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By: olaw, Oliver Law
Jun 25 2015 12:00pm
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Hello!

Welcome to another Becoming A Modern Man!  In this article I am looking at an exciting Kuldotha Red deck in Modern.

The following list was played to a 4-0 finish by mranders in a recent Modern Daily:

Kuldotha Red
mranders (4-0) Modern Daily #8373449 on 06/11/2015
Creatures
3 Goblin Bushwhacker
4 Goblin Guide
3 Memnite
3 Mogg War Marshal
4 Signal Pest
17 cards

Other Spells
4 Goblin Grenade
4 Kuldotha Rebirth
4 Rift Bolt
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Shrapnel Blast
4 Chromatic Star
4 Terrarion
27 cards
Lands
14 Mountain
2 Mutavault
16 cards

Kuldotha Rebirth

 

DECK TECH

Memnite
Memnite
A 0-cost artifact, for sacrificing quickly to a Kuldotha Rebirth or Shrapnel Blast, and a 1/1 creature which fits in perfectly with the decks MO of flooding the board with small creatures.

Signal Pest
Signal Pest
Signal Pest is a real standout in this deck.  Battle cry works really well with our flood of 1/1 tokens and the evasiveness of Signal Pest means we often get multiple boost.  As an artifact creature we can also sacrifice it Kuldotha Rebirth or Shrapnel Blast if needs must.

Goblin Guide
Goblin Guide
A powerful, cheap and hasty attacker that well represents its Goblin kin.  Quick damage is what this deck is all about and Goblin Guide is an expert at hitting for early damage.  As a Goblin we can also sacrifice it to Goblin Grenade.

Goblin Bushwhacker
Goblin Bushwhacker
Bushwhacker is another great fit for the deck.  Not only is it a Goblin but the attack boost it gives can be huge with our 1/1 tokens.  A Turn 1 Rebirth into a Turn 2 Bushwhacker means we can deal a staggering 8 damage on Turn 2.

Mogg War Marshal
Mogg War Marshal
War Marshal is a Dragon Fodder of sorts.  In fact, you could argue that we should be running Dragon Fodder over War Marshal which is fair in that we rarely want to pay the Echo cost on the War Marshal.  One of the advantages of War Marshal is that we can play it and then sacrifice it to Goblin Grenade without losing value as we will still have a 1/1 token to replace him.  War Marshal can also help protect us from sweepers, allowing us to have at least one token left after a Pyroclasm or the like rather than an empty board.

Spells

Kuldotha Rebirth
Kuldotha Rebirth
The namesake of the deck.  If you've been playing Standard recently you will know from Hordeling Outburst that dropping three 1/1s onto the battlefield can be a pretty powerful play.  Rebirth allows you to do that very same thing at an extremely budget price of just 1 mana. 

The catch of course is that you need to have an artifact to sacrifice to be able to play Rebirth,which makes it difficult to play on Turn 1.  Zero cost artifacts, such as Memnite and Ornithopter can be the answer to that problem, however, interestingly mranders decklist eschews this strategy (though it still runs Memnite) in favour of artifacts that you can draw a card off when putting them in the bin.  Though I'm not sure I completely agree with this approach being able to draw cards off of Chromatic Star and Terrarion does add a bit of extra longevity to the deck.

Goblin Grenade
Goblin Grenade
One-mana for 5 damage is an excellent rate but there is the clear downside of having to sacrifice a Goblin in order to achieve that.  Fortunately our deck is fairly proficient in making Goblins so Grenade can be a real haymaker to finish off our opponents.
Being able to deal 5 damage is also very useful in the current Modern environment for another reason.  Tasigur, the Golden Fang and Siege Rhino are not uncommon plays in Modern and have a one-mana answer to those threats can be very helpful.

Lightning BoltRift Bolt
Lightning Bolt/Rift Bolt
We are playing a red deck and one that wants to deal fast damage too so unsurprisingly Lightning Bolt makes an appearance.  Rift Bolt is perhaps a less obvious inclusion as we could play more cards in this slot to support Kuldotha Rebirth or the general aggro tokens strategy of the deck.  In testing I have found the Rift Bolts useful to pressure the opponent's life total but I could certainly see using these slots for something else.

Shrapnel Blast
Shrapnel Blast
Shrapnel Blast plays a very similar role to Goblin Grenade but obviously is looking to sacrifice artifacts rather than Goblins.  Blast is a little worse in that it costs one extra mana but better in that it interacts well with Chromatic Star and Terrarion.

Artifacts

Chromatic Star
Chromatic Star
Chromatic Star is a one-mana artifact you will often find as a mana-fixer in Tron decks.  Here we can take advantage of the fact that, unlike Chromatic Sphere, Chromatic Star draws you a card when it goes to the graveyard regardless of how it got there.  This means we don't have to use the Star's ability to get the card draw and instead can sacrifice it to a Kuldotha Rebirth or a Shrapnel Blast and still get the bonus.

Terrarion
Terrarion
Terrarion fulfills a very similar role to Chromatic Star in this list, again being a 1-mana artifact that draws you a card when it hits the bin.  It's a little slower than Star as it comes into play tapped and can't be sacrificed to its own ability immediately if you want to just dig deeper into your deck.

Lands

Mutavault
Mutavault
Mutavault is a nice manland for this deck.  Not only is it cheap, aggressive and immune to sweepers but it's also a Goblin when activated.  This means we can sacrifice it to Goblin Grenade if we don't have any other available options.

I would actually like to try running more manlands in the deck if possible.  The potential downside is that it might make our mana awkward if we don't find a red source for our spells or a Chromatic Star/Terrarion to give us access to it.  However, I think we can maybe stretch a bit further than just 2 Mutavaults.

SIDEBOARD
I wasn't overly happy with the sideboard for the deck and would consider some changes.  Let's take a look though.

Shattering SpreeRending VolleyRelic of ProgenitusPyroclasmCollateral Damage

  • Shattering Spree is powerful artifact hate.  That said unless we are running up against Affinity I think I would rather have something like Smash to Smithereens so that I can keep the pressure on my opponent.
  • Rending Volley is a great hate card against Splinter Twin and has occasional splash damage as a generally good removal spell against White or Blue creatures.
  • Relic of Progenitus prevents graveyard shenanigans and is also another artifact for the deck to sacrifice if needs must (though you won't draw a card).
  • Pyroclasm seemed like a head-scratcher to me.  I suppose in theory you can use it to clear the board and then flood the board with tokens but in practice that seems very unlikely.  Not a card I would have picked for the sideboard.
  • Collateral Damage is another card that I'm not particularly keen on.  Our creatures are resources but that doesn't mean we can afford to sacrifice all of them.  Also, I'm really not sure what matchup where I'm bringing this in.  If I wanted more burn I think I would rather play Shard Volley.

GAMEPLAY
So let's take the deck for a spin shall we:


The first matchup I have for you is against Grixis Control, which is a deck that seems to be on the rise in terms of popularity.  We hope to be able to outspeed them and I think for the most part we can achieve that as their targeted removal is less effective against our multiple tokens.  Goblin Grenade and Shrapnel Blast are nice answers to Tasigur, the Golden Fang and Gurmag Angler in a pinch.


The second matchup you have is against RG Tron.  We would always hope to be faster than Tron but Pyroclasm and Wurmcoil Engine are powerful tools against us.  These cards are difficult to combat but we just have to hope that we can out race them as we have little alternative.  It's also very possible given our big damage burn spells.


Our third matchup is against UW Control.  This was a slightly unconventional build of UW Control but proved to be an interesting match.  Jace, Architect of Thought is a real problem for our 1/1s but fortunately a Shrapnel Blast or Goblin Grenade can wipe out Jace after the +1.  Supreme Verdict is also something we have to be wary of as having our board wiped is an issue, so sometimes you have to play a little more conservatively.


Our fourth matchup is against Esper Control.  Lingering Souls is a difficult card to contend with as it also generates token very rapidly and can make our life difficult.  Otherwise this matchup is pretty similar to the Grixis Control matchup with Tasigur, the Golden Fang and friends.

THE HISTORY LESSON
Kuldotha Red was a reasonably popular deck back in Scars of Mirrodin Standard.  Let's take a look at an example list from back then:

Kuldotha Red
SOM Standard Decklist
Creatures
4 Signal Pest
4 Ornithopter
4 Memnite
4 Goblin Wardriver
4 Goblin Guide
4 Goblin Bushwhacker
24 cards

Other Spells
4 Kuldotha Rebirth
4 Devastating Summons
4 Mox Opal
4 Chimeric Mass
16 cards
Lands
12 Mountain
4 Contested War Zone
4 Teetering Peaks
20 cards

Kuldotha Rebirth


Back in the early days of Modern's creation at the 2011 Community Cup, Lee Sharpe played a version of Kuldotha Red in the Unified Modern section of the tournament.

Kuldotha Red
2011 Community Cup Unified Modern Decklist by Lee Sharpe
Creatures
2 Clockwork Beetle
2 Goblin Bushwhacker
4 Goblin Guide
4 Memnite
4 Ornithopter
4 Signal Pest
2 Spark Elemental
22 cards

Other Spells
4 Haze of Rage
4 Kuldotha Rebirth
4 Mox Opal
1 Paradise Mantle
4 Shrapnel Blast
3 Springleaf Drum
20 cards
Lands
3 Blinkmoth Nexus
2 Contested War Zone
4 Darksteel Citadel
9 Mountain
18 cards

Kuldotha Rebirth

 

ALTERNATIVE TAKES
One of things I liked about this deck was that it feels very customisable.  There are a lot of cards, some of which are displayed in the decklists above, that I would consider adding to the deck.  Let's take a closer look at some of the options:

Darksteel CitadelBlinkmoth Nexus

Darksteel Citadel is the only legal Artifact land in Modern.  The deck can operate on a small number of lands and have another zero cost option of adding an artifact to the board seems good.  The downside is obviously it can't make Red mana which means no Turn 1 Kuldotha Rebirth and it may make for some awkward draws depending on how you build the rest of your mana base.

Blinkmoth Nexus fills a similar role to Mutavault in mranders list expect it is evasive and is an artifact once activated rather than a Goblin.  I definitely like the idea of adding extra manlands to the deck as a way of strengthening the deck against sweepers.

OrnithopterMox Opal

Ornithopter and Mox Opal fill similar space as more zero-drop artifacts to help us Rebirth on Turn 1. I actually find it quite surprising that the deck as it is currently built doesn't push for the Turn 1 Rebirth, which would seem like a major reason to run this kind of deck.  That said the strategy of drawing off Chromatic Star and Terrarion does seem solid.

Ornithopter fits pretty nicely as a creature that can get damage through with the help of Signal Pest or Goblin BushwhackerMox Opal is more difficult and I think I would want to make a more artifact-centric deck if I was to run the Opal so it had greater potential to produce mana.

Contested War ZoneHaze of RageGoblin Wardriver

Contested War Zone, Haze of Rage and Goblin Wardriver also fill similar space as ways of giving our creatures an attack boost. 

Contested War Zone is a nice way to get an extra attack boost in the deck without giving up any spell slots.  However, the land is a bit of a liability in general with your opponent potentially being able to steal it and keep it if they have sufficient defences.

Haze of Rage is a card I have never played with but it definitely has the potential to be very powerful.  I would probably want to run more zero-drops to combine with Haze of Rage to get the biggest pumps possible.  The negative side is that it's a poor late game topdeck once your hand is empty or your board is empty.

Goblin Wardriver on the surface is a perfect fit for the deck.  Battle cry is great in this deck and the Wardriver is also a Goblin for pitching to Grenade.  However, having played with the Wardriver previously I have found it to be a bit slow which is probably why it didn't make the cut here.

Let me know if you have any other ideas for cards for this deck or better yet if you have success with a different type of build.

CONCLUSIONS
I had quite a lot of fun with this deck.  It's a nice budget option with only Goblin Guide and Mutavault really costing anything substantial.  I think the overall cost of the deck is around 38 tickets, with about 20 of those being for the Guides and 11 for the Mutavaults.  If you are looking for budget alternatives, Monastery Swiftspear might be a decent Guide substitute (though not a Goblin) and Blinkmoth Nexus is a lot cheaper at the moment thanks to a second reprint in MM2015 which would be a fine substitute for Mutavault.

RDW/Burn is almost certainly a superior deck choice overall but if you are looking for a budget Red deck that is reasonably competitive you can't go too wrong with deck.  Also, the fact you can customise it to your taste or perhaps develop it into Affinity or Burn deck over time makes it a nice starting point.

I hope you enjoyed this look at an interesting deck.  I will be back soon with decks based around Modern Masters 2015 reprints (or at least that's my current plan).

Thanks for reading,

Oliver Law (olaw on MTGO)

2 Comments

Glass Cannon by MichelleWong at Fri, 06/26/2015 - 04:37
MichelleWong's picture
5

Thanks for this article.

I have never faced against this deck. I feel prepared for it now.

Speaking of glass cannon decks! WOW this deck must be a the top of the Glass Cannon Archetype! :)

Thanks for the comment. by olaw at Fri, 06/26/2015 - 08:47
olaw's picture

Thanks for the comment. Yeah, I hadn't seen anything quite like it which is why I wanted to give it a try. It actually packs a decent punch.

The deck is a bit more versatile that it looks as at the very least your Grenades and Shrapnel Blasts can finish out the game if it does go long. However, generally you do want to finish out the game quickly or you will suffer.