Brewed Up: Hammered Infect (Part 1)

You may remember that more than a month ago, we marked Colossus Hammer as the best Modern spell out of Magic 2020. We also mentioned that we might have a “brew for you very soon”. It took some time but very soon is today. We have put a ton of time and testing into this brew so we will need two parts to cover it. Today we will present and discuss Modern’s newest, nastiest Turn 2 win deck. Many of these cards have already been bought out by prospectors but you can still put the deck together for around $400 USD. If you enjoy this brew, stay tuned as we will go over sideboarding and our final verdict tomorrow.

Decklist
Lands (18)
4 City of Brass
4 Gemstone Mine
1 Inspiring Vantage
4 Mana Confluence
1 Plains
2 Razorverge Thicket
2 Seachrome Coast
Creatures (20)
4 Blighted Agent
4 Giver of Runes
4 Glistener Elf
4 Kor Duelist
4 Simian Spirit Guide
Spells (18)
2 Apostle’s Blessing
4 Colossus Hammer
4 Magnetic Theft
4 Serum Visions
4 Sigarda’s Aid
4 Steelshaper’s Gift
60 Cards Total

The Build
Hammered Infect as a Modern deck is as degenerate as they come. It is an all-in combo deck that consistently wins on Turns 2 and 3 if not interacted with. For those that are not familiar, the goal is to outfit an infect or doublestrike creature with Colossus Hammer and win in one swing. The eight mana equip cost is the barrier to doing so. Thankfully, we have multiple ways to skip out on paying it. All of the combo pieces are a single mana and have functional extra copies so the result is fast and consistent wins. As always, we will break it down card by card beginning with the manabase.

This is a four color so the dozen rainbow lands are extremely useful. We have seen Dredge lists go this route in the past to great success. It is possible to cobble something together with fetches and shocks but with the average speed of the deck, City of Brass and Mana Confluence are generally less painful and more consistent. Gemstone Mine’s drawback is not particularly relevant when you want to end the game within three turns. This setup allows us to begin with a dozen mana sources for every casting cost in the deck. From there we move to fastlands. This deck features as many white costs as blue, green, and red combined (we are not casting Simian often) so every land must produce white. In fact, some of your wins will come entirely off of white mana.

The mix of fastlands is to accommodate the varied costs. To play a spell on Turn 1 consistently, you need about fourteen mana sources. Thanks to our dozen rainbow lands we need just two additional fastlands each to cover Glistener Elf and Serum Visions. The final fastland is Inspiring Vantage to help out with Magnetic Theft. We only have thirteen lands for red but we never need red on Turn 1 and Simian will act as a one shot red source on the winning turn. The final land is the obligatory one basic; Path, Trophy, and Field are quite popular. We can win under a Blood Moon but the goal is usually to kill them before that matters. I was tempted to list Simian Spirit Guide with the creatures but it really is not one. This is our limited Lotus Petal. Any way you combo, Simian will make it faster as it can pay for the Hammer. It also can run out a Turn 1 Blighted Agent if you have everything you need for the Turn 2 combo win. He even allows us to protect the creature or the Hammer when tapped out by paying for Apostle’s Blessing.

Finally we come to the creatures. The killers are Glistener Elf, Kor Duelist, and Blighted Agent. Thanks to infect and double strike the single Hammer swing is lethal. Kor is the best as it is easiest to cast and comes down on Turn 1. Glistener is just a slightly harder to cast version. Blighted Agent is a touch slower but comes with evasion built in. Surprisingly, evasion has not been super relevant. In traditional Infect, you need your pump spell to end up in the opponent’s face as you spent a card for it. In here the boosted creature stays boosted. So they may be able to chump block a time or two but eventually that lethal 11/11 is coming through.

The last creature, Giver of Runes, does provide it if you need it though. This pretty lady provides evasion in the vast majority of board states and will protect your creatures from removal without the need for additional mana investment. If they do not answer her they must be prepared to answer the Hammer. As a 1/2 she also survives the many ping effects plaguing the format. Then if need be, she can win the game in two swings when you have no other creatures to suit up. Of course there will also be those times where she helps one of your creatures to wall out a large threat while you try to draw into the combo. Notably, an infect creature that blocks will permanently shrink the opposing attacker via -1/-1 counters.

Finally we come to the spell slots that make the deck so nasty. In Modern, it is very difficult to win with an A + B combo deck if you lack redundancy or tutoring. Unfortunately, there is only one Colossus Hammer. We do have a one mana tutor in Steelshaper’s Gift though so functionally we have eight copies. So now we just need ways to cheat it onto something. With Sigarda’s Aid in play the Hammer will attach immediately once it enters play. The drawback is that you need to have the Aid in play already so you cannot run out the Hammer early. The upside to this is that one Aid will provide multiple attempts as long as you have extra Hammers. Magnetic Theft is harder to cast but it is not just a worse Aid though. It can be frustrating to have your creature removed with an Aid trigger on the stack. Now you have this useless Hammer on the battlefield. Thanks to Theft, you can actually do something with Hammers that are already in play. This is what allows you to try the combo multiple times in the face of interactive decks.

The final spell slots go to Serum Visions and Apostle’s Blessing. Serum Visions is a very usual suspect in blue combo decks as it helps to smooth out draws and dig up combo pieces. Apostle’s Blessing has really shined in here and I may try to find room for more copies. Note that it can protect either a creature or a Hammer depending on the situation. The colorless cost in conjunction with Simian is what makes it shine though. Being able to tap out for the combo win on Turn 2 with protection up feels amazing. Of course, as with Giver, it can provide evasion in the vast majority of board states. The point is that these flex spells dig for or protect combo pieces.

Wrap-Up
I do hope that you enjoy this brew as much as we have. It will elicit some angry reactions but it is a blast to play. Are there any spell that we may have overlooked for the mainboard? Do you have any predictions for tomorrow’s sideboard? Please let us know what you think in our discussion group. Or if you would like to take a swing at writing content for the site you can contact us directly here. We will be back tomorrow with the sideboard, a short guide, and our final verdict. Until then my friends.

One thought on “Brewed Up: Hammered Infect (Part 1)

  1. What about cutting blue out by replacing Blighted Agent with Lost Leonin and Serum Visions with Ancient Stirring. Potentially replace red by removing Magnetic Theft with a potentially more consistent Kor Outfitter that although cost more helps fix any colored mana issues. An Eldrazi Didplacer could also find a home here for easier ETB triggers as well as exiling blockers. I have been trying to get the cards for a mono white version but it really does give up several advantages as colors are removed.

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