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5 Color Magic October 17, 2008

Posted by James in : all, game rules, rules variant , trackback

When I lived in Berkeley CA I learned about an interesting format called “5 Color Magic.” You make a deck out of 250 cards, and you have to have at least 18 of each color. Multicolor cards can work towards only one color. The official rules can be found here.

I found 5-Color Magic to be a lot more fun than I expected. I expected decks to be “watered down” and require me to play a very inconsistent deck, but it is still a fast and powerful format. It can be a challenge to make a powerful deck of this kind, but it can be done.

A year or two after I learned about 5-Color Magic I was playing Magic Online and I found out that I could play a similar format called “Prismatic.” This was an obvious rip-off of 5-Color Magic, but I still had fun playing it. By the time I learned about Prismatic I was required to have 20 cards of each color in the deck. (Probably because of all the hybrid cards around from Ravnica block.) Note that Prismatic is quite a bit different than 5 Color Magic because it is a lot more like extended, and 5 Color Magic is like type 1 with a long list of restricted cards. (One reason that Prismatic is like extended is just because Magic Online never “printed” older sets, such as Alpha, Beta, Unlimited, Revised, 4th Edition, Arabian Nights, etc.)

One big difference between 5 Color Magic and Prismatic is that 5 Color Magic allows tutors, and I would recommend playing about as many tutors as possible. Divining Witch has just be unrestricted, and that is a great card because it allows you to “tutor” every turn.

A second big difference is that 5 Color Magic encourages you to play for ante. I dislike this, but it is fun to play with the most powerful card ever printed: Contract from Below. Discard your hand and draw 7 cards. When I played 5-Color Magic Contract from Below wasn’t even restricted. Now the whole game is practically about “tutoring” up a Contract from Below for extreme card advantage.

My 5 Color decks include a big monster deck with Sliver Queens and so on, and the other is an Affinity Deck, which will have to be updated with Shards of Alara “Esper” cards.

Cards you want for just about any 5 Color deck:

I recently made a few 5 Color decks that I put up on my Ebay store, and one of them has sold.


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