Welcome to the Kiki Pod Primer! This primer will discuss the Modern Kiki Pod deck that contains the Restoration Angel/Kiki-Jiki combo finish. Here is the old thread.
Q: Whoa back up, you say this deck has a combo finish? What combo exactly?
A: The combo finish this deck contains involves Kiki-Jiki, the Mirror Breaker and another creature that untaps him. Restoration Angel does this by blinking him, returning to the battlefield untapped. Zealous Conscripts and Deceiver Exarch does this by just untapping him. You can see all of the combos towards the bottom of the primer.
Just to be sure you are not confused, here is how it works with the Angel (the most common combo)
-Restoration Angel and Kiki-Jiki, the Mirror Breaker in play.
-Tap Kiki-Jiki, targeting and copying the Angel.
-The Angel token comes into play, targeting and blinking Kiki-Jiki (resulting it in play untapped)
-Rinse and repeat.
Q: Okay that's cool, but doesn't this combo already have a deck dedicated to the combo? (The URx Twin deck) Why should I play this deck when that deck is more steamlined with this combo?
A: That's a fair question my friend. First, you are correct that the UR deck is more streamlined with the combo. It has more redundancy and is dedicated to the combo. While this makes it perhaps better at the combo, it also makes it a weaker deck. Hate that would hit the combo (like Combust) cripples the deck because they have no plan B. They only have the combo. While Combust still hurts our deck, we have the plan B of beating down. So if a player brings in too much hate for the combo, they will just succumb to our beatdown plan. In addition, the decks heavy tutor element allows it to tutor up silverbullets that can deal with problematic cards (like Linvala).
Q: This deck sounds just like the Melira Pod deck. Why play this over that?
A: Both decks have their merits and they both have a combo kill. The reason to play this deck over that is this combo is only two cards, while Melira is three cards. Which makes our combo more practical when faced with interaction from our opponent. Another factor to consider is what cards are used to combo off with each deck. Melira requires Finks or Redcap, Melira, Sylvok Outcast, and a sac outlet, normally Viscera Seer. Finks is a fine card on its own, but Melira and Seer are just about useless outside of the combo. Comparing this to Naya Pod, where Kiki-Jiki and Restoration Angel are inherently more powerful when they aren't interacting together. In addition, Kiki-Pod is much more explosive in that it can set up the combo quickly. There is plenty of situations in Melira Pod where you could Pod multiple times and not actually assemble a combo kill. Whereas in Kiki-Pod, there is plenty of situations where you can activate Pod multiples times in a single turn and assemble the combo out of nowhere. This ability to have a constant threat of combo gives the deck another angle of attack of simply forcing your opponent to play differently because they die of they don't respect that potential.
One Drops: Birds of Paradise/Noble Hierarch: Nearly all list play 8 dorks. The dorks allow us to accelerate into our threats and combo pieces so we can win quickly. Turn 2 Pod is one, if the not THE strongest play the deck has. The deck is incredibly mana hungry and having extra sources of mana is super important.
Two Drops: Wall of Roots: Wall of Roots used to be a 4-of in this deck but with lists cutting Chord (or at least cutting down on the number of Chords) he loses value and we are looking for something that applies pressure. Still, being able to Pod your Dork for another, bigger Dork is still fine. Most Chord lists play 2 Wall but if you play more Chord you may want more Walls and if you cut Chord you can probably get away with 1. However, I would never cut this card because you want a mana accelerator at the CMC 2 slot so you can Pod your dorks to advance your Pod chain without Stone Raining yourself.
Voice of Resurgence: One of best newest additions to the list. Voice is more or less the 2-drop finks. The ability to have an aggressive body that creates advantage when you Pod it away is incredible. In addition Voice is such a beating against blue decks that Voice is a lock as a 2-of in this deck. However, I would not be surprised if a metagame called for 3 or maybe even 4.
Scavenging Ooze: Another great two-drop that we have recently acquired. Scooze is fantastic at dealing with the high pressure our opponents can provide with Tarmogoyf. This deck also can deal a high amount of damage to itself and having another card to help gain life along side Finks is welcomed. PLUS, he is a nice bullet against Living End. You should definitely play 1, but I think 2 is ideal.
Qasali Pridemage: An aggressive creature that doubles an tutorable artifact/enchantment destruction. You certainly want 1 of these in your 75. Prior to M15, he was the default MD artifact/enchantment destruction since he didn't have the mandatory trigger of Harmonic Sliver and was a decent beater. However, with the advent of Reclamation Sage, I think he may finally be a SB card. Still, I could never fault anyone for playing him in the main.
Spellskite: In addition to protection our combo, Spellskite blocks very well and is just the stone nuts against some of the more fringe decks in the format like Burn, Infect, or Boggles. However, where he really shines is being a fantastic silver bullet against Twin, forcing them to either have the very specific combo of Exarch/Kiki or a removal spell. If he only did one of the above he would be good enough to be in the SB but being so versatile gives him a nod to the main. Play 1 but there could be a format where you would want more.
Phantasmal Image: While he no longer allows us to Doom Blade legends, he does still allow you to kill with a one and two drop in play and being able to turn your dorks into value is still nice. Some lists have cut it all together. Some people swear by it. This is certainly one of the slots in the deck that is still contested.
Kataki, War's Wage: A narrow sideboard card but narrow doesn't mean not powerful. Kataki is very very good against Affinity, which can be a problematic matchup. Kataki is a strong trump to help swing the matchup in our favor.
Three drops: Kitchen Finks: One of our best creatures. Not only does Finks help recur life lost to Pod it also synergies with our namesake artifact by providing a body after it is sacrificed (netting more life!). Not to mention Finks is half of the Finks-Resto combo (seen below). Finks is everything this deck wants. I wouldn't play less than 3 but some people have opted for 2.
Eternal Witness: Fills the role as another value 3 drop. Being able to recur any silver bullet is excellent for our deck. In addition, she allows us to win with a single Chord of calling (see below). Another draw to her is her strength against Path to Exile decks. Normally we go right to Finks because even if they kill it we still get to continue Podding. However, against Path decks they can kill finks for good. With Witness though you can recur your sacrificed two drop so even if they Path or Bolt her, you can still continue with your chain.
Harmonic Sliver/Reclamation Sage: Another artifact/enchantment removal creature. We should definitely play 1 in our 75 but the question is which one? Do you prefer the extra power and "may" trigger on Sage (so you don't have to destroy your own Pod)? Or do you prefer the synergy that Harmonic Sliver has with Image and Kiki-Jiki (if you have a second Sliver, it has 2 instances of "Disenchant")? The decision is yours. Personally, I like the Sage but I am also am not currently playing Image. I couldn't fault anyone for play either card.
Izzet Staticaster/Cunning Sparkmage: Like the above card pair, it all comes down to personal preference. Do you prefer the flash and bigger butt on Staticaster in exchange for having some awkward board states where you might also lose a creature or do you prefer the more straight forward Sparkmage? The choice is yours. At least this spot isn't necessary and some people choose to not to play either.
Deceiver Exarch:Deceiver Exarch: Basically this is a combo piece at the CMC 3 spot. He allows for wins out of nowhere, giving the deck an unforgiving edge. You don't want too many of them though as they aren't the best card to naturally draw and don't provide the most pressure. Most lists play 1 but some play 2. I wouldn't play anymore though. You can read tricks with Exarch down below.
Eidolon of Rhetoric: Our "Rule of Law" against Storm. She is also not bad against the UGr version of Scapeshift as it turns off their Snapcasters and prevents them from having counter back up to Scapeshift (and she survives Anger). I suggest 1 in your 75.
Aven Mindcensor: A decent hate bear against Scapeshift, the mirror, and Tron. Not a necessity but decent card all around. I wouldn't play more than 1.
Fulminator Mage: Early version played this guy as a card against Tron but now he doesn't get any attention. We are better off playing something like Riders who won't interupt our Pod chain (and has synergy with Resto) or a more powerful trump like Sowing Salt.
Fiend Hunter/Banisher Priest: A 3-drop removal slot. This isn't a very popular card choice but in a metagame full of Pod decks and other midrange decks this could be a valuable addition.
Four Drops: Restoration Angel: One of the reasons to play this deck. The deck may be called Kiki Pod is Restoration Angel is the true star of the deck. Not only is Resto one of the combo pieces of the deck, but she has great synergy with all our ETB creatures(which we have plenty of). A great card all around. Minimum of 3.
Linvala, Keeper of the Silence: Shuts down the Twin, Melira, and mirror. Card is THE most important card in the mirror. Most lists play 1 but like a lot of these cards, if your metagame calls for it, play more.
Murderous Redcap: One of our 4 drop persist creatures which gives us access to the the Conscripts/Kiki-Jiki combo. He helps out in creature matchups and can grind out players with Kiki-Jiki. There isn't really much to say about him. He doesn't do anything fancy, but he does his job well.
Glen Elendra Archamge: Our control killer. Glen is an insane card against both control decks and a deck like Scapeshift. Like Redcap, Glen is our other persist creature. Like Redcap, there isn't much to say. A solid card. A great card.
Avalanche Rider: Tron/Scapeshift hate but the card is also good vs UWx Control. A solid Stone Rain variant that has some sexy interactions with Resto where you flash in Resto with the echo trigger on the stack so you can blow up another land. I suggest playing one.
Thrun, the Last Troll: An excellent SB card against BG and UW. Tough to remove and hits like a ton of bricks.
Obstinate Baloth: Another excellent SB card. A good card against the aggressive decks and Liliana decks.
Five Drops: Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker: One of our namesake cards. Not only does Kiki kill our opponent but when we aren't comboing Kiki is able to help us gain advantage by copying Finks and Voices (which when the Voice token dies you get an elemental!) However, Kiki is a legend and cost 5 mana so most lists only play 2 now.
Zealous Conscripts: Another combo card. See below for combo. Also, it allows you to deal with stuff like Ghostly Prison, Vedalken Shackles, ect, ect.
Thragtusk: Similar to Baloth, Tusk provides some sweet sweet life gain and some advantage. However, the 3/3 Beast can be irrelevant in a Bolt format and the discard clause on Baloth can be relevant. Tusk isn't a bad card, but I would play Baloth over it.
Sigarda, Host of Herons: A powerful trump against Jund and a decent card against UWR. However, costing 5 can be a bit problematic especially when it can get countered. If your meta is a lot of BGx, give her a try. Otherwise I say stick with Thrun.
Spells: Birthing Pod: The best card in our deck. It's is the sole reason the deck even exists! Get it down early and start going to town. 4-of. No questions asked.
Chord of Calling: Chord is a card that used to be a 4-of but because of it's clunky nature, has been lowered to 2-3 in most lists. (Though some have cut all of them). Chord gives us further tutoring for our bullets and allows to work at instant speed, which is relevant against combo decks and control decks. I personally still love Chord, but I could see a metagame full of midrange rock decks that make Chord seem much less appealing.
Domri Rade: Those who don't play Chord have seemed to have chosen Domri. Domri acts a pseudo-Pod of sorts in that it allows us to gain card advantage. Against a deck like BGx or UWR we want to play cheaper cards so we can turn the tide of the match early and not be on the back foot. However, where Domri is better against BGx or UWR, he is a stone blank against decks like Tron or Twin. In addition to being a blank, even though he help filters through the deck, he is not a tutor. Sometimes you really need that bullet and where Chord would be able to find it, Domri is just hoping it's near the top. This isn't to say Domri is bad, just that the metagame needs to be in a certian place for him to really shine.
Path to Exile: Our premier removal spell which is most of the time regulated to the SB. We bring it in against GBx, aggro decks, the mirror, and Twin.
Negate: Another card to bring in against spell-based combo decks. I also like bringing in one against control to keep them on their toes.
Ancient Grudge: A catch-all artifact removal spell. Remember, this is not a card FOR Affinity but for decks that you want that extra removal. Yes, Grudge is good against Affinity, but if you are looking for a real trump in that matchup you are better off with Creeping Corrosion/Shatterstorm/Kataki.
Creeping Corrosion/Shatterstorm: Like I said, there are better cards against Affinity. Remember that it does destroy our Pods too so make sure you sequence your plays accordingly.
Fiery Justice: Another removal spell in our SB. Justice is actually just insane against GB and the mirror (as well as Affinity and other aggro decks). The only reason we don't play more is because costing 3 can be constricting sometimes. Still, some people have played 2 and done fine.
Combust: Twin hate mostly but it does kill Linvala so keep that in mind.
Sowing Salt: Excellent trump against Tron and Scapeshift. Where I bring Riders in against UWR I don't bring this card in. Though I guess if your opponent is playing some weird deck with only Colonnade as the kill condition this could be good.
Grove of the Burnwillows: Perfect land for our deck. The life gain basically doesn't matter since we will be dealing infinite damage.
Forest/Plains: Basic lands fetchable with our fetches to help play around Blood Moon at to give us a land that we can fetch for without taking damage.
Gavony Township: A colorless land in a 4 color deck? Yes, because it is THAT good. Allowing our dorks and small creatures to get big and bring the beats can force our opponents to deal with EVERY creature.
Fire-Lit Thicket: A filter land that lets us hit both RR and GG for Kiki and Chord respectively.
Matchups: Melira Pod/Angel Pod: Favorable. The matchup basically comes down to Linvala and protection Linvala. The advantage we have is we can trump their infinite life combo with infinite damage and we can stop the Melira combo with Scooze. It's by no mean a bye and it takes tight play but this matchup feels good for us.
Boggles: Favorable. We have infinite creatures to block theirs and life gain to keep us from dying. They only have Path's to interact with our combo and we have a MD Skite to tutor to prevent them from even panting up their hexproof dorks.
BGx Midrange: Favorable if they aren't play red. Even if they are. Anger is really that good. Our normal attrition game of Finks and Voices getting trumped by a single removal spell is rough. Still, the matchup is not unfavorable and if midrange is that big in your area you can also play something like Sigarda as the ultimate trump.
Merfolk: Even. They are a slow aggro deck but can amass a powerful army if left unchecked. You need to make sure you remove their lords so they don't outclass your creatures.
UWR: Even. Another Anger deck, UWR can sometimes just blow us out with infinite Bolts, Electrolyze, and Angers. However, some times we just play a Turn 2 Pod and ride it victory. Voice does a lot of work here and like the other attrition matchups, you are more focused on killing them with creature beats rather than the combo.
Affinity: Favorable. The premier aggro deck of the format. In this matchup we are the control deck so the plan is to simply survive until we can either just combo them out or we have amassed an impassible creature army.
Twin: Even. You have Skite and Linvala which are incredible good against them. In addition you get to provide decent pressure so they can't just durdle all day. That said, it is one of the best decks in the format and sometimes they just natural Turn 4 you.
Storm: Unfavorable. They get to ignore your plan and play Solitaire. Eidolon helps but it is still not a great matchup.
Scapeshift: Unfavorable. They have access to Anger, counterspells, and they are a combo deck. Again our SB cards help but they don't tilt the odds in our favor.
Tron: Unfavorable. They have a bunch of two mana wraths and can cast Turn 3 Karn. Game 1 is pretty abysmal but G2 and 3 can be more practical with our SB options.
Birthing Pod Chains:
There are a few chains in the the deck that, when you untap with Pod, you are able to assemble the combo. I will go through with them with you.
One-drop and two-drop chain:
-Pod off the two drop for Exarch
-Pod off the one drop for Image
-Pod off the Image'd Exarch for Restoration Angel
-Pod off Angel for Kiki-Jiki
Two-drop and three-drop chain:
-Pod off the two drop for Exarch
-Pod off the three-drop for Restoration Angel
-Pod off Angel for Kiki-Jiki
Two-drop and four-drop chain:
-Pod off two-drop for Exarch
-Pod off four-drop for Kiki-Jiki
Three-drop and four-drop chains:
-Pod off four-drop for Conscripts
-Pod off three-drop for Angel
-Pod off Angel for Kiki-Jiki
In addition, there are a few chains you can pull off if you have a specific creature in play:
One-drop and Exarch chain:
-Pod off the one drop for Image
-Pod off the Image'd Exarch for Restoration Angel
-Pod off Angel for Kiki-Jiki
Murderous Redcap/Glen Elandra Archmage chain:
-Pod off the Redcap/Archmage
-Redcap/Archamge returns to the battlefield
-Pod resolves, fetching Conscripts
-Pod off the Redcap/Archmage for Kiki-Jiki
Then there is another common Pod chain that allows you to grind out attrition based matches
-Pod off Finks
-Finks returns to the battlefield
-Pod resolves, fetching Angel
This allows you to have a fresh Finks every turn and to get a free Angel out of the deal (not to mention a nice chunk of life too)
There is one more series of plays that allows you to win with a single Chord over the course a few turns. Chord Chain:
-Chord for 3, getting Witness.
-Witness gets back Chord.
-Chord for 4, getting Resto
-Resto blinks Witness
-Witness gets back Chord
-Chord for 5, getting Kiki
I hope the primer helped! If you have any questions feel free to ask!?!
Repeat once a turn (or until all Restoration Angels and possibly Phyrexian Metamorphs copying Res Angel are out of the library)
Yes, I've checked with the New Card Rulings guys, and this works (I was made uncertain by another player's assertion that if you put Strangleroot Geist in a Birthing Pod and search for Champion of Lambholt, Champion ETB with a +1/+1 counter because Undying goes on the stack below the Pod ability).
I've found it grinds out a lot of fair decks like Jund and is a valid Plan B. Having people remove Finks instead of Kiki-Jiki is funny.
Thanks for the primer as it's a good start to understand the deck and decide if it's a good fit for you or not.
However if i may add some (hopefully constructive) comment. Can you list the weaknesses and especially vs melira pod? i have listed some, maybe some are wrong please comment.
- naya Pod is less vulnerable to grafedigger's cage than melira pod (since this "only" stop the pod/calling and not the combo itself)
- naya Pod is more vulnerable to torptor orb (since melira can scry up to a solution)
- Naya pod has more uesful main deck card (you cover it)
- naya pod is vulnerable to ghostly prison... but melira pod was also with other anti graveyard spell
- when you combo = you win, with melira pod you win on next turn
- Who has the most efficient plan B ?
I like your comment about the deceiver but i will have ot test it first because what annoys me is that you have only 4x2 drop that can help to chain up (compare to 8 in the melira pod)
One thing to note about ghostly prison is that village bell ringers and a mana dork create enough mana to attack with half of your infinity creatures. That's about the only advantage I see to running bell ringers other than staying on color.
Because Rootbound really doesn't come in as easily due to the fact that you have to think at least a turn ahead with your fetches, assuming you have a fetch at all (many decks only run 4 fetches.) The life gained is largely irrelevant given the fact that you're probably going to turn that life gain into a rounding error when you attack with Avogadro's number worth of angels. I played with Rootbounds in my preliminary testing due to availability, groves are honestly much easier to deal with based upon my experience. If I were to use Rootbounds seriously, I'd retool the manabase to include more basics or shocklands.
Back to the deck in general, I've been a pretty big fan of 1 Thalia main. previously I had 3 finks and 1 Thalia, now I'm thinking of cutting Spellskite to the side instead. That being said, my local meta is relatively heavy with storm. I find that not being a dog to game 1 storm shenanigans really helps given their ability to randomly blow out boarded hate with a turn 2-3 goblin swarm. At the moment, my side is more along the lines of
2 Sowing salt (considering 3, it's just such a blow out, even if they can get karn out beforehand.)
1 Fulminator Mage
2 Forked Bolt (this is a life saver against affinity)
1 Harmonic Sliver
2 Quasali Pridemage
Bear in mind that it's tuned for my local meta rather than the world at large.
I've been playing this deck a fair bit, and I tend to agree with Thalia main. She doesn't hurt you all that much, but she's great nearly everywhere else, especially in problem mathes like storm. I tended to lean away from the combo plan a little. I only play 2 kiki-jiki's, an I eschew the bell ringers. I found that I kept wanting fewer and fewer kikis as the games were playing out, draw 2 usually sucked, and drawing 3 was usually fatal. With the 8 tutor effects, I haven't really missed them. I rarely have trouble combining due to lack of pieces.
This has left me with a few maindeck slots to play around with, and I haven't really found anything satisfying besides Thalia main. I have the standard sparkmage, witness, spellskite, and pridemage, but the remaining 3-ish slots are still open.
I very much like the exarch plan, and I will try that, because I very often found myself wanting an untap effect for the pod, and the fact that it combos too is amazing.
Also, I like the horizon canopy. I wouldn't consider cutting a land because I do often get mana screwed in the early turns, but at the same time, I find myself losing quite often to flood in the later game, because 23 land +10 mana dorks is a lot.
Any further input would be greatly appreciated, and sorry for any spelling or grammar mistakes, I'm typing this on my phone.
I will try it out for sure. Unfortunately i lost my first round of the Lantern IQ, in a match i thought i could've won..
Game 1 i got the combo off
Game 2 i learned the hard way to NEVER take out Village-Bell Ringer, as if i had him i think i could've won...but his Fliers took over the game.
Also i think i misplayed early in the game as i think i forgot to attack with a Kitchen Finks, and at the turn i could've won, he was at 11 as opposed to 8 life so i could've swung with my Kitchen Finks, Qasali Pridemage, and cloned Kitchen Finks from a Kiki-Jiki.
I will consider trying it out, but Village Bell-Ringer proved his worth vs. Ghostly Prison for me already. The guy thought he was safe and i just combed off to his dismay so...
But there were many times where i wished i could pod twice to win on the spot so there is that too...
Ill maybe give it a whirl Koopa. Anyway i think the deck is very powerful, but when the opponent is playing main deck Angel of Jubilation and lots of targeted Discard (which i found out SUCKS against this deck. Seriously if it weren't for his Inquisition followed by a Thoughtseize the next turn i could've won. I could've corded for a Dork, Chorded for Village Bell Ringer and played Kiki-Jiki to win...) you just kinda shrug your shoulders and say i guess ill try next month...
EDIT: Also apparently I'm well passed 2000 posts so...yay for me lol
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I don't really see how bell ringers gets through ghostly prison. You still have to attack with all the tokens short of having a cunning sparkmage on the field. In that respect, it is better than exarch, but the ability to pod twice in one turn has been huge for me, an I've never had a use for bell ringers. When I draw it, it's always a dead card until I'm comboing.
On the other hand, if you have at least one mana dork not named Wall of Roots/Lotus Cobra (Dryad Arbor counts as a valid mana dork) when you combo off with Bell-Ringer, you can gain infinite mana and pay for at least half your infinite Bell-Ringers when you need to attack through Ghostly Prison.
Remember, half of (countable) infinity is still infinity!
...Yeah, I got Nath'd pretty hard. (I was in the middle of typing this post when DXI-Edge already posted...)
Alright, fair enough. I didn't think of mana dorks, but so far I haven't lost any consistency with the switch to exarch. Also, tapping opposin stuf has been relevant.
On another note, what sorts of bullets are you guys finding to be effective? I have a few spots in my liand it I haven't really found anything satisfying yet.
Also, is anyone else finding 4 Kiki jiki's to be too many? Even with three, I only want more in the mirror match. I just never want to draw more than the one I need for the combo, because, though their useful, the almost never makes it through. Between my 8 tutors, I've never really had an issue getting him out for combos. That, and fewer copies of him make beatdown much more viable.
I play with only two Kiki-Jikis and I don't regret that decision. Then again, I run a heavier recursion theme with Eternal Witness and Reveillark, so I can probably pull him from the graveyard if necessary.
I remember the old RUG Twin Pod lists also played only 2 Kiki-Jikis; in some ways, my list emulates those lists. (In other ways, the Angel Chain is the nuts and a half and an awesome reason to go Naya.)