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Planeswalker (1)


Deep Breath. Let's dive into Rivals Merfolk.

What should the main strategy be with a Merfolk Deck? Before Rivals, it seemed like Merfolk had the potential the go wide with token generation viz-a-viz Deeproot Waters and big with a couple cards like Verdurous Gearhulk. Putting Tokens on River Sneak gave you a pretty powerful unblockable creature. I created a Sultai Merfolk deck with Winding Constrictor that could get pretty crazy. Two questions are whether there's room in this deck for support cards like Rishkar, Peema Renegade and whether counters should even be a major theme in this deck.

I'm playtesting this deck and it seems like there are a couple crazy interactions possible with the New Merfolk we have. Obviously Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca rewards you for going wide with Merfolk, and there's some cards that will give you five plus Merfolk early on. Playing Jungleborn Pioneer with a Deeproot Waters out nets you three fish. Having a Deeproot Elite out also lets you put down three counters. It seems like Merfolk wants to go wide early on and drown your opponent in card advantage with Silvergill Adept and the Merfolk explorers in the early game, and Kumena in the late game.

Counters may be important because it lets you beef up your fish without relying on the rather vulnerable Merfolk Mistbinder. Mistbinder is the lord the deck wanted, but it dies to every piece of removal in the game. I see it as a good in the early game, potentially turning Kumena's Speaker into a 3/3 on turn 2. Actually, the giant target that Mistbinder presents might serve to soak up your opponent's removal and allow you to play other Merfolk.

This deck wants to play Deeproot Waters as early as possible. The explore cards in here let you dig for it a little bit, and can sort your lands. Silvergill Adept draws you an extra card. Against control, you want to hold on to Deeproot Waters until you can play it with a Spell Pierce backing it up. After Deeproot Waters resolves, it's pretty smooth swimming against control. They can counter as many fish as they want, and you still get a 1/1 body.

Update: Most of the Merfolk decks I've seen are not playing Deeproot Waters. Playing on turn 3 or 4 basically means you're skipping your turn 3. But given how the meta is shaping up, with control decks with access to sweepers like Bontu's reckoning and fumigate making up about 20 percent of the meta, I think Deeproot Waters is going to be crucial to this deck. If you're not playing 3 Waters, then you really got to play at least 3 Spell Pierce in its place.

A major problem with Merfolk in Ixalan Standard was the potential of getting swept against control. Blossoming Defense doesn't do anything for you against Settle the Wreckage or Fumigate. I'm including 3 Spell Pierce in the Main deck to use against Control, but Deeproot Waters also helps you recover from a sweep.

One question about this deck is the mana base. Should you play Attune with Aether and Aether Hub or not? I'm holding out to see if there will be some kind of energy ban before buying a full play set of those cards. What about Hashep Oasis?

Another question is: Metallic Mimic? Like Mistbinder, it's a giant target on a vulnerable body. The card is almost dead as soon as it comes into play. But it soaks up your opponent's removal. This deck just has too many 2 drops. But maybe 2 Deeproot Elite and 2 Mimics might be the way to go. I'm playing 3 copies of a lot of the cards so that I can play as many different merfolk as possible. Update: I decided to cut Metallic Mimic all together in favor of Deeproot Elite. Deeproot Elite lets you pick the target for that +1/+1 counter, allowing you to beef up a specific fish, be it an unblockable fish like River Sneak or a target that's vulnerable to Abrade like Merfolk Mistbinder.

Explanation of sideboard:

Post-ban update: taking out Attune and AetherHub. Doesn't make a big difference for the deck. Adding a couple lands.


Updates Add

There's so many Merfolk in this Deck, it's hard to keep track of them all. I completely forgot to include River Sneak, which is a fundamental part of the deck. The sneak interacts really well with Deeproot Waters and Jungleborn Pioneer. If you have a River Sneak out and then put 3 Merfolk down because of the Deeproot Waters + Jungleborn Pioneer combo, the sneak can swing in for four damage unblockable. That could be on turn 4 theoretically.

I had to take out Seafloor Oracle and Deeproot Elite to make room for River Sneak. I think I might take out one copy each of Deeproot Waters and Jungleborn Pioneer to make room for Metallic Mimic and/or Deeproot Elite.

Update: After seeing that a lot of the merfolk builds out there don't play the sneak, I was debating whether to play it or not. Dev from SBMTG did not include it in his new deck-tech, but in the comments section he, or someone else from SBMtG commented that it was probably correct to include a couple copies of it. I think it's awesome in the early game, especially with Merfolk Mistbinder.


27% Casual

73% Competitive

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Date added 1 week
Last updated 10 hours

This deck is not Standard legal.

Highlight illegal cards
Illegal cards Deeproot Elite , Jadelight Ranger , Jungleborn Pioneer , Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca , Merfolk Mistbinder , Silvergill Adept , Naturalize , Swift Warden
Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.03
Tokens 1/1 Merfolk
Folders Merfolk, Uncategorized, Misty Merfolk, U/G Merfolk, RIX, Standard Decks
Top rank #26 on 2018-01-21
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Revision 8 See all

10 hours ago)

+1 Naturalize side
+1 Heroic Intervention side
+1 Spell Pierce side
+1 Swift Warden side
+1 Disallow side
+3 Aethersphere Harvester side
+1 Deeproot Waters side
+1 Nissa, Steward of Elements side
-2 Unsummon side