Last, but absolutely not least, Deep Clue Sea is significantly more powerful than the other Murders at Karlov Manor pre-cons. From mana base to mana rocks to raw card power, the scales are tipped way in this deck’s favor. Someone at Wizards must really like Clue tokens! Enough chit-chat, let’s dive right into commander options.
Definitely Choose the Fish
Hands down Morska, Undersea Sleuth is the correct choice. First, this deck can use every single drop of mana, whether on your turn or someone else’s. The difference between a three or four mana commander is surprisingly relevant. Next, you want to get your token generation online ASAP. On turn five, Morska has made two clues. Sophia, Dogged Detective has made a Dog token and then if it deals combat damage it will also make a Food and Clue. But if not, you’re very behind.
On top of this, if you played Morska turn three and Wilderness Reclamation turn four, you’re ready to draw a card for free, or keep up interaction. The power of this kind of value engine gets larger the longer the game goes on, and you really want to start it as quickly as possible.
The no max hand size granted by Morska is very valuable because once you starting drawing, you won’t stop. Finally if you do need a gigantic creature, Morska gets quite large without even trying. Sophia is a bit of a trap. You really don’t want to sacrifice too many tokens too early and you may feel forced to do so. All in all, the Sleuth is superior.
Remember those free Clues you make every upkeep? Now they turn into damage with the help of Merchant of Truth. But wait, Armed with Proof generates two clues and also let clues become equipment for even more damage. Knowledge is Power turns every draw from a clue into effectively a scaling anthem effect as a finisher. Tangletrove Kelp turns all your clues into 6/6 creatures each combat. Is that not enough winning for you? Making clues literally turns into winning. Mechanized Production can easily become a one turn clock. There are many overlapping ideas and good cards in the Blast From the Past Doctor Who deck but that deck has an overwhelming amount of token generation while not necessarily having the best ways to end the game. Deep Clue Sea, on the other hand, does not mess around.
What About the Table?
With Farewell, Fumigate and Organic Extinction you don’t have to fear very much. Furthermore, Confirm Suspicions generates big value the moment you use it. You’ve also got single target removal in the form of Swords to Plowshares and Aerial Extortionist. In a pinch Disorder in the Court can be used for tempo, saving your own creatures and clue generation all at once.
Blue’s Big Clues
You might take a look at the mana curve of the deck and think it’s a tad on the high side. But Kappa Cannoneer, Thought Monitor and Junk Winder are really only one or two mana. Keep in mind Cannoneer can finish a player easily and Junk Winder can lock down multiple permanents for the rest of the game. Chulane, Teller of Tales loves bouncing Thought Monitor in particular for massive value. Inspiring Statuary is the ultimate mana rock for this deck.
Drawing a second card on any turn can generate you multiple tokens and pump up Morska. You don’t need to do anything else. Assemble one engine and see what the table is doing. React accordingly. Tezzeret, Betrayer of Flesh turns all that stored clue value into four free cards per round. Follow the Bodies lets you buyback your entire clue board for only three mana and combos very well with Lonis, Cryptozoologist. There are plenty of ways to get ahead without over committing.
Realistically, you are only going to get into trouble if you lose multiple value pieces at once, so do your best to avoid that. That means the game plan is, go for an engine, see if you win. Didn’t win? On to the next engine. If it looks like someone else is going to win, wipe the board and repeat.
Value on top of Value
Reprints tend to depress card prices, that much is obvious. But even in light of that, the deck offers strong value for your money. Academy Manufactor is worth playing in so many current and future decks that if you don’t have one, you need one. The same can be said of many staples cards in Deep Clue Sea. One reason to mention this is that the deck is fairly decent as is. With just a few modifications, it’s going to very quickly become a deck that won’t be cEDH but will be able to overpower other decks that have not focused to the same extent. Making decks that are strong, but not too strong, seems to be a hot button topic. As is, Deep Clue Sea can generate piles of tokens, draw fistfuls of cards, and can make a lot of game actions on every turn, so use your judgement when it comes to table etiquette and power level.
But if we did want to Mod it…
First, I’m removing some tangential creatures. Out: Hornet Queen, Graf Mole, Nadir Kraken, Whirler Rogue, Killer Service. Next I’m going to drastically consider removing Shimmer Dragon and Hydroid Krasis. Sometimes you just have too much card draw.
Outside of the usual suspects like Enlightened Tutor, I would want to run Fabricate as both Inspiring Statuary and Academy Manufactor are too excellent. A crazy addition that you could also tutor for would be the ubiquitous Tamiyo’s Journal which is too much value here.
The deck would really like one to two additional counterspells. I think Dovin’s Veto and Disallow are all that would be necessary. A little insurance never hurts.
In place of some of the more expensive creatures that don’t do the clue thing quite as well, I’d want to include Kellan, Inquisitive Prodigy. It’s perfect at two mana for the adventure and is the kind of ramp spell the deck wants versus something generic like Cultivate. Additionally, the deck is light on removal so this helps somewhat.
For only three mana Jaheira, Friend of the Forest is the perfect ramp effect. If you want to turn the deck up to 11 then Urza, Lord High Artificer is probably the best single creature you can add and you need nothing else to win the game, just activate Urza.
Five Hundred Diary and Nyssa of Traken are two amazing cards from the Doctor Who set to play. Nyssa is criminal with Follow the Bodies! You can also consider Displaced Dinosaurs if you want your clues to have yet another way to directly win you the game since they will enter as 7/7 Dinosaurs. Some might find that overkill, others might find it necessary.
The Superior Deck
A couple of the other Murders at Karlov Manor pre-cons have some issues ranging from minor to moderate. From sloppy mana bases to poorly combining effects, the overall experience of playing three of the four decks was “good…but.” No such issue with Deep Clue Sea. It has a focused theme, strong cards, high reprint value, the best land base and mana rocks of the bunch. Each of the decks was relatively slow. DCS, though, has a massively powerful value engine. Even completely unmodded you should be fine to play at most tables. Sit back, generate some clues, and watch everyone else try to win. Then give them a clue, or 15, and proceed to the win.