Kuldotha Rebirth saw some fringe play during its time in Standard, but was never a major player because of the weak cards you needed to pair with it for it to function consistently. (Friends don’t let friends register Panic Spellbomb.) Synergy-laden aggressive decks require such a large number of functional pieces that they are often only available in larger formats, so it does not surprise me to see a card like Kuldotha Rebirth make its way into Modern.
With access to the Affinity base of cheap creatures and now a full squad of eight Bushwhackers, Kuldotha Rebirth can lead to some incredibly powerful starts, killing on turn 3 a reasonable portion of the time. The wide nature of the deck helps to insulate you against early Lightning Bolts, although some of your draws will depend on Signal Pest.
The other powerful card you gain for committing to Kuldotha Rebirth is Goblin Grenade. Simply put, five damage for one mana is an absurd rate and having a full four of these alongside four Lightning Bolts will mean that you can often close games out when your opponent stabilizes at ten life or more, making your explosive early turns that much more threatening. There will be games where your opponent’s inability to interact on turn 1 will cost them the game because you will get in enough damage on the first two turns to put them into burn range.
Jordan McCutcheon has supplemented his burn package with Atarka’s Command, which plays nicely with the deck’s strategy, although I worry about having enough green sources to cast it consistently. If that is the case, then Haze of Rage could be a suitable replacement, which could lead to some broken plays. It is also important to keep the number of two-mana spells in the deck to a minimum, since you would like to empty your hand as quickly as possible, so with either pump spell I am skeptical that you want all four copies.
Simian Spirit Guide is a nice addition, since the deck likes mana acceleration, but I believe Mox Opal would be better. It is an artifact for Kuldotha Rebirth, green mana for potential Atarka’s Commands, and just a more powerful card in general. For the most part, the decks in Modern have to take advantage of something supremely powerful, and Mox Opal seems to be the most powerful card that fits this strategy, since it is an Affinity-Zoo hybrid.
As expected, the sideboard for a mono-colored aggro deck is rather poor. Shrapnel Blast is a nice option to accentuate the burn aspect of the deck, and you will always have good options for artifact removal and answering small creatures. Blood Moon and Spellskite seem out of place, although the former is powerful enough with the acceleration in the deck that it could still be worthwhile. I like Grafdigger’s Cage a lot, since Abzan Company is getting more popular.
With Affinity doing poorly last weekend at #SCGMKE and Zoo on the rise, the time is right for a deck going wide with small creatures, and nothing goes wider than Kuldotha Rebirth. Just make sure you have plenty of Cedric Phillips tokens on hand.
- 4 Ornithopter
- 2 Simian Spirit Guide
- 4 Goblin Bushwhacker
- 4 Goblin Guide
- 4 Memnite
- 4 Signal Pest
- 2 Monastery Swiftspear
- 4 Reckless Bushwhacker