Chromanticore. My muse. How intriguing you are, oh Chromanticore, all shiny and mutlicoloured with all those abilities…and borderline unplayable…ever.  With your ridicoulous casting cost and hilarious bestow ability you are like the forbidden fruit, that apple that is dangling from the tree, and is so obviously a trap…but yet, I find myself strangely drawn to you, oh Chromaticore.  I want to brew up a deck…but not just any deck…a Rainbow Chromanticore deck! Yes! Yes! It will be Legend- wait for it- ary!

Ok, so I’m mixing up some of my metaphors, but you get the point.  Chromanticore is out there and it gives a new meaning to difficult to cast, but hilarious to play.   Legend would have you believe that the Manticore were beasts that combined a lion with some other animal (usually a bird of some sort, but I have heard other animals suggested as well) and were dangerous and ferocious beasts.  I feel like Born of the Gods has one upped this legend and turned the Manticore into something more.  It’s not only a dangerous beast (if you can land it on the table), but it is for some the pinnacle of ridiculous casual cards that have recently been printed.  Sure, I can think of a few more…but this ranks right up there as far as cards that I want to cast in “fantasy ChristmanLand”.

Let’s take a look at Chromaticore and establish exactly why it is so difficult to play and why you might even want to consider it.  For 5 mana  you a get 4/4 flying first strike, trample, life link vigilance enchantment creature manticore that can be bestowed for 7 mana. These are all very powerful abilities with a very solid body and the ability to bestow it makes very appealing because you can avoid getting 2 for oned when the creature that it is enchanting is destroyed. It is a bomb and if bestowed makes your”bear” into a 6/6 behemoth.  All in all, a very cool card that has some potential.  However, the drawback is that it takes 1 mana of each colour (1 green, 1 blue, 1 white, 1 black, and 1 red) to cast it.  This makes it very difficult to cast, and even harder to Bestow because it costs an additional 2 colourless, but the same 5 colours.  That’s very difficult to achieve because few players are prepared to play all 5 colours in a deck. The mana base would be just too unreliable.  So, it would appear as if Chromanticore is destined live in trade binders across the Magic playing community, in search of a home.

However, while the Manticore is a creature of legend, so is the deck that is able to successfully cast and play mythical “Shiny Rainbow flying lion”.  However, I think that the pieces exist to put together a deck to play Chromanticore and have its abilities go crazy on the battlefield.  Let’s see if we can put it all together.

The first issue becomes how to manufacture enough mana fixing in order to even roll out your Chromanticore.  This is tough because you could play lands of all 5 basic colours, but the chances of you drawing the colours you need in succession is low to almost non-existent. So, we need to narrow down what colours we are playing and then find a way to splash for the missing colour or colours.  For this exercise my default colour combination would be Bant colours (Green, White, Blue) and the requisite lands.

So, our land base will be a full playsets of Hallowed Fountains, Breeding Pool, and Temple Garden and then 3 each of Temple of Mystery, Temple of Plenty and Temple of Enlightenment.  That makes up 21 land of the 25 lands in the deck and for the remainder I will suggest  running a pair of swamps and a pair of mountains as basics.  So, we largely have the mana base.  It may need some adjustments, but that can be done without much in the way of issues.

Next, how do we get access to the full rainbow of lands?  The first option is Traveler’s Amulet.  A one costed artifact that allows you to sacrifice to fetch out a basic land and put it in your hand.  This is a great way to take care of the mana fixing you need and access the full spectrum of lands you need.  Another option is to run Lay of the Land which allows you to search your land for another basic land, once again letting you dig up the swamp or mountain you need.  You could opt for Sylvan Caryatid as a solid 0/3 defender that taps for mana of any colour as a way to promote fixing your issues with the varying colours. The final way to fix for mana is Springleaf drum that allows you to tap a creature in order to produce a mana of any colour, giving you access to colours of mana you wouldn’t otherwise be able to access.  So, with these options available to you, fixing yourself for the mana to cast your Chromanticore should be achievable.

Next, we need to look at some options available to support your Chromanticore and exploit some of other mechanics available to you.  The one that has intrigued me since I read about it is the Inspired mechanic which pairs perfectly with the Springleaf drum as an inexpensive way to tap your creature without combat. I have been eyeing up one card in particular, Oreskos Sun Guide, as being a very interesting Inspired creature and one that could be a good fit in a Bant Chromanticore deck.  So, tap your Sun Guide for mana with your Springleaf drum and then when it untaps you will gaining the 2 life points, which is a fair trade off and could be really useful. Another strong addition would be Courser of Kruphix which could help you to grind out some extra card advantage and gain you some life as you put together the pieces to drop Chromanticore on the table.  Another interesting choice is Omenspeaker that will allow you to Scry 2 when it enters play in order to improve your card selection and help you to shape your hand. It also becomes a strong blocker and can tap easily for another land with your Springleaf Drum. The final piece is the need for an absolute bomb so that when you Bestow Chromanticore that you have something truly devastating that turn the heat way up.  A couple of premium choices would be Brimaz, or Archangel of Thune, but I have had my eyes on another creature from the Core Set.  Seraph of the sword fits into the curve as a 4 drop that is a 3/3 flying angel for 3 colourless and 1 white.  The reason this one is interesting is because combat damage is reduced to 0 with the Seraph, meaning your angel survives all sorts of combat shenanigans.  Yes, it still dies to targeted removal or a sweeper, but it is a little more robust than some of the others.  Besides, we all have 3 or 4 sitting in a box from the summer that we just aren’t playing, and now would be an awesome time.

So, this is what this deck starts to look like:

Bant Chromanticore

So, there’s our 60 card deck.  It obviously has a hard time dealing with heavy creature strategies and so in the remaining 3 card slots I slid in some supreme verdicts.  Yes, that wipes my board clean, but if the alternative having my face smashed, I’ll clear the board. There are a number of holes and so the next challenge will be to put together a 15 card sideboard in order to give you a little flexibility.  I am totally open to suggestions on what to include and hope to hear from many of you for creative ideas that will help take this funny deck into a higher stratosphere of ridiculous.

Now, is this intended to take out top tier 1 competitive standard decks?  Not a chance.  This is fun brew to try out at the kitchen table and play with your buds. Everyone will get a good laugh if you can get the Chromanticore out of your hand and on to the table, and you never know, it may even win you game.  However, what this deck does show is that even outlandish cards such as Chromanticore can find a deck to be played in, if given a little time and a little creative application of some of the cards available. The next task will be to put all the pieces together and take it for a test drive and see how it does.  Regardless of the outcome, I’m sure it will bring a smile to my face (and likely that of my opposition as well).

So, until next time keep it fun, keep it safe…keep it casual.

Bruce Gray