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, spot removal is addressed via Shapers' Sanctuary, and countermagic such as Unified Will help you hold your own against combo and control opponents. Finally, Harbinger of the Tides is a solid tempo creature that will help you shore up your creature matchups.


Updates Add

Hi all,

Dominaria's here, and that means Merfolk Trickster is available to be used! I intend to begin testing it immediately, and the first configuration I'll use for that purpose is one where Harbinger of the Tides is demoted to the sideboard, and Tidebinder Mage is no longer among us. We'll see how that does.

Mainboard: +4 Merfolk Trickster

-4 Harbinger of the Tides

Sideboard: +4 Harbinger of the Tides

-1 Ceremonious Rejection, -3 Tidebinder Mage


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Date added 5 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
Top rank #14 on 2018-02-08
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Revision 7 See all

1 month ago)

-4 Harbinger of the Tides main
+4 Merfolk Trickster main
+4 Harbinger of the Tides side
-4 Tidebinder Mage side
+1 Tidebinder Mage maybe