Morph is awesome. I still think Morph is one of the most intriguing mechanics out there. It's so outside of the box that I don't think most folks out there get it. It's been around for so long that there are an epic number of quality morph bodies out there.
One of the spins they gave it later was megamorph to make the morph decision more interesting as it gave the creature a +1/+1 counter as well as the morph trigger, which was a cool addition to morph-dom. Lots of great morph (and megamprph) entries have been made through the years!
Winnowing this list down to a Top Ten isn't easy. I sat with this list for more than a week and tweaked it. I pulled my initial #10 (Ainok Survivalist and Nantuko Vigilante) after realizing they were really more of an #11 or #12. This was not an easy list to compile, but the results are here. I hope you enjoy them!
For today's list I am including megamorph as well as morph, just as a reminder, as both are "morph abilities" for purposes of the rules. Just like "Basic Landcycling" is still Cycling.
10. Mischievous Quanar
In some ways, I think folks have forgotten about the Quanar. Well, this is your wake-up call! The Quanar is an awesome force of Fork-ness. Normally a Twincast or Fork would cost two mana, and you'd get a copy of a spell on the stack. The morph cost of the Quanar is just one more mana. And you have a 3/3 body on the field as well that comes with it. It's worth it. You can copy everything from removal to card drawing to mana fetching. That gives you a lot of flexibility, but hold onto your butts, but you can spend some mana to flip it back down to prepare for another copy effect. I like to spend five mana to turn it over at the end of someone's turn before untapping on my own and having it ready for another Twincast. That longevity is nasty. Plus, late game, if you have the mana, you can morph, flip down, morph and potentially get two or three copies of something. The Quanar is great tool for all sorts of formats like Commander. Don't fall asleep on this Beast again!
9. Rattleclaw Mystic
There are two times when the Rattleclaw Mystic is extremely good. The first is on the second turn. Getting a 2/1 that taps for 60% of the colors of Magic is incredibly strong. Normally you'd get a dopey 1/1 for the colors or even a 0 powered something, like Utopia Tree. Getting a result that's on curve and taps for three colors? That's not something you can find pretty easily. It can accelerate your mana or swing as you need. The other useful time is on the third turn when you need to hide it, or make some mana. You can turn two generic mana into three different choices, and make a mana when you do. You also get a slightly beefier body with that 2/2 morph option. The result is a mana-churning dork that speed you up while not sacrificing size in the red zone.
8. Dwarven Blastminer
A lot of folks forget just how good land-destruction can be on a stick. It's good. And having a 2/2 for 3 mana that you can morph and destroy a land out of nowhere, and then untap and use again and again is pretty potent. I like using it to pop an Academy Ruins or Maze of Ith that my foe is leaning heavily on, or to kill a Reliquary Tower during my foe's End Step so they are forced to discard down to seven cards. There is a lot here to like. Also, don't forget to cast it on turn two so you can use it on turn three if you need to. That's more common in tournaments and duels where you can use it to pop mana lands, but a lot of people will start trying to abuse a Gaea's Cradle or something early, and I am not apologizing for taking out an abusive land like Cabal Coffers or Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. It's unlikely I'll take out a Simic Guildgate that you need for mana, because I want people to play the game. But the other stuff is all game. Blastmine away!
7. Thelonite Hermit
Deranged Hermit is a classic casual card that works well to this day. You can see the hint of a Deranged Hermit in the Thelonite Hermit, save you are swapping morph for echo. Did you morph it up? Great make four tokens! And those dorks get +1/+1 as long as you control the Hermit, so your army is suddenly stronger. I love morphing it up after being attacked and not just chump blocking but actually killing a number of these creatures that dare to attack me. Plus, it's also sweet to morph it up, and then untap and swing with nine damage when I had just a 2/2 on the board prior. Swinging with it can crack open a lot of hearts. Plus, note that the Hermit's tokens are the common Saprolings, so it also plays extremely well in any Saproling deck as both a lord and a token maker. Whether your Hermit is Deranged or follows the path of Thelon of Havenwood, there's a lot to proffer your next deck!
Ah yes, Willbender. Hopefully a new generation of players will get a chance to see how Willbender has historically been the best answer card of all time. Because you are redirecting the target of any spell or ability you have a lot of power here that Blue answers would normally lack. Now, you can't redirect a Counterspell to counter itself after your spell resolves. But that's pretty much it. Anything else is fair game. Try to kill something of mine with a Terminate? Looks like you hit one of your own creatures! Try to kill something of mine with that Ravenous Chupacabra? Looks like you hit one of your own creatures! Note that morphing does not use the stack, so you can morph in response to a split second card like Krosan Grip and redirect it at their own pretty trinket. It's one of the best answers in the game, bar-none. So, Bend some Wills tonight!
5. Exalted Angel
No morph creature dominated its era of Standard like Exalted Angel, and I'm sad not to see it in Masters 25, given how big of a deal it was. The ability to swing in the air for four lifelink-ing damage on the 4th turn was incredibly game changing. It's an eight-life swing in your favor that becomes hard to recover from. She remains a force to be reckoned with. Because of her powerful body that you can morph up cheaply or abuse with stuff like Cloudshift, Exalted Angel is one of the classic powerhouses of morph-dom, and any list without Exalted Angel just feels off. Exalted Angel for the win.
But she is not the most powerful Angel with morph . . .
4. Akroma, Angel of Fury
Red-Kroma is! Akroma the Second is still an Akroma, and she brings the most powerful board presence of any morph creature. If you want a morph-dork that will win you the game quickly, look no further than the Furied One. You get a 6/6 body, flying, uncounterable, firebreathing and protection from two colors. What's not to love? You can drop her early and then flip to a nasty force when you have 6 mana and swing away, or you can wait until you have the eight mana cost and cast her, knowing that she will hit the battlefield. She is so angry, your little dopey countermagic isn't going to stop her! Red-Kroma Rises!
But three cards rise higher . . .
Ah yes. The Pickles Deck maker (it has an infinite combo with Brine Elemental called pickles that was played in multiple formats). But it's more than just a combo enabler. It's just a great Clone effect as well. If you just hard cast it, then you get a Clone. After you've played with it a while, you'll soon realize that it's usually better than Vesuvan Doppelganger. In each case, during your upkeep you can copy a new creature, although this basically takes two mana to do so. But this doesn't require you copy it immediately. You can flip it down, and then leave it ready to morph up for two mana to copy something in response. And that makes it play better in control shells. You don't even need another morph in the deck, you'll be fine with this one. So, Pickles on!
2. Den Protector
Do you like Eternal Witness effects? I do! From Regrowth to many others, I have loved the ability to bring back anything. That's what has always made Green stronger than Black to my mind, with graveyard loving. And I've really pushed cards like Restock, All Suns' Dawn and more in my decks, my real-life play, and my article writing. They are all strong effects that bring back the best dead thing you have for the situation. Den Protector is no different, and like some previous cards in the Top Five, also really dominated Standard when it as rocking the block. And we know why. Three mana to cast. Two mana to megamorph. You get a 3/2 dork with some built-in evasion and a Regrowth effect. That's just scintillatingly good. You are never sad to topdeck a Den Protector. It's just that good. Just. That. Good. It's almost perfect . . .
But it ain't #1!
1. Bane of the Living
It sweeps the board. That's pretty much all you need to know about Bane of the Living. It sweeps the board. Flip it up, pay a little X mana, and you've got your own Black Sun's Zenith. It's a classic answer to a crowded board state. And it's even better today than it was when it was originally printed! While some cards have dropped in value as time and power creep hit (Exalted Angel would have been #1 on this list for years after their release, with Bane #2) Bane of the Living has actually gotten better. How so? Great question. It's simple, really.
It's a great answer to the throngs of indestructible creatures and effects running around today. Point me to a Commander deck that's not running some form of indestructible somewhere. Heroic Intervention? Gods? Darksteel Sentinel? Avacyn, Angel of Hope? Zetalpa, Primal Dawn? Stuffy Doll? Sliver Hivelord? Boros Charm? There's so much junk out there that grants indestructible or has it innately. And that gives opposing stuff a level of resistance against mass removal. But Bane of the Living? It fights against that with its -X/-X'ing a target. There's no way that indestructible will keep a 0 toughness creature alive, it dies as a state-based effect. All of which makes Bane of the Living a very dangerous boy.
Oh, and don't sleep on morphing it for just and then swinging with a 4/3 on a naked board when you don't need the mass removal.
And that brings us to the close of another Top Ten! So, what were you sad to see missing? What did you agree with? Where did my list go wrong? I'd love to hear from you!