The Return of Chameleon Colossus!

Features two new decks (kind of), an update to G/W Mana Ramp, and my recommendation for this week’s PTQs… which includes, unsurprisingly, 100% more Chameleon Colossus!

So I built the deck from Imagine a Thornling Wearing a Behemoth SledgeÒ€¦ just thinking about “good cards” rather than its context in the metagame.

In playing the Elves strategies from Standard Elves and then working on the subsequent Top Decks (premiering tomorrow on the mother ship) I realized that I really wanted Chameleon Colossus in… decks. Not just the G/W Mana Ramp deck, but other, say, mana ramping decks you may have seen here or say in the Pittsburg Regionals Top 8 πŸ™‚

For the G/W Mana Ramp deck I decided to move away from the original sort of G/W Tokens-ish model, re-contextualizing my threats. Out went Twilight Shepherd in order to help make room for Chameleon Colossus. I also changed the mana acceleration package, moving away from Rampant Growth and adding Wildfield Borderpost and Knight of the White Orchid, replacing Cloudgoat Ranger.

This made for a deck that was much less capable of exploiting Ajani Goldmane… So I also reconfigured the Planeswalker situation. This is what I ended up playing:

G/W Mana Ramp v. 2.0

2 Behemoth Sledge
4 Wildfield Borderpost

4 Kitchen Finks

4 Chameleon Colossus
4 Fertile Ground
3 Garruk Wildspeaker

3 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
4 Knight of the White Orchid
2 Martial Coup
4 Path to Exile
4 Spectral Procession

5 Forest
6 Plains
4 Treetop Village
4 Windbrisk Heights
4 Wooded Bastion

1 Behemoth Sledge
4 Cloudthresher
4 Aura of Silence
2 Martial Coup
4 Hallowed Burial

I played about five matches, but they felt much less relevant and conclusive than the previous night’s work with the first version of G/W Mana Ramp.

Five Color “Bounce”?
His mana base was very expensive (as many of them these days are)… But he didn’t do anything outstanding with that mana. Sure he played a Cryptic Command, but like sending Boomerang at my Wildfield Borderpost several consecutive turns was not beating anyone. Then I got Knight of the White Orchid card advantage and it was a mess for him, more-or-less.

Dominus Deck Wins
This was like a deck I suggested for Block Constructed PTQs last summer… U/R Mimic, Clout of the Dominus, and even the big Dominus itself!

His guys on the board were very good but I just stalled out of getting killed, got a little life back with the Behemoth Sledge, and won with Martial Coup and ‘walker card advantage. Dominus is pretty cool… I didn’t realize he could steal things like my equipment and a Planeswalker.

U/W Fog
Obviously this is a horrendous matchup but I felt like I could win either game, especially Game Two.

Game One I made a college try of it but eventually conceded when it looked like he wouldn’t make any truly catastrophic mistakes. Game Two was the annoying one. He played a Howling Mine on turn two and I missed four consecutive land drops anyway. I had to run Knight of the White Orchid for no value, stuff like that.

Anyway he drew all four Cryptic Commands in the first 34 cards which is why I lost, ultimately. I was very close to burning him out with Cloudthreshers and I was able to completely suppress his Howling Mines. On the last turn he played a Broken Ambitions that didn’t even resolve but he showed a four, trumping my Borderpost, and I got milled for my library (he had no Fog and no remaining Mine at that point).


Shorecrasher Mimic / Finest Hour Deck
We traded the first two; third game I just made a gigantic error that seemed like a cool play at the time. He had Elspeth and was launching Rhox War Monk at me. I blocked with a Spectral Procession token and sent my token to Exile to mise a card. I was going to Martial Coup with a ton of gas left — Spectral Procession, Chameleon Colossus, etc. — but then I realized that he would just kill me with Treetop Village + Elspeth!

I had no recourse but to string out blockers until I could find another Path to Exile or my own Elspeth; I found neither. He won by a mile but if I had played correctly, I would have won by a mile.

Funny… while I was making the play it seemed like a brilliant one!


Some Kind of ‘brew
It was a homebrew of some sort.


I quit at that point… This version of the G/W was not / is not ready for prime time yet.

Some people have been asking Will Price on Twitter if G/W is for real (I guess they didn’t want to ask me directly) … I think G/W can be good but neither of the decks I presented is likely to be the best deck. If I were playing this weekend, I would 100% play this:

Jund Mana Ramp v. 3.0

2 Makeshift Mannequin
3 Shriekmaw

4 Broodmate Dragon
4 Kitchen Finks

4 Chameleon Colossus
4 Civic Wayfinder
4 Cloudthresher
4 Rampant Growth

4 Banefire
3 Volcanic Fallout

4 Fire-Lit Thicket
8 Forest
2 Mountain
4 Savage Land
2 Swamp
4 Treetop Village

4 Anathemancer
1 Shriekmaw
1 Terror
3 Caldera Hellion
1 Volcanic Fallout
4 Primal Command
1 Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund

Yes, this is our Jund Mana Ramp deck, minus one Makeshift Mannequin, all the Gifts, and replacing those with one Swamp and four copies of Chameleon Colossus.

Will is also down with this swap.

He says that the great thing about this is that all the people who didn’t like Gift of the Gargantuan will now feel vindicated, even though this isn’t a change based on what they have been saying at all. We just analyzed the metagame and saw a gap for a very good threat.

B/W Tokens – Already a good matchup… Chameleon Colossus makes it even better.

G/W Tokens – Awesome matchup… The change yeilds very little difference (but arguably makes things worse as it reduces our ability to set up devastating Shriekmaw plays); should still be a great matchup.

Cascade Swans – Our worst matchup… that no one plays. Change is arguably better because speed matters here.

Faeries – Good matchup where Chameleon Colossus is just our best threat πŸ™‚

Elves – Good matchup where Chameleon Colossus is a nearly unbeatable threat for them.

So for most of the matchups in the format, Chameleon Colossus is a net positive. Ergo, welcome back, buddy!


P.S. I started testing yet another new deck and it has actually been really awesome! I will blog about it tomorrow-ish πŸ™‚ See ya then and all that.

Currently Reading: Gotham Central Vol. 2: Half a Life (Batman)

By the way Rucka is one of my favorite writers (Checkmate, Queen & Country and all that) and Lark is one of everyone’s favorite artists… I think I read somewhere that they both consider Half a Life the best story they’ve ever worked on. Just sayin’.

facebook comments:


#1 Gifts Ungiven on 06.10.09 at 9:35 pm

Have you read Rucka’s prose? If not, I recommend almost all of it (minus, curiously enough, the Batman novel, in which he was hamstrung by the dumbest story “event” ever, and couldn’t recover).

Rucka and Brubaker are among my favorite writers, and Lark is among my favorite artists, so you can imagine I was a huge Gotham Central fan. By and large, I liked volumes 1-5 a lot.

Also, I’m pondering my variation on a G/W deck for my next PTQ, so there’s that.

#2 wills on 06.11.09 at 3:58 am

Any thoughts on that Naya Ramp deck that got second in the Boston PTQ?

#3 oscar_leibowitz on 06.11.09 at 6:51 am

Do you really need 4 Cloudthresher? It seems so excessive, couldn’t you trim some of the 4 of’s and just play some copies of Maelstrom Pulse? I’m not sure why you keep excluding that card from your deck.

Also, I’m not so sure about the whole “people don’t play Swans anymore” argument. I agree its probably not as popular but I’ve seen people still playing it. Thought Hemmorhage probably still needs to be in your sideboard to keep them honest.

#4 Jeranimus Rex on 06.11.09 at 8:34 am

Have you ever read the Iron Man story “Daemon in a Bottle”? That’s probably one of the cooler comics I’ve read (I’ll admit that I bought it after the Iron Man movie came out.) Batman R.I.P. is also a really good read.

If G/W is having troubles, why not G/W/R? Or throw in an Enlisted Wurm into the G/W ramp deck for some pseudo Broodmate Dragon goodness.

#5 Slank on 06.11.09 at 10:30 am

Why do you eschew Maelstrom Pulse in your Jund Ramp deck? I’ve found it to be invaluable.

#6 admin on 06.11.09 at 11:06 am

@Gifts Ungiven
I have not read Rucka’s novels. Right now I am reading mono-comic books.

More on Naya tonight-ish!

Cloudthresher is too awesome. This deck is like a Batman deck. More bigger stuff is the plan. I am definitely into summoning 4. As to the other point, I find Maelstrom Pulse difficult to cast. Also it is worse than every other card in my deck.

@Jeranimus Rex
I have not read this story, but I have certainly heard of it. I found RIP to be officially “okay” – significantly worse than my favorite Batman and / or Grant Morrison pieces, such as E for Extinction or the first volume of All-Star Superman.

Like I said to Osyp, it’s difficult to cast in my version, and I think the rest of my cards are all better. One thing we were thinking of over Top 8 Magic side is cutting Shriekmaw for Maelstrom Pulse, but I am not sold on that, no, not at all.

#7 quetzilla on 06.11.09 at 8:20 pm

So I took the GW Ramp from the last post and took out the green — main deck the original version was really only playing green for ramp cards and garruk/sledge. Instead I decided to go all in on Knight of the White Orchid and borderposts, which works out really well:

3 Loxodon Warhammer
4 Mind Stone
4 Fieldmist Borderpost
4 Wildfield Borderpost

4 Knight of the White Orchid
4 Kitchen Finks
4 Spectral Procession
4 Cloudgoat Ranger
3 Oversoul of Dusk
3 Twilight Shepherd

4 Path to Exile
3 Martial Coup

16 Plains

Sideboard (still kind of junky)
4 Aura of Silence
4 Wispmare
3 Celestial Purge
3 Scepter of Dominance
1 Story Circle

Now as for the main deck choices, several are made because I play on a budget and can’t shell out yet for cards like Ajani/Elspeth/Windbrisk. Warhammer is the simple replacement for Sledge, and I upped it to 3. Oversoul is basically Chameleon Coloussus with extra protection and in my color. Mindstone looks a little odd along side procession and oversoul but usually turns out okay — the deck plays 24 white sources, the Mindstones are just extra on top that you can cash in again (and sometimes double up with Twilight Shepherd). Speaking of Twilight Shepeherd, I’ve liked it so far but I might find a better replacement. So far the deck is doing well — the tough matchup is BW tokens because they have ZP to trump the token plan, and I don’t have the tickets to buy wraths/burials/austere/whichever for the sideboard. Most games are won based on the mountain of card advantage that the deck churns out, and the rarity of mana problems.

Anyway, I’m no standard expert, but if GW isn’t working out then maybe take a look at mono W πŸ™‚

#8 FilthyLogician on 06.13.09 at 4:02 pm

So I ran this Ramp Deck (which I’m a sucker for on paper) against the Doran deck from GP: Seattle and got rolled about four hundred games in a row. The only damage I dealt my opponent in those four hundred games was ZERO. He dealt himself damage off of pain lands and that’s about it. Seriously. The 1985 NBA Finals Boston Massacre had nothing on this session of playing. It was unreal. Now, I didnt’ play the deck against anything else (we started off with the Doran matchup because the deck was sorta just laying there) but I’m going to, just to see if it’s good against other stuff.

I bet the deck is, because I just you’ve actually, you know, played the matchups, and so you’re right, I bet. But Doran is a terrrrrble matchup for this deck. Seriously. It can romp all over B/W, Faeries, whatever, but Doran just bends it over and says “My Turn.” So, if you’re gonna play this deck at a PTQ, scoop to all Doran matchups and go get lunch.

But again, I actually like the deck, in spite of its matchup against Doran. (It almost seems disingenuous to call it a “matchup” when really it’s a one-sided rape-and-pillage fest.)

Keep up the good work.

#9 Brendan on 06.14.09 at 5:12 am

I took your new Jund Ramp deck to a 6-3 (36th) at the Philly PTQ this weekend that had 318 players. I managed to completely punt to Faeries and Elves, but I just want to say that this deck goes pretty much 50/50 at least against everything but Swans, at least that’s how it felt from what I played… blew out G/W tokens, 3 close match wins against 5CB, blew out Reveillark, blew out some kind of Jund Aggro… thanks Mike!

#10 sgtd on 06.14.09 at 9:24 am

I like this itteration of Jund Ramp because I find the Garruk/Fertile Ground combination clunky at times; Rampant Growth+Wayfinder seems more consistent and allows you to run fewer nonbasics which is helpful against opposing Anathemancers, I hear . . .
I think the deck can survive without Maelstrom Pulse but I’m wondering if you can’t get some Jund Charm (in place of Fallout, maybe, unless you anticipate a lot of Fae) for Lark, which seems to be on the rise again. Also, without Garruk, maybe a miser Warhammer for trapling goodness?
I like Lavalance over Caldera Hellion: wipe their board, swing with team, win. The Maw reanimate trick is cool but it doesn’t kill opposing Colossi, Doran, DoR, etc. I’d personally drop teh Makeshift/maw combo for 4 Pulse and a singleton Hammer.
I personally love the four-ofs, even if it’s a bit Timmytastic.;)

#11 Tekanan on 06.14.09 at 5:17 pm

Hi Flores,

I told a friend to play your deck (GW Ramp) last Sunday for the Malaysian National Qualifiers. His deck differs from yours abit due to lack of cards, but it is indeed potent! My friend Top-8 in that, and almost hit Top-4 for Nationals qualification but unfortunately lost.

His sideboard is rather interesting, as he opted for WoGs, Burrenton Forge Tenders, Story Circles, and Stillmoon Cavaliers (!) to name a few. He mentioned that the stillmoon was a star player from the SB.

I am hoping you can further develop this deck (especially before the following upcoming sunday) so we can travel to the neighbouring state and maybe try to qualify yet again! More match reports and card analysis would definitely help. πŸ™‚

Btw, in Top-8 eliminations to Top-4, he lost to BW Persist… whom he fought against and won in round 5 (out of 6). The meta was filled with 5CB, elves variant (jund, etc), white weenie variants (mono-W, BW), a couple of bant and mono-red. Fae, Doran, Elves and 5CC made a very poor showing (although a 5CC did manage top-8…).

#12 HumorMe on 06.15.09 at 7:02 pm

For what it’s worth, I can vouch for Naya ramp. If I wasn’t allergic to mulligans, I bet I could have won Saturday. I got 4th with it, going 6-0-2 in the swiss and I made a play mistake in every single match. Just imagine what an actual good player could do with it!

My thoughts on the deck:

All cred to Noah Rabin for inventing it. I played his list, except I removed the needles and torments from the sb in favor of more hate for the mainstream. In particular, Oversoul of Dusk was MVP as I played 5CB 3 times in the swiss.

Maindeck, Banefire was meh. Did win me one game against Jund Ramp, but I would seriously consider removing them for 2xprimal and 1xoversoul. Primal is huge against anathemancer, and dead against nothing (except maybe fae). I didn’t see much for faeries. They won the previous week so everyone was gunning for them. That’s another reason to consider removing Banefire. Fae is one match where it shines, but if they are dwindling again, then it can move to the board.

I dodged GW Overrun, but I think it is a bad matchup. Might try to fit a 4th Hallowed Burial in the board this weekend.

The deck dies to swans. Yes, I beat it, but I got really lucky. We literally had one exchange that went:
“I throw a land at my swans”
“I path it in response”
“I throw another land in response”
“I path it in response”
“I throw another land in response”
“I path it in response”
“I throw my last land in response”
“I got nothing”
“Phew!” Untap with thresher and the gang.

Anyway, I would highly recommend the deck, especially if you’ve been searching in vain for a non-token GW deck that didn’t suck, as I have been.

#13 DeadLions on 06.16.09 at 10:23 am

So I’m playing Jund against blightning beatdown deck.

It’s the third game and I accidently mulligan to six… I don’t even know what my first hand looked like.

I have 1 Treetop Village, other lands, a civic wayfinder and a rampant growth. So I keep the hand in the hope of drawing something with legs or wings on it. I draw a primal command (which he saw last game) and drop my wayfinder, getting a swamp.

My opponent untaps, draws a card, plays a land, and then casts a Hypnotic specter… (Let’s not draw attention to how much this card sucks in the current standard). The next turn I activate my Treetop Village and swing.

In an ordinary situation an early Hypnotic specter might cause real problems for this deck. But I’m staring at a hand with three land, a rampant growth and my primal command when I pass the turn. I have a 1/5 chance of being able to cast the spell which matters next turn. That’s good right? …Well, this game, it’s not good enough. But this isn’t a bad beat story. Oh no, this is much more.

So I draw nothing the next turn and swing again. He plays a Thought Hemorrhage. I smile. He misses, but grabs all the finks from my deck.

I do nothing gain apart from swing and play another land. He plays a demigod, king of clocks. I topdeck a broodmate dragon, eater of clocks. There’s some shenianigans involving a volcanic fallout and everything dies. I topdeck a chameleon colossus and drop it, with about 6 life. He plays a second Thought Hemorrhage, naming Broodmate Dragon. I reveal all the lands, he reveals a blightning. The game is over, with me just three points out of reach.

In total that game I played probably 4 cards which mattered. Treetop Village, Broodmate Dragon, Chameleon Colossus and a
Civic Wayfinder. If I’d have drawn more threats, he’d probably have been able to play the second hemorrage earlier, catch something important from my hand and done that extra three points of damage. As it was, through topdecking very few threats with superb timing I managed to win a game which looked unwinnable at one point.

So there you have it. Jund wins games because it plays no threats.

#14 Five With Flores » Rhox Meditant Again on 06.19.09 at 7:25 pm

[…] it or not, “Primal Command I Guess?” was supposed to be part of “The Return of Chameleon Colossus!” but “Primal Command I Guess” got really long, and “The Return of Chameleon […]

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