Five-Color Planeswalkers!

Is there anything more fun than having most of the planeswalkers on the planet in your Commander deck? Abe shows off the latest revisions to his five-color masterpiece, complete with Oath of the Gatewatch additions!

Hello folks! With Oath of the Gatewatch‘s primary theme about a quartet of different planeswalkers getting together to face the Eldrazi threat to
Zendikar, I felt it was time to update my Five-Color Commander deck. It’s built around a controlling theme and stars a variety of planeswalkers.
Planeswalkers everywhere!

We see four of the ‘walkers from Magic Originseverybody but Liliana–teaming up to stop the bad guys. Now I wonder where Kiora is in
all of this, I’d hoped to see her on the


…Gatewatch. But still, things are things.

I built my deck back in 2011. And while I have made a few changes since then, I haven’t made a lot of updates. The basic themes of my Five-Color
planeswalker deck are simple:

1). Play a bunch of planeswalkers that impact the board. They are one of the key elements of control.

2). Play a really fun cycle of ten enchantments: the Hondens from Champions of Kamigawa and the Sanctuaries from Apocalypse.

3). Play a bunch of sweeping removal.

4). Play a handful of creatures that either survive the removal or don’t care about it much.

5). Where possible, toss in a few fun Five-Color themes.

So that’s what my deck is supposed to do. Now I just pulled it apart to give it a good solid scouring and to update it. I also want to toss in some proxies
of a few cards from Oath to help out until the set is released in a few weeks!

Here’s my old deck, pre-changes:

Abe Sargent
Test deck on 01-04-2016
Magic Card Back

And that’s my initial deck, modified a bit from cards since then. But as you can see, most of that feels pretty 2011. And since then we’ve had a lot of
strong options printed for the deck. We’ve seen numerous planeswalkers that could make a more compelling argument for inclusion than some of these.
Meanwhile we have more cards out there.

Now I’m never a big fan of taking an obvious card like Doubling Season and making my deck stupid, sick, and typical of most other ‘walker centric builds.
That’s not really my style. I have Sanctuaries and Hondens instead! That’s unique, flavorful, fun, and it drops my “so powerful we have to kill him now”
threat level.

The first iteration of my deck featured a handful of more creatures like Primeval Titan and Simic Sky Swallower. But then my deck moved into new
directions. Many of my ‘walkers make token creatures, and if we push into that direction, a card like Eldrazi Monument might be good. But I’m not sure
that’s the trail that I want to blaze.

So what am I looking at?

I want to embrace the control aspects of our deck. That’s who I am with this one.

Let’s take a look at a few of the Oath of the Gatewatch standouts first, then we’ll move onto a few other winners!

Call the Gatewatch
– The obvious addition to the deck is the “Avengers Assemble” card. I have a few tutors, namely stuff like Conflux or Demonic Tutor. Frankly I use the
Demonic Tutor more as a Sylvan Scrying than anything else. Daddy needs to get his land. Call the Gatewatch is fun and flavorful. Plus people seem to care
less about limited tutor effects that fit the theme of your deck. (No one minds me using Academy Rector to get Honden of Life’s Web.) But I do think that
Sterling Grove is a bit redundant, with my Honden/Sanctuary cards the only major target unless I need something like Collective Restraint. And I don’t
really need shroud for my enchantments that much anyways (plus I have Privileged Position in case I do).

Oath of Jace
– I have Recurring Insight in my deck, so this is an obvious pull. With the number of planeswalkers in the deck already, and with Jace’s Oath giving me
really serious scry action constantly, I think this is an absolute house. It’s also splashable and cheap to play. If there end up being more cycles of the
Oaths from other ‘walkers that are this spicy, I’ll look to moving more support cards out. I’d love to Conflux for the Oath cycle as well as the Honden and
Sanctuary cards. That would be really hot.

The Chain Veil
The Chain Veil is a great card in any deck with a lot of planeswalkers. Spend four mana and tap it. And then every single ‘walker you have gets two uses
of their abilities this turn. So you can use them to use their +loyalty abilities and then rock one of the better ones that take them off. The pricier
‘walkers, like Karn Liberated or Nicol Bolas, will get downright insane with a Chain Veil out. I’m pulling Norn’s Annex for it. It was included to protect
my ‘walkers form getting attacked, but the life payment (or white mana) is easy to do. It’s not a major deterrent.

So why the Chain Veil and not Doubling Season? Well a few reasons actually. First of all, The Chain Veil is designed to be in a planeswalker deck. This is
the shell for it. So it makes total flavor and mechanical sense. Plus, I have to spend four mana each turn I want to use it, so there’s a bit of a brake on
it. Doubling Season was created long before planeswalkers were a thing, has no flavor reasons to be in the deck, and abuses the point of planeswalkers. I
don’t want to drop a planeswalker and then get an ultimate ability to fire off immediately because of Doubling Season. It doesn’t feel right to
me. And this is my real life deck, so it’s not in the conversation. (If you want to run Doubling Season in yours, I’m not going get upset or throw a fit.
It’s your deck, not mine.)

Now let’s look at the cards that everyone wants to talk about! Get your ‘walkers ready and engaged!

Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
Not only is she the best Elspeth, but she’s also the best mono-white ‘walker of all-time, to my mind. Churning out three tokens while gaining loyalty is
just sick. Meanwhile her ability to Retribution of the Meek the table fits exactly the sort of board wiping that I want. I’m not sure I’d even want to get
her ultimate emblem since the first two are so good, but it’s there is case you need it. I’m pulling Elspeth Tirel for her. Tirel is not bad, and she still
gets you three tokens, although with -2 loyalty attached. And she can do a decent impression of lifegain with some creatures out. But this shell is clearly
an underwhelming one for her. So the Sun’s Champion is it. This is my easiest swap.

Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
– You’ve seen what I like in a planeswalker. The Dragonspeaker can become a flying indestructible Dragon and swing for four damage, all while increasing
loyalty. That works perfectly here. I can sweep the board and then swing, or swing then sweep, knowing that my guy will live either way. There are tactical
reasons for both, so I keep my options open. Batterskull was here to be a creature that I play, and then recur when the token dies and replay it. And if I
can, I can equip it. But that’s mana-heavy. So in this build, Sarkhan is the better choice and is heading in for Batterskull.

Sarkhan Unbroken
– In a five-color planeswalker shell, I’d have to be taking stupid pills on a daily basis to not include Sarkhan Unbroken. You get a +1 ability that makes
mana and draws you that precious card. Since the mana can be any color, you can use him to fix the mana or to help you drop other colored stuff. He can
spit out Dragon tokens when you need creatures instead of cards, and unless you really need Eternal Dragon on the battlefield in play, you can
ignore his ultimate ability. His first ability is all you want. If you thought that I might run all four Sarkhans though, you’ll be sad to see that Sarkhan
the Mad is heading out. All he does is draw you cards; the -2 Edict ability to replace something with a Dragon token is rarely used. And he quickly kills
himself with his first ability. He’s heading to the stands for the Unbroken version of himself (Sarkhan the Slightly Less Mad).

After those three obvious pulls, I have a stack of other planeswalkers that I’m looking at for the next few pulls. The guys from my deck that I know I want
to pull out are Venser, the Sojourner and Chandra Nalaar. Venser is amazing in the right build, and this is clearly not it. I like to use him to reset a
‘walker after they get down in loyalty, but that’s about the end of it. Chandra Nalaar has always been a bit unreliable. They are both out, no question. So
who heads in to replace them?

I want the ability to help control the board. To churn our token creatures or to draw me cards.

Vraska the Unseen
– She can turn into a No Mercy to kill anyone that tries to kill her. And then you can unleash the Gorgon and let her destroy any nonland permanent. That’s
pretty flexile, and it’s harder to kill her through traditional means of attacking her with stuff. If you manage to get her ultimate off, get ready for the
fun to begin!

Chandra, Pyromaster
– A four-drop that can still deal that one damage to a player, their creature, and then keep it from blocking is one of the best iterations of that one
damage she deals yet. And she can take a chance to get a good card for free from the top of your library. Since that ability doesn’t hurt her (unlike
Sarkhan the Mad) and she has a 0 ability that doesn’t drop her loyalty, you can use it over and over again. She’s pretty flexible that way, and our good
Pyromaster friend is in.

Those I’m all sold on. Are there any others I want to tag in?

Yes, actually there is:

Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath
– I like having a planeswalker in the deck that can do a few different angles of attack. This guy hits everyone’s life for a spot of loss and ebbs you up a
bit. All while gaining an impressive two loyalty. It’s a good way to hit players directly and move towards ending the game. Meanwhile you can pop out to
summon a 5/5 flying Demon every so often to help out the team. His emblem is fine, but again, not really something I’m looking for. The gentle clock and
Demon tokens are enough to make the cut. Unfortunately, Chandra, the Firebrand is coming out. Her Fork’ing ability really isn’t something that I use that
often. I can’t Fork a Wrath of God of Damnation; that doesn’t make sense. There are roughly six Fork-able options. I think folks would find it pretty
abusive to Fork Conflux or All Suns’ Dawn. So out she heads.

Here are the ones in my stack I’m still looking at and briefly why:

Ajani, Mentor of Heroes
– The +1 to Impulse four cards and to draw a creature, planeswalker, or aura is pretty powerful. But I have no needs for auras, and few creatures. Now if
it read enchantments? I would not even hesitate. Still good though.

Jace, Architect of Thought
– Making all attacking creatures smaller no matter how many foes you have is pretty good as a +1 in protecting the team. Drawing a card oddly is an
adequate option as well.

Ral Zarek
– The Lightning Bolt -2 ability is strong and reliable. I have Ajani Vengeant in my deck already, and they are very similar ‘walkers. Ral’s +1 is
slightly better – untapping can make mana by untapping a land or untapping a creature of mine that just swung. It has some value.

Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
– She can both tap something and keep it locked down for a bit. She has the potential to draw more cards than most other ‘walkers outside of their ultimate
ability. But she is very specific, and with my Wraths, I’m not sure how many tapped creatures there would be out there, even under my own control. (Note
that Tamiyo can be used to draw cards for your tapped creatures).

Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
– The ability to exile opposing libraries and other aspects of people is great since they are gone permanently, and Ashiok fights things like Sensei’s
Divining Top.

I also pulled out things like Gideon, Champion of Justice and the Kioras. And this is no place for folks like Nissa, Worldwaker, or Daretti, Scrap Savant.

Alright, I’m making one more planeswalker change. I’m pulling Ajani Goldmane for Ajani, Mentor of Heroes. It came down to him or Ral Zarek, and I went with
Ajani. The card advantage potential is just too good with him.

I don’t feel that the flip walkers from Magic Origins have the chops necessary to make the cut.

There are a few that I don’t own. Garruk, Apex Predator; Ugin, the Spirit Dragon; Teferi, Temporal Archmage; Ob Nixilis Reignited; and most importantly,
Ajani Steadfast. All of these cards would make a strong case for inclusion into my deck. But I just don’t have any. Shoot, I don’t even have extras of
Freyalise, Llanowar’s Fury! She could be in the argument as well.

That just leaves me with analyzing my creatures and support. Do I have any other options out there for making changes? I don’t see shifting my mana around.
These lands work. So do my mana rocks. Shard Convergence is downright perfect here. So what does that leave me?

Well I certainly don’t see me pulling Demonic Tutor, Wargate, Conflux (get all five Hondens!) or All Suns’ Dawn. Those are the fun cards I need to make
this stuff work. Obelisk of Alara and Legacy Weapon both fit the flavor and are suitably intriguing options to me. I have no desire to see those go either.

I have the six mass removal spells. Are any vulnerable? Have any better versions been printed recently? Now I could see myself sliding in Supreme Verdict.
The only real spot open is Phyrexian Rebirth. But I don’t always need anti-counters; my Wraths usually get through. And I’m certainly not guaranteed that
my Verdict would be in my hand when I needed it. Meanwhile I have a decent-sized token creature made post-Rebirth, so it always works. I’m going to keep it
for now.

That leaves Collective Restraint. That may not be needed as much post-changes since I added in multiple planeswalkers that draw cards to the mix. So it’s
heading home.

Are any of my creature vulnerable? I’ve pulled out Batterskull, which was a mana-heavy trick. I’m not a super-big fan of Darksteel Colossus in this deck.
If I get a copy of Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, I could see myself subbing it in. Spearbreaker Behemoth is simply in here as a 5/5 indestructible creature
and that’s it. That’s a pricey seven-mana investment. But it’s still better than Konda, Lord of Eiganjo or similar options. Meanwhile Genesis, Glory, and
Eternal Dragon all add layers of utility to the deck that are quite helpful. I am not above making my token team protection from red or blue and then
swinging. Glory also can be used to keep my stuff safe from targeted removal as well. But Genesis is clearly vulnerable in any deck with as few creatures
as I have. But I just don’t see anything that can replace the Behemoth or Genesis.

Except perhaps Greenwarden of Murasa….

It comes into play and does its best Eternal Witness imitation. It can swing for damage, and it’s big enough to be targeted by Spearbreaker Behemoth. When
it invariably dies, you can exile it to recur another card, so it’s always a two-for-one trade. That may be better than Genesis in this deck.

Let’s make the swap and try it out.

So for now, this is what we are looking at:

Abe Sargent
Test deck on 01-04-2016
Magic Card Back

And there we are! All set up and ready to rock!

So what did you think? Is there anything in here that you might like?

Maybe there’ll be some more goodies from Oath of the Gatewatch!