Wallet Warriors: Ezuri, Claw of Progress

Kilian Johnson
February 05, 2018
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 Welcome back Wallet Warriors! I’ve got something a bit weird for you all this time around. This is $50 Morph Tribal with Ezuri, Claw of Progress leading the charge!

I’m super excited about this article because I get to show you guys a deck that’s been sitting in my idea bin for a while. I finally got around to building the deck and it honestly turned out a lot better than I had hoped. Morph is a mechanic that, to my surprise, has a good amount of support. Although when you look into it it’s not actually that surprising considering the mechanic was first introduced in Onslaught back in 2002 and has been revisited twice, in Time Spiral block and the Khans of Tarkir block.


Before I get into the deck itself, here’s the list: 

Wallet Warriors: Ezuri, Claw of ProgressKilian JohnsonCommander Ezuri, Claw of Progress Sakura-tribe Elder Gyre Sage Fathom Mage Edric, Spymaster of Trest Llanowar Elves Elvish Mystic Fyndhorn Elves Boreal Druid Arbor Elf Den Protector Hystrodon Jeskai Infiltrator Riptide Pilferer Unblinking Bleb Deathmist Raptor Whisperwood Elemental Ainok Survivalist Disruptive Pitmage Riptide Entrancer Silumgar Spell-eater Stratus Dancer Thousand Winds Voidmage Apprentice Willbender Echo Tracer Icefeather Aven Chromeshell Crab Kheru Spellsnatcher Dulcet Sirens Hooded Hydra Salt-road Ambushers Vesuvan Shapeshifter Brine Elemental Weaver of Lies Master of the Veil Primal Whisperer Ixidron Ixidor, Reality Sculptor Champion of Lambholt Herald of Secret Streams Alchemist's Refuge Command Tower Halimar Depths Khalni Garden Llanowar Reborn Mosswort Bridge Myriad Landscape Rogue's Passage Simic Growth Chamber Temple of the False God Thornwood Falls Yavimaya Coast Zoetic Cavern Island Forest Sol Ring Simic Signet Dream Chisel Lifecrafter's Bestiary Swiftfoot Boots Hardened Scales Obscuring Aether Secret Plans Trail of Mystery Beastmaster Ascension Zendikar Resurgent Beast Within Aetherize Foil Distortion Strike Artful Dodge Curse of the Swine Overwhelming Stampede Overrun River's Rebuke Rishkar's Expertise Ezuri's Predation Urban Evolution

 


If you want to see the list separated into the groupings I talk about click here


Deck Overview

What I love about our format is that it allows for silly creative deck building opportunities like this. This deck is underpowered almost inherently since the Morph mechanic is not very powerful in general. However Commander isn’t about finding the optimal strategy to win every game. We play to have fun and that is exactly what we’re aiming for with this deck.


It took awhile for me to land on Ezuri as our commander. I was looking for a leader that would help out the morphs but wouldn’t steal the show.


Animar, Soul of Elements is a common choice among other morph players since once it hits three +1/+1 counters it allows morphs to be played face-down for free. Roon of the Hidden Realm was also in the running since his ability can be used to exile a morph and bring it back face up for only two mana. Even though these are powerful effects and these two commanders would give us access to a third color, Animar is a bit too expensive for our budget and Roon’s ability doesn’t actually trigger our morphs abilities when they return face up.



Ezuri fits nicely because he is well within our budget, gives us access to the two strongest morph colors and provides a solid win condition that synergizes with our morphs since they enter the battlefield with 2 power. Remember a flipped morph will keep all the +1/+1 counters it had when it was face down.


Our game plan is to accrue value from our morphs that provide card advantage while disrupting our opponents with our suite of reactive morphs. These two strategies are then bolstered by our morph synergy cards which reward us for going so deep into the mechanic.


Let’s start with the control end of our creature spectrum, the reactive morphs


You Can’t Play Around All Of Them!


Most of our answers for opposing threats come in the form of morph cards. We get an impressive range of weapons at our disposal here. We’ve got five morphs with access to countermagic although a few of them are a bit situational such as Disruptive Pitmage and Silumgar Spell-Eater.


We have two morphs that can steal opposing creatures in Chromeshell Crab and Riptide Entrancer. The crab can exchange our tiny morphs we’ve already used for the giant bombs on the other side of the battlefield while the entrancer just needs to slip through face down then flip up before dealing damage to steal something juicy. The rest of our reactive morphs provide some form of general utility.


This section is where we’re looking for that great feeling of satisfaction when we reveal we had the perfect answer for our opponent’s big play hiding under their nose.

Flipping Morphs and Drawing Cards

The second large portion of our morphs are dedicated to giving us some form of card advantage. Whether that be from Den Protectors ability to get something back from the graveyard or Whisperwood Elemental building up an army over time.


We’ve also got a bunch of card advantage outside of our morphs. This can come in the form of one-time use card draw, Rishkar’s Expertise for example, or card draw engines in Fathom Mage.


Morph Synergies


Here we have our payoffs for our face down mystery boxes. These come in many different forms. Ixidron acts as a pseudo board-wipe since our opponents cannot flip their creatures back up unless they have a morph ability. Dream Chisel and Obscuring Aether help us pay for the front half of our morphs. Ixidor, Reality Sculptor, Master of the Veil and Weaver of Lies let us reuse our face up morphs.


A Pickled Combo


Weirdly there is a very powerful combo in here that was the base of a Standard deck way back in 2007. The deck was named “Pickles” after our buddy the Brine Elemental.  To begin the combo you need a Brine Elemental in play face up and a Vesuvan Shapeshifter face down. You also need your opponents to be tapped out enough that they can’t interact with you with the mana they have open. So you flip the shapeshifter up and make it a copy of the elemental. This will trigger the shapeshifters Brine Elemental ability so your opponents will skip their next untap steps. Then on your upkeep you choose to flip the shapeshifter face down and repeat the process. This stops your opponents from untapping until they can deal with the combo or you are able to end the game. What I love about this combo is that both cards are very powerful in their own right and a deck like this will take any extra power that it can get.


The Intricacies of Flipping Face Up

Morph has always been a pretty strange mechanic for Magic. Placing cards face down onto the field was not something totally new to trading card games when Morph was first introduced but it does come with some interesting baggage for our game.


When we use our creature’s morph ability to turn it face up, we are not actually using an “activated ability”, we are taking a “special action” similar to playing a land. This means we can flip a morph face up any time we have priority and this action does not use the stack. There are a couple neat tricks we can do with this in mind.

The first thing we are able to do is flip morphs up even when there is something that does not allow us to activate abilities in play such as a Grand Abolisher. Again, this is because flipping a morph face up does not count as activating an ability but instead is taking a special action even though they feel similar.


The second trick we can do is flipping a morph face up with a Split Second spell on the stack such as Krosan Grip. Split Second is similar to a Grand Abolisher effect since it stops us from casting spells or activating abilities but we all know by now that flipping morphs is a special action which does not even use the stack.



Upgrades

One of the best parts of this deck is that all the essential pieces are dirt cheap. The only upgrades you can aim for are some Commander staples.



These two cards are infamous for being very strong and very annoying. I’ve personally started omitting them from my personal lists for more on-theme options but I would never fault anyone for including either of these powerhouses.



Here we have two great pieces of protection. The first protecting your life total while producing some small creatures which can nab you some extra experience counters if you have Ezuri out. The second being a great form of countermagic which synergises well with Ezuri since +1/+1 counters cancel out with -1/-1 counters.

Wrapping Up

Alright there we have it, the morph tribal deck I’ve had in the back of my head forever is finally real! I hope you all enjoyed the article and will be surprising your friends with some sneaky colorless 2/2s.


“It could be anything! It could even be a Willbender!”


See you next time! Cheers!

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