April 30, 2018

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The Modern Rogue Report - Dirty Kitty Revival

Welcome to the 18th instalment of The Modern Rogue Report! I'm Cody, and this week I'm extremely excited to talk about Modern "Dirty Kitty". I haven't been playing Magic since the days of Extended, but this is an old concept that is usually tied to bigger names such as Billy Moreno, Osyp Lebedowicz, and Ben Stark, among other pioneers of the archetype.

The general idea of this deck is to pair Fecundity and Skirk Prospector to create a well-oiled, mana-producing, card drawing machine. Every Goblin sacrificed whilst controlling Fecundity and Skirk Prospector will add one red mana and draw one card. Add a second Fecundity and each Goblin now becomes worth one red mana and two cards drawn, and so on.

Token generating cards lend themselves well to this strategy with cards like Krenko's Command, Dragon Fodder, and Hordeling Outburst. The two-mana Goblin producing spells (when paired with a Skirk Prospector and Fecundity, of course) are now worth two red mana and two card draws; effectively replacing themselves in terms of mana. Casting one card with two mana to receive two cards and two red mana back seems like a good deal every time. This is how the deck is able to chain together token spells while sacrificing to draw deep into the deck, if not whole deck.

Typical finishing attempts are going to look like Grapeshot, Empty the Warrens plus a Goblin Bushwhacker, or a Goblin-aggressive start. The neat thing about this deck to me is the fact that while it seems fragile (needing Skirk Prospector and Fecundity to combo off) it doesn't need to go that direction. There is a combo finish with those pieces in the deck that doesn't use the graveyard at all, which is a huge plus in terms of not being disrupted. However, a turn one Foundry Street Denizen (in some builds) into token making spells for a couple turns REALLY turns on the heat. You're basically just playing super-budget 8-Whack at that point.

skirk pro
There's a completely reasonable aggro plan, the combo plan isn't broken up by many things (Leyline of Sanctity if not playing Grapeshot, Rest in Peace) that usually destroy combo decks. It's a deck with a certain amount of resilience and an odd approach that make it seem like a possible Modern all-star.

Let's have a look at the original extended format concept first:

As you can see, some of these cards aren't quite Modern legal (Goblin Matron, Goblin Sledder, Goblin Sharpshooter, Brightstone Ritual, Seething Song, Rite of Flame). Yet with the introduction of Skirk Prospector to Modern with Dominaria, we can do a pretty darn good impression.

Unfortunately, the ritual spells we have are no Seething Song, but they can still get the job done as they do in Modern Storm. Desperate Ritual, Pyretic Ritual, and Manamorphose can be used in conjunction with Empty the Warrens or Grapeshot to create an insurmountable advantage, or just win the game outright. Storming into an Empty the Warrens with two mana left over allows you to kick a Goblin Bushwhacker, which will send in the little uglies quick and hard.

Recently Jim Davis did up a quick draft of the deck that looks like a pretty strong starting point:

This is the version I first started testing when I saw Jim's article. As he mentions, this is a rough version that has a little bit of a hard time finding Skirk Prospector sometimes. One card that has the ability to solve that problem is Boggart Harbinger. Whenever it enters the battlefield, you can search your library for a Skirk Prospector and put it right on top. That does require going into black, but it's powerful enough of an effect to justify.


Jordan C.'s list from MTGGoldfish.com has the smartly included Zulaport Cutthroat, which has a nice little ability attached to it. This version goes pretty hard into Storm, but does not require Goblin Bushwhacker for haste. No, no. This list includes the other awesome newcomer to the Modern arena, Goblin Warchief. The Goblin Warchief playset provides a sweet discount on our Goblin spells, and gives all our little lackeys haste automatically. Let's take a look at what this would look like:

Battle Hymn seems like a pretty amazing addition in this one. Most of the time 1/1 Goblins aren't threatening enough to target down until there's a critical mass of them. Even if there's a solid four or five of them, that's a two-mana trade I'm glad to take.

There are a lot of ways these decks can be built as we've covered, but it will be interesting to see which version solidifies itself as the most effective. It's nice to see some cards that haven't really shown up in Modern competitive play to the mix, and I think this deck actually has some pretty darn good legs. It may still need one great piece to be over the top, but rather consistently closing games on turn three to four is no joke.

I don't think we've really discovered the final form of "Goblin Storm" or "Dirty Kitty" as there are so many different possibilities; especially for future release. Anything with Goblin in the type line is worth looking at, along with red mana producing spells within a reasonable mana cost. Will these decks benefit from cards like Street Wraith? Just to be filler, with a better chance if finding the cards we want? What about Hangarback Walker and Endless One? These cards can be cast for 0 with Fecundity out to cycle a card.

Now we're sort of getting into Heartless Summoning Territory. What about using Heartless Summoning and Fecundity together in a Jund strategy?

I.E. Heartless Summoning and Fecundity in play.

All Hangarback Walkers cast for one, die immediately and draw a card, leaving behind a Thopter that dies immediately to draw another card. Endless One? Weaponcraft Enthusiast even?

It's certainly a wild time to be brewing in the Modern format and I'm excited to see what comes of it. There ARE a lot of great minds occupying this space right now, so the possibility for development is endless.

Thank you very much for joining me again here at The Modern Rogue Report, and let me know below if you have an ideas on Dirty Kitty!

Have you ever experienced this strategy back in Extended?

OH! And how could I forget? A lot of people are just calling it Fecundity Goblins now, but for those who don't know - I believe I read somewhere on Reddit that Dirty Kitty got its name from a magic commentator (I have no idea who).  Apparently they made a comment while watching the deck in action, claiming that watching it was like watching a monkey wash a cat. Yeah, I have no idea.

Catch you next week!