Abzan Company in Modern

With Standard being a lame-duck format while we await Origins in a few weeks, I’ve been playing a lot of Modern lately. While Twin is still the deck I think I would play if I had a tournament tomorrow, I’ve been enjoying toying around with some Collected Company strategies. It feels like the best Company deck hasn’t been found quite yet, but the card is so powerful there must be a configuration that is completely broken.

My favorite version I’ve played so far is this Anafenza/Melira list that Joel Larson played to a Top 16 finish at Grand Prix Copenhagen.

Melira Company

Game Plan

The core game plan is to assemble a combination of a sac outlet, a persist creature, and either a Melira, Sylvok Outcast or an Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit. Then you can go off and either deal infinite damage or gain infinite life. There are some other combos hidden in the deck, like Anafenza, Melira, and Redcap shooting itself giving you infinite bolster triggers or Gavony Township and creatures combining to take make an army of huge monsters.

Card Choices

I particularly liked Joel’s choice to play Cartel Aristocrat in place of more Viscera Seers. While it’s worse when you’re going off due to the lack of scrying, it’s such a better creature when you’re not comboing and provides some nice insurance against damage-based sweepers like Anger of the Gods and Pyroclasm. When I had played previous incarnations of the deck, it felt great when you were going off, but you didn’t have enough individually robust creatures to actually win a fair game when opponents had enough interaction.

The suite of non-combo creatures is also exactly where I want to be. The second Spellskite is fantastic, helping give you additional interactive pieces against Twin, Bogles, and Infect, as well as anyone who is planning on Bolting your combo cards. Cutting down on Eternal Witness is also a necessary evil. While the card is fantastic in some post-board games by letting you double up on high impact sideboard cards, in games where you’re stuck on all Seers and Meliras, gravedigging Viscera Seer and Melira, Sylvok Outcast is not exactly ideal.

Obviously with a deck like this there are a ton of options you can try out, and because of Chord and Company, even a 1-of creature can have a huge impact. A singleton Shriekmaw could be great if you expect a lot of mirrors, as it gives you a tutorable way to remove Linvala, and is a good card to draw naturally as well. The downside is that these days a lot of the bigger threats are the black delve cards (Tasigur and Gurmag Angler) so it’s somewhat unreliable as a removal spell. Big Game Hunter is another techy option that deals with the delve dudes, but suffers from being a bit more situational. If your metagame is infested with Rhinos, Tarmogoyfs, and Tasigurs, don’t be afraid to add one to the mix! Finally, I really like Joel’s suggestion of Phyrexian Revoker as a way to combat both Griselbrand and (to a much lesser extent) Twin.

Sideboarding/Matchup Guide

As always in Modern, sideboarding is very tricky and sideboarded games tend to play out extremely differently than game 1. Because of this, make sure to revisit your sideboard between games 2 and 3 as well and asses how your opponent’s game plan has shifted and how you need to change yours to better interact. Typically, Chord of Calling gets a little worse after board because opponents will have more removal (and sometimes mass removal) so your board presence will usually be a little smaller.

Twin (and other Snapcaster/Bolt decks) – Unfavorable

Twin is rough because they don’t have to care a lot about your infinite life, and Snapcaster + Bolt make assembling a critical mass of creatures somewhat difficult. I think that in general these games are more about beating down and stopping their combo than assembling your own, so look to sideboard in a way that maximizes that while minimizing the impact their post-board Angers will have against you. Also watch out for Blood Moon!



Against non-Twin Snap/Bolt decks, remove all the Abrupt Decays and a few Paths in favor of the fourth Finks and a few Fulminator Mages.

GBx – Slightly Favorable

GBx decks tend to be a good matchup because of how good you are at dodging creature removal and generating 2-for-1s. The games you lose tend to involve getting run over by a bunch of Tarmogoyfs before you’re able to stabilize, or getting blown out by some trump card like Anger of the Gods or Olivia Voldaren.



Against Jund, cut an additional Chord and a Fiend Hunter for 2 Forge-Tenders

Affinity – Slightly Favorable

Game 1 is usually a race as you both have few ways to interact with each other. Pontiff can be a blowout sometimes, but for the most part you’ll just be trying to assemble your combo as quickly as possible. Remember that Inkmoth doesn’t even deal normal damage when Melira is in play, and that Spellskite can redirect Arcbound Ravager’s ability! Post-board they sometimes have Whipflare, which can be a huge problem. My preferred playstyle is to just ignore it and hope that they either don’t have it or play very few copies. Fortunately, we also get to bring in some serious haymakers of our own and can set up some pretty big blowout Chords with Kataki and Pridemage.



Burn – Favorable

Burn is usually a good matchup because of how many maindeck ways you have to gain life and blank their creatures. The games you lose tend to involve a lot of Searing Blazes or awkward mana forcing you to take a bunch of damage from shocks and fetches.



Amulet Bloom – Unfavorable

They’re just faster than you. Sometimes infinite life won’t even be enough because you can lose to Hive Mind. Don’t forget that Spellskite can redirect Slayers’ Stronghold and Sunhome activations.



While I’m not convinced this is the best possible Collected Company deck, it’s the best I’ve seen so far. Got any wacky 1-ofs that you think are great? Let me know in the comments!


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