In Good Company

Posted in Perilous Research on March 19, 2015

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Welcome back to Perilous Research,'s exclusive Magic Online column. We're just hours away from the Dragons of Tarkir Prerelease and everyone seems to be clamoring about "the next big thing" in various Constructed formats. Today, I'd like to focus our energy on creating some new and exciting Modern decks in preparation for the release of Dragons of Tarkir. Collected Company has quickly become my favorite card from the new set. I've actually been having trouble sleeping because I can't stop thinking about all the powerful interactions the card gives us. Let's build some decks with Collected Company!

Collected Company | Art by Franz Vohwinkel

It's important to build our deck in such a way that we're maximizing the value of Collected Company. We want to be playing a lot of creatures, but we'll also want to be thinning our deck with fetch lands to guarantee that we're hitting two powerful creatures with Collected Company. We're going through a tenth of our deck, which means, at the very least, we'll want a fifth of deck to be powerful creatures that we'll be happy to find. In reality, we'll want that density to be even higher so we can maximize the card's power level.

In Modern, Collected Company can be played alongside Eternal Witness to tremendous success. This interaction allows us to find Eternal Witness with Collected Company, put it into play alongside another creature, and return Collected Company from our graveyard to our hand, allowing us to make the same play indefinitely until we're unable to find another Eternal Witness.

The other card that Collected Company combos with in Modern is Mirror Entity. In fact, if we're lucky enough to have one creature in play and our Collected Company hits Mirror Entity and Blade Splicer on our opponent's end step, we can just play a fifth land and attack for 20 damage. Mirror Entity isn't the kind of card we want to be playing a lot of in most decks, but having access to some number of it will drastically improve the potential for our Collected Company deck to function as a combo strategy that can win the game out of nowhere.

So, we know we want to be playing Mirror Entity, Eternal Witness, and Collected Company, but where do they go?

Collected Hate Bears

I've found four very different homes for this set of three cards, each of which has a lot of power. To start, we'll be looking at the Green-White Hate Bears deck.

JVL's Collected Hate Bears

This deck has a lot of angles.

We can play a land destruction strategy when our opponent misses his or her third or fourth land drop; using Ghost Quarter alongside Leonin Arbiter to create a Strip Mine or using Mangara of Corondor as a Stone Rain effect, often holding priority to cast Restoration Angel so that we can exile another land on the following turn.

Against creature decks, we're a very powerful and card advantage-laden concoction with four copies of Path to Exile and Mirror Entity to win the game out of nowhere.

Against combo strategies like Splinter Twin, we can use Collected Company to find Spellskite to break up the combo, protect ourselves with Mangara of Corondor, and even put Flickerwisp into play at instant speed to exile a Pestermite or Deceiver Exarch that's being targeted by the namesake enchantment.

This seems like an excellent starting point for the Modern Collected Company deck, a strategy that pushes the limits of the card in every possible direction.

Collected Aristocrats

The next strategy we'll be exploring is Aristocrats.

JVL's Modern Aristocrats

This deck seems pretty unbeatable for the fair decks in Modern. If we're not playing against Combo or Burn, then our opponent will have a nightmare trying to deal with all the value we create.

A huge portion of our creatures have added stickiness in that they leave something behind when they would otherwise die. We'll be able to constantly apply pressure on the opponent without having to worry about board sweepers unless the opponent has access to Anger of the Gods.

This deck is the best possible home for Mirror Entity. It will be very difficult to find a situation where an endstep Collected Company for Mirror Entity against a tapped out opponent doesn't just win the game on the spot.

The presence of Collected Company, especially in conjunction with Eternal Witness, makes it very easy to assemble multiple copies of Blood Artist to simply kill our opponent by sacrificing tons of creatures to Cartel Aristocrat.

We should keep this deck in our back pocket for when Modern oscillates to a place where people aren't playing Burn, Combo, or Anger of the Gods. Given those conditions, this may actually be the best possible deck for the format.

Collected Curio Elves

The final deck we'll be looking at is a combo strategy. I've always been a huge fan of Elves, and Collected Company gives the deck a huge boost in power level.

JVL's Collected Curio Elves

This is a combo strategy that's capable of turn-three kills.

How does this kill on turn three? Turn one mana Elf, turn two Cloudstone Curio, turn three Heritage Druid and Nettle Sentinel is infinite mana; Heritage Druid, Nettle Sentinel, and Elvish Visionary is infinite mana and the ability to draw our entire deck; Heritage Druid and Essence Warden is infinite life; and Heritage Druid, alongside any other one-drop to go with our starting Elf, is infinite storm.

Here's how it works. We use Heritage Druid's ability with the Cloudstone Curio trigger on the stack, then start returning creatures to our hand in a chain while replaying them. Once we have three untapped Elves in play again, we use Heritage Druid's ability with the Cloudstone Curio trigger on the stack…and get to start the chain all over again.

A lot of the time, we'll find ourselves with an army of seemingly pathetic 1/1s. In these situations, we can use Chord of Calling or Collective Company to find Mirror Entity and attack for absurd amounts of damage.

This deck may seem a little gimmicky, and a lot of people may be quick to write it off, but I assure you that Cloudstone Curio combo is actually quite powerful. In fact, I once won the hardest 350-person Extended PTQ of all time with Cloudstone Curio Elves; there were three Pro Tour Champions in the PTQ Top 8!

The deck gives us room to outplay and outsmart any opponent. For example, in the third game of the finals of that PTQ, I had Heritage Druid, Llanowar Elves, and Cloudstone Curio on the battlefield with Essence Warden and Heritage Druid in my hand. I was dead to my opponent's next attack. He had Godless Shrine untapped and had revealed Path to Exile off his Dark Confidant the turn prior. I slumped in my chair, it was going to be my third PTQ finals loss in the last two months. Then, I came up with a plan. I cast Heritage Druid, put the Cloudstone Curio trigger on the stack, used Heritage Druid's ability, and returned to my hand and replayed each of those three Elves; then, again with the Curio trigger on the stack, I tapped the three for mana.

I looked at my opponent, "I've demonstrated that I can create infinite storm. May I create infinite storm?"

He had just lost the game prior to Grapeshot. He was at a healthy life total and the PTQ victory was within his grasp. He quickly responded, "Path to Exile one of your Heritage Druids."

He was tapped out and I cast Essence Warden and proceeded to gain infinite life with my Cloudstone Curio. I was able to find Eternal Witness for Elvish Visionary in the coming turns to draw a big portion of my deck and kill my opponent.

This deck seems like it has the ability to do very powerful things. The deck should be able to out-grind the midrange decks of Modern with Elvish Visionary, Ranger of Eos, and Eternal Witness. It has the ability to outrace other combo strategies and will likely have a very good sideboard to disrupt them.

It's clear to me that Collected Company is one of the most powerful cards from Dragons of Tarkir. I'll be brewing with the card for the foreseeable future. Don't miss your opportunity to be among the first to play with cards like Collected Company at your local Prerelease. Most stores are already taking signups and only have a limited amount of space!

Knowledge is power!

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