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By: R Koster, Rob Koster
Oct 10 2019 12:00pm
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This weekend I 5-0'd with a Pestermite and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker combo deck. Seeing as how a 5-0 you did yourself is nothing but the purest of skill and strategic prowess, I now obviously am an absolute master of the deck, so I decided to write a little introduction on it. In my defense, I've played this kind of deck before. Last time it was in a Modern Challenge with this list that I blatantly copied from TSPJendrek a few minutes before the event. I believe that all I did is change one of the lands.


I've always adored this archetype, and for a long time, it just used to be a bad habit. A while ago, someone unknowingly started to get me interested again. Someone on Reddit started talking about how he or she (I don't know) was having success with a new version of the deck. At first, I tried to ignore the call, but the results weren't lying. I asked a few people if they had tried the list. None of them had tried it. But I did get a comment about how the builder could be trusted. So I copied the list that he/she used to get 10th place at the Modern Challenge. Here is the list:

For those of you that have been playing for a while, this list will look like the old twin decks from yesteryear. The biggest difference you will find is that this version has a lot more creatures to put on a ton of pressure compared to the old lists. I've tried many a time to make Deceiver Exarch and Pestermite a real clock. But they really aren't. We used to splash green for Tarmogoyf or black for Tasigur, the Golden Fang. But now we don't need to any more thanks to a little innocuous little creature in M20 called Brineborn Cutthroat.

That little fish becomes absolutely huge in this deck. The biggest I've gotten it so far is 9/8. Which is... 'acceptable' for a 2 drop.

Anyway, don't think for a second that this deck is about combo'ing your opponent out with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Pestermite. It happens at times, but the meat of the wins will be through plain-old attacking with creatures until your opponent is at 0 life. Sometimes you'll get the delightful situation of copying some Snapcaster Mages and just full-on out-valuing your opponent. Years ago, people even ran Keranos, God of Storms in this deck. Have you ever swung with one of those for surprise lethal? No? You really should try it, it's great. Copying Crackling Drake is also pretty fun I heard.

The power of the deck lies in its multiple gameplans. You can Aggro, you can Tempo, you can Control, you can Combo. I mean, it's almost like a TelSell commercial. It slices, it dices, and it also paints your house on Wednesday!


The biggest new toys that my old build didn't get to play with are all the new cards. I was going to name them one by one, but then I realized that this deck changed a lot in a short time. We got Brineborn Cutthroat, Brazen Borrower, Force of Negation, Magmatic Sinkhole, Fiery Islet, Mystic Sanctuary and Crackling Drake. I'm not too sure about how new Crackling Drake is though, it feels new to me. But it also feels like they just released Khans of Tarkir to me, so it could be old-veteran-bias at work that, but it still feels really new to me.


These cards solve a lot of the problems the deck used to have. Not being able to play on the board? Solved! There are piles of creatures and actual removal now with Magmatic Sinkhole. No way to deal with Enchantments or resolved Planeswalkers? Solved! Just bounce them with Brazen Borrower. I hadn't even realized how new most of this deck was until I started writing the article, all the new stuff just feels like staples already.


So I know what's going to happen now. People will be looking at this list and will flat-out force in a Jace, the Mind Sculptor or 2 and move around the Blood Moon to the main. Don't. Seriously, this 75 is excellent. The only thing I might see myself changing at some point is the 2 Peek for 2 Thought Scour to fuel Magmatic Sinkhole and Snapcaster Mage. But looking at my opponent's hands has also been really good. Just give it a whirl, unless you have played TarmoTwin in the past (Bless that deck, it could very well be the most fun I've ever had in Magic) this deck will feel strange, inconsistent and like a pile of draft chaff. But trust me, it isn't. Once you learn to pilot this, it's great. It's all about the little lines, though. I'll go through a few of them here.

If you copy something with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, it will get exiled at the next end step. So you get to have a turn with it. Did you think 1 Crackling Drake was a big flyer? Try 3! (1 Real one, One token one that you carried along from your end of turn step and the new one you just got for Christmas!)


Mystic Sanctuary is amazing. You can use a fetch land to get it, put all the value on top, and after that, you can either Opt, Peek, or (Vendillion Clique) yourself to get the card immediately!


Pestermite taps or untaps anything. You can do stuff like tap their Tronland on their upkeep, or turn of their Howling Mine for them. You can also use it to give one of your Creatures surprise Vigilance! Or it can be a 2 mana 2/1 flyer. Or you can use it to tap your opponent's land at the end of the turn to force the removal straight away to check if they have it. The world is your oyster!


Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker has Haste. So for 7 mana, you can Combo of in one turn. In some games, it's nice just to play a game of Magic, and when they tap out, just kill them from nowhere.


For now, I'll leave you with that. I've got to go and jam this deck some more! Next time I'll get into the matchups and how to sideboard.