Painbow Upgrade Guide – 5 Different Ideas

At this point, we’ve seen dozens of Commander pre-constructed decks come out. Every single new set these days comes with two to five unique Commander decks. However, despite all these decks, we’ve only ever seen a single one that includes all five colors. Considering the popularity of five color decks, this is a shame.

Well, with the release of Dominaria United, we begin to right this wrong. That’s right: Painbow is a five color Commander precon coming out with the newest set. Today, in this Painbow Upgrade Guide, we’re gonna talk about this deck. So, if you bought this deck and want a reference for upgrading it in a powerful or distinctive way, stick around. That’s exactly what we are going to be covering in today’s article.

A Brief Note on Budget

If you haven’t read any of these upgrade articles before, welcome. I always have a lot of fun thinking of strange interactions with the new commanders. That being said, I never pull any punches related to budget. I’m not trying to exclude anyone by doing that. Rather, I want to provide the most thorough brainstorm that I can to inspire any person who reads this. If there is ever a card that could reasonably replace an expensive card, I’ll try to include that in the same section.

Despite my best efforts, chances are I won’t come up with every possible upgrade for this deck. If you think of a cool idea that I miss, please let me know about it. You can leave a comment down below, or contact me on social media. I’ll include my links at the end of the article.

If you don’t own the Painbow precon already, you can get it on Amazon.

Painbow Dominaria United Commander Decks Decklists

Painbow Decklist

Commander (1)
Jared Carthalion

Creatures (21)
Archelos, Lagoon Mystic
Atla Palani, Nest Tender
Baleful Strix
Coiling Oracle
O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami
Faeburrow Elder
Fusion Elemental
Zaxara, the Exemplary
Hero of Precinct One
Illuna, Apex of Wishes
Knight of New Alara
Maelstrom Archangel
Nethroi, Apex of Death
Rienne, Angel of Rebirth
Selvala, Explorer Returned
Solemn Simulacrum
Surrak Dragonclaw
Transguild Courier
Glint-Eye Nephilim
Xyris, the Writhing Storm

Sorceries (13)
Explosive Vegetation
Kodama’s Reach
Merciless Eviction
Migration Path
Painful Truths
Radiant Flames
Search for Tomorrow
Time Wipe

Instants (9)
Abzan Charm
Beast Within
Echoing Truth
Growth Spiral
Naya Charm
Path to Exile
Sultai Charm
Sylvan Reclamation

Artifacts (5)
Arcane Signet
Coalition Relic
Fellwar Stone
Commander’s Sphere
Prophetic Prism

Enchantments (3)
Abundant Growth
Maelstrom Nexus
Path to the World Tree
Lands (39)
Bad River
Arcane Sanctum
Canopy Vista
Cascading Cataracts
Cinder Glade
Command Tower
Crumbling Necropolis
Crystal Quarry
Evolving Wilds
Exotic Orchard
Flood Plain
Frontier Bivouac
Jungle Shrine
Krosan Verge
Mountain Valley
Murmuring Bosk
Mystic Monastery
Nomad Outpost
Opulent Palace
Prairie Stream
Rocky Tar Pit
Sandsteppe Citadel
Savage Lands
Seaside Citadel
Smoldering Marsh
Sunken Hollow
Terramorphic Expanse

New Cards* (9)
Jenson Carthalion, Druid Exile
Two-Headed Hellkite
Tiller Engine
Unite the Coalition
Fallaji Wayfarer
Iridian Maelstrom
Mana Cannons
Primeval Spawn
Obsidian Obelisk

*These are brand-new cards that come in the Painbow deck. If their display images aren’t working, that means that they haven’t been added to the database that we use. You can find the cards in our Dominaria United Commander article.

Painbow – General Upgrades

Jared Carthalion Dominaria United Commander Decks

In this section, we’ll take a look at the generic Painbow upgrades. No matter which direction you decide to take this deck in, these upgrades will help you improve it.

The Mana Base

One legitimate reason that we probably don’t get very many five color precons is because the mana can be fairly difficult to get right. Or at least, that’s what WotC would want us all to believe. In truth, the mana base for Painbow is workable; not great, but not that bad.

However, the lands are always something that a Commander deck can improve. Doubly so for a precon. Unfortunately, a “perfect” mana base has a bad reputation for being pretty expensive. Here are some of the reasons why:

Five Colors on a Budget

Even though the above cards are great, they are not the one true way to construct a five color deck. Magic has been making dual land cycles for as long as it has existed. If you are willing to lean into the strengths of some of those cycles, they can serve you extremely well. I go more in-depth on this topic in another article, titled How to Build a Five Color Commander Deck. Check it out for further reference on this topic.

Baldur's Gate Painbow Upgrade Guide

I will, however, talk about one budget strategy in this article: Gates. In Commander Legends 2: Battle for Baldur’s Gate, Wizards added nine new lands to the game with the subtype Gate. In total, that brings the number of Gates in Magic to twenty. Twenty Gates, combined with a small package of Gate-focused ramp cards, can form the foundation of a highly functional five color mana base on a budget.

Among the cards in your Gates package, you should probably include Maze’s End, Circuitous Route, Guild Summit, and potentially Gate’s Ablaze. These will offer you the support you need to round out your mana base, so your deck can run a little more smoothly.

Gold Lands

City of Brass Painbow Upgrade Guide Lands

A lot of the lands that can tap for any color of mana got a reprint fairly recently. This means that their price is as low as it will be for a long time. I would highly recommend picking up one or more of each of these if you can:

General Commander Synergies

One thing I would like to note about this deck is that it is the first Commander precon ever that doesn’t include a Sol Ring. I personally don’t believe that every deck ever should play Sol Ring, but if you disagree, you should add one to this deck.

What to Take Out

As of late, Wizards has released Commander decks that are noticeably more focused around a central theme. Maybe it’s that the theme of this deck is a little too vague, but it doesn’t seem to be as tuned as other recent precons. Cards like:

…and so many of the utility instants and sorceries from this deck have little to no synergy with the commanders. Granted, the potential synergies for this deck are not going to be very tight to begin with. All this is to say that, as you upgrade this deck, very few cards are irreplaceable. Even the five color cards, in versions of the deck that don’t care about that, can come out.

Nothing is sacred in this deck. If you love a card and want to keep it in despite its lack of synergy, that’s fantastic. Otherwise, feel free to cut anything that comes in the precon to make room for something that contributes more actively to the deck’s central theme.

And don’t forget that your deck needs an appropriate amount of ramp, removal, card draw, etc. If you can find cards that fill these roles and synergize well with the rest of the deck’s strategy, that is ideal. Otherwise, any of the cards that do so from the precon are about as good as any other card out there.

5 Ways to Upgrade

Now for the main event. After looking at the two face commanders for this deck and considering them from every angle, these are three themes that I decided to try to focus around for this deck:

  1. Oops, All Colors
  2. +1/+1 Counters
  3. Superfriends
  4. Tribal
  5. Treasures

Power Level

At the beginning of each of the next sections, I included a range of numbers. That range is what I expect this deck to be able to perform at on a 1-10 power scale. (Based on the power scale established by the Command Zone Podcast.) For more information on the Commander power scale, you can take a look at the table below.

Power LevelNameDescription
1-2Jank Very little synergy among cards. No Commander staples. Under powered on purpose.
3-4Casual Some synergies, but lacking the strong ones. The deck still lacks focus. Mana curves mostly neglected. A deck that a new player would build.
4-6Focused Synergy exists, the deck has a focused gameplan, although it doesn't always win in the exact same way, usually after turn 13. Includes staples and a small amount of tutors. On the same power level as most Commander precons.
7-8Optimized Powerful and varied synergies between the cards. A decent number of good tutors. Good mana curve. Has an efficient and consistent way to win on turns 10-12 (level 7) or 7-9 (level 8). Some social rules — like no mass land destruction, no consistent combo wins — still exist.
9-10Competitive The most powerful decks, on competitive EDH level. Quick and explosive, can win on turns 4-6 (level 9) or 1-3 (level 10). No social rules, no jank cards. Only the most powerful commanders and strategies can reach this level.

Actual power levels may vary, but let those numbers be a guide when considering upgrading this deck in those ways.

1. Oops, All Colors (4-7)

Recommended Commander: Jared Carthalion or Jenson Carthalion, Druid Exile

First and foremost, let’s see if we can clean up the deck’s intended strategy a bit. It seems like the deck wants to care about multicolored cards. This seems reasonable, but vague. Niv Mizzet Reborn, Rienne, Angel of Rebirth, and General Ferrous Rokiric are each better payoffs for playing multicolors cards. If you want to maximize the value you can get out of either Jared or Jenson, you need to try to play cards with all the colors.


For a deck that seems to care about having as many colors as possible, Painbow only has six five color cards. This is ridiculous. Let’s look at what other options are available to increase this number:

Five Color Support

Jodah, Archmage Eternal Painbow Upgrade Guide

In addition to these cards, there are a handful of cards that support a five color theme. A lot of them don’t have very many colors, so you don’t want to overload on these. However, a select handful could make your deck quite a bit better.

You probably want to minimize the number of cards in your deck that don’t fit your theme of all five colors. However, if you have to break that rule, cards with the ability Domain are great in decks with lots of different basic land types. Domain is a returning mechanic in Dominaria United, so I’ll likely bring it up again in a minute. Until then, here are a few of the most interesting cards with Domain that I found:

Tribal Tribal

Maskwood Nexus Painbow Upgrade Guide

I left out a lot of five color cards in the list I made above. The reason for this is that many of the five color cards in Magic are specifically for one tribe that appears in all colors. For example:

It is very hard to tie all of these cards together into one deck. That is, it would be hard without the help of cards like Maskwood Nexus, Arcane Adaptation, Conspiracy, and Xenograph. You could also use Imagecrafter, Mistform Mutant, and Unnatural Selection to lesser effect.

Or, if you already have one of these effects and draw an off-tribe lord, you could use Artificial Evolution to make the off-tribe card fit right in. All these effects would make sure you get the most out of Jared or Jenson’s abilities, while still mechanically tying together seemingly unrelated cards.

New Cards From Dominaria United

All five colors is a pretty prominent theme in DMU. There is even a powerful new five-color card that could fit well into the 99. That card is Jodah, the Unifier. There are also plenty of cards with Domain, a mechanic we talked about earlier. Some of them don’t seem too interesting, but the following could potentially be powerful in this version of this deck:

Finally, there are two mana rocks that you should add to this deck from the main set. Those are Timeless Lotus and Relic of Legends. The Relic might not seem to directly relate to this deck’s strategy, but there are enough legendary creatures in the deck to make this a very solid option.

What to Take Out

As I said before, this deck does not seem to come with very much synergy. Thanks to that, you could probably cut any number of cards from the precon to make room for the exciting new cards we’ve just talked about. I would recommend leaving in any five color cards, as well as cards like Faeburrow Elder or Hero of Precinct One. You want to make sure that you still fill your utility roles like card draw and removal, but you can accomplish that with Domain cards etc.

2. +1/+1 Counters (5-8)

Recommended Commander: Jared Carthalion

Winding Constrictor How to Upgrade Painbow Precon

Even though this strategy feels pretty unrelated to the deck’s main focus, one of the payoffs that you get from Jared Carthalion for playing a bunch of colors is to distribute +1/+1 counters to some of your creatures.

This deck archetype is most commonly found in Green, White, and Black decks, so let’s see what we get by adding all the colors to it. First and foremost, you will probably still need your classic counters staples.

+1/+1 Counters and Multiple Colors

Other than these, you probably still want to have creatures with a lot of colors to work with Jared. Obviously, you can have cards that have fewer colors, but here are some notable 3+ color cards that care about +1/+1 counters:

A couple of notable creatures that I want to point out that are actually colorless are Ramos, Dragon Engine and Crystalline Crawler. Despite not pulling their own weight in the number of colors category, they provide a massive amount of value if your +1/+1 counters engine is already firing.

Brokers Ascendancy

And lastly, a few noncreature cards that work quite well with this strategy:

There are countless cards in the game, that work with +1/+1 counters. I’m not even trying to claim that this list contains the ‘best’ for this strategy. It might take some experimentation, but if this is the strategy you like, you should find the ninety-nine that you like best and play that.

New Cards From Dominaria United

There aren’t a ton of cares that synergize with counters in this set, but I’ll include a few of the notable ones that do:

These may or may not actually be strong enough to include in whatever your version of a five color counters deck is. However, if you do open them in any Dominaria United boosters, they would at least be worth considering.

What to Take Out

Since this precon doesn’t focus specifically on counters, you can take out any number of cards to make room for cards that do synergize. I would recommend keeping Glint-Eye Nephilim and Xyris, the Writhing Storm since they have a good amount of colors, plus they do some pretty powerful things if you boost their power with +1/+1 counters.

If you decide to not keep them, keep in mind how they are powerful in a deck like this. Let that be a guide for what cards you ultimately decide to include in your deck.

3. Superfriends (5-8)

Recommended Commander: Jared Carthalion

Oath of Teferi Painbow Upgrade Guide MTG Commander

Five color superfriends is one of the most popular versions of this archetype. (Superfirends is a strategy that plays a bunch of planeswalkers.) There are abundant amounts of them, led by a couple of different commanders. Jared Carthalion doesn’t explicitly encourage a superfriends strategy, but being a planeswalker himself lends him to synergize with the rest of the cards that could appear in such a deck.

You could even commit to only playing planeswalkers in order to run Umori, the Collector as your companion. If you are unwilling to leave out some important utility cards, though, here are some cards that appear commonly in planeswalker decks:


It would probably be a mistake to include every one of these cards. You need to leave enough slots open to run a critical mass of planeswalker cards. Superfriends decks usually fun anywhere from thirty to fifty planeswalkers. This is a pretty insane range, but I would probably recommend somewhere between 30-35.

That way, you will most likely see enough in a game that your deck feels like a superfriends deck, but you will also probably find plenty of your non-planeswalker utility cards to make the deck work well.

Ajani, the Greathearted How to Improve Painbow Commander Precon

Which is not to say that your deck can’t work well with too many planeswalkers. In fact, you will definitely be able to find the planeswalkers that you need to be able to fill most if not all of your utility roles. Tons of planeswalkers draw cards, remove threats, ramp, and even clear the board for you. Here are a few that even have added synergy with other planeswalkers:

I don’t know if Jared is going to be better than other five color superfriends commanders. However, I am confident that he can lead a fun and powerful deck.

New Cards From Dominaria United

In Dominaria United there are three planeswalkers: Liliana of the Veil, Jaya, Fiery Negotiator, and Ajani, Sleeper Agent. Of these three cards, I would say that Ajani is the most relevant to this kind of deck. The others could also work, but Ajani gives you access to synergistic card advantage and an awesome win condition.

Also, Urza Assembles the Titans seems to be an insanely powerful card in a superfriends deck like this. Especially if you can utilize planeswalkers like Aminatou, the Fateshifter or Venser, the Sojourner to trigger its abilities multiple times before you have to sacrifice it.

What to Take Out

Again, you could cut almost any card from this precon to make room for all the superfriends cards you want to add. There aren’t any cards in the entire deck that are vital to making this strategy work. However, cards like Faeburrow Elder and Abundant Growth could potentially be helpful ramp/fixing cards. These aren’t irreplaceable, but it is nice that they already come in the deck.

4. Tribal

In some ways, the previous section was an Exploration of the tribal potential for Jared Carthalion. However, we didn’t look at the creatures that Jared makes, nor did we look at how Jenson Carthalion, Druid Exile fits into his tribes at all. And since I always like to consider how the new commanders contribute to their respective tribes, let’s talk about them now.

Kavus (3-6)

Recommended Commander: Jared Carthalion

Kavu Howler Painbow Upgrade Guide MTG Commander

First up, we have a creature type first seen in Invasion block: Kavus. Few tribes feel more native to Magic as this one. Despite that, we have had few if any commanders that could lead the tribe effectively. I don’t know if Jared is finally the champion that Kavus have waited for. However, it’s at least worth considering.

Before we talk about anything else, let’s look at some of the more relevant members of the tribe can do:

It seems like there are a lot of Kavu that care about dealing damage when they enter the battlefield. You could lean into that with damage multipliers like Dictate of the Twin Gods and Fiery Emancipation.

There are also Kavu like Kavu Chameleon and Caldera Kavu that play around with changing their colors. You could lean a little heavier into this strategy, especially since Jared cares about a creature’s colors. You could use cards like Distorting Lens, Alchor’s Tomb, and Sisay’s Ingenuity to manipulate what color your own creatures or your opponents’ creatures are. Then, you could use cards like

I want to make a note that these cards don’t add colors to a creature, but rather change their color to be whatever one color you choose. This means that Jared will only ever be able to add one counter to any of those creatures. This is unfortunate, but it could still be cool to have a deck that cares about colors in this way.

Angels (3-7)

Recommended Commander: Jenson Carthalion, Druid Exile

Lyra Dawnbringer Painbow Upgrade Guide MTG Commander

The thing that is difficult about this deck is that Jenson wants you to play five color cards in order to earn Angels. However, hardly any angels have all five colors. You could try to fit as many five color cards as possible into the deck, then just fill in the rest of the cards with Angel tribal cards.

If that is going to be the case, here are some solid cards that want to reward you for playing a bunch of Angels:

Non-white Angels have always intrigued me. I love thinking that the other colors add flavor to a tribe that feels like it appropriately represents one specific color. This could be the perfect deck to explore what each of those other colors could add to the tribe, even if Jenson doesn’t actually give you Angels unless they are all five colors:

Humans (3-7)

Recommended Commander: Jenson Carthalion, Druid Exile

Jirina Kudro Painbow Upgrade Guide

There are a handful of five color commanders who actually are five colors. Unfortunately, most of them are actually one color with a five color activated ability. This means that Jenson won’t give you an angel when you cast Kenrith, Returned King, Najeela, the Blade Blossom, or Sisay, Weatherlight Captain. This isn’t a huge problem, though, since they don’t actually have much synergy with what Jenson is trying to do anyhow.

To be completely honest, Jenson does very little for the Human tribe. However, being able to fix your mana could potentially come in handy. And if you don’t care about any of the Human commanders I mentioned above, Jenson is certainly as good as any of them for this tribe.

Here are some of the most relevant Human cards to commander. I tried to include some from every color, so you could get an idea of what each color might have to contribute:

Druids (3-6)

Recommended Commander: Jenson Carthalion, Druid Exile

Gilt-Leaf Archdruid

Oddly, Jenson’s abilities actually contribute pretty well to Druids as a whole. Or rather, Druids love to make mana, and Jenson also loves to make mana. They are almost exclusively in green, but even the non-green Druids usually make mana. For example:

Most often, Druids don’t really have any powerful payoffs. Producing tons of mana is usually a means and an end for them. Adding all five colors expands their potential a bit, but not much:

You will likely have all the mana and card draw you could ever hope for in this deck. It might be up to you to figure out how to use it, though.

New Cards From Dominaria United

There are plenty of great cards from each of these tribes in the new set. Whether they end up being strong enough for your deck is up to you to decide. Here’s a pretty good list, though, to help you consider them:

What to Take Out

Whenever I build tribal decks, I try to only include creatures that are members of the tribe. Other people are comfortable running creatures from other tribes. Neither of these opinions are objectively wrong or right.

However, when it comes to making cuts from the precon to make room for your new tribe members, I would only recommend keeping the creatures that fit into your tribe. That gives you a lot of cards you could take out, which makes adding new cards a little easier.

If there’s a card that comes in the deck that you really love but isn’t a member of the appropriate tribe, leave it in. Otherwise, feel free to completely gut the creatures from this deck to convert it to a tribal strategy.

5. Treasures (5-8)

Recommended Commander: Jared Carthalion

Dockside Extortionist Painbow Upgrade Guide

It feels odd to write a whole section that focuses on a planeswalker’s ultimate ability. Usually I would even advise against such a thing. However, you can activate Jared’s -6 ability on the turn after he comes down. This means that you will probably have access to it with relative regularity. Furthermore, Treasures are becoming a pretty powerful strategy without Jared’s help, so it couldn’t hurt to try to build around them.

Here are some of the most powerful Treasures cards in the format:

This deck feels a bit like it makes itself. Unlike the Druid tribe that we discussed earlier, Treasure synergy cards also come with win conditions. You rarely have to worry about how to end a game with these little Artifacts. However, if you really wanna kick things into overdrive, try doubling the number of Treasures you get at any time with these:

New Cards From Dominaria United

Surprisingly, Dominaria United doesn’t have a single card that makes Treasure tokens. This is probably for the best, but don’t expect to open any useful cards for this version of this deck while drafting or buying packs.

What to Take Out

Again, the precon doesn’t actually have any cards that make Treasure tokens. Feel free to cut any cards that you want to make room for the cards we have mentioned here. Also, Treasures probably work incredibly well with the five color theme of this precon.

The fact that they can make any color of mana could help make the intense color requirements of this deck work a lot better. Perhaps you just use Treasures to fill out your Oops, All Colors version of the deck, or whatever other upgrade path you ultimately choose.


I wish you luck as you try to master this truly unique Commander precon. Hopefully, this article has been helpful for you to find out exactly how you want to personalize it. If you have any thoughts or suggestions about these topics or anything else, please leave a comment down below. You can also find me on Instagram or Twitter.

If you like the new cards from Dominaria United, and you’d like to try your luck and open some of them in packs, you can get a Dominaria United Set booster box on Amazon.

Dominaria United Set Booster Box Old Magic Logo

More Dominaria United

Be sure to come back to check out the upgrade article for the other deck from this set: Legends’ Legacy Upgrade Guide.

If you want more content about Dominaria United, here are some articles for you to check out:

Until next time, have fun, and may your mana base always work out with your five-color Commander deck.

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