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Much Abrew: Kirin-agddon (Modern)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. We're just days away from the release of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, but today, we're taking a visit to original Kamigawa with a super-spicy viewer-submitted Modern deck from hungry000: Kirin-ageddon! The deck's built around Celestial Kirin, an OG Kamigawa Spirit with a unique ability: whenever we cast a Spirit or arcane spell, we get to blow up all of the permanents with its mana value. As you may have noticed, Celestial Kirin doesn't say nonland permanents. Back when Wizards designed the card nearly 20 years ago, there weren't any Spirits or arcane spells that had a mana value of zero, so it was impossible to blow up lands with Celestial Kirin's ability, making the "nonland" clause unnecessary. But many, many years later, Wizards printed Ugin's Conjurant—an X-spell Spirit that can be cast for zero mana—giving us a way to turn Celestial Kirin's ability into a literal Armageddon! And that's the plan of our deck: use cards like Eladamri's Call and Ranger-Captain of Eos to find Kirin and Ugin's Conjurant; blow up all of the lands on the battlefield; break the symmetry of the Armageddon with indestructible lands, Noble Hierarch, and Aether Vial; and (hopefully) win the game before our opponent can rebuild their mana base. Can the plan work? Let's get to the video and find out on this week's Much Abrew About Nothing

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Much Abrew: Kirin-ageddon

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Discussion

  • First off, another shout out to hungry000 who sent me the deck. They've been working on the archetype for a while, and actually wrote a primer about it, which you should check out for a more in-depth explanation of how Kirin-ageddon works.
  • Record-wise, Kirin-ageddon did great. We ended up 4-1, with our one loss coming to the Yawgmoth's Hospital deck, which felt like a really tough matchup, in part because we don't have a ton of answers to their combo and in part because they have a low enough curve and enough mana dorks that even if we manage to Armageddon away all the lands, they can still function pretty well.
  • More importantly, we actually managed to Armageddon with Celestial Kirin and Ugin's Conjurant pretty often, with many of our wins coming from our ability to blow up all the lands on the battlefield. While Armageddon is a powerful card in a vacuum, in some ways, the combo of Celestial Kirin and Ugin's Conjurant is even better than an Armageddon in our current Modern format because it blows up all zero-mana permanents, not just lands. This means that we can wipe away Urza's Saga and all of the Construct tokens it makes, which is pretty huge in a format where 23% of decks are running Urza's Saga.
  • While we've focused mostly on the ability to use Celestial Kirin and Ugin's Conjurant to blow up all of the lands on the battlefield, it's important to point out that part of the combo's power is that Ugin's Conjurant is an X spell, so we can use it to blow up bigger things in conjunction with Celestial Kirin. If our opponent has a bunch of one-drops, we can cast Ugin's Conjurant with X = 1 and blow them up, and the same is true for other mana values as well. Basically, while the main reason to play the combo is to Armageddon, the synergy between Celestial Kirin and Ugin's Conjurant is actually pretty flexible. 
  • As far as the rest of the deck, the most important cards are Eladamri's Call and Ranger-Captain of Eos since they help us find our combo pieces. Eladamri's Call can snag either Celestial Kirin or Ugin's Conjurant, while Ranger-Captain of Eos can find Ugin's Conjurant (while also protecting the combo from counters for a turn against control decks). While the tutors felt great, I do wonder if we could maybe embrace their tutor power even more with some one-of sliver bullets in the main deck. 
  • Also important are ways to break the symmetry of blowing up all of the lands on the battlefield. Just resetting everyone's mana doesn't guarantee us a win, especially against aggro decks that can quickly flood the board with creatures, potentially leaving us in a position where blowing up all of the lands is a negative rather than a positive. For this, we have a few options. Noble Hierarch, Flagstones of Trokair, and Thornglint Bridge give us mana sources that survive an Armageddon, while Aether Vial gives us a way to keep putting creatures into play even if we don't have the lands to cast them.
  • One thing I was worried about when heading into our games is that the deck would struggle to close out the game post-Armageddon, considering our best attacker is probably Celestial Kirin itself, and Kirin is only a 3/3 flier. Thankfully, this didn't seem like a problem in practice as we were able to find lethal damage with our motley crew of low-powered creatures, although I still wouldn't mind seeing a dedicated finisher in the deck (maybe one copy of something like Elder Gargaroth to find with Eladamri's Call). 
  • All in all, Kirin-ageddon felt solid. The plan is unique and surprisingly powerful. While I think there's probably still some brewing to do around the edges, with things like the tutor package and support cards (Giver of Runes felt middling in the deck, for example), the primary plan of tutoring up Celestial Kirin and Ugin's Conjurant was strong. If you like blowing up lands or are feeling nostalgic for original Kamigawa as we head toward the release of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the deck feels like a really fun option for Modern and one that lines up pretty well with the meta, thanks to its ability to stop Urza's Saga.

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.



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