Limits? What are those? You do know Magic consists of five colors right? Why play one, two, or three when you can harness all five colors and bend them all to your will? As some of you might know I love five-color decks and last week I presented you with a five-color ramp deck that had Ugin and Ulamog at the top end. I really liked the deck and enjoyed playing it, but this past weekend I wanted to try something a little different. I still wanted to harness all five colors but could I do it without green mana fixing?
Apparently so; the mana is really good in Standard right now. Half the battle in deckbuilding is having the correct manabase, and when playing, fetching currently. I'm not the best manabase builder so I just copied Gerry's manabase from his Bring to Light deck and added two more red sources for Radiant Flames and Draconic Roar. The mana was usually alright, but you have to make sure you fetch correctly.
In this article I'm going to discuss the five-color deck I played and break down the card choices so you too can control all the colors in Magic and become the second mightiest planeswalker in the multiverse. Who's first you ask? Come on now...it's obviously me!
You buyin'? Because I'm selling the good good and I ain't holding out. This deck was a blast to play and if you like casting all the spells and winning then you're in the right place! Some cards were better than others but they all did pretty well for me over the weekend. Let's go over some of the card choices and thoughts behind the cards that I decided to play.
Hangarback Walker: We don't abuse this card like other decks do. No Gideons here, lacking Hardened Scales, and no Nantuko Husks. We just use this robot mostly as a road bump to buy us some time so we can cast our other spells. Hangarback Walker also works very well with Catacomb Sifter making sure we can block and scry to the cards we need. In the late game it's also not the worst since we can just dump all our mana into it. I board this card out a lot against decks that aren't aggressive or Mantis Rider decks as it just doesn't do much against those decks.
Catacomb Sifter: Okay. I don't know how to explain how good this card is. The best card I can compare it to is Hordeling Outburst. Unlike Outburst though, this card is very good. You get three power and four toughness worth of creatures. It also ramps you by one mana for a turn. If that's not good enough it also allows you to dig to cards you need whenever a creature dies. And he plays very well with and against Ugin, since he has devoid. He does so much work and also holds down the fort against aggressive strategies. A fantastic card that I believe should go into almost every green / black deck. Keep an eye on this one.
Siege Rhino: You can't get a much better creature for four mana in Standard. Rhino is the perfect card for the mid game. The perfect mix of offense and defense and plays either role well depending on the deck you're playing against and the current state of the game. I know I don't' have to say too much about this card to convince you to play it. The cow is good. (Rhinos are not cows, for those reading at home. - Frank)
Dragonlord Atarka: Mommy is home and she defends her brood. She sees that you're in trouble and Annihilates your opponent's side of the battlefield while threatening to kill your opponent in very few turns. Don't leave home without momma.
Dragonlord Dromoka: Female dragons are the best. While Dromoka isn't as devastating as Atarka is when she comes into play, she protects you like no other card can. I won so many games on the back of Dromoka. Untapping with Dromoka is the safest feeling I've ever felt in a game of Magic. Not only will she gain you life, she also assures that your opponent has minimal-to-no interaction with you on your turns. Perfect card to cast when your Jeskai opponents are holding up Ojutai's Command mana. Also no Atarka's Command will stop her life gain on your turn.
Jace, Vryn's Prodigy: A better Merfolk Looter and Merfolk Looter was a pretty good card. The fact that he has two toughness and can gain you a little life by blocking 1/1s is fantastic. After Jace filters your draws he flips and becomes a Snapcaster Mage with no body but provides you with other abilities. If you get to flashback two spells with Jace you should be pretty far ahead. I haven't lost a game yet where the same Jace got to flashback two cards for me. Arguably one of the best cards in Standard and his price tag reflects that.
Nissa, Vastwood Seer: I love this planeswalker. I really want to play two and up the Forest count to two. Most likely cutting a Bloodstained Mire for the second Forest. Against aggressive decks she just assures you hit your land drops and then trades with a creature. Classic two-for-one. Late game she is a draw engine and makes a 4/4 that does a lot of work. For a three mana planeswalker she is extremely powerful. Her draw ability is miles better than Ob Nixilis Reignited and her minus ability is similar to Sarkhan Unbroken and for the low price of three mana she does all this and gets you a land. What else can you really ask for?
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon: For a planeswalker that uses no colored mana he sure is a strong one. Much respect for Ugin. When he enters the battlefield it's like gaining a queen in a game of chess when your opponent has all pawns in play. The game goes to easy mode for the most part, especially if you time him correctly. Always nice knowing you have one in the maindeck as an out or win condition.
Abzan Charm: The best removal and card draw spell all nicely wrapped for you in one convenient little package. It's hard to go wrong with this spell, the only drawback is the harsh color requirements. It can sometimes be a turn four or even turn five play and when you're holding more than one in your hand it can really hurt. I'm going to try and cut one for a Sultai Charm and see how that works out for me.
Dig Through Time: This is the card I wanted to play over Bring to Light and, honestly, this card is just better. Since we only play two they usually never clog up our hand and we don't have any other delve spells main deck. This means we can usually fire them for two or three mana which is fantastic. This card is banned in almost every format for a reason and if you've never played it before you'll understand after the first time you cast it.
Draconic Roar: This is premium removal in this format, being able to kill Jace, Mantis Rider, dumb red guys, Den Protectors, and Deathmist Raptors. I also don't always reveal a Dragon to this card in order to hide information, especially if I'm not the aggressor. For example against G/W Megamorph I Draconic Roared my opponent's 4/3 Den Protector that had a counter on it from a previous Dromoka's Command. I was attempting to bait out Valorous Stance if he had it and didn't want to show him Dragonlord Dromoka. Since I didn't reveal a dragon he assumed I didn't have one and saved his protector with Valorous Stance and I got to resolve a Dragonlord Dromoka that never got killed. This obviously carried me to victory. So just keep that in mind when casting Draconic Roar.
Utter End: Just a nice catch-all that's better and easier to cast than Ruinous Path. It's a decent one to have as a one-of when you're running Jace, Vryn's Prodigy too. Nothing crazy but I never hated having the card in my hand. I wouldn't blame you if you replaced it with another card though.
Radiant Flames: I ran four of these maindeck in my five-color ramp deck and in this deck. It's always super nice game one to have against every deck except control decks. Even then it still hits Jace or hopefully you can just discard it to Jace. Many people also don't play around it game one so you can just blow them out. Most of the time it's a three-mana wrath. If not, well you still got Siege Rhino and Dromoka to hold down the fort after you kill all the small creatures. Fine going down to three of these, but I've been pretty happy with the full playset since we don't have too much early game.
That's it for the maindeck, hopefully that explained some of the card choices and their function on deck. Let's move on to some of the board cards.
Fiery Impulse: Brought these in for aggressive decks when I needed to lower the curve a bit. Very helpful against decks like Atarka Red. Also nice to be able to kill a Mantis Rider for one mana later in the game. Even if you don't have spell mastery it can pick off Soulfire Grand Masters and enemy Jaces.
Kolaghan's Command: I like this card more than Ojutai's Command in this deck. It does similar things but it's cheaper to cast and can kill small creatures while regrouping a Jace or Rhino.
Murderous Cut: Good against the midrange decks and even Atarka Red. Could easily move one of these to the maindeck. It was nice every time I had it after boarding.
Radiant Purge: Had this for Abzan but just never played against a pure Abzan deck. I would cut this card for something else. Not that great of a card at this moment.
Sultai Charm: Was previously Naturalize but Sultai Charm is just better and gives us more options. Nice to not be stuck with Naturalize in your hand when your opponent has no enchantments or artifacts you want to get rid of.
Surge of Righteousness: Fantastic card! Killed small things from Atarka Red all the way to Kolaghan herself. An extremely good sideboard card. Glad I had access to it.
Silumgar, the Drifting Death: Poop. Logic behind it was to kill Hangarback tokens but everyone is running Gideon. This Dragon isn't what he used to be. I wouldn't put him in the board anymore.
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon: Good card to have against the midrange decks. I want to eventually see one against those decks so I played another one in the board. I probably have an unhealthy obsession with this card though.
Exert Influence: Over-performed all weekend. Biggest thing I stole was a Dragonlord Dromoka and it felt fantastic. The fact that it can be flashed back with Jace is just so gross. I'm gonna try running one in the maindeck. As long as Atarka Red isn't huge it should be fine.
Transgress the Mind: Wanted a catch all against the control decks and ramp decks. Should've played like three discard spells in the sideboard. They just work so well with Jace.
Treasure Cruise: Wanted this card against the grindy matchups like midrange or control. Easier to cast than Dig Through Time too.
Hopefully this gives you a decent overview of the deck and the card choices. I won't be going to anything this weekend but I'll still be brewing. If you got a sweet one that you've had success with, post it in the comments and I'll have a look at it. Always looking for new things to try out! As always thank you for tuning in! Hopefully next time I Top 8 instead of getting stuck at ninth.
Also you should check out Freshly Brewed. It's a podcast where Frank and I discuss all things Magic while having a good time. Your ears will appreciate it!
Until next time,
@Alieldrazi on the Twitter