Is CoCo the New Twin?

All I ask is that you hear me out. If at the end you are not buying what I’m saying, I encourage you to say so (and why) in the comments.

I’m not trying to be clever for the sake of being clever. Sure, I’m theorycrafting, but I also think that making these kinds of connections is important to understanding and predicting how Magic has worked, works, and will work in the future.

Before I move forward, I need to make the distinction that I acknowledge that there are tons of things different about CoCo and Twin, both as individual cards and the types of decks that they produce. Skepticism because Twin is a blue-based combo-control deck and CoCo is an Abzan aggro-combo deck is justified.

To say that a GWB creature deck is the new Izzet Control deck of a format is in many ways like saying that human beings are the new dinosaurs. Human beings and dinosaurs are very different animals in size, appearance, and pretty much every other way imaginable, but they are similar in one very important way: they are they the alpha predator in Earth’s ecosystem and the top rung of the food chain.

Abzan Company, and Splinter Twin before it, are and were the absolute top rung of the Modern food chain with regard to consistency and power.

I’ve already discussed how these decks are different, so now let’s take a look at what they share in common: they both have a reasonably easy-to-assemble infinite combo and a realistic alternative way to win that doesn’t use the combo. The one-two punch of infinite combo + “winning without a combo” is what made these decks “the best” in Modern.

I’ve seen the truth!

I still have mixed feelings about the Splinter Twin banning in Modern. On the one hand, the deck didn’t specifically break any of the rules of the format. It couldn’t win before turn 4 and didn’t oppress or stifle diversity the way that the Eldrazi did. On the other hand, it is undeniable that the deck was a perennial winner and was always among the tier 1 decks ever since the format was created.

How is it possible that the “best” deck in Modern doesn’t specifically “break” any of the rules of the format? A deck accomplishes this objective by being extremely consistent, flexible, versatile, and by still having a quick combo endgame.

Abzan Company has arrived and in my estimation occupies the same status in the metagame that Twin once held. Based on my experience playing with and against the deck, and looking at tournament results since the Eldrazi-ban, it is my estimation that Abzan CoCo has established itself as the “deck to beat” in Modern.

Sure, there are lots of other good and viable options to play: Infect, Burn, Zoo, Jund, and Affinity.

Does this sound familiar to anybody?

The post-Eldrazi metagame is the same collection of decks as before the Twin banning except that Twin is gone and Company essentially replaced it as the default best deck!

Abzan Company

Brian DeMars

I’m nowhere close to reinventing the wheel here but I really like this particular arrangement of cards. As always, I’m open to suggestions about the list in the comments section.

Here is the version that I have been playing for the past few weeks. It is everything I’ve been looking for in a Modern deck and when I play this deck my win percentage is much higher than when I play any other Modern deck.

Having an infinite combo that can win the game out of nowhere is a really, really big deal in Modern. It essentially means that you can be losing or behind on board and then suddenly resolve a CoCo and magically put the game away. The ability to win on board states where you would be far behind without the combo is huge, and a big reason why UR Twin was so great. “I’m dead on board next turn? Well, EOT Exarch, untap Twin.”

The fact that these decks essentially force opponents to interact is important. Are you going to mulligan every single hand in game 1 that can’t stop a turn-4 creature combo like Twin or CoCo? Obviously not. But the fact that people can’t afford to mulligan to interact in the dark plays to the strength of these decks (and to all combo decks).

The true strength of formerly Twin and now Abzan Company is that both decks can easily win games without even trying to utilize their combo. Your opponent can bring in 10 Rest In Peace and Torpor Orbs (the best sideboard cards against CoCo) and still get beat to death by creatures aided by Gavony Township! The same was true about the Twin combo: while the opponent was busy bringing in Rending Volley, the Twin player was boarding out Splinter Twin and bringing in Keranos, God of Storms.

Here’s to the B plan!

Now, the point of my argument isn’t to say that Twin and CoCo are the same commodity. They are very different decks that have different ways of attacking the opponent. On the other hand, what I find interesting about both of these decks is that:

  1. I believe they are the both the “best” and “most consistent” decks in their Modern metagame.
  2. They both have 2 potent and different angles of attack, one of which is an infinite combo that can be up and running on turn 4.

It is also important to note that the fact that both decks have two diverse angles of attack means that it is difficult to choke them out with any particular sideboard strategy because you need to stop these decks on two different axes.

I believe that Abzan Company has established itself as the best deck/deck to beat in Modern for the time being. I also see Abzan Company (the same as Twin) as a “deceptively beatable” best deck in Modern. The games always feel close and always feel like they were interactive, which is in some ways desirable for a “best deck” because the metagame provides desirable games.

The other big difference between CoCo and Twin is that UR Twin put up consistently great results for years, whereas CoCo is a relatively new commodity. Yet, weren’t there other aggro/combo Abzan decks that predated Company?

Yeah, that’s right—the deck that already needed to be banned in Modern.

People like to think of bannings in terms of cards being busted but ultimately, a card can only be as broken as the deck you put it in. These dual purpose combo/aggro or combo/control decks are super devastating in Modern because they can hit an opponent from a multitude of angles.

Given the track record of what has happened to these 4cc spells that facilitate flexible combo-control or combo-aggro decks in the past, I’m curious about whether or not Collected Company may someday need to be banned in Modern. Now, I certainly think that Abzan Company has much more proving to do before it reaches the level of excellently consistent tournament finishes as Pod or Twin to make it a card worthy of a ban.

Here is the theorycraft. For all of the similarities I’ve drawn between Abzan Company and other similar strategies that have ultimately found themselves on the banned list in the past, I predict it will put up those results long term and that it will eventually be banned.

Actually, it is kind of a downer to end an article predicting that a deck I really enjoy playing may end up needing to be banned, so let me reframe my conclusion:

Abzan Company shares many commonalities with other decks and strategies that have proven to be too powerful (and ultimately ban worthy) in Modern. With these similarities in mind, I feel comfortable saying that Abzan Company is the objectively “best deck” in Modern. The deck is an absolute blast to play as well because it can win games from all sorts of different angles ranging from a quick combo kill to attrition-based creature combat!

I’m a Company Man now.

2 thoughts on “Is CoCo the New Twin?”

  1. Pingback: » Archangel Abzan Company

  2. Pingback: Episode 7: Climb Ev’ry Mountain (with Valakut) – The Thought Knot Seers Podcast

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