Yeah, remember that the main reason the combo works so well in Twin is due to the control shell. Remand/Serum Visions/Cryptic Command all get you closer and the minimum amount of fetching also aids Serum Visions.
It is the closest thing to a draw-go deck we have in Tier 1 and rarely will a pro Twin player hastily go for the combo unless they're about to die the next turn. They can easily hold up and play plan B beats and wait to craft windows of opportunity.
Knightfall is more blunt in its overall approach as dumb beats and that is quite unavoidable when you are playing cards like noble hierarch and knight of reliquary as core.
Rather than compare the merits of these cards individually, we should take a holistic view and realise that the only real similarity between both decks atm is a two card combo that has a creature and an enchantment...
Comparing Retreat to Coralhelm to Splinter Twin, retreat is a better card. 3CMC vs 4CMC. Has lasting utility as the game goes on. Not a completely dead card in your hand, helps you find your combo pieces and other answers. And it is functional in multiples. I am mostly a twin player (the first deck I took seriously in modern), and Twin is just a horrible card to have in your and if you don't have any of your combo pieces. At least I can use retreat to some other utility.
I have started trying out the Zoo list, and the biggest thing I notices is Bolt is good. Making a bigger red splash in the bant list for Bolt is something to really consider.
I've played Twin alot myself and Splinter Twin on Snapcaster/Clique is pretty neat. Post-board, it even works well on Spellskite. I wouldn't say it's completely dead without Pestermite/Exarch.
A consensus hasn't been reached on any cards that are not Knight of the Reliquary and Retreat to Coralhelm for this archetype.
As for other established tier decks, CoCo is a staple in Abzan Company due to the fact there is a high percentage to yield you a piece of the combo or allow a tempo swing at opponents EOT.
CoCo definitely places alot of restrictions on your deck so you should be asking yourself whether or not you want to play a creature-light(or higher cmc)/spell-heavy deck or low cmc/creature-dense deck. CoCo will then present itself to you as either a favourable or disgusting choice.
I don't know..."The deck absolutely does not need goyfs in any incarnation" seems to be quite the shutdown.
edit: Let's move on from this and bring other suggestions to the board.
Potential blue cards for CoCo: Kira, Great Glass-Spinner - Don't think UU is an issue since we are not running GG (except Ewit?) or WW. Good for protection, a bit of a nonbo with Coralhelm but still ok with fetchlands.
Vendilion Clique - Great disruption, evasion. Clear information before proceeding with combo. Nice to have a flash play so CoCo isn't AS telegraphed.
Thassa, God of the Sea - Gives Geists evasion. Scry for combo. Bad because it does nothing and will almost never meet devotion (unless you run the above 2 as well).
The deck absolutely does not need goyfs in any incarnation; there will never be consensus that they're better than voice (or even Thalia, or some other strong 2-drop) because he's not strictly better than other cards in this archetype (either zoo or bant).
It's not a budget question, it's a preference and meta question. In no way is he core to to any version of the deck except one that tries to run stubborn denial (which I found to be kinda meh overall personally).
Please don't be so quick to shoot down ideas. Without any solid results from anyone, it's just a myopic approach.
Naya Company has been playing goyfs and performing competitively for a long time so there is at least that one possibility that the blue splash for Coralhelm may work in that version.
There may even be a version that plays UBGW and runs mainboard discards/removal and lily's and life from the loam to fuel goyfs.
Really seems to be a vocal minority on this thread and shutting down other people's ideas isn't going to help.
I beg to differ. Understanding how your G1 fares vs robots is important and people often forget that while SB cards are good, they should not be a reliance for a matchup (remember you still actually have to draw and play the card before their T4 clock).
It is one of the main reasons why Tron plays 4 x pyro. I mean sure you can just disregard G1 and say "Stony Silence/Kataki lol" but with such a high meta prevalence atm, I think it would be unwise. All the affinity hate in the world hasn't stopped the archetype from achieving great tournament results and maintaining a huge metashare.
There are definitely changes to be made to this archetype that would swing around %'s vs affinity and other tier 1 decks, just to list a few:
Splash red = bolt
Splash black = abrupt decay/discard
More Qasali, less Voice
Not saying that any of the above ideas are correct but they are not the same-ish against Affinity. For example, I know you may have convinced yourself that your hangarback, non-coco, academy ruins jank is ingenious but I think for the better of the archetype, you should also explore the upsides of lightning bolt (as an example) against affinity, etc.
I personally changed my Abzan company deck to incorporate Lily's and Fulm's even though everyone is like "Tron is such a bad matchup, just give up". Now I wreck Tron and it hasn't noticeably affected any of my other match ups outside of Merfolk and I'm happy to trade win percentages for that.
Things are still shaking out. I will definitely say Goyf has won me games in my any version, but there are other versions, like pokken's, that don't use the Goyf and have had good success online and at FNM level events.
Not saying that I agree/disagree, but I don't think Pokken has the deck in paper yet and online success is very iffy especially in the free non-mtgo mediums where a large representation of decks are just rogue/trial decks. I've been reading some of the FNM success as well on here and reddit and there are many low tier decks being represented. It's good that there is online testing but the people who are gunning for this deck to be tier 1 should know that popularity will only catch on if there are big results, so please sleeve this up at your next GPT/PPTQ.
Yes, I've been testing it daily on paper for around 4-5 hrs at my LGS (using proxy Coralhelms) against all Tier 1 except Tron. I provided a report earlier on.
I absolutely agree with your take on Qasali pridemage vs Twin but I probably wouldn't be replacing one for the other anyways, Dromoka's command would be the first to go. I disagree with your feeling that Skite is there as mainboard disruption for elves, and even then it only appears once in the 12th placed list, not the 4th placed one.
For conversation about path, it should be more about removal (specifically creature removal) than disruption anyways.
Elves do not run mainboard disruption, look at both OKC GP decks (4th and 12th place). There is only 1 spellskite visible and that is more for protection than disruption.
Once again, just to be clear - I understand the concept of disruption but I feel like there is definitely a place and time for it. For this bant company deck, I feel we are fine vs each matchup game 1 without path.
The only deck I'd care to disrupt would be Tron but even then path does nothing there. If someone would like to present a case by case basis for path against each Tier 1 deck then please do so as I feel between exalted beats + qasali + dromokas, I have enough. I am a fan of disruption that also fuels/protects your game plan like Vines to Vastwood and Spellskite but unfortunately Skite doesn't further our beatdown plan.
Edit 1: Bolting a dork just means you play a voice next turn? Same as Abzan company...it's not "I got friggin annihilated". Nor is T1 IoK/Thoughtseize, deck has so much redundancy. My local meta is filled with Jund + Grixis Variants + Scapeshift and being T1 bolted is nowhere near game-ending so I'm not sure where you're getting that from. You can't just come up with the ideal situation for the opponent and give yourself a hand of 3 companies 4 lands.
Edit 2: either way I'm not here to persuade but rather fuel discussion. At the end of the day, we will all be running our own variants at FNM or larger events but until there is a big tournament win, nothing is really concrete and even then...
I suggest trying out everything extensively and objectively before reaching a conclusion.
I have dromoka's command and I disagree with running disruption for the sole purpose of disruption, especially game 1 in a linear deck.
It's the main reason I don't run mainboard paths in elves company or abrupt decays in abzan company. IMO, If your deck is linear, the only cards you should have game 1 are cards that work towards the goal or cards that protect the goal (eg. collected company/chord for abzan company and force of will for ad nauseum).
Running disruption for the sake of it will dilute your focused gameplan unless you can attack from numerous angles like BGx decks.
Having said that, if you feel disruption is necessary to promote your gameplan then you should be thinking what are you exactly disrupting vs which decks and how relevant (and prevalent) are those threats.
I can't think of a good reason to run path vs a majority of decks when our gameplan is to beatdown or incidental combo (unless it's a bob like I mentioned previously). I don't care nearly enough about random bgx creatures like olivia, scooze, huntmaster, etc or grixis gurmags or any other stupid beater.
Please feel free to disagree but explain it logically.
(On a side note, I agree with Rhox moving to board but I do not know of a more efficient beater - I was actually considering Knight of Glory)
2) your level of interaction for problem critters (6 pieces, one of which is a dude who can get bolted before they go off) is low. Need 3-4 paths I think just no way around it.
I definitely enjoy the straight bant variant a lot more!
Adding: I might just be high or something, but I keep thinking about Harbinger of the Tides. He has flash natively, he's sick cast as a tempo play on turn 2-3, and he can be hit off of coco for instant speed bounce as a last resort. Having some answers to Twin-type decks that are dudes that can come into play at instant speed is potentially worth it.
1) 22 is what most abzan company decks that curve off at 4 run and they only run 4 birds. Average CMC is very comparable (2.45 vs 2.55).
2) Which problem critters do you see? I can only really think of Bob. Not worried about opposing fatties like Goyf's/Gurmags cause you just hit them back harder. If they are stalling for blockers then that's what exalted is for.
Not to be hating on your entire post but I highly disagree with Harbinger of Tides. A 4 mana interaction answer to twin (be it unreliably with CoCo or flashing in directing with 2UU) is not going to work especially when you consider they can just tap a land down or if you're at the stage to have 4 open mana, they probably have a remand/dispel ready as well.
Loving the Exalted beat down plan with geist/voice/rhox war monk
Affinity MU - Played 4 matches and won them all (2-0, 2-1, 2-0, 2-0). 4 x Qasali Pridemage is amazing and post board is just devastating.
Burn MU - Played 3 matches (1-2, 2-1, 2-0). Felt very reliant on getting my rhox war monks turn 2 as I was taking so much damage from my manabase. Searing blood wrecks face against our dorks T_T.
Jund - Played 3 matches (2-0, 0-2, 2-1). I'd say it's quite even but slightly in their favour. If they drop a bob and start drawing into answers, it is very hard to come back. Geist is an allstar (loxodon + voice too).
Grixis Twin - Played 2 matches (0-2, 1-2). Even though I lost both games, I feel as though they were just unlucky (I had to mull twice and never got a dork opener in any of the games). They only combo'd off twice and Qasali Pridemage is a great answer to twin. The game I won, I actually drew into 3 geists and just 4/4 bashed into his tasigur 3 times haha.
Grixis Control - Played 2 matches (2-1, 1-2). Similar to twin but I would say easier due to voice + loxodon eating up kolaghan's command.
Overall, I maybe combo'd 20% of the time and I would like to test against Tron but the deck is being lent out atm T_T.
Would I take this over Abzan Company? Not sure, Abzan company feels more consistent in comboing while having threat but can durdle around so much. Knightfall's biggest durdle would be drawing lots of exalted but even that's not durdling cause you can smash face with a 5/5 (eg. 1 qasali, 2 nobles) into their 4/5 goyf.
I like the Vendilion Clique for Sejiri Steppe library return especially since the combo is happening at instant speed. Furthermore, don't think we should be playing 2 sejirii steppes as a reason to have one in the deck. It is awful drawing one in the opening and we want to do anything but increase those odds.
One thing I've noticed is the single copy of Sejiri Steppe doesn't protect Knight if your opponent uses removal in response to the sejiri trigger coming onto the stack. Hence, Vendilion Clique helps pre-empt that by getting rid of the troublesome cards in your opponent's hand before comboing off for the win. And a 3/1 flyer is another threat the opponent has to deal with.
Yeah the concept is to leave up one fetchland and when they want to target knight with removal (which will probably happen when you've declared attackers) you crack -> untap knight -> fetch sejiri in response. They can still kill the knight with a 2nd removal while sejiri's ETB trigger is on stack but then that's a 2 for 1.