Today I wanted a more casual, laid back sort of deck. I decided to build a humble theme deck, but like any theme deck, there is your typical Abe-twist. We’re going to harness the tribal theme to play with a rather interesting creature type.
I remember when I first became aware of Shapeshifters as a creature type. Inquest had been very successful with them in a no-holds-barred creature war featuring the most common creature types in the game. That was a long time ago, perhaps five years or more.
Today I am working on a modern day Shapeshifter deck. Although it is meant to be fun, there are several powerful wining conditions here. Let’s take a look at the deck:
2 Escaped Shapeshifter
1 Greater Morphling
2 Vesuvan Doppelganger
1 Mistform Ultimus
1 Deathmask Duplicant
3 Shifting Wall
1 Paradigm Shift
3 Winds of Change
2 Treasure Trove
Different people look at a theme deck in different ways. When I build a theme deck, I try to stay as close as possible to the theme as I can, but when it comes down to it, if I need a type of spell, and nothing has that flavor, then I’ll just play what I want. When I built a spirit deck years ago, I wanted creature removal and countermagic. I chose Afterlife and Remove Soul because they fit the theme, even if there were better options available.
For the shapeshifter deck, I wanted a little removal, a little card drawing, and a little countermagic. Unfortunately, I could not think of shifting or changing or metamorphosing spells to fit the countermagic and card drawing slots, so we have to use the mundane. However, we do have removal that fits the theme – Polymorph.
Polymorph is an odd removal spell, but it can take out the best creatures in an opponent’s deck rather nicely. It may replace them with a threat, but you never know. It’s about the best that blue will ever have.
There is a Champions of Kamigawa remake of Polymorph, named Reweave. It is an instant and works on any permanent. The concept of reweaving, however, did not fit this deck.
The shapeshifters that I chose are fairly obvious. I steered clear of those shifters that did not work well with the team – like Shifty Doppelganger or Riptide Shapeshifter. Technically, Clone, Shifting Wall and Doppelganger are not shapeshifters, but I feel that they fit quite nicely, thank you very much.
Watch out for some more powerful effects running around in shifter form, like Dracoplasm. Dracoplasm is secret shifter tech from Tempest, creating a potentially huge flyer for a small amount of mana. It’s a great game-ender. Make sure you play Shifting Wall first, so you can get a nice, big Dracoplasm. Or, alternatively, make a big Anthroplasm.
Anthroplasm is a solid entry into the shapeshifter class. A creature that grows as the game goes on has always had the potential to be a major player. Use its ability at the end of opponent’s turn in order to keep mana open as long as possible.
Duplicant is arguably the best shapeshifter in a deck like this, because it permanently whacks one of your opponent’s creatures. If you have nothing else to do with it, imprint a really high power/toughness creature and then sacrifice it to the Dracoplasm. However, you’ll normally have something to do with it.
I just included one of each of Death-Mask Duplicant, ___________, and Mistform Ultimus. It certainly is possible that one of those might be useful, but they are really included more as flavor than anything else. Note that this is one of a small number of tribal theme decks that I would actually include Mistform Ultimus in.
There are a few deck manipulation cards in Winds of Change and Paradigm Shift. Each of these cards represent change, shifting, morphing, and such. Hold extra lands and useless shapeshifters in your hand for the eventual Winds of Change. Paradigm Shift is included for the late game.
We have a few utility spells with Concentrate, Treasure Trove, and Counterspell. Feel free to use others as you see fit.
I chose not to use Morphling because this was a fun deck and it is a bit too expensive, but with no financial restrictions, I’d obviously want the guy in my deck. I did use his Greater pal, so there’s still a bit of Morphling flair to the deck. If you have spare Morphlings or are playing on Apprentice or whatnot, I’d definitely try to find room for some. I’d probably take out Death-Mask Duppy and ___________ for a pair.
Obviously, Clone and Doppelganger are solid creatures, and I expect that they’ll help carry you through the tough times of multiplayer, when everybody seems to have giant beat-sticks. Now, you too can have an Avatar of Woe or a Mortivore.
There are certainly other ideas out there for inclusion in this deck. Dance of Many strikes me as playable here. Echo Chamber might be useful. The concept of mirrors might be harnessed (Mirror Image, Mirror Universe, Mirror, Mirror, rorriM, rorriM, Meloku the Clouded Mirror, Panoptic Mirror, Robe of Mirrors, Moonring Mirror, several Soratami, Reflecting Mirror, and more).
This was a different tactic than I normally take when building decks. I hope that you enjoyed our shifting fun.