Last updated on February 4, 2024
Kellan, Inquisitive Prodigy | Illustration by by Joshua Raphael
The Deep Clue Sea Commander precon deck’s funny name will remind you of Deep Blue Sea, and the comparison helps to understand it. The deck and the movie are fun but kinda all over the place with one or two good moments.
Thankfully, those moments are worth a salvage option in the deck, so if you bought it for Farewell and Koma, Cosmos Serpent and hoped for the best, I’m here to give you the best version of the deck, or at least the one that seems to make the most sense.
Mechanized Production | Illustration by Adam Paquette
Deep Clue Sea is focused on two underpowered mechanics and hopes that they synergize well enough to overcome their limitations.
You can see them in the face commander, Morska, Undersea Sleuth. Investigate and the Clue tokens it produces are slow card draw with rectangle creation value. The bonus after you draw a second card mechanic is an even bigger world of nerf. Theoretically, those two things can commingle with the Clues giving you the card draw for the bonuses, but it’s all so very, very slow.
To fix the deck, you need to streamline and play cheaper spells, first off. Second, focus on the wincons and maximize their chances of payoff in the deck. Third, that mostly means bailing on the draw second card synergies, which, even on the face commander aren’t that strong and leaning into what a board full of Clues can do for you. But fourth, that also means that the token doublers you think of, like Parallel Lives, aren’t a part of this solution. That’s good for budget, but 5-drop enchantments that make you two tokens instead of one just aren’t impactful enough to matter in this kind of deck.
So what are the strengths you should try to maximize?
Well, there’s always Koma, Cosmos Serpent in the mix, but this doesn’t seem the best shell to maximize it. Still, you might have bought this deck for the big guy, so let’s keep it in.
Your best wincon is Mechanized Production, which is a pretty fragile.
You also have some go wide support with cards like Killer Service and Knowledge Is Power and plenty of others, which is another reason to lower the curve. The most fun wincon is Tangletrove Kelp, which can make all of our clues into an army of 6/6 kelp.
Let’s see how we can turn the odds of those outcomes in our favor, especially by supporting hitting hard with animated artifacts.
Ready for a deep dive to find the lost treasures of this deck?
You might as well use tap lands that synergize with the deck if you’re going to use taplands at all, and I think the Clue: Ravnica Edition lands like Kitchen, Study, and Conservatory are reasonably playable. But take this upgrade note as inducement to upgrade your deck with your good dual lands to make a more functional 3-color mana base.
Suggested Cut: Wilderness Reclamation
This is egregious precon design. There are only three instants in the deck! What is Wilderness Reclamation doing here? Let’s can it for a really powerful instant that can make a metric ton of Clue tokens right before Mechanized Production is set to go off. Even the fail case of Officious Interrogation making just one or two Clues is pretty good on rate, and the ceiling is huge.
Suggested Cut: Fumigate
You don’t want a ton of board wipes if you’re going wide-ish, but Kellan, Inquisitive Prodigy seems to do everything you want. A bit of Clue making, a bit of ramp, and then a flier with an attack trigger that can remove pesky things or just sacrifice your own clues for more efficient card draw. Kellan’s boss Ezrim, Agency Chief is tempting, but a 5-drop that protects itself from everything but board wipes doesn’t quite fit the plan.
Suggested Cut: Ransom Note
Thorough Investigation only triggers once, regardless of the number of attackers, but you really want it for the dungeon. The dungeon mechanic is also underpowered, but if you’re sacrificing a bunch of clues anyway, the value here stacks up, especially if this gives you a Clue a turn. Even more so if you have Lonis, Cryptozoologist out!
Suggested Cut: Esix, Fractal Bloom
Suggested Cut: Nadir Kraken
Martha Jones helps your attack plan similarly to Junk Winder and Kappa Cannoneer by massaging some attacks through. Look closely at Dr. Jones’s ability. If you’re sacrificing a pile of clues en masse, you can make your team unblockable. A card like Lumengrid Sentinel is worth considering if this space seems interesting to you, although it’s much less powerful.
Suggested Cut: Magnifying Glass
Good ol’ KCI can make great use of your tokens for mana, but Krark-Clan Ironworks can also sacrifice clues at will to synergize with your cards that want that. This card makes people want to see you as archenemy, and your deck might not be good enough to withstand that, so play carefully. It’s also expensive, so you can turn to one of the “so close” honorable mentions instead. If you do run it, you likely want a Whir of Invention to help find it.
Suggested Cut: Tezzeret, Betrayer of Flesh
Suggested Cut: Teferi's Ageless Insight
I know it’s just an uncommon from The Brothers’ War Draft, but if you haven’t played Sarinth Steelseeker in a deck that makes artifact tokens, you’re missing out. When an artifact ETBs you basically explore without the +1/+1 counter. In a deck like this, that means you won’t miss another land drop and you’ll get extreme card selection off the top. It’s absolutely key!
Suggested Cut: Hornet Queen
Another nutter-butters card from The Brothers’ War Draft, Yotian Dissident can spew a lot of counters in a deck like this. A lot!
Suggested Cut: Hydroid Krasis
You want your Krasis in some bigger mana Simic deck anyway! Confront the Unknown cheaply makes a Clue token at instant speed. In this deck, you can drop this right before damage on one of your unblocked creatures and wreck someone.
Suggested Cut: Chulane, Teller of Tales
Okay, yes, I’m cutting Chulane. Deal with it! It doesn’t synergize super well in this deck and is going to make people target you inordinately. Alquist Proft, Master Sleuth might make itself a target, but it’s a better bet as a 3-drop that attacks with vigilance then taps for a Sphinx's Revelation!
Suggested Cut: Swords to Plowshares
I don’t think a deck like this has a lot of room for spot removal, but it does need a card like Second Harvest, which can win you the game with your other triggers and abilities! This is the only token doubling effect you have room for, I think.
Suggested Cut: Finale of Revelation
Rampage of the Clans is a nice, sneaky wincon, while Finale belongs in a bigger mana deck. You can eliminate broken things on the table while turning your Clues into beaters, at instant speed. They get creatures, too, but you should be able to find the right moment for this to turn the tide.
Suggested Cut: Confirm Suspicions
You’re really looking to overload Rise and Shine and pile in with animated clues.
Suggested Cut: Shimmer Dragon
You want your 6-drops to make a difference quickly, so swap out the dragon for Cyberdrive Awakener, which can get you a quick win when you have enough clues.
Suggested Cut: Aerial Extortionist
The Extortionist is a cool card, but I don’t know why it’s in this deck. Jaheira, Friend of the Forest comes down and immediately turns your Clue tokens into mana. I’d probably also find a spot for the more durable Five Hundred Year Diary, but coming in tapped is brutal.
Suggested Cut: Selvala, Explorer Returned
Novice Inspector is cheap and so synergistic that it’s fine to draw it late. You need more creatures and more clues, and here you go.
Suggested Cut: Psychosis Crawler
The original version of the Novice, Thraben Inspector does what you want, and the Crawler seems like a really odd wincon for a deck that doesn’t draw cards fast enough.
Suggested Cut: Alandra, Sky Dreamer
You want Alandra for some kind of Izzet deck, I think. But you don’t draw enough cards here for this card to work the way you want. Of course, Akal Pakal, First Among Equals gives you card draw of a kind that you can use effectively. You can’t really synergize with it filling the graveyard, but late game you’re digging for a half dozen cards that let you win, and Akal rips through the deck with all your Clues coming down.
Suggested Cut: Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse
Let’s up the curve just a bit. Urza, Lord High Artificer can almost win a game on its own, and dropping it with a sea of Clues is just gravy. Jolrael is fine, but that’s not what you’re doing in this deck, really.
There are a number of cards that likely could be considered, especially if the curve needs to be lowered further, like:
Perhaps you don’t believe me about speed and want all the token doublers. For your consideration:
Finally, there’s probably a decent argument for Panharmonicon and Roaming Throne, but I think you have enough top end that adds triggers. You don’t need infinite Clues. You need enough to utilize your wincons.
Cyberdrive Awakener | Illustration by Zezhou Chen
I think a lot of us will pull Sophia, Dogged Detective out of this deck and turn it into a Food and dogs deck that I’d store in a toy Mystery Machine for full flavor, use Scooby Snacks as my Food tokens and add a bunch of dogs for a full on experience. Or maybe that’s just me?
But I think the Morska deck here can work, perhaps better than the Simic Lonis, Cryptozoologist decks do. Setting aside some of the highest-cost cards, like Urza, a lot of these changes to Deep Clue Sea can be made with budget in mind, and the substitutions I suggest here free up a lot of powerful cards from this deck to add to your other Commander decks, as well.
Let me know how it goes in the comments or Discord. To save you the temptation, allow me to be the first to tell myself to “get a clue,” so you’ll need to bring a stronger pun game if that was your thought.
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