To those who always wanted to build a monoblue Shapeshifter tribal deck, for a long time, the only available commander was Mistform Ultimus. However, things have changed with the release of Kaldheim and a new legend from this Norse-inspired plane: Orvar, the All-Form. Orvar is a Shapeshifter with changeling and the ability to create tokens of other permanents when we target them with instants and sorceries. We can create tokens of creatures, artifacts, enchantments, or even lands or planeswalkers. This makes Orvar a unique and interesting pick to lead a deck into some casual multiplayer mayhem.
Blue has a variety of spells that target permanents. From bounce like Aether Tradewinds, Capsize, and Paradoxical Outcome to spells that tap or untap such as Dream's Grip, Gigadrowse, Icy Blast, Reality Spasm, and Refocus. Blue also has access to spells that grant hexproof, for example Dive Down and Mizzium Skin, which can serve as a double whammy when Orvar is around: instead of getting rid of your creature, your opponents will now have to face two of them!
It's also possible to use cards like Curse of the Swine on one of our own creatures along with whatever else we want to get rid of to maximize the value of the spell. This way we trade our original for an untapped copy of that creature and a 2/2 Boar token. Similarly with Aether Gale, we don't have to only use it on our opponent's stuff. Depending on the situation, we can bounce one of our permanents back to our hand, while setting our opponents back and earning a huge tempo advantage. Aquitect's Will might seem like an odd choice here, but with Orvar it turns into an Explore for one mana!
Since we want to create tokens of our stuff we should include some creatures that either have powerful enter-the-battlefield effects or give us more value. My personal favorites are Agent of Treachery, Tidespout Tyrant, and Amphin Mutineer, where I can either steal the best thing on the board or get rid of it. On the other hand, I also like to have multiple copies of Consecrated Sphinx, Diluvian Primordial, and Sphinx of Uthuun. These creatures are a powerhouse on their own, and if we get to start making more copies of them, it will be very hard for our opponents to keep up with us.
The deck also benefits from creatures such as Archaeomancer and Shipwreck Dowser, which can return the spells used to copy them back to our hand over and over. With cheap enough spells or enough mana, we can easily create enough tokens to overwhelm our opponents. We even run some infinite combos, involving for example one of these creatures, Ghostly Flicker, and Coveted Jewel. Even without Orvar, these three cards allows us to draw our entire library so that we can win via Thassa's Oracle.
Since this strategy relies on casting cheap spells, we should include some cards that take advantage of this. Talrand, Sky Summoner creates a token for each instant and sorcery we cast, and so do Metallurgic Summonings and Shark Typhoon. We can also sacrifice Summonings in the late game to return all our instants and sorceries from the graveyard to our hand. If we can target these enchantments with one of our spells while Orvar is on the battlefield, we even get to create token copies of them, which will give us even more tokens per instant and sorcery going forward.
If you are planning to play this deck, consider carrying with you an extra deck box with a spare copy of it as you will need to represent a lot of tokens. The board gets so full with so many different types of tokens, it might get a bit unmanageable if you're only going to use dice as reference. However, if you love complex board states and a lot of interaction, then you will definitely enjoy this one. Without practice it's tough to understand how the deck will win in the end, but given enough setup, we're capable of some explosive turns.
What do you think of Orvar? Has it replaced Mistform Ultimus as the ultimate monoblue Shapeshifter commander? Let us know in the comments!
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