Know the enemy. It’s good advice in life, mostly because knowing other people requires empathy and empathy is the anathema to hate. It’s also how I look at the mechanics I dislike in Commander. I’ve made land destruction decks, prison decks, and commander damage decks. I’ve gone full combo, and I’ve gone full control. In doing so, I have learned many things. Some mechanics have gained in my estimation after the process, while others have plummeted to even deeper depths. And no matter how I feel after, the experience leaves me better able to attack the strategy when I see it in the wild.


So… I am making a morph deck. I hate morph. At least, I used to. As I’ve been going through this process, I find myself coming a little around. It’s not in fighting shape yet, so I haven’t actually experienced how it plays, but it seems interesting, and I think I am at least in the neighborhood of what an ideal morph-focused deck will end up looking like.


It’s hilarious how expensive this card ended up. Like, I’m surprised it’s more than $5, since it’s going to mostly be a one-of in peoples’ collections. That having been said, I did have to pull this one out of a different Commander deck, so maybe I’m wrong!

First off, my general is Animar, Soul of Elements. I chose Animar for two reasons. First, I think Temur is where this deck wants to end up. It’s the color combination with the most enablers, as best as I can see. For theme decks to work, you need your enablers. Secondly, hir ability goes a long way to mitigating morph’s biggest downside. Morph creatures are always undercosted to morph, but the initial three mana investment means you’re paying extra if you just want to drop a creature and immediately get its morph trigger. Animar removes this drawback by letting you cast your morphs for free. At least, the fourth one is free. And the fifth, and the sixth, and so on from there. Because Animar’s one big drawback has always been ze can’t bring your spells down to zero mana because (outside of artifacts and eldrazi), your spells always had one or two mana symbols that just wouldn’t accept colorless mana. But your first morph costs three, your next two cost three together, and then from there on the spells are free.


Nosy Goblin doesn’t really count as a red enabler, since we’re rarely going to want to kill our own morphs, and Bribery is a card.

Now let’s look at what enablers we get from every color. Let’s start with red. Red only has one enabler, but it’s good: Skirk Alarmist. Free to cast, free to morph sounds pretty good to me. One of the enablers is limited to Simic colors: Secret Plans. Secret Plans draws us cards and that’s awesome, but it also gives a minor toughness boost so our morphs can better survive combat.


Isn’t it about time we end up on this plane?

And that’s a good segue into the green enablers. The first one is the most tangential, but it’s still a strong card: Muraganda Petroglyphs. See, morphs are creatures with no abilities, because morph is a super weird ability. It’s one of the reasons I dislike it! Ironically, I think they turn off the Petroglyphs when they morph, even if they’re otherwise vanilla, but that’s a minor concern. Free 4/4s seems like a great place to be.


I really wish this card had a more generally applicable trigger for those sweet, sweet abilities.

Trail of Mystery is another green enabler. When it’s on the board, landing a morph lets you tutor up another land. The second ability, if that was not enough, is that when a morph is turned face up, it gets +2/+2. And again, this seems strong. Half the fun of a morph is that they turn combat into a nightmare, and this certainly helps with that. The final green enabler is Pine Walker. It’s weak, but the key to this deck is going to be maximizing the synergies, and this further contributes to a rough combat decision tree should anyone be thinking to swing in against you.


Blue has all the rest of the enablers. Even if the morph deck doesn’t end up Temur, it almost certainly will be running some blue. In addition to some of the direct enablers, though, it also has cards that can help minimize the morph drawback (Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir giving your board flash) or can combo with Animar (Tidespout Tyrant, allowing for infinite storm and come into play triggers quite easily). It makes sense to want to run those cards.



Some of the cards help by offering a steady stream of unmorph triggers. Mischievous Quanar and Wall of Deceit both offer this at will, albeit for a large infusion of mana. Master of the Veil can loop himself in the same way, but for only three mana a trigger, but to me that feels a little like wasting such a powerful card. Being able to unmorph anything else for a mere three seems potentially more useful. Vesuvan Shapeshifter is basically the dream card. It turns itself back over every upkeep, offering a cheap unmorphing trigger every turn. Were that not enough, it also clones things when it unmorphs, offering a second chance for any of your spent morphs to do their thing. Basically.

I feel like one of the minions in Despicable Me. Bleb, hehe!


Unblinking Bleb is both one of my favorite card names (something about “bleb” just tickles my fancy), as well as a card with a very relevant trigger for whenever a creature gets turned face up: scry 2. Scry two is some not-insignificant fraction of a card, and that adds up over time. It’s also got a body that, while not strong per se, certainly gives it a fair chance to live during a game of Commander. It’s one of the morphs I could most readily see being cast face up for a single blue mana, instead of face down for free, if you plan to unmorph several creatures that turn and just need to keep your mana free.


And despite the name, he is not a supervillain.

Fun fact, this card is a personal favorite of our EiC and resident pro, Hunter Slaton.

Then there are the two mass reset buttons: Weaver of Lies and Ixidron. Ixidron is by far the cooler card, but it also has a chance of nerfing your general. See, a card without morph that gets turned face down doesn’t really have a comfortable path to regaining its abilities. For a commander, your main option is to get the card killed so it can come back face up. When Ixidron comes into play it flips everything down, and you’re left in a position of strength with a creature that’s as big(ish) as the rest of the board. Weaver of Lies is less universally applicable, but it’s also a lot harder for your opponents to see coming. Ixidron is sorcery speed, whereas Weaver of Lies’ morph ability is special speed. Which, for this example, basically just means instant. They both reset your morphs, letting you get more triggers; Ixidron is a sledgehammer, while Weaver of Lies is a scalpel.


I’m going to drunk history this guy’s storyline, and say that maybe he went crazy because he had some Galatea thing for Serra, and that’s why morph exists?

Which brings us to our final enabler: papa Morpheus himself, Ixidor, Reality Sculptor. He has two abilities. First, face down creatures get +1/+1, which means our morphs are 5/6s if all our anthems are out. Which is good! Those guys could be contenders. His second ability reads: “2U: Turn target face-down creature face up.” He is our primary escape clause should we inadvertently Ixidron Animar, and with him out your opponents have to always respect your ability to flip your morphs.


As for the rest of it… from here it’s just a question of picking morphs. I’m still working on that part. Still, I think, in the long run, we’re going to see that Temur is best positioned for this silly, silly, silly mechanic. Those are a lot of solid enablers, and the Animar/morph interaction is too good to pass up. I’ll tell you how it goes.


Jess Stirba is so happy that Person of Interest is back, you have no idea.

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