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By: olaw, Oliver Law
May 07 2015 12:00pm
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Hello!

Welcome to another Becoming A Modern Man!  In this article I plan to look at Collected Company from Dragons of Tarkir and investigate a potential home for it in Modern.  In my last article, I tried out a Melira/Anafenza Combo deck which housed the card but this time we are going to look at a slightly more aggressive approach.

Collected Company

Fortunately, in this case I managed to find a few successful lists in the Modern dailies so you don't have to put up with my amateurish brews.  Let's take a look at MisterT1980's list:

Just like most Zoo decks this deck is about playing very cheap but oversized creatures and getting aggressive quick.  Collected Company tops out our curve as a way to restock and apply additional pressure.

DECK TECH

Creatures

Wild Nacatl
Wild Nacatl
A one-drop once consider so powerful that it was banned in Modern.  Turns out that was a mistake but Wild Nacatl is certainly powerful as it is almost always a one-mana 3/3 by Turn 2.  Nacatl adds a lot of pressure to the board at minimal cost.

Noble Hierarch
Noble Hierarch
Noble Hierarch might seem a little controversial in a deck that is about quick aggressive creatures.  Hierarch does add a little to combat though with Exalted and the mana ramp is very useful for dropping extra creatures to the board and casting Collected Company on Turn 3 is always great.

Also, at the time of writing Noble Hierarch has just been confirmed as being included in Modern Masters 2015, which is pretty cool as it is a card that has steadily risen in price over time.

Tarmogoyf
Tarmogoyf
The poster boy for ruthless aggression and still the most expensive card in Modern.  I actually picked up a playset of Goyfs a short while back and wanted to use them but then got caught up in Dragons of Tarkir cards and other things.  So here I finally get to use my Goyfs.  In general, Goyf is a very overpowered 2-drop that outsizes the competition considerably.

Tarmogoyf is a very powerful two-drop though the fact that we aren't dumping a lot of different card types into the graveyard can sometimes hurt.  As the majority of our deck is just creatures if our opponent isn't dropping cards into the graveyard it can be an underwhelming 1/2 with just a fetchland in the graveyard contributing to its size.  So, we are relying on our opponent to make Goyf good a reasonable amount of the time or to be using removal on our creatures which should add a couple more card types into the graveyard.  Fortunately, this isn't a problem most of the time but against some decks it can be.

Qasali Pridemage
Qasali Pridemage
Pridemage is a nice utility 2-drop that can also hit pretty hard when attacking alone.  Having artifact/enchantment removal in your main deck can be very useful, particularly against Splinter Twin and cards like Blood Moon which can be pretty crippling for the deck.

Scavenging Ooze
Scavenging Ooze
Another very powerful two-drop.  Scavenging Ooze can grow very large with enough fodder to feed on but even without it can be a powerful graveyard hate card - stealing away spells from under Snapcaster Mage's nose, eating Dredge spells etc.

Loxodon Smiter
Loxodon Smiter
Simple, powerful and effective.  Smiter is a 3-mana 4/4 which though a little vanilla is extremely good.  The card does also have some additional text.  Smiter can't be countered so it is basically guaranteed to hit the battlefield when cast, which is very reassuring against decks that run Remand, Mana Leak and Cryptic Command.  The anti-discard provision works very well against Liliana of the Veil too.

Knight of the Reliquary
Knight of the Reliquary
Knight of the Reliquary is an excellent three-drop and one that can potentially be huge depending on how many fetchlands you have drawn.  It also has the ability to grow itself by sacrificing a Forest or Plains and searching up a fetchland (adding 2 extra lands to the graveyard) or alternatively Kessig Wolf Run if you need to get some points of damage through some pesky chump blockers.  Knight also combines nicely with Collected Company as if you cast it on the end of your opponent's turn it will be ready to use it's activated ability as soon as the turn passes, rather than sitting around summoning sick.

Mirran Crusader
Mirran Crusader
I was initially running a list that had Woolly Thoctar in this place in the deck.  As such I haven't had as much time to test with Crusader, though I feel like it probably is the more powerful creature in general.  Crusader's protections mean that it can attack past black and green blockers and it is also protected from removal spells like Dismember and Abrupt Decay.

Spells

Lightning BoltPath to Exile
Lightning Bolt/Path to Exile
Given that this deck is all about creature combat inevitable we need something to clear out any potential roadblocks.  Bolt and Path are the premier removal spells in the Modern format and we have access to both of them here.  Bolt can also go to the dome to finish off our opponent if we cannot get the damage through by other means.

Collected Company
Collected Company
Collected Company is the top end of our deck.  If we are running out of gas or our opponent has managed to wipe the board you can cast this end of turn to restock and drop a couple of new threat to the board.

Lands

Kessig Wolf Run
Kessig Wolf Run
Kessig Wolf Run is a nice utility land for the deck.  I don't like it quite as much as Gavony Township in general, but in a deck like this where we are just looking to push through as much damage as possible it is very useful.  Knight of the Reliquary can also tutor it up which is useful.

Horizon Canopy
Horizon Canopy
Canopy isn't a card I own but seems like a nice one-of in the manabase.  It can draw you a card in a pinch and will help bulk up your Knight of the Reliquary.

Sideboard
I didn't have a chance to use all the sideboard cards but I will give my thoughts on some of the picks:

Blood MoonChokeKor FirewalkerStony SilenceThalia, Guardian of ThrabenSword of Light and ShadowBonfire of the Damned

  • Blood Moon is an interesting in a deck that doesn't particular like being hit with a Blood Moon itself.  I've had quite a few Blood Moons played against me while running this deck and it wasn't pleasant most of the time.  We actually can be fairly resilient to Blood Moon provided we get at least a basic Forest and ideally a basic Plains to go with it, particularly thanks to Collected Company.  However, I'm hesitant to use it as a sideboard tool in our own deck.
  • Choke is a very powerful sideboard card against Control decks and blue decks in general.  Choke can be crippling if played at the right time and I like it a lot.
  • Kor Firewalker is an excellent answer to the very powerful Burn decks, as a way of gaining life and blocking their creatures.
  • Stony Silence is a brilliant hoser against Tron, particularly GR Tron that relies on Chromatic Sphere and other artifact cantrips to fix it's mana.  It's also a useful way of turning off equipment and hosing a vast number of other artifacts.
  • Thalia, Guardian of Thraben does make your Collected Company slightly more expensive but in general is a good card to have in the board.  Thalia slows down spell heavy decks considerably, allowing us to apply enough pressure before they can get going.
  • Sword of Light and Shadow seems like a fine inclusion though Swords in general are a little slow for the aggressive type of deck this is.  Protecting your guys from removal and being able to get back creatures from your graveyard makes this Sword worth a try but I don't know if it is the best type of deck for it.
  • Bonfire of the Damned is a card I haven't tried so can't really comment.  A one-sided board wipe does seem awesome but in a deck that isn't particularly mana heavy I fear this might not be the most exciting if you aren't casting it as a Miracle.  Still pretty tasty against Token strategies though.

GAMEPLAY
So let's take a look at what happened when I took the deck for a spin.  You may note in some of the videos I am running a Birds of Paradise or a Experiment One, these were placeholders for the 4th Noble Hierarch as I didn't want to buy another copy with the reprint coming up.  Also, as mentioned previously I was initially using Woolly Thoctar in the place of Mirran Crusader.


Our first matchup is against a UG Infect deck.  This matchup is a tough one as they can often blank our creatures and poison us to death fairly swiftly.  We we want our Paths and Bolts badly in this matchup as we really need to answer their creatures.  Meanwhile, we are looking to apply as much pressure as possible and hope that they stumble.


Our second matchup is against Jeskai Control.  There are many different flavours of Jeskai Control but this version seemed to be particularly burn focused.  We basically got blown out in Game 1 by a series of burn spells followed by an Anger of the Gods.  In Game 2 and 3, we were able to play around this better and Kor Firewalker did a lot of work out of the sideboard to prevent us being burnt out and as an untouchbale threat.


Our third and final matchup is against Mono-Blue Tron.  This was a fairly interesting matchup but our slightly slow hands worked against us a little.  In general, I want to be winning this matchup as our fast beats should be able to outpace Tron.  Loxodon Smiter works nicely here as a beater that laughs off countermagic but in general we need to be quick before they start doing anything too degenerate.

CONCLUSIONS
I quite like this deck and I've had a decent amount of success with it but it's not a deck I think I would necessarily choose to play.  Zoo decks really need to win early and have fast aggressive starts otherwise they tend to get run over by the more powerful things going on in the format.  I think this deck tries to give Zoo a bit more reach through Collected Company but sacrifices some speed in order to achieve that aim.  It's a delicate balance and I'm not quite sure where it needs to be struck.

That's all for this week.  Modern Masters 2015 is on the horizon and as such I've been busy selling cards in preparation for the inevitable price drops that will come.  Spellskites, Noble Hierarchs, Cryptic Commands and Daybreak Coronets have all been sold and I'm continuing to try and get good value for some of my collection before the prices take a dip - hopefully to pick all these things and more back up when Modern Masters 2015 comes out.  Having sold some key cards I have to think carefully about what to do with my next articles but I've got a few ideas.  Also, once Modern Masters arrives I'm sure I'll be able to cover some decks that I have been wanting to cover for a long time.

Also, in case you missed it, last week I was once again a guest host on the Freed From the Real podcast, please check it out if you haven't already.

Thanks for reading,

Oliver Law (olaw on MTGO)

5 Comments

Zoo's Company, Three's a by Francis Law at Thu, 05/07/2015 - 12:27
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Zoo's Company, Three's a Crowd

Really enjoyed this by BlastodermMan at Fri, 05/08/2015 - 10:42
BlastodermMan's picture
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As a huge fan of Modern, since its very beginnings, I'm a junky for Modern content. Really enjoyed this article and the videos, and looking forward to more of your work.

Thanks a lot. There are by olaw at Sat, 05/09/2015 - 10:01
olaw's picture

Thanks a lot. There are plenty of previous articles to check back over if you click the banner at the top of the article. However, I plan on there being lots more content to come.

Oh, I should have added a by Joe Fiorini at Sat, 05/09/2015 - 14:44
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Oh, I should have added a link to my Logo as well! Good idea!

Keep up the good work, man

Oh, I should have added a by Joe Fiorini at Sat, 05/09/2015 - 14:44
Joe Fiorini's picture

Oh, I should have added a link to my Logo as well! Good idea!

Keep up the good work, man