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September 8, 2016

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An Indianapolis Modern Brew: Kiki Evolution

Finally! I have three byes for the Grand Prix season and I’m hoping to take advantage of my opportunity. Unfortunately, the first Grand Prix that I can attend this year was GP Indianapolis which was in the much maligned Modern format. Modern has changed so much since the banning of Splinter Twin, it is missing a policing deck that is preventing the format from diverging on so many different axis. When Splinter Twin was in the format, it allowed players to play a controlling deck that punished players who either had a non-interactive deck or a greedy mana-base that folded to blood moon. In its absence, these types of Modern decks have run rampant.

The list of decks that come to mind when you think of Modern include but are not limited to: Abzan, Ad Nauseum, Affinity, Bant Eldrazi, Burn, Chord/Company Decks, Infect, Jund, Merfolk, R/G Ponza, Tron variants and many more. This naturally increases the value of sideboard slots and you will always want to play the card that has the most utility in the most matchups.

I wanted to take this one step further by using silver bullets and demonic tutors to find the right answers for the right match-ups. In addition, finding a way to close the game early would allow me to prevent games from devolving into fighting on an axis that I wasn’t prepared to fight. This made an Evolution deck the perfect answer to what I expected to face.

This is what I registered for the Grand Prix:

Kiki Evolution

Creatures: (37)
Birds of Paradise
Noble Hierarch
Spellskite
Izzet Staticaster
Deceiver Exarch
Pestermite
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Eternal Witness
Scavenging Ooze
Kitchen Finks
Collected Company
Eldritch Evolution

Lands: (23)
Breeding Pool
Fire-lit Thicket
Forest
Island
Misty Rainforest
Mountain
Scalding Tarn
Steam Vents
Stomping Ground
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills

Sideboard: (15)
Ancient Grudge
Blood Moon
Keranos, God of Storms
Kitchen Finks
Linvala, Keeper of Silence
Magus of the Moon
Melira, Sylvok Outcast
Relic of Progenitus
Scavenging Ooze
Thragtusk

Eight one mana creatures made it easy to cast a Deceiver Exarch on turn two, and the four Spellskites allowed me to combo opponents off on those who did not respect the combo enough. I had dreams of draws with turn two Deceiver Exarchs and turn three Collected Company resulting in another Deceiver Exarch / Pestermite and a Spellskite. I would then follow this up with an Eldritch Evolution to find Kiki-Jiki and complete the combo. Unfortunately, reality was much different.

I would end up starting off the tournament 8-0 with 3 byes before the wheels fell off and I ended up finishing at 9-6. A lot of the matches that I won on day one had to do with opponents who misplayed horribly or played such that they lost to Blood Moon. On day two, I lost a lot of games to ridiculous draws by my opponents. However, as I mentioned in my last article, I want to focus on what I could have done to help me do better at this tournament. So with that being said, here are the changes that I would make to this tournament if I was going to play it in one of the upcoming WMCQs:

1. Reduce Land Count (twenty three was way too many with eight mana creatures
2. Remove Fire-Lit Thicket from the deck (too many inconsistent draws with four lands not producing green on turn 1)
3. Remove one of the two Eternal Witness (I drew it too often in the early game)
4. Stop relying on Collected Company and instead skew the deck toward Chord of Calling
5. Placing Magus of the Moon in the main-deck as a Blood Moon like card that can be tutored in game 1 is invaluable
6. Add a different creature suite to work alongside the Deceiver Exarch / Pestermite combo
7. Add removal to the sideboard. Path to Exile is not acceptable as Blood Moon is one of our post-sideboard ways to win. Beast Within is great at dealing with a lot of problematic permanents and Dismember is great at being a clean answer for most creatures
8. Less focus on the combo and remove three of the four Spellskites.
9. Add Glen Elendra Archmage to help protect the combo but also disrupt other combo decks

New Deck

Creatures: (30)
Birds of Paradise
Noble Hierarch
Wall of Roots
Spellskite
Izzet Staticaster
Deceiver Exarch
Restoration Angel
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Eternal Witness
Scavenging Ooze
Kitchen Finks
Magus of the Moon
Glen Elendra Archmage
Pia and Kiran Nalaar
Wall of Omens

Spells: (9)
Chord of Calling
Eldritch Evolution
Dismember

Lands: (21)
Breeding Pool
Forest
Island
Misty Rainforest
Mountain
Steam Vents
Stomping Ground
Temple Garden
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills

Sideboard: (15)
Ancient Grudge
Beast Within
Blood Moon
Dismember
Keranos, God of Storms
Kitchen Finks
Linvala, Keeper of Silence
Melira, Sylvok Outcast
Selfless Spirit
Scavenging Ooze
Thragtusk

Best of luck in your upcoming WMCQ and Modern tournaments. If you have any questions or comments please post them below or reach out to me and I’d be happy to answer them for you. Have a great week!