Over the last few weeks I’ve covered a fair amount of the Affinity archetype in the Pauper format. The discussion has ranged from a general overview to diving a bit deeper on different forms of Affinity that exist. This week I want to take you through various sideboard options for the deck and how you can use them in different matchups.

Affinity by carvs (7th place Pauper Challenge 8/19/18)

Creatures (14)
Gearseeker Serpent
Myr Enforcer

Spells (29)
Galvanic Blast
Perilous Research
Temur Battle Rage
Chromatic Star
Ichor Wellspring
Prophetic Prism
Lands (17)
Ancient Den
Darksteel Citadel
Great Furnace
Seat of the Synod
Tree of Tales
Vault of Whispers

Sideboard (15)
Gorilla Shaman
Krark-Clan Shaman
Relic of Progenitus
Ancient Grudge
Ray of Revelation
Reaping the Graves

Before I dive into that, I want to touch real briefly on a version of the deck that I’ve had others bring to my attention over the last few weeks that until then had not been on my radar. This is the so called “Turbotog” version, cutting cards like Carapace Forger and Flayer Husk in favor of the Perilous Research package and more cantrip artifacts in order to dig through your deck for your Atog/Fling combo. To help it also adds more Flings into the mix than normal and some extra protection in the form of maindeck Dispels. What this means is you push for a more all-in gameplan that can catch opponents by surprise. If I had to change one thing in this list, though, I’d look to touch up the lands just a tiny bit. Tree of Tales was key for the deck before because of Forger, but here it’s only used as a flashback cost for Ancient Grudge and Ray of Revelation. As such, you’d probably be better off going with a split of two Ancient Den, one Tree of Tales, and two Vault of Whispers compared to the current landbase shown here.

What this list also gives is a solid sideboard to talk about for the purposes of this article. This time around I’m going to approach things a little bit differently. When I covered Elves, I was going off the experience of thousands of matches being played; and with Boros I had plenty of experience with the deck and both coverage and discussion to go off of. Some things seem pretty intuitive about what works more for different matchups. The problem with Affinity is that it’s often so tightly put together—as I demonstrated last week running down the archetype staples—that sideboarding can be tremendously difficult. You can look at a list and feel like you want to bring in some six or seven cards and only see two or three obvious cuts. It’s something I’ve struggled with when playing the deck in the past and don’t want to give inaccurate sideboarding guides based on that. What I can give, though, is an overview on what you should be looking at in different matchups.


The sweet thing about the Delver matchup is that Affinity does really well against it. What makes Delver excel against many decks of the format is its ability to shut players down using Spellstutter Sprite that hit many of the effective cards they try to cast. These cards usually cost one, two, three, and very rarely four mana if the game goes long. Now look at Affinity: you’re dropping four drops on turn two and seven drops on turn three. Delver just can’t keep up most of the time, although the Izzet version can fight back using Skred, which matches up well against many of Affinity’s tough creatures.

While you should be pretty solid overall, bringing in Electrickery to stop the stream of 1/1s and Pyroblast to stop your opponent’s nonsense is a pretty solid way to go about things. Use Hydroblast to stop Skred as well as Gorilla Shaman and Swirling Sandstorm out of the sideboard is a big boon as well. Cutting Atogs isn’t the worst either as they get hit by Vapor Snag, Snap, and Hydroblast all day and your Fling combo can get very easily disrupted.


This matchup is a bit of a toss up, as can be the case with Burn. You see, Burn can’t often deal with many of Affinity’s massive creatures and will find itself going for the face. As such, it turns into a race to see who can get there faster. Post-board not too much changes. Burn will bring in Smash to Smithereens and maybe Molten Rain so you’d best suit up with Dispels and Hydroblasts, as well as Feed The Clan-style options should you opt to bring them in.


This is the sort of deck that can also be a bit of a coin flip. You can drop lots of creatures, and they can stall you out with chump blockers until they reach a point where they can kill you. Just as well you can also get a slow start where they can beat you to the punch. Things get a bit more interesting post board, however, where you gain Electrickery to deal with any tokens produced (as well as the ol’ Mox Monkey), Hydroblast to stop their various red spells, and a mix of Gorilla Shaman and Ray of Revelation to deal with a few cards like artifact lands, clue tokens, and Journey to Nowhere.

Last but not least make sure to rock each and every one of those Dispels. Not only do they stop burn spells coming your way but it also helps fight back against Prismatic Strands, especially when you’re trying to go in on the Atog/Fling plan.


Push through and hope that you can get to throw some Atogs before your opponent can kill you or gain an obscene amount of life is the name of the game here. Once you get past game one, game two’s plan becomes a bit simpler. The first is hope and pray your opponent doesn’t get an early Gleeful Sabotage that takes out all your mana sources. The second, assuming that you don’t get Sabotaged hard, is to wipe out those dorks! A well timed Electrickery or Krark-Clan Shaman will make short work of the Elves player. Make sure you remember to hold priority when using the Shaman (hold CTRL when activating the ability if playing on Magic Online). You can also bring in a Pyroblast or two if you see an Island or Distant Melody.


Once again, face is the place. Aggro them down before they can start getting you with fog effects. As with Delver, watch out for both bounce effects and countermagic when going all in on Atog. Bringing in Hydroblast and Pyroblast alike can help here, as can Relic of Progenitus to stop Ghostly Flicker chains. Dispels can fight back against counterspells, and a one-of Ancient Grudge can take down some of the deck’s much-needed color-fixing artifacts. Taking those out at a crucial moment can cripple Tron’s strategy and make it easier for you to take a win.

Inside Out/Izzet Blitz

It’s arguable that I’m cheating a bit on this one, but the fact of the matter is that often times, both decks will just outright overrun you in the game one. If you can somehow get an insane mass of artifacts and Atog/Fling before they can kill you or else produce a well-timed Galvanic Blast, then you might be able to get there. But you mostly have to wait until the post-board games where you get Pyroblasts (and Hyroblasts vs. Blitz), Dispel, Electrickery for Inside Out, and Krark-Clan Shaman as an emergency button.

The Mirror

As with many mirrors, you want to outrace your opponent. Since your creatures will by and large be even against one another, going in on the Atog kill should be priority number one. After that you’ll want to bring in Gorilla Shaman, Hydroblast, and Ancient Grudge. Reaping the Graves can be great here as well should you meet each other in battle and trade en masse.

No matter the version of Affinity you choose or the cards you end up packing, there’s a lot of ways to make your board function against a variety of different decks. Unfortunately there’s only so much I can talk about here. As always, if you want my thoughts on a matchup not covered here, feel free to ping me on Twitter and I’ll be happy to give you my thoughts there. Next week will be the start of something new. I hope you’ll join me then to see what’s in store!

Kendra has been playing Magic since Urza block and never looked back. Playing a variety of formats and being known for championing Pauper in particular, the Elf Queen can be found hanging out on Twitter as well as streaming on Twitch, always seeking to better the community at large.

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