Feature: Rogues and Rainbows

Posted in Event Coverage on April 20, 2007

By Noah Weil

Block Constructed by its nature is known for having a smaller card pool. People accept there's a smaller body of cards to choose from than Standard or Legacy. Yet two-set format or not, there are still plenty of surprises. The abundance of multicolored decks is one of those. While people were on the lookout for white weenie or mono-red or blue-black control, the rest of the chromatic permutations were unexpected.

The reason for all the multihued action comes down to the color-fixing options available to the deckbuilder. The standbys for control decks are Prismatic Lens and Terramorphic Expanse. They fix mana fairly well and provide multiple colors just as easy as one. Deckbuilders found with those two cards, as well as the storage lands, control deckbuilding has the ability to go in any color arc they choose. When someone says they got beat by blue-black control, the inevitable question now is "What kind?" Straight blue-black as well as blue-black-red and blue-black-white are all out in force this weekend.

We're getting used to this now, but there are still surprises out there. Here are some of the more unusual decks of the weekend, some that use the mana fixing options to their fullest, and some that skip the mess entirely. Random archetypes, or the next big thing?

Four-Color Control

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Mystical Teachings is the all-star here. Already a powerful card, with another color it gives you the ability to pretty much do anything. Against white you get to bring in and search for Sulfur Elemental. Control gives you findable Haunting Hymns, Slivers force Disenchant, and those random Bogardan Hellkites can be fought off with a tutorable Temporal Isolation. It's fairly unusual to see all these colors in one blue-black control, but it's not the craziest deck out there.

Green-Black-Blue Control

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This deck goes a different route than most of the others of the U/B/x variety, being base green instead of blue. Triple Urborg is bold, especially considering how popular the card is (see above, below) but it provides a lot of benefits. One does need Forests to play Spectral Force, an extremely resilient creature against the environment. You've got Cancel and Damnation against it, and afterwards the fatal spells drop off considerably. A lot of people are using Sudden Death and Strangling Soot for creature control, which the Force totally shrugs off. Sure, you can throw a Temporal Isolation on it, but you'll still have to combat the Shapeshifter shenanigans. Even if you manage to Damnation a pair away, Deadwood Treefolk can bring them all back for another go (another card particularly good with the Shapeshifter). If this all seems slow, at least you have Tendrils of Corruption to get your life back. Hmm, maybe those three Urborgs are necessary after all.

Shadow Riders

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Your standard Blink Riders is a solid but fringe red-blue-white deck that abuses Momentary Blink with cards like Avalanche Riders and Riftwing Cloudskate. It's a fun deck normally, but as we've seen so far, any deck that can play N colors can play N+1. Void and Finkel are all-stars here, not so much for their synergy with Blink but because they're just really good. Having access to Extirpate from the side seems like a nice bonus as well. My favorite part here is the four-color Boom // Bust "synergy."

Aggro Black-Red

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Ahh, back to basics. With all that rainbow running around, we can still rely on black aggro as a viable contender. Well, almost black. Your Expanses and Gemstone Mine provide enough red for Disintegrates and Guildmage activations, but for the most part this deck is a Bad Moon/Mirri special.

Four-Color Good Stuff

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We've been trying to figure out this one for a while. The four-color part is fine, because that's what all the cool kids are doing. And Slivers are fun too. And Psionic Blast has been showing up in some decks, and Keldon Marauders has been in some decks, and Stonecloaker has been in some decks… but none of these cards have been in all the decks! I love seeing Tribal Flames getting love, but quad Gemstone Mine plus Magus of the Scroll is a shaky foundation. Still a really fun-looking deck.

Storm Warden

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Your combo option, this is the only deck so far to feature Essence Warden. It seems weak, but considering how popular the mono-red deck is, Essence with Empty the Warrens seems savage. I'm also really happy to see someone entwine Word of Seizing and Greater Gargadon. There's a lot of suspend here that doesn't play well against Teferi, but at least the deck's also packing storm cards to override counters. There's a lot happening here, which is pretty neat for a "mere" two-color.


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Another four-color build. This one's also packing triple Urborg to power up its four Tendrils. Ana Battlemage is nice to see, but the real surprise is Sengir Nosferatu. The vampire's just fine against mono-white, but there's a lot of Sudden Shock and Sudden Death out there, too. It remains to be seen whether the Nosferatu is a player in Time Spiral Block Constructed, but even if it goes down, there's always Vorosh, The Hunter ready to take its place. In great emergency? There's the Boom // Bust out of the board. Or Darkness!

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