Monday, March 21, 2011

UPDATE: Rafiq of the Many EDH

So I just rebuilt Rafiq over the weekend, with an eye toward including some new goodies that have come out since I last dismantled the deck. Also, I wanted to evolve it slighty in a more multi-player viable direction. One of the great things about the new Infect mechanic is that it makes Aggro viable in EDH multiplayer.

Now, I've played Rafiq in a few FFA games, just for the hell of it. With an amazing draw, and a little luck, it has managed to eke out a few wins, but the fact of the matter is, if every deck in a 4-way game is packing the appropriate number of Wrath effects and pinpoint removal spells, I literally CAN'T win without a god-draw.

So, I added a dash of Infect, to increase the speed of the deck, which will hopefully give it the edge it needs to possibly take out multiple opponents.

Putrefax is just another one-shot-kill in this deck, and is slighly more recurable than something like Might of Oaks would be. I already have various ways of one-shotting someone who lets their guard down for a single turn, but USUALLY I can't realistically pull this off more than once in a given game. Putrefax just increases the chances slightly.

Corrupted Conscience serves this roll as well, but also doubles as spot-removal. Stealing a significant threat has always been great in EDH, but giving that stolen fatty Infect just increases the lethality. Stealing an Akroma, Angel of Wrath and swinging at the Karthuus player pretty much spells Game Over for the Dragon Tyrant.

Vridian Corrupter is just a fine utility creature that happens to supplement the Infect count. I'm under no illusions about this guy - he's going to be a blocker far more often than a true threat, but still - even a single hit from this guy with Rafiq on the table is worth 6 Poison counters. Ouch.

Finally, the incredible Inkmoth Nexus rounds out the Infect portion. This little guy can easily go the distance, dodging Wrath effects all day long. However, I envision him as a finisher most of the time, putting the last few counters on a player previously hit by a Putrefax or something.


Now, I realize that Infect is somewhat unpopular these days. First of all, most of the naysayers have little or no experience actually playing with or against Infect. So I simply reject all snap judgements not based on actual game play. Second, those objections are largely focused on dedicated, hard core posion decks. Infect is NOT a major theme of my Rafiq deck, it's just a tool to shore up the biggest weakness Aggro decks have in a multiplayer arena. 4 cards is not enough to call this an "Infect deck" at all.

That said, as a consecion to popular opinion and to offset the inclusiong of Infect, I have removed Umezawa's Jitte. If you aren't aware of what this thing can do in a Rafiq deck, lemme just say that it's WAY more of a dick card than the 4 Infect cards mentioned combined.

It was never a fun card for anyone but me, and it always made me feel like a jerk playing it. Putrefax might piss someone off, but my response would be that if they'd been up against Jitte instead, they'd still be just as dead, but probably even more pissed off.


So other than some Infect guys, what else is new? Plenty:

Serra Ascendant - 6/6 flying lifelink for W? Seems good.
Consecrated Sphinx - Duh. Every Blue deck ever.
Sphinx Ambassador - Bribery twice for free? Awesome. (Up to FOUR times with Finest Hour and Rafiq).
Augury Adept - Always wanted to run this, never had room until now. Seems fun.
Phryexian Rebirth - Should almost always be better than the Kirtar's Wrath it replaced.
True Conviction - Because this deck wants MORE doublestrike, not LESS!
Mimic Vat - GOES IN EVERY DECK! This is probably even more "must-run" than Sol Ring.


So here's the full list (minus the lands - still tweaking the mana base, but it seemss perfect at a 38 land count).

Rafiq of the Many
Serra Acendant
Stoneforge Mystic
Academy Rector
Battlegrace Angel
Akroma, Angel of Wrath
Vesuvan Doppelganger
Consecrated Sphinx
Sphinx Ambassador
Noble Hierarch
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Wood Elves
Eternal Witness
Viridian Corrupter
Indrik Stomphowler
Acidic Slime
Qasali Pridemage
Jhessian Infiltrator
Cold-Eyed Selkie
Augury Adept
Dauntless Escort
Rhox War Monk
Jenara, Asura of War
Giltspire Avenger
Loxodon Hierarch
Knight of New Alara
Sovereigns of Lost Alara
Simic Sky Swallower
Swords to Plowshares
Path to Exile
Marshal's Anthem
Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Wrath of God
Phryexian Rebirth
True Conviction
Martial Coup
Deep Analysis
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Corrupted Conscience
Skyshroud Claim
Pattern of Rebirth
Steel of the Godhead
Shield of the Oversoul
Finest Hour
Mirari's Wake
Eldrazi Conscription
Lightning Greaves
Sword of Light and Shadow
Sword of Fire and Ice
Mimic Vat
Azorius Signet
Selesnaya Signet
Simic Signet
Darksteel Ingot


So what else could I cram in, if I had the cards on hand?

Green Sun's Zenith - This is a must-have for the deck, but I need another copy first.
Primeval Titan - Not strictly necessary, as this deck has a lower-than-average curve (for EDH anyway) but Prime Time is too good not to run if you have him. My two copies are better used elsewhere though.
Wurmcoil Engine - Becasue a 6/6 Lifelinker/Deathtoucher seems even better with Doublestrike and some Exalted bonuses.


Stuff that got cut:

Felidar Sovereign - WinCat won a single game for me. His work here is done.
Rhox - My pre-infect attempt at multiplayer longevity. It worked, too, but not as good as I'd hoped.
Wilt-Leaf Leige - An underperformer from the outset, his days were numbered.
Faith's Fetters - Good, solid utility, especially for Planeswalkers. I can live without it, though.
Kirtar's Wrath - Upgraded to Phyrexian Rebirth (I almost never had Threshhold when I cast it).
Eledamri's Call - Cut for Green Sun's Zenith, but I don't have the Zenith yet. Something else took it's spot.
Decree of Justice - This is the one cut I feel might have been an error. It's been crucial to my defenses against Thraximundar a number of times, so reducing my token generators feels like a bad move. Time will tell, but I half expect to be shoe-horning this back in soon.


Final thoughts

This deck is still geared primarily toward 1v1 play, but it looks like it will have better game in multiplayer too. It's not tested yet, but I hope to try it out as soon as possible. I hope the Infect strategy bears out the way I want... it's not meant to ruin games or dominate the deck's goals, but just give an aggro deck a fighting chance in FFA games. If it's too good, or not good enough, I'll go back to the drawing board.



  1. Hey Thaum, I'm putting together a Rafiq-Infect deck (as you know) but I'll be putting every single GWUArt infect & proliferate effect I can lay my hands on and filling the deck out with some support. I figured "Why go in half-assed?" We already have a BG Glissa Infect deck in the playgroup that isn't really that much of a problem, I don't see Rafiq-Infect pushing it over the top.

  2. Cool. I may add more Infect if it proves too little and doesn't piss of my group too much. They're a bunch a poison-hating Commies.

    Really the only thing I'm NOT running that seems like it would be worthwhile is Blightsteel Colossus, but that might be pushing it with my group.

    This might all change with the next set. There will likely be more Infect stuff that I'll really want to put in, once it comes out.

  3. I'm experimenting with infect and Rafiq for EDH as well. My card pool is small, and I don't quite have the funds to get power cards like sword of fire and ice, etc, so to make up for the power gap I put in as much GWU infect as I could. It's working quite well so far. Blighted Agent and Viral Drake are star performers, especially when Blighted Agent turns into a 5/5 double strike unblockable infector thanks to exalted effects. I do my best to get around wrath effects using reveillark shennanigans. But yeah, you're right -- good spot removal and enough wrath effects ruin our day.

  4. Lot's of equipment's help. Especially Grafted Exoskeloton. Whispersilk Cloak works very well too, as well as all the swords. Hydra Omnivore with Grafted Exoskeloton is a multi-kill. Definitely worth it.