Last updated on April 7, 2022

Morophon, the Boundless | Illustration by Victor Adame Minguez

As a deck builder, I like to build with cards that are underused and try to exploit them to their maximum potential. My latest brew was with Magda, Brazen Outlaw for Commander, which seemed very fun to build around, but there was a small problem. There are only 43 dwarf cards released by WotC (to date) that are playable in this kind of deck, and only half of them are slightly playable… If you’re optimistic.

More often than not, WotC releases powerful cards like this in sets with a theme for a particular creature type, but then they never print support cards or creatures that share a type with it. Do you know there are only four Surrakar creatures in all of Magic’s history? What If you wanted to build a Surrakar tribal deck? Are your hopes shattered?

Surrakar Banisher

Luckily there’s a workaround for this problem: changelings. Let’s discover how, in many situations, creatures that have this particularity can solve multiple problems you may be trying to solve in deckbuilding. Let’s find out!

What Is Changeling?

Masked Vandal | Illustration by Jason A. Engle

Changeling is a keyword ability that gives creature cards all creature types simultaneously. It only appears on creatures with the “shapeshifter” creature type listed on the card itself. The design for this was based on Mistform Ultimus‘s ability, and it was later featured on creatures from the Lorwyn block like Shapesharer.

With the launch of Modern Horizons in June 2019, creatures with the changeling keyword reappeared. Morophon, the Boundless was designed to serve as a commander for tribal decks based around a specific creature type.

The last wave of changelings returned with Kaldheim in February 2021, this time focused on synergies within blue and green.

Changelings by Color

While there are changelings printed in all colors of Magic, they’re printed more often in some colors than others. Here’s a list of how they’re distributed:

Changeling distribution by color in MTG

Green has the most changelings in the history of Magic, followed by white and blue. Red needs a little more love, but one of the best changelings ever created is red. We’ll get to that a little later, though. First, let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Changelings.

Are Changelings All Creature Types While in Your Hand?

Changeling is a characteristic-defining ability, which means that it works everywhere, even outside the game, and is true in all zones. Let’s take a look at Harald, King of Skemfar as an example.

Harald, King of Skemfar

You can reveal either a warrior or an elf from the top five cards of your library and put it in your hand. Back in the day of Kaldheim Limited, revealing a Masked Vandal was very common and it was possible because of how the changeling characteristic works.

Are All Shapeshifters Changelings?

No. While this is an ability only given to shapeshifters, there are cards like Body Double and Aetherling that don’t have it.

Can You Choose Changeling as a Creature Type?

Since changeling is an ability and not a creature type, you can’t choose it as a creature type. Selecting shapeshifter as a creature type doesn’t give it changeling or all creature types, either.

Can You Mutate Onto a Changeling?

Sadly, a creature with the changeling ability will also have the “human” creature type, and you can only mutate on non-human creatures. So no, you can’t mutate onto a changeling.

Do Changelings Count as Snow Creatures?

No. Snow is what’s called a “supertype” and not a creature type. A supertype is a characteristic that appears before the card type on the type line, and not all cards have it.

Are Changelings Artifact Creatures?

No, changelings are not artifact creatures. Just like the snow supertype, artifacts aren’t a creature type, but a separate card type.

Pros (and Cons) of Playing Changelings

You could build your deck around changelings, but I’d call them both a blessing and a curse. You can exploit having every creature type with cards like Crux of Fate and Crippling Fear, which can be one-sided board wipe favoring yourself. Then there are cards like Witch’s Vengeance and Tivadar’s Crusade that could kill all your creatures in one fell swoop and leave your opponent with their entire army intact.

The key here is knowing your meta. If you also happen to know that your opponents are playing these kinds of cards, just don’t overcommit and you’ll be fine. Having said that, changelings are more rewarding than punishing in the end.

Best of the Best Changelings

I’ve already mentioned some, but let’s go over the top 10 changelings throughout Magic’s history.

Amoeboid Changeling

This little buddy is an EDH all-star for both tribal and non-tribal decks. Amoeboid is responsible for multiple combo interactions. Here are just a few:

Universal Automaton

This one, while not a staple of any format like our previous card, is a must-have for any deck that wants to have a tribal theme and needs an extra enabler. Need another rebel for your mono black Blightspeaker deck? The Automaton will do the job!

Nameless Inversion

Nameless Inversion is really nice because not only is it not a creature, but it’s also removal. And that’s huge since you can tutor it with cards like Goblin Matron and Goblin Ringleader. It had more uses with faeries back during the Lorwyn era, but the synergy is there for anyone who can exploit it.

Masked Vandal

Masked Vandal

The Vandal is a recent addition from Kaldheim and is another option for artifact and enchantment hate outside of Reclamation Sage. It’s better since you don’t destroy the permanent but rather exile it, which in some cases might become relevant against indestructible artifacts like Darksteel Colossus and Darksteel Citadel.

Unsettled Mariner

While the Mariner can certainly fit into any tribal deck, its common in Modern’s Azorius spirits deck. It gives all your permanents protection and gets protection from Drogskol Captain’s hexproof.

Mirror Entity

Speaking of cards that have seen competitive play, the Entity was a staple of Kithkin aggro back at the beginning of the now-extinct extended format. First you fill the board with a bunch of cheap drops and tokens, and then you pump your entire team by making them 4/4s or even 6/6s in some cases.

This card was also a cube favorite for years.

Taurean Mauler

The Mauler is one of the most oppressive cards in Commander. It needs to be answered before it becomes a huge threat. Either your opponent has to kill it or stop playing spells until they find an answer for it.

Chameleon Colossus

For years, the Colossus saw a lot of play in elf decks thanks to its ability. The protection from black is also very useful since a good deal of popular removal cards in formats like Modern are black. That was especially true when it was still in Standard.

Realmwalker

Realmwalker

Another recently printed card that’s currently seeing play in competitive Magic. Realmwalker has found its home in Historic elves. The deck runs a very low land count and is mostly creatures, so you tend to chain lots of plays from the top of your library. It’s a very good card that can lead to some really awesome turns if left unanswered.

Morophon, the Boundless

Finally we have the commander general, Morophon. This card can support any tribal archetype: dragons, angels, salamanders, you name it! This beautiful shapeshifter can synergize with any tribe as its abilities not only make paying for creatures of your specified types cheaper, it also gives them a little boost, too.

More EDH Combos for Changeling

Being all creature types is great and abusing it is better. Remember when I told you that WotC has a habit of creating powerful cards that never get supported? Changelings get around that! Let’s check some cool interactions for some staple Commander cards.

Reaper King

There are only a handful of scarecrows you want to play in Magic’s history, but being a changeling is nice here as each one of them will destroy something with Reaper King. You can also pair this with Morophon, the Boundless, Cloudstone Curio, and Changeling Outcast to destroy the entire board by recasting your King for free.

Changeling Titan, Changeling Berserker, and Changeling Hero

These three creatures each champion each other, creating a loop of “enter the battlefield” triggers. You can also pair them with cards like Impact Tremors or Warstorm Surge. Want a few more options? I got you!

The Changelings Plus…

Throw Gemhide Sliver into the mix for some infinite mana. Want to draw some cards? Grab Azami, Lady of Scrolls. Seraph Sanctuary plus the changelings will give you infinite life. Shapesharer, Myr Galvanizer, Gemhide Sliver, plus any two of the three changelings are another combo option for infinite mana.

There’s also Wirewood Symbiote, Mirror Entity, and Harabaz Druid with the changelings for even more infinite mana. If you’ve got a bunch of enter the battlefield effects, you can combo Mirror Entity and Faith’s Reward with the changelings to bring your entire board back.

And finally, we have Basal Sliver, Enduring Renewal, and Changeling Outcast on top of our changeling trio for an infinite storm count, infinite black mana, and infinite ETB triggers.

Bonus: Changeling Deck

Finally, let me share one of the most recent changeling decks. We’ve got all tribes in one deck designed by Tomer Abramovici. Take a look:

Decklist

Creature (38)

Universal Automaton
Mothdust Changeling
Changeling Outcast
Impostor of the Sixth Pride
Unsettled Mariner
Amoeboid Changeling
Shapesharer
Skeletal Changeling
Magda, Brazen Outlaw
Cloudshredder Sliver
Guardian Gladewalker
Harabaz Druid
Manaweft Sliver
Masked Vandal
Woodland Changeling
Bloodline Pretender
Mirror Entity
Sylvia Brightspear
Knight Exemplar
Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator
Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow
Haakon, Stromgald Scourge
Taurean Mauler
Feline Sovereign
Realmwalker
Risen Reef
Irregular Cohort
Ingenious Infiltrator
Sliver Overlord
The First Sliver
Higure, the Still Wind
Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign
Hellkite Courser
Morophon, the Boundless
Valiant Changeling
The Ur-Dragon
Reaper King
Spawning Kraken

Instant (5)

Stinging Study
Entomb
Wings of Velis Vel
Blades of Velis Vel
Crib Swap

Sorcery (9)

Cateran Summons
Wargate
Buried Alive
Notorious Throng
Peer Pressure
Widespread Brutality
Jarad’s Orders
Coveted Prize
Bring to Light

Enchantment (5)

Curse of Opulence
The Bears of Littjara
Battle of Frost and Fire
Liliana’s Contract
Rooftop Storm

Artifact (6)

Sol Ring
Arcane Signet
Fellwar Stone
Chromatic Lantern
Dragon’s Hoard
Maskwood Nexus

Land (37)

Ally Encampment
Ancient Amphitheater
Auntie’s Hovel
Cavern of Souls
City of Brass
Command Tower
Exotic Orchard
Flamekin Village
Forest x2
Gilt-Leaf Palace
Haven of the Spirit Dragon
Indatha Triome
Island x2
Ketria Triome
Mana Confluence
Mountain x2
Murmuring Bosk
Mutavault
Overgrown Tomb
Path of Ancestry
Plains x2
Primal Beyond
Raugrin Triome
Reflecting Pool
Sacred Foundry
Savai Triome
Secluded Glen
Swamp x2
Swarmyard
The World Tree
Wanderwine Hub
Zagoth Triome

This deck has some of the combos I already covered plus combo enablers like Reaper King, but the interesting part is that the commander, The Ur-Dragon, isn’t a changeling. But its ability makes all your changelings cost 1 less mana by default, even if it’s not in play, and that’s huge.

There are also tons of creatures that aren’t changelings but provide useful abilities like creating Treasures with Magda, Brazen Outlaw or making each other creature indestructible with Knight Exemplar. In the long run, these will take over the game very quickly if left unanswered.

This is a very aggressive approach, but it shows how powerful a changeling Commander deck can be. All of those synergies added up lead to very dead opponents very fast.

Wrap Up

Realmwalker | Illustration by Igor Kieryluk

While there aren’t as many changelings as elves or goblins, they certainly pack tons of synergies that can come in handy from time to time. The most popular ones, as you may have guessed by now, only see play in Commander, but the few that see competitive play are powerhouses on their own. Besides, it’s always good to have some copies of them available, just in case.

What are your thoughts? Are you willing to adventure in building a deck with all the tribes working together? Share your brews with us over on Twitter if you do!

As always, take care, and I’ll see you next time!

Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates:

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *