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Collecting Some Company

I underrated Collected Company based on my experiences with See the Unwritten, which, while powerful, always played out a bit inconsistently. In Limited, you’ll often get a few giant creatures to win with, but the times that you brick will lose you the game.

There’s a real cost to building around either card. With See the Unwritten, that means a curve that’s high enough to support a top end that’s worth tutoring for, as you need enough gas to hit it consistently. At that point, See the Unwritten is actually competing with the cards you’re trying to tutor up, as you can only run so many cards at the top end.

Collected Company can only hit a very narrow range of threats. You can’t hit 4-drops or higher, so you’ll want to run few of those if any, and hitting a mana dork is akin to a brick because again your curve doesn’t go up that high, which makes ramping past 4 mana pretty useless. That leaves you with 2-drops and 3-drops, but most 2-drops won’t be that impressive and you can’t lean too hard on the 3-drops without creating a wonky curve—but if don’t you run enough power cards in that slot you have a high chance of bricking on Company.

And that’s where I was before I saw this list:

GW Company, by Craig Wescoe

Now, Wescoe is known for having a knack for finding the best way to beat down with white creatures in any given format, and since he played this over his Bant list from the PT, I had to give it a shot.

The first games gave me an immediate respect for Collected Company that I didn’t have before. In a deck that’s built around it, it’s often the best draw, and it’s a great card to get back with Den Protector as well. If you’re already ahead (which you often are) it’s a great way to keep snowballing. If you’re either even or behind, it’s a way to filter through the deck for the creatures that matter in that particular position. For example, digging up multiple Raptors in the matchups where recurring them matters, or finding Courser of Kruphix to get ahead on life against red decks.

Adrian Sullivan posted recently about how it’s incredibly difficult to beat counterspell-based control, Siege Rhino midrange, and the fast red decks that make up the top tier of current Standard, and as a deckbuilder I have to agree with him—it is incredibly hard! The main reason I like this GW deck is that it has a solid plan for each matchup. It applies enough pressure to beat Dragons, it has enough maindeck incidental life gain to win game one against red decks (though, like everyone, you can still die before getting a turn four on the draw), and it plays a fairly mirror-esque matchup against Abzan Aggro but with more efficient removal and a more consistent mana base. GW may or may not fare well against the rest of the field, but being able to tango with the big 3 is a good place to start.

As for the quad-Windstorms in the side, I’ve experimented with bringing in various numbers against Esper Dragons, and I’m still not sure what number I prefer. It is really nice to have it when they tap out for Ojutai, often winning the game on the spot. I’m considering cutting two and a Radiant Purge for three Wingmate Rocs. Not only would it give me another way to attack through monstrous Fleecemane Lions, but it’d also help fight through post-board Elspeths as well. Currently, Den Protector is the only way of getting an Elspeth off the board, which works great unless the opponent has anything at all. Amazing as Den Protector is, it doesn’t take much to stop a 3/2.

With my eyes opened to the potential of Collected Company, I started looking around:

Devotion to GW, by itsuki0901

I played the Company mirror against this version recently, and while I felt favored there were a few scary moments when my opponent grabbed a pair of Reverent Hunters at instant speed. 14 power for four mana at instant speed? That’s always going to be impressive, even if it isn’t particularly well positioned in a field of Deathmist Raptors.

The Den Protectors in this build are much more evasive than in Wescoe’s version, as they have both Boon Satyr and Aspect of Hydra to pump them up.

The mana looks sketchy. The Nykthoses aren’t necessary with a curve this tight, and I’m sure there should be a Mana Confluence or two. In fact, it’s likely the deck should be straight mono-green, avoiding any mana complications entirely while maximizing Aspect of Hydra.

Ug Devotion, by Nick Peternell

This list has some neat things going on, and I like the idea of Companying up a Thassa and a Shorecrasher Elemental to turn it on. Or even better yet, Companying in response to a Siege Rhino to find a Silumgar Sorcerer.

The Kiora’s Followers are an interesting inclusion in a beatdown deck, but with two sets of power 4-drops (Company and Master) I suppose it makes sense.

Icefeather Aven is another option.

Modern

Podless, by Brad Rutherford

There are a few different takes on Junk Company in Modern, but this specific list took down a recent 131-person event in Portland.

The structure of the deck is similar to the old Pod lists but also different in some key ways, and is actually more focused on the combo win than the later versions of Pod, which often cut the Melira win entirely.

Also note that Tarmogoyf is a card that never saw play in Pod, but sees play here because it’s one of the better threats to hit off of a Company.

Siege Rhino, as a non-combo piece and 4-drop, is sadly absent from the list.

Check out this fun brew that someone shared on my stream the other day:

In Baller Company, by anonymous 

When I saw this I couldn’t stop laughing. The nut draw is turn-one mana dork, turn-two Ball Lightning, turn-three Collected Company into double-Ball Lightning. Since this is Modern, your opponent has probably taken a few points from mana along the way.

Of course, this is the format of Electrolyze and Lightning Bolt and so on, and it’s highly unlikely that a deck like this could do well. Heck, Deceiver Exarch tapping one down could be game-ending.

Still, the idea of tutoring up double Ball Lightning is god-tier, and well worth the losses if it ever works.

“What did you tap out for? A Lingering Souls? AHAHAHA!”

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