Budget Upgrade Cards for MTG’s Precon Painbow Platform

Painbow is one of the best prequel flaws of Magic The Gathering Commander in recent collections. It focuses on polishing multicolored creatures to ridiculous heights before you swing with them to deal fatal damage. The Jared Carthalion, the best deck captain option, is the cornerstone of this strategy, easily crafting five 8/8″ color tokens with loyalty abilities.


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Despite the Painbow’s relative strength, they can still do upgrades to raise the level of energy you might expect on an average EDH schedule. Here are the best ways to affordably upgrade your Painbow pre-con deck, from mana base improvements to massive multi-colored creatures.

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10/10 Highlight

Bring to Light is a sorcery that uses multiple colors of Mana to teach a spell from your library, ready for free casting. It’s best to cast it with five colors of mana, as this allows you to cheat in game-changing spells like Maelstrom Nexus and Rienne, Angel of Rebirth.

If you don’t have mana to light up with all five colors, you can still get a cool effect by marking cards like Glint-Eye Nephilim, Atla Palani, and Nest Tender.

9/10 Two-headed Hellkite

Two-Headed Hellkite is a creature with a budget that will greatly improve Painbow’s damage-handling potential. As a five-color card, it makes the most of the Jared Carthalion’s loyalty ability -3, receiving +5/+5 when activated.

Two-Headed Hellkite’s keyword abilities make it very likely that the opponent will be inflicted some significant damage. Flying and Menace make blocking Hellkite very difficult, while Haste ensures that he can come out and swing right away for great damage. At around $7, Two-Headed-Hellkite is one of the most expensive cards on this list. If you’re willing to part with money, it’s a good idea to include it in your collection.

8/10 mrari wake up

Mirari’s Wake is a very popular card in Commander, and it’s an easy inclusion when it comes to a combat-focused multicolor deck like the Painbow pre-con. For five mana, Mirari’s Wake will remove every creature you control and double the mana production of your lands.

While the buffing effect for creatures is a nice bonus, it’s the mana ability that Mirari’s Wake for. Multiplying your land’s Mana output is huge in a group that can sometimes struggle with mana repair and its high cost. Mirari’s Wake currently sells for about $7.

7/10 Tome Of The Guildpact

The Tome of the Guildpact is a great way to cheaply improve Painbow’s greatest weakness: its relatively weak deck of cards. While the value of Mana is fairly high at five, its ability to draw your cards any time you cast a multi-colored spell is invaluable for keeping you off the deck during the second half of the game.

Because Painbow is all about casting multi-colored spells, the Tome of the Guildpact will always work, no matter when it makes it to the table. It’s also one of the cheapest upgrades on this list, with copies usually selling for less than $1.

6/10 spells

Spells are a ten-card spin of mana rock artifacts that tap one of two colors. While you’ll only have to deal a single damage to activate this effect, that’s nothing in the 40 Lives Commander game.

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Not all spells are budget-friendly, with costs ranging from $1.30 to $13. Fortunately, you’ll only want to add one or two to your deck anyway, so you can buy two cheaper ones to replace inefficient lands like Bad River and Krosan Verge.

5/10 Ornithopter Of Paradise

Ornithopter of Paradise is a fairly ordinary method of mana repair, acting as a dual mana chromatic lantern suffering from Summoning Sickness. No doubt most Commander players will see this card’s similarities to Birds of Paradise, one of the best mana dorks in Commander.

What separates these two cards are their mana costs – Ornithopter costs two of the year’s Mana, while Birds of Paradise only costs one. The cost difference makes Ornithopter a drastically worse version of Birds of Paradise in the no-budget deck list. However, Birds of Paradise is currently priced at around $15, which puts it out of the way for this list. Ornithopter of Paradise can be had for just $0.25, making it an excellent addition that can replace some of Painbow’s old mana rocks.

4/10 dragon arc

Painbow is full of multicolored creatures with high mana values. This makes Dragon Arch an excellent way to cheat your high-cost cards, and cast more spells per turn in the process. Once on the board, the Dragon Arch can cheat a multicolored card from your hand at each turn for only mana.

In a deck so focused on its five-color identity, nearly every creature you have in your hand will be multicolored, almost guaranteeing that the Dragon Arch will have a target for cheating. At just $0.50, the Dragon Arch is a no-brainer when it comes to speeding up the Painbow, and doing more damage as a result.

3/10 Gigantha, source

The biggest challenge for most five color decks is mana installation – setting up your board so you have the correct mana to cast the five color spells. Jegantha, Wellspring is a great way to do this due to its tap ability that adds one mana of each color to your mana pool. It’s also one of the cheapest ways to improve your Painbow mana installation, with prices currently around $6.

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The best way to include Jegantha in the group is to run her as a companion. This ensures that you can bring them into your hand once per game, as long as you can pay the three generic mana to add them. In its initial state, Painbow’s deck menu does not allow you to run Jegantha as a companion. Fortunately, you will only have to cut the Time Wipe to make Jegantha a legal companion, so replace it with Jegantha to upgrade easily.

2/10 Sol ring

Sol Ring is the most common non-ground card of a leader, which makes excluding it from the default Painbow deck menu a confusing decision. Sol Ring is so popular and powerful that its legitimacy in the format is constantly being questioned by some players.

Sol Ring is an inexpensive and universally great mana rock that gives you one mana per turn and two per turn after that. At just $2, there’s no reason not to include it in any surface you create, and Painbow is no different.

1/10 Tateova, daughter of the priest

Tatyova, Benthic Druid is an easy card to include when upgrading any deck that needs to boost card draw capabilities. Its easy-to-play card draw ability makes it very easy to get value from it, and its lower Mana value means it’s easier to cast than other perpetual draw cards like Tome of the Guildpact.

While Tatyova’s life-sustaining effect is negligible in a 40-life format like Commander, his card-drawing effect is reason enough to include it on his own. At less than $1 for a near mint version, the Benthic Druid is a no-brainer when upgrading your Painbow deck menu.

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