawler are also essential for our backup plan of playing a fair game and winning with creature beats. While Servant of the Conduit isn't great at beating down, the mana production allows us to play Bristling Hydra on Turn 3, which is a good way to close out a game. Meanwhile, Voltaic Brawler is an incredibly aggressive threat, attacking as a 4/3 with trample. Because of this, we occasionally win games by casting a couple of Voltaic Brawlers and going on the beatdown plan. 

Since we are talking about energy producers, now is as good a time as any to talk about how important it is to manage our energy resources in this deck. If we are planning on winning with Electrostatic Pummeler, then having six energy is essential and having nine energy is even better. As a result, we need to be really careful about when we pay an energy to give Voltaic Brawler trample or add mana with Servant of the Conduit. If we are planning on winning with the combo kill, getting in one extra damage here and there is unlikely to matter, so it's often best just to store up energy for when we are ready to combo off. 

The Combo Kill(s)

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Electrostatic Pummeler is the card that allows our deck to play and feel like Modern Infect. It's also the reason that having at least six energy when we untap on Turn 4 is so important. If we have at least six energy, we can double the power and toughness of Electrostatic Pummeler twice, which gives us several different cards that allow us to win the game on the spot. If we wait one more turn until we have nine energy, things get even crazier, and we can easily deal 60 more damage with just one attack. So, how do we turn Electrostatic Pummeler into the scariest creature in Standard? We have a few ways. 

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Probably the most straightforward kill with Electrostatic Pummeler is Larger than Life. When we untap on Turn 4 with six energy, we simply cast Larger Than Life targeting our Electrostatic Pummeler, which makes it a 5/5 with trample; then, we pay three energy to make it a 10/10 with trample and then three more energy to make it a 20/20 with trample. Considering that players start off a game of Magic with 20 life, if our opponent can't block (or kill) our Electrostatic Pummeler, we win the game on the spot. But, what if our opponent has blockers? 

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The good news is that, even if our opponent can put up some defense, we can still win the game with Electrostatic Pummeler. Built to Smash gives +3/+3 and trample, which turns our Electrostatic Pummeler into a 4/4. Then, we have three mana left over for Uncaged Fury, which makes Electrostatic Pummeler a 5/5 with double strike and trample. Then, we simply double its power and toughness twice with our energy, making it a 20/20, which should be enough to win the game through any number of blockers. 

Of course, this is only one path to victory; it's also possible to have three-card combinations like double Built to Smash and Larger Than Life (which makes Electrostatic Pummeler into a 44/44 trampler, if we spend six energy) or to wait another turn until we have nine energy (and one more mana), which is when Electrostatic Pummeler can end up being 50+ power, often with trample and sometimes with double strike. But, what if the problem isn't blockers but removal? 

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One of the cards that makes Modern Infect so scary is Vines of Vastwood, which not only pumps creatures but also gives protection thanks to hexproof. Well, Wizards decided to give our Standard Poisonless Infect deck a very similar card in Blossoming Defense. While getting a power boost is nice, the main purpose of Blossoming Defense is to fizzle our opponent's removal spells and make sure our Electrostatic Pummeler's attacks are lethal. 

The Back-Up Plan

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Since we only have four copies of Electrostatic Pummeler, there are games where we don't draw any and we need to win fairly. Servant of the Conduit and Voltaic Brawler help, but they aren't enough by themselves. Longtusk Cub gives us an energy sink and with enough energy, Longtusk Cub turns into a legitimate threat; plus, it can generate its own energy when it deals combat damage. Meanwhile, Bristling Hydra is the most powerful card in our entire deck. Since we have so much energy, we can make it hexproof whenever we want and it often ends up being six, seven, or eight power for only four mana. 

The combination of Voltaic Brawler being a two-drop that can attack for four with trample and Bristling Hydra being massive and hard to interact with means we can very easily win without the combo. In fact, we've seen some GR Energy decks that don't even bother with the combo and just go on the aggro beatdown plan. Also, it's important to remember than we can throw pump spells like Built to Smash and Uncaged Fury at any creature. Even when we aren't using them to combo off for the win, they can help us kill our opponent over a couple of turns, 8 or 10 damage at a time, as we point them onto unblocked creatures after blocks are declared. 

Ultra-Budget Poisonless Infect

The ultra-budget version of Poisonless Infect is essentially the same as the version in the videos but with a cheaper mana base. Since we're a combo deck, we can't really afford to cut many cards from the deck and still have things work properly, which means that the mana base is pretty much all we can change. Plus, the only somewhat expensive cards are Bristling Hydra and Electrostatic Pummeler, and they are the two most important and powerful cards in the deck. Anyway, this build of the deck should play exactly the same as the one in the videos, but it may be slightly clunkier thanks to Evolving Wilds taking the place of untapped duals. We also lose Aether Hub, which isn't a huge deal, but it does take away one "free" energy, making it slightly harder to have the six energy we need to win on Turn 4. Starting here is fine, but you'll want to add the Aether Hubs as quickly as possible. 

Non-Budget Poisonless Infect

For our non-budget build this week, we have a deck that went 7-3 in the constructed rounds of Pro Tour Kaladesh. The main deck is almost the same as the version we played in the videos, with the addition of one Verdurous Gearhulk, which is both a powerful standalone threat and also another way to pump Electrostatic Pummeler. We also get a couple of Oath of Nissas, which allow us to cycle through out deck to find our Electrostatic Pummelers, increasing the deck's consistency. That said, the biggest changes are in the sideboard, where we get a bunch of planeswalkers and removal, which allows us to go all in on being a "fair" deck and helps us fight against decks that are overloaded with removal to deal with Electrostatic Pummeler. I'm sure this build is better than ours. I mean, it just performed well at a Pro Tour, after all, but the ways the two decks play are almost exactly the same, so if you are looking for a cheaper starting point to test out the deck, I don't think you lose all that much by playing the version from the videos. 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. We ended up 4-1 with our videos, but more importantly, we had a ton of Turn 4 kills thanks to Electrostatic Pummeler. When Poisonless Infect goes off, it looks like the best deck in Standard! Give it a shot; it's both powerful and consistent, and if you love Modern Infect, you'll love Poisonless Infect in Kaladesh Standard! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com. 


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