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Crouching Kadena, Hidden Phage [Primer]

Commander / EDH BUG (Sultai) Combo Jank Morph Primer Unblockable

Slurpz


With a lot of input from the community, thought, tinkering, and lessons learned from others' decks, I think I've finally gotten this deck optimized for what it's trying to do: play some morphs, draw cards, and win with some fun combos.

A card with the morph keyword can be played facedown for and then flipped face up later at any time, for their morph cost, to trigger an effect on the card. In this deck the morph slots largely compose the deck's interaction. Playing and flipping morphs is pretty inefficient until Kadena is in play. The first morph you play face down each turn is now free and also draws you a card. This gives morphs a new role as they help dig through our deck.
Typically the first things you want to do are ramp and establish a draw engine.
Giving morphs flash allows us to play a free morph and draw a card on each of our opponents turns. With enough morph fuel this results in a high amount of card draw and a way to build a board of morphs extremely quickly.

Vedalken Orrery

Leyline of Anticipation

Tidal Barracuda - This one is a cool card and gets reactions at the LGS, people really like being able to play everything at instant speed. Also protects your combos

Liberator, Urza's Battlethopter

All of the following are 4 CMC and allow you to draw an additional card every time you play a morph. Combining these cards with the Give Morphs Flash cards will allow your draw engine take off.

Beast Whisperer

Guardian Project

Teferi's Ageless Insight - Doubles all our card draw except our first card drawn each card step (relevant for Sylvan Library). Especially powerful is getting this in play with one of the above two cards and drawing 4 cards every time you play a morph. Unfortunately this combos just a little too much with Peer into the Abyss.

Step 1: Cast Phage the Untouchable / Body of Research

Step 2: Equip protection (this step is optional but recommended)

Lightning Greaves

Whispersilk Cloak

Gift of Doom

Step 3: Make Phage / The Token unblockable

Rogue's Passage or Whispersilk Cloak. You can also clear the way with March of Swirling Mist or Cyclonic Rift. It's also possible to push through lethal with Phage or the Token by giving them trample with Craterhoof Behemoth. If you can finagle it you can send Phage on a covert assassination mission with Scroll of Fate.

Aphetto Alchemist + Illusionist's Bracers + Fledgling Mawcor

Aphetto Alchemist equipped with Illusionist's Bracers for infinite untap. Add in Fledgling Mawcor for infinite damage and mow down everything and everyone. The morph combo pieces can be deployed early and under the radar which is pretty sweet and on theme.

Yedora, Grave Gardener and Heartless Summoning on the battlefield, Ruthless Ripper in hand or facedown on the battlefield

Cast or morph Ruthless Ripper. Ruthless Ripper dies from having 0 toughness. Yedora triggers, returning Ruthless Ripper to the battlefield face-down as a Forest land. Tap the facedown Ruthless Ripper Forest and add . Morph Ruthless Ripper by revealing a black card from your hand, turning it face-up. Ruthless Ripper triggers, causing target player to lose two life. Ruthless Ripper dies from having 0 toughness, triggering Yedora, etc, repeat to drain the table.

This deck can spit out a board of 2/2s. Beastmaster Ascension to turn your morphs into 7/7s, Craterhoof Behemoth for overrun, Cyclonic Rift and March of Swirling Mist to clear the way. Thelonite Hermit can bolster your ranks before an alpha strike.
Aphetto Alchemist + Illusionist's Bracers + any of the 4 mana rocks for infinite mana
Use Vesuvan Shapeshifter to recur Brine Elemental’s flip effect for 2 mana every turn. This grinds the game to a halt for everyone else and the locking player gets so much value out of it there’s no point in continuing the game unless someone happened to hold up removal. Technically this is not a way to actually win and could def get someone salty (heh) so it's up to you if you want initiate the brine. I like to have a line to close the game in sight before locking.
Time Warp + Den Protector + Vesuvan Shapeshifter

Cast Time Warp, morph Den Protector to get Time Warp back in your hand, use Vesuvan Shapeshifter to recur Den Protector’s ability every turn and now you can cast Time Warp every turn and take infinite turns. Replace Time Warp with an overloaded Cyclonic Rift to give the table high blood pressure. Replace Time Warp with Body of Research for shenanigans.

Vesuvan Shapeshifter

This card is your MVM (Most Valuable Morph). It can recur any morph flip effect each turn for 2 mana as long as that morph is face up on the board. Really just take any morph and ask the question “Would I like to do this more than once?”. If yes, it pairs well with Vesuvan Shapeshifter. It can lock the board with Brine Elemental, it can recur recursion with Den Protector, which can then be used to take infinite turns with Time Warp. With Chromeshell Crab you can steal a high value creature, or dare I say it, commander, every turn. For 2 mana. It can be a repeatable redirect with Willbender. It can hose artifacts and enchantments with Ainok Survivalist. Or change it up every turn if you have the morphs to be flexible.

That's just the possibilities within the deck, it can copy any creature on the battlefield every turn.

Yedora, Grave Gardener

Non-morphs that die become Forests, and morphs that die become Forests that can still be activated for their morph cost to flip into a creature and trigger. When any creature dies and returns facedown from Yedora's trigger, if Kadena is in play she triggers and you draw a card. This offers a sort of protection for our morphs, multiple of which are combo pieces. A mix of recursion, ramp, and card draw that is also a combo piece (see Rip and Tear under How to Win).

Riptide Entrancer is a powerful morph but it really does it's own thing. This deck has enough morphs that this can be a flex slot.

The above list is the one I run at an LGS or casual table. If playing with higher power decks, some or all of the following adjustments can be made.

Scheming Symmetry -> Vampiric Tutor

Peer into the Abyss -> Demonic Tutor

Winding Canyons -> Ancient Tomb

Nature's Lore -> Mana Crypt

Three Visits -> Jeweled Lotus

Zoetic Cavern -> Mana Vault

Darkbore Pathway   -> Urza's Saga

This deck is a 2+ year WIP I began when I was new to Magic, starting with a C19 Faceless Menace precon. Thanks for taking the time to check out my first fully-realized deck!

Also be sure to check out Crouching Kadena, Hidden Phage [~$20] edition courtesy of thijmnesoy!

Updates Add

Out: Slimefoot, the Stowaway, Ashnod's Altar, Mystic Remora In: Yedora, Grave Gardener, Ruthless Ripper, Heartless Summoning

New combo

Yedora, Grave Gardener and Heartless Summoning on the battlefield, Ruthless Ripper in hand or facedown on the battlefield

Cast or morph Ruthless Ripper. Ruthless Ripper dies from having 0 toughness. Yedora triggers, returning Ruthless Ripper to the battlefield face-down as a Forest land. Tap the facedown Ruthless Ripper Forest and add . Morph Ruthless Ripper by revealing a black card from your hand, turning it face-up. Ruthless Ripper triggers, causing target player to lose two life. Ruthless Ripper dies from having 0 toughness triggering Yedora, etc, repeat to drain the table.

Yedora is the replacement for Slimefoot. She protects our morphs with some ramp and card draw added as a bonus while also functioning as a combo piece. Big win here over Slimefoot being a useless except for being a combo piece.

Heartless Summoning is the replacement for Ashnod's Altar and when used judiciously can really empty a hand of morphs while also being a combo piece.

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