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Morska Clues in MagicCon Chicago's Unknown Event


This past weekend, I got to attend MagicCon Chicago as a content creator, and what an awesome experience it was! It was seriously fun to get to see tons of friends, do a panel, and play a bit of Magic. Normally I find myself behind the vendor booth at these kinds of events, so just getting to hang around and mingle was a delight. Given that, I was extra glad to play in Gavin Verhey's Unknown Event on Sunday - something I hadn't had the opportunity to do thus far!

For those of you not in the know, the Unknown Events are fun casual sealed events held mainly at MagicCons (and GenCon last year). Each of these events usually does something unique and has their own special theme about them. Most importantly, though, are the unique play-test cards that get handed out at each of these events!

No doubt owing to the popularity of play-test cards in Mystery Boosters, these cards - and their respective events - have become mainstays of MagicCons since their debut in Philadelphia last year. No one knew what to make of them initially, but after the first event, each Unknown Event is almost guaranteed to sell out and the play-test cards have become collector pieces in their own right.

This one was played using two Murders at Karlov Manor play boosters, two Ravnica Remastered draft boosters, two Mystery Booster packs, and one Murders at Karlov Manor collector booster. With those packs and the bonus play-test cards given (a pack of 10 plus one of three bonus cards made at the event by the community), you were to build a 60 card Commander deck (mono-color legends have Partner), play best-of-one games, and play starting with 30 life. It just so happens I opened an outstanding three-color commander in Morska, Undersea Sleuth from my collector booster - perfect to use as the basis for my deck!

Morska, Undersea Sleuth

As I opened the rest of my packs, it became clearer and clearer Bant was the direction I needed to go in. I found myself opening cards like Tenth District Hero, Sharp-Eyed Rookie, Courser of Kruphix, Protean Hulk, Aura Shards, Guardian Project, and Vannifar, Evolved Enigma - all outstanding Limited cards in their own right. My deck for the event ended up looking like this:

You might be wondering what the three cards in here you can't see are! They're so new, they're not even in the CoolStuffInc database yet! But you can check them out here:

Each of these were some extremely fitting and on-color cards created specifically for the event! Ate-o'-Clock provided a ton of value for a low cost and Investi-Gate provided some guaranteed fixing in addition to a Clue token. Best of all was The Keeper of Favorite Cards - a nod to Shivam Bhatt, who famously loves to call tons of different cards his favorite card during his podcasts and helms a Soldier Commander deck. Each legendary Unknown card for this event was based on a well-known Magic content creator, as you could see in the previous image that included nods to Sam (Rhystic Studies), Reid Duke, Rachel Weeks (Game Knights), and Crim (TheAsianAvenger). I even got to bump into Shivam at the event and he used his creator stamp to spruce my card up a bit!

Putting the actual deck together felt extremely powerful, and while it did land a solid 3-0, it was all about the fun more than it was the winning. Everyone got the same prize either way (The Collector, seen in the image included earlier) so it was just about having a good time. Given that, I must say I really enjoyed what this deck ended up doing and how it played throughout the event! So much so that I found myself thinking, "you know what, I think this would make a really fun Commander deck." So, given that, I decided to flesh out Morska into a proper Commander deck - complete with the couple Unknown Event cards I used in the event for a bit of added fun!

Unknown Morska Expanded | Commander | Paige Smith

Card Display

Getting the deck started was pretty easy and straightforward. Essentially, the goal was to cut down the initial list to what would actually be good and/or enjoyable in a four-player game of Commander. This meant cutting some of the cards clearly aimed at Limited play. Cards like Azorious Arrester, Topan Freeblade, and Secrets of the Golden City are the kinds of things you'd love to see in your Sealed pool, but not so much in a game of Commander. While I kept most of the clearly "good" cards, I did also cut Protean Hulk, just because the end list didn't seem like the sort of thing that could really get up to any sort of shenanigans with it.

Tenth District Hero
Aura Shards
Vannifar, Evolved Enigma

Thankfully, a very large chunk of the initial Limited list managed to survive the cut. I believe the end result was about 20-25 cards were ported over. Some were just no brainers, like how Aura Shards and Guardian Project are generally Commander staples or how Courser of Kruphix can repeatedly find you lands. Some less obvious ones seemed fantastic given the deck's setup, like Deduce making extra Clue tokens and Fae Flight providing Morska solid evasion and protection. Even something like Makeshift Binding makes for a decent removal spell, even if you could realistically swap it for something better like an Oblivion Ring, I left it here for the fun of keeping it close to the original deck.

For the rest of the deck, I started trying to go a few different directions. I looked up cards that cared about investigating and then looked at things like Morph and Manifest to be able to pump up the Tunnel Tipster that was originally in the list. After that, I went through my binder and pulled a couple of cards that seemed fitting, hence where the copies of Joiner Adept and Sylvan Caryatid came from. I realized this wasn't working and scrapped a lot of it, though some cards still show in the final list, like Tireless Tracker and Bygone Bishop.

In the end, what I ended up going with was trying to keep it relatively close to the concept of the Unknown Event itself, which used fairly recent booster packs for the event. Given this, I decided to look through sets released in the last three years to go off of, as I figure most people would have these cards and it would be easy to access them. Turns out I was right, as the deck's going rate (minus the priceless Unknown cards) is only about $200, which isn't bad for a totally custom deck!

Combine Chrysalis
Sword of Vengeance
Prime Speaker Zegana

I think what I was most surprised at was the sheer quality of cards I was able to pull just from the last couple years alone. There were several great counterspells, pieces of individual removal, and multiple board wipes to choose from, with most of them being dirt cheap to boot. There was also lots of value engines to work effectively alongside your Clue tokens that aren't something recent like Alquist Proft, Master Sleuth or Benthic Criminologists. I'm talking something along the lines of Combine Chrysalis or Academy Manufactor. There's also lots of good evasion options too for your Commander with Sword of Vengeance and Angelic Destiny being relatively affordable and surprisingly accessible thanks to recent reprints.

I think the biggest thing that impressed me as I built this though was how it wasn't such a deep non-stop value engine. Don't get me wrong: it's still extremely easy to get the value train going especially when your commander makes Clues. What I mean, though, is it's not like every card is just a deluge of value the way Bant decks are usually made out to be, and that in particular seems to be a huge benefit of utilizing mainly recently printed and affordable cards. It gives the deck more of an identity as opposed to just being Another Bant Value Deck. That alone should be enough to provide a stupendously fun time at your next Commander night, even if you make a build without the Unknown cards.

Oh, and before I go, there's one other Unknown Event card I got this weekend I wanted to show you all. I give you: Urza's Hot Dog Stand!

This was one of the three cards made at Gavin's "You Make the Unknown Event Card" panel on Friday. I was at the panel and it was a ton of fun being part of that process. This one was especially fun, being thematic of the city we were in and even featuring some cute nods, like how "Hexproof from red" refers to Chicago hot dogs not having ketchup on them. The other two cards were a racoon that digs through opponents' graveyards named Trash Panda and a Phyrexian Eldrazi named It That Was Compleated, which you can likely find online if you look around.

If you get to go to a MagicCon in the future, I can't recommend checking out Gavin's Unknown Events highly enough. They're so much fun and you're always sure to have an awesome time! Who knows, perhaps you'll even walk away with a little bit of inspiration like I had for a cool new deck!

Paige Smith

Twitter: @TheMaverickGal

Twitch: twitch.tv/themaverickgirl

YouTube: TheMaverickGal

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