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CardShark Content - D. Martin DeOlden (9/18/2005)

With all the talk about different formats to play I would like to step in and give a word for my favorite format: 5-Color. I have been playing about 3 years now and it has changed a lot with the newer cards sets rolling in but it remains one of the most amazing and electrifying ways of playing the game, whether 1 on 1 or multiplayer.

As far as alternative formats go, this one has all the bells and whistles you could ever want to look for in a format. Forget
Forget
ForgetSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mike Kimble
Text:
Target player chooses and discards two cards, then draws as many cards as he or she discarded in this way.
what you might have played on MTGO’s Prismatic as the real paper 5-Color (aka 250) has all card sets involved, with the exception of Unglued and Unhinge
Unhinge
UnhingeSet: Torment
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
87
Text:
Target player discards a card from his or her hand. Draw a card.
d as they are simply too broken to be allowed in the real universe of play anyway.

These decks can be as tightly built as a 60 card deck once you understand the build. This format has just as many deck Archetypes as its smaller cousin, which I will discuss further down. First lets get into the nitty gritty of the construction.

For comprehensive rules and B/R list check out 5-color.com.
20 Cards of each color is the minimum. A card can only be picked for one color if it is multicolored. It is played for ante, but that only matters for tournaments. It can be played without ante for casual play but using Contract from Below
Contract from Below
Contract from BelowSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Discard your current hand and draw eight new cards, adding the first drawn to your ante. Remove this card from your deck before playing if you are not playing for ante.
and Jeweled Bird
Jeweled Bird
Jeweled BirdSet: Arabian Nights
Cost:
1
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Mono Artifact
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Amy Weber
Text:
Draw a card, and exchange Jeweled Bird for your contribution to the ante. Your former contribution goes to your graveyard. Remove this card from your deck before playing if you are not playing for ante.
are very fun and can change the game dramatically, which is what it is all about.

With that in mind let’s talk about your deck. Many first time players go for broke putting in all their giant massive creatures and spells and don’t minimize a color. This is a mistake. Just like in a smaller deck try to get down to what you really want to do e.g. A 5-color Aggro deck wants fast quick beating and utility creatures which both Green and Black do well with and Blue will help draw into more. Here you would want to run no more than 20 White and Red cards. Also the minimized colors should rarely have double mana in their costs. A good card for an aggro deck once it has steam built up and wants to keep control of the game would be Armageddon
Armageddon
ArmageddonSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Jesper Myrfors
Text:
All lands in play are destroyed.
. Only 1 White in the cost fits into the minimized color scheme of this deck type.

As far as land goes I have found 80 are around the perfect fit for a deck and have not had a problem with this. Green land fetch, artifact mana, and other land fetching land will keep you land going. Most of the deck lists you can peruse on the 5-color site have an average of 80 lands. For the player on a budget you definitely want to minimize your colors probably down to two main colors leaving 60 cards total of the other colors. For a player who has been in the game awhile those Dual lands and the upcoming Ravnica duals will fuel the deck out fast and keep from getting hosed on mana. Try to get Fetch lands as these are a must for any great deck.

Once you have an idea then start pulling out the cards you want for each color. Don’t worry if it’s too much at first, the minimizing and cutting of cards will come after. Don’t try to get the land ratio together until you have the colors where they need to be. You can build Aggro, Control, Combo, Combo-control, and even Mono-Brown is possible with the right cards. A quick word on each:

Aggro – just as it implies. Your deck should be fast and have drops each turn. Try to keep the creatures’ cost between 1-3. A few larger creatures can go in but one rule of thumb most 5-color players go by is if it costs 5 it should either do something heavily in your favor or win the game. 4 casting cost creatures are also to be minimized e.g. Flame Tongue Kavu and Blastoderm
Blastoderm
BlastodermSet: Nemesis
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
C
Number:
102
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Fading 3 (This creature comes into play with three fade counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a fade counter from it. If you can't, sacrifice it.) Blastoderm can't be the target of spells or abilities.
are very good 4 drops. Armageddon
Armageddon
ArmageddonSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Jesper Myrfors
Text:
All lands in play are destroyed.
fits this deck well and a minimized white should include these as well as Swords to Plowshares
Swords to Plowshares
Swords to PlowsharesSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Jeff A. Menges
Text:
Target creature is removed from game entirely. Creature's controller gains life points equal to creature's power.
and either more creature control or 1-2 casting cost creatures.

Control can be built a variety of ways. Either going for Counter control or creature/hand control. The first is more heavily Blue based and the second more Black based just as in the Standard deck running around right now of MBC and UBC. White adds a lot of control effects as well and can be a helpful addition to either type.

Combo sets itself up to mainly use most of the restricted tutors and ignore the other player a little while it sets itself up to go into some sort of mana loop or time loop or just some sort of “I win this turn” combo. Take your pick from the many combo deck that have rolled around in Extended, Vintage, Legacy and Standard. It is possible to mix them up a little so you have multiple ways of going off and winning the game.

Combo-Control takes the idea of going into some sort of endless loop, but wants also to make sure its opponent does not do the same or kill it first with the creatures. It’s a little slower than straight up combo as you are being reactive to the other player while at the same time finding the pieces to your puzzle.

Mono-Brown – is possible in that most colors are minimized with the exception to Blue which works extremely well with Artifacts. Land can be dropped to the low 70’s giving some more room for the Artifacts. Take a look at some of the Legacy and especially the Vintage decks to get an idea for colorless decks. No, Affinity is not a viable solution when you have 250 cards and 100 of them are cards of color and 75 lands. Here is where all those fast mana producers only allowed in Vintage come into great use as well as Chaos Orb
Chaos Orb
Chaos OrbSet: Oversize Cards
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Mono Artifact
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Text:
1: Flip Chaos Orb onto the playing area from a height of at least one foot. Chaos Orb must turn completely over at least once or it is discarded with no effect. When Chaos Orb lands, any cards in play that it touches are destroyed, as is Chaos Orb.
which is very fun to use. This is one of the harder deck styles to build and is not a first choice for a newcomer to 5-color but once you get the hang of it you will understand that even with a 20 card color minimum Mono-Brown is stupid good.

These are just the tip of the iceberg for when it comes to types and what to build but for the most part you will notice here in the article and on the site that Red is usually not a major player here. But go ahead and build away what you want for the choices are definitely not limited. If you have the cards for it then I would suggest trying to play for Ante as the use of Bird and Contract from Below
Contract from Below
Contract from BelowSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Discard your current hand and draw eight new cards, adding the first drawn to your ante. Remove this card from your deck before playing if you are not playing for ante.
are just too tempting not to do. Just remember it is for fun so unless it’s a 5-color qualifier you do not have to play for keeps.

I have enjoyed this format over any other and we can always find more room for many more players to come so build those decks and get a play group together. I have always been able to find players at major events as well so take your deck with you when you go to the next prerelease or Qualifier and don’t forget to have fun; this is a game after all and not work.


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