Welcome back to Valuable Lessons. We all looked at [ccProd]Chromanticore[/ccProd] and smirked a bit, but how many of us actually took the card seriously? After all, WUBRG isn’t a walk in the park. Some of us were able to overcome the stigma attached to this card’s mana cost and boldly exclaim, “challenge accepted!” Today, we’ll be accepting the challenge.

All right, we’re going deep! Playing Chromanticore is like Babe Ruth calling his shot. This deck won’t be for the faint of heart. Do we hate losing to mana issues? Well, we just need to suck it up and power through all that negativity because we’re casting Chromanticore, and it’s going to be a blowout.

Last weekend, there was a 44-player Standard in which Chromanticores were taking bites out of people’s life totals and comically large cards were pounding onto the table in the Top 8. Here’s Nick Romanos’s terrifying creation!

Nick Romanos’s Reaping Rainbow

[ccdeck]4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Courser of Kruphix
2 Blood Baron of Vizkopa
2 Sylvan Primordial
3 Polukranos, World Eater
3 Reaper of the Wilds
2 Abrupt Decay
3 Chromanticore
1 Kiora, the Crashing Wave
1 Gild
2 Garruk, Caller of Beasts
4 Domri Rade
1 Ruric Thar, the Unbowed
3 Voyaging Satyr
4 Blood Crypt
2 Breeding Pool
3 Temple Garden
3 Stomping Ground
3 Overgrown Tomb
3 Temple of Abandon
2 Temple of Mystery
2 Temple of Malice
3 Temple of Plenty
—–Sideboard—–
2 Turn Burn
2 Golgari Cham
3 Anger of the Gods
1 Ruric Thar, The Unbowed
2 Blood Baron
1 Abrupt Decay
1 Bow of Nylea
3 Slaughter Games[/ccdeck]

We’re pretty lucky to have stumbled upon this list. It’s an impressive machine that’s capable of the biggest haymakers available in Standard. Before we continue this discussion, we should take a moment to bask in its glory.

There are some obvious inclusions for a deck like this. [ccProd]Sylvan Caryatid[/ccProd] helps us fix our mana while staving off early aggression from the opponent. There’s no question about whether or not we should be playing four of this card.

[ccProd]Chromanticore[/ccProd] forces our opponent to have two spot removal spells at the ready. We get to make any one of our creatures into a game dominating force, and if our opponent has a way to deal with it, then we get another game dominating force on the table. Bestow forces people to have multiple answers for a threat if they’re unable to race. Our opponents won’t be able to race Chromanticore unless we’ve already let a [ccProd]Pack Rat[/ccProd] get out of hand on the other side of the table. Romanos chose to play three copies of the big spell and that seems like a pretty good number.

[ccProd]Domri Rade[/ccProd] is a great card that’s especially impressive in a deck like this that plays [ccProd]Courser of Kruphix[/ccProd] and a lot of very large threats. Chromanticore is really good at getting into fights and coming out on top while gaining us a nice little buffer of life in the process. We have enough fat in this deck to make an active Domri Rade take over.

[ccProd]Courser of Kruphix[/ccProd] is probably the most powerful card in Born of the Gods. Here, we’re able to use Courser of Kruphix beautifully. The card synergizes nicely with Domri Rade, ensuring that we’ll be able to pick up an extra card in most spots. The 4 toughness here is also important, as it makes [ccProd]Bile Blight[/ccProd] fail to deal with the Chromanticore bestow. The life we gain from Courser of Kruphix helps us make it to the late game against the more aggressive decks too.

[ccProd]Blood Baron of Vizkopa[/ccProd] dominates a lot of matchups. Romanos chose to play a few copies so that he could ramp into an unbeatable threat in the matchups where it could dominate the board. I can get behind this mode of thinking, especially if he knew there was going to be a reasonable amount of Black Devotion at the tournament. I don’t think I need to play this card in the maindeck if we’re not expecting a lot of Black Devotion, though. I really hate that we can’t bestow Chromanticore here, but the free wins we’ll get from ramping into this probably make it deserving of a bunch of our sideboard slots, if not a few maindeck.

[ccProd]Sylvan Primordial[/ccProd] takes our opponent to value town. We’re always going to net a few cards when we’re able to resolve this spell. We’ll likely be using this card to deal with something like a [ccProd]Detention Sphere[/ccProd] or a land enchanted with [ccProd]Underworld Connections[/ccProd] in a lot of our matchups. Also, when bestowed with Chromanticore (and we understand we’re diving deep into Magical Christmas Land here) we get a 10-power abomination that won’t take long before it’s able to dominate the remainder of the game.

We’ll be producing a lot of mana, and we’re going to have access to 4 mana on the third turn a reasonable portion of the time. [ccProd]Polukranos, World Eater[/ccProd] gives us a great way to spend our third turn that will, in most situations, bait unconditional removal spells from our opponent.

[ccProd]Reaper of the Wilds[/ccProd] combos nicely with Domri Rade and Courser of Kruphix while conveniently fitting into the curve as a powerful four-drop. The potential hexproof on Reaper of the Wilds makes it an ideal candidate to bestow Chromanticore onto.

[ccProd]Abrupt Decay[/ccProd] is an extremely versatile spot removal spell that lets us deal with things like early Pack Rat, Underworld Connections, Detention Sphere, Boros Reckoner, Courser of Kruphix, and countless other threats from the opponent. I played four copies of this card at Pro Tour Theros and it impressed me immensely in every round. I’m not opposed to playing a third copy in a deck like this, but I’d like to keep the creature count high to maximize the value of Domri Rade and [ccProd]Garruk, Caller of Beasts[/ccProd].

[ccProd]Kiora, The Crashing Wave[/ccProd] is a sweet card, but this isn’t the deck I want to put it in. I like that it draws us cards and helps us ramp into our most impressive cards, but I feel like we would much rather be casting something like Reaper of the Wilds on our third or fourth turn in most spots when we’re playing a deck like this.

I’ve already spoken extensively about [ccProd]Gild[/ccProd], but this seems like the best Gild deck we’ve ever had access to. The card conveniently curves into Garruk, Caller of Beasts or gives us the fifth needed mana for something like Blood Baron of Vizkopa, and deals with our opponent’s most impressive threat.

[ccProd]Garruk, Caller of Beasts[/ccProd] can win a game entirely by itself, that being said, I’m not sure we’d rather have Garruk, Caller of Beasts than [ccProd]Elspeth, Sun’s Champion[/ccProd]. Garruk lets us do fun things like casually drop a Chromanticore on the table, but Elspeth, Sun’s Champion creates an impressive board presence the turn it enters the battlefield and wins the game by itself if it goes unchecked. This is a place where we might be able to find some room for improvement.

[ccProd]Ruric Thar, The Unbowed[/ccProd] is a powerhouse for decks like Red/Green Monsters in particular matchups, but I feel like we can do better for six mana when push comes to shove.

[ccProd]Voyaging Satyr[/ccProd]s function as the fifth-seventh [ccProd]Sylvan Caryatid[/ccProd]s here, but they’re a lot less impressive than their counterpart and we could justify looking to replace them.

So, what should we change? We probably want a copy or two of [ccProd]Chromatic Lantern[/ccProd] here. Elspeth seems like the kind of haymaker that makes it worthwhile to play this many colors. [ccProd]Rakdos’s Return[/ccProd] is a card that’s criminally underplayed in the current Standard format and this seems like the perfect kind of deck to play the big mythic sorcery.

Here’s the deck as I would play it:

Challenge Accepted

[ccdeck]4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Courser of Kruphix
4 Voice of Resurgence
2 Sylvan Primordial
1 Polukranos, World Eater
3 Reaper of the Wilds
2 Abrupt Decay
3 Chromanticore
3 Gild
2 Rakdos’s Return
3 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
2 Domri Rade
3 Chromatic Lantern
1 Breeding Pool
2 Temple Garden
1 Stomping Ground
4 Overgrown Tomb
1 Hallowed fountain
1 Watery Grave
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Godless Shrine
2 Blood Crypt
1 Steam Vents
4 Temple of Plenty
4 Temple of Abandon
1 Temple of Silence
—–Sideboard—–
3 Blood Baron of Vizkopa
2 Xenagos, the Reveler
2 Merciless Eviction
3 Doom Blade
1 Sylvan Primordial
3 Polukranos, World Eater
1 Golgari Charm[/ccdeck]

I’ll be playing this deck on Magic Online once I have access to all the cards from Born of the Gods. Next week, I’ll further delve into the unexplored world of Chromanticore. Until then, may we be the ire of our opponents as we demolish them with [ccProd]Chromanticore[/ccProd]!