When I first saw Mox Opal, an alarm went off in my head. I'm not the best at analyzing cards without playing them first - I said Vengevine was overrated remember? But even my buffoonery could see that Mox Opal would be ridiculous in the correct deck.
The correct deck, of course, is the deck with the mechanic that everyone loves to hate:
4 Glint Hawk
4 Arcbound Ravager
4 Erayo, Soratami Ascendant
4 Myr Enforcer
4 Mox Opal
4 Springleaf Drum
4 Glimpse of Nature
2 Cranial Plating
4 Ancient Den
4 Seat of the Synod
4 Tree of Tales
4 Ethersworn Canonist (Combo)
4 Tormod's Crypt (Dredge)
4 Pithing Needle
Trust me, I hated Affinity just as much as the next person. I was on the team (GetFreshCrew) that built the deck (The Freshmaker) that was designed to beat Affinity and nothing else during Mirrodin Block Constructed. We did a great job of that, but we still lost to it sometimes because the mechanic was so broken. If only we had put all of our time into building Affinity instead of trying to beat Affinity.
But I digress...
This Affinity deck isn't as good as the Mirrodin Block version or the versions that got to play with Skullclamp (nice card LOL), but it's pretty freaking close. Let's examine, shall we!
16 free creatures (Ornithopter, Memnite, Frogmite, Myr Enforcer)
8 broken two-drops (Erayo, Soratami Ascendant and Arcbound Ravager)
8 ways to draw cards (Thoughtcast and Glimpse of Nature)
8 ways to fix color issues (Springleaf Drum and Mox Opal)
There are a few goals of this take on Affinity. My primary goal when building this deck was to find a way to properly abuse Glimpse of Nature. With sixteen "free" creatures and four Glint Hawks, Glimpse of Nature ends up drawing a lot of cards on turn 1, 2, or 3. Keep in mind that Glint Hawk acts just like Elvish Visionary did in Combo Elves but for a mana less. Sure, we don't have a Wirewood Symbiote to abuse Glint Hawk with, but we don't live in a perfect world now do we?
My next goal was to find an abusable two-drop to go along with Arcbound Ravager. I tried Atog first, but the red splash didn't offer much and with Swords to Plowshares being so prevalent in the format, it seemed like a horrible idea to ever move all-in with the little red cookie monster.
Next, I tried Riddlesmith. This one was really interesting. If you set it up properly, you could have a really big turn with Riddlesmith and an even bigger turn if you cast Riddlesmith and Glimpse of Nature in the same turn. The problems were the times when you drew multiple Riddlesmiths when "going off" and you ended up not really doing too much at all. It was a little too high variance for my tastes.
Finally, I gave Erayo, Soratami Ascendant a try. It took me two games to learn just how absurd this guy had become. In the past, Erayo, Soratami Ascendant was difficult to flip because there simply weren't enough cheap playable cards to flip it with. Thanks to Mox Opal and Memnite, that is no longer a problem. Very few decks in Legacy can beat a flipped Erayo, Soratami Ascendant, and the fact that you can flip it on the second turn with consistency is frightening.
I had found exactly what I was looking for!
My final goal was to find a way to actually get my opponent dead. Fortunately that wasn't much of a problem. Affinity is one of the most aggressive decks of all time, and nothing has changed that. There are games where plan A (Glimpse of Nature + draw a bunch of cards and put a bunch of threats into play) or plan B (flipping Erayo, Soratami Ascendant) is not optimal. Sometimes you just want to get your opponent dead on turn 3 or 4 and the cards in this deck allow that too!
The sideboard is probably my favorite part about this deck because we still have our plans while being able to dramatically affect what our opponent is doing. Take Ethersworn Canonist for example:
Ethersworn Canonist is a classic trump to the combo decks in Legacy. The problem was that sometimes it could screw your own plans up due its one-spell-per-turn restriction. Well Affinity is a deck full of artifacts. Ethersworn Canonist doesn't care about artifacts. In fact, it happens to play very well alongside them! It also plays extremely well alongside a flipped Erayo, Soratami Ascendant. Let that sink in real quick!
Tormod's Crypt is another artifact that has a natural home in the sideboard. If we're on plan A against Dredge (casting Glimpse of Nature, drawing a bunch of cards, and putting a bunch of threats into play), there's a very good chance that we'll draw into a Tormod's Crypt while executing said plan. That means that we can keep hands that don't even contain a Tormod's Crypt! A lot of decks have to mulligan for their graveyard hate card against Dredge to give themselves a chance. Between the number of cards, we can draw due to Glimpse of Nature and Thoughtcast and how favorably Arcbound Ravager interacts with Bridge from Below, our Dredge matchup is actually quite good.
The last three slots are metagame dependent. In my initial build, I had one Relic of Progenitus (graveyard decks), one Mindbreak Trap (combo decks), and one Hurkyl's Recall (mirror match), but this can change depending on what people play in your area.
I feel like this deck is a nice change of pace for Legacy. Artifact hate is at an all time low right now, and the artifact hate people do have does close to nothing against this strategy.
Krosan Grip? A three-mana answer when our deck does all of its relevant work on turn 1, 2, and at the latest, turn 3. I dare them to board that in against me.
Firespout? It isn't bad, but one Arcbound Ravager, a few Myr Enforcers, or a flipped Erayo, Soratami Ascendant makes this mass removal spell look pretty foolish. Not to mention that we can reload our hand thanks to Glimpse of Nature.
Pulverize? Doesn't see play.
Shatterstorm? Too slow.
Kataki, War's Wage? Perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned this one...
Give this deck a try! It isn't very expensive to build if budget is a concern, and it's ridiculously powerful once it gets going. I'll be playing this in my next Legacy tournament here in Seattle. Hopefully you have some nice success with it so we can force these stupid Vengevines back into hiding.
Until next week,