A Guide Through Modern's Road Less Traveled

Welcome to Tier Fun's Search for Spice. I am Andrew, your guide through Modern, and this is a bi-weekly column where I scour the Modern Magic-verse for any and all signs of Spice (accompanied by videos of me playing the decks where applicable!). Without further ado, let's embark on our journey.

This week we are taking a glance at one of the most powerful cards printed for Modern in the last few years, Collected Company, and its place in two of Magic's most iconic tribes (and maybe a bonus "Tribe" at the end).

Collected Goblins, kylehl (5-0)

Goblins and Collected Company, a match so perfectly made in Aggro Heaven that I am honestly shocked we haven't seen more of it.

2 Bloodstained Mire
1 Cavern of Souls
4 Collected Company
1 Ghost Quarter
4 Goblin Chieftain
1 Goblin King
4 Goblin Piledriver
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
4 Goblin Warchief
4 Legion Loyalist
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Mogg War Marshal
7 Mountain
4 Mutavault
4 Skirk Prospector
4 Stomping Ground
4 Wooded Foothills

4 Alpine Moon
1 Back to Nature
4 Goblin Trashmaster
4 Leyline of the Void
2 Shapers' Sanctuary

When Skirk Prospector was spoiled, most everyone put their deck building energy into attempting to recreate the old Extended deck Dirty Kitty (yeah... deck names used to be ridiculous/awesome), but a Collected Company into Goblin Piledriver and Goblin Rabblemaster is nothing to sneeze at either. This deck is essentially an aggressive goblin version of Bant Spirits, so, while Bant Spirits can be a balancing act between aggression and interaction, Collected Goblins only has one speed: FAST.

Thanks to the aggressive nature of goblins in general, the deck shouldn't have a problem with racing and there's even a #Christmasland turn 3 kill (Skirk Prospector into Mogg War Marshal, sacrifice the Marshall and its tokens for 3 mana, play Goblin Warchief and swing for 3, untap to windmill slam Piledriver and Rabblemaster, and swing for 19 on your third turn), but more often than not, you're getting out of the gates fast with with one of your 8 one drops (Legion Loyalist does WORK with Rabblemaster and Piledriver) and using Collected Company to either shut the door or build back up from a sweeper. The draw here isn't the quick clock, typical goblin strategies like 8 Whack have that too, but rather the resiliency and explosiveness that Collected Company brings to the table. Being able to overload on immensely synergistic three drops that, while great to cast on their own, have the potential to be truly bonkers Company hits is well worth the addition of green and a slightly slower goldfish speed.

I feel fairly confident recommending this version of Goblins to people in all but the most degenerate metagames. Collected Company reinforces the weaknesses of typical goblin decks while not sacrificing too much from the original aggressive gameplan. Plus, this is definitely the first place I will be testing the newly spoiled Legion Warboss! I expect having basically 8 Rabblemasters to Company into will be my kind of fun.

Blood Elves, CptGrumblecakes (5-0)

When you think "tribe" and "Collected Company" this is likely the deck you had in mind (unless you're a fellow lover of Bant Spirits, that is.)

3 Chord of Calling
4 Collected Company
4 Elvish Archdruid
1 Elvish Champion
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Elvish Visionary
1 Essence Warden
1 Eternal Witness
3 Ezuri, Renegade Leader
9 Forest
4 Heritage Druid
2 Lead the Stampede
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Nettle Sentinel
2 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
1 Reclamation Sage
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Spellskite
1 Stomping Ground
4 Windswept Heath
2 Wooded Foothills

3 Beast Within
3 Blood Moon
1 Choke
2 Damping Sphere
2 Essence Warden
2 Fracturing Gust
1 Phyrexian Revoker
1 Reclamation Sage

While this is definitely a great Collected Company deck, you may feel like this is a bit of a departure from what you might expect from a Search for Spice. However, upon further inspection, you'll see spice oozing from this bad boy. We have more copies of Chord of Calling than is typical, complete with an accompanying main deck toolbox of Spellskite, Scavenging Ooze, Reclamation Sage, Eternal Witness, Essence Warden, and the usual suspect himself in Ezuri, Renegade Leader. Oh, and did I mention the Blood Moon? You head that right: Blood Moon in elves. Search for Spice is all about finding innovation in Modern; sometimes innovation is an entirely new deck idea, sometimes there's a newly printed card shaking things up, but often, innovation is found in the small things like playing Blood Moon in Elves.

This is the kind of spice that really makes you wish you could have a conversation with the deck's creator. Well, as luck would have it, this particular 5-0 deck was created and piloted by none other than my very own brother! I was recently the best man at his wedding and, in-between the rehearsal dinner and actual ceremony, I managed to get this quote about the deck from him:

"The Blood Moons can shut down midrange and control strategies, but their point is to put these decks on enough of a back foot that their haymakers can't be deployed until a squadron of 1/1s and 2/2s can get there. There are enough tools in the main deck and board to answer effectively any typical board state, but it sacrifices overall speed for that guarantee."

The more I thought about the deck, the more it became clear to me that it checks all the boxes of a good Blood Moon strategy; it presents an effective clock to take advantage of the time bought and, most importantly, it will never be anywhere near your opponent's radar until it is too late. The most effective Blood Moons are always the unexpected ones. If a silver bullet style strategy with the most sneaky Blood Moon of all time interests you, I cannot recommend this deck highly enough. My brother was also kind enough to give us a sideboard guide too (I know, he's a great guy) and I would be the worst guide ever if I didn't share it here:

  • Burn - IN: Essence Warden and Reclamation Sage. OUT: Elvish Champion and 2 Lead the Stampede.
  • Jund - IN: Blood Moons. OUT: Nettle Sentinel, Essence Warden, and Chord of Calling
  • Jeskai - IN: Blood Moons and Choke :). OUT - Nettle Sentinel, Elvish Champion, Essence Warden, and Reclamation Sage.
  • Mardu - IN: Essence Wardens. OUT: Chord of Calling and Reclamation Sage.
  • Humans - IN: Essence Wardens, Phyrexian Revoker, and Beast Withins. OUT: Scavenging Ooze, Lead the Stampede, Chord of Calling, Reclamation Sage, Nettle Sentinel, and Eternal Witness (Beast Within reserved for Meddling Mage or Izzet Staticaster).
  • Storm - IN: Beast Withins, Damping Spheres, and Choke. OUT: Essence Warden, Nettle Sentinel, Elvish Champion, Reclamation Sage, and Lead the Stampedes. ("These games play very weirdly as you always want to have mana up to protect/disrupt. Damping Sphere can be protected by Spellskite so a Chord for 2 can win you the game in the right spots. Scavenging Ooze helps prevent them from going off. It's a very difficult matchup.")
  • KCI - IN: Phyrexian Revoker, Reclamation Sage, Fracturing Gusts, Beast Withins, and Damping Spheres. OUT: Essence Warden, Lead the Stampede, Spellskite, Elvish Champion, Eternal Witness, 2 Nettle Sentinel, and an Elvish Visionary.
  • Affinity - IN: Fracturing Gusts, Reclamation Sage, Phyrexian Revoker, and Beast Withins. OUT: Essence Warden, Nettle Sentinel, Scavenging Ooze, Lead the Stampedes, Elvish Champion, and Eternal Witness.
  • Bogles - IN: Fracturing Gusts, Reclamation Sage, and Beast Withins. OUT: Essence Warden, Elvish Champion (they have elves too), Scavenging Ooze, Lead the Stampede, Eternal Witness, and Nettle Sentinel.
  • Death's Shadow - IN: Blood Moons and Choke (if they have blue). OUT: Essence Warden, Reclamation Sage, Elvish Champion, and Nettle Sentinel. "Be sure not to attack until you have the win."
  • Counters Company - IN: Phyrexian Revoker and Beast Withins. OUT: Essence Warden, Reclamation Sage, Scavenging Ooze (if they don't have Melira Combo), and Eternal Witness.
  • Spirits/Elves - IN: Beast Within (1 or 2) and Essence Wardens. OUT: Scavenging Ooze, Eternal Witness, Nettle Sentinel, and Reclamation Sage unless you know they're bringing in Grafdigger's Cage.
  • Tron - IN: Blood Moons, Beast Withins, and Reclamation Sage. OUT: Scavenging Ooze, Spellskite, Elvish Champion, Eternal Witness, Essence Warden, and Lead the Stampedes.
  • Valakut Strategies - IN: Blood Moons and Beast Withins. OUT: Nettle Sentinel, Essence Warden, Scavenging Ooze, Reclamation Sage, Eternal Witness, and 1 Lead the Stampede.

For those of you who have made it all the way to the end of this longer than intended article, I have a gift! A third tribal strategy that, while maybe not a recognized and fully supported Tribe by Wizards of the Coast, uses Collected Company just as well if not even better than Goblins and Elves. I speak of none other than Ball Lightning Tribal. This was a fun recording I made a handful of months ago now that really needs no more introduction than. Go forth and enjoy the bonus recording and I will see you guys next time!

You can find Andrew on Twitter @tierfunmtg and at https://www.youtube.com/tierfun