Hello everybody, and happy Friday! I bet you’re wondering why there was no vote this week, huh? Well, I’ve been hearing talk about how this column has been full of red cards lately. “Doesn’t Joe play blue ever?” “Blue is obviously the superior color, stupid red mage!” “Blah blah blah blah.” So this week, we’ll be talking about some blue! If you read the title, I guess it was a spoiler, but whatever – this week is all about my old pal Blighted Agent!

Just kidding, you all are great and I haven’t heard anything like that. *Side eyes O’Berry* But this week IS going to be about Blighted Agent, and Infect in general. This is a love letter, and also a Dear John Letter, addressed to my first Modern Magic love. I’m retiring Infect, at least for now, and I’m pretty upset about it. So that’s why no vote this week!

But first, I bet you’re wondering who won the Pack Rats! Trevor Thomas – the random number generator has spoken, and you are the proud new owner of some Pack Rats!

This week, ya’ll get a chance to get this cute little Infect Care Package! Check it out!

Hey look, Infect goodies!

All you have to do to win is:

  • Like the ABU Games Facebook Page
  • Like the post announcing the giveaway
  • Comment on said post telling us what you love (or hate) most about Blighted Agent and/or Infect in general!

Okay, enough preamble! Let’s take a look at Blighted Agent!

History (and goodbye, old friend):

Blighted Agent was printed in New Phyrexia on May 3rd, 2011. New Phyrexia was the third set in the Scars of Mirrodin block, and gave players a look at the world of Mirrodin after it lost the war to the nasty Phyrexians! I wasn’t playing back then, but oh man does that block sound like a good time to be playing standard!

My first experience with Blighted Agent was actually in the Modern format. I remember facing down a Modern BUG Infect deck at one of my first ever modern tournaments. I read the text on Blighted Agent, was stunned for a moment, and then instantly fell in love. Being able to swing with a little, innocuous critter and then pumping them sky high for the win? Just having to count to ten? Yeah baby, count me in.

Around that time I started becoming really good friends with Adam Morgan (who works at our retail counter now!) and he had amassed quite a large Magic collection (he used to be the best Pokemon player in Idaho or something, and sold out to switch games) and was letting me build modern decks out of it. He helped me put together a BUG Infect list and I was hooked! I played it in Modern every chance I got, and soon after that got the chance to take it to my very first Grand Prix!

I was fresh to Modern, so I definitely didn’t Day 2, but that Grand Prix experience was probably one of my favorites to date. I got to go to Portland with a great group of friends AND play the deck I was in love with. There was a point where I got to sit down across from an opponent running Soul Sisters, and his look of terror as I dropped my turn 2 Blighted Agent (after a turn one Noble Hierarch of course) filled my cold little heart with joy.

Since then, I’ve never been able to put the deck away. I think the longest I ever went without playing it was the half a year I spent tuning a Grim Flayer Junk list for a Modern GP in Vegas. Even then, the deck stayed put together and ready to come out at any moment. Fast forward three or so years, and it’s Modern PPTQ season! I haven’t been playing enough Magic, and I need to find a deck pronto. Who am I going to turn to?

Yeah, my buddy Blighted Agent. I wanted to cast all the Become Immenses on it and feel the joy that had captivated me so many years ago! Unfortunately, as those of you who follow our videos know, the results were no good. In testing at our Modern events, I would either 0-4 or 4-0 with very little in between. I still insisted on bringing it to the PPTQs, and the best I did was almost sneaking into Top 8 at the PlayLive Nation McCall event. Through all of this, I found myself becoming increasingly bitter. Why was my pet deck letting me down so bad? O’Berry had borrowed it plenty of times and split in the top tables at our events – why couldn’t I?

Because I was stuck in a rut. It’s my fault, not the deck’s. Dearest Blighted Agent, I want to make that clear. It’s not you – it’s me. I wasn’t practiced enough, I didn’t evolve with you, and I’m not ready to be the pilot you need! That’s why I’m putting you away (in Modern – we’ll still be together in Legacy sometimes!) I think I need to take a step back, try new strategies, and evolve as a player before I go back to my favorite.

This is goodbye. For now.

What Makes This Card So Cool?

Take a close look at this creeper!

Now that my whining is over let’s take a closer look at good ol’ Blighted Agent! What makes this card so good? Well, it’s unblockable for starters. A 1/1 for two mana would normally never be considered great, but slap Infect on it and we’ve got a contender (looking at you Glistener Elf) – put UNBLOCKABLE on that sucker? Then you’ve got yourself a dang champion!

If you can play this sucker on turn 2 (or three, if you’re holding up protection as you should be) and protect it like it deserves, it’s going to have no problem getting your opponent to 10 infect. Unblockable friends are surprisingly hard to deal with in Modern if the person wielding them is packing an appropriate number of pump and counterspells.

What Formats Is This Card Played In?

We already know about Modern! Here’s a list that went 5-0 on MTGO recently that’s pretty similar to one of the builds I’ve run recently.

Now, Legacy Infect is something I’m still exploring. I just recently picked up the final Tropical Island I need for the deck, so there’s no way I’m not going to be showing up to our local league with Infect every now and then. The deck has a lot of different lines when you jump into Legacy compared to Modern, and playing with Force of Will is just so cool! Here is a list Aaron Barich played in a Star City Open, and it’s pretty close to what I have together right now. I’d consider Barich the crown prince of Infect right now, and he was a huge inspiration for me when I was getting back into it for Modern season. Tom Ross is still the indisputable king in my mind though, and if you ever want some solid Infect strategy just Google “Tom Ross Infect” and prepare to be inspired!

In Conclusion

For those of you who made it this far, thank you for reading all the way through! I needed an outlet to process my giving up of my favorite deck (for now), and ya’ll were it. Thanks internet!

How do you feel about Infect – Heinous abomination? The coolest thing ever? Let me know in the comments! I’ll catch you all later.

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Joe Davidson is the Content Production Manager at ABU Games. When he's not playing Modern, Legacy, or following around Team ABU with a camera he's pursuing a BFA in Fiction at Boise State University. He loves Goblins, casting burn spells, and writing about Magic. You can find him on Twitter @MTGJoeD.