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What Should You Be Doing with Collected Company in Modern?


Innovation is a very important part of Magic. Innovation causes metagame shifts and forces players to adapt and play on their toes. Most Magic players will tell you it can be very difficult to play against well made brew since you don't know how to fight against it properly. Not only that, but brewing is just plain fun! People like seeing unique decks succeed since they cause a brief shake up and provide something new for us to analyze and test. So how are we going to do this today? Through a card that has recently shaken up the Modern metagame, is a huge value engine in creature-based decks, and is one of my personal favorite cards from Dragons of Tarkir. I am talking about Collected Company.

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The card has somewhat lived up to the hype it caused when it was first spoiled. It can provide huge value for creature-based decks and is fantastic at any point in the game as long as you can cast it. The downside? You do have to play a LOT of creatures (if you consider that a downside). Not only a lot of creatures, but a lot of creatures that have a converted mana cost of three or less. This means we won't be seeing it in any decks with too high of a curve or with too low of a creature count. 

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Let's take a look at what options we have to us.

Elves

This deck has started to gain some traction and is probably the most popular version of the deck right now. The deck is pretty similar to the Elf Ball decks that used to be hanging around FNMs and kitchen tables, but has now become a scary deck that can win out of nowhere due to Collected Company.

A lot of the deck is taken up by cheap elves that can quickly provide more mana through things like Heritage Druid, Elvish Archdruid, and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. Dumping out these dorks is what the deck does in the early game and it can do it fast. The big finisher in the deck is Ezuri, Renegade Leader who pumps your whole team (possibly more than once) leading to a large attack that can trample over chump blockers. With Collected Company added to the deck, it lets you access Ezuri much faster while dumping more elves into play. This is fantastic because the deck could very easily run out of steam if you dump your hand and have no big pay off. Collected Company also works very well with Chord of Calling in this deck, which is the reason for the amount of one-ofs. Tutoring up a main deck answer and putting it directly into play is very powerful. Not only does this mean we can run sideboard creatures in the main deck, it means our sideboard creatures get so much better. We can tutor them up whenever we need them and that is a very scary thing to play against.

The deck certainly has a lot of potential. It has a toolbox feel being able to fetch up answers relatively easily, and if it is not shutdown right away, it will kill you rather fast. It has put up the most consistent results so far out of these decks so it is definitely something you should be keeping your eye on.

Podless Pod

After the Birthing Pod ban, was there a hole left in your heart? Have you missed gaining endless life with Kitchen Finks or dealing endless damage with Murderous Redcap? Well fear no longer! Your dismantled Pod deck may have some use now.

The deck is very reminiscent of Pod decks of the past and plays out similarly. It is a large value engine that can play a fair game of Magic while out-valuing you, or just assembles a combo to win the game outright. Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit or Melira, Sylvok Outcast + Viscera Seer or Varolz, the Scar-Striped + Kitchen Finks or Murderous Redcap and Archangel of Thune + Spike Feeder will win the game. I'm surprised at how resilient this deck actually is. If your goal is just to just stop them from comboing off, then you will just lose to Tarmogoyf and Kitchen Finks. Collected Company takes the place of the Pod engine here and allows for a glorious turn 4 kill. Financially speaking it could actually be rather cheap if you were a Pod player previously.

Overall this deck is pretty customizable to how you want to play. While it hasn't put up a ton of results yet, I definitely think it can and will soon due to it' consistency, resiliency, and the opponent's lack of understanding about the deck. It currently also has way too many names to count (Abzan Company, CoCo, Abzan CoCo, etc...).

Now this is the point where I show you some custom ideas I have been working on. These decks haven't had widespread success and are simply great ways you could be using Collected Company right now.

Little Kid Abzan

This deck first showed up at the Pro Tour as a way to combat the Abzan decks. It plays a more aggressive strategy than normal Abzan and has some specific anti-discard cards that are great against an Abzan heavy meta. But I think that the deck could be even more successful if we add in Collected Company, giving us more of an aggro feel and better chance against other decks.

The deck does have to do some trimming to make room more creatures that cost 3 CMC or less. While this does make the deck less hateful towards discard heavy metas, it does make it a more aggressive deck that can be viable in non-discard metas as well. It is actually somewhat similar to the Podless Pod strategy, but it focuses more on just throwing dudes at your opponent and building a scary board state that is difficult to deal with. Collected Company is an excellent top end for this deck because it increases your creature count by two, which is relevant with cards like Path to Exile in the format, and the creatures it grabs are normally good turn 3 or 4 plays on their own. If you play Abzan Aggro in Standard then this deck plays similar to that. 

I definitely think that this variation on Abzan Liege is something to try out. What it lacks in being an anti-meta deck, it makes up for in being a better aggressive Abzan deck in a open metagame.

Mono Green Stompy

The Stompy deck has fallen out of favor for a while now, mainly seeing play only at FNMs and maybe in a Magic Online Daily or two. With Collected Company, the deck has a potential new top end so we should reevaluate this old deck.

More of you will probably be familiar with this deck as it has existed for a while now. The basic idea is playing a bunch of small green dudes that have great bodies for their CMC. It is a lesser played aggro deck mainly because it doesn't have the reach that the other aggro decks in the format do. Its downside is a combination of not being fast enough and being hard to build a scary board state. Collected Comapany fixes these problems by giving the deck amazing reach by dropping two more dudes into play. This means that a couple of Lightning Bolts aren't going to ruin your day anymore. It may not look it, but the deck can finish the game pretty quickly with so many solid creatures and ridiculous pump spells like Aspect of Hydra and Vines of Vastwood. I do think that the deck is being largely underplayed right now and is one of the biggest sleeper decks in Modern.

Take my advice and at least try the deck out for yourself. I think a lot of you will be surprised by its power. With most sideboard hate being towards Burn and Infect, Stompy will definitely steal some games from your opponent.

Merfolk

Yes, everyone's favorite tier 2 deck. I am actually very surprised that this hasn't been tried more frequently. Merfolk can quickly and easily empty their hand due to cheap creatures and Aether Vial, plus splashing green can add some new cards to the deck.

Here we are splashing green for more than just Collected Com</span>pany — Simic Charm is our Vapor Snag replacement. It is a fantastically versatile card; for one extra green mana we get the option to Giant Growth or, more impressively, giving our permanents hexproof. This not only helps blank our opponent's removal spells, it also protects our Aether Vials and Spreading Seas. I also thought a singleton Kiora, the Crashing Wave is worth trying out. Not only for flavor reasons, but it is a decent top end that helps if our opponent is trying to race with a Tarmogoyf. Due to the Kiora and Company, we have to up our land count to 22. Collected Company is huge in this deck because it allows us to dump our hand and then still get 2 more Merfolk into play, usually closing out the game.

Collected Company has been amazing as well as the green splash. I highly suggest changing up your Merfolk deck and try something different than the normal Merfolk list; this will definitely take some people aback.

Zoo

This is the deck most people first thought of when Collected Company was spoiled. It was of course the most obvious shell for it by already playing green and having a lot of low costing creatures that would love to be cheated into play.

The deck is actually fairly similar to the Abzan Liege deck. However, here we are playing red and the deck is actually much more aggressive than the Abzan list. The key here is actually through the lands. Wild Nacatl, Knight of the Reliquary and Tarmogoyf all benefit from your fetch lands to grow them and attacking for a boat load of damage early on. Collected Company adds a lot more explosive damage to the deck as it can easily dump 7 or 8 power onto the board at the end of your opponent's turn. Followed up the burn in your hand, this can lead to quick victories that your opponent did not see coming. It can also help you play catch up which this deck is not normally good at; top decking a Collected Company and putting two of your big beaters into play on an empty or stalled board can be absolutely back-breaking for your opponent.

I will admit that this is my least favorite of the decks, mainly because I'm not a fan of the Zoo deck in general. However I do think that if you want to be playing Zoo, then Collected Company is most likely in your deck already. If it isn't, then what are you doing? Get on it!

... and so many more!

Martyr of Sands [CSP] Spellstutter Sprite [MMA] Geist of Saint Traft [ISD]

The possibilities for this card are pretty vast. As long as you're playing at least 25 creatures with the majority costing 3 CMC or less, it is possible that Collected Company could fit into your deck. Soul Sisters, Faeries, Bant, etc. are all other possibilities that could benefit from this card. I highly implore you to go out and brew because this card is super powerful and hasn't even come close to reaching its full potential. I hope I convinced you to try out one of my favorite cards right now and maybe it will become one of yours too. And let's be honest here, every deck sounds cooler with "Co." at the end of it.


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