pie chart

Mermalade (Beginner's Guide to Merfolk)

Standard Competitive G/U (Simic) Merfolk Primer




It goes well with toast... haha, get it? Because your opponent is toast... no? Dad joke? Sorry.

Standard Merfolk tribal

Counters + unblockable

The idea here is to create relatively large Merfolk by adding +1/+1 counters to them and then developing an unblockable effect.

I really liked River Sneak when I played him in the prerelease, but in gameplay River Sneak did not really benefit this deck as greatly as it did in a limited format like a prerelease event. The same utility of River Sneak can be achieved here, an unblockable creature. The best combo I found for the card was Deeproot Waters, which when played correctly could provide you with Hexproof Merfolk tokens then buff River Sneak, however, River sneak never really felt powerful enough in this combo. So, I started tinkering.

Disregard this, in trying out Mimic again... sue me

I tried out Metallic Mimic and there was some advantages, but ultimately he was subject to so much removal that I never saw the benefit of the card. The current standard meta is filled with Fatal Push, Shock, Lightning Strike, Harnessed Lightning, and Magma Spray, all of which take Mimic out of the game. The issue is that Metallic Mimic's value is when he is played early game. The only way your Merfolk benefit from him is if he comes out before them, obviously. But with the amount of removal present, he never seemed to work out. However, I found a nifty solution to the problem. A relatively unknown card from Kaladesh, Durable Handicraft , is a card that has WAY more sustainability and does the same thing. The downside is you need a free mana when a creature is played to acquire the counter. This has worked out much better than Mimic, plus it saves you a ton of money if you make this deck. Not many decks run sufficient amounts of enchantment hate, and even then, they will usually take out Shapers' Sanctuary or Deeproot Waters when they can.

Jace, Cunning Castaway was added because if you're lucky enough to draw him relatively early on his +1 ability works perfectly with unblockable creatures.

Herald of Secret Streams paired with Durable Handicraft really creates a powerful combination. Especially when Deeproot Waters is pumping out hexproof Merfolk tokens. The main idea is to treat these tokens as the driving force behind the deck if you have the chance. Unblockable and Hexproof is a sure fire win condition. To add to that, there is plenty of other creatures and spells to buff the tokens even more.

Verdurous Gearhulk is just too great to pass up as a mid to late game win strategy. 4 counters and a hefty body on the field.

Heroic Intervention I decided to go with a two of because if the other combo works, hexproof spells aren't really important unless you fall behind because of mana and haven't developed the combo. Also, I added 4 Blooming Defense cards to the sideboard for access to even more Hexproof spells and buffs in cases where it feels necessary, like when playing heavy burn decks.

Spell Pierce is a beautiful disruption card and it's low cost really makes it suitable for any deck in Standard that has blue splashed into it. The main use here is to counter sacrifice creature spells, Planeswalkers, or boardwipes. There's one more in the sideboard as well as two Disallows for a more controlled gameplay. It's also important to switch out for these cards if playing decks that feature anti-triggered ability effects or Solemnity. Those are not what you want to see.

Larger Than Life made it to the sideboard, and situationally it's a great card. The only reason I haven't decided to mainboard the card here is because it's playing at sorcery speed and other effects may stop it completely. If you know your opponent isn't packing a boardwipe or counters, then this makes a great addition to the deck.

What's really annoying? Large creatures that you just can't seem to get around or kill. Answer? Kefnet's Last Word. For 4 mana, you get your own Glorybringer. It's a great two of in the sideboard as far as I have tested.

Kopala, Warden of Waves is just a beautiful card. Not only does it make Abrade cost 4 mana, or Fatal Push cost 3, it just looks cool. It's a super useful 2/2 body for 3 mana that gives you some evasion, sometimes just enough to really give you the edge. It's super important in the mid game when attempting to set up the hexproof tokens combo with counters.

As Foretold has not really seen as much gameplay in standard as a lot of people speculated when it was first seen. It's a 3 cost Aether Vial that allows you to play any spell type, the issue is that at 3 cost it's basically a wasted turn in most cases. It made my sideboard because it can allow you to play a creature and leave untapped mana for counterspells in the mid game against decks that attempt to control your hand through discarding or it allows you to free up mana for that Kefnets last word if you want to take their creature for a joyride.

Almost every other card in this list is pretty self-explanatory. They either produce counters or give card draw effects. All of which are great... seriously. The only card I have considered adding is Pull from Tomorrow, and it might still make the list in place of Shapers' Sanctuary at some point. For now I really want to focus on the newer card though and see what potential it has.

Check out this alternate version of Mermalade and vampire tokens!

Mermalade V.2.0 (user friendly)

Standard PickleNutz


Cursed (Abzan lifegain vampires)

Standard PickleNutz



Some interesting changes -

Kumena's Speakers is backNissa, Steward of the Elements has made an appearanceMore disallowMetallic Mimic is back too

These are common changes people here have suggested, so let's go for it!


Creeper_Math says... #1

I love that River Sneak + Deeproot Waters combo.. Gonna try making a merfolk deck for the draft... Hopefully I can pull these :D

September 29, 2017 3:06 p.m.

Metallic Mimic seems to be a solid combo with Deeproot Waters

September 30, 2017 8:40 a.m.

PickleNutz says... #3

metallic is pretty good, but not necessary. The counters grow fast here, so I sacrificed counter generators for hexproof and unblockable effects.

September 30, 2017 8:44 a.m.

Still new and learning, thanks for the insight

September 30, 2017 11:52 a.m.

PickleNutz says... #5

No problem, and you're not wrong. Mimic works here. It's all just preference.

September 30, 2017 12:54 p.m.

DeBro5 says... #6

Any reason why you don't play Kumena's Speaker in this build?

October 1, 2017 5:12 a.m.

PickleNutz says... #7

Kumena's Speaker is a great card on its own, and really there's no reason not to try it out if you decide to go with a build like this. The only reason that I haven't added it to this list was because it usually fell flat. On turn one there is just too many spells able to instantly take the card out of the game and you may get use out of it the first game against someone, but once they figure out how this deck plays... any merfolk they can take out early they will do so with much hate. My turn one cards have been more successful as an Opt or Spell Pierce saved for my opponents turn. Giving me either card advantage or a chance to slow their deck down. Also, Shaper's Sanctuary in the rare case it makes an appearance in my opening hand. It's all preference.

October 1, 2017 5:18 a.m.

DeBro5 says... #8

Also for a +1 deck like this, adding a Hashep Oasis or two wouldn't hurt

October 2, 2017 4:05 a.m.

UggyD says... #10

October 7, 2017 1:34 p.m.

PickleNutz says... #11

I tried Nissa and she was super slow, there's little time to ramp her and play the spells that I need to play and survive against the higher tiered decks in Standard. She is a fun card in the deck of you are playing a less competitive opponent, but in the competitive scene every card has to impact the win condition. Here, the win condition is unblockable damage.

October 7, 2017 1:48 p.m.

UggyD says... #12

After thinking about it, I can see how she might be a little slow with your higher cmc cards. I usually play her t3/t4 for 1(X) +2, then use her 0 to fill the board(most of my creatures are 1 or 2 drops)

October 7, 2017 5:38 p.m.

PickleNutz says... #13

Yeah, my creature slots at 3 and 4 are already pretty numerous and makes her a less desirable option in the overall win condition. She is a win more option later in the game if I'm up. If I was running River Sneak and supplemental buffs she would be pretty effective. I have tried her out, ultimately I went with Jace because in the mid game he becomes a pretty good draw card engine.

October 7, 2017 5:59 p.m.

Lifecrafter's Gift is the card I'm currently slotting in. Might just push this over the top. Also found that Growing Rites of Itlimoc  Flip has been a solid addition with Shapers of Nature

October 7, 2017 8:17 p.m.

traffy498 says... #15

So how has this deck tested so far at FNM?

October 7, 2017 10:30 p.m.

Rex_JB24 says... #16

Since you're running Deeproot Waters, wouldn't Ridgescale Tusker be better than Gearhulk in a lot of situations?

October 10, 2017 8:10 a.m.

PickleNutz says... #17

Good looking out, yeah it probably would be better.

October 10, 2017 10:03 a.m.

Gim says... #18

Handicraft seems inferior to Mimic and redundant when you have both the Vineshapers/Boons and the Gearhulks/Tuskers as well. It's also very expensive when you start generating tokens. I would like to know why you didn't choose Mimic aside from its ridiculous price.

October 12, 2017 12:11 p.m.

PickleNutz says... #19

1.) Metallic mimic is subject to more common removal. At 2 defense and 2 cost, almost every burn spell and removal spell in magic takes him out. He is also aggressively targeted because of this, which is in the description of you would have read it.

2.) Durable Handicraft has a 6 mana ability that adds a +1/+1 counter to all of your creatures, which is extremely handy and actually the exact opposite of what you stated about it being overpriced when tokens are being generated. See, once you have 5 or 6 tokens out and Herald you sac the durable and then you have 6 creatures with counters for 6 mana, 6 are unblockable, the tokens are hexproof. Mimic doesn't offer that ability, especially when he doesn't stick around long enough to benefit any of the other creatures.

October 12, 2017 2:51 p.m.

Gim says... #20

If you can manage to keep a Mimic out for even a single turn with Deeproot Waters then you're at a quicker advantage than with Handicraft, which requires you to pay mana for the ETB counters and is far slower at putting those counters on creatures than Tusker or any of the other counter giving spells. Mimic also stacks for free and triggers itself. If you're worried about removal that much then I understand, otherwise there's no reason to not choose Mimic, at least in theory.

October 12, 2017 3 p.m.

PickleNutz says... #21

I haven't been able to keep Mimic out even one turn though, my average opponent in Standard is running a play set of Fatal Push, Lightning Strike, Spell Pierce, or the energy burn spell. Only one of those really disrupts the enchantment early game.

October 12, 2017 3:05 p.m.

Gim says... #22

I can see why you wouldn't then. Most of my opponents only have one type or another of removal and I'm more than willing to sub in protection and play off-curve in order for better combo efficiency but everyone plays differently. Hopefully you'll get the results you seek.

October 12, 2017 3:50 p.m.

any reason not to slot in Spell Pierce if you're running into that much hate on the mimic? genuinely curious here

October 13, 2017 4:33 p.m.

and silly me it's already in there. Sorry

October 13, 2017 4:33 p.m.

PickleNutz says... #26

Haha it's all good.

October 13, 2017 6:13 p.m.

kryptobrodie says... #28

Looks good. I think the gear hulk needs more than a 1 of in the deck.

I built a similar deck Sneek Attack Merfolk I like the idea of unblockable creatures turning sideways.

The biggest problem I have found so far is burn/removal and that why I am testing out Shapers' Sanctuary and Spell Pierce.

How do you run your sideboard? its the hardest part for me and I need some ideas.


October 16, 2017 6:54 p.m.

PickleNutz says... #29

The biggest problem I run into is removal and The Scarab God, so I added a Kefnet's Last Word to the sideboard to steal him and Blossoming Defense to shelter my creatures (as well as Heroic Intervention in the mainboard). There is also extra counter spells in the sideboard to play against decks reliant on spells. The sideboard should be molded to counter meta decks you play, so against Ramunap you want hexproof, against energy you want counters, so on. It's all really a gamble, but I tried to consider the decks that were relevant and played well at FNM. The first night I ran this deck it was undefeated, but it was a weak competition. After that, it has gone just about even with some of the more powerful decks. A lot of that is because of the sideboard. My friend has created a token Vampire lifeline and Crested Sunmare deck that really gives it a hard time, so to counter him I have started consider splashing some red into this and Sweltering Suns to deal with his 12-20 Vampire tokens. I haven't yet, but probably will.

October 16, 2017 8:26 p.m.

Please login to comment

92% Casual


Compare to inventory

Revision 8 (2 days ago)

+2 Kumena's Speaker main
+1 Nissa, Steward of Elements main
+4 Metallic Mimic main
+2 Disallow main
-2 Cancel side
+4 Cancel side

See all