Kibo, Uktabi Prince | Illustration by Filipe Pagliuso
When Kibo, Uktabi Prince was first spoiled for Jumpstart 2022 I was less excited for the card itself and more hopeful for a Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer reprint. I forgot about Kibo for a little while, but I realized just how much potential I missed when I eventually took a fresh look at it.
Kibo, Uktabi Prince has a lot of effects that work well together and add value to a relatively inexpensive commander. Kibo has the two best colors for artifact destruction being in Gruul (), making its second two abilities a perfect fit.
Because Kibo, Uktabi Prince works best when paired with monkey and ape creatures, those are the creature types this deck largely focuses on. This may be the deck for you if you’re looking for a combat-heavy tribal deck. Let’s take a look!
Stomping Ground | Illustration by James Paick
Simian Spirit Guide
Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer
Kogla, the Titan Ape
Grunn, the Lonely King
Bane of Progress
Force of Vigor
Return of the Wildspeaker
Triumph of the Hordes
Green Sun’s Zenith
Curse of Opulence
Rhythm of the Wild
Descent into Avernus
The Great Henge
Coat of Arms
Boseiju, Who Endures
This deck was built to take advantage of Kibo, Uktabi Prince’s buffs, allowing you to play an aggressive game. You can create some massive creatures that your opponents will struggle to deal with using your commander’s ability and some artifact hate like Nature’s Claim.
You should prioritize getting Kibo on the field and keeping it there since this deck is so heavily built around it. It may even be worth waiting to cast it when you can also equip Swiftfoot Boots or Whispersilk Cloak if you already have these forms of protection on the field.
This deck can create some pretty powerful creatures, but it’s also dependent on combat damage to win the game. Don’t hold back too long in hopes of finishing a player off in one shot; your best bet is to beat down your opponents before they have time to set up.
Kibo, Uktabi Prince is great against Treasure tokens. Treasure has been gaining popularity as a form of ramp and fixing, especially since Dockside Extortionist was printed.
Kibo, Uktabi Prince’s ability to buff itself is also powerful. The stronger it is the more comfortable you can feel attacking with it, which can help with artifact removal and buff it even more. This also makes Kibo a serious threat to your opponents because it can dole out a lot of commander damage, giving you another way to close out a game.
Fuel for Kibo
Kibo, Uktabi Prince is good at fueling its own abilities, but the more help it has the better.
One way to do this is by activating Kibo’s ability multiple times a turn with cards like Thousand-Year Elixir and Instill Energy.
Lithoform Engine can also get multiple activations off Kibo or double up ita triggered abilities instead, allowing for some flexibility.
Illusionist’s Bracers does a similar thing, and it doesn’t cost anything once it’s equipped.
Another great way to get more out of Kibo’s abilities is to double up its output of counters and tokens. Branching Evolution is a great way to get extra counters every time an opponent loses an artifact.
Doubling Season is particularly effective because it increases the number of counters that you make and gives you twice as many Banana tokens when activating it.
Primal Vigor is similar to Doubling Season, but riskier since it also doubles up tokens and counters that your opponents get. This can be great for giving them more Bananas but can also come back to bite you.
Accruing a lot of counters can be nice, but it hurts when the board is wiped and you lose all that progress. Luckily The Ozolith offers you a chance to store these counters and use them again later. This can be especially powerful if you recast Kibo, Uktabi Prince and buff it up a lot, allowing you to threaten players with commander damage.
Curse of Opulence is a great cheap card that serves several purposes. First it incentivizes your opponents to attack whoever you’ve enchanted with it, drawing some heat off of you. It also ensures other players get Gold tokens to sacrifice, which triggers Kibo.
Descent into Avernus gives your opponents even more artifacts to sacrifice every turn while also consistently damaging them. This buffs your creatures while hurting your opponents, making it easier for you to take them out with combat damage.
Liquimetal Torque can be tapped at instant speed, which meansyou can turn it into an artifact in response and trigger Kibo if another player is about to remove one of your opponent’s creatures.
Even more effective is Mycosynth Lattice, which lets Kibo distribute counters when any of your opponents’ permanents are sent to the graveyard from play.
Cards like Whispersilk Cloak and Rogue’s Passage offer protection for Kibo, allowing you to safely attack with it. These also help you win using commander damage.
Apes and Monkeys
A huge focus in this deck may be Kibo itself, but having a lot of great apes and monkeys to go along with it helps you make the most out of its buffs.
Simian Simulacrum and Scrounging Bandar are great because they synergize with +1/+1 counters.
Taurean Mauler gets buffs from Kibo as well as its own effect thanks to changeling.
Low-mana value apes and monkeys like Kird Ape and Kavu Predator are nice because they can be put down early and grow over time.
Yavimaya Steelcrusher and Uktabi Orangutan can double as artifact removal while fitting the appropriate creature type.
Silverback Elder is especially helpful because its artifact removal ability is repeatable.
Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer is a great creature for some early mana ramp and to eliminate some threats from your opponents’ decks. It’s still a form of removal even if you don’t end up casting the card it exiles since you’re taking resources away from that player.
Grunn, the Lonely King can be a very powerful attacker, especially once it’s been pumped up by Kibo.
Zodiac Monkey can deal a decent amount of damage to opponents thanks to its forestwalk ability.
Aside from destroying other artifacts you also have some important ones of your own that can benefit from support.
Audacious Reshapers can get an artifact card from your library for free. All the artifacts in this deck are helpful for your strategy so there’s never really a big whiff, but it can be dangerous if you reveal too many cards.
Kuldotha Forgemaster lets you sacrifice artifacts to find another one. Both can make good use of your Banana tokens, so you don’t have to sacrifice other useful artifacts to activate them.
Goblin Engineer is great for grabbing one of your cheaper artifacts and then getting it out on the field in exchange for a Banana. This is a helpful card to find The Ozolith.
Daretti, Scrap Savant is another great option to get artifacts out of your graveyard and can also draw you some cards.
Urza’s Saga is another great way to tutor up The Ozolith and it won’t cost you anything to do it, making it a powerful piece in this deck.
Destroying your opponents’ artifacts won’t just hinder their game in this deck, it also buffs your own creatures.
Nature’s Claim, Force of Vigor, and Ancient Grudge are all helpful forms of removal.
Boseiju, Who Endures can be used as removal or land, making it more flexible than some other removal spells.
Decimate is a great Gruul removal spell that takes out not just an artifact, but several other permanents as well.
Overloading a Vandalblast can have a huge impact on the game if you’re looking to remove a lot of artifacts at once, especially when Kibo is out.
Meltdown is another great card to remove multiple artifacts at once, and it serves as a great form of Treasure hate. If your opponents aren’t using the Bananas or Treasures you gave them, you can now get rid of it all anyway and still get your payoff for only one red mana.
Structural Assault has the added benefit of wiping out artifacts and potentially a lot of creatures depending on how much damage it does.
Drawing cards is an essential part of any deck, and this one is no exception.
Cards like Beast Whisperer and The Great Henge are great ways to get extra value out of playing creatures and ensure your hand stays full.
Garruk’s Uprising and Return of the Wildspeaker can both be good sources of draw in this deck since you’re working with a lot of powerful creatures.
Sylvan Library is a green staple for a reason. It’s an incredible way to get through your deck quickly and find answers. It also allows you some flexibility so you never have to pay extra life if you can’t afford it, but it’s often worth it.
Viridian Revel is an especially good source of card draw in this deck since your strategy revolves around getting your opponents to sacrifice or lose their artifacts.
You’ll need a way to end the game once you’ve got a field full of big creatures. Craterhoof Behemoth is a classic way to close out a game with combat damage, and you can use Worldly Tutor or Green Sun’s Zenith to find it when necessary.
Triumph of the Hordes is another particularly strong card to end games, or at least take out one opponent since you only need to sneak 10 damage past each player to eliminate them.
Coat of Arms can also give you the extra buff you need to close out the game since you’re running most of the same creature type and you have Maskwood Nexus. Just be careful that there aren’t any other tribal decks that benefit from it more than you do.
The Mana Base
You can get away with running a lot of basic lands to save on the budget for this deck since Kibo, Uktabi Prince can help a lot with mana fixing.
You still want some dual lands, so you have Rockfall Vale, Spire Garden, and Stomping Ground.
Command Tower is a no-brainer for any multicolored commander.
As far as utility lands go, Urza’s Saga and Inventors’ Fair are both helpful for finding strong artifacts from your deck. Urza’s Saga is great for getting The Ozolith while Inventors’ Fair can search up Mycosynth Lattice.
The only mana rock this deck runs is Sol Ring, and you also have Simian Spirit Guide for some one-time mana production if need be.
The strategy here as an aggro deck is to get your creatures out quickly, buff them up, and swing often. Kibo, Uktabi Prince can be played pretty early so you should look to drop it on the field as soon as possible and start activating its ability. It’s also a good idea to keep a hand with some low-mana value apes or monkeys that you can have out with Kibo so they can start getting buffed earlier as well.
You want to use Kibo’s ability early and often before your opponents realize just how out of hand your creatures can get. They’ll be tempted by the extra mana in the early game much more than they will once they’ve established a strong mana base. Blowing up early mana rocks with Kibo or removal spells is a great way to make players want to use the Bananas you give them.
Once your apes are big enough you’ll want to give your them trample with cards like Garruk’s Uprising, or evasion with Whispersilk Cloak and Rogue’s Passage. You can also threaten opponents with commander damage by swinging with Kibo as often as you can.
You can finish opponents off with a well-timed Triumph of the Hordes or Craterhoof Behemoth, especially if you have Unnatural Growth on the field. You can also use one of these earlier in the game to take out a single opponent if you get the opening since it’s usually helpful to have less opponents to play against.
Combos and Interactions
One great interaction is between Mycosynth Lattice and any of your artifact removal cards. When all your opponents’ permanents are artifacts, you can destroy any of them (even lands) with cards like Nature’s Claim. Attacking with Kibo, Uktabi Prince forces them to sacrifice any permanent, and an overloaded Vandalblast clears their entire board.
But this can make your board more vulnerable as well, so think before playing it.
There are unfortunately some pricey cards in this deck. Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer is a great card but is likely to get removed quickly anyway. You can swap it out for another low-mana value ape, monkey, or shapeshifter to fill its spot in this deck and save yourself $70.
You already have a few cards like Doubling Season, so you can swap it out for a cheaper card that does something similar. Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider is about half the price, saving you about $40. Hardened Scales is also a great option if you still don’t want to spend that much. This card basically doubles up the +1/+1 counters Kibo distributes since it does so as individual triggers.
Dockside Extortionist likely won’t end up being necessary for this deck since you have Kibo to help you make extra mana as well as Descent into Avernus, which can make you a lot of Treasures. It can be swapped out in a similar fashion to Ragavan for another creature you can buff with Kibo.
While a lot of builds for Kibo, Uktabi Prince take a similar approach, you can try to create some interesting combos with it instead. This involves including ways to untap Kibo repeatedly and finding a way to turn your infinite Bananas into a win condition.
One way to go about this is to use Clock of Omens along with Mycosynth Lattice. The clock untaps Kibo now that it’s an artifact, so combining this with Doubling Season or Primal Vigor then allows you to create infinite Bananas. This can mean infinite damage if you have a Reckless Fireweaver, or you can mill out players with Grinding Station.
Mycosynth Lattice | Illustration by Anthony S. Waters
Kibo, Uktabi Prince is a great commander because it’s unique and has a lot of meaningful abilities. It makes for an excellent aggro commander, or it could be used to create some interesting combos if you choose to go that route instead.
Have you built Kibo differently? Are there any cards you think deserve a spot in this deck? Let me know in the comments below or over on Draftsim’s Twitter.
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