Aether Or

Matt Higgs is hard at work developing the ultimate in topsy turvy tricky morph decks! See his latest version that goes off the rails with Dragons of Tarkir Commands, spicy enchantments, and more! Turn #SCGCLE on its face this weekend!

What an exciting weekend of Magic! Although I don’t often find myself watching SCGLive during the SCG Open, I did tune in this weekend while completing a
school project and listened in while I pounded it out. I got to hear (and then, after getting too excited, watch) the youngest SCG Open champion ever claim
a trophy. Twitch was blowing up, my Tumblr was full of love for this guy, and I couldn’t be more impressed! He proves that skill, focus, and dedication can
manifest at any age, and he’s a fantastic player. Great job, Oliver Tomajko!

As the match finished up, I considered what I’d write about this week. It was Sunday night, and my eyes were bleary from staring at a computer screen for
the last twelve hours. Still, I had to find something. Flipping through my Word document of in-progress decks wasn’t inspiring me, nor was goldfishing my
most recently built deck, an adaptation of one of the brews I shared with you a few weeks ago. None of it was stirring the pot.

I began reviewing Oliver’s climb to the top, and in doing so, I found a deck tech from SCG Open Providence for a morph deck that, I figured, would be
pretty exciting and unique. One card in particular had caught my eye for morph decks, so I presumed I’d see it when I clicked his list.

While his list was indeed unique, exciting, and at least reasonably effective, Ian Barber’s 60th place list this week had nothing that I expected
in a morph list.

While this was at once disappointing, it was also a relief; there was still time to cover one of my favorite new spells from Dragons of Tarkir.
Now was my chance!

In my mind, morph creatures’ biggest problem is their three-mana casting cost. In most cases, casting a colorless Gray Ogre is not going to get the job
done, so spending your third turn to do that is often only good if the art-covered side is really worth it. With the major impediment of a morph
creature removed, how much more impressive can they be?

There’s plenty to play with just in green. Might as well look there first!

Ehh, it’s a start, but maybe another color would help.

So I started working with this list and Secret Plans from Khans of Tarkir. Icefeather Aven was right around the corner and…

Oh boy. That build was putting me right to sleep.

No, blue wasn’t going to be the path for me. Green was a given, but I wanted to strike out into the other color whose morph and megamorph creatures seemed
to be much more exciting: red.

Red has had interesting morphs, manifests, and megamorphs come up throughout the block, and very few, if any, have gotten their due. Using just these two
colors might make for a bizarre but exciting take on an aggro deck. Let’s give it a try!

This seemed decent; the plan was aggressive, the curve was low, and Trail of Mystery seemed like a nice additional support card for the morph plan. I
especially liked the +2/+2 every time you flip up a creature. However, I wasn’t leveraging the mana-fixing potential of Trail of Mystery. And you know, the
morph cost of each creature was paid with colorless, so I wouldn’t have to have every color. Maybe we could get a little…braver.

…I went a little crazy with the sideboard.


At its core, this is a G/R aggro deck stocked with mediocre bodies with lots of lategame potential. Ire Shaman is probably one of my favorites; in a way,
it’s the complete package. It’s a great fighter as a 2/1 (or 3/2) with some evasion, and a single Chandra, Pyromaster 0 trigger when you flip it helps you
replace it with a land, spell, or another morpher. While certainly not flashy, Ire Shaman is the workhorse that gets the job done. Den Protector, which is
starting to gain traction in Standard, is an Eternal Witness you have to work a bit for. However, the ability to get anything back is enormous.
Play with Eternal Witness once and you’ll see how good that is. Deathmist Raptor is a new gem from Dragons of Tarkir, and it is perhaps one of the
more vicious cards out of the side even without its morph potential. With so many things going face up, no deck is complete without this creature. You
don’t even need a green source in your entire deck!

Jeering Instigator sat in some mono-red sideboards early on in the format, but it’s been retired after seeing exactly zero play. Now that Obscuring Aether
shortens the wait time, maybe it’s more reasonable. Kolaghan Stormsinger is a particularly exciting inclusion, especially given Trail of Mystery’s pumping
power. You can play this face down with another morph, flip both up, and smash immediately. Nice! Horde Ambusher and Temur Charger, eventually a
two-and-two compromise, are free morphs, meaning that enough Obscuring Aethers can make these free to play and flip, allowing for free Trail of Mystery


The spell list is short, but powerful. Obscuring Aether has replaced Elvish Mystic for morph decks. Both provide turn 2 morph potential, but Obscuring
Aether is harder to kill and, after your opponent smashes the board to pieces with a wrath effect, this thing can even get in the red zone for the final
blow. Trail of Mystery is multi-faceted, and it does something that’s rare in competitive Magic: reward you for playing basic lands. Sadly, most of these
morph and megamorph creatures are too small. However, when timed correctly, this enchantment can make even a flimsy 3/2 into a game-ending smasher. Even
when it doesn’t, you’ll replace the morph creature you cast with a basic land; don’t see that every day!

The Command spells provide concise utility to an already diversely armed deck. Atarka’s Command, currently on the short list for best Command in the set,
provides lategame reach and team pump. If you’re churning out 2/2s turn after turn, sometimes a one-turn pump will be all you need to flatten your opponent
or save your team from a devastating combat. With the proliferation of Dragons, the ability to reach and block is also growing in importance. Dromoka’s
Command is right next to Atarka’s Command in power, and it may actually be quite a bit higher. The deck currently lacks solid removal, but Dromoka’s
Command can do a great job of clearing the way for your smaller team to get through. It even gives you a bit of enchantment removal and Anger of the Gods
protection. Such a deal.


Wooded Foothills are expensive. Moreover, Evolving Wilds actually does about the same thing. This is a not a turn-1 deck. Except for Obscuring Aether,
you’re not casting anything in the game’s first turn, so you might as well go find exactly the basic you need. Dromoka’s Command requires just one Plains
main, so fetching it with either an Evolving Wilds or a Trail of Mystery trigger will solve your mana problems and let you start adding +1/+1 counters or
sacrificing enchantments. The Evolving Wilds have an additional purpose, but we have to look at the sideboard to find out why.


Trail of Mystery and Evolving Wilds are powerful fixers. For the cost of missing an untapped land, you can get whatever color you want pain-free, and Trail
of Mystery lets you pluck any basic out of your deck at no charge. Because of this, I decided to jam the other two colors I left out.

Wild Slash is a concession for the faster decks. There’s plenty of red sources in the maindeck, so finding the right land will be easy, and it’s very
effective at killing face down brethren, too. A Swamp lets me splash a critical card: Siege Rhino. Now, this may seem like selling out, but I sat there
thinking; if there was card that every deck would want if it had the mana and time to cast it, what would it be? Siege Rhino, which would only require
adding one Swamp (and potentially off an opponent’s Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth), was the obvious solution. It might not be totally synergetic, but you can’t
deny its efficiency. Besides, it has trample, so it’ll benefit from a nice Trail of Mystery boost. Finally, there are three Commands and an Island to help
you splash two of them. Both Ojutai’s Command and Silumgar’s Command provide high-powered spells that include hard counters, each with additional crippling
effects that can turn a humble aggro deck into a powerhouse against slow decks. Kolaghan’s Command, originally added as a token instant so I could say I
had all five Commands in one deck, actually has a fun interaction with Den Protector. If your Den Protector dies, recover it with Kolaghan’s Command while
destroying a Whip of Erebos, their final card in hand, or an X/2, cast and flip your Den Protector and recover Kolaghan’s Command. Not quite as efficient
or reliable as Soulfire Grand Master but a handy combination all the same.

I actually like all the versions of this deck, and I’m excited to try them on for size, especially the last one. Except for the Deathmist Raptors,
the decks are all pretty affordable, as they omit the most expensive lands and planeswalkers Standard has to offer. Perhaps the lists are too ambitious,
and perhaps morph doesn’t have a place in competitive Standard, but it sure is fun to see the look on their face as they look at your freshly cast face
down creature, noodling over the possibilities of what it might be.

What’s your favorite morph creature? Maybe Deathmist Raptor turned you on to the idea of morphs, or Shorecrasher Elemental did the job. Maybe it was
Rattleclaw Mystic, or even the old school Fathom Seer or the mighty Scornful Egotist? No matter what your favorite flipper is, they’ll certainly keep
Standard exciting for the next year, and even if you don’t like them, you’ll have to keep guessing what’s under that orange, formless blob. Aether or.