Deepfathom Skulker’s Potential in Commander

This is the second article in my series about cheaper alternatives to more expensive cards. First, I want to write a little bit about some of the feedback I got on my pilot article, which received some helpful critique, specifically on the title of the article: Is Stoneforge Mystic Really that Good? Many people disliked the title because I didn’t really cover why Stoneforge wasn’t very good, I mostly focused on why Godo was good. The second criticism was that I was comparing a white card to a red card, because I was comparing [card] Stoneforge Mystic [/card] to [card] Godo, Bandit Warlord [/card]. I’ll try to address these concerns when talking about Deepfathom Skulker in this piece.

Today, I will compare [card] Deepfathom Skulker [/card], a new card from Oath of the Gatewatch to [card] Bident of Thassa [/card]. Thassa’s Bident are cards played in many unblockable themed Simic decks, including [card] Edric, Spymaster of Trest [/card] and some versions of [card] Kaseto, Orochi Archmage [/card] commander decks.

So, at first glance, Deepfathom Skulker seems to be a two in one, a [card] Thassa, God of the Sea [/card] and a [card] Bident of Thassa [/card] mashed into one card. Thassa herself doesn’t see much play in Edric and Kaseto because of the fact that Kaseto already makes your creatures unblockable, and Edric’s creatures generally already have evasion. But, Bident of Thassa, on the other hand, sees a lot of play because it gives you tons of extra value when you attack with unblockable creatures.

Let’s take a look at how much the Bident is played in Kaseto and Edric. According to EDHREC, the Bident is played in 82% of Kaseto decks, and is played in 51% of Edric decks, which makes sense because Edric already does what the Bident does.

After looking over the Bident and [card] Deepfathom Skulker [/card], it kind of seems like [card] Deepfathom Skulker [/card] is actually pretty bad, because it’s basically the Bident, but it costs 2 more mana and is more vulnerable to removal, because it’s a creature, and the second ability doesn’t seem awfully relevant because as I said before, Kaseto already is able to grant unblockability and Edric’s team usually already has evasion naturally.

Both Kaseto decks and Edric decks are extremely commander-centric, because without Kaseto, the deck cannot function because you can not get your creatures in to hit for value. But, with [card] Deepfathom Skulker [/card], even if Kaseto is too expensive to recast, you don’t just lose. [card] Deepfathom Skulker [/card] allows the deck to still function, albeit at a lower power level.

Edric decks are also very commander-centric, because without Edric, you can’t grind out any value. [card] Deepfathom Skulker [/card] allows the deck to still generate value, which [card] Bident of Thassa [/card] also does. But, for two extra mana, [card] Deepfathom Skulker [/card] lets your creatures without native unblockability to hit for extra value.

One last thing that we haven’t talked about yet is the Bident’s second ability. When you’re playing this sort of deck with a bunch of really small creatures that swing for value, you never really want to have someone to swing with all, most likely at you, because you were the one who forced them to do so in the first place, so it’s irrelevant in 99% of games.

Let’s first look at some decklists and then talk about how to maximize [card] Deepfathom Skulker [/card] in your commander deck. First, let’s look at a [card] Edric, Spymaster of Trest [/card] deck generated by EDHREC:

[deck title=Edric Commander Deck]
[Creatures]
*1 Edric, Spymaster of Trest
*1 Acidic Slime
*1 Arbor Elf
*1 Chasm Skulker
*1 Cloud of Faeries
*1 Cloud Sprite
*1 Cloudfin Raptor
*1 Coiling Oracle
*1 Craterhoof Behemoth
*1 Elvish Mystic
*1 Eternal Witness
*1 Flying Men
*1 Fyndhorn Elves
*1 Hypnotic Siren
*1 Invisible Stalker
*1 Jace’s Phantasm
*1 Jhessian Infiltrator
*1 Llanowar Elves
*1 Lorescale Coatl
*1 Murkfiend Liege
*1 Mystic Snake
*1 Oracle of Mul Daya
*1 Prophet of Kruphix
*1 Psychosis Crawler
*1 Reclamation Sage
*1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
*1 Sakura-Tribe Scout
*1 Scryb Sprites
*1 Silhana Ledgewalker
*1 Spellstutter Sprite
*1 Spiketail Hatchling
*1 Spire Tracer
*1 Treetop Scout
*1 Triton Shorestalker
*1 Trygon Predator
*1 Wingcrafter
*1 Zephyr Sprite
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
*1 Arcane Denial
*1 Beast Within
*1 Counterspell
*1 Cyclonic Rift
*1 Hinder
*1 Krosan Grip
*1 Mystical Tutor
*1 Negate
*1 Pongify
*1 Spell Crumple
*1 Unified Will
*1 Voidslime
*1 Garruk Wildspeaker
*1 Bident of Thassa
*1 Lightning Greaves
*1 Simic Signet
*1 Skullclamp
*1 Sol Ring
*1 Swiftfoot Boots
*1 Cultivate
*1 Green Sun’s Zenith
*1 Notorious Throng
*1 Rite of Replication
*1 Triumph of the Hordes
*1 Beastmaster Ascension
*1 Coastal Piracy
*1 Druids’ Repository
*1 Exploration
[/Spells]
[Land]
*1 Terramorphic Expanse
*1 Misty Rainforest
*1 Evolving Wilds
*1 Flooded Grove
*1 Alchemist’s Refuge
*1 Thornwood Falls
*1 Simic Guildgate
*1 Temple of Mystery
*1 Yavimaya Coast
*1 Simic Growth Chamber
*1 Breeding Pool
*1 Hinterland Harbor
*1 Command Tower
*1 Reliquary Tower
*17 Island
*4 Forest
[/Land]
[/Deck]

Next, let’s analyze how well [card] Deepfathom Skulker [/card] can replace [card] Bident of Thassa [/card] in this deck. We have to look at two things in this deck. First, the availability of colorless mana and the number of creatures without native unblockability, which can be granted unblockability with Deepfathom Skulker to hit for extra value. This Edric deck, generated from user submitted decks on EDHREC, has 5 colorless sources, which is more than enough when you’re drawing so many cards with Edric, so you’re almost guaranteed to find to find a few of them to repeatedly activate [card] Deepfathom Skulker [/card] a few times every turn to keep your deck functioning.

Next, let’s look at our second commander deck, [card] Kaseto, Orochi Archmage [/card]. Again, generated through EDHREC:

[deck title=Kaseto Commander Deck]
[Creatures]
*1 Kaseto, Orochi Archmage
*1 Acidic Slime
*1 Adaptive Automaton
*1 Ambush Viper
*1 Blight Mamba
*1 Broodbirth Viper
*1 Chameleon Colossus
*1 Coiling Oracle
*1 Edric, Spymaster of Trest
*1 Eternal Witness
*1 Hooded Hydra
*1 Kashi-Tribe Elite
*1 Lorescale Coatl
*1 Lotus Cobra
*1 Matsu-Tribe Sniper
*1 Mystic Snake
*1 Ohran Viper
*1 Orochi Eggwatcher
*1 Orochi Sustainer
*1 Patagia Viper
*1 Patron of the Orochi
*1 Prophet of Kruphix
*1 Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro
*1 Sakiko, Mother of Summer
*1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
*1 Sakura-Tribe Scout
*1 Sakura-Tribe Springcaller
*1 Seshiro the Anointed
*1 Shisato, Whispering Hunter
*1 Shizuko, Caller of Autumn
*1 Skullwinder
*1 Sosuke, Son of Seshiro
*1 Trygon Predator
*1 Wasteland Viper
*1 Winged Coatl
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
*1 Explosive Vegetation
*1 Kodama’s Reach
*1 Overrun
*1 Rampant Growth
*1 Sosuke’s Summons
*1 Time of Need
*1 Bident of Thassa
*1 Coat of Arms
*1 Door of Destinies
*1 Obelisk of Urd
*1 Orochi Hatchery
*1 Scytheclaw
*1 Simic Signet
*1 Skullclamp
*1 Snake Basket
*1 Sol Ring
*1 Swiftfoot Boots
*1 Thought Vessel
*1 Beast Within
*1 Cobra Trap
*1 Cyclonic Rift
*1 Krosan Grip
*1 Pongify
*1 Rapid Hybridization
*1 Simic Charm
*1 Snakeform
*1 Beastmaster Ascension
*1 Nature’s Will
[/Spells]
[Lands]
*1 Breeding Pool
*1 Command Tower
*1 Evolving Wilds
*10 Forest
*12 Island
*1 Lumbering Falls
*1 Mosswort Bridge
*1 Novijen, Heart of Progress
*1 Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
*1 Reliquary Tower
*1 Simic Growth Chamber
*1 Simic Guildgate
*1 Temple of Mystery
*1 Temple of the False God
*1 Terramorphic Expanse
*1 Thornwood Falls
*1 Yavimaya Coast
[/Lands]
[/Deck]

So, let’s see how well [card] Deepfathom Skulker [/card] would replace [card] Bident of Thassa [/card] in this Kaseto EDH decks generated through EDHREC. There are 6 colorless sources in the deck, which is a decent amount to be able to use Deepfathom Skulker as a replacement for Kaseto. I would throw in a few more mana rocks into the deck if you were to replace [card] Bident of Thassa [/card] with [card] Deepfathom Skulker [/card] because without Kaseto, your deck literally can’t function at all, where as in Edric, the deck can still function without Edric.

To maximize [card] Deepfathom Skulker [/card], you’ll want to include 8-10 colorless sources to repeatedly activate it. Though [card] Deepfathom Skulker [/card] and [card] Bident of Thassa [/card] are both inexpensive, I think Skulker can beat the Bident at its own game.

About the Author
Kai has been playing Magic since Innistrad, but only started playing more seriously in the Khans block. Kai's favorite format is EDH.

2 comments on Deepfathom Skulker’s Potential in Commander

  1. Salamaster13 says:

    These decks aren’t commander legal prophet of kruphix is banned

  2. Kai Chang says:

    Salamaster13, I am aware of this. These are not my decklists, but ones generated by EDHREC. The site generates decklists using user submitted data, and I don’t think they reset all the data after each banning.

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