Magic is so fun! After building two mediocre monored burn decks, I found two printers in the trash room and began proxying an aggro infect deck, carpe noctem. Three iterations of play/tweak/play later the deck is beastly. This sucker typically wins turn 3, sometimes even turn 2.
The Ideal Hand
Swamp, Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Hand of the Praetors, Ichor Rats, Mutagenic Growth
- Play a Swamp.
- Play Dark Ritual (3 floating).
- Play Dark Ritual (5 floating).
- Play Dark Ritual (7 floating).
- Play Hand of the Praetors (3 floating).
- Play Ichor Rats (each player gets 1 poison, target player gets an extra 1 poison due to Hand of the Praetors).
Draw Scare Tactics.
- Play Scare Tactics (with Hand of the Praetors, every other creature gets +1/+1 and with Scare Tactics, all creatures get +1/+1).
- Declare attackers (Hand of the Praetors is 4/2, Ichor Rats is 4/1).
- Wait for blockers, then play Mutagenic Growth (swinging for 10).
It’s only a matter of time before I draw this hand, since there are 4 of every card save Scare Tactics. Until then, I’ll have to settle for winning on turn 2/3 (sigh).
The mana curve is extremely shallow, which means 3 Swamps earns you a little baddy and a pump spell (swing for 4 poison next turn), or a big baddy and a phyrexian pump spell (give 1 poison now, swing for 4 poison next turn).
This deck reliably deals 7 damage by turn 3. If opponents can’t put out flying/reach blockers, spot removal, or Damnation by turn 4, it’s game.
Inkmoth Nexus is just fun to play. Often 2 will be in play, with 2 Swamps available to turn them into 1/1 flying/infect creatures, and a spare Swamp with Vampire Bite or just Mutagenic Growth will result in swinging for 4-5 poison, roughly 8-10 life in noninfect terms.
Pump gets ridiculous with Hand of the Praetors and Scare Tactics. That’s +3/+1 for your little beasties. If you have 2 Plague Stingers ready, that’s a swing for 8 poison by turn 4.
Originally, Carpe Noctem had a mix of Doom Blades, Go for the Throats, and Dismembers for spot removal, but they didn’t play well against black, token, artifact, indestructible, shrouded, and fatty decks. Cruel Edict fills their place, forcing an opponent to sacrifice a creature. It’s much less counterable, and it still costs only 2 to play.
Infect is just a nastier whither, so when you attack with Necropede (let’s say an opponent blocks with a 2/2), Necropede deals it a -1/-1 wither counter, dies, then deals it another -1/-1 counter, so the former 2/2 dies. If the opponent doesn’t block, play Vampire’s Bite and turn that 1 poison swing into a 4 poison swing. Repeat two more turns and you win (4 + 4 + 4 = 12 poison by turn 4).
The sideboard currently contains answers for spot removal (4 Reanimate), weenies (4 Darkblast), and tokens (4 Echoing Decay, 3 Damnation). It could be better; I’ll have to play against several more deck types to improve it. As a monored lover, I’ll have to think of ways around Lightning Bolt and Blazing Salvo. Fortunately, most decks deal typical life damage, which hardly concerns Carpe Noctem. The deck plays asymmetrically, using your life to power pump spells and deal 7-10 poison by turn 4.
One deck that puts up a good fight against Carpe Noctem: my roommate’s white/black Orzhov deck with Chronomantic Escape (you can’t attack now and every 3 turns from now) and Festering March (your 1/1s die every 3 turns). If my draws aren’t aggro enough, you slowly lose.
Another good counter is Melira, Sylvok Outcast., which prevents poison counters, wither counters, and temporarily removes the infect ability from your creatures. Fortunately, it’s easy to kill (2/2), but you better sideboard additional kill spells just in case.
Manafuck means 6 poison for enemies now, but no creature spells for a while. Which is okay, because manafuck in Carpe Noctem is anything less than 2 Swamp. I’ve won several games with just 2 Swamp or a Swamp and an Inkmoth Nexus. Pump spells for the win!
Magic the Gathering R&D proves evolution: play, win or lose, tweak, repeat. You’ll get a killer deck over time.
Update: Apostle’s Blessing works wonders against burn decks like pewpewpew. If an opponent does manage to remove your creatures, just use Reanimate. You’ll be able to put that creature onto the battlefield for just one black mana. Carpe Noctem loves to play against mill decks for this reason.