Deep Clue Sea Precon Review
Hey friends! Welcome to another precon guide here on EDHREC. We’re seeing if these Commander precons from Karlov Manor are fresh, or smell a little fishy.
Today we’re looking at Deep Clue Sea, the green, white, and blue deck led by .
Who Are the Commanders for Deep Clue Sea?
Morska is a 2/3 Vedalken Fish Detective for three mana that gives you no maximum hand size. At the beginning of your upkeep, you Investigate (make a Clue token), and whenever you draw your second card each turn you put two +1/+1 counters on Morska. So our fishy friend here wants to draw a lot of cards and get swole from it. Simple enough.
Our backup commander is , a 3/4 Human Detective for four mana that makes a 2/2 legendary Dog token on entry, and makes a Food and a Clue whenever a Dog you control deals combat damage to an opponent. You can also pay one mana and sacrifice an artifact token to put a +1/+1 counter on each Dog you control.
Just as we saw with in the Deadly Disguise deck, we have a Dog-focused legend with no other Dogs in the deck. Why did Wizards do this in two of the precons? Is this just a weird design thing, or are dogs part of the mystery? Let me know in the comments.
Here’s the full decklist:
Deep Clue Sea PreconView on Archidekt
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What Are the Themes and Strategies of the Deck?
How much time do you have? Cuz there’s a lot going on here. First up, obviously, is Clues. I’m counting at least 20 cards in the deck that either make Clues or have something to do with them. Investigates whenever you drop a land, Investigates whenever your nontoken creatures die (not something we want to happen often in this deck), Investigates whenever a creature attacks you, and so on. You’ll never have trouble getting a Clue.
Paying to sacrifice them, however, can be a bit more difficult at two mana each. That’s why the deck has to make your first artifact activation cost two less on each of your turns.
Sacrificing a Clue to draw a card is great. But a Clue can have other uses, right? Sacrifice them with to steal permanents from your opponents’ libraries. Tap the Clues to make your commander unblockable with . Or tap them to draw cards with . Or even turn them into mana with .
Clues aren’t the only tokens the deck makes, though. , arguably the best card in the deck, makes a Clue, Food, and Treasure if you were to make one of those tokens. Considering Morska makes a Clue every upkeep, and that’s just one card, you can probably see the value here. also makes Food on entry, and lets you sacrifice a token at your end step to make a 4/4 Rhino Warrior token. These are fantastic for protecting your life total or for joining a big attack. And there’s more. makes four very annoying flying deathtouch insects, which will easily deter your opponents from attacking you. makes Cat tokens (why couldn’t it be Dogs?), and makes 2/2 Drakes. And we can’t forget , which makes a 3/3 Serpent at every upkeep.
Enough about tokens, let’s talk about card draw. Morska isn't the only one that cares about drawing extra cards. We already mentioned Alandra and Jolrael, who both make creature tokens when you draw your second card each turn. There’s also , who Investigates on entry and makes 1/1 Spirits.
For even more easy card draw, the deck also has , , , and .
How Do You Play Deep Clue Sea?
This deck is by far the easiest to play of the Karlov Manor precons. Part of that comes from the general strength of the color combination, and part of it is the solid deck construction and synergy.
There’s only one thing holding it back, and that’s the lands. 14 of the 37 lands enter tapped unconditionally. That’s over a third of the lands, and almost 15% of the deck. There are two reasons I can see for such a slow mana base. One is Cycling; five of the lands have the ability, which is there to feed into the deck’s desire to draw more cards. All of the Cycling lands enter tapped. The second is to keep it level with the other precons. Replace five or six of the tapped lands with untapped lands, and this deck would demolish the other three in the set, no problem.
So, even though the land suite is a speed bump, the deck still wins simply because it has so many paths to victory. We’ll start with the “go-wide” path. For this strategy, we’re trying to drop as many creatures on the board as we can to overwhelm our opponents. And that’s where the tokens come in. , , , and plenty more, drop tokens often. We’re also borrowing the two commanders from Quantum Quandrix, the green/blue precon from Commander 2021: and . Adrix and Nev double all of your tokens, while Esix lets you turn the first tokens you make every turn into any creature on the board.
The next strategy is “go-tall,” where we’re looking to make one creature big enough to end the game. In most instances, this will be our commander, and Morska has a built-in way to do this, with the +1/+1 counters. However, they’re missing evasion. Thankfully, the deck has a few ways to help with that. The first is , which lets you tap two untapped artifacts to make a creature unblockable for the turn. and let you tap down potential blockers, while blinks them out of existence.
Morska isn’t the only one who can go tall. We’ve also got , which gets a +1/+1 counter whenever an artifact enters our battlefield (hello Clues), and becomes unblockable for the turn. Then there’s , an equipment that gives +1/+1 for each artifact and enchantment we control, turning even the smallest creature into a death machine.
There are also some non-combat ways to win. enchants an artifact, creates a copy of it on our upkeep, then wins the game if we control eight or more artifacts with the same name. This is not hard to accomplish with Clues.
The last path to victory I want to mention is , one of my favorite cards in the game. This thing ends games all by itself, and with as much card draw as we have in the deck, and all the ways we have to make copies of it, our opponents will be on red alert as soon as it hits the table.
What Are the New Cards in Deep Clue Sea?
It’s time to talk about the best part of precons: the new cards! And several of the cards in this list feed into our paths to victory.
makes our Detectives (which includes Morska) unblockable as long as we’re blessed, and creates a 2/2 Detective token when we draw our second card each turn. Basically the perfect card for this deck.
We have a handful of new cards that want to give our Clues some extra oomph. We’ll start with , a 6/6 Clue Plant that turns all of our Clues into 6/6 creatures at the beginning of each combat. A huge boon for our go-wide strategy, but also great for blocking. For go-tall, we have , which turns all of our Clues into Equipment that give +2/+0 to the equipped creature, and , which gives all of our Clues Exalted, meaning one attacking creature will get very large. It also makes Clues when our nontoken creatures die.
The Parley ability makes its return with . This Centaur Detective Parleys when you attack and Investigates for each nonland card revealed. It also gives you the ability to untap all of your lands at your end step, with the caveat that you can’t cast spells during your opponents’ turns if you do. is also in the deck, and, outside of this deck, I can’t see why you’d play Researcher over the enchantment, unless you want redundancy or can’t play enchantments (e.g., ).
might be something you want to play after a board wipe, but since it’s a sorcery, it would have to be our own board wipe. I’m not a fan of this, or the next card, . This card un-Goads your creatures, but is only good if you’re playing against a Goad deck. Since this is not a huge portion of the meta, I don’t see any reason to run this card in any deck.
I don’t want to end on the stinkers, so let’s finish up with two extremely good cards. First is , which lets us drop a land whenever we draw our second card each turn, and , which pumps our creatures for each card we’ve drawn this turn. Just think about your massive army after you cast , and you’ll see why this card is so good. Both of these will find homes in a lot of decks.
Is Deep Clue Sea worth buying?
Is this deck any good? Here’s my final grade:
Easily the strongest deck in the set from a gameplay perspective. So strong they had to curb it by throwing in unnecessary tap lands like (there are only six creatures in the deck that will trigger it) and . The deck’s synergy is fantastic, with almost every card moving you toward one of the deck’s many paths to victory.
The reprint value is also off the charts, with huge hits like , , , , and more.
So what’s holding it back from a higher grade? Some of the new cards are completely forgettable, like and . Cards like and are great in Clue decks, but won’t exactly have an impact on the format. And, unfortunately, our backup commander feels like a throwaway. She’ll be easy to cut for our upgrades.
Speaking of which, make sure you go check out my Upgrade Guide for this deck. Hit me up in the comments below or on Twitter to let me know what you think of this review. And keep checking back for more Precon Guides, here on EDHREC.