HAUMPH’s Deck Of The Week – “LSV’S Choice”: Kiki-Pod

Welcome everybody to my very first weekly column for ChannelFireball. Historically I have not been one to write very often, as I found it difficult to come up with article topics outside of tournament reports and [ccProd]Cruel Ultimatum[/ccProd] control decks but I am really excited about what’s to come. The format for my articles is very simple. You, the reader, get to choose what deck I play, and I will play and then write about the chosen deck every week. I will post a list of 6-7 decks (Standard/Modern/Legacy), and at the end of the week I will play the deck with the highest number of votes. I will stream the deck, and then provide a deck breakdown with various sideboarding strategies.

When my editor Andy Cooperfauss approached me about this idea, I immediately went home and discussed the idea on my stream. Somebody came up with a poll with a list of decks to play this week. The list had the usual suspects of Faeries, Zoo, Birthing Pod, Tron, Jund but at the very bottom I glanced down, shook my head, and immediately knew what I was going to be playing this week. This week’s voting was going to be a complete and utter blowout as the final option for the deck of the week was…

“LSV’s Choice”

After over 1,000 votes, “LSV’s Choice” won in a total landslide. After seeing the results of this travesty, I knew that I had to at least keep this in check and “LSV’s Choice” will most likely be an option probably about once a month, as I am generally in the business of playing real decks. Nervous about what he was going to get me to play, I was pleasantly surprised by what he chose. Here it is, the Deck Of The Week!

Kiki-Pod

[ccdeck]4 Arid Mesa
3 Misty Rainforest
4 Grove of the Burnwillows
1 Fire-Lit Thicket
1 Stomping Ground
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Steam Vents
1 Breeding Pool
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Temple Garden
1 Forest
1 Plains
1 Mountain
2 Gavony Township
4 Noble Hierarch
4 Birds of Paradise
1 Spellskite
2 Voice of Resurgence
1 Phantasmal Image
1 Qasali Pridemage
2 Wall of Roots
1 Scavenging Ooze
2 Domri Rade
1 Deceiver Exarch
1 Izzet Staticaster
4 Kitchen Finks
4 Birthing Pod
1 Glen Elendra Archmage
1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence
1 Murderous Redcap
3 Restoration Angel
2 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror-Breaker
1 Zealous Conscripts
———-Sideboard———-
3 Path to Exile
2 Negate
2 Sowing Salt
1 Voice of Resurgence
1 Avalanche Riders
1 Aven Mindcensor
1 Kataki, War’s Wage
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
1 Harmonic Sliver
1 Obstinate Baloth
1 Thragtusk[/ccdeck]

I was certain Luis was going to pick some kind of ridiculously unplayable tier 4 deck, but when he chose Kiki-Pod, I was excited to give it a try as it was one of the few decks I haven’t had much practice with in Modern. The deck basically functions as a creature combo deck that also happens to have some of the best silver bullets in the format. There are many different ways to “combo” off with [ccProd]Birthing Pod[/ccProd], but the main idea is to work your way up the Birthing Pod chain until you manage to get a [ccProd]Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker[/ccProd] into play and copy either[ccProd] Restoration Angel[/ccProd], [ccProd]Deceiver Exarch[/ccProd], or [ccProd]Zealous Conscripts[/ccProd] to produce infinite tokens with haste and a very dead opponent.

Here are some of the trickier Birthing Pod combinations but there are certainly more that I have failed to mention:

One-drop + Two-drop + Pod = Sac two-drop, get Exarch, untap Pod, Sac one-drop, get [ccProd]Phantasmal Image[/ccProd] and copy Exarch, untap Pod, Sac Imaged Exarch, get Restoration Angel blink Exarch, untap Pod, Sacrifice Angel, get Kiki-Jiki Mirror Breaker, copy Exarch make a million creatures aaaand DEAD. This combination requires 4 mana.

Four-drop persist creature ([ccProd]Glen Elendra Archmage[/ccProd]/[ccProd]Murderous Redcap[/ccProd]) + Pod: Sacrifice four-drop, get Zealous Conscripts, untap Pod, Sacrifice persisted creature, get Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, make a million creatures and HAUMPH.

There are plenty of other combinations, but most of the tricky activations usually involve either 4-drop persist creatures, Phantasmal Image, Deceiver Exarch, and Restoration Angel. Let us quickly go over the various silver bullets and where they shine.

[ccProd]Spellskite[/ccProd]: Hexproof, Infect, protects your combo, Splinter Twin
[ccProd]Voice of Resurgence[/ccProd]: Blue control decks, grindy matchups
[ccProd]Phantasmal Image[/ccProd]: Crucial for combo’ing off with Deceiver Exarch
[ccProd]Qasali Pridemage[/ccProd]: High utility disenchant effect that also gets in there
[ccProd]Scavenging Ooze[/ccProd]: Graveyard-based decks
[ccProd]Deceiver Exarch[/ccProd]: Great way to move up the Pod chain and combos with Kiki-Jiki
[ccProd]Izzet Staticaster[/ccProd]: Faeries, Mirror, Affinity
[ccProd]Glen Elendra Archmage[/ccProd]: Tron, Combo, Control
[ccProd]Murderous Redcap[/ccProd]: Aggressive decks
[ccProd]Zealous Conscripts[/ccProd]: Allows a 4-drop persist creature + Birthing Pod to instantly win
[ccProd]Avalanche Riders[/ccProd]: Tron
[ccProd]Aven Mindcensor[/ccProd]: Scapeshift, Tron, Pod, Gifts
[ccProd]Kataki, War’s Wage[/ccProd]: Affinity
[ccProd]Thrun, the Last Troll[/ccProd]: Faeries, control
[ccProd]Harmonic Sliver[/ccProd]: Mirror, Affinity, Grafdigger’s Cage
[ccProd]Obstinate Baloth[/ccProd]: Aggressive decks, and decks with Liliana of the Veil
[ccProd]Thragtusk[/ccProd]: Aggressive decks

Other cards to consider:

[ccProd]Thundermaw Hellkite[/ccProd]: Quick unexpected clock and sweeps Faeries on the board
[ccProd]Sigarda, Host of Herons[/ccProd]: Was awesome against Jund and possibly reasonable against control, but lack of Jund probably means less Sigardas
[ccProd]Ethersworn Canonist[/ccProd]: Combo, Living End
[ccProd]Phyrexian Metamorph[/ccProd]: Double up on Pods

Questionable card in main deck: [ccProd]Domri Rade[/ccProd]. I’m still not 100% sold, but I’ve seen a ton of decks that include him. It’s still possible that [ccProd]Chord of Calling[/ccProd] as a 2-of is just better. I just found myself cutting Chord a lot—you are usually searching for 4- and 5-drops, which is very hard to pull off. Chord of Calling is far superior in Melira Pod, as the targets you’re typically searching for cost 1, 2, or 3 mana.

Other sideboard cards:

2 [ccProd]Negate[/ccProd]: Scapeshift, Tron, Control
2 [ccProd]Sowing Salt[/ccProd]: TRON TRON TRON
3 [ccProd]Path to Exile[/ccProd]: Creature decks, Splinter Twin, Faeries

When building the deck, the ban list changes were announced and I wanted to keep in mind the fact that both Faeries and Zoo would be new additions to the metagame. After going through many different versions of the deck, I settled on this build and started playing in various 8-mans, and even got some testing against Zoo and Faeries thanks to Sam Pardee and AJ Sacher.

I played many more games against Sam, as I felt that would be one of the most common matchups post-ban. Zoo is going to be a far more competitive deck than Faeries, just based on how strong the deck was prior to the banning of [ccProd]Wild Nacatl[/ccProd]. The loss of [ccProd]Deathrite Shaman[/ccProd] certainly doesn’t hurt the deck either. It is also well positioned if people are going on a Faeries frenzy, as Zoo is very favored in that matchup. A deck packing Bitterblossoms and Thoughtseizes does not want to be playing against Bolts, Helixes, and Nacatls.

Since Modern has been around for a very long time, I am well aware that Kiki Pod has been an existing deck and there are plenty of great strategy articles about the deck. The matchups I really want to focus on, then, are Faeries and Zoo.

Zoo

On paper, it felt I should be reasonably favored in this matchup with the combination of mana accelerators, [ccProd]Kitchen Finks[/ccProd], [ccProd]Restoration Angel[/ccProd]s, and an infinite combo. It turns out that my assumptions were completely incorrect. They are packing such a large number of highly disruptive removal spells (Bolt, Helix, Path) that it is very difficult to combo off and sometimes they can just hose you by destroying your mana creatures. Zoo’s spells and creatures are just so incredibly efficient that it was difficult to get ahead even with the innate value of some of the creatures in the deck. He was also playing with Knight of the Reliquaries which were just gigantic and I had no answers to them game 1. The matchup ended up being closer to 50/50 but I had to make a few modifications to get it there. This involved me instantly jamming a 4th Kitchen Finks in the main, and adding a Thragtusk to the sideboard.

In: 3 [ccProd]Path to Exile[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Obstinate Baloth[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Thrun, the Last Troll[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Thragtusk[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Voice of Resurgence[/ccProd]

Out: 1 [ccProd]Zealous Conscripts[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Linvala, Keeper of Silence[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Izzet Staticaster[/ccProd], 2 [ccProd]Domri Rade[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Qasali Pridemage[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Glen Elendra Archmage[/ccProd]

Fairly simple sideboarding here, you’re taking out ineffective cards for good ones. Don’t expect to go off with Birthing Pod all that often and more times than not, it is going to be a value Pod plan, where you continue to get value by searching for creatures like Obstinate Baloth and Thragtusk. Overall, I think this matchup is very close and if you want a Pod deck that’s good against Zoo, Melira Pod is a stronger option. Kiki-Pod’s strength comes from the fact that it is much better against the “unfair decks” as it can just win out of nowhere. Tron, for example is a much easier matchup for Kiki-Pod as it has access to Sowing Salts, Avalanche Riders, and Glen Elendra Archmage.

Faeries

I really wish I got more testing in against Faeries. The matchup seems reasonable to me, but a lot of the matchup is also probably based on who gets to play first. Faeries does have problems with all of the persist creatures in the deck, and [ccProd]Voice of Resurgence[/ccProd] is absolutely amazing. Just being able to play a turn 2 Kitchen Finks does a reasonable job of pressuring them. The [ccProd]Gavony Township[/ccProd]s are also instrumental in this matchup as this is truly a grindy matchup, and being able to pump up your mana critters in the late game goes a very long way. The introduction of Faeries into the metagame did make me adjust the sideboard, as I added both a Thrun, the Last Troll and a 3rd copy of Voice of Resurgence to help shore up the matchup.

In: 3 [ccProd]Path to Exile[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Voice of Resurgence[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Thrun, the Last Troll[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Thragtusk[/ccProd]

Out: 1 [ccProd]Spellskite[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Wall of Roots[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Linvala, Keeper of Silence[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Scavenging Ooze[/ccProd], 2 [ccProd]Domri Rade[/ccProd]

Once again, I do need to test the Faeries matchup more but this seems like a decent place to start. I don’t really like Harmonic Sliver in this matchup and Domri is probably limited, considering there’s [ccProd]Vendilion Clique[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Mistbind Clique[/ccProd] and you know, every other creature in their deck has flying. If they have [ccProd]Snapcaster Mage[/ccProd] you can certainly keep the [ccProd]Scavenging Ooze[/ccProd] in. It’s also worth considering keeping Domri on the play, as you can extract some decent value out of it and the matchup is fairly grindy.

Tron

In: 2 [ccProd]Sowing Salt[/ccProd], 2 [ccProd]Negate[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Avalanche Riders[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Aven Mindcensor[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Harmonic Sliver[/ccProd]

Out: 1 [ccProd]Izzet Staticaster[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Murderous Redcap[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Scavenging Ooze[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Voice of Resurgence[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Linvala, Keeper of Silence[/ccProd], 2 [ccProd]Domri Rade[/ccProd]

Domri is a bit slow in this matchup. I don’t really like Finks in this matchup, but the other cards are not much better and Finks at least provides somewhat of a clock.

Scapeshift

In: 2 [ccProd]Sowing Salt[/ccProd], 2 [ccProd]Negate[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Avalanche Riders[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Aven Mindcensor[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Voice of Resurgence[/ccProd]

Out: 1 [ccProd]Izzet Staticaster[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Spellskite[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Murderous Redcap[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Linvala, Keeper of Secrets[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Scavenging Ooze[/ccProd] (if R/G), 2 [ccProd]Domri Rade[/ccProd]

If they’re R/G then you don’t need Scavenging Ooze, but if they’re playing the Snapcaster Mage Cryptic Command version, Ooze is fine. Voice is far better against the blue version, so a 3rd is most likely not necessary after sideboard if playing against the R/G version. Might also want Harmonic Sliver if they are playing with [ccProd]Prismatic Omen[/ccProd]

Splinter Twin

In: 3 [ccProd]Path to Exile[/ccProd]

Out: 1 [ccProd]Murderous Redcap[/ccProd], 2 [ccProd]Domri Rade[/ccProd]

Negate could be OK, but Kiki is also a big part of their combo. Also, Domri probably should be cut, considering that I’ve been cutting it in every single matchup. If they have Blood Moons, be careful and make sure to fetch basics when you can. Scavenging Ooze is reasonable if they have Snapcaster Mage.

Kiki-Pod and Melira Pod

In: 1 [ccProd]Aven Mindcensor[/ccProd], 3 [ccProd]Path to Exile[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Harmonic Sliver[/ccProd]

Out: 1 [ccProd]Wall of Roots[/ccProd], 3 [ccProd]Kitchen Finks[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Voice of Resurgence[/ccProd]

I still like keeping one Voice and Finks as they’re value for Pod, but neither deck really puts on enough pressure and it’s usually the first deck to assemble the combo that wins.

UWR or UW Control

In: 1 [ccProd]Voice of Resurgence[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Thrun, the Last Troll[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Thragtusk[/ccProd], 2 [ccProd]Negate[/ccProd]

Out: 1 [ccProd]Linvala, Keeper of Silence[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Izzet Staticaster[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Murderous Redcap[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Wall of Roots[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Zealous Conscripts[/ccProd]

I took out the Conscripts as it is pretty difficult to combo them off with Birthing Pod. The combo still exists but a lot of the time you win these games via Voice of Resurgence and value Pods.

Overall, I feel that Kiki Pod is an incredibly fun but difficult deck to play. There are many lines of play that you will miss the first few times, but when mastered, it is a top-tier option. Even with the emergence of Zoo and Faeries, Kiki-Pod is still positioned to do well and it wouldn’t be surprising if it were to win a big tournament in the near future.

Hope you guys enjoyed this week’s breakdown of Kiki-Pod in the new Modern environment. Make sure to keep an eye out for Tweets from @Haumph and @Channelfireball to vote for the Deck Of The Week. I will also be streaming the chosen deck every Monday and Tuesday from 9PM PST-Midnight on www.twitch.tv/HAUMPH. Until next time!

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