Kaheera, the Orphanguard // Morophon - [Companion // Commander Pairing] - Unleash the Beast

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Post by darrenhabib » 1 year ago

Carrying on my quest of building around all the companions that can be played in commander, so far there has been;
Zirda, the Dawnwaker // Kenrith, the Returned King (also Golos, Tireless Pilgrim)
Gyruda, Doom of Depths // Jodah, Archmage Eternal
Jegantha, the Wellspring // Sisay, Weatherlight Captain
Keruga, the Macrosage // Animar, Soul of Elements

Kaheera, the Orphanguard was next in my list.
Kaheera, the Orphanguard stipulation is that "Each creature card in your starting deck is a Cat, Elemental, Nightmare, Dinosaur, or Beast card".

Now what struck me was that most of the mutate creatures in Ikoria are covered by these types, and in fact to a higher degree Beasts being the dominant species.
There are 21 mutate creatures in the deck, so that is the main theme.
There are some mutate creatures that I would consider "fillers", that is their actual mutate abilities are not that relevant, but they are used more for triggering other mutate abilities that might already have been activated.
This is how I'd rank their abilities.
Top tier; Auspicious Starrix, Illuna, Apex of Wishes, Nethroi, Apex of Death, Gemrazer, Migratory Greathorn.
Middle tier; Snapdax, Apex of the Hunt, Boneyard Lurker, Lore Drakkis, Pouncing Shoreshark, Dreamtail Heron, Necropanther, Chittering Harvester,
Lower tier; Porcuparrot, Trumpeting Gnarr, Regal Leosaur, Huntmaster Liger, Cubwarden, Insatiable Hemophage, Cavern Whisperer.

Now with mutate, you do end up putting a lot of "eggs in one basket". So there are some optimal creatures you'd like to have as the initial target.
Slippery Bogle for hexproof.
Cavern Harpy can bounce itself back to hand. The hardest part is actually having a Blue or Black creature in play already.
Fleecemane Lion if you monstrous it becomes hexproof and indestructible, exactly what you want for mutating target.
Inkmoth Nexus is a land that you can turn into a creature during your turn, and then put mutate creatures "under" it. This way its not a creature during opponents turns, but still retains all the abilities when you mutate later. You are still susceptible to land removal, but against decks that play a lot of sorcery speed removal this can be a neat trick. Also avoids removal that specifically states "nonland", like Cyclonic Rift for example.

As a play tip, there are a lot of tutors in the deck (for casual play) and really an early one should be to get Fleecemane Lion and be patient and setup with the hexproof/indestructible as this makes it so much harder to deal with your mutate plan.
Try and go a little bit wide with creatures, so that a sacrifice effect on you doesn't blow you out.
You can still be got by cards that do -1/-1 mass effects, but some games opponents truly don't have an answer for Fleecemane Lion.

Unleashing the Beast
The big payoffs for having most of your creatures Beasts is that Morophon, the Boundless naming Beast, means that often most of the colored portion of your mutate spells are paid for.
On top of this there are a number of cards that reduce the cost of colorless parts of the costs with, Krosan Warchief, Animar, Soul of Elements, Marauding Raptor, Heartless Summoning, Urza's Incubator.
Once you combine one or more of these with Morophon, the Boundless then you can really cast your creatures with tapping only a mana or two, and sometimes at no cost at all!

Kaheera, the Orphanguard itself is not a big factor in the deck, just an additional card at your disposal to pump up your crew and the vigilance part does mean that you can go on the offence and defend easily.
One nice aspect is that you want a creature in play to start mutating onto and in a pinch you can use Kaheera, the Orphanguard.

Ezuri's Predation is also a great card with both Kaheera, the Orphanguard and Morophon, the Boundless giving your Beasts a bonus to stats, so they can come into play as 6/6 creatures perhaps knocking out all your opponents creatures while your Beasts survive the bloody battle.

Call to the Kindred and Kindred Discovery are additional payoffs for the tribal theme.

Non-mutate Beasts
There is an array of non-mutating Beasts that provide utility in a number of ways.
Removal creatures in Manglehorn, Trygon Predator, Ravenous Chupacabra, Chromeshell Crab, Thrashing Wumpus, Gruul Ragebeast.

There are ways of getting creatures back from your graveyard with Grave Sifter and Paleoloth.
As this is also backed up with Boneyard Lurker, Necropanther, Nethroi, Apex of Death as mutate creatures that can get back cards from your graveyard, this means that you have a resiliency plan against removal.

The rest of the Beast provide cards advantages, whether that is additional Beasts with Rampaging Baloths and Woodland Bellower, draw with Hydroid Krasis or even life in a pinch with Ravenous Baloth.

Synergies to look for
Lore Drakkis doesn't have many targets in the deck, so it is often that you are mutating for no value, but if you do have access to Gitaxian Probe, Brainstorm, Worldly Tutor, Vampiric Tutor, Devastation Tide, Ezuri's Predation, then you can get them back for reuse.
If you keep recasting Devastation Tide and mutating for value then its hard for your opponents to get traction.

With Illuna, Apex of Wishes and Auspicious Starrix playing cards off the top of your library, you can use Worldly Tutor or Vampiric Tutor to setup exactly what you want.
These are the best mutate creatures for payoffs, and the most fun you'll have with triggering abilites.

Spending time building up a single mutate creature, it may seem that bouncing it back to hand is detrimental, but honestly as long as you don't have further mutate creatures in hand you can look to do this.
I've already mentioned Cavern Harpy, but there is also Temur Sabertooth.
Once you have Morophon, the Boundless and cost reduction on creatures going then you can look to do this every turn, just getting massive value.

A couple of tricky cards are Heartless Summoning and Marauding Raptor.
Now the thing is that most of your creatures can survive the -1/-1 or 2 damage. The other thing is that mutating isn't actually an "enter the battlefield" effect, so won't trigger the Marauding Raptor in the first place.
Also remember that you get stats bonuses with Kaheera, the Orphanguard and Morophon, the Boundless, so even those that would normally die to the effect will survive with these.

Kaheera, the Orphanguard // Morophon, the Boundless
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