Running Infect is a stigma of Magic. It’s commonly frowned upon as “easy mode”. And for good reason. A good Infect deck preemptively cuts an opponent’s life total in half. It’s Wither and Poison put together into one mechanic. It was also one of my first decks ever, and it helped me build the confidence to try other things.
No, this deck isn’t Infect-based. Since most of my play is Casual, an Infect “ban” is an unspoken “house rule”. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t have some fun with -1/-1 counters. So much fun that this deck has been “grumble-banned” with several of my friends (they grumble so much when I bring it out, I might as well not play it…).
It’s based around the simple card of Necroskitter. A card that may not be necessarily underappreciated, but one I have rarely seen used. And here, I like to abuse it as much as possible, while fully avoiding the Infect mechanic. Let’s take a look:
- Necroskitter x4
- Carnifex Demon x1
- Fumespitter x4
- Skinrender x4
- Soul Snuffers x2
- Hex Parasite x2
- Black Sun’s Zenith x4
- Grim Affliction x3
- Virulent Wound x4
- Undying x4
- Crumbling Ashes x2
- Nest of Scarabs x2
- Swamp x24
Necroskitter makes creatures that die with -1/-1 counters return to the field under your control. It’s not a complicated deck. Build up -1/-1 counters on your opponents’ creatures, get Necroskitter out, destroy creatures, take control of creatures. The deck works pretty effectively despite a fairly high mana curve. Nearly everything in the deck applies -1/-1 counters, so it’s easy to flip a field in your favor quickly.
Nearly all of the creatures (Carnifex, Fumespitter, Skinrender, Snuffers) apply -1/-1 counters directly. The only 2 that don’t are Necroskitter (which has Wither) and Hex Parasite (which helps save your own creatures from field wipes).
The instants and sorceries, much to your surprise I’m sure, apply -1/-1 counters. Grim Affliction is a little expensive, but it can focus as a field wipe against your opponents’ creatures with Proliferate. Virulent Wound is a cheap assist card. Though it can apply a Poison Counter to a player, the deck can only apply a total of 7 Poison Counters (4 from Virulent Wound, 3 Proliferated from Grim Affliction), so it’s not “breaking the rules” of Infect technically. Black Sun’s Zenith is the brutal finisher that recycles into your library. Necroskitter’s fairly high toughness of 4 (5 if it’s received Undying already) allows for an effective field wipe even with it out on the field.
The Enchantments provide huge assistance to certain match situations. If your opponent has big creatures that are surviving the barrage of -1/-1 counters, you can use Crumbling Ashes to finish them off. If your opponent is simply not creature-heavy, you can use Nest of Scarabs to build an insect army off of your own creatures.
Let’s not insult your intelligence. You could’ve built this in your sleep after seeing a Necroskitter. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a fun build and worth noting. There are more options if you’re willing/able to use Infect in your play group. But still, with an ability as mean as Necroskitter’s ability, you might as well just stick to the Wither side of things.