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Beyond Commander: Rainbow Stairwell

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Hello folks! I hope that you are having a wonderfully delightful day today! And moreover, I hope you are keeping safe in our modern COVID-19 world!

Do you enjoy playing Commander, but you are looking for a diversion? Are you looking for something more? Something new? Something that can shake up your evening? Have you gotten tired of the same metagame? Sounds good! Enter my Beyond Commander series! I am dedicating my October articles to giving you one casual format each week to take a gander at and consider for playing at your casual table.

Commander was introduced as a casual alterative for dominant formats of its day. But it has become the dominant force today. Where do you go next? What happens if you are looking for something beyond Commander? This series was inspired by several friends and fans that are feeling a little blasť from their Commander experience. They have played it so much that they have become indifferent to the format.

All right then, let's take a gander at today's format...

Rainbow Stairwell!

What is Rainbow Stairwell? Great question

The Rules for Rainbow Stairwell:

  • Your deck size is exactly 60 cards.
  • Your deck will include 6 cards of each color and 6 colorless artifacts.
  • Those cards will have a converted casting cost of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
  • Your deck will have a land base of 24 lands, consisting only of basic lands divided as you choose.

And that's it!

What I love about Rainbow Stairwell is that's is grokkable for Commander players. Like Commander, it has a specific deck size (100 for Commander vs 60 for Rainbow Stairwell). Like Commander it's Highlander and you cannot run more than one of any card, save for basics. Unlike Commander it's a true Highlander as you cannot run more than one of cards like Relentless Rats or similar cards. Those similarities help to move from one format to the other quite nimbly.

Anyone I've recommended the format too has really enjoyed it, but I've found that most playgroups see it as a fun diversion for a few weeks or a month or so rather than a true format they embrace whole cloth moving forward. That's fine though as it's a great diversion for those seeking it. Looking for something Beyond Commander? Rainbow Stairwell is for you!

Now let's build a deck or two to show you how the format works in real life beyond the theory.


And there you are! This is a deck built around a number of enters-the-battlefield triggers from Mulldrifter to Eternal Witness to Flametongue Kavu and many more alongside enablers such as Flickerwisp, Momentary Blink, and Conjurer's Closet!

I hope that you enjoy this first build for you.

Now...how about one more?


Here we have a control build that includes sweepers like Damnation, mana fetching like Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, game ending dorks such as Geth, Lord of the Vault, and many removal effects like Lightning Bolt and Swords to Plowshares. Enjoy!

And there we go! What did you think about this format? Are you excited to try it out? Any favorite formats your kitchen table uses as an alternative to Commander? Just let me know! Have a great (and safe) day!!!

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