Last updated on April 10, 2024

Morska, Undersea Sleuth - Illustration by Ekaterina Burmak

Morska, Undersea Sleuth | Illustration by Ekaterina Burmak

Something’s fishy in Ravnica’s waters, and I’m not just talking about Morska, Undersea Sleuth. In our latest visit to Ravnica, Murders at Karlov Manor, some foul-play has lead half the plane’s population to quit their day jobs and become private investigators. Some are… better detectives than others. Yes Morska, I’m sure the culprit that murdered Teysa and Zegana is hiding in a clam underwater somewhere.

At any rate, the return of investigate as a main-set mechanic lead to an entire Commander precon centered around Clue tokens. Morska’s actually a fairly open-ended legend, with a bunch of different directions you can take them.

How’d I choose to build the deck? Read on and discover more.

The Deck

Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse - Illustration by Izzy

Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse | Illustration by Izzy

Commander (1)

Morska, Undersea Sleuth

Planeswalker (2)

Teferi, Master of Time
Teferi, Temporal Pilgrim

Creature (21)

Noble Hierarch
Archivist of Oghma
Faerie Mastermind
Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse
Ledger Shredder
Prince Imrahil the Fair
Chasm Skulker
Detective of the Month
Jaheira, Friend of the Forest
Lavinia, Foil to Conspiracy
Minn, Wily Illusionist
Nadir Kraken
Pir, Imaginative Rascal
Ethereal Investigator
Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix
Toothy, Imaginary Friend
Alandra, Sky Dreamer
Psychosis Crawler
Shabraz, the Skyshark
The Council of Four
Consecrated Sphinx

Instant (16)

Swords to Plowshares
Arcane Denial
Growth Spiral
Hallowed Moonlight
Heroic Intervention
Dismantling Blow
Endless Detour
Filter Out
Eureka Moment
Meeting of Minds
Perplexing Test
Commence the Endgame

Sorcery (6)

Gitaxian Probe
Lórien Revealed

Enchantment (6)

Wizard Class
On the Trail
Proft's Eidetic Memory
Knowledge Is Power

Artifact (10)

Mishra's Bauble
Sol Ring
Arcane Signet
Fellwar Stone
Lightning Greaves
Thought Vessel
Commander's Sphere
Midnight Clock
The Celestus
Shorikai, Genesis Engine

Land (38)

Command Tower
Path of Ancestry
Reliquary Tower
Roadside Reliquary
Temple of the False God
Gates of Istfell
Seaside Citadel
Brokers Hideout
Spara's Headquarters
Breeding Pool
Hallowed Fountain
Temple Garden
Windswept Heath
Flooded Strand
Misty Rainforest
Deserted Beach
Overgrown Farmland
Dreamroot Cascade
Rejuvenating Springs
Bountiful Promenade
Sea of Clouds
Barkchannel Pathway
Branchloft Pathway
Hengegate Pathway
Simic Growth Chamber
Azorius Chancery
Lonely Sandbar
Tranquil Thicket
Secluded Steppe
Forest x3
Island x3
Plains x3

I’ve opted to build this as a card advantage engine deck, full of card draw effects and cards that trigger from drawing. You’ll see a massive amount of generic card draw, as well as payoffs that key off of drawing multiple cards in a given turn. That also means plenty of instant-speed effects so you can trigger Morska on your opponents’ turns.

I’ve taken a medium-casual approach to the deck. I’m not playing anything inherently bad or embarrassing just to tone it down, but I’ve also left out some staples like Rhystic Study and Mystic Remora, which made me roll my eyes a bit upon consideration. There’s plenty of room to make the deck stronger, but for now it’s your average everyday 7, maybe a 6 with average draws.

The Commander

Morska, Undersea Sleuth

Morska, Undersea Sleuth does everything in its power not to be a merfolk. “Vedalken Fish Detective?” Sure thing, Wizards.

Creature types aside, Morska’s pretty straightforward. It covers card advantage by making a Clue token every turn, and Morska gradually becomes more formidable via +1/+1 counters as you draw extra cards. Notably, Morska can trigger once per player’s turn, so I’ve gone out of my way to include instant-speed draw effects, though Clues do a good job of this already.

Due to the nature of Clue tokens, you can lean into a lot of different elements for this deck. The Deep Clue Sea precon that included Morska had a healthy mix of artifact support cards, token payoffs, and general draw power, but I’ve really leaned into that last part. I want to draw tons of cards and use my draw payoffs to convert that into a win. Of course, a steadily-growing Morska can hit for huge chunks of commander damage over time, too.

Oh, you also get the Reliquary Tower effect stapled to the commander for free. I know y’all love that effect, for some reason.

Clue #1: Draw Power

This deck cares about drawing cards, pretty much every turn of the game, so let’s cover most of the actual card advantage.

First up: simple cantrips. It’s trivial to trigger Morska, Undersea Sleuth during your own turn. If you don’t want to crack a Clue, just cast a sorcery cantrip like Ponder, Preordain, or Gitaxian Probe.

Brainstorm and Consider are instant-speed cantrips, while Mishra's Bauble and Portent delay their card draw for a turn, which strategically sets up a Morska trigger on an opponent’s turn when combined with a Clue token or an instant like Growth Spiral.

Some instant-speed effects like Eureka Moment, Shorikai, Genesis Engine, and Meeting of Minds fulfil Morska’s condition on their own, with extra benefits. Meeting of Minds is particularly useful since you’ll often cast it for “free” via convoke.

Archivist of Oghma, Ledger Shredder, Faerie Mastermind, and The Council of Four all key their card draw off your opponents’ actions, though most of them have built-in ways to draw extra cards on their own.

Ethereal Investigator Lavinia, Foil to Conspiracy

Aside from the commander, anything else that makes a Clue helps you as well, which includes cards like Ethereal Investigator (not a detective?) and Lavinia, Foil to Conspiracy.


Standstill’s a funny little card that backs at least one player into a corner. Word to the wise: Make sure you have ample defenses to stave off attacks before you slam this down, otherwise you’ll be the one breaking the Standstill.

The Celestus routinely draws extra cards throughout the game, though you’ll have to gauge whether tracking day/night is worth running the card. Midnight Clock and Commander's Sphere have similar one-shot functionality here.

Clue #2: Draw Payoffs

Clearly you’re drawing a ton of extra cards, so how do you use that to your advantage? There are tons of payoffs that trigger off card draws, whether that’s your first draw every turn, your second, or any draw at any point.

There are around 10 draw-2 payoffs in this deck, all of which generate creature tokens of some sort, making cards like Alandra, Sky Dreamer and Minn, Wily Illusionist some of your key pieces for turning card draw into board presence. Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse in particular is a surprisingly effective wincon, sometimes making a board of tokens 7/7s and above out of nowhere.

Chasm Skulker, Shabraz, the Skyshark, and Toothy, Imaginary Friend go tall instead of wide, with added benefits on each card. Nadir Kraken goes tall and wide at the same time.

Psychosis Crawler

Psychosis Crawler is one of those funny 5-drops that doesn’t feel that competitive in modern Magic, and yet it always deals about 10 damage to each player throughout the course of a game. It’s also almost always a 7/7 or greater.

Commence the Endgame

Commence the Endgame is enabler and payoff all in one. Think of it as a 7/7 flash creature that draws two cards and triggers all your other payoffs.

Wizard Class, Proft's Eidetic Memory, and Knowledge Is Power turn card draw into extra stats on board. Eidetic Memory encourages you to play out your card draw during your precombat main phase, so you’ll have to take that into consideration.

Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix

Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix taps for more mana the more cards you’ve drawn, which is great for then casting another big draw spell or just cracking a few Clue tokens.

On the Trail Burgeoning

On the Trail is a newish, sort of broken green ramp enchantment that lets you just drop extra lands into play as you draw extra cards. I’m not usually fond of Burgeoning, but it excels in decks that always have a full grip of cards. Card draw and extra mana go hand-in-hand, so finding ways to get more lands into play begets more opportunities to cast card draw spells.

Teferi, Temporal Pilgrim

Teferi, Temporal Pilgrim’s another draw payoff that also naturally draws cards. Its -12 is more than achievable in this deck, so opponents have to be very cautious of that. It’s pretty easy to stick a Teferi, cast a big draw spell on an opponent’s turn, then untap, cast another draw spell and ultimate Teferi. The Spirit tokens also get pretty big in just a few turn cycles.

Clue #3: Interaction

Swords to Plowshares Counterspell

While this deck’s mostly an A+B collage of draw spells and payoffs, it’s got a fair amount of interaction mixed in, though it might be a little light. Your usual Swords to Plowshares and Counterspell are here, but there are some other interesting, synergistic choices, too.

Endless Detour

Endless Detour’s a catch-all that’s part permanent removal, part counterspell, part Regrowth, part graveyard hate, and I just think the card’s pretty neat.

Dismantling Blow

Dismantling Blow is below-the-bar for Disenchant effects, but the kicker upside is relevant for this deck, and some games you’ll have more mana than you know what to do with.

Filter Out

Filter Out is a bounce spell I’ve started recommending to players highly. It’s backbreaking against certain types of decks, and it doesn’t hurt you that much. You might have to redeploy some cheap mana rocks and enchantments, but you even benefit from picking up your own Wizard Class and Proft's Eidetic Memory. Sometimes you’ll even choose not to replay those cards to make your Psychosis Crawler or Commence the Endgame stronger.

Hallowed Moonlight

Hallowed Moonlight regularly impresses me. It’s here because it’s a cantrip with some “gotcha!” potential, but so many strategies revolve around cheating huge boards of creatures or tokens into play, and Hallowed Moonlight ganks them all. It’s particularly brutal against reanimator decks, though be aware that it’ll adversely affect your own token-makers for the turn.

Arcane Denial

There’s always back-and-forth debate about Arcane Denial in casual Commander, but wherever you fall on that argument, it definitely belongs here. The draw is doing so much more than just putting an extra card in your hand, and this is one of the few decks where you might actively try to Denial your own spell to draw three cards.

Perplexing Test

I’m only running a single board wipe in this deck, since you have to play to the board to win. That’s Perplexing Test, which maintains your token presence while resetting everything else. If you can’t stand to leave home without a handful of wraths, you can easily add whatever Farewells and Cyclonic Rifts you see fit.

The Mana Base

For the most part, I’ve included all my favorite dual land cycles that span the Bant () colors, including fetch lands, shock lands, slow lands, Battlebond lands, and Pathways.

I’ve been becoming increasingly weary of bounce lands in 3+ color decks, but I’m running Simic Growth Chamber and Azorius Chancery here because they pair well with effects that drop lands directly into play from your hand. Cards like Burgeoning, On the Trail, and Eureka Moment can drop a bounce land, then guarantee you have another land for your next trigger/land drop.

Lórien Revealed Spara's Headquarters

Lórien Revealed is functionally land #39 here and even works as mana-fixing since it can fetch Spara's Headquarters and shock lands. You’ll also just cast it some amount of the time.

Gates of Istfell and Roadside Reliquary staple draw-2 effects to your mana base, whereas the trifecta of cycling lands (Lonely Sandbar and friends) gives you some extra instant-speed draw power if your mana’s all set up.

Reliquary Tower

I think Reliquary Tower’s totally justified, despite running three colors. Your mana’s good and you have an actual reason to want to hold all the cards you draw in your hand. This land’s played way too often, but you want the “no maximum hand size” effect in this deck.

The Strategy

This is an A+B strategy involving card draw and card draw payoffs. Generally speaking, you should set up as many payoffs on board as you can before casting your card draw spells. That way, you’re maximizing the number of triggers you’re getting with each card draw spell.

Morska, Undersea Sleuth is one of your wincons, but it’s not an absolutely essential part of the deck. Running it out on turn 3 is pretty good since you’ll start accumulating Clue tokens right away, but I’d still prioritize setting up ramp and mana on turn 3 if I have the option. You also shouldn’t feel the need to start cracking Clues and growing Morska right away. That’ll paint a target on you back as Morska gets bigger and bigger, and I’d rather set up more card draw payoffs and get a cascading advantage off my spells as the game goes on.

Your goal is to navigate to a point where you’re drawing so many cards that your payoffs are flooding the board with tokens, then you want to win in one big turn with a mass board pump like Knowledge Is Power or Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse. These are the types of wincons you can probably sneak into play without drawing too much attention, then pop off on a key turn while defenses are down.

The alternative route to victory is to try to build up one or two large threats. Morska naturally does this on its own, but Toothy, Imaginary Friend and Shabraz, the Skyshark also get very big very fast. Cards like Wizard Class and Proft's Eidetic Memory let you pick and choose which creature gets swole, and you’ll often want to diversify your threats when given the choice.

Combos and Interactions

Drawing cards and triggering card draw payoffs is a combo, right? For the most part, the interactions in this deck are pretty obvious, but let’s highlight a couple finer points.

Arcane Denial Commence the Endgame

Arcane Denial draws cards whether the target actually gets countered or not. It’s a big-mana play, but you can target your own uncounterable Commence the Endgame with Arcane Denial and draw three cards during the next upkeep.

The ol’ Mishra's Bauble + fetch land trick is worth knowing. Target yourself with Bauble to see if you like the top card of your library. If it’s something you want to draw, just wait until the next upkeep. If it’s something useless, crack a fetch land to shuffle it away. Brainstorm’s also present to get more use out of fetches and shuffle effects.

Morska, Undersea Sleuth has the “no maximum hand size” effect as a static ability, but be aware the effect disappears once Morska leaves the battlefield. If you’re sitting on 15 cards in your hand and an opponent removes Morska during your end step, you’ll have to discard to hand size. There’s some redundancy in cards like Wizard Class, Thought Vessel, and Reliquary Tower.

It won’t matter every game, especially at super casual tables, but beware the ever-present card draw hate that’s been popping up lately. A deck whose entire existence centers on card draw is punished hard by draw-hate like Sheoldred, the Apocalypse and Orcish Bowmasters. Notion Thief and Narset, Parter of Veils are equally detrimental. If you’re in a stable position and death doesn’t seem likely, best to hold that Counterspell or Endless Detour for hosers like these.

Rule 0 Violations Check

I can’t think of any reason my opponents should get salty at this deck. Beyond being fairly casual, it’s not playing that much interaction, and I’ve intentionally excluded some of the big offender cards that people tend to go up in arms about (Rhystic Study, etc.) and that may require a Rule 0 chat.

You do have a fair number of token-generators that all produce different types of tokens, so as a courtesy you should consider finding the actual tokens you need or come prepared with something like Infini-Tokens to properly represent your board state. Seems this is becoming more and more true of nearly every Commander deck I build these days!

Budget Options

As usual, you can adjust the budget of the deck in both directions. Let’s start with downsizing to save some money.

You can always nerf the mana base. Fetches and shocks are cool, but so is affording food and rent. I’ve left out staple budget fetches like Evolving Wilds and Terramorphic Expanse (and even the new Escape Tunnel), so feel free to sub those in to fill in the gaps. Otherwise, drop some of the pricier dual lands for whatever tap lands you have on hand. Your deck will become a tad bit slower, but not in any severely detrimental way.

Noble Hierarch can become any cheap mana dork to save $10, and the $20+ Consecrated Sphinx could be dropped from the list altogether. Honestly, it makes you much scarier than you really should be. Faerie Mastermind‘s quite expensive at the time of writing, but could be replaced with a cheaper looter like Malcolm, Alluring Scoundrel or Suspicious Stowaway.

Burgeoning is a hot $20 (*cough* overplayed *cough*), and the effect’s quite good in this deck, but you can get your ramp from a simple Nature's Lore or Rampant Growth instead. Archaeomancer's Map does a very similar thing for only $6-7.

Now for the upgrades. I left most of these cards out because they tend to be annoying, and I wanted to build something more fun and less aggravating for everyone involved. Turns out these cards are mostly just expensive, too. Rhystic Study, The One Ring, and Esper Sentinel are some key staples that greatly bolster the power and consistency of the deck, though at the expense of making it feel more samey to most meta decks.

Cyclonic Rift, Farewell, and Teferi's Protection are top-tier interactive spells that I also excluded for monetary and originality reasons.

Fierce Guardianship, Flawless Maneuver, and Mana Crypt also tend to make decks much stronger, but they’re far from necessary. Plus, their presence in your deck tends to push it slightly higher up the “casual” meter than where I’m aiming for.

Academy Manufactor’s another card that slots into the deck perfectly, but I see that card run away with games so much that I decided to give it a rest.

Other Builds

I’ve already mentioned Morska’s open-endedness, and you can lean into any of the particular elements that a Clue commander leaves you open to.

You can push in an artifact-heavy direction with cards like Shimmer Dragon and Inspiring Statuary, using Cyberdrive Awakener and Rise and Shine as wincons.

You can clue into the actual Clue generation here with all of the explicit Clue support from Doctor Who and Murders at Karlov Manor. Seriously, there’s a bunch. Maybe this is the perfect home for Tamiyo's Journal and Five Hundred Year Diary?

The decklist I’ve presented lends itself well to general token shenanigans. Anointed Procession antics aren’t really my thing, but some people love that space, so you could definitely restructure my decklist into something more token-centric. Divine Visitation seems pretty nuts in my build.

Again, not my thing, but there’s definitely the potential for a Thassa's Oracle/Laboratory Maniac alternate win here. Those are usually pretty cheesy ways to end a game, but they feel more palatable when you’re actually drawing through your deck the hard way.

Commanding Conclusion

Psychosis Crawler - Illustration by Stephan Martiniere

Psychosis Crawler | Illustration by Stephan Martiniere

Admittedly, the Morska, Undersea Sleuth deck I’ve presented today isn’t the most competitive build, but it’s very focused and should never find itself in topdeck mode. Sometimes I just like to draw a bunch of cards, and it’s nice to be rewarded for doing that.

There’s room to make it more competitive if that’s what you’re looking for, and you can always up the amount of interaction to fit your particular playstyle. I’ve taken the parts I liked best about the Morska precon and restructured them into something I personally enjoy playing, and I encourage you to do the same.

How’s Morska panned out for you? Which direction did you lean into for this commander? Do you also wish this was a Bant merfolk commander instead of a Vedalken fish? Let me know in the comments below or over in the Draftsim Discord.

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