Unstable Mutation: Deadly Disguise Upgrade (Murders at Karlov Manor Commander)

Hello and welcome goon hammerers. Today we’ll kick off the Unstable Mutation series for Murders at Karlov Manor Commander with my favorite deck of the set: Deadly Disguise. The main focus of this deck is the return of a mechanic with a long loved cult following: Morph. Making a return with a new and improved form known as Disguise, this mechanic had always been a niche tactic, but always was played by people creative enough to make it work. It had long been requested as an archetype for support until the release of Kadena, Slinking Sorcerer, who was wildly popular in the Sultai colors as a grindy, value engine commander who could make great use of utility Morph creatures. We get a new coat of paint on the archetype today though; Kaust, Eyes of the Glade promotes a much more aggressive strategy. Wanting to swing in and suprise your opponents with ambush-like tactics, all while effectively “cheating” out bigger creatures and drawing extra cards? Kaust is the one for you. Getting access to Red and White in place of Kadena’s Blue and Black means that you also have quite a different pool of Morph creatures to choose from, as well as some nice support cards to help a more combat-focused playstyle. The downside is that you lose some of the really powerful control tools you’d have access to in Sultai colors, along with a little less Manifest action in general.

We won’t be reinventing the wheel for this deck. Even at first glance, it’s clear the deck wants to ramp into the game by flipping creatures for free into bigger, scarier things and win through overwhelming them with value: something Morph on its own lacked a bit as a mechanic. Getting value off drawing cards is always nice, but being able to flip a Morphed/Disguised creature for free can make each card have some crazy value. We also can make use of really fun synergies, such as all Morphed cards being 2/2, which means they can synergize with things like Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa. They also count as colorless, which we can leverage for some cool effects like with Ugin’s Mastery. In short: if you want a combat deck that has a unique playstyle and lets you play some cards that no other deck can, you’ll probably love this one. Our main win condition is to win the game through board value and beating up our opponents in combat, with our backup being a big swing turn with a pump spell. 

I’ll break down all of the cards I’ve cut in my tuned version, then get in to the upgrades. I’m not making a ton of changes to this deck: you can really push it in a lot of directions as far as how you want to upgrade it, so I’m keeping my suggestions as general ones that will help keep the original theme intact but have some more focused cards. The upgrades will also total to about 10$-15$ USD over the original decklist at the time of writing, so these should be affordable even if you just grabbed the deck!

Here’s the original decklist.

Here’s the list with the changes I’ve made!


In total, I’m only cutting 13 cards. I want to note that I’m not touching the mana base for this one; there are plenty of upgrades to make for it, but they should be pretty straightforward: just replace dual/multicolor lands that enter tapped for ones that enter untapped wherever you can.

Thelonite Hermit: Since the base creature is pretty weak, I think it lacks the synergy with our commander that we’re really looking for. Not the worst, but we can definitely do better.

Tesak, Judith’s Hellhound: Why? Why is this in the deck?

Deathmist Raptor: I’ve used this personally in Kadena, and I think it’s pretty sub-par. Sure, it can sneak through unblocked if you flip it before attackers, but why would you want that? Recursion is nice, especially since we can trigger it easily, but I’ve personally found this one to underperform. If you want to try it – go for it, this one is definitely a writer’s bias one, as I feel it favors a playstyle that we aren’t going for as much.

Imperial Hellkite: Also why? There is legitimately like one target for this in the base deck. Have fun if you already drew that card.

Ransom Note: I think this card adds nothing to this deck’s strategy and doesn’t provide enough value without any additional synergy.

I actually looked away from writing for a minute and was trying to remember what my “random note” was before I remembered this was a card. That alone speaks volumes.

Mirror Entity: This one isn’t bad, but I’d rather run evasion for the Morphed creatures and not risk impacting bigger bodies. You can use this to brute force some Morphs through, but I’d rather get through with weaker creatures and dodge blocks.

Krosan Colossus: Chillwind Yeti? In 2024? If you know, you know I guess.

This is a big vanilla creature and that’s it. Eh.

Krosan Cloudscraper: You’ve got to be kidding. Alright, I know I said we can cheat in big bodies but this is just barbaric.

Salt Road Ambushers: This is another “seems fine” but feels lackluster in practice card. I can see an argument for this one, but even for our playstyle it ends up being a bit too slow. If you want to run counter synergies, this could be a good way to leverage that.

Exalted Angel: Alright, now this is some real Magic, Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 type shit. Flying lifelink beater? Not in MY Zoomer magic deck.

Decimate: A bit expensive for my taste, we have enough ways to deal with these threats in more focused ways.

Dusk//Dawn: I don’t particularly like this one, as I think both sides are sometimes very dead. While technically we have a reasonable use for both parts, I’d rather run a more dedicated but less flexible board wipe in it’s place and just deal with it being dead removal sometimes.

Temple of the False God: Mathematically alright, but I don’t like this one in practical use. I’d rather have utility land (Spoiler: I replace it with a utility land).

Maybe Cuts?

Scourge of the Throne and Neheb, the Eternal are both very, very powerful cards but don’t really synergize with our deck directly, however we can still use them decently. I left them both in because of this, but I think if you wanted to take out these cards that are sort of “reprints jammed in for value” to make a more focused deck, you can totally swap these out to taste.


Primarily, my goal is to add a few more generically useful Morph/Disguise cards and give us a few more ways of closing out the game. I also focused a lot on evasion, since that helps a lot more than just Jedi-mind-tricking our opponents out of blocking.

You might notice I didn’t add much ramp. Truthfully, I think this deck has a very clear early game curve and already is skipping mana costs with the active ability from Kaust. Ramp is obviously still solid, but a turn 2 Commander play into a turn 3 Morph is a really hard to beat aggressive opener. It all depends on the decks in play, but I wanted to push the tempo with this one.

Jasmine Boreal of the Seven: A really neat form of evasion for our Morphed cards and a bit of ramp to boot.

Mentor of the Meek: A nice way to net some more cards off playing Morphed creatures. We really want to have a lot of draw since this deck is pretty vulnerable to board wipes, so being able to rebuild or defend our board is key.

Rhythm of the Wild: Haste or stats in a pinch, plus counterspell protection? Sign me up, please! Being able to morph any creature the turn you play it for free with Kaust is fantastic, so Haste is a warm welcome here.

Aurelia’s Vindicator: A new addition with the awesome Disguise mechanic, this provides recursion, removal, and a solid evasive body. What’s not to love?

Essence of Antiquity: Another great source of board protection to help keep the aggressive lead once you start flipping your goobers.

Generous Gift: Solid spot removal.

Chain Reaction: My budget red wipe of choice, but I’d probably grab Blasphemous Act if you have a few bucks to throw at one.

Champion of Lambholt: A really nice way to keep our Morphs evasive while providing an inevitably big body to defend or finish players off with.

Subira, Tulzidi Caravanner: While her second ability might not always be super useful to us, the first one is a fantastic way to slip some Morphed creatures through in a pinch. Sometimes wheeling your hand out can be great, especially if you have another source of evasion that won’t require you to dump out your mana.

Overwhelming Stampede and Titanic Ultimatum are the two big-boy-pants finishers I’m adding in. Morph decks historically can struggle to close out a game, so these should help with giving the last push to smack people down.

Ghost Quarter: Always pack some land destruction for lunch.

That’s all! I hope you enjoy, and be sure to let us know if you give this deck a whirl. Until next time!