Kiki Jiki Combo Platter in Modern
So uh...you like combo decks, right? No? Well sorry, but you’re about to be very disappointed, because this week’s deck is a combo deck through and through. In fact, it doesn’t just run one combo, it runs...a lot. Honestly, I probably don’t even know all of the combos in this deck. But I promise, there are plenty packed into this list to satisfy your inner Johnny (or Jenny). You may have heard of this deck a few months ago, when Conley Woods generated some hype around it. Unfortunately, I’ve not heard much about it since then, but the deck certainly still feels powerful. For those of you who haven’t heard of the deck (or just need a refresher), here’s the list:
I’m sure you’re all wondering at this point: What does this deck even do? At first glance, it looks like a pile of seemingly-unrelated cards, with a couple of obvious combos stuffed in. And honestly, that’s a pretty apt description. The deck plays unlike almost any I’ve ever played, and has a lot of weird, fun, and unintuitive lines to it. Just trying to explain the deck I’m at a loss for where to begin, so let’s start with what I’ll dub “the support cards.”
Birds of Paradise and Noble Hierarch provide us with early-game mana acceleration, and have some combo potential when we get to that point. Eternal Witness can rebuy us any important combo pieces or value cards, and will most commonly be grabbing a Chord of Calling from the graveyard. Hunted Phantasm gives us four unblockable power for just three mana, while also giving us a nice combo target later on in the game. Izzet Staticaster pings our opponent’s creatures, and plays really well with our Phantasm friend by knocking out all of the goblins in a single stroke. Kiora’s Follower can act as a mana dork, or untap some of our beefier creatures to block. And of course, this fish has combo potential in the late game as well. Nest Invader gives us bodies, mana, and a combo piece for just two mana, making it an odd, but well-reasoned combo piece. Restoration Angel can protect a creature from removal, combo off, and is just an all-around great card. Steward and Doomsayer give us extra bodies to attack and block with, the Locust God can close out a game in a hurry, and of course all three can be used in their own combos.
For non-creatures, we have Aether Vial, which allows us to drop our hand faster, and allows us to cheat on mana. This can allow us to play creatures we don’t have enough mana for, or we can’t meet the requirements for (Kiki-Jiki and Azami). Considering how important these cards are, Vial is vital to ensuring we can smooth our hands. Chord of Calling, like Vial, allows us to find creatures we have neither the mana nor color requirements for. Unlike Vial, Chord acts as a tutor, so we can grab any creature in our deck, and doesn’t require us to have it in the opener to be effective. Chord also allows us to run our silver bullet sideboard to deal with any decks that we can’t race.
In the sideboard, we have Izzet Staticaster to give us additional pinging power, Reclamation Sage, Qasali Pridemage, and Kataki to deal with Affinity, and Scavenging Ooze and Loaming Shaman to deal with graveyard strategies. We also have Ethersworn Canonist and Kambal for Storm, Grand Abolisher for control, Meddling Mage as a nice little catch-all, as well as some silver bullets for the likes of Tron and others.
Now that the introductions are taken care of, let’s have a little look at all the combos. I’m going to break these down one at a time, in part for you, but mostly just so I don’t repeat any by mistake.
Yes, I am stealing the deck name for this combo. This is probably the most familiar combo in the deck, and one that was easiest to pick out just by looking at the list. All you need for this is Restoration Angel and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. With these two cards, you can Splinter Twin to your heart’s content. Just tap Kiki to target the Angel. With the Angel copy’s trigger, target Kiki. He re-enters the battlefield untapped with haste, and can use his ability again on Resto to make as many hasty angels as you want, then swing for the win. This one is fairly easy to set up, since all you really need is a single Chord of Calling and some lands to get things started. You can Chord for Eternal Witness, then use E-Wit’s trigger to get back Chord. Next turn, Chord for Restoration Angel, blinking Eternal Witness, and once grabbing Chord. Finally, you can Chord for Kiki-Jiki and combo for the win.
This combo might also have stood out to you, as the two pieces clearly work together very well. All you need to pull this off is a single Beck // Call, followed by The Locust God. Locust God will enter the battlefield, triggering Beck and allowing you to draw a card. Drawing a card will trigger The Locust God, creating a 1/1 insect creature token with flying and haste. The token will trigger Beck, and so on until you decide not to draw a card off of Beck. The only thing you have to be careful of here is that you don’t mill yourself out, but 99 times out of 100, that won’t really be an issue.
Kiki-Alarm functions similarly to Kiki-Resto, but requires an extra piece, since you need Kiki, Intruder Alarm, and a non-legendary creature in play to go off. That’s not generally too much to ask in this deck, but it is just a little bit extra. Also, it’s worth noting that this combo also allows you to draw your deck with Azami, or make as much mana as you want with mana dorks, Kiora’s Follower, and Dryad Arbor.
Azami - Alarm - Locust God
This combo acts the exact same way as the Locust-Beck combo, but with an extra piece. You can tap Azami with her own ability to draw a card, triggering Locust God to create a token. This token will trigger Intruder Alarm, and untap Azami so you can draw again. It’s worth noting that even if this doesn’t win you the game outright, Alarm is untapping all of your creatures, so mana dorks and Dryad Arbor can make you loads of mana while you’re drawing and making tokens.
Forbidden Orchard - Alarm - Kiora’s Follower
This one isn’t terribly intuitive, and can easily backfire if you use it without needing it. You can tap Forbidden Orchard for mana to give your opponent a token, which triggers Intruder Alarm. Alarm untaps your Follower, which you can tap to untap Orchard. Rinse and repeat for infinite (an arbitrarily large amount of) mana. The most practical use for this is with Chord of Calling to tutor up a win condition, like Kiki-Jiki.
Steward - Alarm
Yes, if you haven’t realized yet, pretty much all of these combos are just reskinned versions of Splinter Twin. So if you’ve missed Twin, then you should give this a shot. Steward Alarm is no different. Using either Steward of Solidarity or Thraben Doomsayer combined with Intruder Alarm gives you a Splinter Twin that you can win with as early as turn three. Naturally, this also feeds into infinite mana and cards, as mentioned in some of the other combos above.
Sprout - Alarm
Finally, we have probably my second favorite combo in the deck (my favorite being Locust-Beck) in Sprout Alarm. Technically you also need five creatures (with at least one being green) to go infinite here, but that’s generally not too difficult in this deck. Cast Sprout Swarm with buyback, convoking it for full cost, to get a token. Alarm untaps all of your creatures, and you can repeat this process until your board is full of Saprolings. Despite not having haste, it’s worth noting that Swarm is an instant, meaning you can pull this combo off to surprise your opponent with blockers, or combo off on your opponent’s end step to secure the win.
I know the deck looks like a complete mess, and at times it feels like it, but I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed with it if you like combo. It has a lot of fun, out-of-the-blue lines, and sometimes you win when you were sure you were dead at the start of your turn. Your board can just unfold in front of you in the weirdest, most beautiful ways. I’m sure I’ve missed a combo or two, but that’s the beauty of this deck: there are so many combos, it’s hard to find, let alone keep track of all of them. Maybe you want to stick with Storm and breakfast decks, and that’s cool, but there’s something so satisfying about having a million and one ways to Twin.
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