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It's Morphin' Time


Remember? From the Power Rangers? They were all, "It's morphin' time!" and they turned into stock footage from an unrelated Japanese show in which the yellow ranger was played by a male actor and no one noticed? Those were good times.

Why are we talking about Power Rangers at all? It's because, like the Power Rangers, I want to do some morphing. I was partially inspired by the Commander (2014 Edition) decks and partially by social media. Despite only having two mono-colored Commander decks, I have written about every color in past installments of this series. I was going to do a two-colored deck combining cards from the blue and black Commander decks, but I was a little frustrated by the fact that I've already done a mono-blue deck, and I didn't feel that I could do another one.

In my research and play experience, it feels a bit like mono-blue either wins with Laboratory Maniac or an infinite-mana Palinchron combo or it sucks. I like the Talrand Drake tribal deck I came up with to soften an oppressive Talrand deck, but I didn't want to resort to another tribal mono-blue deck, as much as the Commander deck begs to be some sort of Quest for Ula's Temple deck with Whelming Wave and Tromokratis and a Polar Kraken altered to have Liam Neeson saying, "UNLEASH THE KRAKEN." I think it's cool that the precon has Brine Elemental—I kind of like the idea of Pickles-locking someone with Vesuvan Shapeshifter, especially since the other players at the table may feel inclined to disabuse you of that notion with force, making it a decent political trick, but also a liability: perfect for 75%. But no, I didn't want to resort to tribal decks.

Frustrated at what I felt was a lack of nuance in mono-blue, I asked my Facebook friends what they liked to do with mono-blue. I received a lot of great responses, and I saw one I really liked—and that inspired me to go for another mono-colored deck. Someone suggested a card from Magic 2015 that I really liked but haven't tried to build around yet: Jalira, Master Polymorphist.

Taking out a bad card and just jamming Jalira in the deck as is would probably be semi-effective. At first, I thought about taking all of the utility creatures out and jamming a million token producers, but I realized that I whiff with Mayael the Anima a lot, and it's still value town. Jalira never whiffs; even if you end up with a Sea Gate Oracle, you lost a 1/1 Myr, so who cares? We're just trying to Polymorph all day, so let's Polymorph all day! I think the blue Commander (2014 Edition) deck Peer Through Time is a fine starting point. Let's take a look at what we're working with.

This is not too shabby! I like the inclusion of Cyclonic Rift to make the card more accessible to players—and because I sold all of mine after they spiked once but before they went up some more. So I'm now glad to have sold out!

I think we can add a few fatties, but the fatties already included aren't half bad! There's no Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, but his Artisan is no slouch. I think we can modify this by throwing out less than half of it and maybe using some of what we take out to trade for the stuff we need. If not, you can buy both the deck and the singles for pretty cheap. All in all, I'm excited to start getting into some trouble, and I probably won't be able to resist the urge to jam a few more fatties in the deck. Let's see where we end up!

Did you know that It That Betrays is not legendary? How is that even possible? Its name is "IT THAT BETRAYS" not "One of Many, All of Whom Betray." Oh well, it's a win for us, and it’s a slam-dunk inclusion in this deck. While Kozilek and other Eldrazi are popular, powerful, and expensive (mana- and money-wise), they aren't going to do much good in a Jalira deck. That doesn't mean this is a budget deck by any means, but that certainly attenuates the power level a bit.

Jalira, Master Polymorphist
I basically could have left every creature in, but I cut some of the cheaper stuff since we have so many mana rocks and other things to play early, and I would rather not cross my fingers and Jalira into a Coral Atoll on turn thirty. I like Mulldrifter though. I had to cut Lorthos, the Tidemaker because he's legendary, but I really like this precon as a basis for a Jalira deck. I could have made even fewer changes and had a serviceable deck.

Some people don't like Blightsteel Colossus, but since I'm playing so many creatures, I didn't think it was an issue. This isn't like a typical Polymorph deck as we saw in Standard—a bunch of counterspells and tokens and four copies of Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. This is just a turn-tokens-into-value kind of deck. I really like the prospect of jamming Illusionist's Bracers on Jalira and really going to value town.

I included a few ways to steal opponents’ creatures—the only thing better than sacrificing a token and turning it into a Wurmcoil Engine is sacrificing an opponent’s commander or Prophet of Kruphix to do it. Domineering Will, a new card from Commander (2014 Edition), gives you quite a few options, and having a lot of sac outlets for the ones that don't die in combat is useful. Ultimately, you're just trying to generate value with creatures and upgrade them.

I tried not to include anything you'd be upset to 'morph into, so I have a few utility creatures such as Mulldrifter. Maybe try pairing them with Deadeye Navigator for a real party. I am a little artifact-heavy with this build, but so was the precon, and I wanted to leave some of that intact.

Reef Worm
All in all, I think this is a pretty value-tastic build. I could optimize it, but I think if you pop open the precon and buy a few cards, this is going to be a good build to play with an unknown group. You're not going to play so dirty you paint a target on your back, but you're no slouch, and your deck is full of really good fatties.

It seems that blue isn't all bad tribes and Laboratory Maniac after all! Jalira can generate quite the upgrade to your tokens and can get rid of any of your opponents’ creatures you manage to swipe but then get sick of. It doesn't put you in tribal, it doesn't make people cry because you counter all of their spells, and it is the opposite of a homogenous card like Laboratory Maniac, introducing a lot of chaos for a blue card.

What do we think? Would I have been better served starting from scratch, or is this a good way to help someone who is new to Commander and looking at precons to build his or her first deck? Leave it in the comment section. I'll be back next week, and I'll either be trying to do something with the black or green precon or I'll be sick of mono-colored decks and looking to play something dirty and five-colored. I haven't decided yet, so you'll be the first to know. See you then!

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