Collected Company dominated Standard for much of its time in the format. It did so across seasons, surrounded by very different supporting casts. When Spell Queller was printed in Eldritch Moon, it seemed like Bant Company was going to be the end-game for the deck.
That prediction was half-right. The final Collected Company shell in Standard was in Bant colors, but it was built around Human tribal synergies rather than a collection of individually powerful cards. Spell Queller fell in stock once the metagame adjusted to it and decks became better-tuned, since the card is a liability when you fall behind or your opponent has plenty of good removal for it.
Today’s deck represents a similar progression, but in present-day Modern. Bant Company is a fringe archetype in the format, not the dominant one it was in the early days of that Standard season, but it’s very powerful and Spell Queller is a big part of that. The 2/3 flier emerged as a player in Modern as the format adjusted to the presence of Fatal Push suppressing the number of Lightning Bolts.
But now we’re at a place where Lightning Bolt is back on top of the removal spell power rankings and the top decks in the format are quite aggressive, once again making Spell Queller a liability. We also have a top deck that is built around exploiting tribal Human synergies with cheap, disruptive creatures, though the manabase in the deck makes playing actual spells like Collected Company too prohibitive.
Well, it just so happens that the most powerful card in Bant Company shells, Knight of the Reliquary, is a Human, so merging the two archetypes is rather simple and leaves us with a potent aggressive deck that can play actual removal in the form of Path to Exile, leaving it well-positioned against Five-Color Humans as well as Hollow One.
It’s not going to be as good against the linear decks in the format because it’s lower on disruption, but relying on the popularity of Five-Color Humans to suppress those decks while exploiting the favorable pseudo-mirror is a good place to be. And in those matchups, you always have the potential to race with the Retreat to Coralhelm combo, an element that many traditional Bant lists now eschew but that makes more sense here as an easy way to compensate for the lack of disruption.
It should be no surprise to see Collected Company decks evolve similarly across formats. The card initially screams to be played with individually powerful creatures, but digging six cards deep is so powerful that its best uses will always involve consistently assembling powerful synergies.
- 2 Eternal Witness
- 4 Noble Hierarch
- 4 Knight of the Reliquary
- 4 Champion of the Parish
- 4 Avacyn's Pilgrim
- 1 Mayor of Avabruck
- 2 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
- 4 Reflector Mage
- 4 Thalia's Lieutenant