Mechanically Minded - Changeling

(Morophon, the Boundless | Art by Victor Adame Minguez)

The Times, They Are A-Changeling

Lorwyn is the greatest Magic: The Gathering expansion of all time. There, I said it.

The tribes are great. The flavor is fantastic. The mechanics are amazing.

…Well, admittedly, Clash is kind of silly. And Champion is a bit strange. Also, Hideaway ranges from pretty good for EDH (Mosswort Bridge) to downright terrible (Howltooth Hollow). So maybe not all the mechanics from Lorwyn are hits.

There is, however, one which stands above the rest. It’s versatile, flavorful, and allows for all kinds of exciting deckbuilding opportunities: Changeling!

For this and every other edition of Mechanically Minded, we build an EDH deck around a mechanic, by using the power of EDHREC. Today, let's use Changeling.

This one’s going to be very brief. Changeling appeared on 26 cards in Lorwyn and then never appeared again (save for some reprints in Commander and Modern Masters sets). However, the recently released Modern Horizons changed all that.

This is the first time in 12 years that we've gotten new Changelings. And, best of all, we got a legend:

Is it a Dragon? A Demon? A Saproling? A Homunculus? Why, it’s all of them, of course!

Now that we know who our commander is, let’s dig deeper.

Changeling Our Strategy

Let’s take a moment to devise our high-level strategy. What are we really trying to do here (besides make a Goat tribal deck)?

For starters, I owe inspiration to Willem-Jan Rensink and his article “Sliver Overlord without Slivers” from last year. We’ll be borrowing some of the same tech for this article, so thanks, Willem-Jan!

Here’s our goal: We’re going to combine some of the most powerful tribal payoffs we can find into one deck. Since we’re playing Morophon and a bunch of its Changeling buddies, they’ll pick up the tribal bonuses, no matter the tribe.

Let’s begin our search with some of the new Changelings headlining Modern Horizons:

Generally speaking, it feels like the Changelings of this set are a tad more powerful than the ones in Lorwyn (with the exception of Lorwyn's rare cycle). That’s good for us. Venomous Changeling trades up and Webweaver Changeling provides a solid body with a decent enter-the-battlefield effect. Changeling Outcast is a borderline inclusion; it’s a horrific topdeck, but it can actually do some work on offense with enough tribal support.

On a general note, we probably won’t include Changelings like Valiant Changeling, despite their power level. The double mana pips are a big cost, bigger than I think some players tend to acknowledge. Particularly in a five-color deck like this, we need to be conservative with our choices. Webweaver Changeling is okay since we’re playing base green, but other double pips are tough.

Next, let’s add some of the OG Changelings. Find them by hitting up the Sets tab and searching for Lorwyn.

Mirror Entity is a fantastic finisher, good enough to see play in over 6,000 decks. Amoeboid Changeling creates gleeful wackiness, especially when we grant tribal bonuses to creatures who don’t normally get them. Shapesharer is an excellent mana sink that can upgrade any Changeling to a copy of the board’s best creature. All welcome additions.

Tribal Payoffs

Tribal payoffs have been a thing since Alpha, so we’ve got tons to choose from. Playing five colors gives us access to any of them. Let’s try to find some of the biggest and best.

For starters, Commander 2017 was all about tribal. Let’s check that page for some ideas.

As perhaps the most powerful tribal commander in EDH, Eddie the Head Vampire feels like a must-include. Yes, at three colors, he is difficult to cast. But in this case, I believe he’s worth the effort.

First of all, Markov offers immediate board impact. As a virtual 5-power first striker with haste, he can almost always find a good attack when he enters the battlefield. Assuming you have any Changelings on the battlefield, each will earn a counter. Furthermore, any Changelings you cast after Markov will come with a Vampire buddy (the best kind of buddy). My favorite part? Name “Vampire” with Morophon and Markov costs just three colorless mana. Sounds good to me.

Kindred Dominance pairs extremely well with Changelings because, no matter what type you select, your Changelings will survive. Cast it, name a creature type nobody plays (I recommend “Homarid”), then laugh maniacally.

Path of Ancestry is already a must-have in every tribal deck. Somehow, it’s probably the best it’s ever been in a Morophon deck. Since Morophon counts as every creature type, any creature you cast with Path will give you a scry, no matter its creature type.

Next, let’s head back to Lorwyn and see what tribal goodies we can uncover.

Look, I know I’m continuing to contradict myself about the whole realistic mana cost point. But if you name “Elemental” with Morophon, you can cast Horde of Notions for free! Like Eddie, this Horde offers immediate board impact. What’s more, it also offers you the ability to rebuild after a board wipe. That’s a must-have in a creature-based strategy like this one. As an added bonus, the art on the card is magnificent.

We desperately need two things in our deck: mana fixing and more Changelings. Elvish Harbinger provides both.

Timber Protector doesn’t protect itself, but that’s quite alright; it is an excellent lord for our deck. A five-mana 4/6 is solid on its own, and the extra text protects our team from board wipes. Plus, it should open up some profitable attacks.

The most recent tribal-themed expansion is Ixalan block. Let’s look for more cards there.

Unclaimed Territory is an easy one. Kumena, however, is an oddball choice. it might be a bit too ambitious, but the payoff is there. With just two other Changelings, Kumena allows you to draw cards. Once we get to four others, we can start going nuts.

The Sliver Subtheme

Since Slivers have also made their return in Modern Horizons, let’s include some of the best ones in our deck. Remember, every Changeling is also a Sliver.

You knew we’d include this one: The First Sliver is incredibly powerful, both on its own and in tandem with other Slivers (or in this case, Changelings). Remember, each Changeling you hit off a Cascade while this is in play will Cascade again. So just casting The First Sliver could get two or three more Changelings from your deck.

Also, don’t forget that naming “Sliver” with Morophon gives you a free First Sliver.

Despite being a red card, I think Spiteful Sliver is an effective defensive option. Since your creatures are now all Spitemare, your opponents will be reluctant to swing at you with their big creatures.

Lastly, Cloudshredder Sliver seems amazing for our deck. Giving all our Changelings evasion and immediate impact is exactly what we’re looking for.

Mana Fixing

This is an important one. Playing all five colors gives us the reward of choice but it comes with the risk of mana stalls. Therefore, we need to prioritize fixing that provides access to all five colors.

Harabaz Druid is an excellent inclusion. It adds any color of mana and it scales to even more mana for each Changeling we control, since they count as Allies.

Speaking of Allies, the wonderful land Ally Encampment fixes mana for any Changeling we’d like to cast, and in the late game, we can sacrifice it to recover a dead creature. That’s some nice utility, especially for a land that enters the battlefield untapped. Haven of the Spirit Dragon is functionally the same, so we’ll include both.

Finally, let’s not forget Morophon itself. Its cost reduction clause actually fixes mana for all our Changelings and any of the named types quite well.

Playing the Deck

In the early game, we’ll start by casting as many Changelings as we can. We’ll also focus on finding all five colors of mana, likely with the above mana fixers and any other colorless sources we have. Since we’ll be base green, we almost never want to keep an opening hand without green mana in it.

Once we have many Changelings out, it’s time to start casting our tribal payoffs. Creatures like Edgar Markov and Timber Protector should open up profitable attacks, while cards like Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca will help us find more Changelings. We can land the finishing blow with Morophon.

As is usually the case with tribal decks, board wipes are an issue. We’ve got our lands to recover fallen friends, but even so, we don’t want to overextend into a Day of Judgment. Be careful of what goes on the board, and don’t get too excited.

Here's the deck!

Gimme Some More Morophon

View on Archidekt

Commander (1)
Creatures (32)
Instants (4)
Sorceries (7)
Artifacts (10)
Enhancements (6)
Planeswalkers (1)
Land (39)

Excuse me while I bust out my Lorwyn basic lands. This is going to be awesome.

Thanks for reading!

Kyle A. Massa is a writer and avid Magic player living somewhere in upstate New York with his wife, their daughter, and three wild animals. His current favorite card is Flubs, the Fool. Kyle can be found on Twitter @mindofkyleam.

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