In the month since I wrote that article, Myr Retriever has done little in the way of Pauper results. It isn’t that players haven’t tried to make it work or that the combo is bad. Rather, the format is hostile to a dedicated combo deck that relies on the graveyard. Today’s league results showcased a way to use the downshift in an existing shell.
This is a dedicated comb-Affinity deck. While it is not “all-in” on Fling, it does lean harder on non-combat damage to end the game. That being said, it will see a ton of cards and while it may not have free Retrievers, it has the ability to chip in damage with Orcish Vandal.
The question remains – is this better than traditional Affinity or the Jeskai builds with Of One Mind? I don’t have a clear answer, but I think it might be the best of the bunch right now.
Being realistic, Pauper is currently hostile to attacking. While every week we see a few combat based decks getting a 5-0 the truth of the matter is that between Stonehorn Dignitary, Moment’s Peace, and Prismatic Strands, attacking is for losers. Fling doesn’t fare much better but getting around damage with Disciple of the Vault may do enough chip damage to get the opponent within Vandal or Galvanic Blast range. Retriever Affinity wants to pressure the opponent’s life total in several ways, forcing them to choose how to defend themselves. Being base Izzet gives the deck access to amazing counter play out of the sideboard.
Is Retriever Affinity the next big thing? Probably not, but it’s always cool to see new cards make a splash.