R Koster's picture
By: R Koster, Rob Koster
Apr 24 2020 10:15am

For those of you who are looking for some companionship these days, look no further. The companions are here!

If you've missed the memo about it, the companions are just busted. They might be fine in Standard, but that's the only place that they are fine.

I'm willing to bet that in a year, at least eight of the ten companions are in tier 1 decks across one, if not multiple formats. We have had one week so far, and numerous of them have already made it. With Lurrus of the Dream Den leading the catpack so far. Because it sees play in everything.

In Legacy, it sees play in Delver, and not just in one version but in there are Grixis, Jeskai, and Sultai versions. But that's not the only place it sees play, Lands also added it to their roster straight away.

Gyruda, Doom of Depths  was banned on MTGO because of some bugs with it. But the card was doing turn 1 kills thanks to Clone effects and Dragonlord Kolaghan. The combo is Gyruda, Doom of Depths and about a million Clone versions until you flip the Dragonlord Kolaghan. All of this is made possible by the always fair Lion's Eye Diamond.

Zirda, the Dawnwaker Is great friends with Basalt Monolith and Grim Monolith. Walking Ballista also had an invitation to their party. And I believe the door was being guarded by someone called Auriok Salvagers. Yep, those guys are not feeling lonely.

I haven't found anything with the other companions yet for Legacy, but three breaking into Legacy straight away is a big deal.

For Vintage, I haven't seen any lists, but I have heard rumblings of people wanting to replay their Black Lotus every turn. It seems like it would be a decent thing to replay every turn. Lutri, the Spellchaser also seems interesting in a format that has been devolving into singleton madness anyway. And all the Legacy combo's work in Vintage, so yeah, someone will figure it out.

And then we mosey our way into Modern. Because, well, yeah. There is a lot of Commander going on in Modern right now. I've tried 4 of the Companions so far, but I wouldn't be surprised if all ten end up seeing play.

The ones I've tried are Lurrus of the Dream-Den, Zirda, the Dawnwaker, Keruga, the Macrosage, and Jegantha, the Wellspring. I know that Obosh, the Preypiercer, Gyruda, Doom of Depths and Yorion, Sky Nomad are seeing play as well. I fully expect decks with Lutri, the Spellchaser, Umori, the Collector, and Kaheera, the Orphanguard. They are just an eighth card in your opening hand, which is as insanely powerful as it sounds. To put it bluntly, I think that if you aren't playing a Companion in Modern right now, you are doing it wrong.

So okay, one little caveat, the Keruga, the Macrosage list I played was a giant Trinisphere and Planeswalker based meme Prison deck. I was trying to turn 1 Trinisphere as much as possible. But it won way more games than I ever thought it would for a deck thrown together in 10 minutes and not having a curve below 3cmc. It turns out turn 1 Trinisphere is good against Lurrus of the Dream-Den based decks. Who knew? Also, you can play cards with a lower CMC than three if you get them from your sideboard. HINT HINT. *Sneezes in Karn*.

This was the list I tried:

Where have these companions been performing, you ask? Well, let's dive in!

Lurrus of the Dream-Den is being played in literally every deck that plays Black or White in Modern. And I feel like it's just a matter of time before people start splashing for it in decks like Infect. So far I've seen it in Jund, Abzan, Mardu, Grixis, Grixis Delver, Sultai Shadow, regular Sultai, Death and Taxes, four-color Snow-Piles and Burn.

But people are just trying it out, right? This is just people experimenting to find the best deck for it? Right?

Well no. It's been obscenely powerful in every single one of these decks. The card is bonkers. Lurrus, on its own, is the reason you will need to start running Maindeck Graveyard hate again.

I've played Zirda, the Dawnwaker in combo-based Elves. The deck plays a million mana dorks, Umbral Mantle, and then they make infinite mana together. It felt fine but was nothing special. I'd bet money that there are a lot more ways to break Zirda, though.

People are going to town on Yorion, Sky Nomad. I've seen Azorius based value piles. I've seen Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Pestermite piles. I came across a 128 cards Bant Control deck with just everything in there that you would think of when you think of Bant Control. I also fully expect to see some sort of Flickerwisp shenanigans going on in a while with this one.

Gyruda, Doom of Depths is doing the same thing in Modern as it is in Legacy. Heartless Summoning helping it out for some faster kills here together with its cloney friends. Almost the entire Legacy deck is legal, so that's usually a good sign for things to come.

Obosh, the Preypiercer has made friends with the Rakdos crows in Lightning Skelemental and Unearth. But it's a people pleaser. It's also made its way into the Gruul Midrange decks to prepare for trouble. And he's making it double.

I played Jegantha, the Wellspring in Humans. It slotted in without a hitch or changing a card, and it performed like nobody's business in there. It was helping me beat Blood Moon, being a 5/5 for 5 when your flooding out also isn't terrible to get out of a free card in your hand. I'm also fully expecting it in the Niv-Mizzet Reborn decks.

The decks for Lutri, the Spellchaser, Umori, the Collector, Kaheera, the Orphanguard and Keruga, the Macrosage haven't been found yet. I suspect Kaheera will end up in some sort of aggressive Collected Company tribal deck. But if someone does a better job of it with Keruga than I did. I could see it being viable, which is absurd considering the drawback. Umori smells of Eggs to me as well. The only one where I don't see it quite yet is Lutri.

Anyway, what does this all mean? What is means is that Companion is the single most impactful ability I have ever seen bestowed upon the format. Never before have I seen over half a cycle of cards hit play across a multitude of Eternal formats. And with that, I also expect a bunch of them to get banned within six months. The 8th card in hand is just that powerful, and most of them are free to run.

Oh, and it's also busted in Pioneer. I mean just look at this top 8:

1: Orzhov Auras - Lurrus
2: Bant Spirits – Why isn't this running Jegantha? It's completely free.
3: Burn – Lurrus
4: Dimir Inverter
5: Orzhov Auras – Lurrus
6: Orzhov Auras – Lurrus
7: Golgari Hardened Scales – Lurrus
8: Spirits – Also, no Jegantha. Why? It's just so free.

I feel like every one of these eight decks should run a partner, and most of them are. I actively think the ones that arent are doing it wrong. I could only find final standings. I don't know how the top 8 ended up working out.

As for other Pioneer decks, I saw Obosh being run in Gruul aggro. I could see Jegantha in Niv-Mizzet. Lurrus in Boros Feather sounds excellent as well. And that's just off the top of my head. There will most certainly be more quite obvious adds for all sorts of decks.

So that's the impact of Companion on Eternal formats for it's first few days in the format. I expect a massive reshaping of everything we know.
You may not like it, but if you want to win. Play a Companion deck while you can, they are busted.