Monday, 21 May 2012
I have finally managed to finish the reviews of each card in my cube as it was three months ago, now I just have to review all the cards I have put in since then... Having spent so long on the reviews I have neglected other new posts for a while so though I should throw in this little affinity list as it is a deck that is mentioned a lot.
Affinity was one of the best decks for a long time and has had a steady flow of cards since Mirrodin first brought the deck onto the scene. Although it has improved over time as a cube deck the changes to damage on the stack rules hurt affinity more than most decks. Combat used to be impossible to come out ahead in against affinity if they had a Ravager in play. Now it is a little more in line with other aggressive decks that have also had a steady influx of juicy new cards to bolster the ranks. I consider affinity a tribal deck as so many of the important cards are unplayable outside of the various affinity builds. There are two reasons I have kept it viable in the cube; the first is that at least half of the cards in affinity would be in the cube without the affinity deck unlike Goblins or Elves (which are the next closest decks in terms of cards that make the optimal lists and that also have a cube slot regardless of whether the archetype is in there or not). The second reason is that it is a very fun deck to play and really quite unlike most others which spices things up and keeps it interesting.
Disciple of the Vault
Master of Etherium
Seat of the Synod
Tree of Tales
Vault of Whispers
City of Brass
Other cube worthy affinity cards:
Wheel of Fortune
Talisman of Oncolour
Stoneforge Mystic (or Cranial Plating #2 as it is better known in affinity)
This is a creature heavy three colour list which makes fixing and card advantage more important. The fixing is to support three colours (even if they do only total 7 cards) and the card advantage is to make up for the low average power level you suffer by packing lots of small and/or artifact creatures. You can go for a bit more ramp/fixing with things like Talismans and pack a few more serious threats like Tezzeret the Seeker or Masticore Mk II. You can go for white instead of red to gain some interesting artifact dorks and the power of Tempered Steel however this build is the most dodgy for mana base and often requires significant other sacrifices to work.
When building a key thing to do, regardless of how many colours you have gone, is to play as few coloured spells as possible. So often you will keep a hand that has a coloured spell that it can play only to later draw ones it cannot. You can still easily win games without access to one or more of your colours in a game which rather needs to be the case with the erratic nature of the deck and the ease of disrupting its mana base. Another key thing to keep in mind is the average power level of your deck as it is all to easy to fill it out with things to streamline it and support the other cards and leave yourself lacking fire power. Affinity has few serious threats after Cranial Plating is dealt with and the initial swarm of gribblies has been held back. It is a very hard deck to balance and due to its erratic nature it is also much harder to asses the performance of overall builds. Sometimes you crush everything and seem invincible, other times you draft it and get crushed with very similar lists. I suspect it is the case some of the time that relatively subtle tweaks could significantly change the performance however for the most part the sample size of games over a cube session is too small and is likely just the odds working a little coincidentally.
Affinity is a very tenacious deck that can apply pressure on lots of fronts and that can easily recover from horrendous positions. Cheap draw 7 spells are at their finest in affinity which can jump right back into a game with one. It is however a deck with very little in the way of answers to anything much at all. It aims to have much bigger monsters much faster than other decks and in greater quantity to boot. This deals with most creatures and planeswalkers well enough but some spells, enchantments and artifacts can be pretty ruinous. For the most part you can just rely on winning before they get to draw/cast the problem card enough of the time to not worry about making your deck inconsistent to be able to deal with it. Engineered Explosives is the least dead and most synergic thing you can play if you are desperate for an out. Thoughtsieze is also an option all be it a very weak one. I have seen Vindicates and even counter magic hanging around fearful affinity decks not wanting to lose to cheese like Worship. Vindicate isn't awful but I am far from a fan and as for counterspells...
I find my most common build is straight UB although I suspect BR may be the best way to go in this day and age. Extra colours means worse mana and greater temptation to play more coloured spells. A few cards totally wreak you such as Austere Command and Pernicious Deed. Your ability to play loads of man lands goes a long way to solve this problem but generally it is a fair price to pay for the fact you will get total blow out draws that are pretty unbeatable. You get to have your fun with 15 permanents to their 3 on turn 3 as you swing for the kill and they get to return the favour by killing all of yours in one go on turn 6. It is also doubly fun when you manage to come back and win a game after you have been depermanented by something which is more likely in affinity than any thing else.