Normally these titles are the bait and switch, but not today. I truly believe this one’s at the top of the food chain and most people have no idea what’s going on with it. I first saw a version of it played at the last MOCS – Five-Color Goryo’s Vengeance.
Five-Color Goryo’s Vengeance – Eli Kassis
Black gives us the reanimate stuff. White gives us Ephemerate of all things, which combos with Goryo’s Vengeance so we don’t lose our creature. It also lets us play the “scam” theme in Modern with blinking Grief (some versions have Solitude). Red gives us Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, aka the card that has won every Pro Tour this year. Green isn’t really in the deck – it’s mostly for show. However, in my version, we hard cast Atraxa quite a bit. Finally Blue is for digging and setting up our combo. It’s ironic because Blue is normally the control role but that seems to have shifted a bit.
Let’s go over the list and we can talk about things more specifically:
I am probably not the only one that looks at a five-color money pile and thinks it looks appealing to pilot. They tend to have just enough complexity and a lot of power that exactly fits the bill for what you want in an eternal format. For most of Magic’s 30 years, the key element to victory has been card advantage. Well, Atraxa, Grand Unifier has that in spades.
Let’s go over the weird ones first. Bone Shards is not your typical Modern staple. This deck needs removal that also allows you to pitch your fatties. It also needs to be black to pitch to Grief. The sorcery speed aspect actually increases your hit rate on Atraxa as well. Hopefully by that point you have the game well in hand, but sometimes you fail to get the Ephemerate and need to setup another combo turn followup. It’s rare that you don’t get either.
Fallaji Archeologist – when people first look at this one they’re probably going to think they can find a better card. I promise you I would play 8 copies of this card if it was within the rules to do so. Sometimes it bins Atraxa and gets your Goryo’s Vengeance at the same time. Other times it just finds an Ephemerate to blink Fallaji twice and ensures you have meaningful game actions for turns. On top of everything it stops Ragavan in its tracks!
The only other strange card in this list is probably Pentad Prism. You know what the true bane of any multi-color deck in Modern is? Blood Moon. Pentad Prism is a nice foil to Blood Moon while also being a great ramp spell. You can cast plenty of turn three The One Rings with this card, but it also gives us ramp and mana fixing for hard casting Atraxa! This is a nice plan b to any graveyard hate. Games where you hard cast Atraxa are ones you’re probably winning anyway.
For the sideboard we have multiple copies of Alpine Moon. The main reason for this is that big mana decks like Tron and Amulet are pretty unfavorable for us in game one. They have a more streamlined combo that comes online quicker. Because of this we have to utilize more sideboard space to combat those matchups. The Gemstone Caverns comes in a lot with Through the Breach to make sure we can cast a five-drop. If we get to play it on turn zero then that’s just extra gravy on top.
Prismatic Endings are a nice versatile answer to both graveyard hate cards and small cost creatures, like Death’s Shadow or Monastery Swiftspear. The Fatal Push occupies the same space and also tries to preserve a higher Black count for Grief. Probably goes without saying, but try and remember to bring in the Gemstone Caverns only when you are actually on the draw. It’s not so great otherwise.
The Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is a foil for the Mill deck which is a bad matchup. It’s super cool though that it works with Through the Breach and you can mill it and reanimate it with Goryo’s at instant speed before it shuffles back in. This doesn’t actually come in that often, but do so at your own discretion on a case by case basis.
A small tutorial for actually playing the deck. Most often you want to be putting a Triome into play on turn one. Obviously a fetch land grabbing a Triome is an equally similar play. The step two objective is to grab a corresponding shock land that gives you the full domain (all five colors) on the battlefield. From here, we want to cast either Fallaji Archeologist or Pentad Prism to be advancing our board state.
It starts to get complicated based on what you’ve played or milled in some cases. A great turn three play might just be casting The One Ring and pulling way ahead on card advantage. A more likely turn three is just tapping out for Fable (which is a decent turn overall). Ultimately, you are looking to set yourself up for a turn to have Atraxa in the graveyard, then playing a Goryo’s Vengeance on Atraxa, choosing to keep as many untapped white sources as possible. This is because you are hoping to hit Ephemerate and Leyline Binding to use as follow-up plays.
Atraxa typically comes in and hits them for 7 points of lifelink. This puts you ahead enough on life that the opponent can’t kill you on their next turn. Ephemerate on Atraxa puts a big wall in front of them as well, as creating a virtual draw 10 cards. From there you can usually pitch a Grief that you found off Atraxa and take away their next play. You might also get to play a Leyline Binding on their best permanent. Essentially you set yourself up with a rock solid board position. Usually opponents tend to concede from this point, but if they play it out just have fun spewing answers for literally everything.
This deck thrives in a field of creature decks. It one-ups the midrange folks. It does appear favored versus Rakdos Scam, but it’s very slight and usually a grindy match that hinges on how good their draws are. I would play this deck in the current modern metagame, but if we saw a big uptick in Tron, Amulet, and UW control I might consider shelving it again until safer waters are present.
Thanks for reading folks, tune in next time for more sweet decklist shenanigans.