Full Force drafting is a series dedicated to forcing archetypes in draft formats. Join me every Thursday as we learn the ins and outs of the most recent Magic draft formats.
Five Color has been the most requested deck for me to test. Everyone always loves an oddball deck that nobody expects. Unlike a lot of the Full Force episodes I do, testing this deck was less of a question of what cards work the best and more about if the deck itself even works. Kaladesh as a format is fairly synergistic and drafting five colors generally means abandoning those synergies by ignoring color and going for raw power level. The deck test this week was to see if that trade-off was worthwhile.
Drafting five color decks in any format is a difficult proposition. Early picks need to be spent on mana fixing, in the hope of later payoff, when you can take the most powerful card in each pack, regardless of color. Disregarding regular signalling by taking any colors you want helps to disrupt others draft strategies and hopefully forces your opponents to make awkward adjustments, raising your chances of getting good late picks and having favourable matchups against the bad decks they are forced to run. In Kaladesh, like in most five color decks you’ll want to focus on taking Green. Green is your base for obvious reasons, it’s where you’ll find (most of) your mana fixing. Cards like Servant of the Conduit, Attune with Aether, and Wild Wanderer are all very important high picks for this deck. In Kaladesh, artifacts also play a role in helping you round out five color decks. Picking up good artifacts frees up slots that would stretch your colored mana requirements, so grabbing powerful artifacts is particularly valuable in this deck.
Where does all this leave the five color deck in Kaladesh? From the video above you may have guessed that my initial impressions aren’t favourable. This isn’t Khans of Tarkir block where you could fix mana simply through drafting lands and not be forced to use a large percentage of your actual spells fixing mana. To have enough fixing to play all the colours you have to spend a lot of deck space on very medium cards like Wild Wanderer, and there aren’t a lot of exceptionally powerful multi-colored cards or other payoffs for expending all that energy. That’s not to say that mana fixing isn’t important. A much better way to play the format, in my opinion, is to draft more wedge or shard colors. For example, Blue, Red, and Green all touch on energy, Green, White, and Black all care about Fabricate and +1/+1 counters. Drafting fixing early to splash powerful synergy cards in combinations like this is a great way to play the format and maximizes the power you get out of having extra colors while reducing your need for mana fixing.
I will be interested to check this out again later as the format continues to be explored and I may go back on my verdict here today. Want to vote on the next archetype I play? Follow me on Twitter and check out this week’s poll.