This is my take on a Merfolk deck (also known as Tropical Fish). The strategy for this deck is pretty straightforward: fully half of the creatures in the deck (Lord of Atlantis, Master of the Pearl Trident, Merfolk Mistbinder, and Merrow Reejerey) provide other Merfolk with +1/+1 boosts, so you want to stack as many of them up as you can and try to reduce your opponent’s life total to 0 as quickly as possible. In order to complement this aggressive plan, the deck features a powerful accelerant in Aether Vial, some cheap bodies to project pump effects onto in Cursecatcher and Kumena's Speaker, and a way to force the islandwalk clause on your Lords to be relevant in Spreading Seas.

However, it is not sufficient to merely be fast to be a good tempo deck in Modern: one must also be interactive. We accomplish this via the aforementioned Cursecatcher (which can counter spells) and Spreading Seas (which can disrupt land-based synergies and cut non-blue opponents off colors of mana), and also via Merfolk Trickster (which provides a nice tempo effect on a body) and Spell Pierce (which can either protect the team or disrupt the opponent). Last but certainly not least, Silvergill Adept is a nice utility creature that helps tie it all together.

In the sideboard, we feature answers to a variety of problems: graveyard-based decks are tackled via a full playset of Relic of Progenitus, problematic creatures prompt bringing in Dismember, spot removal is addressed via Shapers' Sanctuary, and countermagic such as Deprive help you hold your own against combo and control opponents. Finally, Echoing Truth is a useful catchall for anything ranging from artifacts and enchantments to token swarms or multiple troublesome creatures.


Updates Add

Hi everyone,

I am very pleased to report that I was able to bag a 5-0 with this list in an MTGO league! Despite the great result, I did notice there was a bit of room for improvement. I'm basically never bringing in the 3rd copy of Echoing Truth and I could use a bit of hard removal, so we're shaving that and the 4th Shapers' Sanctuary for some Dismembers. With that change, the list feels great, and I heartily recommend it.

Sideboard: +2 Dismember

-1 Echoing Truth, -1 Shapers' Sanctuary


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Date added 7 months
Last updated 2 weeks
Exclude colors B

This deck is Modern legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 1.76
Folders Tempo, Merfolk, Other Modern decks, Merfolk, Interesting Modern Decks, Low Count Modern, Modern Deck Options, TIERS, Tribals
Top rank #14 on 2018-02-08
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Revision 13 See all

2 weeks ago)

-4 Island main
+4 Island main