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Playing Pauper: Affinity

Welcome back to Playing Pauper! The deck of the week is Affinity, and it is impressive.

Affinity uses the power of artifact lands, which are banned in Modern, to deploy undercosted creatures such as Carapace Forger and Myr Enforcer, and efficient spells such as Galvanic Blast and Thoughtcast. Some aggressive Pauper decks, like Elves and Goblins, focus on overwhelming the opponent by going wide with many creatures. Affinity focuses on having creatures that outclass their opponents. The Atog + Fling combo grants the ability to win out of nowhere even after a slow start and makes the deck even more deadly.

Check out the matches, then read the discussion below. If you enjoy Playing Pauper and other video content by MTGGoldfish, be sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish YouTube channel to keep up on all the latest.

Affinity Intro

Affinity vs Goblins

Affinity vs Izzet Blitz

Affinity vs Infect

Affinity vs Mono Black Control

Affinity vs Affinity

The Deck

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Affinity's creatures are characterized by being big and cheap. 4/4's outclass most other creatures in the format — Gurmag Angler being the most notable exception. While Frogmite is the least impressive creature in the deck, it often costs only 1 or 2 mana, and it powers up other cards in the deck that care about your artifact count.

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While Galvanic Blast and Thoughtcast are powerful on their own, Fling generally requires an Atog for it to be of any use. When the Atog + Fling combo does get assembled, it's very hard to stop.

The Sideboard

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Electrickery comes in against Elves, Goblins, and other decks with many 1-toughness creatures.

Hydroblast and Pyroblast are great against things that are Red or Blue, the two most popular colors in Pauper.

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Ancient Grudge is almost unbeatable in the Pauper mirror and has utility against other artifact-based decks as well.

Journey to Nowhere is for matchups where you need more removal or want removal for creatures that Galvanic Blast can't kill, such as Gurmag Angler.

Armadillo Cloak is useful against the myriad of aggressive decks in the format. Making a 6/6 trampling lifelinker can put almost any game out of reach.

The Matchups

Due to having early 4/4s, Affinity can often dominate the board and race other aggressive decks, though lacking any main deck life gain or evasion besides Somber Hoverguard can be a liability when there's a board stall.

Against decks that can remove your creatures, including the big 4/4s, it can be difficult to win. Early creatures dying makes Springleaf Drum worse and our Affinity spells harder to cast. Luckily the Atog + Fling combo is a possible out, but this is a scary line of play if your opponent is playing a deck with counter magic.

Playing a three-color deck with only sixteen lands means you have to mulligan more than average, and you sometimes just lose to yourself. However, the explosive power of the deck means it can still win after it takes a mulligan.

Beating The Deck

If you aren't interested in playing Affinity, but want to know how to beat it, keep these points in mind:

  • Don't be afraid to use removal on a Germ token in response to Springleaf Drum. Messing up Affinity's colored mana can slow them way down when it comes to deploying threats from their hand.
  • AnnulAncient Grudge, Gleeful Sabotage, Dust to Dust, Gorilla Shaman are all good cards against Affinity. Don't join a league without something for Affinity in your sideboard. The exception is Mono Black, where you have nothing to board in, but your matchup versus Affinity is already pretty good.
  • Kill Atog on sight. Do not let your opponent untap. The entire combo with Fling is instant speed and can be fired off in response to removal.
  • Letting yourself fall to four life or less means you die to a single Galvanic Blast. If at all possible, stay at five or higher. 


I enjoyed playing Affinity, and I hope you enjoyed learning about it. It's unique among aggressive decks in Pauper due to its artifact focus and access to a two card "instant win" combo. While there are many scary sideboard cards, Affinity is powerful enough to be worth piloting.

What did you think about Playing Pauper this week, and what you want to see in the future? Reach out to me using the comment section below, the YouTube channel, or on Twitter @JakeStilesMTG.

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