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Much Abrew: Five-Color Elementals (Modern, Magic Online)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week during our Instant Deck Techs, the crazy Five-Color Elementals deck for Modern came out on top. As such, we're heading to Modern today to see if Standard all-stars like Risen Reef and Omnath, Locus of the Roil have what it takes to compete in the format. While the deck has some odd choices, the main plan is to generate a ton of Elemental value, either by using Risen Reef to ramp and draw a bunch of cards or by looping cheap Elementals from the graveyard, with the help of Thunderkin Awakener and Vesperlark. Does the Elemental tribe have what it takes to keep up in Modern? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Five-Color Elementals 


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  • Before getting into the deck and its performance, I should mention that we made a few small upgrades to the build from the original Instant Deck Tech. While the non-land cards in the main deck are exactly the same as in the Instant Deck Tech, the mana base in the original build was pretty scattered and rough. In place of the motley crew of seemingly random dual lands, we now have 12 five-color lands in Unclaimed Territory, Cavern of Souls, and Primal Beyond, backed up by Wooded Foothills, a few shock lands, and some basics. The other big change was to the sideboard, where we added four Leyline of the Void over slower graveyard hate like Scavenging Ooze. With Hogaak running around, having fast graveyard hate by the first turn of the game is essential for keeping up. And since we need access to our own graveyard for Vesperlark and Thunderkin Awakener, Leyline of the Void is the best option for our deck.
  • As for our record, we played a league with Five-Color Elementals and ended up with a pretty solid 3-2 finish. We played Hogaak twice and managed to go 1-1, which was impressive, while our other loss came to Merfolk. Meanwhile, apart from the Hogaak win, we also took down Urza Thopter Sword (another hot deck from Mythic Championship III) and UW Control. While 3-2 isn't an absurd record, for a crazy five-color deck featuring a bunch of Standard cards, it was a surprisingly strong performance. 
  • Let's start with the good news about the deck: it's extremely strong in any sort of fair matchup. Why cards like Risen Reef, Vesperlark, and Thunderkin Awakener can be slow in unfair matchups, they generate an unbelievable amount of card advantage, allowing Five-Color Elementals to simply outdraw removal-heavy midrange and control decks. 
  • Once the deck gets going, it seems like a nearly unstoppable engine of card advantage. It's pretty easy to go from close to empty-handed and with little on the battlefield and suddenly end up with a hand full of cards and a massive board in just a turn or two. 

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  • The deck felt a bit too finisher-heavy. While having a way to close out the game with one big attack is nice, having Finale of Devastation, Omnath, Locus of Rage, and Craterhoof Behemoth is a bit much. We had some games where we ended up drawing two or three expensive finishers without having the mana to cast them, and although we did win one game with Craterhoof Behemoth, we mostly just out-valued our opponent with small Elementals. Cutting down to one dedicated finisher and using the open slots for more copies of Omnath, Locus of the Roil (which is really, really good in the deck and should probably be at least a three-of, and maybe a four-of) would probably improve the deck.

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  • The other cards I didn't like in the deck were the planeswalkers and Vivien's Arkbow. With the updates to the mana, to include Cavern of Souls, Primal Beyond, and Unclaimed Territory, it's actually pretty hard to cast non-Elemental cards, especially Chandra, Acolyte of Flame, which requires double red mana. Dropping these cards for some removal or even just more random Elementals (we really need more Omnath, Locus of the Roil) seems like a good plan. Even if we could cast these cards with ease, I'm not sure they are good enough in the deck.
  • In the end, Five-Color Elementals felt surprisingly competitive. While this build is certainly rough around the edges and can be improved, Risen Reef (combined with the older Lorwyn-block Elementals) seems like enough to make Elementals into a competitive tribe in Modern with some more tuning and brewing. 
  • So, should you play Five-Color Elementals? I think the answer is yes, especially if you're willing to do some brewing and tuning. The build we played today felt solid, despite some flaws, which means the deck should be even better with some updates. If you like value-heavy tribal decks that draw a ton of cards and offer some unique synergies, Five-Color Elementals seems like a reasonable option for Modern. It's also worth mentioning that most of the deck is pretty cheap. While Cavern of Souls and Wooded Foothills in the mana base push up the price, if you're willing to play slightly more budget-friendly mana, you can cut the cost of Five-Color Elementals to under $400, which is a pretty reasonable deal for Modern, where decks often push near the $1,000 mark.


Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's deck by liking, commenting on, and subscribing to Instant Deck Tech videos. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOliveThu or at

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