Modern Merfolk by SimonPark on MtGO

Creatures (29)
4 Cursecatcher
4 Harbinger of the Tides
2 Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
4 Lord of Atlantis
3 Master of Waves
4 Master of the Pearl Trident
4 Merrow Reejerey
4 Silvergill Adept

Non-Creature Spells (11)
3 Vapor Snag
4 Aether Vial
4 Spreading Seas

Lands (20)
16 Island
4 Mutavault

Sideboard (15)
3 Dispel
4 Gut Shot
4 Relic of Progenitus
2 Tidebinder Mage
2 Unified Will


Merfolk has always been on the edge of being one of the true top decks of the Modern format. Unfortunately, it’s never quite gone past being on the edge. The Modern variant of the deck, which we are featuring in this article, is not terribly different from the Legacy variant, which is historically the more successful of the two decks, and the one that is much better suited to its format. Legacy gives you access to Force of Will, which is a big boon to an aggressive strategy in a format with many linear, non-interactive decks. Modern doesn’t give you that, and is far more linear and non-interactive than Legacy. Because of this, Modern Merfolk is forced to play a slightly different strategy, attempting to disrupt the opponent with Spreading Seas and using Vapor Snag as a tempo play.

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This specific list, piloted by SimonPark on MtGO on January 19, is fairly stock, with a sideboard that is very appropriate for an Infect- and Dredge-heavy format. Some Merfolk lists play cards like Oboro, Palace in the Clouds or Minamo, School at Water’s Edge as an imitation Island that does not get hit by Choke or anything else that specifically hates on the basic land. I don’t like playing either of those cards in this deck, and the blowout to Blood Moon once in however-many games isn’t worth beating Choke that one time. However, I do believe that 2 copies of Cavern of Souls is reasonable, especially with control decks looking to make a comeback in the format. In an aggressive, synergy-based deck like Merfolk, it’s important to not dilute your deck too much after sideboarding, so I’m inclined to believe that using only 5 cards and playing multiple copies of each in the sideboard is correct.

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The beautiful thing about Merfolk is that it, like Jund, is a 50/50 deck against the format, meaning there are no matchups that are slam dunks (which, for what it’s worth, is the case in Legacy), but there are also no matchups that are miserable. Against linear combo decks, Merfolk puts them on an impressive clock, and can provide small bits of disruption here and there post-sideboard. Against creature decks that play to the board, Merfolk’s creatures get much larger during the late game, and they’re unstoppable once a Spreading Seas is played. Against control decks, there are frequently too many of our fishy friends to pick off with individual targeted removal spells.

This deck is a fantastic starter deck for anyone that is interested in getting into the Modern format. However, don’t be turned off to it just because it’s a good deck for beginners. This deck can go into any Modern tournament and be in with a chance to win it. Here are the changes I would make going forward:


-2 Island

+2 Cavern of Souls


-2 Relic of Progenitus

+2 Echoing Truth

This is day 21 of’s 2017 Deck of the Day column, where each day we’ll feature a different Standard, Modern, or Legacy deck that caught our eye. You can ready day 20 here, where we covered a fallen Modern combo giant that’s looking to make a comeback.

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