Daily Digest: The Timeless Art Of Deception

Splinter Twin’s banning has created a world where Kiki-Jiki and friends do their best impressions. Ross Merriam may have found the best Modern list yet!

Since the Splinter Twin ban earlier this year, I’ve written a lot in this space about potential successors to the archetype. Most of them embodied the same
combo-control philosophy reliant on creating false tempo by keeping your opponent in a constant state of fear. But there were variants of Splinter
Twin that were dedicated combo decks, often using mana acceleration to both power out the combo and utilize hate cards, like Blood Moon.

Today’s list is the spiritual successor to those Twin decks. It is a dedicated combo deck, playing a healthy number of each piece, plenty of tutors to find
them, and several ways to accelerate it out and protect it from disruption.

The result is a deck that has an impressive and reasonable sequence ending in a turn-three win:

Turn 1: Birds of Paradise/Noble Hierarch.

Turn 2: Deceiver Exarch/Pestermite tapping an opposing land on their upkeep.

Turn 3: Phantasmal Image copying your three-drop, untapping one of your lands, Eldritch Evolution the copied three-drop into a Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker.

If you play first, your opponent better have some one-mana interaction or they are dead. And since this deck has plenty of tempo elements, your opponents
are incentivized to tap out on the early turns.

Phantasmal Image was always an excellent card with Birthing Pod, since copying a creature that costs more than two mana let you skip the curve restriction.
It functions similarly with Eldritch Evolution. Copying an Eternal Witness or Reflector Mage lets you get some added functionality before turning it into
the game-winning Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker.

In a deck with Collected Company, it also gives you a two-mana card with the power of a three-mana card, so you can help counter the incentive Collected
Company provides to load up on three-drops. Phantasmal Image is the straw that stirs the drink, so to speak.

Spellskite, Voice of Resurgence, and Eternal Witness let you play through disruption effectively, and Reflector Mage lets you pivot into an aggressive deck
when necessary while also buying you some time against other aggressive decks.

There is some spice in the sideboard which you can customize to your liking (sai clearly doesn’t like losing to Burn), but the maindeck is lean and
focused, just like a combo deck should be. The one exception here is the singleton Reclamation Sage, which is necessary for Spellskite, Ensnaring Bridge,
and the like, which I can understand. There is more than enough here to ensure that you’re attacking your opponent with a million Faeries, Wizards, or Frog
things. Or, if you want to rub it in, all three.