Aaron Barich took down the Invitational this past weekend infecting the competition in the Top 8. He is no stranger to the deck, but his performance is a good reminder that the deck is by no means dead. The loss of Gitaxian Probe over a year ago now was followed by a steep decrease in the deck's metagame share. However, the deck clearly still has the tools to get the job done, Probe or no Probe.
Infect has always been one of the faster decks in the format, with the potential for the turn-two kill—although unlikely—and the not too uncommon turn-three kill. It best capitalizes on matchups that are light on interaction. Big mana decks, for example, often struggle against Infect; the deck is too quick and far too good at stopping a single piece of interaction.
Barich's list was pretty standard as far as the maindeck was concerned; 5-0s have been posted previously in the past few months with 59/60 cards present, the exception being the singleton Temple Garden. A white splash? In Infect? When you see a white splash in Modern that is present only for the sideboard, generally you're going to be looking for some powerful hate cards. Stony Silence, Rest in Peace, Gaddock Teeg, Worship, and the like.
What's that? Geist of Saint Traft? That was unexpected. If I'm being honest, I'm totally buying into this tech. It seems great for the heavy and cheap interaction matchups like Mardu or Jeskai. People often completely disrespect their life totals against Infect, and pump spells can do a great job of protecting Geist in combat. Yes, having two very different plans in a matchup can be suboptimal, but I think it's powerful enough in the respective matchups to warrant the anti-synergy. Without any reps with the plan myself, I can only speculate, but I'm very sold on giving Geist a fair shot in the Infect board.
Many people have already asked me if I expect Infect to gain some meta-share after Barich's performance this past weekend. The short answer to a question like this is almost always, "yes...a bit." I don't expect Infect to jump up in meta-share so much that suddenly it's the deck to beat and you see it everywhere—but anytime you have a deck like this come back with a strong performance at a relevant event, some people will pick it up again. That said, at the end of the day if you are determined to beat Infect, you are likely to be able to do so with relative ease. It struggles with frequent and cheap interaction, something that is not particularly hard to come by in Modern if you are looking for it. With this in mind, it's hard to imagine Infect becomes an epidemic rather than seeing a small, and likely temporary, increase in its meta-share.
I hope you enjoy the matches and as usual, I'm interested to hear what kind of content you'd like to see moving forward, so I can continue to evolve and improve my videos. Let me know what you would like to see! If you want similar content, check out my Twitch channel for some more live Modern.