Welcome to the conclusion of my two-part series, Everything You Need To Know About G/W Company. In Part 1, I wrote all about the strength of the deck, the maindeck card choices, and sequencing. Now that we have that out of the way, it's time to discuss the sideboard and how to play different matchups. For reference, here's my most recent list that I played this past weekend at the Season One Invitational:
- 4 Birds of Paradise
- 4 Knight of the Reliquary
- 4 Noble Hierarch
- 2 Ramunap Excavator
- 1 Scavenging Ooze
- 3 Tireless Tracker
- 4 Voice of Resurgence
- 4 Courser of Kruphix
- 1 Archangel Avacyn
- 1 Azusa, Lost but Seeking
Before diving in to go over as many matchups as I can, I want to note why I build my sideboard the way I do. Many people that play Collected Company decks try to fit as many creature cards that cost three or less mana into their sideboard to be able to keep their creature count high and keep Collected Company relevant. This is a good practice in theory, but the problem is the creatures that fill the sideboard aren't nearly as powerful as the noncreature options. In a format like Modern, where there are many polarizing bad matchups among the dozens that you may realistically face in a given tournament, you often need your sideboard cards to be able to do the heavy lifting.
An example of this is with the extra removal G/W Company could play in the sideboard. Fairgrounds Warden is a somewhat popular sideboard card that many people have put into Collected Company decks, trying to have another answer to creature decks like Humans, Affinity, Elves, and Merfolk. Even though Fairgrounds Warden is a card that you can hit off of Collected Company, and therefore you'll see it more often during a game in the long run, I would much rather play Engineered Explosives instead of it. Engineered Explosives has the ability to change the entire dynamic of the game when cast and also has implications against some noncreature decks like Lantern Control.
With G/W Company, as opposed to other Collected Company decks, you're able to play fewer Collected Company hits than normal and still have them be effective. A little bit of this is because of the amount of lands you're able to pull out of your deck from activating Knight of the Reliquary and fetchlands, and so when you cast Collected Company you usually have fewer total cards in your deck than normal.
The bigger reason, though, is Courser of Kruphix. I talked last time about how Courser of Kruphix helps make sure each draw step you have is powerful, but it also helps you know when you should or shouldn't cast Collected Company. Because of this, it's frequently best to cast Courser of Kruphix before Collected Company when both are in hand, even if you have access to four mana, because Courser can help make sure you don't miss with Collected Company.
Since I'm playing the most powerful sideboard options that I want to have access to in any given tournament and not restricting myself to only creatures that cost three or less, I currently only have four Collected Company hits in my sideboard. I think this is perfectly acceptable, because my goal after sideboard is not to make the best Collected Company that I can but to give myself the best chance of winning that I can. Ross Merriam wrote more about a very similar theory last month as well, which you can find here.
With that out of the way, let's dive into how to sideboard with G/W Company against various matchups!
Everyone has been asking me about this matchup in particular, and for good reason. This is one of the hardest matchups to play, as the games are usually quite long and every small decision you make matters. Jeskai Control wants to be able to play the game at instant speed, so disrupting that is key. Besides Voice of Resurgence doing a wonderful job of this, the threat of Collected Company does as well. Most of the time it's best to cast Collected Company on your own turn, but against counterspell decks, it's best to try and tax their mana on their own turn as much as you can, so that you can resolve another spell or two when you untap.