R Koster's picture
By: R Koster, Rob Koster
Jun 05 2020 12:00pm

The Companions have dominated the last few weeks in Magic. With Lurrus of the Dream Den at the front and Yorion, Sky Nomad close behind it. Together they managed to gobble up most of the Metagame and fun in the format. But the Companion mechanic has been nerfed, and I hope it's enough to never see these two cards again. To put it bluntly, I thought these cards were fun and innovative, but I am bored to tears by them at this point. I'm afraid only the cool Companions will go the way of the Dodo now, though. I thought Obosh, the Preypiercer was a sweet addition to the Gruul Midrange, and Ponza decks and Kaheera, the Orphanguard spawned some sweet tribal decks. And a Miracles deck, but let's ignore that one, it is/was just as miserable to play against as in Legacy and I hope that one was just a flavor of the month thing. Although I'm afraid, it won't be.

For those of you who haven't heard of what they did with the Companion mechanic yet. Here is the new version of the mechanic, copied from the Wizards of the Coast website.


New Companion Rule:

Once per game, any time you could cast a sorcery (during your main phase when the stack is empty), you can pay 3 generic mana to put your companion from your sideboard into your hand. This is a special action, not an activated ability.


I saw people on Reddit saying this barely makes a difference, but I think they couldn't be more wrong. In a format where people are killing each other on turn 4 (well, according to Wizards.), spending three Mana to put a card in your hand is not something you could do before turn 4. Well, you 'could,' but you will probably get wholly murdered if you take off turn 3 in this format.


But where do the nerfs leave us?


As usual, the best thing to do after a shake-up is to play Burn. People will be messing around with all sorts of nonsense that they suddenly think is viable now. If you want to farm free points, play Burn now. Also, Burn probably doesn't even lose Lurrus of the Dream Den, it's better than a random 15th Sideboard card. Although I'd imagine the Mishra's Bauble will leave the deck now. A 6 mana card is not worth running four slots that don't do anything else for the deck. And if it turns out that people still want to run Mishra's Bauble in everything, it proves I was right. So at least it's a Win-Win for me. Either I'm wrong, and I don't have to see the card every 2 minutes, or I'm right, and being right is an essential thing in the universe.


Just play Burn would make for a very short article, so let's dive in a bit deeper.


Decks that didn't have an obvious Companion will be back. I fully expect things like Yawgmoth, Thran Physician combo to be back. Humans should also have a much better time with the format not being mono Lava Dart and Jund.


Speaking about Jund, it will be fascinating to see if the Midrange decks stay with their Lurrus of the Dream Den builds or revert to their old ways. Bloodbraid Elf is actively looking for a job currently, and this might get it it's old one back. Gurmag Angler is also winking seductively at Death's Shadow on the other side of the bar. That isn't even to mention Liliana of the Veil being just criminally underplayed ever since the nightmare kitten took her turf and kicked her to the curb. Talking about criminally underplayed ladies Stoneforge Mystic still exists, and I expect to see her back in full. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned after all.


So those two mourning brides will be back, and I'll be happy about it, there are a few other decks that I think will be back that I won't be so pleased about.


I expect Dredge to well, Dredge itself back up from the Graveyard again. Like the cockroach it is. Graveyard hate should go down now not everyone is on a Lurrus or Mystic Sanctuary deck. And you know every time cuts a piece of Graveyard Hate from their Sideboard Dredge players feel a happy tingle in their lower back.


Amulet Titan and Tron should start seeing a bit more play again, although they never fully went away. Tron is another one of those decks that will be very happy that not everyone is going to be playing Monastery Swiftspear anymore.


On a much happier personal note, I think Delver of Secrets is playable again! I know there was a Grixis Delver list for a second, but let's be real. Who wants to play Fugitive Wizard aggro when you can play a tier 1 deck that grinds through a league in 50 minutes? I certainly didn't, and I will happily be attacking with 1/1's on turn ten while shouting angrily at them to Flippin flip already.


Some decks will be completely gone as well. Cat Tribal is no longer a reasonable thing; it barely was with a companion. I'm biased here, but I hope the Gyruda, Doom of Depths deck dies off as well, I find the gameplay it generates to be very boring, even for Modern standards. It's just a simple "do I have it? Do you have it?" and Modern doesn't need more of that.

Lutri, the Spellchaser will be gone as well, some people tried it, it probably was never very good. I loved that people got to do it. Although it wasn't for me, I tried it once and got frustrated with it. I love my jank, but I want it to be at least kind of consistent.

Talking about jank, I had a ton of fun with Umori, the Collector and Zirda, the Dawnwaker. I played both of them in Elves shells, and it was terrific, with the Umori build being an Elfball build, and the Zirda build being based on Cube All-star Joraga Treespeaker and Umbral Mantle. I'll miss those.


Jegantha, the Wellspring might stay in some Tron and Human sideboards, I'm not sure though it wasn't that impressive, to begin with.


Oh, and Keruga, the Macrosage is a card, but to be fair, nobody cared in Modern.


All in all, the nerf is a mixed bag for me. Some overpowered things get powered down, some stupid decks should disappear, but there is also a ton of sweet stuff that will disappear now. All my Umori decks now have no reason to stay all Creature because there's barely any payoff for doing it, my Zirda decks don't get to cheat on Mana anymore and running the card in the Maindeck just isn't the same. I mean, it's not them, it's me, for sure, but still, it's not working, and I don't think Umori, Zirda and I should see each other anymore. 


It's them though, paying three Mana is just too much.


All in all, I will be interested in seeing where this all ends up, and after that, I hope we get a bit of peace and quiet in our format for a change, these have been some hectic years. 


For now, though, sleeve up the most aggressive, stupid, linear thing you can find and go to town on those people trying to have fun!