Five Colour Humans
Modern has a brand new deck and I’m super excited to write about it. The deck is called Five Colour Humans because it runs, well, humans… in all five colours. It’s not the most original name, but it does get across all the important info. The list below was used by Collins Mullen to take down the SCG Modern Open in Cincinatti on the 22nd of October. Since then it has put up results online, and I expect it to put up a few more results soon. Let’s have a look at the list and then I’ll explain some key cards of the deck.
What does the deck do?
The deck tries to cast as many humans as possible, and then turn them all sideways as quickly as possible. It sounds simple, but the deck takes quite a lot of skill to play correctly. The deck is able to function thanks to its twelve lands that produce mana of any colour. These are Cavern of Souls, Unclaimed Territory and Ancient Ziggurat. It also has humans that are able to disrupt and slow down the opponent just long enough to kill them. This is very much an aggro deck, but it definitely has some tempo elements (Reflector Mage) which I have missed in modern as of late.
The Mana Base
Five colour mana bases are usually really hard to assemble. But not in this deck. Thanks to the twelve lands that can tap for any colour, the mana is actually pretty strong. You name human for Cavern of Souls and Unclaimed Territory, and then the lands can tap for any colour to cast humans (thirty six cards in the deck are human). Cavern of Souls also helps you resolve important creatures against decks with counter spells in them (Cryptic Command etc). Unclaimed Territory is a new addition to modern (thanks Ixalan), and it is one of the reasons this deck has finally come together. Ancient Ziggurat may only cast creature spells, but with the only non creature spell being Aether Vial, that is not much of a setback. The mana base is so good that it’s able to support the inclusion of two Horizon Canopy for some late game insurance (you can sacrifice them to draw a card). It also includes Temple Garden, Hallowed Fountain and Plains as one-offs which can be fetched by Windswept Heath (three copies). These are basically support lands to help when you don’t have any of the five colour lands. The mana is also helped by Noble Hierarch which is a Human that can tap for three colours of mana and also provides Exalted to help a single creature get in for more damage. Another HUGE boost to the mana in the deck is the inclusion of Aether Vial. While it doesn’t generate mana, it does help put creatures into play and saves on the cost, which means it is easier to play multiple spells in a single turn which is super important in an aggro deck like this.
Let’s start with the heavy hitter that is Champion of the Parish. While it has never been as strong as it was in standard (man, I played this card A LOT back then *EDITOR’S NOTE* SAAAAMMMEE), it has finally found its perfect deck. With the huge amount of humans in the deck, you are almost guaranteed a trigger every turn. This can lead to gigantic Champions as early as turn three. The next card that really pushes the aggression is Thalia’s Lieutenant. This greatly increases the power of your humans and it also can grow larger like Champion of the Parish. The other heavy hitter in the two drop slot is Mayor of Avabruck which lets you pump all your humans and also forces your opponent to play spells to prevent it transforming and making a wolf army. At the top of the curve we have Mantis Rider (oh, how I’ve missed this card), which is perfect for flying over a clogged up board. I am so happy to see this card back in play and I know just how quickly it can close out a game, especially in multiples.
Let’s start with a card that most people will be familiar with: Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. This card can stop the opponent from casting their spells on time, but it doesn’t affect this deck because it only runs four Aether Vial as the only non creature spells. Kitesail Freebooter is another new addition from Ixalan which makes its way into the deck. This card lets you interact with the opponents hand to take a key card from them, and hopefully slow them down just long enough. Seeing their hand is also a huge advantage because the deck also plays Meddling Mage. This is a key card in a bunch of matches (mostly combo matches) as it can completely shut the opponent down by naming the right card. It also gets better in multiples, as the second one can name a removal spell to protect itself and other mages. Next up is Reflector Mage, which is well known to most players by now (so good it got banned in standard not too long ago). While we don’t have any Collected Company to play it at instant speed, there is still Aether Vial which can serve as a similar replacement. There is also Thalia, Heretic Cathar to make playing blockers or casting spells even harder. It is also quite a big creature, and first strike is not something to be underestimated.
The sideboard is made up of fifteen creatures. When was the last time you saw that!? Each creature is in there to help shore up certain match ups. Ethersworn Canonist helps against storm, which is quite popular at the moment. Anafenza, the Foremost is there to help against graveyard decks (it also beats down really quickly too). The other cards are pretty self explanatory. There is stuff to help against grindy decks such as (Tireless Tracker and Xathrid Necromancer), and also Vithian Renegades to slow down artifact decks (Affinity or Lantern).
This is definitely a deck that is going to see a lot of play for the next few weeks. After this we should know if it is the real deal or not. I certainly hope it’s able to stay around and put up some more decent results. It has a lot of game against most decks in modern, but once people start preparing for it then those match ups might swing the other way. You should definitely learn how to play against this deck, as it can attack from so many different angles and it’s important to know which threats you will need to interact with (assuming your deck interacts with the opponent). I’m very excited to see what happens with this deck and hopefully I’ll be able to get a few games with it under my belt too.