Hey Everyone! I've been out of standard for a little while now and am wanting to sleeve up Merfolk after rotation. I don't really care if it doesn't end up being a top tier deck, or even the best tribe to choose from, I just want to play Fish in Standard. I play a lot of Modern and keep tabs on the Standard meta, so I am somewhat familiar with what decks already exist as far as sideboard options go but would love to hear opinions. I think I'm mainly settled on the mainboard but may just may tweak numbers on some of the inclusions. The idea is to be aggressive in the early game and then alpha strike with Tempest Caller or sneak in with Herald of Secret Streams. I would love to hear anyone's suggestions and help! If you have an idea for a card to put in, it would be great to also give suggestion for what should come out! Thanks!


Going into some of the more obscure card choices-

Nissa, Steward of Elements can be played = + and then essentially for the rest of the game and hit almost every creature in the deck. For this reason she is a great card advantage engine and even win condition should you choose to start plus her to ultimate.

River Sneak is sneakily the best card in the deck. This card can attack for 3-4 every turn with a Deeproot Waters out, and that's not including any counters put on it from Mimic or Vineshaper Mystic. Hashep Oasis is also excellent with this card since the sorcery speed giant growth effect is guaranteed to hit.

Deeproot Waters and Shapers' Sanctuary creates a bit of tension with creating hexproof tokens and having a enchantment that nets value when your creatures are targeted. I still think I like both in the deck, Deeproot Waters because it's an excellent Merfolk payoff and Shapers' Sanctuary because I don't think this is a deck that wants to play traditional card draw. Both these allow us to go deep into the game against control and other heavy removal decks by easily resetting the board after a sweeper and continuously refilling our hand.

Rishkar, Peema Renegade is not a Merfolk but synergizes well with the counter synergy and allows us to run efficiently on 21 lands and not have any issues.


Round 1 was against a Dynavolt Tower deck. I was able to out agro the opponent's game plan with the help of Shapers' Sanctuary refilling my hand through spot removal 2-0

Round 2 was my 1 loss of the night. It was against a Riddleform U/R Prowess deck. I knew my deck was going to be weak to flyers, and it really showed in this match against Riddleform and Enigma Drake. Nevery saw any of my Harvesters in the SB game but still might need something like Crushing Canopy in the SB. 0-2

Round 3 was against Grixis Control. The spot removal of the control deck was embarrassing with Shapers' Sanctuary on the battlefield as I was able to cast a steady stream of threats before he could even think about casting his planeswalkers. 2-0

Round 4 was against a Marionette Master deck. Game 1 I had him down to 1 life before he played a Marionette Master and sacked 5 treasure to deal me the perfect 20. Game 2 I ran over him with a huge battlefield by turn 4. Game 3 He really kept me off balance and I drew all 3 of my 4 drops and was feeling clunky. I got him down to 13 before finding a Nissa, Steward of Elements, played it, and started plussing to ultimate. I wasn't in a position to attack anymore because his creatures were bigger than mine and he had a Revel in Riches out, so I was feeling the squeeze. I chump blocked my board away to protect Nissa and with a Shapers' Sanctuary out and 1 card in my opponent's hand, I went for it. I tapped two forest floating 2 green, ultimate Nissa, untap 2 forest, Hashep Oasis one of them and swing for 13 exactly. My opponent plays the last card in his hand which is a bounce spell, trigger Sanctuary, draw Negate and counter the spell to preserve lethal. Really excellent game, wouldn't have won being that far behind without Nissa. 2-1

So overall I went 3-1 or 6-3. The deck was super fun to play and was everything I wanted it to be. All the cards played their part and were awesome, Shapers' Sanctuary was an absolute house and drew me a ton of cards and while I only saw Nissa once, she was fantastic. I can see moving Deeproot Waters to the sideboard although really sweet to trigger River Sneak a bunch when in the main, I may only need them in control matchups. I also plan on adding some flyers hate.

Comments View Archive

BrenoSulz says... #1

Hi dude!

I commented in another UG merfolk (fish :P) list:

Nice to see another person trying Nissa! She is bad for the lack os protection, but with Deeproot Waters the deck can produce a lot of blockers to keep her providing card advantage. It's a shame she just put the creatures in play rather than casting them.

My big concern is temur energy, as the majority of players in my local store are playing with it. I'm one of two players with ramunap, so this obviously won't be a problem.

Shaper's Sanctuary is a must, even though it conficts a bit with the tokens. But at the bright side, every Sanctuary draw helps casting more merfolks, therefore more tokens.

The best decks there use 1-2 Rhonas, so the trample for a big Longtusk Cub or Bristling Hydra can fuck up a game. Sorcerous Spyglass will have to make the sideboard as it can deny a The Scarab God .

Have you considered Watertrap Weaver? I really like this tempo effect, especially if you can produce a token with him as well, but the 3 CMC is rough. There's Kopala, vineshaper mystic (and Rishkar) and Deeproot Waters . I think Kopala is the only one you don't necessarily want to play on turn 3, so it could be a little clunky.

As for the 4-drops, I'll be testing with 2x Tempest Caller . I actually wander if there's a place for Jade Guardian. Might be nice with some auras like Cartouche of Ambition.

One River's Rebuke can help as a top end of a tempo strategy. And that reminds me about the mana base: Just 21 lands? The deck in the link above uses only 20. Those decks won't use Attune with Aether.

Please update as you playtest! I'll be trying to make a list of my own.

October 2, 2017 1:47 p.m.

Mandalorian says... #2

BrenoSulz, thanks for the comment!

I agree that Shaper's Sanctuary is a must and while it seems that it does not combo well with Deeproot Waters you are also right in that it kinda does, since drawing more Merfolk will trigger Waters more.

It's true Nissa does not protect herself well but that shouldn't be a problem with how many creatures we have here. While her 0 does not cast to trigger Waters it does get around counter magic, so you win some you lose some I suppose. The addition of Rishkar and Nissa is the reason I went down to 2 Waters since I had slightly less synergy.

Yep I agree, Spyglass is in the SB already to help those matches!

The Weaver looks sweet and there are a ton of options in the 2-3 drop slot. The unblockable synergies should be enough that I don't need the tempo but it could be a great addition.

I don't believe these decks need anymore than 22 lands. With 4 creatures at or above 4CMC, the curve essentially ends at 3. Riskar also helps us with the mana and makes it so we can efficiently double spell.

I absolutely intend on updating as I play

October 2, 2017 2:11 p.m.

BrenoSulz says... #3

Oh! You mention 22 lands, but the list appears for me with only 21. I think i'm going for 22, probably 23, at least in the first moment.

October 2, 2017 2:25 p.m.

multimedia says... #4

Hey again, consider a 20x land 4x Opt strategy? Sequencing your Merfolk plays seems really important here; Opt can help with this as well as help to find lands. Opt gives you another possible turn one play other than Speaker. It can help to find a possible turn two Mimic or Sneak. Getting counters on your Merfolk is now the strategy with Herald therefore using Opt to dig or some other way to dig for Herald as well as Mystic, Rishkar or Gearhulk is helpful. You can include 4x Opt by cutting 1x Island, 2x Deeproot Waters and 1x Spell Pierce.

Waters seems much better as a sideboard card rather than main deck. Three drops of Mystic and Rishkar are better here for your overall strategy. Waters is good at recovering from a board wipe, if one gets past you're counterspells; being able to rebuild a Merfolk army the turn after a wipe with Waters and one or two other Merfolk. Making it good in Control matchups, but not so good in other matchups.

October 4, 2017 8:39 a.m.

traffy498 says... #5

Use Heaven against fliers! It's so good!

October 4, 2017 3:25 p.m.

Mandalorian says... #6

traffy498, I did look at that card for consideration. My concern is the cost in which my deck may not be able to sink enough to kill certain flyers. Do you think its better than the versatility of something like Crushing Canopy?

October 4, 2017 5:41 p.m.

traffy498 says... #7

Personally, I tested Sandwurm Convergence and Heaven and the latter played better soley because the former's mana cost left me tapped out and when countered was a huge swing in momentum against me. The biggest flier you have to worry about, unless I'm missing someone, is Glorybringer. Against Pirate fliers, is perfect since, even with Favorable Winds usually won't cost more than 3.

October 4, 2017 5:54 p.m.

Antwaan33 says... #8

I feel like Tempest Caller is more of a sideboard card cause your not always gonna be facing creature based decks.

October 6, 2017 12:43 a.m.

Noctem says... #9

Interesting deck, I look forward to seeing you update it.

October 6, 2017 2:33 p.m.

Mandalorian says... #10

Antwaan33, its true that in non creature matchups both of my 4 drops are just 2/3 vanillas but I think I just SB them out in those matches and would rather do that than be SBing them in for the rest of the matches

Noctem Thanks! Ive already posted my first tournament result and updates and will continue to do so the more I play it.

October 6, 2017 3:51 p.m.

lrischar says... #11

Consider adding Sphinx of Magosi to add some flying creatures?

October 16, 2017 5:41 p.m.

Chrisprit says... #12

Love this deck list. Although I don't have all the cards for this the flavor and the feel of your deck seems well balanced. I do get nervous droppping below 22 lands. I'm willing to give it a try. Honestly this set seemed very unexciting to me but these Merfolk I absolutely love. Thanks for submitting your tournament record. As a very inexperienced tournament player,it gives me something to work and learn from.

October 31, 2017 10:17 a.m.

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Date added 2 months
Last updated 1 month
Exclude colors WBR

This deck is Standard legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.21
Tokens 1/1 Merfolk
Folders Cool Decks I Like, Standards, Cool Decks, Favs, Poss, STD, Possible decks, Standard, Interesting Standard Decks, ixalan, See all 35
Top rank #1 on 2017-10-06
Views 6833

Revision 8 See all

1 month ago)

+2 Ipnu Rivulet main
-2 Island main
+2 Crushing Canopy side
-2 Appetite for the Unnatural side
+1 Dissenter's Deliverance side
+1 Spell Pierce side
-1 Spell Pierce side
-2 Sentinel Totem side
+1 River's Rebuke side
-1 Crook of Condemnation maybe
+1 Sentinel Totem maybe
-1 Verdurous Gearhulk maybe
-1 Rishkar, Peema Renegade maybe