I remember when Humans first burst onto the scene. It feels now like the deck has been around forever, but the truth is it has been just six months. Heck, it was so fringe at first I featured it on Mining Modern. Since then, however, the deck has become an absolute powerhouse in Modern – possibly even the best deck in the format.

Still, however, it appears there is room to innovate, as none other than Pro Tour winner Gerry Thompson did at Grand Prix Phoenix a few weeks ago. Outside of being a former intern at Wizards of the Coast as well as a Pro Tour champion, Thompson used to be known as a master deck tinkerer. When I first started playing Magic, he was renowned as the creator of the Thopter Depths Extended deck, a beautiful mashing together of Thopter Foundry / Sword of the Meek combo alongside Dark Depths / Vampire Hexmage combo, tying the entire thing together with Muddle the Mixture. It was a thing of beauty, and was the best deck in the format.

These days, Thompson was last spotted playing a tweaked Humans deck, eschewing Aether Vial and Kitesail Freebooter for Collected Company and Bloodbraid Elf. The result is another thing of beauty, and I wanted to showcase the deck today since it served me well in the Team Modern Super League last week.

There are a few things to keep in mind with this deck. Firstly, the mana base isn't as easy as Five-Color Humans, ironically. Bloodbraid Elf can't be cast off the same Cavern of Souls or Unclaimed Territory the rest of the deck can, and Collected Company can't be cast off either. We make up for that by playing a few extra mana creatures in the form of Avacyn's Pilgrim, but you need to keep that in mind when fetching or picking creature types with your lands.

This deck also requires you to play Meddling Mage much more instinctively. The card often came with training wheels in Five-Color Humans, as Kitesail Freebooter showed you exactly what to name. This version of the deck doesn't have that, so knowing the format well enough to have better Meddling Mage names in the dark will certainly help, though obviously there are plenty of times where it's obvious what to name.

Outside of that, it's the typical Humans fare, but I can't stress enough how differently this plays than the normal Humans deck. That build aims to get out of the gates fast, but falls behind in the late game if people can begin to poke holes in its disruption. This build of the deck has those same aggressive starts – though a touch slower with less disruption – but isn't afraid of going to the late game, where you don't have dead Aether Vial draws and instead can cast Collected Company and Bloodbraid Elf to close games out.

I think both versions of the deck are among the best in Modern right now, and if Collected Company is more your style than Aether Vial, this is the deck for you.

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler