Standard Fare - Cuckoo for Coco Puffs [Gabriel Nicholas - Sorcerer, Level 38]
Hey everyone, my name is Gabriel Nicholas. I'm a grinder based out of the Woodlands in Houston, Texas. I've top eighted more IQs and PPTQs than I can remember but have a tough time sealing the deal. Hopefully that changes soon. Ignore my sub-par record for now, we're going to have a talk about Coco. No not the cereal, one of the most powerful Magic cards printed in recent memory.
First, let’s take a look at this monstrosity.
Disgusting. This card demands respect. The number of options for creatures with converted mana cost three or less is enormous. The best part of this card is it really requires nothing of you. Yes, I'm aware of the suggested numbers for Collected Company targets, etc. But this is a small price to pay in comparison to a card like Pyromancer's Goggles. At any point, you can draw a creature with CMC three or less and just play it. No hoops. No restrictions. In Standard, this card might as well read, “In order to cast Collected Company, your deck must contain lands.”
Here's a quick run-down of what these cards can do for you, and why I feel they were included in the numbers they were.
Source of card advantage stapled onto a body. Flip it over and cast your entire hand. Devin likely trimmed one because of the four Selfless Spirits, jamming the two drop slot.
It's crazy how good this card is. Reflector Mage dominates any creature showdown. Remember, if you Collected Company into this on your opponent’s end step they can recast the creature on their next turn. As a general rule, avoid targeting flash creatures as they can easily be re-flashed in on your next turn. Don't play less than four of this card. That's all.
This is a new addition from Eldritch Moon. Devin chose to play the full four and here's probably why. Flying? Check. Relevant ability? Check. Insane synergy with Archangel Avacyn? Sure, tack that on there. In a field full of the mirror and UW spirits this card fits perfectly into Bant.
Likely the Reflector Mage story all over again. Did they test this card in Standard? What cards are CMC four or less? Oh that's right.... all of them. The “drawback” is they cast the card when it leaves play. But is that really the worst thing that could happen? Imagine snagging a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar on turn four from G/W tokens. Do you really care if they get it later? The time and tempo gained from this card makes it an easy four of. Bant Coco mirrors are about to get really interesting.
This card is the reason why green is one of the best colors in Standard. It feels perfectly sized for the format. He scales well into the late game, becoming a 4/5 once you have six or more lands. Add on Vigilance, and this card is ready for battle. Bant is a deck that can use every aspect of this card as it gets to play Lumbering Falls. Don't forget that the boost stacks, so two Advocates can make your Lumbering Falls a 7/7!
A source of card advantage that can coincidentally become a huge threat. I often crack clues with Tracker and passively trigger the counter ability. Then a few turns later I look down and have a 6/5 on the field. Devin chose to play three with a fourth in the board. This seems perfect as its decent in any matchup but truly shines against control.
Avacyn is a card that can't be kept down. The ability to make your entire team eat the opposition makes this one of the few five drops worth playing in Collected Company. I expect Avacyn numbers to continue to change as people experiment but for now the interaction with Selfless Spirit is too strong to ignore.
Another new addition and she seems like a perfect fit to the Bant Company family. As a primarily aggressive deck, making the opponent's creatures enter tapped can sometimes lead to huge chunks of damage that would otherwise be blocked. This card makes Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and other token creators look foolish as you can usually immediately kill the walker that created the token. The second ability is surprisingly relevant even in Standard. Mana sequencing has become an art and this card can throw a wrench into all of that. This card's very existence may shift the number of Evolving Wilds played in decks.
The strongest card in the deck by far. Collected Company allows you to pull ahead of your opponents in resources by “cheating” cards into play. Often, you will get two creatures each with a CMC of three, meaning you just played six mana worth of cards on turn four. Carefully consider casting Collected Company during your own main phase when playing against Blue. Sometimes the awkwardness of a Spell Queller with no target is outweighed by the benefit of knowing it'll resolve. Don’t always assume Collected Company is the best line. Sometimes playing a creature you know you need is safer and more correct than hoping you hit it with Collected Company. Punish players sitting back with multiple Hallowed Moonlight in hand by hard-casting creatures.
This card is arguably the best card in Standard. Red has been anemically weak since this cards printing. Enchantment strategies disappeared. In a format full of 2/3's and 2/1's making a creature gain a counter is sometimes back-breaking. Make mine bigger, kill yours. It's a fight card, but it might as well be Terminate. I'm rarely upset to draw a Command. Play four.
The only thing slightly interesting about the land base is the choice to play two Lumbering Falls. Clearly, the Plains count needs to be increased to account for all the extra White cards. But I would feel comfortable playing a third Falls if you want.
I want to quickly point out some noticeable absences from the deck and why those changes may have happened. The first thing I notice is zero Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. I'm completely fine with this. Jace seemed to be the first card I cut during most sideboard games because of how slow he feels. The absence of Fetchlands really slows him down. Bant Company now has better options. Nissa, Vastwood Seer seems to have migrated to the sideboard. I'd want to experiment with playing at least one main deck. Nissa is rarely a bad draw and can sometimes make that crucial difference in available lands. Last but not least, the shift away from Eldrazi Displacer. This is the biggest shift I see. Time will tell if the interaction between Avacyn and Selfless Spirit is the true mirror breaker, but whenever I drew and protected a Displacer I felt it was my game to win.
As for the sideboard, it’s a traditional Bant Company sideboard with a few minor changes. The main deck is strong enough to beat any week one antics and so the sideboard is designed to defeat known archetypes and the mirror.
This card shores up the matchups against hyper aggro decks. The drawback is easily ignored with Dromoka's Command. You can also punish Draw-Go type control decks by immediately having a 4/4 in play by turn three.
Sometimes you just want all the clues. Board this in when you feel like three isn't enough.
This card wins games. Only a few cards in Standard can truly put a halt to the onslaught of Bant and Negate counters them all.
I'm not sold on this card. Selfless Spirit is likely an excellent reanimation target but it feels like too much of a “Got ya!” card. I dislike generic good cards in the sideboard of any deck and this is a prime example. Is a two-drop of mine going to die at some point? Yes. Does the deck I'm playing against have creatures? Probably. Would I want 4 life during the course of the game? Maybe. Should I cycle this? Sure why not. I could be wrong, but I feel more comfortable with these as more narrow answers like Negate or even a Tamiyo. I would consider these flex slots.
Out-grind Control decks by finding Forests!! Use an Evolving Wilds when possible to play around removal. Once she is flipped over, make a habit of playing your Tireless Tracker before activating her, as you may place a land onto the field.
Certain creatures have to be dealt with. Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet can completely take over a game against you if left unchecked. Selfless Spirit may make this card even better than before. People relying on indestructible are going to be disappointed.
And there it is! A card-by-card breakdown of what is likely to be the best deck in the format. If you don't plan on casting your own Cocos, you better know how to beat it! Hint: You probably can't. I fully expect the Bant company mirror to become the most important matchup to learn in Standard, so study up!
Thanks for reading,