Orzhov Affinity Deck Guide by Mogged
17/12/2023 · 6 min read
A Choice Blue-Heavy Metagames
Lately, I've been exploring WB Affinity, a deck designed to counter blue-heavy decks in Pauper. Here's the decklist I've been running recently and have also made it to a top8 of a challenge along with a 5-0 trophy
|4 Glint Hawk
|4 Myr Enforcer
|4 Thraben Inspector
|4 Kor Skyfisher
|4 Springleaf Drum
|4 Ichor Wellspring
|4 Blood Fountain
|4 Tithing Blade
|4 Deadly Dispute
|4 All That Glitters
|4 Ancient Den
|4 Vault of Whispers
|2 Darksteel Citadel
|4 Goldmire Bridge
|4 Dust to Dust
|3 Nihil Spellbomb
|2 Suffocating Fumes
|4 Lunarch Veteran
The Deck's Role
This deck falls into the category of midrange decks. Despite occasionally being slower, the deck's dynamic gameplay allows it to exert significant pressure, as seen with openings like Ornithopter and Springleaf Drum. This iteration represents an evolution of the archetype that eventually transformed into UW All That Glitters. For further information, please refer to this guide.
A New Addition: Tithing Blade
The latest addition is Tithing Blade, which is included to counter the prevalence of 5/5 creatures. Focusing on a streamlined approach, the deck shifts toward midrange gameplay, leveraging edicts, especially after the ban on Swiftspear, which led to a slight decline in red decks.
The Tithing Blade emerges as a new tool, facilitating a midrange/grindy strategy for the Affinity deck, while White-Black (WB) maintains its explosiveness by sticking to two colors:
Removal with Recursion
Tithing Blade, when bounced by Glint Hawk and Kor Skyfisher, serves as repeatable removal.
An artifact itself, Tithing Blade aligns with the affinity strategy, reducing the cost of enforcer and providing all that glitters count.
The activated ability acts as a valuable mana sink, addressing potential flooding issues common to affinity decks that draw a lot of cards.
Payoff and Value Engines
Kor Skyfisher and Glint Hawk play dual roles, acting as payoff cards and sources of continuous value. Their ability to bounce artifacts complements the deck's synergy
The artifact threshold is easily reached, enabled by Blood Fountain for swift casting and repeated resurgence.
The key enablers of the deck are Ornithopter, Ichor Wellspring, Blood Fountain, and Tithing Blade. These cards form the backbone of the affinity strategy, each contributing uniquely to various situations:
- Ornithopter: Accelerates your fliers deployment when bounced and replayed.
- Ichor Wellspring: Serves as a card-drawing engine when replayed.
- Blood Fountain: Balances between card selection and acceleration, adapting to the deck's dynamic playstyle.
- Tithing Blade: Beyond removal, strategic bouncing of Tithing Blade retrieves additional removal options, adding flexibility.
And they work really well in combination with two other classic non-artifact inclusions in the deck:
- Thraben Inspector: While only bounceable by Kor Skyfisher, it acts as an effective draw engine.
- Deadly Dispute: Primarily paired with Ichor Wellspring for drawing three and obtaining a treasure token, with ample opportunities for recycling undesirable cards.
Finally, we have the Springleaf Drum and Ornithopter, which addresses the deck's speed issue. It occasionally accelerates your plan while also enabling other interactions. For instance, All That Glitters is often equipped to Ornithopter, and Springleaf Drum can be sacrificed for card advantage using Deadly Dispute.
Your big payoff card is meant to solve speed issues and close the game quickly. Often, just the threat of it is enough to force your opponents to keep their mana ready and guess your next move, which you can then exploit by deploying more artifacts.
Tips for playing this deck
Extract Maximum Value
Deadly Dispute is better used with Ichor Wellspring, as there aren't many sacrifice outlets available. The first Ichor Wellspring can be bounced with your fliers. However, the only way to extract value from additional Wellsprings is by sacrificing them with Deadly Dispute. Therefore, I often hold onto Dispute until I have an Ichor Wellspring on the board.
Avoid Bouncing Lands
Attempt to maintain something on the board that can be bounced, ensuring you don't need to return a land with Skyfisher or Glint Hawk. Even Springleaf Drum and Ornithopter can be bounced and replayed for 0 mana (Springleaf gives the mana back in most situations)
Winning is the Ultimate Answer
Cheap creatures and tokens pose a problem for this deck; it is better to focus on drawing cards and finishing the game with All That Glitters rather than attempting to play multiple Tithing Blades. Digging with Wellsprings and Blood Tokens is easier than it appears.
Opponents will often respect All that Glitters by holding removal and mana up, and unless there is an immediate need to finish the game, it's better to keep deploying artifacts and drawing cards in such situations.
This is a poor matchup, which explains why the WB deck isn't more popular. After the Swiftspear ban, I expect to see less of this decks. Post-board, we have a better chance, especially with some life gain.
An even matchup: UW operates slightly better with fewer resources, while WB is more of a grinder and can perform better in the late game.
It's a very favorable matchup; there are many ways to either stop their pressure or just kill them with All That Glitters.
We have a slightly favorable matchup; we are faster than they are, and we have so many threats they need to address. However, they don't have instant speed removal for our All That Glitters. Despite this, their sideboard plan is very effective against us, and we don't have many ways to counter it.
It is a slightly favorable matchup because we have an abundance of value and numerous threats, and our fliers are quite effective against their fairies.
A favorable matchup due to the Tithing Blade, and because our flyers also pose a great threat, paving the way for the subsequent All That Glitters.
This is slightly favorable because we have a better sideboard plan with Dust to Dust, and we are also a little faster.
It's a bad matchup because their removal is more efficient than our edicts, and because of their sideboard plan.
It's a very favorable matchup with so many edicts, but sometimes they can be extremely fast with 1/1 backups.
I expect decks with shells similar to this one to make a big impact in Pauper now that red has been weakened. Affinity cards have always been among the strongest in the format.