If there is one card that defined the Modern metagame of the 2014 Magic Online Championship, it was Collected Company. Let's take a look at the breakdown below:
|Melira & Company||1|
|Gifts / Rites Tron||1|
While Burn may be the most played deck of the sixteen competitors, the deck that deserves the spotlight this weekend is the one that Jasper De Jong brought with him to this tournament. That deck is Melira & Company, a deck that takes the old Melira Pod shell prior to the banning of Birthing Pod deck and adds some new tools to the creature suite that allow De Jong to assemble a combo that has, for lack of a better term, persisted through the history of Modern.
Jasper De Jong blasted through one opponent after another with his Melira & Company deck, a strategy that sported four copies of the relatively new rare to the Modern scene.
In De Jong's deck, Collected Company serves two critical purposes:
- The new spell, along with Chord of Calling, out him to pick fights with opponents on their end step. Against decks such as Splinter Twin, which have a reasonable number of counterspells at their disposal, this forces their hand to ensure De Jong doesn't get a creature he wants from his deck onto the battlefield.
- It lets De Jong "go off" seemingly out of nowhere.
Let me explain the second point.
For those unfamiliar with persist creatures, such as Kitchen Finks and Murderous Redcap, these creatures come back from the graveyard onto the battlefield with a -1/-1 counter on them if they did not previously have a -1/-1 counter on them. In this example, we'll use Kitchen Finks, a card that can be put into play with Collected Company.
Kitchen Finks is a 3/2 creature that gains you some life when it enters the battlefield, but when it dies, it gets to come back from the graveyard with a -1/-1 on it (making it a 2/1).
However…let's factor in another creature that often sees player with Kitchen Finks.
Melira, Sylvok Outcast prevents creatures from getting -1/-1 counters, meaning that when Kitchen Finks dies (and the comes back), it can't get that -1/-1 counter that the persist mechanic wants to put on the Finks…which means it can keep coming back, again and again, if it keeps dying. Factor in a sacrifice outlet, such as Viscera Seer, and you can see that a player can keep bringing Kitchen Finks back, again and again, which generates its user a ton of life.
Collected Company adds another deadly angle to this strategy. Let's assume, for example, that you have a harmless little Kitchen Finks in play. Then, you cast Collected Company when your opponent taps out for some reason or another. You look at the top six, and then suddenly, these two creatures are in play.
Hey wait a minute, that's not Melira!
Turns out, new Dragons of Tarkir legend Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit does a pretty good Melira impression in this strategy. When Kitchen Finks comes back onto the battlefield after its persist trigger resolves, Anafenza's ability triggers, which bolsters a creature with the lowest toughness. Since the Finks comes back with a -1/-1 counter, as a 2/1, you can bolster it, which removes the -1/-1 counter…and lets you persist again, and again, and again with a Viscera Seer in play.
This redundancy, and the ability to go off from virtually nowhere, has been big for De Jong all day. Collected Company serves as not only a way to make this combo more dangerous, but also acts as a form of green card advantage, giving De Jong's deck some ways to increase its resources. It also goes well with Eternal Witness so he can do it again!
However, De Jong isn't the only player who is seeing success with the card (although he is the most successful today). Hall of Famer Olle Råde, along with his teammate Magnus Lantto, came into the Modern portion of this event with an Elf deck sporting multiple copies of Collected Company.
Hall of Famer Olle Råde also put Collected Company to good use in his Elf deck.
Råde's deck opted out of putting combo pieces in his deck, and relied more on just overwhelming the board with elvish beatdowns instead. Of course, honorary "elf" Eternal Witness made an appearance as one of the solid creatures you were capable of hitting with Collected Company, and she also happened to add two devotion for Råde's Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx.
Needless to say, Collected Company has made some waves in Modern, and it'll be interesting to see where the card—and the strategies built around it—continue to go in this format.