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Rogue Report: Let’s Get Friki (PTQ Honolulu Report, *1st*)

Jonathon Loucks

It's raining, but I don't care.  Everything is perfect.  I'm all smiles.

Kiki-Jiki Copies an Article

In my last article I mentioned a UWR Kiki-Jiki and Pestermite deck.  At the end, I said this:

"I like where this UWR version is going.  Now its got proper disruption, some good threats, and isn't nearly as slow and awkward.  I could see myself playing something like this at a PTQ.  If you've got any ideas for the deck please let me know, I would really like to see this deck work.  I'm sure there are two-power creatures out there I'm forgetting about."

The deck was really fun to play, and I didn't feel too invested in the format anymore, so I played a version of it at a PTQ in Portland and the next Saturday at a PTQ in Seattle.  The version I played in Seattle, with some minor changes from the previous PTQ, was this:

Kiki-Jiki gets Friki-Diki

4 Flooded Strand
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Polluted Delta
2 Sacred Foundry
2 Steam Vents
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Plains
1 Mountain
1 Island
3 Rugged Prairie
2 Cascade Bluffs
1 Ancient Den
1 Great Furnace
1 Academy Ruins
1 Tolaria West

4 Pestermite
3 Trinket Mage
3 Kitchen Finks
3 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
2 Reveillark
1 Body Double

4 Mana Leak
3 Thirst for Knowledge
3 Gifts Ungiven
1 Resurrection
1 Firespout
1 Wrath of God
1 Pyrite Spellbomb
1 Sunbeam Spellbomb
1 Pithing Needle
1 Chalice of the Void
2 Engineered Explosives
1 Chrome Mox

SB:
1 Shatterstorm
1 Kataki
1 Hurkyl’s Recall
1 Tormod’s Crypt
1 Volcanic Fallout
1 Firespout
1 Wrath of God
1 Pact of Negation
1 Sower of Temptation
1 Stifle
1 Trickbind
1 Ethersworn Canonist
1 Rule of Law
1 Duergar Hedge-Mage
1 Gilded Light

Thanks to Gavin Verhey's suggestion (at least I think it was Gavin) Trinket Mage made it into the deck.  I always felt like I needed more ways to get to cards, especially when my Reveillark died, but Mulldrifter was way too slow.  Trinket Mage was exactly what I wanted, and that's how the artifact package made it into the deck.  The other big change was dropping the Sower of Temptations and Glen Elendra Archmages for Thirst for Knowledge, another way to draw some cards, which was made much better with the artifact package.

The artifact package itself is a little strange looking, with the Spellbombs and all, but it was working really well for me.  I was having trouble doing things in the early turns of the game, and these cheap artifacts helped a lot, especially the Explosives.  I had Tormod's Crypt in the maindeck for a while, but then somebody (I think Jed Dolbeer) pointed out that Chalice of the Void was just as good, if not better, against Loam.  Chalice turned out to be great in the maindeck once I played with it, especially at shutting off Path to Exile.  Sunbeam Spellbomb is there for aggro, giving you an extra cushion against their burn, and Pyrite Spellbomb is supposed to kill Sower of Temptation and Gaddok Teeg.  The Chrome Mox is useful when drawn (but you never ever want two) and can be fetched to accelerate a Kiki-Jiki or Reveillark onto the table.

Sorry about the crazy sideboard.  I started with one-ofs against Affinity so that I could cast a devastating Gifts Ungiven, grabbing Kataki, Hurkyl's Recall, Shatterstorm, and either Chalice (to protect Kataki from Path) or Wrath of God.  The one-of plan spread to Mind's Desire, where it also worked pretty well.  You side in five cards that stop their combo, so if you draw one of them it can often buy you time to Gifts for the other four, putting them in a tough spot.  Tormod's Crypt went in the sideboard, along with a second Firespout and Wrath of God, and I thought, why not go all the way?  I'll play a fifteen unique card sideboard (Worked for Nassif! – LSV).

I'm really happy with the maindeck, and the sideboard was pretty good, though I'll admit I doubt it was optimal.  Duergar Hedge-Mage was the lamest sideboard card of the weekend, and Pact of Negation was the all-star.

PTQing with Mirror Breaker – I intervene!

I posted on the local message boards a story about a person I played the deck against that thought he could interrupt infinite loops just by wanting to.  He misread the rules, which said that an infinite loop continues a chosen number of times unless a player intervenes, thinking that intervening just meant wanting to.  I went off with Kiki-Jiki and Pestermite, and he said "I INTERVENE" after I made two Pestermites.  Now it's the local joke about the deck – intervening is all it takes to stop it.

Hoping people didn't know that juicy bit of tech, I sleeved up Kiki-Jiki for Portland.  I went 1-2 drop, beating Bant and losing to Affinity and Mind's Desire.  I lost the Affinity match to a mistake, and I felt like the Mind's Desire matchup could have gone the other way.  The deck was a lot of fun to play, so I didn't feel bad playing it at the next PTQ.  Seattle was pretty eventful, so I'll give you a full report.  It was 8 rounds with roughly 130 people.

Round 1 – Bant

I don't remember his draws being particularly good.  In the first game, the matchup went generally how it was supposed to.  Once they see Pestermite they usually know what's up, but then they start focusing on stopping the combo, which slows down their aggression.  I throw a Gifts Ungiven out there, Reveillark, Body Double/Resurrection, and eventually he'll run out of spells that stop those cards.  Meanwhile I slow him down with Engineered Explosives and Kitchen Finks.  The way you lose this matchup is if they play big threats in the first four turns, then counter one or two spells.  Your only out is sneaking in a Wrath of God, or nabbing an early Tarmogoyf with Firespout.

In game two I got a Pithing Needle on turn two, and he let it resolve.  I was going to name Umezawa's Jitte, but then I saw he still had a Flooded Strand on the table.  I didn't have any in my hand, yet, so I felt safe naming that card.  He tried to sac it in response, but I would have none of that.  He didn't cast anything on his next turn, and said go.  To be extra mean, I made him skip yet another turn by Pestermiting a land in his next upkeep.  At this point his was so far behind.  We played more turns of the game, and stuff happened, but without any pressure on me I had so much time to do whatever I wanted.

1-0

Round 2 – Slide

A friend of mine, Max, was sitting across from me.  I couldn't remember what he was playing, but that became pretty clear when he cast Astral Slide.  I had played this matchup once before (which is surprising because I barely tested the deck) and I knew that Slide had few answers to Reveillark.  I just had to keep him from leading all my big white elementals down a Path to Exile, and I would be fine.  Even then, I'm hopefully getting a Trinket Mage back, and Engineered Explosives is really good here.  Everything goes according to plan game one because I drew a Gifts Ungiven.  They can't really stop that spell, so it should mean game over.

I feel kind of bad for what I did to him in game two, it wasn't in the realm of fairness.  I cast a turn three Pestermite.  Turn four I do something pretty irrelevant, like pop an Explosives on his Relic of Progenitus.  On my fifth turn I cast Kiki-Jiki.  He copies Pestermite, to which Max responds to by cycling a few spells, then casting a Path to Exile on my Kiki-Jiki.  Unfortunately for Max, I had the one Pact of Negation in my hand, to which Max responds "Really?  Really."Ãƒâ€šÃ‚  I guess sometimes you just can't beat Pestermite + Kiki-Jiki + Pact.

2-0

Round 3 – Affinity

I lost game one to double Soul's Fire.  The matchup is decent for you in the sense that they have very few answers to your combo, usually just a couple Soul's Fire, if any.  Unfortunately they are usually too fast for you.  In this instance I had the combo, he had the Soul's Fire to stop it.  Then he untapped and had the second Soul's Fire to kill me before I can untap and kill him.  What can you do?

I can't remember exactly what happened in game two, but I won.  I think it was with the combo and not some game-shattering spell, but I can't remember for sure.

Game three was interesting because we were running out of time.  Eventually I had reduced his threats to just a Blinkmoth Nexus and an Ornithopter with one counter on it, but I didn't have much going on myself.  A Thirst for Knowledge gets me to a Kataki and a Chalice, which is perfect.  I cast the Chalice for one, he Path to Exile's my Pestermite, and then I cast Kataki.  He sighs and spends the next couple turns sacrificing a few permanents and tapping down.  Unfortunately I don't have much pressure, can't start attacking with Kataki yet, and the clock is running down.  I draw a Kiki-Jiki, cast it, and plan to copy a Kataki in my end step so he'll lose most of his artifacts by having to pay double upkeep.  It's then that I realized I can't copy Kataki because he's legendary.  Who knew?  I miss that potential attack with Kiki-Jiki, and then time was called.  I was mad because that two damage could mean a Reveillark off the top might not kill him.  Instead I just draw Pestermite on turn two of time and kill him with the combo.  I had a few more outs, but I was mad at myself for playing too slowly in the first two games and putting myself in that awkward situation to begin with.

3-0

Round 4 – Zoo

This is where I started to believe the universe wanted me to do well in this PTQ.  Kent, my opponent and a friend of mine, mulligans to five in the first game.  Turns out he is playing Zoo, probably my worst matchup.  Luckily his pressure isn't enough because he doesn't have the cards he needs to keep applying pressure, and I can force the combo through.

Then what does he do in game two?  He mulligans to five.  The same thing happens – his draw is awkward, slow, and lacks pressure, giving me time to get the combo.  I actually won this match by attacking with Kiki-Jiki.  What do I do when he Lightning Helixes my Kiki-Jiki?  I draw another one and keep attacking!  I guess sometimes that's how your bad matchups go.

4-0

Round 5 – Zoo

And sometimes, this is how your bad matchups go.  Sometimes you just get crushed.  Just destroyed.  He played a threat, a second threat, then a Sulfuric Vortex.  I don't think this deck can ever beat that draw.  You have to Mana Leak the Sulfuric Vortex to even have a chance, but that means you're not using Engineered Explosives on their creatures, so you're probably just dying anyway.  The only way I ever won in testing was when they played a Mogg Fanatic on turn one with limited backup.

There was a lesson learned this match, however, but it wasn't for me.  Game one ended when I conceded with the discard from Thirst for Knowledge on the stack, seeing that he was going to kill me and there was nothing I could do.  My opponent didn't fully know what I was playing going into game two, but it didn't matter.  It could have, however, when my friend (who shall remain nameless) finished his match next to us and turned, saying "now I'm going to watch Kiki-Jiki."Ãƒâ€šÃ‚  He's lucky it didn't actually matter at the time, but it very well could have.  You can get a lot of edge on your opponent when they don't know what you're playing, even if it's a tier one deck.  Announcing that your friend just made a sick Fatal Frenzy play the last round is a big deal, as playing against Fatal Frenzy is much different than playing against Soul's Fire.  Let this be a lesson to all of you – don't disrupt anybody's match!

4-1

Round 6 – BG Loam

Nathan Heiss.  Hey, I know that name!  We chat a bit before the match, and he was a really nice guy.  Somehow he looks grumpy on the outside, but he was my favorite person to play against that day.

He cycles a Barren Moor and starts to get the Life from the Loam engine going.  I played a Flooded Strand into a Steam Vents, and Nate comments that he thinks he knows what I'm playing.  I assume he thinks I'm playing Teps, so I play a Cascade Bluffs on turn two instead of Rugged Prairie, just to let him keep thinking that.  I did that with the deck a few times over the weekend.  I'm not sure if it helped, but its worth doing.  He still hits the Raven's Crime he was digging for, and figures out that I'm not actually Teps when I discard a Kiki-Jiki.  Luckily I get to cast Reveillark on my next turn before my hand is entirely stripped away, which it is.  Unfortunately for Nate, my next card was Wrath of God.  Must be nice.  I still have a good shot of winning the game up until that point, as I have a pretty unkillable creature on the board, but the Wrath ended it right then and there, as the combo was in my graveyard.  I sighed at my own draw, cast the Wrath of God, and Nate accepted his fate like a man.

On a related note, doesn't Reveillark make you do the strangest things?  I have a 4/3 flyer against my opponent's empty board.  I topdeck Wrath of God and couldn't be happier.  I cast my mass removal spell, before attacking, and win the game.  WAT?

He didn't get to entirely Raven's Crime my hand in game two because I had gotten a Chalice of the Void down for one.  Usually I like to make it for two in this matchup, because stopping Loam is the top priority, and they can't Crime//Punishment away a Chalice for two.  The Chalice was on one this time to stop his Raven's Crime from eating my hand, as well as halting Darkblast.  Nate had a Night of Soul's Betrayal out, so those Darkblasts were going to be really annoying.  Kiki-Jiki didn't care about his new 1/1 status, and continued to do sick things by copying a Reveillark.  If you've never copied a Reveillark, I'm sorry for you.  It's one of the best feelings you could have in a game of Magic.

5-1

Round 7 – Desire

He wins the die roll (one of the few I lost that day) plays a Steam Vents tapped and suspends a Lotus Bloom.  Great, this isn't my favorite matchup.  Game one is severely in their favor because you aren't nearly fast enough, and your disruption is limited.  You have good hate to bring in after sideboard, but then you have to draw the hate the next two games and have them not draw their counter-hate.  I'm thinking about all of this when he passes his second turn without doing anything – he doesn't even play a second land.  This is great for me, because I don't have Explosives or Chalice to stop is Bloom, but he can't Remand my Pestermite to tap it in his upkeep.  Still, he's probably going to untap and use that Bloom to go off.  That's too bad, because I don't even have a Mana leak to try to stop him, and this Kiki-Jiki in my hand won't come down until the fifth turn.  That is, it wasn't going to come down until I drew the one Chrome Mox on my fourth turn.  Sweet!  I had never before or since done the turn three Pestermite turn four Kiki-Jiki kill, and this was the best time for it!

He suspends a late Lotus Bloom in game two, and it won't be coming in until his sixth turn.  He Peers for a Ponder, and Ponders, stopping at two lands.  Luckily it looks like I can get to the combo, but I don't have any hate cards.  I do have a Mana Leak, a Pestermite, and a Pact of Negation, so I'm hoping I can at least stall a bit.  I can't remember all of the intricacies of what happened with those spells, but my opponent cast a Pact of Negation, then I cast my own Pact of Negation on his Lotus Bloom, removing his chance to go off that turn, as well as his ability to pay for the Pact next turn.

6-1

Round 8 – Draw

Sweet, I just drew into Top 8 with Kiki-Jiki!  My deck was being so nice to me, and I was really hoping that would continue.  I was worried I would run into Bill Stark's zoo deck in the Top 8, or Jeff Cunningham, the player I just drew with, who I also thought was playing zoo.  Still, I was just happy to be there, and I was really just hoping Brian David-Marshall would talk to me again.

Quarterfinals – Astral Slide

Luckily for me Max, the same Slide player from the swiss, made his way into the Top 8.  I was still nervous, seeing as how I was in a Top 8, but I was confident in this matchup.  I just have to force him to use his Path to Exiles on something that isn't a Reveillark, and then get one of those bad boys to stick.

He saw a Lightning Rift in game one, more than I saw in the swiss, but I got an Engineered Explosives to kill it.  I also cast a Gifts Ungiven, which elicited a head shake from Max.  That's some good spell there.  I can't remember exactly how I beat Max this game, but it isn't that hard after a Gifts Ungiven resolves.  I think it involved trying to Kiki-Jiki a Trinket Mage, getting it slid out, then using an Engineered Explosives for three to get rid of the Astral Slide.  The Trinket Mage came back down, grabbing a Chalice of the Void, which shut out the ones, turning off both Path to Exile and Spark Spray.

Game two was weird, because the key turn did not involve casting a Gifts Ungiven, but Wrathing away a Loxodon Hierarch and some other creature I've forgotten.  Max mulliganed into a strange hand, so losing his pressure was pretty bad for him.  A Body Double came down, copying the Loxodon Hierarch, reminding Max that Body Double doesn't have to go for my graveyard.  Now safely out of Lightning Rift range, I was free to beat down for the win.

Semifinals – BG Loam

Another matchup I played in the swiss, but this time in the hands of Joel, a good player I don't know as well as I probably should.  Again, I was still pretty nervous, though I was confident with the matchup.  I'm sorry to say it, but I was rooting for Bill Stark, a frequent dinner buddy, to lose to Joel in their quarterfinal match.  Their match was close, and too bad for Starky, Joel won.

I think I got a Chalice down for two this game, severely stunting Joel's growth, while I was able to continue developing with Gifts Ungiven and Reveillark.  I don't remember much else, things were starting to get blurry as I could see the finish line.

I won game two with Reveillark, while Joel was digging for a Putrefy so he could Extirpate something useful.  His dredges were all terrible, hitting spell spell spell every time.

Big props to James Lee getting me a Vitamin Water during that match.  I totally forgot about it while I was playing, but it saved my life!  Thanks James, I owe you something, though probably not what you want.

Finals – Zoo 🙁

I was so happy to be in the finals, until Jeff Cunningham sat down across from me.  Not only was he some pro or something, but I heard he was playing Zoo.  I was pretty sad and my heart had already given up.  He's going to cast Wild Nacatl and Sulfuric Vortex, and I'm just going to lose without putting up a decent fight.  Everybody will walk away, shaking their heads at this ridiculous deck that can't beat Zoo, and my day of glory will be over.

And then he played a Breeding Pool, untapped, and cast a Noble Hierarch.  Waaaat!  I can win this, baby, I can win this!  Nice scouting, team.

Correction: Finals – Bant!!!

Even though he crushed me game one, I was happy.  The match wasn't over yet.  He got an Umezawa's Jitte down equipped to a Tarmogoyf on his fourth turn, and that's really hard to beat.  I did Gifts incorrectly, grabbing Pestermite, Cascade Bluffs, Reveillark, and I think Resurrection.  I should have grabbed a Body Double instead of the land, knowing that the only way to win the game was to draw the fifth land instead of Gifting for it.  I Pestermited the equipped creature to keep counters off for a turn, but even the Reveillark couldn't save me.  If I could have gotten a Body Double on a Reveillark and had an infinite blocker that may have given me time to stop the Jitte, but his other attackers were still going to crush my face.

I kept a sketchy hand on the play in game two.  It was two lands with three Trinket Mages.  If I hit the third land I am golden for a while, but if I miss it I'm probably done.  Drawing a Mana Leak isn't too bad, but I really need to see a land.  My first draw is a Pithing Needle, which I drop and name Umezawa's Jitte.  Then I don't draw a land, and miss my third land drop.  Yep, that's how things happen.  That's too bad, we came so far Kiki-Jiki.  It was fun while it lasted.  Let me wipe that tear from your cheek"¦

"¦but Kiki-Jiki never gives up.  Kiki-Jiki keeps on swinging!  Kiki-Jiki draws his third land the next turn and Trinket Mages for the fourth!  Kiki-Jiki gets to a Wrath of God, but doesn't cast it, because he don't need no silly removal spell!  Kiki-Jiki can win anyway, through superior aggro!  Kiki-Jiki"¦

"¦is going to have to sit this one out, thanks to Overgrown Tomb and Cranial Extraction.  I could imagine the people around me pondering whether or not I could win without the jolly red goblin.  Don't worry folks, Reveillark is a professional and knows how to get down.  It looked like my opponent removed some of the aggressive elements from his deck for those Cranial Extractions, or just didn't draw them, and my own Kitchen Finks and Pestermites were able to get there.  We've got a chance boys, we've got a chance!

Unfortunately for Kiki-Jiki, he had to sit game three out as well, thanks to Jeff and his mean ol' Extractions.  I had to be a man and play my Pithing Needle naming Treetop Village early.  It didn't look like Jeff had a Jitte, as he didn't cast and equip it last turn even though he was in a good position to do so – I had to hope he wouldn't draw it, or sided it out.  With Kiki-Jiki gone, we started trading spells back and forth.  I happened to draw all four of my Kitchen Finks, and seemed to always have Engineered Explosives at the right time to sweep his Tarmogoyf out of the way.

I quickly switched into the aggressive role.  Jeff seemed pretty flooded, and his next Cranial Extraction fished out my Reveillarks.  I cast Gifts Ungiven, knowing it was going to be pretty awkward.  Gifts could only find Duergar Hedge-Mage, Body Double, Pestermite, and Trinket Mage.  He gave me the Hedge-Mage and the Body Double.  I untap, Body Double a Pestermite to tap his Noble Hierarch, play the Hedge Mage as just a 2/2, and bash.  He didn't draw what he needed, and I untapped with a lethal attack.

Jonathon Loucks just won his first PTQ with Kiki-Jiki!

Kiki at the PT

Holy Holy moly.  This all happened so fast.  One second I'm showing up at the PTQ with a 1-2 deck from the last PTQ, hoping to have some fun.  The next second I'm in the Top 8 with a good matchup.  The next second I'm sitting across from Zoo, and I've already given up.  The next second I'm attacking with Gray Ogres for the win.  Soon I'll be in Hawaii!  I can't convey in words how happy I am, and how grateful I am for all the support my friends gave me the whole way.  Wish me luck at Pro Tour: Hawaii!

P.S.  More About The Deck

I played a wide variety of matchups during the PTQ, but the one deck I didn't face was Faeries.  Nice PTQ, right?  I tested roughly five games against it haphazardly, so I don't really know much about the matchup.  Sometimes they are low on blue sources and you can just end of turn Pestermite and then Kiki-Jiki for the win.  Otherwise I doubt it is the best matchup, but like I said, I haven't really tested it.

I also didn't include sideboard notes, as my sideboarding was pretty random.  I hate doing that, going into a tournament not knowing how to sideboard.  The fifteen unique cards were interesting and made it a little easier to sideboard, but I doubt I ever did it correctly.  I felt like I really knew how my deck worked, and I had tested the format a lot and understood the other decks, so taking stuff out wasn't too hard.  Usually spellbombs or Pithing Needle game out if they didn't have a job to do, though I liked leaving Spellbombs in to cycle in matchups like Mind's Desire, where you need to hit specific hate cards.  Also, I often took out one Pestermite and one Kiki-Jiki in a matchup like Affinity where I was planning to win on the back of some devastating spell and not necessarily the combo.

A common response to the deck is that the combo is too slow and that there is no way it can succeed in a format with Mogg Fanatic.  The thing is, I rarely got the combo out on somebody early.  This isn't really a combo deck.  It's a weird control deck that can get a lot of advantage out of Trinket Mage tutoring for the right spell and Reveillark bringing him back.  My friend Kellen Abel told me that I won the PTQ because I was playing Gifts Ungiven, and that spell is really good.  I think there is a lot of truth to that.  Often times you keep trading spells for spells, until they run out of answers and you get to copy a creature with Kiki-Jiki.  It's hard to lose from that point on, and if that creature happens to be a Pestermite, you win instantly.

Don't play this deck if you expect to play against Zoo.  Loam and Slide are great matchups, but you can't expect to play against them all day.  In light of Saito's recent GP win, this isn't the best deck.  I would recommend this to somebody looking for something refreshing to play at a PTQ that wants to have some fun, but I wouldn't tell a person who seriously wanted to win to play it.  Especially now that the list is out I doubt you'll get as much of an edge as I had when the deck was a complete mystery.

If you want to know more about playing the deck or sideboarding, please feel free to e-mail me or ask in the forums.  I'm sure I didn't cover everything here, so I'm willing to post more later if there are enough questions.

Thanks for reading everybody,

Jonathon Loucks
Loucksj gmail

P.S.S.  I'm going to the Pro Tour!  Oh my god!

(Ed. Note- If you are interested in seeing how this deck developed, check out Jon’s article on it here!)

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