Archetune-Up - ?The Spoopy Edition?
(Howling Wolf l Art by Nils Hamm)
The Night is Dark and Full of Terrors
You run as fast as you can, but you can tell that the creature is gaining on you. Sodden leaves disintegrate beneath your feet as rain pelts your skin. Your lungs burn. Your legs are threatening to seize up at any moment, but you urge them forward. Your thoughts can barely keep up with your frantic pace. Suddenly, in a cruel joke, a rock beneath your foot shifts, sending you tumbling end over end until all your momentum is gone and you're sprawled out on the forest floor. As you lay dazed upon your back, you can only stare up in horror as the monster makes its way closer to you. It towers over the treetops, dwarfing your quivering form. Lightning strikes and you catch a glimpse of the terrifying beast! Stalking through the trees, moving ever closer, is...
Welcome, my frightened friends, to the spoopiest Archetune-Up yet! Archetune-Up is an article series devoted to using the Theme pages on EDHREC to help tweak a reader-submitted deck!
This month we will carefully tread through Joe Hofmann's Morophon, the Boundless Wolf tribal list, and hope we are not next on the terrifying Jelly-Moose-Wolf's menu!
Fair Wolves, Not Swear WolvesView on Archidekt
Joe's deck includes a number of different strategies, which is both a strength and a weakness. When submitting the deck, Joe said its goal is to win through combat damage, but that the deck seems a bit strained and pulled in too many directions.
Glancing through the list, I can't help but agree: Call to the Kindred tells me that we're a tribal deck, but Arcane Adaptation makes me wonder if our creature types may end up being spread a bit too thin. Cult of the Waxing Moon says we're a Werewolf deck, while Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves wants Wolves to be our main focus. Having multiple strategies in a deck can be good, but perhaps this deck has taken this concept to the extreme. How can we help focus this deck? Let's find out!
Throw Them to the Wolves
The first obstacle to overcome was narrowing down the number of tribes we're including to just one, since Morophon, the Boundless wants you to focus on one specific creature type in order to reap maximum benefit.
The crux of the argument between Wolves vs. Werewolves is average creature quality: normally, Werewolves are over-costed, sub-par creatures on their front half which transform into on-curve or above-curve creatures on their back half once someone skips playing spells in a turn. Wolves, on the other hand, are always a single creature, and what you see is what you get. Do you want a high ceiling or do you want a high floor? Personally, I'm a very cautious, calculating player, so I prefer a high floor; to me, the less variance in a deck, the better. As such, the Wolves were howling for me to join them!
I added twelve cards from the Wolf Theme page on EDHREC, the first of which being my Innistrad Cube all-star, Wolfir Silverheart. Silverheart will provide a big power boost to any creature we want, even boosting Morophon to a staggering 10 power!
Another creature that pairs well with powerful Wolves is Master of the Wild Hunt. Master pulls double duty by creating 2/2 Wolves on our upkeep while also providing spot removal for pesky creatures that dare stand against our lupine army. How do we plan to grow that army, though? Tolsimir Wolfblood will provide us with a 4/4 Voja token (5/5 if Morophon is out) to help jump into the fray, Pack Guardian can provide a 4/3 and 2/2 body at instant speed, and finally, while not Wolves themselves, Wolfbriar Elemental and Kessig Cagebreakers will rouse a hearty force for you, spewing out 2/2 Wolf tokens from nowhere, which can get out of hand incredibly quickly.
In EDH, creatures that have enter-the-battlefield effects, or creatures that are saddled with ETB effects, are cream of the crop, and that's definitely true for our next three selections: Aura Shards, Elemental Bond, and Arlinn, Voice of the Pack all provide value when cards enter the battlefield. Aura Shards staples a Disenchant to every creature, making it hard for opponents to pull ahead with mana rocks or powerful enchantments. With the plethora of anthems in the deck, or even just with Morophon in play, Elemental Bond will trigger off of every Wolf, drawing a huge stock of cards. Arlinn, Voice of the Pack can also help provide us with Wolves, and she can pump them up when they enter the battlefield, making them even more terrifying!
The last two inclusions are Equipment: Sword of Body and Mind is in here to provide a boost to a Wolf, but also just so happens to create more when you deal damage to an opponent! Lastly, we'll add in a Lightning Greaves, an all-around ubiquitous card that will help us protect key creatures like Morophon or Tolsimir; there's a reason it shows up in 87,594 decks on EDHREC!
Branching Out of the Pack
For seven articles I've expressed how much I absolutely adore the Theme pages on EDHREC (and it's also why I have an article series about them). Still, there are certain times where these pages will turn out to actually be a springboard for new ideas. You may not be able to find everything you need here, but they can point you in the best possible direction. What do I mean by that? Well, take a look at the only three commanders on the Wolf Theme page:
What is missing here?
The answer is two whole colors; blue and black! When we look at this page, the only recommendations that will be suggested to us will be from either white, red, or green, which are, of course, the most relevant colors for this type, but will needlessly constrain one of Morophon's biggest strengths: this is a five-color deck, and we have access to every card available!
How do we go about fixing this, though? I used Scryfall for my search.
The cards I'm most interested in are cards that care about choosing a creature type, so that's our search term. Normally I would need to specify the color or colors I care about, but we're in a five-color deck, so instead, let's just check all of our options. There were 75 cards that fit our criteria, so let's see what we have while keeping an eye our for interesting blue and black cards!
The first card I saw is Etchings of the Chosen. This is a card from Modern Horizons that not only buffs our creatures' stats, but also provides a form of protection against board wipes and targeted removal! Two other cards on this list, Metallic Mimic and Steely Resolve, also provide these benefits. Mimic is a cheap creature that will enter as a Wolf and provide that ever-important boost in stats to our wolves. Steely Resolve, on the other hand, will provide our creatures with much-needed protection from spot removal.
I don't know about you, but I put Kindred Discovery into every tribal deck that I'm able to. Tribal decks rely on a critical mass of creatures to function, and Kindred Discovery rewards you for that. Drawing a card for every creature of the chosen type entering the battlefield or attacking is fantastic value, especially when paired with cards that make them en masse, like Wolfbriar Elemental and Kessig Cagebreakers!
In his decklist, Joe had a handful of recursion spells. Using that as inspiration, I added Patriarch's Bidding. The vast majority of the time, this fantastic card will benefit you more than your opponents. If your opponents aren't running tribal decks, they'll get back a couple creatures, at most. If they are playing a tribal deck, you'll need to exercise a bit more caution than usual. If you're in the market for a mass recursion spell and you don't mind paying a bit more mana, Rise of the Dark Realms is probably the spell you're looking for!
The Darkest Day, the Blackest Night
For this article's Bonus Round I'll be listing off some of the more interesting, wacky inclusions. We have every card ever made at our disposal, so let's maximize our deck's strengths with some of the best cards available!
As the majority of tribal decks rely on an overwhelming board state, the last thing we want is our creatures getting swept away by a stray Supreme Verdict. An all-star staple for board protection is Boros Charm: turning all of our permanents indestructible is a great ability, even though we are usually only focused on our creatures. Unbreakable Formation is a recent addition to this suite of abilities, giving us both defensive and offensive capabilities in a single card. And since we have access to five colors, Golgari Charm can give our creatures a second lease on life by regenerating them, or it can kill off pesky X/1s, or destroy a meddlesome enchantment! How charming!
I mentioned earlier that Joe had quite a bit of recursion in the deck. While I did cut down on that package some, I added a couple cards to compensate: Palace Siege is a favorite of mine, allowing you to choose between Regrowthing a creature every turn or getting a small, incremental life buffer between you and your opponents when you play it. Graveshifter falls into a similar category, as it's the only 'Wolf' in the list that will bring creatures back to your hand, giving the deck some extra utility.
Similar to Graveshifter, Valiant Changeling and Irregular Cohort are here for a bit of padding. Wolves aren't known for their raw power, so a 'Wolf' with double strike that has the potential to cost just one mana when Morphon is in play is pretty great. The Cohort also provides us with two bodies for the price of one, which is especially great when considering our ample number of anthems.
The last two inclusions are powerful enchantments. Sylvan Library was swapped in for Once Upon a Time, as the deck will appreciate a more repeatable form of card advantage, even at the cost of life. The second enchantment, True Conviction is one of my favorites in the entire game. Giving all of our creatures double strike and lifelink is incredibly powerful, especially since we have so many anthems in the deck. Lifelink will help us stabilize against decks who hit us harder than we hit them, and it'll also make racing against our team incredibly difficult (while helping mitigate life loss from Sylvan Library).
Are You the Hunter, or the Hunted?
I quite enjoyed myself with this frighteningly fun deck. I'm interested to know your opinions, though. Would you have given into your inner beast and chosen to pursue Werewolves, or would you have become one with the pack like I did? Please be sure to let me know your thoughts!
Before I go, Joe wanted me to highlight a terrifyingly beautiful Morophon alter done by CCO Podcast member, CCO Ryan! Truly the stuff of nightmares! (In a good way, of course.)
Deck submissions for this series are currently closed, but don't let that stop you from getting in touch with me to talk about everything Commander and MTG! I'm active on Twitter @TheJesguy, and I can always be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
As always, thank you for arche-tuning in, and be sure to get plenty of tricks and treats in. It's the month of the year, after all!
Scare Wolves, Not Fair WolvesView on Archidekt
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