@hannam72's list from above is a perfect example of this tension. 3x Spell Queller versus 2x Reflector Mage, 3x Deputy of Detention, 1x Knight of Autumn. Maybe it just takes practice and obviously post board the numbers can be skewed and therefore your decisions can reflect this new number. But to me there still seems to be a way to adjust our list to be more efficient in game 1's. Do you play Spell Queller in the board for games 2 and 3? Or keep Deputy of Detention in the sideboard to mitigate this tension?
A few post ago I extolled the value of Jace, the Mind Sculptor and other planeswalkers over Collected Company. Lucky for you guys I did all the testing and I was wrong. It isn't bad per see to take out the Collect Companys for planeswalkers, they are very hard to kill other than direct damage, incur great card advantage and give your deck a different avenue of attack. But, like I said I was wrong. The key in all of this is this guy:
One of the reasons I moved to more planeswalkers was to get more removal spells into my deck. Detention Sphere, Settle the Wreckage, Dromoka's Command, and the full four Path to Exiles were helping me to win so many more games. Modern is so creature based at the moment and this suite of removal felt really good. Then I started to run into Jeskai and U/W control variants and they punched a glaring whole in my game plan. Without Collect Company I was forced to play almost entirely at sorcery speed which meant my threats, no matter how good, could be planned for, and eventually beaten. One of the draws, for me at least, to playing Bant Knightfall was the resiliency of playing against control. So many people at my LGS think they are these super blue control masters and beating them was always enjoyable. But like I said, Deputy of Detention changed everything. This card is bonkers. It is the removal I have been looking for and now allows me to go back to play the 4 Collected Companys. Deputy allows you to compete against any permanent and at instant speed thanks to Collected Company. If you are playing any number of Reflector Mages get them out of the main deck and add Deputy of Detention. The time and card it takes for your opponent to remove the Deputy is crucial to our goal in fighting fair magic. Here is my list:
Matchups for this beautiful pile of 75 are pretty good, especially the new Grixis Whir decks because of Deputy. Grixis Death's Shadow is always a tough match up but with three Voice of Resurgence and now the Deputy doing a much better job than Reflector Mage versus threats I am excited to go toe to toe with it more in MTGO Leagues. The match up against Burn is still abysmal. They are so spell based now that it is nearly impossible to beat them in game 1 unless you massively change the core of the deck by adding Courser of Kruphix, Knight of Autumn, and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. Then in game 2 they have 8 Searing Blood effects. I am hoping the Leyline of Sanctitys and Worship make this match up closer, but if the percentages continue to fall I may just give up the Burn matchup and save the sideboard slots to help versus Tron, Amulet Titan, and Izzet Drakes.
First major point:
Retreat to Coralhelm
This card is a neccessity for the deck if you wish to compete with the tier 1 decks of the format. Don't lie to yourself and think that without discard or a fast linear start that you can compete with the likes of the top tables. Moreover don't use the excuse that variance is the only thing holding you back when our deck is inherently less powerful with out Retreat. I play 3 and have adjusted my mana base to make sure I can combo a 20 damage Knight of the Reliquary on turn 3.
Second major point:
Is Collected Company that good? End of turn, pay 4, Company, Knight of the Reliquary, Tireless Tracker. Game. Totally agree. But the times that Company doesn't hit or you get a Bird of Paradise or Noble to go along with your Scavenging Ooze versus Tron are too numerous. I have moved toward more planeswalkers and I encourage you to do the same. The guranteed card advantage coupled with a difficult to remove threat is awesome. My last positive experience with the lack of Company and more Walkers is the deck building freedom. 23 lands and 8 mana dorks actually feels great when you are ramping into a Brainstorm or having an extra blocker in front of Teferi. Without Company the sideboarding options expand to allow us more knock out blows to our worst match ups. Timely Reinforcements is a helluva card.
Control: No doubt playing more sorcery speed threats has made this style of the deck worst against control. Regardless, if you love Knight of the Reliquary as much as I do, give this version a spin.
As someone who has played Knightfall for a long time and then switched to the Vizier version let me try to explain why Spell Queller is so prevalent in one but not the other. The key aspect is the timing of your collected companys and of Spell Queller itself. With either one in hand with Knightfall you will pass the turn and look to make the most optimal decision on how/when to play either on your opponent's turn. With the Vizier version you are almost always companying on your own turn so you can combo off (obviously with Devoted Druid in play). Therefore, having a threat like Reflector Mage allows you to still be disruptive, while main-phasing your Companies.
@reaper639 Board out your birds of Paradise and Retreat to Coralhelm. Board in other threats plus a land if you have it. Obviously try to land a 2 drop on turns 2 or 3. If it gets countered then so be it. Use your flash creatures at the end of their turn. This will allow them to use up their mana and leave holes for you to land creatures on your turn. Or you have a beater that can chip in some damage. If you draw Collected Company wait to use it on your opponent's end step until you have a great follow up for you turn, something like Knight of the Reliquary, Scavenging Ooze, and use that for it maximum.
Jeskai/UW Control play more board sweeps then Grixis/UB Control. Even so you want to ride 1 or 2 threats until they remove them. Then start over with the flash plan described above. Selfless Spirit changes the game plan there. Depending on the number of cards in hand you can be slightly more agressive. Note: Never Spell Queller removal spells against control. Just setting yourself up for a blow out. Use them as flash attackers on your opponent's end step.
As for side boarding take out some Path to Exiles for some Negates, Disdainful Stroke, Unified Will, it depends on your control opponent's win con. For instance someone at my local meta trys to win with Ajani Vengeant in his Jeskai Control list. I always board out 2 of my Paths for Negates. On the other hand there is a Grixis control player who uses Tasigur and Gurmag Angler to win late. I always keep in my Paths for this guy and never board in any counter magic.
Lastly, I have boarded in one Nissa, Steward of Elements. It has been great against control. Its flexible mana costs allows me to play it at different points of the matchup. In addition in really taxes control's counter spells becasue they dont have great ways to deal with it once its on the board.
I think Kitchen Finks is a horrible card for the sideboard. For the burn match up the life gain is most important, but any Atarka's Command or Skullcrack means you have dropped a 3/2 for 3 that does nothing. You then need it to block to gain the life again. There are a certain subsets of games when Kitchen Finks will never block because your burn opponent will just cast Instants and Sorceries to finish the game.
Against any grindy midrange or control match up the Kitchen Finks will eat a removal spell. But before that it gains you no card advantage and once it is a 2/1 it cannot attack through anything. In addition that life gain does not turn into more cards because it does not add a turn to your clock in terms of staying alive. (staying alive lets you draw a card for another turn)
As a result I leave the Kitchen Finks out of my board and instead go with Rhox War Monk and Courser of Kruphix. Both these cards force your Burn opponent to have multiple Skullcracks over time. Then, in the grindy/control games Kruphix allows me to draw actual cards over time.
@proximity13 Scooze is the least valuable card when it is performing at its floor: a 2/2/ for 2. Dredge is the only match up where I believe I need it asap or I will lose. At that point its just not worth running 3 for me in the main deck. Technically I have a third in the sideboard with Eldritch Evolution.
If you have enough fliers the Affinity match up isn't that hard. You just have to get to turn 4 or 5 without being dead for your card quality/advantage to take over. Stony Silence always seems like such a bad add to a deck with Collected Company.
And of course there is gonna be an answer in their deck for our creature. But now they are digging/adjusting their game plan to kill a creature instead of whatever degenerate thing their deck is supposed to do.
Later in the game any creature you have turns into the same list above which is great or a creature that affects the board, Reflector Mage and Vendilion Clique.
Greetings fellow Knightfallers (?). I won a 71 person States tournament yesterday with the following deck. Below you can read about my card choices and tournament report. Feel free to pick my decision making apart. Many of the things I have learned that made me successful yesterday were from this thread.
One of the cooler parts about this deck, and this is true for Magic decks in general, is the ability to customize your deck to your play style. For instance, I love to play on my opponents turn, casting as many instants and creatures with flash as I can. Hence, you can see above I have eschewed R from my deck in favor of a heavier U splash. This may not be correct for your metagame or play style, but it fits me perfectly. In addition, and this has been referenced above many times, even though the combo is the reason I play this deck, it isn't the reason why this deck wins. And don't get me wrong, I have sleeved up Knightfall for tournaments with no Retreat to Coralhelms and did great but I felt so naked the whole time. With my bad match ups, the confidence I gain from knowing I can combo off and kill my opponent feels great. I say all this because dropping the R meant going to battle without Kessig Wolf Run. I have just felt from testing so many match ups that tapping down opponents and making my Knight of the Reliquary huge was enough. I hedged and included a Rogue's Passage to make sure I wouldn't be completely cut off from attacking. Note: I comboed to win 2 games during the tournament and neither time did I even come remotely close to needing Rogue's Passage.
In the previous pages the inclusion of Vendilion Clique has been questioned. Taking my love of flash creatures out of the equation, Clique was great for me all day. I love the how often it lives (removal is funneled to other "heavier" hitting threats), how much damage it hits with in the air (Exalted is busted), and how much disruption it adds (Good bye Reality Smasher, see below). The last card I need to discuss before the report is Ulvenwald Tracker. The card was legit insane for me during at least 3 specifics games during my run. I believe it is so much better then Izzet Staticaster and would 10/10 run it again.
Round 1 - 8 Rack (1-0), (2-1)
Highlights: My opponent offered to let me go first, commenting that he hasn't played in awhile (a lie) and its fine if I go first. A Mulligan, a Birds of Paradise and a Smallpox later I am almost hellbent. Smooth move from a guy who obviously knows his deck. Knight activation to get a Horizon Canopy to draw an extra card, to take less damage off of The Rack, and to insulate versus an edict effect wins me game 3.
Round 2 - Bant Eldrazi (2-0), (2-0)
Highlights: Game 2 opponent plays Rest in Peace and I smile. I think graveyard hate is way overrated against my specific build of the deck because I don't lean on Eternal Witness. Shutting off Voice and Knight is good, but I will take that trade any day. I win with Reflector Mage, a Vendilion Clique that bottoms a Reality Smasher, mana dorks, and a naturally drawn Gavony Township.
Round 3 - Jund (2-1), (1-2)
Highlights: Full disclosure, I want to play against Jund/Abzan every round. The fact that I did lose this round was easily the worst part of my day. I didn't let it tilt me cause I figured this guy had a good shot to get to the Top 8 (started 3-0) and I could beat him there. I win a game 1 grind fest which is to be assumed in this match up. I board out my Birds of Paradise and Retreat to Coralhelms and settle in to grind. I misplay in game 2 because of my inexperience with Ulvenwald Tracker. I did not attack with a Knight because I wanted to be able to Ghost Quarter his Raging Ravine the next turn. I could have just Prey Upon'd the Ravine with the Ulvenwald Tracker using the Knight the next turn; it was plenty big enough. As a result, that not attacking left me 5 damage short when my opponent cast Damnation. He then had enough to get us to Game 3. He won that game off of another Damnation. He only has 1 in the Sideboard, but that doesn't matter. When you sign up for a Magic Tournament you are signing up for variance, both good and bad beats.
Round 4 - Jeskai Control, (3-1), (2-1)
Highlights: People always snicker when they hear I am playing a Blue deck without Serum Visions. The common sentiment is, "What happens if you draw the wrong half of your deck?" The answer is "I attack you with it." My Jeskai control opponent drew the wrong half of his deck in both games 1 and 3 and died very quickly. I believe I ended game 3 with 3 or 4 unused Clue Tokens from Tireless Tracker.
Round 5 - Affinity, (4-1), (2-0)
Highlights: Game 1 Combo kill. Game 2, at 4 life my opponent had 7 artifacts included an Arcbound Ravager with 4 +1/+1 counters on hit. Luckily I had an Ulvenwald Tracker, a Knight, and a Spell Queller. Holding the Tracker's activation until end step for many turns I force my opponent to put all of his counters on a Blinkmoth Nexus which gets Ghost Quartered by my Knight.
Round 6 - Jund Death Shadow, (5-1),(2-1)
Highlights: Game 1 Combo kill. Game 2 keep 5 lands, a Path to Exile, and a Noble Hierarch. Die with 2 Collected Companys in hand because he Fatal Pushes my Noble. Game 3 use Blessed Alliance to kill my opponents 1st Death's Shadow having him gain 4 life to go to 16. End the game with a Knight, Scavenging Ooze, and a Voice token against a Liliana with 1 counter and Death's Shadow that has to chump block the Knight.
Round 7 - Burn ID (5-1-1)
I get the 4th seed.
Top 8 - Bant Knightfall (2-0)
Highlights: I play the mirror in the 1st round of the top 8. Spell Queller is the key card in game 1 as we only have 8 removal spells between the 2 of us. I have 2 in my opening hand and ride those to victory. Game 2 I get Reflector Maged on turn 2 and wow did that feel bad. Never had the card played against me before and it almost sets me too far back to win. Enter, Ulvenwald Tracker. In an unbelievably complex board state with Knights, Oozes, and Reflectors Mages on both sides, I navigate to kill his fliers which are the only things that can profitably attacked. After 4 or 5 Tracker activations my opponent can see the writing on the wall and concedes.
Top 4 - Grixis Delver (2-1)
Highlights: Nothing is worse than a Delver player who bemoans how his Delvers never flip. In Game 1 they don't flip, Path to Exile is good verses a turn 2 Tasigur, the Golden Fang, and Knights are bigger than everything else. Game 2, 3 Delvers flip by turn 3 and he wins off Bolt-Snapcaster Mage-Bolt. Game 3 Vendilion Clique on his end steps, eats a Lightning Bolt but allows me to resolve a Company on my turn which gets me a Knight and an Ooze. A few turns later and I am in the finals. My opponent was often stuck with Fatal Pushes in hand because he had to fetch to set up his delve spells, Thought Scour and creatures, Gurmag Angler and couldn't cast it against my CMC 3 creatures. Although the idea that Fatal Push has made creature decks like ours bad in the Black/Red meta, I see the move toward CMC 3 creatures as a way to get around and tax their Pushes/Gameplan to the limit.
Finals - Ad Nauseam (2-1)
Game 1 I mulligan to 6 and see 2 Courser of Kruphixes in my hand. I did not fully de-sideboard from the previous game. I call a Judge on myself and get a game loss penalty. Game 2 a Vendilion Clique and a Knight allow me to punish his triple Serum Visions draw. (How's the wrong side of your deck treating you now?) Game 3 I Collected Company twice hitting 2 Knights, a Selfless Spirit, and an Eidolon of Rhetoric. My opponent doesn't have enough mana on board to cast Ad Nauseam on his end step which would allow him to get around the Eidolon. He casts it on his turn, tanks while he figures out if he can win the game. The difference; a Selfless Spirit will keep my Eidolon alive through a Slaughter Pact. Those are the beats.
I had fun, I played well, I got lucky, I won a trophy and most importantly, I dodged Scapeshift.
About Eli Kassis' deck choice. He was the middle seat in the Unified Modern event, which given the talk before the tournament most people assumed middle seat would be some sort of Death Shadow variant. (The idea being their match would finish sooner giving them the opportunity to help both teammates.) Regardless if he was correct or not, Eli metagamed to go very very wide with his list, a specific weakness vs Death's Shadow. He ran 8 dorks, 3 Selfless Spirits and 2 Gavony Townships for that exact reason; go wide.
The other Bant Knightfall deck in the top 8 ran Sacred Foundry, because his teammate, on Death Shadow, needed the Stomping Grounds. (same setup with Kassis' team)
I have switched out the Izzet Staticaster from my sideboard list in favor of a Ulvenwald Tracker. I know Izzet has won me games, it is a great card. But with the anthem affects in Merfolk and Elves, I want more removal in the form of a creature. A 1 drop on color who allows our naturally bigger creatures to trade when appropriate for us, targeted at specific creatures seems better than a blanket 1 damage ping.
My 2 cents @RPD on the match ups you listed. Against B/W Eldrazi/Death and Taxes they key is keeping their Eldrazi Displacer off the battlefield. You can actually match up with everything else in terms of Power and Toughness but their ability to gain CA and to be aggressive with Displacer on the table is very prominent. I will actually hold Path to Exile until I see an Eldrazi Displacer unless I have to use it somewhere else.
DO NOT BOARD IN ARTIFACT HATE. Your goal is to go longer then them because you can decrease their ability to have CA after about turn 4. Aether Vial is great for getting them ahead, but if you board in very narrow artifact hate your are effectively increasing your chances of mulliganing. If you don't believe me go read some of the Eldrazi Taxes and Merfolk forums on this very site. They love when people dilute their decks post-board to bring in answer to their non creatures.
The hardest part of the match up is knowing when to fetch and how to order your lands as getting blown out by Leonin Arbiter does not feel good. Obviously our mana dorks help mitigate this to a degree.
Against Draw/Go opponents the key is the number of flash creatures you have in your 75. Obviously playing Collected Company at instant speed at the End of the Turn is the standard practice against Control. I want to add to that, HOLD Company until you have a CA creature in your hand. This can be a Tireless Tracker, Courser of Kruphix, Eternal Witness, etc. There is no point in casting Collect Company, having them kill your creatures and not getting any benefits the turn after. More or less, drop Flash/Instants into open mana and CA/Unkillable Threats into closed mana.
@deus837 I agree that side boarding planeswlakers is a mistake. Against Tron I actually board in a Tectonic Edge that was suggested many posts ago (its been awesome) and an Eldritch Evolution. Both of these cards help make Knight of the Reliquary the key card in the match up; as both disruption (get the lands you need to blow them up) and clock. I also board out some Path to Exiles and board in Unified Will and Negate. Some of you are like, "WHAT?! Taking out Path to Exile versus Tron?!?!?!" But if you think about it, other than Wurmcoil Engine, what is a legitimate target for our Paths? They are often dead cards as the Tron player is trying to find Karn or Ugin not a creature. If you draw 2 Path to Exiles versus Tron you are effectively dead.
Against, Eldrazi Tron, this argument does not work, as that deck is trying to kill you with creatures. I keep them in for that match up.
@rogue_LOVE I agree for CA the 1st Courser is better than the 3rd Tracker. But currently I am only running 2 CA creatures in my 60. With a Courser of Kruphix in the board.
@bugunp I completely agree with you on Courser versus Tracker discussion. I think the Kruphix is such a liability in terms of actual CA and just as you mentioned revealing what your game plane is going forward. I too play 2 Tireless Trackers and I think they are great.
@deus837 I am in agreeance with you as well with Vendilion Clique and the basic Island. I run 2 and really enjoy the pressure and disruption it provides. In terms of mana restrictions the games in which you want the Clique there is rarely a threat to your life total so a fetch/shock is not a big concern.
Looks like Rubin was metagaming for control by moving away from the combo. He felt Tracker + Knight would wear down control decks in what he perceived as the most important archetypes in the MOCS.
So have no fear, in an open field, dedicating 3 slots to the combo can still be correct.
@rogue_love Reflector Mage is best when the opponent is playing 1 larger creature per turn. But you already knew that. But in addition any creature combat deck is weak to reflector mage. Hitting one off of a Collected Company versus Infect or Temur Battle Rage decks can give you the extra turns you need as well as wreck some of their resources.
I have found that if you are playing any type of aggro deck, the Reflector Mages should stay in the board. There isn't enough of a tempo gain.
Both are very similar, especially manabase-wise. I think the most surprising part of the #2 placed deck is the lack of sideboard cards for Burn. I wonder if they board in the counters but no life gain?