Since my last KCI article, the Modern metagame has changed quite a bit. With that in mind, I thought it was worth taking another crack at a KCI article with an updated list. I will try to make this article comprehensive, so it may have some redundant information from my previous article. Let’s hit the deck list Ben Stark and I played at PT25:
I’ll try to highlight the new updates:
Sai, Master Thopterist: Sai is a great way to grind through hate cards courtesy of Justin Cohen. It can win the game on its own, synergizes both with cheap artifacts and artifacts with death abilities, and even makes combo’ing off a lot easier.
Negate: Playing more blue sources allowed you to run Negate over Guttural Response. Negate not only hits all noncreature spells, but can also catch hate cards like Rest in Peace and Stony Silence. It’s a little less effective at pushing through KCI than Guttural Response, but with the new configuration that isn’t a priority.
Yavimaya Coast: Sai often wants repeatable blue sources, and post-board games generally have more colored cards, which made us reluctant to use Aether Hub. Spire of Industry is an option so you lose fewer red sources, but this deck does cast turn-1 Stirrings a decent amount.
Island: Island is actually a really important sideboard card. Blue-White uses Field of Ruin and Path to Exile, which makes having a third basic big. Sai is also just a mana-hungry card, so a 19th land doesn’t hurt.
Tips and Tricks
Let’s start with a list of loops. Not all these loops are necessary to learn as, if you cycle a bit from a complex loop, you’ll usually get to a simpler loop, but the deck does have a fizzle rate and the faster you can become deterministic the better.
- KCI + Scrap Trawler + 2 Myr Retrievers + anything with converted mana cost less than 2
- The Retrievers get to return each other and something else which can usually give you infinite mana and cards.
- KCI + Scrap Trawler + Myr Retriever + extra Scrap Trawler or extra KCI plus Opal
- Retriever returns the expensive card and Mox Opal, and the expensive card returns the Retriever. This gives you infinite mana, and infinite cards if you have a cycling artifact.
- KCI + Scrap Trawler + Myr Retriever + two 1-cost cards (one of which is Terrarion or Star)
- Put the Trawler, the Retriever, and one of the 1-cost cards into play.
- Announce the other 1-cost card sacrificing Retriever, the other 1-cost card, and then Scrap Trawler to cast it.
- The Scrap Trawler returns the Myr Retriever, the Retriever ability returns Scrap Trawler, and the Retriever itself returns a 1-cost card.
- Replay the Scrap Trawler and the Myr Retriever, which leaves you in the same spot you were in except with the other 1-cost card in play. Do this trick one more time to get back where you were but up one card from your Terrarion/Star.
- Engineered Explosives can also be used as the second 1-cost cards as you can announce it for x=1.
- KCI + Scrap Trawler + Myr Retriever + Chromatic Star or Sphere + Mox Opal
- Announce your intent to sacrifice Chromatic Star for mana, then pay the cost using Krark-Clan Ironworks, Retriever, and Mox Opal (making 7 mana).
- Ironworks returns Retriever, Retriever returns Star and Ironworks, and Star returns Opal, so you end up with everything back in your hand.
- Replay everything with the 7 mana you made.
- Rinse and repeat, drawing a card each time.
- KCI + Sai + two Myr Retrievers
- Keep playing Retrievers and sacrificing them to KCI to return the other Retriever. Each time you gain one Thopter.
- KCI + Sai + Scrap Trawler + Myr Retriever
- Scrap Trawler and Myr Retriever can sacrifice to return each other. Normally you’d lose mana on this exchange, but the Sai Thopters have you covered.
- Scrap Trawler does some really cool tricks without KCI. My favorite is when you draw Opal, you can keep sacrificing Stars and Spheres to return your legend-ruled Opals.
- KCI is almost always short on cards, not mana. With that in mind:
- If you can either cast KCI and follow up with an extra Mox Opal to generate more mana, or use a second Opal to cast KCI and leave a Mind Stone activation, Inventors’ Fair activation, Buried Ruin activation, or an extra land drop available, you should play the second Opal the vast majority of the time.
- Chromatic Sphere should usually be cycled for a card, not mana.
- When to cycle eggs is often tricky. In general:
- The more other cards you have that can be sacrificed to KCI like Darksteel Citadel and Mox Opal, the better it is to cycle eggs.
- Chromatic Sphere has a much lower bar to cycle since you don’t get a card if you sacrifice it to KCI.
- Sometimes all you need to get the party started is something to pay for.
- Announce your intent to use Engineered Explosives or Sai’s ability, and use KCI to pay for it sacrificing Retriever and Trawler to pay for it. This allows you to get a Star back and get an infinite cards loop going.
Until next time, good luck fighting through the hate.