Daily Digest: The Angel Has Landed

Ross Merriam has turned this into a theme week! The theme? Infuriating your opponents! What better way to do that than blowing up all their lands at the #SCGCOL Modern Classic?

There’s been a running theme lately with these Daily Digests, that theme being “decks that are most likely to drive your opponent into a blinding rage.” The name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue but it’s effective nonetheless.

Land Destruction is the granddaddy of all frustrating decks as the curve of “mana creature into Stone Rain” has ruined countless loose keeps over the years. The first Stone Rain can be annoying, but it’s not game-ending in most cases. The second Stone Rain is always annoying and can very well be game-ending. The third one is groan-inducing, since it usually ends the game on the spot.

What about the seventh one? Blinding rage, right? You basically turn into this guy.

Fortunately this deck only has seven Stone Rain effects between the four copies of Fulminator Mage and three of Avalanche Riders, so we won’t draw them all.

Look closer. With Restoration Angel to blink Avalanche Riders (I’d suggest with the echo trigger on the stack); Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker to copy either Riders or Fulminator Mage; and a singleton Alesha, Who Smiles at Death to recur them every turn, seven seems like a fair estimate. Throw in Chord of Calling as additional copies of any of these creatures and seven starts to seem low.

What you end up with is this brainchild of a sadistic Jeff Hoogland fan from Scotland. The Kiki Jiki – Restoration Angel combo lets you end the game before your opponent can recover, which has historically been a key problem for land destruction decks to solve. The fact that the pieces slot perfectly into the land destruction plan is the gravy on your haggis. (Do you even put gravy on haggis?) [Clan Sutherland Copy Editor’s Note: Theoretically possible, but I don’t recommend it.]

Alesha, Who Smiles at Death also pulls double-duty by allowing you to recur Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker to complete the combo after destroying three or four lands. The rest of the list is typical of Kiki-Chord, albeit with a shift to maximize the potential of Restoration Angel and Alesha, hence the two copies of Huntmaster of the Fells. You can even rebuy Huntmaster from the graveyard and transform it on the following upkeep!

The one holdover from a stock Kiki-Chord list that doesn’t belong is Path to Exile, which needless to say is quite the nonbo with the deck’s core plan. You don’t need to kill a lot of stuff, since it won’t be long before your opponent can’t cast anything, so some split of Lightning Bolts and Dismembers will likely work, or you could play more defensive creatures like Wall of Omens. Just don’t give them a land for free after you spend three mana and a card killing one. If you do, your opponent may actually crack a smile for a change, and that would be awful.