Quote from LanternEdit: my list is a few pages back. the only difference is Im running rest in peace or relic over cage right now.
Table of Contents
The Birth of a New DeckAbout the DeckRecent Tournament Finishing DecklistsProven Maindeck and Sideboard CardsAdditional Card ChoicesMatchups and SideboardingResults Database, Articles, and VideosTips And TricksThe Math Behind Collected CompanyChangelog
This is a creature-centric combo deck that looks to assemble a game ending combo as fast as possible. If that cannot be done then the "Plan B" is to beat down the opponent and out-value them using the efficient creature suite of the deck and support cards such as Gavony Township. Early iterations of the deck were similar to old Melira Pod decks, using Viscera Seer alongside Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit or Melira, Sylvok Outcast and a Kitchen Finks or Murderous Redcap for infinite life or damage respectively. The printing of Vizier of Remedies has created a two-card infinite mana combo with Devoted Druid. This combo is more compact than the previous one, so it quickly became the premier combo of the deck. Mana sinks that can work with only G mana are now played as the main win conditions. Walking Ballista or Rhonas the Indomitable are often used to end the game, Duskwatch Recruiter is a manasink that can find those cards and help find combo pieces during the game, and lastly Shalai offers the creatures protection while also doubling as a way to win.
Collected Company is one of the pillars of the deck. It supports the creature suite by allowing the deck to play at instant speed and play upwards of 6 mana worth of creatures for only 3G. The main drawback of the card is that it puts a heavy restriction on deck building, by discouraging any creatures above 3 converted mana cost and requiring a high creature count to get maximum value. If you want to read further on the math behind the card and optimal numbers to consider when building the deck then click here. Chord of Calling rounds out the non-creature spells allowing for the tutoring of specific creatures, which is best used for finding missing combo pieces or silver-bullet creatures.
The core of the deck is GW. 6-7 mana dorks (Birds of Paradise and Noble Hierarch) are played alongside 4 Devoted Druid, 4 Vizier of Remedies and 2-4 Duskwatch Recruiter for the infinite mana combo package. Eternal Witness, and to a lesser extent Renegade Rallier, are recursion cards that are used for redundancy in case a combo piece finds its way into the graveyard. Silver-bullet creatures such as Scavenging Ooze, Qasali Pridemage, Selfless Spirit, or Spellskite are often run in the maindeck as 1-ofs since you can dig for them with Recruiter, Company, or Chord. Collected Company and 4 Chord of Calling are played as the only non-creature spells in the deck to ensure a high creature count. The landbase is fairly similar to most Modern decks, playing some fetchlands, supporting shocklands, basic lands, as well as utility lands in the form of Horizon Canopy and Gavony Township to round out the lands as an additional win condition.
Supporting cards come in the form of two distinct colour splashes, B and U, with a very small amount of R sometimes included.
The Abzan (WBG) version adds in 1 Viscera Seer and 4 Kitchen Finks to the maindeck to form an infinite life combo with Vizier of Remedies. The real power of B is in the sideboard where you have access to cards such as Tidehollow Sculler, Orzhov Pontiff, Sin Collector, Pharika, God of Affliction, Abrupt Decay, and Maelstrom Pulse. The second combo adds redundancy to the deck, while the sideboard cards add much needed interaction since the maindeck plays none naturally. This version of the deck is much better at playing the long grindy value game. Kitchen Finks, Eternal Witness, and Collected Company are all 2-for-1's while other cards like Viscera Seer and Recruiter when unchecked will gain incremental advantage necessary to squeeze out a win.
The Bant (GWU) version can take two different routes. The first is by tapping into the best creatures that U opens up, such as Reflector Mage, Spell Queller, and to a lesser extent Geist of Saint Traft, Vendilion Clique, Meddling Mage, and Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. Counterspells such as Unified Will or Negate can be played in the sideboard to protect the fragile creatures. The second version is to play a Knightfall (Knight of the Reliquary + Retreat to Coralhelm) deck with the Druid-Vizier combo package. Aside from getting random wins with the Knightfall combo, Knight of the Reliquary acts as another manadork and can search up Kessig Wolf Run as an infinite mana sink. This version of the deck is explained in this primer, but if you would like to read more about Knightfall then head over to the Knightfall & Bant Company thread. Overall the Bant versions of the deck are much more tempo-oriented thanks to Spell Queller and Reflector Mage. It can deal with bigger creatures and has an easier time winning in the combat step thanks to Knight of the Reliquary.
The Naya (RGW) versions addition to the maindeck is Kessig Wolf Run and a Stomping Ground. Kessig Wolf Run is an infinite mana sink while not taking up a creature slot in the deck, which is very valuable in streamlining the deck. This version is best played as a GW Knight of the Reliquary deck. Since Knight can search up Wolf Run you only need to play one, allowing you to have a better manabase and include a and destruction package alongside the Druid-Vizier package. Additional R cards in the sideboard can include Magus of the Moon or Stingscourger, but the deck is best left mainly GW.
A very general deck consists of roughly 22-23 Lands and 8 noncreature Spells depending on personal preference. There should be 6-7 manadorks and the rest creatures while including the combo pieces. Remianing slots are allocated to good value creatures and silver-bullets. This is where you can really customize the deck to your own liking. Sample lists for each of the three colour splashes are found in the spoiler below:
Sample Abzan Vizier CompanyMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
Mana Dorks (7)4 Birds of Paradise3 Noble HierarchCombo Pieces (17)1 Viscera Seer4 Devoted Druid4 Vizier of Remedies3 Duskwatch Recruiter4 Kitchen Finks1 Walking BallistaSilver Bullets/Value Creatures (6)1 Scavenging Ooze1 Selfless Spirit4 Eternal WitnessNoncreature Spells (8)4 Chord of Calling4 Collected CompanyLands (22)4 Verdant Catacombs4 Windswept Heath4 Horizon Canopy2 Temple Garden2 Overgrown Tomb2 Gavony Township3 Forest1 PlainsSideboard (15)1 Burrenton Forge-Tender1 Aven Mindcensor1 Eidolon of Rhetoric1 Qasali Pridemage1 Reclamation Sage2 Tidehollow Sculler1 Sin Collector1 Orzhov Pontiff1 Pharika, God of Affliction3 Path to Exile2 Abrupt Decay
Sample Bant Vizier CompanyMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
Mana Dorks (7)4 Noble Hierarch3 Birds of ParadiseCombo Pieces (13)4 Devoted Druid4 Vizier of Remedies3 Duskwatch Recruiter1 Shalai, Voice of Plenty1 Walking BallistaSilver Bullets/Value Creatures (10)1 Selfless Spirit3 Eternal Witness2 Reflector Mage4 Spell QuellerNoncreature Spells (8)4 Chord of Calling4 Collected CompanyLands (22)4 Windswept Heath4 Misty Rainforest2 Temple Garden1 Breeding Pool1 Hallowed Fountain3 Horizon Canopy2 Gavony Township3 Forest1 Plains1 IslandSideboard (15)1 Burrenton Forge-Tender1 Selfless Spirit1 Kataki, War's Wage1 Aven Mindcensor1 Eidolon of Rhetoric1 Scavenging Ooze1 Qasali Pridemage1 Reclamation Sage1 Izzet Staticaster1 Thrun, the Last Troll1 Nissa, Steward of Elements2 Path to Exile2 Unified Will
Sample Bant Vizier KnightfallMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
Mana Dorks (6)4 Noble Hierarch2 Birds of ParadiseCombo Pieces (16)4 Devoted Druid3 Vizier of Remedies2 Duskwatch Recruiter4 Knight of the Reliquary1 Rhonas the Indomitable1 Shalai, Voice of Plenty1 Walking BallistaSilver Bullets/Value Creatures (7)1 Selfless Spirit1 Eternal Witness2 Reflector Mage3 Spell QuellerNoncreature Spells (9)2 Retreat to Coralhelm3 Chord of Calling4 Collected CompanyLands (22)4 Windswept Heath2 Wooded Foothills2 Misty Rainforest2 Temple Garden1 Breeding Pool1 Stomping Ground1 Hallowed Fountain2 Horizon Canopy1 Kessig Wolf Run1 Gavony Township3 Forest1 Plains1 IslandSideboard (15)1 Burrenton Forge-Tender1 Selfless Spirit1 Kataki, War's Wage1 Aven Mindcensor1 Eidolon of Rhetoric1 Scavenging Ooze1 Qasali Pridemage1 Reclamation Sage1 Izzet Staticaster1 Thrun, the Last Troll1 Nissa, Steward of Elements2 Path to Exile2 Unified Will
Sample GW (Naya) Vizier CompanyMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
Mana Dorks (7)4 Noble Hierarch3 Birds of ParadiseCombo Pieces (12)4 Devoted Druid4 Vizier of Remedies1 Duskwatch Recruiter1 Rhonas the Indomitable1 Shalai, Voice of Plenty1 Walking BallistaSilver Bullets/Value Creatures (11)1 Scavenging Ooze1 Selfless Spirit1 Eternal Witness1 Courser of Kruphix3 Tireless Tracker4 Knight of the ReliquarySpells (8)4 Chord of Calling4 Collected CompanyLands (22)4 Windswept Heath2 Wooded Foothills2 Temple Garden1 Stomping Ground1 Horizon Canopy3 Ghost Quarter2 Field of Ruin1 Kessig Wolf Run5 Forest1 PlainsSideboard (15)1 Burrenton Forge-Tender1 Kataki, War's Wage1 Eidolon of Rhetoric1 Aven Mindcensor1 Qasali Pridemage1 Reclamation Sage3 Voice of Resurgence1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence1 Thrun, the Last Troll3 Path to Exile1 Worship
Depending on the maindeck configuration there can be up to four infinite combos found in the deck. Some of these have fallen out of the limelight over the years, but are included in this primer for completeness's sake.
Combo 1: Devoted Druid + Vizier of Remedies + an infinite mana sink (ie: Ballista/Rhonas/Recruiter/Shalai)
This two card combo creates infinite mana. You can create mana in response to nearly anything so once both creatures are in play you are guaranteed the mana. Once it is in play you can activate the untap ability of Devoted Druid as many times as you like, so almost nothing can stop it. Use a mana sink to find a way to win.
Combo 2: Viscera Ser + Anafenza or Melira or Vizier of Remedies + Kitchen Finks or Murderous Redcap
This was once the go-to combo of the deck, and is still found in the Abzan version. Starting with a Viscera Seer, something to stop the -1/-1 counter from Persist, and Kitchen Finks or Murderous Redcap in play it goes as follows:
- Sacrifice the Kitchen Finks, the scry will go on the stack.
- Persist triggers from the graveyard, it resolves and returns the creature to play with a -1/-1 counter.
- IF MELIRA: the state based actions will prevent the -1/-1 counter from happening at all. Scry resolves and one repetition of the loop is complete.
- IF ANAFENZA: Finks returns to play and Bolster triggers. Target the Finks with the Bolster trigger, the +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters will cancel each other out when state based actions are checked. Scry resolves and one repetition of the loop is complete.
- IF VIZIER: Finks returns to play but no -1/-1 counter can be placed on it. Scry resolves and one repetition of the loop is complete.
Repeat as many times as you need and scry your whole deck to whatever card you want to have on top.
Combo 3: Anafenza + Melira or Vizier of Remedies + Murderous Redcap
Anafenza and Melira must be in play before having the Redcap enter the battlefield:
- Redcap enters the the battlefield, the ETB and Bolster triggers happen at the same time. Stack the Redcap trigger to resolve before the Bolster trigger.
- Target the Redcap with its own ETB trigger, then it will die.
- Redcap persist will trigger and resolve to and return it to the battlefield.
- Redcap ETB and Bolster triggers happen again while the -1/-1 counter is negated by Melira or Vizier, stack the triggers the same way and repeat for infinite times.
To end the loop target something else with the Redcap ETB trigger. At this point you will have infinite Bolster triggers on the stack. Resolve them all to have each creature on your side of the battlefield now has infinite +1/+1 counters on them.
Combo 4: Archangel of Thune + Spike Feeder
This combo is rarely played anymore, but is included for completeness. Starting with both creatures in play:
- Remove a +1/+1 counter from Spike Feeder and gain 2 life.
- Archangel's ability will trigger and put a +1/+1 counter on all your creatures.
You have done one loop of the combo, repeat as many times as needed for infinite life and infinite +1/+1 counters on all of your creatures
Combo 5: Knight of the Reliquary + Retreat to Coralhelm
This combo is found in the Knightfall version of the deck. Once you have both a non-summoning sick Knight and Retreat in play as well as a Forest or Plains, you can pull out pretty much every land from your deck to pump the Knight before attacking. The sequencing for this is as follows:
- Make some mana with the land you will sacrifice to Knight of the Reliquary
- Tap Knight and sacrifice the land (Forest or Plains)
- Search your library for a fetchland and put it into play triggering Retreat
- Using the fetchland Retreat trigger, untap your Knight
- Crack the fetchland and put a Forest or Plains subtype land into play, triggering Retreat again
- Since your Knight is already untapped, choose to tap down a blocker, untap something else, or put a scry trigger on the stack to be used later
- Repeat the previous steps for as many fetchlands/Forest/Plains are in the deck
- End with putting Kessig Wolf Run into play and pumping your Knight with all the previously floated mana
There are a lot of different lines to take when pulling lands out from your deck. There really is no better way to learn the lines of the deck than goldfishing and gaining experience. One thing to keep in mind however is to always immediately play or search out a fetchland once you resolve Retreat to Coralhelm. This allows for instant speed protection at any point until you want to enable the combo.
KOVU211 - 5-1 Modern Challenge #11681656 - November 3rd 2018
KOVU211's GW Vizier CompanyMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
4 Birds of Paradise1 Courser of Kruphix4 Devoted Druid3 Duskwatch Recruiter2 Eternal Witness1 Knight of Autumn4 Knight of the Reliquary3 Noble Hierarch1 Scavenging Ooze2 Tireless Tracker4 Vizier of Remedies1 Walking BallistaInstants4 Chord of Calling4 Collected CompanyLands1 Field of Ruin4 Forest1 Gavony Township1 Ghost Quarter2 Horizon Canopy1 Overgrown Tomb1 Plains1 Swamp1 Tectonic Edge2 Temple Garden3 Verdant Catacombs4 Windswept HeathSideboard3 Assassin's Trophy1 Bojuka Bog2 Burrenton Forge-Tender1 Eidolon of Rhetoric1 Kataki, War's Wage1 Knight of Autumn3 Path to Exile1 Scavenging Ooze2 Voice of Resurgence
Laplasjan - 5-0 Competitive Modern League - November 2nd 2018
Laplasjan's Abzan Vizier CompanyMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
Creatures4 Birds of Paradise2 Courser of Kruphix4 Devoted Druid3 Duskwatch Recruiter2 Eternal Witness4 Knight of the Reliquary3 Noble Hierarch1 Scavenging Ooze2 Tireless Tracker4 Vizier of Remedies1 Walking BallistaInstants4 Chord of Calling4 Collected CompanyLands2 Field of Ruin4 Forest1 Gavony Township1 Horizon Canopy2 Overgrown Tomb1 Plains1 Swamp1 Tectonic Edge2 Temple Garden3 Verdant Catacombs4 Windswept HeathSideboard2 Abrupt Decay2 Assassin's Trophy1 Bojuka Bog1 Eidolon of Rhetoric1 Kataki, War's Wage1 Kitchen Finks1 Knight of Autumn1 Kor Firewalker2 Path to Exile1 Scavenging Ooze2 Sin Collector
Christopher Minor - 20th Place SCG Modern Open Charlotte - October 28th 2018
Christopher Minor's Abzan CompanyMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
Creatures3 Birds of Paradise1 Courser of Kruphix4 Devoted Druid3 Duskwatch Recruiter1 Eternal Witness1 Knight of Autumn4 Knight of the Reliquary4 Noble Hierarch1 Scavenging Ooze1 Shalai, Voice of Plenty2 Tireless Tracker4 Vizier of Remedies1 Walking BallistaInstants4 Chord of Calling4 Collected CompanyLands5 Forest1 Gavony Township2 Ghost Quarter1 Horizon Canopy2 Overgrown Tomb1 Plains1 Tectonic Edge2 Temple Garden4 Windswept Heath3 Wooded FoothillsSideboard1 Abrupt Decay3 Assassin's Trophy1 Bojuka Bog1 Eidolon of Rhetoric1 Kataki, War's Wage1 Knight of Autumn2 Path to Exile1 Scavenging Ooze2 Sin Collector2 Stony Silence
GW Proven Maindeck Creatures
Birds of Paradise & Noble Hierarch
Birds is the premier manadork for the deck. If the deck is tri-colour it is important to have access to all colours of mana. It can block flying creatures in a pinch and provide some reach by flying over other creatures with an active Gavony Township. It is a proven staple of the deck as you need mana accelerants to get an advantage over other decks.
Hierarch is less versatile than the Birds as it only provides two on-colours for the deck, but it makes up for that with exalted. Exalted makes the small creatures of the deck a bit more respectable, and it does feels great when a Kitchen Finks hitting for 4-5 damage a turn. If the deck is not splashing a third colour, then play four copies of Noble Hierarch before adding in Birds.
Devoted Druid & Vizier of Remedies
Druid pulls double duty as both a combo piece and mana dork. It can be very explosive, jumping from 2 to 4 mana with a single turn. In some cases, if Druid is getting Pathed then you can suicide it using the untap ability to return it from the graveyard at a later point. The same goes for an opponent casting a Living End. Druid won't live long most games, so always be aware of when you should be trying to force the combo and when you should be trying to beat down the opponent.
Vizier is a weaker version of Anafenza and Melira, Sylvok Outcast]Melira in a vacuum but she creates a two card combo which is better in the long run. It is often correct to hold your Vizier until you can untap with your Druid, since once Vizier resolves there is nothing commonly played in the format that can stop you from gaining infinite mana.
Duskwatch Recruiter // Krallenhorde Howler
Recruiter acts as redundant copies of your true win condition(s) for when you don't have them. He is a mana sink that can draw every creature in your deck and also rearrange your deck to any order given it doesn't contain an amount of cards divisible by 3. Outside of the combo he is useful at creating card advantage in topdeck situations or just when you have extra mana. The flipside mana reduction is pretty good at helping dump your hand when you need it, but the card actually gets worse when it transforms because you can get stuck in situations where you have infinite mana and can't use it.
Graveyard hate stapled onto a 2/2 beater that grows makes for a phenomenal card. It can exile opposing Snapcaster targets or flashback cards. It covers many matchups and even helps the beatdown plan as late game it can grow to be a large threat. As a staple of the format, always having access to one or more is correct. There's a reason it is the fourth most played creature in the format.
Selfless Spirit & Spellskite
Selfless Spirit is the newest defensive addition to the deck. It has come up alongside, or replaced Spellskite in lists. Pros to running it over Spellskite include it not dying to artifact removal, it protects against sweepers like Anger of the Gods, Supreme Verdict, and Damnation, and still stops single-target removal spells like Fatal Push. It even presents a fast clock in the air when exalted. Downsides are that it can't stop more than one removal spell, and doesn't block as well.
With the combo being Plan A, Spellskite essential in protecting it from targeted removal. It also stops flat out stops, Burn, Infect, and can stop Ad Nauseam or Scapeshift in some situations. It also diverts any targeted effects like Kolaghan's Command or even lands like Kessig Wolf Run. It is a little better Game 1 while Selfless Spirit will often be better post board
Voice of Resurgence
Voice is the go-to card to combat interactive decks. The token can become huge very fast as your board develops with other small creatures. It is at its best with Renegade Rallier bringing it back and flooding the board with large Elemental tokens. It doesn't directly contribute to the combo, but plays the same roles as other creatures like Scavenging Ooze, Tireless Tracker, etc...
As of 19/05/2016 Finks is the second most played creature in the format only behind Tarmogoyf. It provides great value by being able to block twice and get hit by Collected Company. Run 4 in every list. Knowing how to remove the persist trigger can come in handy as well. Fringe things like Gavony Township, Anafenza, Spike Feeder or Varolz can allow Finks to block forever. Viscera Seer, Kitchen Finks, and Archangel of Thune can also create and infinite combo.
Eternal Witness & Renegade Rallier
EWit is Regrowth stapled onto a 2/1 body that can be cast for 'free', making it an absurd card. If hit by Collected Company, then you can return the Company back to your hand to maximize the value. In some cases if you have noting to do, it is correct to Chord for the Witness and then return it to your hand. This way you are left with one more Convoke mana on the next turn and a 2/1 body in play. With such a versatile card playing 3-4 is a good number to routinely try to flip one with Company on each cast.
Rallier does a good Eternal Witness impression but has a few tricks of it's own. If playing them you should look up increase the fetchland count of your deck as they are the main Revolt enablers. Rallier can ramp mana by returning fetchlands, draw cards with Horizon Canopy, continually protect your team alongside Selfless Spirit, and can return any combo piece to play. If you are playing a very combo focused build then play these before Eternal Witness, but be warned that your backup plan of grinding down your opponent will be severely hurt.
Tracker is great in the grindy matchups where sometimes it is beneficial to have a large creature to smash face with. When using fetchlands you can be sure to get 2 triggers which also helps get more cards when you are flooding out. Opponents don't often expect to have to deal with a large threat out of this deck.
Knight of the Reliquary
Knight is more often found in Knightfall builds of the decks but can sometimes show up in Abzan or Naya versions. She acts as another manadork and can search out utility lands like Gavony Township, Kessig Wolf Run, Ghost Quarter, or Horizon Canopy. She is most often found in Bant versions as they can play Retreat to Coralhelm, allowing for a two card combo where Knight can swing for 20+ damage in one single attack.
Rhonas the Indomitable & Walking Ballista
Rhonas and Ballista are the two main manasink win-conditions for the deck. There is no definitive consensus on which card is better so they are both lumped together here. Rhonas offers an indestructible body which is great for blocking other large creatures like Death's Shadow, Tasigur, the Golden Fang, or Tarmogoyf. His pump ability will allow your Devoted Druid to attack for lethal in one swing, and it can put in some extra damage over the course of the game. A big bonus over Ballista is that he is hit off of Collected Company and Chord of Calling. The main problem is that the deck does not naturally play any 4+ power creatures so it'll take some Gavony Township or Rhonas activation to allow him to attack. He is also weak to Path to Exile.
Ballista offers a way to win without the combat step. It is useful for picking off opposing small creatures but has a major downside of not being able to be found from either Collected Company or Chord of Calling. It has good synergy with Gavony Township, can dodge Path to Exile, and can be cast for 0 to enable Revolt in rare cases.
Shalai, Voice of Plenty
The new top-end of the deck is reminiscent of other cards like Archangel of Thune, but upon closer inspection she does much much more. Combining Asceticism, Aegis of the Gods, and Gavony Township with a 4 toughness body putting it out Bolt range is an amazing card. She protects your fragile combo pieces and is an infinite mana sink to boot. Not working with Collected Company is a small price worth not paying for this card.
B Splash Proven Maindeck Creatures
This is the go-to sacrifice outlet of the Black splash. It is a staple combo piece alongside Kitchen Finks, and can provide value whenever you have a developed board. Any creature removed becomes a free scry, and it can help dig for win condition in a pinch by sacrificing all of your creatures. With the infinite life combo it lets you stack your deck to have a specific card on top in order to win on the next turn. You only a need to play one since the infinite life combo is not the main focus of the deck.
U Splash Proven Maindeck Creatures
Spell Queller provides maindeck interaction with decks that were previously poor matchups. Many linear decks in Modern play very little removal game 1, such as Affinity, Infect, Company decks, Ad Nauseam, RG Titan Breach/Scapeshift, Eldrazi, Dredge, etc... so Queller can give a sleight edge in those matchups and not be removed as often. Alongside Collected Company there is quite a bit of instant speed interaction in the Bant deck that will begin to worry the opponent with every card held in hand.
Reflector Mage is great on both offence and defense by removing a blocker or preventing an attacker for two turns. When flashed in by Collected Company or Chord of Calling it is extra potent as using it on the opponents turn adds an additional turn to its effect.
GW Proven Maindeck Noncreature Spells
The namesake card of the deck and the reason it was made possible. It hold the title of being both the best card and worst card in the deck at the same time. This Birthing Pod replacement creates some very explosive plays such as when it flips an Eternal Witness and comes back to your hand ready to go again. It can find the missing two parts of a combo for a turn 3 or 4 win, or it can put tons of power onto the board. It opens up design space that Pod players never even dreamed of in the fact that it operates at instant speed. This allows the deck to instantly reassemble off of a boardwipe. All of these upsides can't be ignored however, because it greatly limits the deck to almost only running cards under 3 cmc which takes great things like Siege Rhino out of the deck.
Chord of Calling
A great tutor for any creature in the deck. After going wide with a Collected Company you can cast this for free and find the missing part of the combo. You can sideboard in silver bullets in games 2 and 3 and search them out to take over a game. It also allows the deck to run creatures like Archangel of Thune and still have access to them. The card is more important than ever because Collected Company is not guaranteed to give you the card you want but Chord will. This means having access to Chords is more important than ever, so be wary of the chances to flip one combo piece compared to another.
U Splash Proven Maindeck Noncreature Spells
Retreat to Coralhelm
Retreat to Coralhelm is played in conjunction with Knight of the Reliquary to add an additional combo to the Bant version of the deck. Besides the combo, it helps with flooding out since you can turn topdecked lands into scrys to filter your deck. It can also help ramp by using the trigger to untap a manadork, effectively acting as a Lotus Cobra. Its inclusion does lower the creature count a bit so look to shave off a Chord to help balance it out.
Proven Maindeck Lands (All Colours)
Fetchlands add consistency to the deck and easy access to all required colours of mana. Always play G/x fetchlands since G is the most important colour to be able to access at any given time. The available lands are Windswept Heath, Verdant Catacombs, Wooded Foothills, and Misty Rainforest.
Shocklands are played alongside fetchlands to access all required colours. In a three colour deck it is common to play 2 Temple Gardens since they are your main colours, and then 1-2 of your off colour lands. For a four colour deck just play one of each. The fetchlands are Temple Garden, Overgrown Tomb, Stomping Ground, and Breeding Pool.
Fastlands are easier on your lifetotal than shocklands, but require better timing to work. Often having 1-2 will help smooth your mana. These are considered for the manabase after other utility lands like Horizon Canopy and Gavony Township. The fastlands are Razorverge Thicket, Blooming Marsh, Copperline Gorge, and Botanical Sanctum.
This is a great utility land to play in the deck. The lifeloss is manageable because of Kitchen Finks. The real power of the land comes from the card draw. Turning a dead lategame topdeck into another chance at a good card is fantastic. It is also very useful when you have infinite scry and want to draw a specific card in the deck at instant speed.
Gavony Township & Kessig Wolf Run
These lands are backup win conditions for the deck. They are important as they help diversity threats while not taking up an more creature slots in the deck.
Township is the second best card in the deck behind Collected Company, and the backbone of beating down for plan B. The colourless mana is hard on the tri-colour deck but all of the manadorks make up for it, and this makes up for running so many dorks. It's a win-win!
Kessig Wolf Run is the main reason to splash R. Bringing it back like it's 2012, Wolf Run presents a pretty unique win-condition for the deck. It is a manasink that does a pretty good impression of Rhonas the Indomitable without taking up a creature slot in the deck. It pairs well with all of the decks 0/X creatures which can already attack though an Ensnaring Bridge.
Ghost Quarter & Field of Ruin
Ghost Quarter and Field of Ruin are the land destruction package that is found in straight GW versions where playing so many colourless mana producing lands can be supported. Paired with Knight of the Reliquary, you are able to continually destroy opponents lands and run them out of basic lands. It greatly helps with the Tron and Scapeshift matchups, which are usually the worst matchups the deck can face.
Basics are always important because everyone hates Blood Moon and Path to Exile. Often the splash colour requirements are light, so there is no need to play a non-Forest/Plains in most cases. Always play more G sources than your other colours since it is the most important colour in the deck.
GW Proven Sideboard Cards
This one drop tends to be easily Chorded into and is a wizard at stopping hard to beat cards like Anger of the Gods or Pyroclasm. Remember that she has protection from red, so it makes for a great blocker against Goblin Guide and friends in the Burn matchup. It can even be useful in stopping Lightning Stormfrom Ad Nauseam decks. The format is crawling with decks playing red so having an answer will always be useful.
Qasali Pridemage & Reclamation Sage & Knight of Autumn
Pridemage is artifact/enchantment removal that helps with the beat-down plan with exalted. It is also a way to get past Torpor Orb when other cards like Reclamation Sage or Knight of Autumn can't.
Speaking of which, Reclimation Sage is another option in mono green, meaning it can be cast off of only the Druid-Vizier combo. If you are trying to have the lest impacted manabase this is the card for it.
Knight of Autumn does it all, from acting as artifact/enchantment removal, to gaining life for aggro matchups, to posting a decent body for the beatdown plan when there is no better option. It has relevance in nearly every matchup and should be the choice over Pridemage and Reclimation Sage unless you have a really good reason not to.
Kataki, War's Wage & Stony Silence & Manglehorn
Do you want to beat Affinity, Thoptorsword decks, or Lantern Control? If yes then this is how you beat them. Easily Chorded for makes him a better choice over something like Stony Silence as you can search it out. Keep in mind that his effect is not as powerful as Stony Silence but the ease of getting him into play and not diluting Collected Company is usually a larger factor. That said, sometimes you just want to flat out sin some matchups. In that case play Stony Silence and once it resolves you will be in a very good position to win.
Manglehorn is a different take on strict artifact removal. It is a little more expensive, but it both gets rid of one problem artifact such as Grafdigger's Cage and will continue to slow down artifact decks. It is castable off of infinite green mana which is a very good reason to play it.
Ethersworn Canonist & Eidolon of Rhetoric
Canonist acts as a smaller more fragile Eidolon of Rhetoric but has the advantage of coming down a turn earlier. Sometimes that speed is going to make all of the difference against decks like Storm but in reality when you have 3 mana on turn 2 off of a manadork it won't make a difference.
Eidolon is a beefier Ethersworn Canonist. He stops Cascade decks like Living End or Restore Balance. He shuts down storm decks, Ad Nauseum, Infect, Burn and puts a damper on Affinity if he gets out early. It is a good trick against a lot of decks in the format so playing some form of this effect is good.
Great card to stall the opponent and take some of the heat away from your more valuable targets. It really messes with the harder matchups we face like Scapeshift and Gr Tron. It is also valuable in matchups that are color intensive such as Jund or Junk. With flash you can still have options off only three mana which can sometimes happen. It will surprise the opponent since they will be thinking you need 4 mana to play anything at instant speed. The flying body is always useful for getting in a couple points of extra damage. You can never go wrong with always having one.
There aren't too many options for creature-removal on creatures. The hunter is best saved for targeting cards that shut the deck down like Scavenging Ooze but works as a tempo play too. Even though it is susceptible to every removal spell in the format the ability to temporarily remove a threat can give you enough of a window to combo off and win the game. You can also sacrifice Hunter in response to the ETB trigger causing the targeted creature to be permanently exiled. This interaction is why you play Fiend Hunter over other 'fixed' options like Banisher Priest.
Courser of Kruphix
Courser is a great card to help you outgrind opponents. Often times against midrange decks like Jund, Junk, UW and UWR Control, etc... you will just aim to play the long game post sideboarding. Sideboarding out your manadorks is often correct to increase your topdeck card quality. With cards like Kitchen Finks, Collected Company, Eternal Witness, and Gavony Township your deck should already be overflowing with 2-for-1's. Courser helps keep lands off the top of your deck so you can keep drawing good cards.
Linvala, Keeper of Silence
Linvala may not be able to be hit by Collected Company but she is an invaluable card in the deck for her ability to shut down entire opposing decks like Elves, Affinity, Kiki-Chord, mirror matches, as well as other problem cards like Scavenging Ooze or Grim Lavamancer. She is also dodges Lightning Bolt, Fatal Push, and Abrupt Decay and when backed up by a Spellskite can win games on her own.
Path to Exile
Some amount of removal is played in the sideboard because there are going to be times that you just have to remove a creature that is either threatening to kill you (like Death's Shadow), or you will lose if it sticks around for a turn (like Baral). The main choice is Path to Exile as it's the only real on colour removal spell.
B Splash Proven Sideboard Cards
Tidehollow Sculler & Sin Collector
One of the problems with sideboarding in targeted discard is that it reduces the creature count for Collected Company. Although the sculler doesn't get rid of problem cards for good it can slow down the opponent or divert removal long enough to assemble the combo. In the same vein as Fiend Hunter, it can be flickered or sacrificed at instant speed in response to its trigger in order to exile the chosen card for good.
Sin Collector is Duress on a stick. He acts as combo deck hate for when you need all the target discard you can get. He hits harder than Sculler so having some kind of X/1 split is a good call for when you want to stop Snapcaster Mage or Conflagrate.
He is great against token decks, Affinity, or even Bogles. You can sacrifice him in response to his ETB trigger and haunt a x/1 creature the opponent controls. Then when his trigger resolves and gives all opponents creatures -1/-1 his haunt will trigger giving them all and additional -1/-1. This is useful in killing off flipped and unflipped Delvers, or Etched Champions. Very reliable Chord target as he often can get a 2-for-1 or a 3-for-1.
Pharika, God of Affliction
Pharika is some of the best tech to combat removal heavy decks like BG/x and Death's Shadow. Because we aren't likely to combo off with all of the Fatal Pushes, Lightning Bolts, and Path to Exiles flying around we can look to turn all of our expended creatures into an army of 1/1 Deathouchers that no amount of huge creatures can break through. Against Grixis she is only removed by Liliana's ultimate so you can typically expect her to stick around for the entire game if not discarded. She also hates out other graveyard based decks by exiling their combo pieces and we can ignore the 1/1 Snakes by going infinite.
Assassin's Trophy & Abrupt Decay & Maelstrom Pulse
B opens up the deck to more removal than just Path to Exile. Assassin's Trophy is the best catch-all option as it hits everything from Planeswalkers from control to lands from Tron. The Basic land the opponent gains doesn't put us at a mana deficit since we are usually the ones ahead with dorks.
Abrupt Decay is very versatile and good against more than half of the most payed permanents in the format. It is at it's best in a counterspell heavy meta when the flexibility of Assassin's Trophy starts to fall off.
Maelstrom Pulse is a catch-all for token strategies when you feel the land from Assassin's Trophy will be too much of a downside.
U Splash Proven Sideboard Cards
Although it has R in the cost, Staticaster is included since the Knightfall deck will also splash R for Kessig Wolf Run. This is a way to ping down opposing manadorks, tokens, and common creatures like Young Pyromancer or Dark Confidant.
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Jace is a win condition all on his own and is best in a deck like this since he can be accelerated out before turn 4 with lots of small creatures to protect him. The Brainstorm digs for combo pieces or individually powerful cards like Collected Company. The +2 and -1 abilities are nice utility to have that sometimes come in handy. Jace just runs over Midrange decks and can do work against Control if resolved early. Both matchups can be troublesome for the deck since they are good at not letting the combo resolve so having such a powerful card for these matchups can't be overlooked.
Nissa, Steward of Elements
Nissa is quite the unique planeswalker with X in her cost. When going infinite if you can't win on the spot you can just play her with 1,000,000 loyalty counters which is usually enough to close a game by ultimating every turn. Even without infinite mana, she can be played for quite a lot since most of the cards in the deck make mana. The +2 Scry two digs for combo pieces, and her 0 puts them into play. Overall she acts as a more flexible pseudo-Jace, the Mind Sculptor and does the same kind of work in Midrange and Control matchups.
Negate & Unified Will
Counterspells are some of the best cards from the sideboard that the U opens up. Negate is a hard counter for when you know the meta is full of noncreature cards that must be dealt with (think boardwipes like Anger of the Gods or Settle the Wreckage). Unified Will is a good catch-all counter since the deck sill flood the board with creatures and always stay ahead. If the meta is relatively uninteractive and you believe that your creatures will stay on board then Unified Will will be the better choice.
Among the aforementioned cards, there are some other less common ones that will see play in successful lists from time to time. These cards may not always make the maindeck cut but they can be useful in certain situations and are always a good option to have around in case you want to add some super secret tech to your deck. If they are not played as a 1-of in the maindeck they will most often be added into the sideboard to hate out certain strategies. If you have a solid reason for playing them then no one can fault you for it.
Cartel Aristocrat & Varolz, the Scar-Striped
Cartel Aristocrat is an option for a sac outlet in the 2 drop spot. She protects herself from removal during the combo and can punch through damage in stalemates by killing off your unneeded creatures. The card is more of a personal choice if you choose to run it over a second Viscera Seer.
Valroz has a unique ability to reset persist counters and combo all in one card. He is good on defence by blocking the opponents creatures all day by regenerating from useless creatures. He provides reach in games by Scavenging onto a Birds of Paradise so it can fly over the opponents blockers.
Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit & Melira, Sylvok Outcast
The two sisters were once the forefront of the decks combo but Vizier of Remedies has since pushed them out. Anafenza can put a lot of stats on board over the course of the game if left unchecked. The WW mana cost is prohibitive but with a proper manabase it is manageable. Melira is great in an Infect dominated metagame, but that deck is dead since the banning of Gitaxian Probe. She has an interaction with Inkmoth Nexus where if the opponent activates the Nexus after you have Melira in play it will still gain infect, but will just do 0 poison damage to you because you can't get poison counters.
Wall of Roots
Blocks for days, ramps, pays for GG with Chord. It many not looks like much but it is a great card. Keep in mind that opponents will often overlook that the mana works at instant speed allowing for activated abilities on both turns. It also helps pay the cost for Gavony Township and will gain +1 attack and leave its toughness unchanged. There are a lot of tricks with the Wall, but it has since been outclassed by Devoted Druid. If another 2 drop dork is needed then Wall will be the go-to card.
Much like Burrenton Forge-Tender the Firewalker shuts down red decks, Burn specifically. Keep in mind that he can't stop an Anger of the Gods from wiping the board so it is usually correct to play the Forge-Tender before playing this.
Abolish your opponents hopes of stopping your combo with only a single card! This stops everything from Path to Exile to Scavenging Ooze to Relic of Progenitus. By putting it into play on your opponents endstep you can combo however you want. Once he hits the table games can turn very one-sided very fast. A great addition for tempo and control matchups alongside Voice of Resurgence as they will be forced to work at sorcery speed for almost the entire game if you keep him protected. He's such a removal magnet that he acts like a Spellskite.
As the creature cousin to Pithing Needle, Revoker is a great card for stopping problem perminants such as Scavenging Ooze, Liliana of the Veil, or Karn Liberated. It can even shut off opposing manadorks to get a speed advantage in the mirror. Just be sure you don't name Shackles!
This seemingly harmless 1/1 packs quite the punch. If you can untap with it then it provides a nice mana-sink for when you have nothing better to do and it can often burst down the opponent in just one attack with a board of 5-6 creatures. It can double as a sacrifice outlet with Anafenza. If both creatures have a +1/+1 counter on them then you can activate the ability for X=0 which will kill each of your creatures without a +1/+1 counter on them. The the persist card will return to the battlefield and you can repeat the process.
The original Restoration Angel is a great card to temporarily remove a threat or protect a creature from removal. Unlike Fiend Hunter, Flickerwisp can hit all perminants which means even the most troubling Rest in Peace or Karn Liberated can be beat. It even leaves behind a very aggressive 3/1 flying body that is the first thing to be Bolstered onto. If you are having trouble with not playing enough removal then this can be a great alternative.
Bugler can hit every creature in the stock deck except for Kitchen Finks. In a tailor-made list it often hits all 30+ creatures, which gives it incredible consistency. Allowing you to dig further into your deck lets you find your combo pieces earlier and makes your Companies more consistent. If you are aiming for the most consistent combo plan A, then this is the card for it.
Hoses other tri-colour decks like Junk or Jund. Slows down Scapeshift. Stops Tron. Puts a damper on Eldrazi. Kills Affinities manlands. Good in general against a number of different decks as a lot rely on manlands and greedy manabases. Land destruction isn't always the best but in metagames that are heavy on Tron it can be the only thing to give you a fighting chance.
Magus of the Moon
Magus is some left-field tech. If you are playing the Red splash then this is one of the few cards that you will have in your sidebaord as just like Blood Moon he can completely shut down some decks. Most decks in the format only play a few basic lands and they will never expect to get hit with a Turn 2 or 3 Magus. Be weary though that you won't be able to cast anything either unless you get an early Forest and have some dorks in play.
Liliana, Heretical Healer // Liliana, Defiant Necromancer
This new creature swiss army knife is just what the deck wants. With many accessible mainboard sacrifice outlets she is not hard to flip at instant speed making her near removal proof. Her planeswalker side is able to rip apart a control decks hand and is very hard to stop though combat because of the amount of available blockers the deck will most likely already have in play. Her ability to bring creatures back from the graveyard is great for both grinding out games and completing combos. The ultimate will rarely come up but once it does you have all but secured the win. The largest hit against playing her is the often hard to fulfill BB requirements.
Anafenza, the Foremost
Older Anafenza provides a nice clock with above average stats and a cute ability that can sometimes reset a previously hurt Kitchen Finks. Her second ability randomly hoses graveyard based decks and the mirror match which can make her a great versatile threat to smash down the enemy with. Don't worry about having two Anafenza's in play at the same time, as the legend rule only looks at the cards names and not the flavour behind your time-distorting ways.
He is able to provide an infinite damage combo and an infinite +1/+1 counter combo. His ETB is quite useful for picking off unsuspecting creatures or planeswalkers, and he chumpblocks like a pro thanks to persist. He has fallen out of favour for the Druid-Vizier combo and even with a Black splash it is a hard mana requirement to justify.
Ol' Lark has been gaining popularity in lists usually from the sideboard. It can return any card in the deck from the graveyard except for Kitchen Finks so it provides a ton of value every single time it leaves the battlefield. Combined it with an Eternal Witness to do it again and you will soon be crushing the opponent in card advantage. The 4/3 flying body provides a decent clock in the air. This is a great option if you are gearing for a longer grindy game such as against BG/x decks and don't care for the Angelfeeder combo.
Spike Feeder & Archangel of Thune
Spike Feeder is one half of the Angelfeeder combo. It provides a lot of utility on its own by gaining life in a pinch or resetting persist counters. It is not the ideal 3 drop to be running, but it does draw removal from more important targets by threatening infinite life.
Archangel of Thune can take over games on her own and provides the deck with two different infinite combos. Just like Murderous Redcap of the old days, being over the coveted 3 cmc isn't that big of a deal as we are just as happy to Chord her out. Playing her in lists even without Spike Feeder is even fine as she acts as another Gavony Township that can just take over games.
An additional removal spell similar to Dismember, It is nice as a way to spend mana aggressively and still have outs. Keep in mind that if the spell fizzles (ceases to have a valid target by the time it resolves) then you will not have to pay the upkeep cost.
The best targeted discard we have access too. Play it if you are not playing Tidehollow Scullers. It helps stay in the game against otherwise unanswerable threats and helps clear the way for the combo to not get removed. You want to use it for those hard to deal with cards like Blood Moon or Anger of the Gods. Just be careful when boarding them in to keep your creature count high enough that Collected Company is still working optimally. Still, every sideboard should have at least 3.
This section is going to be updated soon. It has been sometime so it needs a complete overhaul, and making all of the images and meaningful discussions take a while.
This section needs to be updated. It is a big task to make all of the images and keep up with how fast the metagame changes. It will be updated someday. For now, if what you are looking for is not here then please PM me or post in the thread.
The decklist and sideboard being used for all of the sideboarding examples and matchup advice is:
Sideboarding Sample DeckMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
Mana Dorks (9)4 Birds of Paradise3 Noble Hierarch2 Wall of RootsCombo Pieces (12)3 Viscera Seer2 Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit2 Melira, Sylvok Outcast4 Kitchen Finks1 Murderous RedcapSilver Bullets/Value Creatures (8)1 Scavenging Ooze1 Qasali Pridemage2 Spellskite1 Fiend Hunter3 Eternal WitnessSpells (8)4 Chord of Calling4 Collected CompanyLands (23)4 Verdant Catacombs4 Windswept Heath3 Horizon Canopy2 Temple Garden1 Overgrown Tomb1 Godless Shrine3 Gavony Township3 Forest1 Plains1 SwampSideboard4 Tidehollow Sculler1 Aven Mindcensor1 Reclimation Sage1 Orzhov Pontiff1 Pharika, God of Affliction1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence3 Path to Exile2 Abrupt Decay1 Maelstrom Pulse
This may not be the exact same deck as you play yourself but hopefully it can give you a rough idea of what sideboarding for Abzan Company can look like. Don't follow these as strict guidelines by any means but better yet incorporate them into your own sideboarding methods to better improve your performance.
Game 1 is going to usually be a battle of incremental advantage and getting as much value from your creatures as possible. BG/x decks want to get to the lategame when their average card off of the top of their deck is going to be better than yours. If you try and combo they are going to have some removal to interrupt it so don't try anything until you are sure they can't stop the combo or if you want to force out removal on less valuable pieces. They fold to infinite life so going for the quickest combo possible is fine. Post sideboard you want to be as threat-dense as possible which is why siding out the mana-dorks is a good idea. You don't want to be topdecking a Birds of Paradise while they are topdecking a Tarmogoyf. The games tend to be slower and grindy too so there isn't as much of a need to get ahead on mana. They typically bring in sweepers in addition to the targeted removal in game 1 so not overextending and getting blown out is something to watch for. Post board they can have graveyard hate like Leyline of the Void or Rest in Peace to blank the other half of the deck so be prepared to win through it. Bringing in the Abrupt Decays removes half of their threats, and Path to Exile hits their problem 4 drops. Often times you will win through chaining enough Companies together to overwhelming them in card advantage and push enough damage through from Gavony Township.
The deck is already heavily favored against Burn as we run Kitchen Finks maindeck and they don't look to remove our creatures so we can often combo off when they are not prepared. They do have access to mainboard Atarka's Command and possibly Skullcrack so be prepared to not gain life when you need it. Post board we bring in removal for their creatures as they typically output the most damage compared to the spells which are one time uses. Through Wall of Roots, Spellskite, and Kitchen Finks we wall up and buy enough time to stabilize. The biggest threats they have are Artarkas Command on a full board or a Eidolon of the Great Revel which can rack up damage fast. Personally I have the biggest problems when they get a Searing Blaze on my manadork as it sets us far behind and keep the pressure on. Some things to keep in mind are avoiding fetching out too many shocklands, and leaving blue mana up for Spellskite whenever you can. If you are having a lot of problems with this matchup then play 1-2 Burrenton Forge-Tender in the sideboard.
Game 1 will be a race to combo off before your opponent but that isn't as viable in game 2 since both of you will have access to lots of interaction. The goal is to transition the deck for a more BG/x feel and try to out-removal your opponent long enough to assemble your own infinite damage combo or win through beats. Both of you have access to infinite life and damage so Kitchen Finks becomes a lot less valuable post board. Gavony Township is the card that is going to break stalemates and eventually put you over the top so get it online before your opponent to always stay ahead on baord. Linvala, Pharika, and Scavenging Ooze will heavily disrupt the opponent long enough and force them into playing a fair combat-damage oriented game. Tidehollow Sculler will often take their single removal spell or force them to use it and act as Spellskites 5-8. With enough disruption you can eventually build up a better board position and go for an infinite damage combo to win if you haven't already. One thing to keep in mind is that if you do have infinite life then you can scry for the missing piece of an infinite bolster combo to win through combat damage.
The key engine cards of Affinity are Cranial Plating, Archbound Ravager, and Steel Overseer and they are the main targets for the removal brought in. Post board you will have 5 unconditional removal spells for their deck to target these cards. Beyond those Etched Champion is the biggest threat as it can attack or block forever. One of the only ways to deal with it, other than ignoring it, is a Spellskite with two +1/+1 counters on it. Spellskite can redirect the Modular trigger from an Archbound Ravager to force the opponent to not put the counters on anything. Affinity can beat infinite life with Inkmoth Nexus but we conveniently play Melira to stop that. A good interaction to know is that if Inkmoth Nexus activates after Melira is in play then it will still gain infect, but because you can't gain poison counters it will deal 0 damage. One of the biggest cards to watch out for is Whipflare as it will usually kill every creature you have. If you are very worried about getting blown out by one then board in Tidehollow Sculler since they often won't have a Galvanic Blast to quickly deal with it.
Infect is a weird deck because they don't care about infinite life at all. Their creatures are going to be larger than ours in combat and blocking in infect creature with a persist creature means persist won't trigger. The bright side is that they don't play removal so getting a Melira, Sylvok Outcast in play and protecting her is often going to just end the game. To add to it, Spellskite is able to redirect all of their pump spells to itself making their entire gameplan useless. Remember that you can still redirect their spells even after a Vines of the Vastwood. Often with either of these creatures in play you are in very good shape to win the game. Post board bring in removal to keep their threats to a minimum, using Path to Exile on their Inkmoth Nexi when possible since Qasali Pridemage and Melira are the only other things able to stop it. Kitchen Finks is the worst card in this matchup so board them all out. The last slots to board out are pretty optional, I choose to take out Eternal Witness as we can draw enough removal naturally and Viscera Seer because you can go slightly lighter on the combo with only Melira needing to be in play to lock them down.
Tron is such a bad matchup for the deck I'd go so far as to say it's close to a 10/90 odds of winning. Without playing a lot of disruption in the sideboard it is hard to win and even then it only increases the chances up to an even game. The best we can do is try and take some early threats with Tidehollow Sculler and hope to really mess up their land searching with Aven Mindcensor. If they are playing a version with Lighting Bolt in the maindeck or sideboard then think about leaving Spellskite in. If they are playing multiple Kozilek's Return then you can think to leave in Scavenging Ooze to hope exile it before it triggers from the graveyard. There are really few things you can do since the matchup is so bad. At the end of it all you just have to get really lucky or dodge the matchup altogether.
Zoo is a deck that has many different types it can be played, but they are all lumped in as one here with the Midrange/Company archetype being the assumed deck. Their creatures are bigger most of the time than our 2/2's but Kitchen Finks will trade with almost all of them. They can't beat infinite life and play a minimum amount of removal so if you are not under too much pressure then it can be quite easy to combo. Building up a wall of Wall of Roots, Spellskite, and Kitchen Finks will often give you a board they can't attack through. Follow it up with a few Gavony Township activation's and you are going to win.
I have had this matchup go either way for quite a while. On one hand they have access to Anger of the Gods and Supreme Verdict post board which can absolutely blow out games. On the other hand they play a lot of single target removal like Lightning Bolt, Path to Exile, and counters which we can grind through with Collected Company and Eternal Witness constantly refilling the board. Gavony Township is the greatest threat because it is uncounterable and forces them to eventually have to spend their removal on Birds of Paradise. They run about as much removal as the BG/x matchups and less creatures so I usually look to sidebaord out some combo pieces for disruption to grind out the games, and manadorks to make draws more relevant. A change is that by bringing in Tidehollow Sculler as a pseudo-Spellskite you can bait their removal or delay boardwipes for a turn longer than normal. Ancestral Vision and Nahiri, the Harbinger have given the deck some new found card advantage so look to apply more pressure than before. Sitting back and re-buying cards with Eternal Witness will only get you so far with an Emrakul coming. If they put their shields down for a turn to cast Nahiri then they should be punished for it. There really no trump cards for this matchup just like BG/x, just smart play.
They can get bigger than your creatures fast with only 2 lords in play. Fortunately they don't play much removal and fold to infinite life so that is the quickest route to victory. Qasali Pridemage and Reclamation Sage are the MVP of the matchup, destroying both Spreading Seas and Aether Vial. I don't typically bring in Reclamation Sage too often as re-buying Pridemage with Eternal Witness is often enough. Post board they have access to Dispel and Negate for out 8 engine cards so take out some amount of both. Chord of Calling is often worse since it has a larger cost to getting countered. The matchup resembles Zoo in a way but instead of dodging burn spells you have to dodge Islandwalk. Boarding out Murderous Redcap is also an option as you only need infinite life for them to concede.
The biggest thing about Scapeshift is that they concede to infinite life, or anything higher than 36 really. They don't play quite as much removal as BG/x or UWR decks, but it will still be tough to assemble a combo. Post board they bring in Anger of the Gods so don't overextend on board or you will be punished. A timely Aven Mindcensor is often enough to win because they have to sacrifice the lands to Scapeshift as part of the cost and if they have no follow up to deal with the bird then it's a one sided Armageddon. You can sideboard out all of your cards that interact with their creatures since they don't play any, but keep in mind the possibility of an Inferno Titan post board and have something in mind to deal with it.
They play no creatures and very little removal. Expect to see Anger of the Gods post board and maybe Echoing Truth. You want to target their hand as much as possible with Tidehollow Sculler and do everything possible to slow them down before turn 4. If you are still alive by then you probably have a decent board built up and can make 1-2 attacks to win. Note that they play some copies of Darkness in the sideboard to slow the combat damage win down. Sin Collector is a sideboard card not included in this list, but is an easy swap for one Sculler and it works wonders in the matchup. Ad Nauseam is another combo deck that folds to infinite life in game 1 since it has a max damage output in the 60's range, but after boarding they have access to Labratory Maniac and can win with that. If you see it or expect it then leave in Murderous Redcap to secure a win. I have won before through a Spellskite and high enough life total to redirect the target of Lightning Storm enough times and win, so that's a possible but highly unlikely route so you probably shouldn't leave them in expecting it to pull it off. Often times you can just jam the combo a turn before they can with the little disruption boarded in.
A combo deck similar to our own. They are not beat by infinite life so we have to look to beat down or assemble the infinite damage combo. They play Wall of Roots, Wall of Omens, and a bunch of other blockers so trying to attack without a few Gavony Township activation's isn't going to happen. Games 2 and 3 you want to bring in your removal since that's the only thing to stop their combo. Tidehollow Sculler can take their cards and they play little removal to get them back aside from 4 Path to Exile. The games do get grindy so you can look to take out some manadorks and just look to out-value them over time. Through Collected Company you can build up a boardstate faster than they can while keeping up your removal spells for when they matter most.
Elves can go off very fast and some lists even can go infinite to beat your infinite life. You have to determine if you are able to race their combo or if you need to disrupt them. Game 1 both decks play no removal so it is all about the combo as neither player will be able to win through combat before a combo is assembled. Games 2 and 3 you are able to disrupt them with the removal brought in so you can not worry about their speed as much. They will have to go wide to win because you can remove their key cards like Ezuri, Renegade Leader or Elvish Archdruid. Through their lack of removal and the disruption you bring in the matchup shouldn't be very hard.
This is a harder matchup than regular RUG Scapeshift because pure RG relies on things like Khalni Heart Expedition and Primeval Titan to ramp extra fast and go over the top. Through the Breach with a Titan can put 4 lands into play in a single turn often dealing up to 18 damage. They play Lightning Bolt and Anger of the Gods to keep smaller creature decks like Abzan Company under control. Just like RUG Scapeshift they cannot beat infinite life so that is the optimal route to take as waiting for too long and trying to provide chump blockers is going to end bad when staring down a Primeval Titan. Out of the board Aven Mindcensor is great at messing up their land searching to slow them down. Path to Exile can hit their Titans and Mealstrom Pulse is a great catch-all as some versions have started to splash white for Nahiri, the Harbinger. If they are playing Emrakul then look to keep in Murderous Redcap as they many not concede to infinite life.
A removal heavy matchup just like BG/x and UWR control. Don't expect to combo out unless you get a lucky opening and most lists have been running more and more copies of Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet making the matchup increasingly harder. Board in your removal to deal with him and any other large threats they throw at you. Most games are going to get to the topdeck stage when they will have some card advantage over us through Ancestral Visions and Snapcaster Mage. They board in Anger of the Gods or Damnation so watch out for boardwipes. They also could bring in Leyline of the Void so be prepared to not have access to the graveyard. The good news is that they can't beat infinite life so when you do combo off you will win. The matchup may seem like the best of BG/x and UWR, and it is in a sense, but it is less played so you have to prepare for it less.
This is an annoying deck to face because of their annoying creatures. The main ones are Thalia, Guardian of Thraben makes attacking with anything we have useless, and Leonin Arbiter shuts off the ease of Chord of Calling and fetchlands which are crucial for the early turns of the game. The deck has good land destruction through the Ghost Quarter + Leonin Arbiter combo and it naturally poised to kill Gavony Township in longer games. The deck can't beat infinite life and doesn't play much removal past Path to Exile, although the occasional Sunlance may surprise you. If you survive the early turns and don't get locked out then it is easy to wall up the same way as against Burn or Zoo and just prolong the game until you out value them or combo off. Be careful about playing for too long as Flickerwisp and Serra Avenger both represent fast clocks in the air.
Bant is the favourite colour pairing post Eye of Ugin-ban. It loses to infinite life and plays only 4 Path to Exile as removal spells. Post board it has access to cards such as Engineered Explosives for all of our 2-drops, Grafdigger's Cage which really shuts down the entire deck, Stubborn Denial or Negate for countering Chords and Companies. Pairing that with their fast clock from Though-Knot Seer, Reality Smasher, and Drowner of Hope and you are going to have a hard time dealing with all the angles of attack at once. This matchup hasn't been played enough for me to figure out a great sideboarding strategy, but this is what I have been doing for now.
The biggest problem to face in the matchup is if they successfully resolve an Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. At that point any creature you play is going to immediately die so it isn't worth continuing playing. Even if you have infinite life they can attempt to mill you out using Elesh to prevent you from playing anything meaning game 1 your only out is Fiend Hunter and game 2 it will be a Path to Exile. Aside from that they play a variety of wrath effects and removal maindeck but not as much as other midrange or control decks so you can expect to combo off more often than those matchups. One of the best cards in the matchup is going to be Scavenging Ooze as it eats away at the opponents graveyard and doesn't let them resolve an intended Gifts Ungiven. Try to protect it with Spellskite to force them to hard cast all their spells. Another trump card is Aven Mindcensor as they play a colour intensive manabase and rely heavily on fetchlands as well as it shuts down Gifts Ungiven. Playing the fair game may be hard as they have Lingering Souls/card] to chumpblock and you will often be low on cards from Inquisition of Kozilek and Liliana of the Viel.
This matchup comes down to mostly luck in how you topdeck cards after they've milled in the first few turns. Recurring Qasali Pridemage and other cards with Eternal Witness will be your best bet to victory. After sideboarding you have access to Reclamation Sage and Abrupt Decay which provides much needed additional hate. There isn't much to this matchup other than keeping them off of their combo and trying to win through combat as fast as possible. They bring in Surgical Extraction so don't expect to combo off. If you are facing down an Ensnaring Bridge that you can't destroy then look to attack with a Birds of Paradise that then gets buffed by Noble Hierarch as a way to eventually win. If you do have an infinite life combo you can continually scry your deck for the missing Melira or Anafenza to get infinite +1/+1 counters. After attacking with a Brid you make it arbitrarily large and win in one hit. With an infinite combo active you can also control your own drawstep by scrying every time they try and mill you. This makes their entire deck not work anymore until they draw something to exile a card from the graveyard.
Bogles is a simple matchup because we can chumpblock for enough turns to assemble an infinite life combo. The hardest cards to race from them are Rancor and Spirit Mantle since they can just ignore blockers. Suppression Field and Relic of Progenitus finds its way into many lists which dampens any combos so keep that in mind when planing out turns. It should be a fairly straightforward matchup other than that.
Game 1 can go either way depending on the speed of either decks combo. Here Scavenging Ooze is going to be key as well as Pharika post board. One thing to note is that their combo can happen at instant speed so trying to Chord of Calling into a Fiend Hunter isn't going to work. Bringing in some number of Path to Exile can be correct to stop a Worldspine Wurm or Borborygmos Enraged attacking you from inside a breach but it won't hit Griselbrand which is their main combo engine. They do fold to infinite life because of their similar win condition to Ad Nauseam. Post board they have access to Anger of the Gods or Pyroclasm and Lightning Axe as removal so keep that in mind to not overextend and plan your Tidehollow Scullers accordingly. If you find out that they are playing a copy of Emrakul (which most lists aren't these days) then leave in Murderous Redcap otherwise board it out instead of an Eternal Witness.
You can find all recorded tournament results to date by clicking here on this Google spreadsheet link.
May 27, 2018 - Vizier Company: The Last Two Percentage Points - Card Knock Life article by Wojtek Radosz
May 27, 2018 - Deck Spotlight: Abzan Counters Company - Card Knock Life article by Wojtek Radosz
June 2, 2017 - Modern: CoCo is Loco - Channel Fireball article by Brian DeMars
Feburary 23, 2017 - Abzan Company This Weekend - Channel Fireball article by Brian DeMars
December 8, 2016 - Cuckoo for CoCo Tech - Channel Fireball article by Brian DeMars
May 25, 2016 - Archangel Abzan Company - Channel Fireball article by Brian DeMars
May 19, 2016 - The Complete Guide To Abzan Company - SCG article by Logan Mize
May 3, 2016 - Is CoCo the New Twin? - Channel Fireball article by Brian DeMars
January 26, 2016 - The Abzan Company Handbook - Reddit post and Google doc by user Ringtailed79/Brad Rutherford
September 3, 2015 - Top 8 Modern Decks – Collected Company - Channel Fireball article by Pascal Maynard
June 30, 2015 - Abzan Company in Modern - Channel Fireball article by Sam Pardee
June 23, 2015 - Magic Math – How Consistent is Collected Company in Modern? - Channel Fireball article by Frank Karsten
May 29, 2015 - The Company Man - SCG Premium article by Brian Braun-Duin
May 27, 2015 - The New Top 10 Decks In Modern - TCG Player article by Seth Manfield
May 27, 2015 - Brews From The Modern Notebok - SCG article by Michael Majors
May 26, 2015 - Abzan Company - Gathering Magic article by Jimi Brady
May 22, 2015 - Collecting More Company! - SCG Premium article by Brian Kibler
May 18, 2015 - Introducing Abzan Collected Company - Modern Nexus article by Sheridan Lardner (ktkenshinx)
May 13, 2015 - Collected Company Takes On Modern - TCG Player article by Seth Manfield
May 16, 2017 - Modern Funday: Devoted Vizier - Channel Fireball video by Frank Lepore
May 5, 2017 - The Ultimate Modern Abzan Collected Company Video Primer - Youtube video by NoLucksGiven
May 21, 2016 - GP Los Angeles Coverage Round 6 Abzan Company vs Bogles
March 10, 2016 - Modern Abzan Company - Channel Fireball video by Brian Braun-Duin
June 10, 2015 - Abzan Company VS. G/R Tron - SCG video by Brian Braun-Duin & Tom Ross
May 26, 2015 - Abzan Company Combo in Modern Deck Guide - Boat Brew Article and Videos by MTGS user Aarne Pyulze
May 19, 2015 - Abzan Company In Modern! (MTGO Daily #2) - SCG video by Brian Braun-Duin
May 15, 2015 - Abzan Company In Modern! (MTGO Daily #1) - SCG video by Brian Braun-Duin
May 12, 2015 - Channel Pardee Modern Anafenza Combo - Channel Fireball video by Sam Paradee
Remember that Chord of Calling says X OR LESS mana cost. Once you pay the cost you can search for something with a cmc less than X. This is useful if the opponent responds to it and you change what you are searching for.If you get Eternal Witness with Collected Company or Chord of Calling then you can return the spell to your hand. If you have nothing to do you can Chord out EWits to add power and Convoke mana to the board.Duskwatch Recruiter can stack your deck an way you want with infinite mana and a non-divisible by 3 number of cards in the deck. See here if you don't believe it.With infinite G mana and a land drop, you can draw your deck, play Courser of Kruphix then Horizon Canopy (from the top of your deck or hand), re-stack your deck to have Company or Chord on top, use Canopy to draw it, then use the spell to get a non-monogreen creature from your deck.Devoted Druid, Birds of Paradise, Noble Hierarch, and Spellskite can all attack under an Ensnaring Bridge then be pumped by Rhonas for lethal.Sacrifice Tidehollow Sculler or Fiend Hunter in response to their trigger to have the effect be permanent.Orzhov Pontiff can be sacrificed in response to his -1/-1 trigger and haunted to the opponents X/1. Then when the first trigger resolves the haunt will trigger thus giving all the opponents creatures -2/-2. This comes up the most against [card=Ghiest of St. Traft]Ghiest decks or Affinity. You can also do the same thing to give your team +2/+2 and swing for the win.If you have a Mirror Entity and Vizier of Remedies with +1/+1 counters on them, then you can activate Mirror Entities ability for X=0 for it to function as a sacrifice outlet.You can do the standard combo with a sac outlet + Archangel of Thune + Kitchen Finks. This is the same combo as AngelFeeder just with more cards.Devoted Druid and Wall of Roots both provide GG when casting Chord of Calling.Knight of the Reliquary ramps if you tap the land before sacrificing it.You can sacrifice a tapped Voice of Resurgence and use the new token for Convoke mana with Chord of Calling. Opponent's will often miscount this extra mana you have available.Make sure you exile the opponents flashback spell before they go to cast it with Scavenging Ooze. This is a common new player mistake.If you run them, Archangel of Thune, Varolz, the Scar-Striped, and Spike Feeder can reset the -1/-1 counters on a creature. A +1/+1 and -1/-1 counter will cancel each other out. This rule was changed for the release of Dark Ascension.
Some of these may be really obvious for the more experienced players, but if you have any good tips I missed give me a shout and I'll add it in.
The general conclusion is that the ideal number of creatures in the deck should be no less than 28 so that Collected Company has over a 90 percent chance to hit something on every cast. This also gives a 86 percent chance of hitting two creatures. Of course this is the ideal scenario, and between your opening 7 and anything you draw before casting the first Collected Company will reduce these numbers. The number of playable targets must also be taken into consideration which rules out anything casting 4 or more in your deck, as well as mana dorks not being always meaningful. After factoring in any dead cards, the amount of creatures that you want to hit is ideally 23, giving a 75 percent chance of getting two good creatures on the first cast. These graphs created by Salvation user Kleronomas should help give a better idea of the general creatures to run in your deck to get the most out of Collected Company.
If the following graphs aren't enough for you, then check out this spreadsheet with a breakdown of exactly what is going on at every single creature count. If you want to get the most out of the deck then it is important to understand the math behind Collected Company and know when is the best time to use it.
When running a combo list it is important to factor how many of each combo piece are in your deck at any given time. Make sure you are always monitoring the creature counts left in the deck before blindly casting Collected Company to reduce the chance of getting nothing worthwhile. Sometimes it is right to hold onto a Company and wait until some Duskwatch Recruiter activation's thin the deck a bit.
In order to get a fast start with the deck you always want to aim for a manadork in your opening hand. 7 manadorks is the optimal number by giving a 60 percent chance of having one in the opening hand while 6 will drop it down to a 54 percent chance.
16/05/2015 - Published new primer!
21/05/2015 - Added a quick Matchup section, updated pure combo section, and fixed some formatting issues
24/05/2015 - Added the Top Results and Videos section. Added The Math Behind Collected Company section. Updated the card choice section.
31/05/2015 - Added in a sample list for value-combo decks. Updated articles and results, tips and tricks, card choices.
08/06/2015 - Updated results and articles section. Moved to the tier 2 section WOO!
14/07/2015 - Fixed formatting, moved results to a external doc, updated sample decklists, rearanged sections of the primer.
02/08/2015 - Added in sideboarding section. Added new Lily and Linvala to the card section.
18/08/2015 - Rearranged sideboarding matchups. Fixed some formatting.
23/09/2015 - Added some new links, and updated the results doc.
13/10/2015 - Added new cards, updated results. The formatting of *box* command is still broken, sad times.
16/10/2015 - Updated sample decklists.
19/02/2016 - Removed Twin and Bloom sideboarding sections. Updated sample decklists.
06/03/2016 - Update deck database. Updated sample decks after triple GP weekend. We took down a GP during Eldrazi winter!
02/06/2016 - Rewrote the entire primer. Matchup and Sideboarding section is not complete.
10/08/2016 - Added in the sideboard section for 22 different tier 1 and 2 decks!
05/01/2017 - Small edits.
08/08/2017 - Revamped the primer after a long while to the Druid-Vizer era.
25/10/2017 - Added in a few cards and mentions of the Vizier Knightfall builds.
23/05/2018 - Added DOM cards, moved Tracker to proven mainboard cards, consolidated cards for readability, fixed some text issues.
04/06/2018 - Overhauled the About the Deck, Sample Decklists, and Card Choice sections, adding in all colour splashes.
05/11/2018 - Added in M19 and GRN cards, updated the sample decks.