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Budget Magic: Fynn-fect (12R / 2M, Standard)


God dag, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! Kaldheim is finally here, which means that today, we get to start exploring our new Standard format! As soon as Fynn, the Fangbearer was previewed, it seemed like a perfect Budget Magic card, as an uncommon build-around that mostly wants a bunch of cheap common and uncommon deathtouch creatures as support. That's right—today, we're going to see if infect...or, should I say, Fynn-fect...is back in Standard. Our goal? Play cheap deathtouch creatures, stick a Fynn, the Fangbearer, and kill our opponent with poison counters, maybe as early as Turn 4! Can Fynn-fect compete in Kaldheim Standard with just 12 rares and two mythics? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Budget Magic: Fynn-fect

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The Deck

Fynn-fect is basically a weird deathtouch-focused Golgari aggro deck. Our primary goal is to flood the board with cheap deathtouch creatures, play a Fynn, the Fangbearer to give them all poison 2, and kill our opponent quickly by giving them 10 poison counters. If that doesn't work, we can potentially pick up the win with normal damage, especially if we have Hooded Blightfang as a weird, snakey deathtouch Hellrider to power up our small creatures. 

Fynn

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Killing the opponent with poison in Standard all comes down to one card: Fynn, the Fangbearer. Because Fynn is the only card in Standard that can give the opponent poison counters, we're going to need Fynn on the battlefield early and often if we are going to pick up the infect win. The good news is that Fynn, the Fangbearer is actually a very solid payoff for a deathtouch deck, essentially doubling the damage of one-power deathtouchers like Foulmire Knight and Moss Viper. The bad news is that since Fynn is the only "infect" card in Standard, the poison kill is impossible if we don't find a copy, which means that along with having plenty of deathtouchers to support Fynn, the Fangbearer when it is on the battlefield, we expend quite a bit of energy trying to find Fynn consistently.

Finding Fynn

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Because some of the best deathtouch creatures have a self-mill subtheme (Mire Triton and Throne of Death), our plan for finding Fynn as consistently as possible is based on getting Fynn, the Fangbearer into the graveyard and then back to our hand (or even directly to the battlefield) with The Binding of the Titans or Call of the Death-Dweller. The other upside of the graveyard-recursion plan is that along with finding Fynn, the Fangbearer if we don't have it in our opening hand, it also helps if we draw Fynn naturally. Once our opponent realizes what we are trying to do, they are likely going to try to keep Fynn, the Fangbearer off the battlefield since our random little deathtouch creatures are much less scary when they aren't offering two poison counters. If our opponent kills Fynn, both The Binding of the Titans and Call of the Death-Dweller give us ways to get it back into play to keep progressing our Fynn-fection plan.

The Backup Payoffs

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As I mentioned before, the biggest drawback of the Standard Infect plan is that we can only play four copies of Fynn, the Fangbearer and Fynn is the only poison card in the format. Despite having a plan for finding Fynn (self-mill / reanimation), all of the copies will be at the bottom of our deck sometimes, which means we need to have a backup plan for winning with normal damage, which is where Hooded Blightfang comes in, to power up our small deathtouch creatures. Hooded Blightfang is basically a deathtouch Hellrider, minus the haste but with the upside of only being three mana. While not as fast of a clock as Fynn, the Fangbearer, a board full of Foulmire Knights and Moss Vipers with a Hooded Blightfang or two is sometimes enough to win the game with normal damage.

As for Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider, it's partly in the deck because I think it's one of the best cards in Standard and I'm addicted to playing it. However, it does work really well with Fynn, the Fangbearer. With a Fynn and a Vorinclex on the battlefield, all of our deathtouchers deal double the number of poison counters. And when every Moss Viper and Foulmire Knight has poison 4, it's really easy to close out the game in just a couple of attacks.

Removal

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Since we're talking about Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider, we may as well talk about the reason why we're able to play a six-drop in our 22-land aggro deck: Binding the Old Gods. Along with Heartless Act and Bloodchief's Thirst, Binding the Old Gods is one of our best removal spells, killing anything for four mana while also ramping us the next turn, which should give us enough mana to cast Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider. The final deathtouch mode of Binding the Old Gods isn't all that important in our deck because most of our creatures already have deathtouch, although it does have some synergy with Vorinclex itself, giving the 6/6 trampler deathtouch, which allows us to deal four poison counters, assuming we have a Fynn, the Fangbearer on the battlefield.

Poison Creatures

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As for our deathtouch support creatures, our main goal is to be as aggressive as possible, which means playing Foulmire Knight and Moss Viper as one-drops and Mire Triton as a two-drop (which has some extra upside due to our self-mill plan). While Foulmire Knight and Moss Viper might not seem like much, they actually allow for some extremely explosive starts with Fynn, the Fangbearer. Let's say we play a Moss Viper (or Foulmire Knight) on Turn 1. On Turn 2, we can play Fynn and attack for two poison. On Turn 3, attacking with Moss Viper and Fynn, the Fangbearer offers two more poison, which means one more attack on Turn 4 gets our opponent to a lethal 10 poison counters. Of course, this dream draw doesn't happen all that often because our opponent is going to try to kill our Fynn, but this curve can punish opponents who stumble a bit on hitting their mana or finding their removal. Plus, since all of our creatures have deathtouch, it's actually pretty painful for our opponent to block a Moss Viper or Foulmire Knight because they often end up being forced to trade a "real" creature for our one-mana 1/1. 

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Finally, we have a couple of copies of Egon, God of Death. The front half of Egon offers a massive deathtouch body that gives us something to do with the extra card we mill into our graveyard with Mire Triton and The Binding of the Titans. Meanwhile, the back side gives us another way to mill Fynn so that we can reanimate it or return it to our hand with cards like The Binding of the Titans and Call of the Death-Dweller, while also offering some card advantage—similar to Castle Locthwain—as we exile creatures from our graveyard. Egon, God of Death is just a two-of, mostly to keep down the total number of rares in the deck, but it does feel like a solid addition to the three-drop slot, and if budget isn't a concern, it might be worth adding another copy or two.

Playing the Deck

The most important thing to realize about Fynn-fect is that it's very much an aggro deck. We're very unlikely to win the long game, especially against grindy midrange and control decks, so focusing on killing the opponent quickly is essential. 

By far the most frustrating aspect of the deck is that we sometimes end up almost needing to kill our opponent twice. Sometimes, we get our opponent up to eight poison, only needing one more attack to win, but then Fynn, the Fangbearer dies and we can't find another copy, which forces us to try to win with normal damage—which isn't impossible but is much harder. If we have a graveyard-recursion spell like Call of the Death-Dweller and we already have a Fynn, the Fangbearer on the battlefield, it is often better to hold onto it in expectation of our opponent killing Fynn so that we can get it back and finish off the poison kill. 

Finally, it's also important to be flexible. While our primary goal is to win with poison counters, this just isn't possible sometimes (because we can't find a Fynn). Being able to shift gears and try to cobble together a win with normal damage is an important skill to pick up. In the early game, we're mostly trying to find Fynn (if we don't have one in our opening hand), but there is a point where, instead of trying to find Fynn, the Fangbearer, we should start looking for Hooded Blightfang and using our reanimating aggressively to keep whatever threats possible on the battlefield, to try to win with normal damage.

Wrap-Up

All in all, we went 3-4 overall with Fynn-fect. The deck felt super powerful but also inconsistent, mostly because it is so dependent on finding and keeping Fynn, the Fangbearer on the battlefield, which isn't always all that easy. 

As far as changes to make to the deck, there are a few possibilities. Our build of Fynn-fect mostly focuses on using graveyard synergies to find Fynn consistently, but it is possible to build a version of Fynn-fect that instead is designed to mulligan fairly aggressively to find Fynn, the Fangbearer and then try to use Snakeskin Veil or Ranger's Guile to protect Fynn from the opponent's removal. I'm not sure whether that plan is better than the graveyard one. It's also possible to try to do both. While I'm not sure what I'd cut to make room, Snakeskin Veil could be an interesting addition to the deck, in either the main or the sideboard.

As far as other deathtouch options, there are a few other good ones, but some require expanding the budget a bit. Evasive deathtouch creatures seem especially powerful, which potentially would make Nighthawk Scavenger powerful. Vengeful Reaper could also be worth testing (and wouldn't increase the budget), although it doesn't work with Call of the Death-Dweller, which is a drawback. Oakhame Adversary could also be worth a few sideboard slots. While it is too slow at four mana, it seems solid if we can bring it in against Gruul and Naya Adventures, where it should usually cost just two. As for less-budget-friendly options, Questing Beast, Chevill, Bane of Monsters, and possibly even a copy of Nethroi, Apex of Death for late-game mutate reanimation purposes all have potential. 

So, should you play Fynn-fect in Kaldheim Standard? I think that it's a fun budget deck and that it's more than good enough to win a reasonable number of games, but it does have the downside of being pretty inconsistent, just because our poison plan is so dependent on Fynn, the Fangbearer itself. Having just one more poison payoff would go a long way toward increasing consistency. Right now, I think that Fynn-fect is a solid budget deck that can get some fast, explosive, sweet wins but also struggles without its namesake card. But if we get more poison in Standard's future, the plan suddenly could become much more consistent and scary!

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In theory, it's possible to build Fynn-fect with just four rares (Hooded Blightfang) and for $23 in paper (and less than $1 on Magic Online). This requires cutting Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider and Egon, God of Death, along with all of the rare lands in our mana base. While losing Vorinclex and Egon is fine (although both are good in the deck) because they can be replaced by something like Vengeful Reaper, adding Woodland Chasm to the mana base alongside Jungle Hollow is a bit worrying in an aggro deck that really wants its lands to come into play untapped. (We had some trouble in our matches with just Jungle Hollow, and that trouble theoretically will be doubled with the addition of Woodland Chasm.) Still, the ultra-budget build of Fynn-fect looks solid enough for casual play on the kitchen table or for unranked play online. If you decide to play it more competitively, start by upgrading the mana to untapped dual lands!

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Finally, the non-budget build of Fynn-fect still isn't all that expensive, jumping to three rares and 21 mythics (or $165 in paper). The biggest additions are a tier mana base (with Fabled Passage replacing the tapped dual lands); a couple of Questing Beasts (which is great in the deck as a hasty infect threat with Fynn and as a way to help close out the game with normal damage if we can't find Fynn); a couple of Nighthawk Scavengers, as evasive deathtouch threats to push in the last few points of poison through ground blockers; and Heroic Intervention in the sideboard, as a way to not just save Fynn, the Fangbearer from removal but also our entire board from wraths like Doomskar!

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. 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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