Zendikicking without Limits

Posted in From the Lab on February 25, 2010

By Noel deCordova

Hello and welcome back to the Lab! I hope everyone strapped on their flavorful hats last week to view the first results from the Planeswalker Contest. I received a couple of positively charged emails about it, which happily convinced me that I hadn't left the results hanging for too long. Don't forget, next week we'll see the rest of winning decks!

For now though, let us turn our undivided (multiplied?) attention to multikicker, the newest keyword to explode onto the Magic scene. Multikicker is a riff on good old kicker. Whereas you can only kick a Torch Slinger once (while he's down or not is up to you), you can kick a Skitter of Lizards a multitude of times. I'd imagine any planeswalker willing to shell out for a multikicked Wolfbriar Elemental should be packing some sturdy, sturdy shoes.

Anyway, I thought that for Multikicker Week, I'd follow the same formula that I followed for Kicker Week back in October of last year. That is, I'll take an individual look at each card related to multikicker in Worldwake, and share my thoughts on them. If a card seems particularly interesting to me, I'll build a deck around it! Alright, them's the ground rules, so let's multikick it!

The Multikicker List

Apex Hawks: This is one of a couple of multikicker creatures on this list that are vanilla compared to the others. In the case of Apex Hawks, you've got a choice between a simple 2/2 flyer or a more expensive, bigger one. Pretty basic stuff.

Bloodhusk Ritualist: Aha! Here's an exciting card! Part of a loosely uncommon cycle (we'll meet the rare one at the end of this list), the Ritualist is possibly one of the better Ravenous Rats variants in casual play. In Standard, I love the idea of amping up a Crypt of Agadeem to channel six or seven black mana into a Bloodhusk Ritualist.

Comet Storm: This card has a great name, and it's a definite improvement from its old name: The Ultimate Nightmare of Wizards of the Coast® Customer Service. Okay, so Comet Storm isn't exactly a reprint of the variable-vexing Unglued spell (Mark Rosewater has more on that in his recent Making Magic), but it's still a ton of fun to cast. Comet Storm appeals to my red nature, and I can definitely see a deck with it on the near horizon. Be patient.

Deathforge Shaman: For some reason, I'm in absolute visual love with this card. It sends images of multiple red mana symbols swirling throughout my brain. The word "twice" on this card might as well be bolded, that's how much I keep looking at it. Like Comet Storm, this seems all in all like a brutally fun red mulitkicker card. Deck? Almost .... We're waiting for another friend.

Enclave Elite: The blue member of the "multivanilla" cycle, as I have just named it. At the very least, Enclave Elite adds to the number of Merfolk in Standard, in case you ever felt the urge to go rogue and bring the blue men to a tournament. Perhaps a white-blue version with the also new Sejiri Merfolk could casually compete.

Everflowing Chalice: I'm a big fan of this card, mainly for its versatility, which is something I always look for when I check a set's spoiler for the first time. You can straight up cast this for free in a Power Conduit or Energy Chamber (or both) deck, and possibly benefit in the long run. You can kick it just the once to create a pseudo-Mind Stone. Or you could somehow have a bunch of mana available and overflow your Chalice with charge counters. I'm not a great supporter of this last strategy, as it seems wrong to spend a ton of mana for ... a ton of mana. A strategy I am a fan of is casting it for free, and pulling the Eternity Vessel + Dismantle trick on it. Remember that cool deck I made a while back? Well, Everflowing Chalice fits right into it.

Gnarlid Pack: The green multivanilla guy! It's interesting to compare Gnarlid Pack with Kavu Titan, as Mark Rosewater did in his column on Monday. They are both 2/2s for at the bare minimum, and one has kicker while the other has multikicker.

Joraga Warcaller: For some reason, I like this Elf lord much more than I do other recent Elf lords (Elvish Archdruid's definitely sweet, though.) Maybe it's the option of dropping it as a first-turn play, or kicking it a bunch of times late in the game, or somehow using a second source of +1/+1 counters to grow my Elf forces. Anything from an instant-speed Battlegrowth to a reinforced Hunting Triad (hmm) could work. If only there was a multikicking +1/+1 counter giver ....

Lightkeeper of Emeria: As a long-time casual lover of Angel of Mercy (somehow a devastating card whenever my friend Wes casts it in his Test of Endurance deck), I have to respect this new Angel.

Marshal's Anthem: Finally, the first deck of the day! Marshal's Anthem was one of the first Worldwake cards that I had pegged from the get-go as a combo piece. Any permanent that enters the battlefield with a Resurrection is certainly Johnny-worthy, and the +1/+1 bonus is nice as well.

Obviously, I want to attempt to cast Marshal's Anthem multiple times in a turn, characteristic of the "One Big Turn" deck, an always-fun casual archetype. If I want to return a ton of creatures to the battlefield from the graveyard, I'll need a ton of mana, as well as a way to get the creatures back into the graveyard for repeated fun.

Follow me on this. The main creatures I want to return are some combination of Cloudgoat Rangers and Sengir Autocrats. One of these creatures brings along three token friends with it. So if I had, say, a Phyrexian Altar in play, and ten mana at my disposal, I could potentially cast a multikicked Marshal's Anthem, returning three Rangers / Autocrats to the battlefield. Then, if I had a way to return the Anthem to my hand, I could sacrifice these twelve total creatures for twelve white mana (make sure to sacrifice the Serf tokens before Sengir Autocrat!)

Now let's say we also have a Riftwing Cloudskate in the grave as well. (Æthersnipe or even Drake Familiar could work too.) Now we need twelve mana to cast a Marshal's Anthem kicked four times, but once we can accomplish that, we'll have thirteen creatures on the battlefield and the Anthem back in hand. From there it's a short jump to sacrificing everything for thirteen white mana and repeating the cycle, gaining one mana each time (and it doesn't even have to be white, either). Or sacrifice everything but a random Kithkin token (from Cloudgoat Ranger) to get twelve mana, and wind up with infinite 2/2 Kithkin tokens.

Buried Alive can help us fill our graveyard appropriately. Card drawers and discarders such as Merfolk Looter can help as well. Coalition Relic and the storage lands from Time Spiral can ramp us to twelve mana in no time.

You can either win with infinite Kithkin tokens (your choice: swarm for victory, or infinitely jump and pump a Cloudgoat Ranger if the ground is clogged) or use infinite mana on a Martial Coup to clear the board and create too many 2/2 tokens for your opponent to handle. (I picked the Coup over something boring and off-color like Banefire because the Coup can play Wrath of God in the early game, before the combo is up and running.)

Anthem Antics

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That list could definitely be tinkered with. I'm thinking Shriekmaw would be a fun target to return with Marshal's Anthem pre-combo. Five transmuters can find certain pieces to the puzzle as well. The mana base is probably terrible, but I needed a bunch of colored sources for a white, blue, and black deck, and dual-lands were my solution.

Quag Vampires: 'Kay, back to the multikicker list! This measly Vampire is the black multivanilla creature. It's better than Plague Beetle!

Rumbling Aftershocks: "But this card doesn't even have multikicker!" Doesn't matter. This is the red card I've been waiting all list for to pair Deathforge Shaman and Comet Storm with. In fact, I'm going to steal Skitter of Lizards from directly under me and use it here as well.

This insane Worldwake enchantment is one only two cards in Magic that directly encourages a kicker deck to be built around it. The amount of redness that floods my brain when I imagine a Deathforge Shaman kicked three times with Rumbling Aftershocks on the battlefield is equivalent to about a case of Red Bull, some furious punk music, and a John Woo movie.

Of course, that little trick is going to cost a boatload of red mana, and there's the whole "get a five-drop enchantment on the board" problem to deal with. But since I'm aiming for speed, let's go full-throttle and use Lotus Bloom, Rite of Flame, and Seething Song! These red accelerators are experienced in Storms (of the Dragon variety) and I'm sure Comet Storm can aptly fill that position.

Rumbling Aftershocks just adds that much to your already potent Burst Lightnings and Unstable Footings. It reminds me of Tok-Tok, Volcano Born: It's tough to get one (flipping an Akki Lavarunner isn't the easiest task), but once you do, it adds a little kick (ha!) to each of your burn spells. Of course, the multikicker spells create the most Aftershocks. Shelling out seven mana to create a 4/4 hasty Skitter of Lizards while burning away a Vampire Nighthawk sounds like terrific fun to me.

Everflowing Chalice has a home here. Early, it can ramp you into a Rumbling Aftershocks, and late you can cast it for eight, both Flame Javelining something and tapping for four colorless. Braid of Fire sneaks in as well. If you play one early and leave it unnoticed for a while (since the mana it creates can't pass to your main phase) you can surprise your opponent when suddenly it has nine age counters and you pull a giant Comet Storm out of nowhere. Gemstone Array (a fun singleton) can help both of the above cards, by turning Chalice colorless mana to red mana, and by bringing some Braid mana to the main phases.

The dream is to land one or even two Aftershocks and do insane things with Comet Storm, Deathforge Shaman, and Chandra Ablaze. Mmm ... red.

The Red Rumble

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Spell Contortion: Back to the list with this neat counter. Spell Contortion seems decent in a blue draw-go annoyance deck. Pass the turn with tons of Islands untapped, then unleash a giant Spell Contortion, drawing a bunch of cards as well. Even if your opponent can pay the two mana to keep that fatty, just bounce it on your turn with the Unsummon you drew.

Voyager Drake: Wait, aren't we skipping something? Maybe .... In the meantime, let's discuss this Drake, which is a lot better in casual play than it looks. A lot of decks look for cards that provide mass evasion, even if it's temporary. Voyager Drake is one of these useful cards, and while it might not be as wonderful as Wonder, it seems to get the job done.

Strength of the Tajuru, Wolfbriar Elemental: I smell a deck. If ever there was a home for Saproling Infestation, this is it.

Now, kicking a Strength of the Tajuru won't actually let you put counters on the resulting Saprolings—you'll have to already have an army to pump up to build up your army for the next time you pump things. Fortunately, you've got an army handy thanks to Wolfbriar Elemental. Cast it kicked four times, and you'll get four Saprolings along with your four Wolves.

How are we getting all this green mana again? Elves, of course! And Joraga Warcaller can help too. Grok the Strength of the Tajuru + Joraga Warcaller combo. Even without multikicking the Strength, piling counters on the Warcaller will result in pumping up all your other Elves. Now imagine multikicking it. Disgusting.

The Green Grumble

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Until next week!

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