Are you searching for a way to make a deck especially brutal?
One good way to do this is by building one with an infect theme, provided the infect cards you use are legal in the format of your choice. So what is infect, and which MTG sets have infect?
Read on, and we’ll give you some background information on this old ability.
By the end of this article, we’ll have gone over:
- What infect is
- Which MTG sets have cards with infect
- Our personal recommendations
Let’s jump in.
What is Infect?
Infect was an ability that was first created in the Scars of Mirrodin set and last appeared in the New Phyrexia set.
The story in the block of sets featuring infect portrayed the war between the Mirrans and the invading Phyrexians. Infect was a mechanic tied to the Phyrexian side of the conflict, and so creatures with infect also have the Phyrexian symbol on them.
What does infect do? Instead of reducing a player’s life total, a player hit by a creature with infect takes damage in the form of poison counters. Creatures damaged by infect take that damage as -1/-1 counters.
These counters are permanent. Regardless of how many life points they have, a player can only take ten poison counters before they lose the game.
A famous (or infamous, depending on how you look at it) example of a creature with infect is Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon. When it first was released, it was a competitive staple and was known for wiping out opponents in one attack.
MTG Sets with Infect
Perhaps fortunately for players overall, infect wasn’t an ability with a long lifespan. There are only really three sets with a strong infect presence.
Those sets are the following:
- Scars of Mirrodin
- Mirrodin Besieged
- New Phyrexia
In Scars of Mirrodin, players get to dive back into Mirrodin, the metal plane. The set depicts the beginning of a war between native Mirrans and an invading force of Phyrexians.
Because of the setting, it’s not good just for infect, though. You can also find an abundance of artifacts in this set.
We’ve actually done a guide on sets with artifacts here if you’d like to learn more about them.
Scars of Mirrodin overview:
- Number of infect cards: 19 (Click here for the complete list of infect cards in it.)
- Includes Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon
- Has a large amount of artifacts
- Intriguing story for the set
The tale of the battle between Mirrans and Phyrexians continues in Mirrodin Besieged. Consequently, most cards in the set are marked with the Mirrodin or Phyrexia symbol based on which side it’s aligned with.
Unlike in Scars of Mirrodin, this set also contains Phrexians of every color. Previously, they had only been limited to blue, black, or green.
Mirrodin Besieged Overview:
- Number of infect cards: 21 (Click here for the full list of infect cards in Mirrodin Besieged.)
- Contains the valuable Blightsteel Colossus card
- Has a lot of artifacts
- Smaller set
- Also has Inkmoth Nexus, a staple in poison-based decks
This was the last set in the Scars of Mirrodin block. It was also the last set to prominently feature infect-based cards.
In New Phyrexia, the Mirrans are losing the war against the Phyrexians. As a reflection of this tip in the balance, there are more cards aligned with Phyrexia than with Mirrodin here.
The symbol for the set was also the symbol for Phyrexia, an omen of the Mirrans’ impending loss. To this day in the Magic universe, the plane that was once called Mirrodin is now called New Phyrexia.
New Phyrexia overview:
- Number of infect cards: 20 (Click here for the entire list of infect cards in New Phyrexia.)
- Contains all five of the powerful praetor cards
- Includes a lot of artifacts
There aren’t a lot of sets to choose from when it comes to infect cards. This was an ability that sped up games and left a lot of players struggling to find viable defenses.
The sets in this list are the few that include a lot of this mechanic. As such they’re all great options to pick if you want to grow your pool of infect-themed cards.
If we had to recommend one over all the others, however, we’d personally pick New Phyrexia. It doesn’t have necessarily the largest number of infect-based cards, but it does have all the praetors and a strong Phyrexian theme that goes hand-in-hand with infect themes.
As always, it’s important to mention that if there’s a specific card you’re looking for, it’s generally wiser to buy that card as a single. You can’t be certain you’re going to get the card you want when you buy a booster pack or box.