Building Five-Color Snow With Prismatic Vista In Modern

When better to let your imagination run wild than preview season? Modern Horizons has inspired Sam Black to build a Five-Color Snow deck, and it’s hard to remember another brew this cool!

Niv-Mizzet Reborn has led to a string of 5-0 results on Magic Online with a five-color Pillar of the Paruns deck that plays a lot of multicolored spells with Niv-Mizzet and Bring to Light to tie it all together. I find it really interesting as a Modern deck in its infancy with results that offer a proof of concept and enough options that it has to have an enormous amount of room to grow.

Pillar of the Paruns is a great way to get mana to cast Niv-Mizzet, but it’s extremely restrictive in deckbuilding, since it doesn’t contribute at all to monocolored spells or activated abilities. If it’s possible to avoid playing this card, I think there’s a lot of value to getting away from it, and I think Modern Horizons will let us do just that.

Prismatic Vista is the Modern Horizons card I was most excited to see. Some people see this as a bad fetchland, but I see it as a license to play five-color decks in Modern.

But Modern Horizons offers more than just Prismatic Vista. It brings Modern-power-level incentives to play with snow-covered lands, and Prismatic Vista is the best way to do that. Typically, snow decks we’ve seen have been one or two colors to maximize the number of basic lands that they can play without making their mana too bad, but with Prismatic Vista and Arcum’s Astrolabe, I think five-color is the natural way to build a snow deck in Modern.

With any new archetype, there are a lot of options to consider, but when the deck can realistically cast almost any spell in Modern, the options can become pretty daunting to try to process. To give you a better idea of what a final picture might look like while discussing the options of this archetype, I want to start with my current build and then discuss other options.

How does one even parse a deck like this? Well, let’s break it down into what these cards are doing.


First, we have the cards that let the deck function. This includes all the lands as well as a few of the spells.

Arcum’s Astrolabe seems to me like a pretty easy card to play four copies of. It makes it so that it’s not punishing to draw colorless land or a second of the same basic, fixes for any color you’re missing, and adds a snow permanent for your cards that count those. This card was an unexpected huge gift to an archetype I was interested in even without it.

Before Arcum’s Astrolabe was previewed, I’d expected to play four Search for Tomorrow, replacing the Birds of Paradise that the Pillar of the Paruns decks have been using. Given the addition of Dead of Winter, I think it’s much better to play with cards that find lands than creatures that tap for mana.

After the first turn, Search for Tomorrow is generally worse than other options, which makes drawing multiple bad and makes drawing it in hands that need to use Arcum’s Astrolabe for green bad, so I’ve gone down to one, since it is the best first-turn play if you have it, and I’m also playing one Sakura-Tribe Elder, one Cultivate, and one Kodama’s Reach. I’m not sure what the right number of cards in this vein is, but these are the ones I’m interested in and I want a mix of names for Gifts Ungiven. It’s entirely possible that this deck might want more Sakura-Tribe Elders or Search for Tomorrows, either as additional land searchers or in place of some of the others, but this felt like a reasonable starting point.

I’m similarly not sure about the exact right number of lands. It’s very important to make your first five land drops, which 23 is a little light for, but with eight one- and two-mana cantrips and four cards that search for lands, it felt about right.

Cheap Interaction

Ice-Fang Coatl is the primary reason to care about snow lands, as this card is a fantastic way to bridge to the late-game and generally start building card advantage. Playing fewer than four would mean playing a different archetype to me.

Beyond that, we want some cheap removal. I’ve opted for a mix of names and especially a mix of colors. The mix of names is for Gifts Ungiven and the mix of colors is for All Suns’ Dawn. I’m playing one-mana removal because one-mana plays are extremely important, but I’m also playing some two-mana removal to increase the power of Niv-Mizzet Reborn by giving it more hits, especially cheap hits.

Currently I’m playing the following one- and two-mana removal spells:

Value Spells

At three mana and above, card advantage is the name of the game (Ice-Fang Coatl also fits here).

Dead of Winter answers multiple creatures while leaving my Coatls on the battlefield. This synergy is fantastic because Coatls are very good at leading to a stall where the opponent would rather not trade a creature for them and chooses to just cast more creatures while waiting to draw a removal spell, and then you can really punish them with Dead of Winter.

Eternal Witness is part of a larger recursion engine with Tamiyo, Field Researcher and All Suns’ Dawn. These cards ensure that Gifts Ungiven can always get whichever card you really need, and they function as extra copies of the best removal spell you’ve drawn. Eternal Witness is also great with Kolaghan’s Command or Teferi, Time Raveler, as either creates a loop of sorts.

Teferi, Time Raveler is an extremely powerful card that fits well in this deck, since your creatures are so good at blocking, and the +1 ability allows you to cast Bring to Light at instant speed, which is just amazing with a card that flexible, and it also makes sure your Bring to Light will resolve. This is a card I’d really like to play more of.

Kolaghan’s Command and Kaya’s Guile are flexible cards that have good colors for maximizing your All Suns’ Dawn and Niv-Mizzet Reborn.

At four mana we have Bloodbraid Elf; Nahiri, the Harbinger; and Tamiyo, Collector of Tales as high-value multicolor hits for Niv-Mizzet. The deck has more Simic cards than Niv-Mizzet would prefer. Tamiyo is the one of them that could be cut, but I think it will play fantastically in this deck.

Card Selection

This is absolutely a toolbox deck, and to make sure we always have the right tools I have Glittering Wish, Gifts Ungiven, All Suns’ Dawn, Primal Command, Niv-Mizzet Reborn, and Bring to Light. Most of these are also value spells.

I’d theoretically like to have a second Niv-Mizzet, since chaining them by finding Bring to Light off the first one is pretty good, and I want to be able to find it with Nahiri even if I’ve already drawn one, but I think the deck has enough power and I think the fourth Bring to Light is probably better than the second Niv-Mizzet. I’ve also slightly worked around this by including a second Niv-Mizzet in the sideboard that Glittering Wish can find. It’s possible that one of the Bring to Lights should be in the sideboard for Glittering Wish and to decrease the number of five-mana spells in the deck, which is a little high.

All Suns’ Dawn and Primal Command add a ton of power and flexibility to Bring to Light.

I’d like to have more copies of Gifts Ungiven and probably Glittering Wish, but I’m not sure how to make room at the moment, and it’s hard to spend that much mana without impacting the battlefield, especially when there are so many ways to get card advantage while impacting the battlefield.

The Sideboard

The sideboard is trying to function as a normal sideboard and a toolbox for Glittering Wish. Fortunately, there are a lot of cards that do both of these things, since the deck naturally wants some number of sideboard cards that are multicolored anyway. Getting the sideboard right in this kind of deck is much harder than getting the maindeck right.

Ideally, I’d like to be able to have answers to creatures, noncreature permanents, graveyards, and spells on the stack, as well as any particularly important bullets against specific decks.

For the most part, I think Dead of Winter is the best card against most creature decks, but it’s not a multicolor card, and I think I want at least one good multicolor answer to creatures in the sideboard. At the moment, I have Deafening Clarion as a multicolor sweeper that I can find with Glittering Wish. I considered Supreme Verdict as well, which would offer more flexibility and potentially let me Gifts Ungiven with Supreme Verdict, Dead of Winter, and Deafening Clarion when I needed a sweeper immediately, but that felt like more total creature removal than I really wanted.

Maelstrom Pulse is a good catch-all. I could have Detention Sphere, but I prefer Maelstrom Pulse because I want my cards to go to the graveyard.

Fracturing Gust is my other Wishable answer. It might be too narrow to make the final cut, and it can be a little hard to cast, but it’s so high-impact I thought it was worth giving it a chance. Force of Vigor feels like the right sideboard card against artifacts and enchantments, but I also wanted a multicolor card. It’s possible that I should just rely on Maelstrom Pulse and cut Fracturing Gust. Ancient Grudge would be another card I’d really like access to here.

Against graveyards I have Ashiok, Dream Render as my Wish target, and Grafdigger’s Cage and two Rest in Peace as my traditional sideboard cards. I think this deck is probably pretty weak against Dredge and I’d really like to find a way to have more good answers. Anger of the Gods would make sense, but it’s really hard to justify over Dead of Winter in any other matchup.

Against spells and combo decks I have Dovin’s Veto and Slaughter Games. I wanted Unmoored Ego as well, but it’s hard to justify having both that and Slaughter Games. Ideally I’d like Damping Sphere and Crumble to Dust as well to beat Mono-Green Tron, and I might also like Thoughtseize or Thought Erasure, maybe even in large numbers, but it’s just hard to find room for everything.

Against control decks I have Teferi, Time Raveler and Expansion. Expansion is probably too cute – it’s a powerful card, but I already have Niv-Mizzet if I just want a threat.

Cards That Didn’t Make It

There are a lot of cards I’d like and only so much room in a deck. Here are some of the other things I’m considering in addition to more copies of the cards I mentioned wanting more of. Given that Niv-Mizzet ideally wants you to have a few cards from each guild, I think it’s reasonable to list cards by guild.


It’s hard to make room for many more five-mana spells, but at the same time, five-mana spells let you get the most value out of Bring to Light, and Teferi is near the top for high-powered spells that also add a versatile answer to the deck. A better fit than Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God because it’s much easier to cast and can be found by Niv-Mizzet Reborn.

I mentioned this above as an alternative to Maelstrom Pulse. I still think the best thing about it is that it can exile all of a particular creature against Dredge. I suppose it also plays well with Teferi, Time Raveler against tokens or Hangarback Walker / Walking Ballista

I mentioned this as a sideboard option. I’m pretty sure Dead of Winter basically invalidates it as a maindeck consideration.

This is seems like a very reasonable sideboard bullet.


This is commonly played in Pillar of the Paruns decks, but I don’t think it looks good enough.

This is best as an answer to Chalice of the Void, which this deck isn’t particularly bad against, so I don’t think it’s worth including in the maindeck, but it could be a reasonable sideboard option.

This is a reasonably high-impact sideboard card.

If exiling is important, this is a possible alternative to Maelstrom Pulse, but likely worse than Detention Sphere.


This is almost good enough, but I think it’s ultimately worse than Lightning Helix and Nahiri.


I could see playing this in either the maindeck or sideboard. I think it’s worse than the alternatives, but it might not be. I could easily see replacing Fracturing Gust with this.


This deck uses Ninjas remarkably well, since they’re great with Ice-Fang Coatl and Niv-Mizzet. The only issue is that the overall creature density is low so it’s probably not worth risking it, but I think any Ninja is reasonable to consider, especially if you play more creatures (maybe more Bloodbraid Elves, but evasion would better)


This has been popular in Pillar of the Paruns decks, but when you don’t need all your spells to be gold cards, I don’t think it’s worth it compared to one-mana interaction.

This is in a similar space to Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, but I think it’s a little worse overall. Still, there are some decks that have a real problem with it because they have no way to get it off the battlefield.

A fantastic bullet.


Before Arcum’s Astrolabe was previewed, I had a version with four Aether Hubs that used Rogue Refiner to help with the energy. I think these aren’t worth it because I think the other three-mana value spells are a little better and Simic is the worst color pair for Niv-Mizzet, but this is another way to approach the mana.


This is a solid, cheap, versatile card that would be a totally reasonable way to improve the deck against planeswalkers.


I went with Assassin’s Trophy and Maelstrom Pulse, but Abrupt Decay is about as good as either.

I think this just barely too weak.


I suppose this is a consideration, since the card seems very strong, but with only eight fetchlands, I doubt it’s worth it. However, it wouldn’t be terribly difficult to add a few more and maybe Field of Ruin.

Non-Guild Cards:

A good recursion spell that adds a huge amount of lifegain. Currently I think Kaya’s Guile lets me get away with leaving this out, but it would help a lot against Burn. Gifts Ungiven for Pulse of Murasa, Kaya’s Guile, Lightning Helix, and Eternal Witness would be nice.

Very flexible and very powerful in a five-color deck, of course.

I’d love to have four Thoughtseize in the 75 if I could. It’s just such a good card and trading resources is very valuable to a deck with this much card advantage.

This probably isn’t worth it, but it’s very appealing with so many instants and sorceries.

If this were a gold card, I’d definitely at least have one in my sideboard; as is, I still think it’s worth considering.

It’s very likely that the sideboard needs to make room for this.


This isn’t an exhaustive list of options, since the sky is really the limit for this strategy. I think it’s important to minimize the number of nongreen cards that cost more than one mana of the same color, but other than that, almost any card can work here.

Given the success of the Pillar of the Paruns decks on Magic Online, I’m extremely excited for this archetype, as I think Modern Horizons completely takes the deck to another level, and it gets to play a ton of really sweet cards in a really good toolbox.