Deck Overview: The Return of Kird Ape to Legacy

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It's hard to say if Daryl Ayers broke it or if he and Ralph Betesh trolled the world at the SCG Open in Philadelphia with their Kird Apes.

But what we do know is that they both Top 8'd and Daryl took the whole tournament down.

People are comparing Monastery Swiftspear favorably to Goblin Guide and are actively excited to play it. Does this mean that Ayers and Betesh are bananas for running Kird Ape?

Magic players are the first group of people to jump down your throat if you try to say that something is strictly better than another thing, and Kird Ape is not without its advantages. Always being a 2/3 is not for nothing, but it comes at the cost of both haste and the potential to hit much harder.

The big upside of Kird Ape is strategic coherence with counterspells that Monastery Swiftspear lacks. Many Delver players have moved away from Spell Pierce in order to function more like a burn deck--a strategy that heavily increases Swiftspear's stock.

This, of course, has led to a rise in popularity of Storm and other such combo decks, which makes it unsurprising to see the Delver players with Spell Pierce seeing the most success. Betesh plays fewer Pierces in his list, but his Stifles present the same tension with Swiftspear.

Another downside that's easy to overlook is that Kird Ape pushes you towards playing Taiga in your Daze deck. To be fair, you can probably get by without the Taiga, but it's worth pointing out that it was always bad in older Temur Delver decks.

If Spell Pierce is the big draw to Kird Ape, then I have to wonder if Kird Ape is actually better than Swiftspear. Personally I've been fine playing Pierce in my Swiftspear build, but there might be something to this deck's success.

Chime in in the comments on the Kird Ape vs Swiftspear debate! Can you make a monkey out of me?

7 thoughts on “Deck Overview: The Return of Kird Ape to Legacy

    1. It’s great if you’re looking to abuse alongside pyromancer, which previously only saw some slight play in grixis delver decks in order to do gross things with cabal therapy.

      Both cards heavily reward durdle cards — and cruise allowed you to double-dip on the durdling from your GY. It was a match made in heaven.

      Hard to say this early if we’ll have a home for them going forward.

  1. Kird Ape is long gone, without Treasure Cruise gobbling up the graveyard these decks go back to using Nimble Mongoose which is better by a very large margin

        1. Hard to say. Mongoose beating spot removal is such a huge game. Miracles will likely be on the uptick with Cruise out of the format and I’d rather have the guy that they can’t STP.

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