Today I will be covering the Tezzeret version of Legacy Affinity. So far I have discussed Affinity as both a Modern and a Pauper deck, and to recap Affinity functions as an aggro deck in Modern and as a midrange deck with a combo finish in Pauper. While there are two versions of the deck that I know of in Legacy, (and I am sure there are more!) I have been having a blast with this version that includes Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas.
The decklist, in all of it’s robotic glory:
Pretty sweet, right? Hallmarks of Affinity are here, including card draw in Thoughtcast and powerful, efficient threats in Arcbound Ravager and Cranial Plating. We do get to use some sweet cards that are banned in Modern, specifically Stoneforge Mystic and Umezawa’s Jitte. I like including Jitte as a one-of, as creature decks just fold to it and our Stoneforge is always good to tutor that or a Cranial as the situation demands.
What really sets this apart from the other Affinity decks in my opinion is the addition of Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. This is a powerful win condition that some decks can’t interact very well with (I’m looking at you, Miracles!) All three of his abilities are relevant, and the fact that he can ultimate after just one turn is nothing to sneeze at. I’ve managed to close many games with that ultimate, as my side of the board is always swarming with artifacts.
That brings me to the mana base. Having access to the artifact lands is a double edged sword. On one hand, it makes Arcbound, Cranial, and Tezzeret much more powerful. On the other, the deck basically autoloses to Null Rod and Price of Progress. Ancient Tomb helps, but being cut off of colored mana and artifacts in general can cripple us if we are going to rely on Tezzeret or Arcbound to help us win. On the plus side, Mox Opal is almost always activated turn one, and upping the artifact count is great. Tezzeret isn’t really playable in Modern Affinity, so the land base definitely makes a pretty big difference. With the mana available here, we can easily play him turn 3 or even turn 2.
Some of my favorite combos still exist here, such as turn 1 Ornithopter and Springleaf Drum backed up by a Mox Opal, with the added bonus of also being able to play an artifact land. I love the mana acceleration in Affinity, and the intimidation factor of dumping your entire hand turn 1 can definitely play into the strategy. You’ll also hear me talk about how Etched Champion and Thoughtcast are the original True-Name Nemesis and Treasure Cruise. While the latter two may be more powerful, the former are more than enough to get the job done in most situations. Very few Legacy decks can deal with a resolved Etched Champion, and drawing two cards for a measly blue mana will always help you get ahead.
I would say that the weakest matchup for the deck is combo decks. Mainboard we have no interaction and one very useless Jitte. Postboard we have access to our Ethersworn Canonists, which against certain decks is more than capable of getting the job done. I believe that much like in Modern, Affinity shines against mid-range creature strategies. Hitting with an Etched Champion equipped with a Jitte is generally a game over for those decks.
Speaking of Etched Champion and Jitte, there is one little trick here I would like to highlight. If you block an opposing colored creature that is equipped with Jitte with your Etched Champion, the damage doesn’t get dealt and the opponent’s Jitte will get no counters on it. The same is true if you block and then sacrifice the blocking creature to Arcbound. This can be a useful trick when going against opposing Jitte decks, as Affinity has the means to deny the opponent counters. By the same token however, Jitte does not work at all when equipped to Ornithopter.
Overall, I find Tezzeret Affinity to be a satisfying Legacy deck. While it is undoubtedly still a linear creature strategy, the addition of Tezzeret and the increased value of Thoughtcast let the deck have more reach. I do not like Thoughtcast in Modern because generally you have to tie up a turn and use either Opal or Springleaf and a creature to use it, but here you really just need a Seat of the Synod and a few creatures lying around to get the job done. Tezzeret is also an excellent right hook against some decks that might otherwise be much tougher matchups.
In closing, If you like Affinity in Modern, you should try out this deck. It really lets you flex your cyborg muscles and see the deck that could be in Modern if only there weren’t that pesky banlist. Another good reason I can think of for playing this deck, especially if you already play it in Modern, is that it is cheap. There are no Duals, no Force of Wills, and no Wastelands but I still think the deck is competitive enough. Sure there are better cards out there, but Affinity has always been a deck about weak cards coming together to make a strategy better than the sum of it’s parts. I have had a lot of fun with this deck, and hope you enjoy the content!
Without further ado, the videos: