What can I say? I love a good green creature deck. And I love a good combo deck.
This week, we have both.
When Retreat to Coralhelm was released, its "combo" with Knight of the Reliquary was thought to be nothing more than "cute." With both in play, the Knight can sacrifice a forest or plains to get another land out of the deck, triggering the Retreat to untap the Knight. Add in a mana creature and the engine also produces mana with a fetch land involved. The end result is a huge Knight of the Reliquary that can be pumped further and granted trample with Kessig Wolf Run, ending the game in a giant swing as early as the third turn.
A fun idea, but one that was too fragile to make any real waves in Modern, right? Nevertheless, people tried.
And, surprisingly, they began to find some success. The deck broke through for the first time at a small-ish event in Grand Prix Porto Alegre with a Top 8 performance, and since then has floated in and out of the metagame, with its strengths being mostly balanced out by its weaknesses.
Nathan Smith showed up in Dallas and fixed that.
The addition of both Spell Queller and Vendilion Clique to the deck gave it new life, allowing Knightfall to play at instant speed more often than not, playing a disruptive, interactive midrange plan while also retaining the threat of "comboing out" on the third turn. The potent combination sent Smith all the way to 13th at the event, proving beyond a doubt that Knightfall is here to stay.
Vendilion Clique is the perfect addition to the deck, giving it even more ability to disrupt opponents that may be able to ignore your own threats. It helps improve the bad matchups, all while playing great alongside Spell Queller.
The innovation was a huge part of Smith's run in Dallas, and after that performance, we had to give it a shot.