Sift Through Sands - Cecily/Othelm and Cromat

Wes Stuckey • October 6, 2022

Genesis Ultimatum | Art by Jason Rainville

Five-Color Fantasy

Hello, all! Welcome back to Sift Through Sands, where we look at two different Commander decks that share a core card package in order to see how interesting cards can be useful in various strategies.

With all the spoilers these days, it's easy to get lost in the shuffle (ha ha). Many EDH players are excited for the Warhammer 40,000 decks, and more are scouring through Unfinity (or giving it the Minotaur review). In the meantime, I've been caught up admiring the Jared Carthalion Painbow precon deck that released with Dominaria United (the list for which you can see here). Combine that with all the new Domain cards in the set, and I got in the mood for five-color Commander decks!

Our Picks

Building rainbow decks is quite the challenge. Not only do you have to grapple with every legal card in Commander, but you have to construct a mana base that lets your deck function. An easy way to work around this is narrowing down themes.

Cecily, Haunted Mage and Othelm, Sigardian Outcast are an odd pair, encouraging us to build a deck with flashy instants and sorceries alongside creatures we want to recur. The Domain mechanic lets us not only use Cecily to cheat big mana spells out for free, but also allows us to use Othelm to resurrect important utility creatures, like the ever-present Sakura-Tribe Elder, in order to ramp and make sure we have all the land types we need.

Our other general, Cromat, is one of the coolest (if not THE coolest) creatures in Magic, and quite a threat when attacking with open mana. As a thematically colorful creature, we can build around both flashy mutlicolor creatures while keeping the power of open mana in mind, creating a deck that always has a response and always has beaters. Let's check out our first deck!


Commander (2)
Artifact (7)
Creature (19)
Enchantment (4)
Instant (8)
Sorcery (24)
Planeswalker (1)
Land (36)

Archidekt link

Playing Cecily/Othelm

Listen, we all know that Sakura-Tribe Elder is a good card. In this deck, it and creatures like it (Magus of the Wheel, Scribe of the Mindful, Embodiment of Spring and so on) are essential. Othelm makes their individually useful effects consistent turn-to-turn, allowing us to set up exciting plays. Domain cards, like Briar Hydra or Scion of Draco, need land types to be useful, and utilizing one of our commanders to empower the mechanic will help set us up early game.

As we work our ramp and assemble our proverbial domain, many of our spells become much more useful. Territorial Kavu becomes a beatstick with attached utility, removal like Drag to the Bottom kills more creatures. All the while, we're ramping with the likes of Slimefoot's Survey and drawing with cards like Inspiring Refrain in order to use Cecily. Distortion Strike, Mask of Riddles, and Hunter's Prowess all help get her get through and make sure we're able to meet her eleven card requirement.

By late game, we should be able to pop Cecily off or simply cast our flashy spells. We're running quite a few ultimatums (Brilliant Ultimatum, Cruel Ultimatum, Emergent Ultimatum, Genesis Ultimatum, and Inspired Ultimatum in particular), all of which are fun to hardcast and even more fun to play for free. These cards solidify victory via game-changing card advantage. Unifying the deck is Last Stand, another one of the coolest cards in Magic, which takes full advantage of our lands (most of which have basic land types).

Where Cecily/Othelm care more about hand size and lands to set up big plays, while incrementally improving our Domain cards, our Cromat deck is more focused on assembling mana to cast threatening multicolor creatures, and using their colorful nature to our advantage. Let's look at the list.

Pride Deck

Commander (1)
Artifact (12)
Creature (20)
Enchantment (12)
Instant (8)
Sorcery (10)
Planeswalker (1)
Land (35)

Archidekt link

Playing Cromat

Early game fixing and ramp are essential to getting our low-curve creatures in play. Giltspire Avenger, Glint-Eye Nephilim, and General Ferrous Rokiric all are good early threats, keeping our opponents on their toes. Playing Cromat when we have Golgari Signet or Orzhov Signet open makes the implied threat of regeneration or destroying a blocker something more our opponents have to deal with. With this open mana, modal spells that provide us with options become even more effective, letting us leave mana up to do whatever with we please. Abzan Charm, Sultai Charm, Hide // Seek, and others all fill this role nicely.

As we gain mana and multicolor creatures, utilizing those colors to our advantage helps us win. Our Auras like Steel of the Godhead and Shield of the Oversoul give us evasion and protection, Ana Sanctuary buffs a single creature by a staggering +5/+5 when its conditions are met, while Knight of New Alara and Jared Carthalion also provide large buffs and utility. Creatures like Zurgo Helmsmasher and Two-Headed Hellkite become far more dangerous with these cards in play.

As we try and beat our opponents down, Wilderness Reclamation keeps Cromat a threat every turn. Well-timed boardwipes like Iridian Maelstrom can leave us in a favorable position, and our high mana value creatures like Sphinx of the Steel Wind, Thraximundar, and Primeval Spawn help finalize our board. Legacy Weapon gives us powerful removal on a stick, letting us take out anything that we don't want to see as we attack to victory.

In both of our decks, cards that ensure our access to mana and use card colors to our advantage work as a core to make the decks effective. While each deck embellishes this concept in different directions, the following cards are in both decks:

Having access to any color is a factor that should strengthen our deck against other decks, rather than weaken it. Running the best utility pieces (like charms), effective boardwipes, and efficient beaters all makes this work. Two-Headed Hellkite and Maelstrom Archangel can carry games on their backs, and the advantage we get from Maelstrom Nexus is explosive. Most importantly, recent reprints makes many dual lands with basic land types (like Smoldering Marsh) more accessible than ever for a budget player, knocking down one of the most challenging parts of building rainbow decks. Murmuring Bosk should be an auto-include! You know you're going to run Faeburrow Elder anyways.

Playing five-color is one of the most entertaining ways to build a Magic deck. When you narrow down your focus, you can do some incredibly cool things even outside of goodstuff. I want to hear about your five-color decks! What makes them appealing to you, and what weird strategies have you been able to make work? Let me know in the comments and I'll be back next time with more jank. Thanks for reading!

The untenable Wes Stuckey is the jankiest Magic player to roam the streets of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (their first brewed deck was Blind Seer "old cards"). By day, they work in circulation at one of the city's many great libraries. By night, you can find them slinging spells, running campaigns, and listening to music with friends and the cat.