hamtastic's picture
By: hamtastic, Erik Friborg
Jul 26 2007 9:22am
Login or register to post comments

*Note: the Xed cards won't be linked until they are loaded in the system here.  Once they're loaded I'll update this article to get those links to work*

Cabal Interrogator


I asked a Prismatic regular as well as the Brand Manager of Magic Online (Worth Wollpert) a few questions about Prismatic.  I’d like to note that the comments by Worth were asked from a player perspective and do not indicate any official stance on the format.  I would like to thank both Worth and Shaver for taking the time to answer the questions!


How do you feel about the transmute tutors and their effects on the format, and do you use any of them?
I use zero of them, I don't particularly like them in general. They feel very close to if not over the line R&D has previous drawn regarding tutoring in the format.

Would you like there to be more tutors in general in the format?
Not really.  :)

Of any one card not on MTGO, which do you think would be the best addition for the format?
Force of Will.

Is there any card you hate to see?
While playing? Hmm...in prismatic specifically here? I hate when someone goes turn 5 (or 4) Etched Oracle for 4 with a mana up. Hard to beat that. :)

Is there any card you think you should see more often?
I like Shadow of Doubt an awful lot in the format.

What got you to play the format?
I've always kinda liked huge/wacky decks...I was partial to (Battle of Wits)...and online it saves me LOTS of shuffling. :)

Would you play Prismatic in paper (shuffling and all?)?
I might, sure...I've been tempted to join in some of the EDH games, I watched Scott L and Sheldon M play a bunch when I was in San Diego for the Pro Tour...I think I remember meeting a forum member there too who was in their game, but I can't recall his name right now.


How do you feel about the transmute tutors and their effects on the format, and do you use any of them?
They're awful unless something needs to be banned. They're currently playable because either flash or hulk need to be banned, but no other deck should be playing them.

 Would you like there to be more tutors in general in the format?
I'd like combo to be viable, but not extremely random like hulk. I think it would be nice if combo-enabling tutors were available, but not on the level of the hulk/flash combo. So yes, it would be nice if there were better tutors.

Of any one card not on MTGO, which do you think would be the best addition for the format?
Mox Diamond maybe. Adding stuff like the power 9 and contract would be cool, because 5-color is all about the huge swings in games and that's what Prismatic is modeled after. Maybe I'm just nostalgic about having used to play 5-color.

Is there any card you hate to see?
There are lots of cards that are unhealthy to have around. Stuff like the Dwarven Blastminers is either ridiculous or awful. Having cards like that around is not good. Stifle, Umezawa's Jitte, Sword of Fire and Ice, Shadow of Doubt, etc all fall into this category somewhat.

Is there any card you think you should see more often?
Panglacial Wurms, I guess. People don't play enough maindeck, and it should really be popping up in most games that go past turn 6.

What got you to play the format?
I used to play 5-color and then I watched replays of PEs and decided to start working on building decks. Then Wizards decided to start canceling tournaments and making life awful for Prismatic players in general.

Would you play Prismatic in paper (shuffling and all?)?
The shuffling is a huge problem, but people don't really care about thoroughly shuffling irl. I have, and would play paper 5-color.


Drudge Skeletons

Deck skeletons:

I noticed that for many of the decks I started to make I used the same cards in each deck.  When you are making 60 card decks that is not a big deal.  However, when you add the same 40+ cards to a deck it becomes a bit of a pain as well as a time waster.  So I’ve created a budget skeleton here that can be used as a jumping off point for budget Prismatic decks.  It contains 2x of each Ravnica bounce land, 2x of each Onslaught Cycle land and 4x of decent Green land search.  The cost of this mana base: $4.62.  Modify as needed to meet your color requirements.  Although I forgot to add Krosan Tusker to the deck before uploading it, he really should be in any budget Prismatic deck.  Don’t forget the Fierce Empath’s to search for the searchers.  That’s important.



“The me” decks:

Do you or someone you know have ‘whatsthebestcarditis’?  If so, a Prismatic "the me" deck might be able to help.  Breaking apart the word “theme” makes “the me”, which is what theme decks should be: a deck for "the me".  It may not be the best deck your pool can create but that is not the point of a "the me" deck.  It is nice if it wins of course, but that is not the only concern when we’re building one of these decks.

Some idea’s I’ve had for "the me" decks while writing this series: land walkers, haste + Primal Forcemage, Suspend, Shrines + Zubera, Mono/Mostly x color, basilisk ability + lure type of effects, and last but not least: Chuck Norris/Slith Fire’walker Texas Ranger’.

That last deck has cards of ‘Ranger’ type, or ‘Ranger’ in the name, cards drawn by Kev Walker, and with ‘walker’ in their name, like Slith Firewalker.



Rainbow Suspenders

These decks are all in the ‘rough build/playtest’ mode currently.  That’s the first thing I do once I finish a deck: see how it actually plays in solitaire.  Do I hit my land drops?  Does the deck have any early plays?  Midrange plays?  Late plays?  This step saves me a lot of frustration in games with real people, and keeps me from wasting both of our time.

Unfortunately it turns out that the landwalker theme is a bit short on solid cards, and some colors are very under represented.  It could be done by filling in the colors with low landwalk count with some powerful spells, but I didn’t have time to even finish a rough deck on that theme.  Maybe next time!


Deck Tweaks:

Last week’s Prismatic by Numbers deck was great start for a budget deck, but it wasn’t fully tuned yet.  For example, I was running Dark Banishing but not Putrefy or Mortify.  There are many cards in Ravnica that are budget cards that pretty much any Prismatic deck should be packing, Putrefy is easily on that list.  Wrecking Ball might need to be in there too as it is flexible removal.

I have made the following changes so far to my PbN deck:

-4 Ghastly Demise

-4 Fireblast 

+4 Mortify (although Putrefy would work here too)

+4 Hit/Run

I made those changes based on the times I drew the cards in question.  I never cast Fireblast as I never had the two Mountains to sacrifice and paying 4RR for 4 damage is the suck.  Hit/Run is removal + damage or surprise bigger army.  Flexible cards are great, and flexible cards in Prismatic are greater-er.  Yeah.. that’s the ticket!

While not earth shattering changes to the deck, the above is an example of tweaking a large deck based on the performance of the cards in context with the rest of the deck.  I still don't think this deck is fully tuned, but it's playing nicely so far.


New cards in X:

Angelic Chorus

Unfortunately this does nothing to help you on its own, and is basically not going to gain you enough life to justify spending 5 mana on this enchantment. 

Aura of Silence

The Aura is a good card to slow down affinity, however, as Affinity isn't a deck problem in Prismatic, this card will not see a great deal of play. 


While this does say W: draw a card, there are so much better spells for one white mana.   *cough*Swords to Plowshares*cough*

Benalish Knight

A 2/2 for 3 is not going to make the cut in any competitive Prismatic deck.  If it fits a theme of your casual deck however, it may be worth running. 

Cho-Manno, Revolutionary

A 2/2 uber-blocker is fun in casual when you can keep him protected via Pariah, but that's just a hard trick to pull off in Prismatic so he's likely not even gonig to make it into casual Prismatic Decks. 

High Ground

Not even worth the 1 mana. 

Icatian Priest

An almost relevant card.  1/1's for 1 need to have an ability to make the grade in a Prismatic deck.  This ability however isn't really a great use of mana for the +1/+1 ability that you get for free on other creatures.

Loyal Sentry

Another 1/1 for 1 with a largely irrelevant ability.  1 mana creatures are generally used in aggro decks.  Decks that don't really want to leave creatures back to block, and creatures who have more than 1 power.

Steadfast Guard

2/2 Vigilance for WW.  He could be run in a budget aggro deck if you could hit the WW consistently enough 

Treasure Hunter

Now here's a 2/2 for 3 with an ability worth playing!  Plenty of decks use sacrificial artifacts such as Wayfarer's Bauble to Mindslaver and everything in between.  Making this guy a decent draw throughout the game. 

(Wild Griffin)

I'll lump him in with aggro-ish creature for budget decks. 

Youthful Knight

I'll lump him in with aggro-ish creature for budget decks.  Ditto. 

Academy Researchers

This guy is less likely to see play.  Mostly due to the lack of good uses for his requirements.  You have to run enough beneficial creature aura's to make him hit, but by running that many creature auras you'll have a much weaker deck than normal. 

Cloud Sprite

I can see this making the cut in aggro and budget aggro decks.  Strong enough to play. 

Denizen of the Deep

I can see this guy being played in casual.  Load your deck with comes into play/leaves play creatures and hope for the best. 

Fog Elemental

Probably not worth building around.  You'd need enough blink/reanimate effects that they'd begin to impact your deck. 

Horseshoe Crab

A fun card that a lot of people used to build 'machine gun' decks with Fire whip type cards.  Could be usable in a casual theme deck built around ping granters, untappers and vigilant creatures. 

(Hurkyl’s Recall)

Not needed in Prismatic, but I'm happy it's in Extended and Classic. 

Robe of Mirrors

If this said: "You win the game" it would be worth running.  I keep reading it but it's still not there. *frown* 

Rootwater Commando

The first thing that comes to mind about this cards is 'ewww. way too much info, put some boxers on'.  The second thing that comes to mind is a casual deck built around land walkers.

 Rootwater Matriarch

Highly unlikely to see play.  Way too conditional of a stealing ability.  Compare to Vedalken Shackles 


The 'draw a card' will help these very narrow cards in sealed, but Prismatic has way too high of expectations for cards that this is just too narrow to see play. 

Ascendant Evincar

This could see play in a mono black, or mostly black deck (This just in: the sky is blue).  Good ability and good stats.

Hidden Horror

In an casual aggro deck I think this guy could see play.  You'd have to run enough creatures to pitch, but yeah, if you're an aggro deck and have no creatures in hand you probably have other problems already. 

Knight of Dusk

A decent card, but I'm not sure if it will see play. It's not aggro enough to go into aggro and it's not defensive enough for control which leaves it in the middle somewhere.  It might be in someone's deck who is looking to fill out black cards and doesn't have access to better creatures. 

Lord of the Pit

A classic old beefcake.  However, his younger cousin (Liege of the Pit) is easier to run, and more flexible in the early game.  So I don't see this seeing play unless you don't have access to the Liege, or just want some nostalgia in your deck. 

(Midnight Ritual)

Now we're getting somewhere!  In the late game you will likely get a lot of extra creatures out of this card.  I can see this being a huge late game swing for one player.  Beware of anti-synergy with some staple cards, such as Zombify and (Ancestor’s Chosen). 

No Rest for the Wicked

Besides a really cool card name, this is a build around me card.  You first need to draw it and then have a bunch of non-token creatures, and then they all have to die (that's the easy part), and THEN you get the utmost out of this card.  Or, you can use it as a pre-emptive Zombify for 1B, which isn't bad but assuming that your opponent will have removal means that he'll pick off whichever creature he wants you to get back the most.  Allowing your opponent to dictate your game state is usually a bad thing.

 Rain of Tears

I've heard that LD decks are coming up a bit now based on how much special lands are being used and how tenuous the mana bases are.  I can see this being played, although there are more versatile options in Black for LD. 

Sleeper Agent

Nope.  Unless I'm missing something about getting beaten for 3 a turn? 

Stronghold Discipline

This seems very limited for the mana.  Compare to Persecute or Damnation or even Mutilate and you'll see what 2BB spells can do.  If you want this to be optimal you have to have 0 creatures compared to your opponents at least 4 creatures (since you could otherwise just run Essence Drain.  Of course, in that scenario you're about to get hit for at least 4 damage next turn... just not worth trying to set up your board position for this card.  +15 style points if you use this to win though. 

Thrull Surgeon

This could see play.  It's a relevant ability on a creature.  Add in Debtors' Knell and you could have yourself a decent thought for a theme deck. 

Vampire Bats

Not aggro enough for the aggro decks, not defensive... yada yada.  If you want a defensive 1 drop in B, Will-o-the-Wisp sends you hugs and keeses. 

Anaba Bodyguard

Nope.  Too low of power for most decks.  4 mana red creatures need more 'oomph'. 

Bloodrock Cyclops

Budget aggro could play this.  I wonder if there are enough cards with the 'musts attack each turn' ability to build a theme deck?  Something to look into I guess. 

Bogardan Firefiend

Another solid budget friendly card.  Aggro decks seem to be pretty good, and this guy does good things against aggro decks.  taking out 2 creatures or a Loxodon Hierarch is worth 2R. 

Cone of Flame

Flexible damage.  I think this card will see play, maybe even competitive play.  6 damage spread around for 5 mana is a solid deal. 

Duct Crawler

Not quite good enough for play. 

Earth Elemental

Vanilla creature.  Competing with Arc-Slogger.  Maybe in a very budget casual deck... but probably not. 

Goblin Lore

Since you have to run blue cards anyway, you should be running card draw that lets you keep the cards you draw. 


Possibly in an aggro deck.  By the time you play this you should have your opponent down pretty low.  Putting them into a tough situation.  Damage from creatures?  Or damage from trying to stop them? 

Mogg Fanatic

Now *this* is a 1/1 for 1 with a relevant ability.  Again, there are probably articles written on how good this guy is, I won't rehash them here.

Rock Badger

Possibly an addition to my landwalk theme deck I'm brainstorming as I write this list. 

Scoria Wurm

Random effects are fun and wacky.  Prismatic is pretty fun and wacky already.  And you know what they say about too much of a good thing? 


Yay against affinity!  Boo for Prismatic. 

Shivan Hellkite

[insert praise for random beefy finisher ]

Squee, Goblin Nabob


O Combo, Combo!  Wherefore art thou, Combo?

Deny thy meta and refuse thy shame; 

Thundering Giant

Fast and decent.  Again, competing against old 'slogs for the Red 5 spot. Obviously Slogs is better but if you want to mix things up give this guy a whirl.  Or maybe a haste deck?  Throw in a Primal Forcemage?  Hmm.  Another idea! 

Viashino Runner

3/2 for 4 isn't off limits and the ability is okay in an aggro deck.  Could be a budget alternative in an aggro deck. 

Viashino Sandscout

Haste and bounce, like Glitterfang.  Another potential addition to the above mentioned haste deck. 


Yeah baby!  I need land.  Got one!  I need anything but land.  Got it!  Spend 4 mana to fix the shuffler?  Seems like a bargain. 

Avatar of Might

[insert praise for random beefy finisher] 

Llanowar Sentinel

I'm not 100% sure, but I wonder if a play set of these guys is worth running.  Get it in the mid-late game and you've got 4-6 power for a pretty solid price. 

Mirri, Cat Warrior

If I'm building a landwalk deck, this purrrrrr-fect (boo!) lady will definitely make the cut. 

Pincher Beetles

Does anyone else start humming "Can't touch this" by M.C Hammer when they see this rules text?  No?  Just me then... hmm, oh well!  3/1 for three could see play in a budget aggro deck.  Blade of the Sixth Pride already does and is a great card. 

Primal Rage


Root Maze

Symmetrical slowage.  Uff da. Although he could be funnily irritating, I don't seem this being strong enough to justify the impact it has on you.

Skyshroud Ranger

Not an amazing ability, and outclassed at the ability by a card from Saviors of Kamigawa!  Sakura-Tribe Scout.  How embarrassing! 

Sylvan Basilisk

A pretty sweet ability.  Casual only, but still a fun ability to try to abuse.  Hmm, another deck idea brews in the horizon. 

Wall of Wood

Llanowar Augur has the same stats and doesn't see play.  No idea why this one... wood?  (boo x2!) 

Chimeric Staff

isacreature/notacreature/isacreature/notacreature… but probably too expensive to be played.  It does survive wraths and Damnations though so that's at least something. 

Citanul Flute

Expected by some to be banned as it tutors.  I can see that happening.  If not, it may see some casual play but is likely too slow to be played competitively.

Colossus of Sardia

[insert praise for random beefy finisher] + [insert caveat of too big of a drawback] 

Fountain of Youth

Fee Da

The Hive

As far as overcosted token producers go, this one isn't too bad.  It makes flying creatures.  It's worth 10 mana for a 1/1 flyer, right?  Right??  *looks around* 

Mantis Engine

3/3 for 5 better have some awesome abilities.  Alas, on the "Awesome-o-Meter" first strike and flying barely register a 'meh'.  And you have to pay 2 each time you want one of them. 

Mind Stone

Acceleration + card draw.  A decent artifact for many many decks.  This should see some play. 

Steel Golem

Quite a drawback if he gets enchanted with Pacifism or Faith's Fetters.  Too much of a liability.  If you're in the market a 3/4 for 3 artifact creature, maybe I could interest you in this little beauty: Phyrexian Ironfoot.  He's a newer model and requires a little more expensive fuel to run but I assure you, he's worth the investment. 

/usedCardSalesMan voice 

Faerie Conclave

Now we get to the good stuff.  What can I say that hasn't been said about Man Lands in Prismatic.  Probably not much but I'll hit the highlight.  It produces colored mana, and can attack and block.  That is really really powerful in a format that needs lots of color.  Of the five man lands, I'd rate this #1 

Forbidding Watchtower

Decent man land.  I'd rate it #5 as it's not as useful as the others. 

Ghitu Encampment

#3 in my opinion.  A strong ability, but is outclassed by evasion and size of the #1 and #2 slots. 

Spawning Pool

#4 in the list for Prismatic.  He's a great defender but defenders do not win the game.  He'll live through more attacks than the Watchtower.

Treetop Village
"Who's a beefy wittle man land?  Who's a beefy wittle man land???You are all now challenged to say that each and every time you animate this guy in a game. :)  Bonus points for getting your opponent to respond.


Well, that's all I have time for in this article.  My next article will cover some of the spin off formats like Pringleton (aka Prismatic Singleton).

[insert witty catch phrase here]