Jonathan Pechon

*Two "Top 8" Grand Prix Finishes

*Top 32 at Pro Tour Osaka



Decks to Beat - Tournament Winning Decks!

Card of the Day - A single card reviewed by several members of our crew.  Updated 5 days per week!

Card Price Guide

Featured Writers  
Judge Bill
DeQuan Watson
Ray Powers - Monk's Corner
Jeff Zandi
Jonathan Pechon
Chrstine Gerhardt
Jason Chapman

Deck Garage
Jason's Deck Garage

MTG Fan Articles
Deck Tips & Strategies
Peasant Magic
Tourney Reports 
Featured Articles  
Single Card Strategy

Magic Quizzes & Polls

Message Board 
Magic League

Contact Us

Pojo's Book Reviews



Jonathan Pechon's
Therapy Sessions

April 7, 2004  -  A Rainbow of Fruity Flavor (text)

For a few years now, Five-color has been one of the favorite casual formats for people to jump into, from the guys goofing around playing Type 1 to the competitive players sitting down at the Pro Tour. Not too long back, they used Five as one of the formats for the Invitational; it's changed around a lot since then, and there's a banned list that is regularly updated (not by Wizards, though).

With the advent of Magic: Online, you have an environment where you don't have access to a lot of the older cards, including some of those most powerful in Five (like Contract from Below). People started to clamor for more constructed, casual environments to play in, and Wizards helped to give it to them.

Welcome to Prismatic, folks.

The rules for building a prismatic deck, if you aren't familiar, are pretty similar to Five. You need to use at least 20 of each color card in your deck; split cards and gold cards count towards one of the colors in them, not both. Your deck needs to be a minimum of 250 cards, so, between the size of the deck and the requirements of color, it's very difficult to create a deck that has a distinct purpose (i.e. Goblins, etc.). What you end up with are some pretty wacky decks that are just a lot of fun to play, if for no other reason than to see what happens next.

I'm not going to do a real card-by-card of the environment, for the most part; with so many cards available, I could write volumes. Instead, what I'm going to do is go color-by-color and look at what it has to offer to the format as far as power goes, and point out the easy-to-get cards that can help to make a deck that is fun, while not too expensive. First, I'm going to list a few categories of cards that have proven to be extremely solid.


All of the common landcyclers have proven to be great in this format. Twisted Abomination is probably my favorite and the best; Wirewood Guardian and Shoreline Ranger are probably running second here. Easy to come by, these guys make mana manageable and provide a monster for later in the game.


I've dumped the full 20 of these in my deck (with some help from friends, thanks Tony!), and they've served as color-fixers as well as acceleration, letting me run a few less land in the deck. I've been really happy with all of these, though so many of them make it difficult as far as constraints on colored cards go.


The most popular cards in this vein seem to be Deep Analysis and Roar of the Wurm, though Call of the Herd and Chainer's Edict seem to be strong (and more expensive, ticket-wise). Firebolt is a four-of in my deck.


There are so many cheap morphs that are playable they really can't be listed. My personal favorite (and a four-of in my deck, thanks to some work trading) is Chromeshell Crab, normally a pretty easy find around the TP. Another guy I like is Aphetto Exterminator, just to provide a source of potential card advantage. Obviously, access to things like Exalted Angel just makes things a little saucier.


Separate from the landcyclers, my favorite to have access to here is Lay Waste; four of these provide you a solid way to capitalize on potential mana-issues, keeping opponents off of whatever color they don't have in abundance. The cycling lands are also favorites among people.


Every one of the battlemages from Planeshift are absolutely nuts. Being from Invasion-block, they aren't terribly easy to come by; personally, I only own two of the red battlemages (and will gladly accept gifts from anyone out there). *grin* The green one is probably the best, or at least my favorite; the others are all fantastic.

That being said, we'll move over to the separate colors:


Green's specialty in this environment is to fix your mana. Explosive Growth and Harrow are probably the best cards to have for this purpose, though Journey of Discovery and Far Wanderings are also really good. You also get access to efficient creatures that can cause issues like Roar of the Wurm and Viridian Shaman.


I personally think that the best creature in the format might be right here: Arc Slogger. They aren't trading for too much right now, though that might change when block-constructed rolls around in the not-too-distant future. Tephraderm is another reasonably efficient creature in this deck, while Anarchist allows you to do all kinds of mean tricks with the powerful spells in your deck. Burn spells are also a must, at least as a method of control; I recommend four Firebolt, at least.


You're looking for any wrath-effects possible here, but if that's too rich for your blood (it is for most, don't worry), then there's plenty of other good toys here. Removal spells like Pacifism and Chastise are reasonably easy to come by, along with things like Cloudchaser Eagle. Four Disenchant seems like it can also fit in here nicely.


Removal is the way to go here; Dark Banishing is a nice common, while the aforementioned Exterminator can be found without too much difficulty. I personally believe you shouldn't even consider playing this format without four Gravedigger; they do ridiculous things, especially with the number of landcyclers you will probably be running.


Card drawing, obviously. Deep Analysis and Rush of Knowledge are my favorites in this slot, as well as Merfolk Looter. Allied Strategies is another favorite, along with things like Inspiration and Opportunity if necessary; obviously, Fact or Fiction is the tops here, if you have it. You also have the opportunity to run the best form of control possible: Confiscate. The Crab does a fine job of making things difficult for your opponent as well. I also run four Fabricate, mostly just for the additional chance to draw at the very powerful artifacts I have access to (see below).


This is somewhat difficult to describe as a niche, simply because of the number you can feasibly run is dictated by the number of Talismans you run and the minimums on colored cards. However, there are a few cards that you need to be aware of, starting with Duplicant. Reasonably easy to come by, Duplicant deals with just about ANYTHING, and leaves you with a solid beater to smash with. My true favorite card in this format is also an artifact: Panoptic Mirror. While it hasn't made much of an impact in constructed at this point, the number of powerful sorceries you will probably end up running (along with Anarchist) makes this a ridiculous card. I played a game where I had both Rush of Knowledge and Pyrotechnics on my mirror, letting me either kill some creatures or draw a ton of cards during my upkeep. There are, of course, plenty of other options here.

Personally, I haven't been a big fan of casual formats in the past; Five-color was way too arduous, and the work that went into creating and maintaining a deck was a little overwhelming in pretty short order. With everything being online, a lot of the logistics are cleaned up, as well as the nasty problem of dealing with people who have access to much more ridiculous cards than you do. That problem exists, to an extent, but there's a little difference between the guy who has all the Invasion-block dual lands and the guy packing Tundras and Taigas. This is actually a great format if you're just looking to kill a little time between draft matches, or just any other spare minutes (or hours) you happen to have.

-Jonathan Pechon
Sigmund' on IRC (EFNet)
Sigmund on Modo

Copyright 2001

Magic the Gathering is a Registered Trademark of Wizards of the Coast.
This site is not affiliated with Wizards of the Coast and is not an Official Site.