U/G Merfolk by jang44 on MtGO

Creatures (33)
4 Harbinger of the Tides
1 Kopala, Warden of Waves
4 Kumena’s Speaker
4 Lord of Atlantis
4 Master of the Pearl Trident
4 Merfolk Branchwalker
4 Merrow Reejerey
4 Phantasmal Image
4 Silvergill Adept

Non-Creature Spells (8)
4 Aether Vial
4 Spreading Seas

Lands (19)
3 Botanical Sanctum
2 Breeding Pool
3 Cavern of Souls
3 Island
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Mutavault

Sideboard (15)
1 Kopala, Warden of Waves
4 Ceremonious Rejection
3 Disdainful Stroke
4 Dispel
3 Relic of Progenitus

Summary

Tribal decks in Modern have been perennially on the verge of breaking through to tier 1 status, but have had issues making that final leap. Merfolk is arguably the deck that has had the most consistent success in the format, and the release of Ixalan has Fish players very excited for the future of the tribe, with green providing undercosted creatures and a more aggressive angle of attack.

This deck doesn’t stray very far from the Merfolk decks of old, which heavily relied on and featured “Lords” which pump Merfolk and give islandwalk. In this deck, Lord of Atlantis, Master of the Pearl Trident, and Merrow Reejerey serve this purpose. Lord of Atlantis and Master of the Pearl Trident are effectively the same card (outside of small corner cases), but Merrow Reejerey provides much more, although for more mana. It effective cost reduces Merfolk in hand by untapping lands with its triggered ability, or can push through blockers with ease using the same ability.

Phantasmal Image serves as a pseudo-Lord in this deck, frequently copying one of the aforementioned creatures. It also has good applications when copying an opposing creature. The downside of it being vulnerable to targeting effects is less relevant now than in previous formats, as the current makeup of spells in this format is largely removal-based anyway. Silvergill Adept helps this deck be more value-driven, as it replaces itself when drawn and the drawback is almost never relevant. Aether Vial, what really allows the deck to pour its hand onto the table, helps massively with this as well. It can flash in Lords or other creatures at instant speed, giving the deck a mana advantage over the opponent as well as an element of surprise.

Ixalan’s U/G version of Merfolk is slightly different to the versions of old, but Magic’s newest set has brought this deck some goodies. Kumena’s Speaker is as close to a vanilla 2/2 for 1 as you can get in this deck, outsizing most of the format at this mana cost. Merfolk Branchwalker is another green addition to this deck. It serves as either a 3/2 or 2/1 Merfolk for 2 mana, either effectively scrying 1 or drawing a card respectively, making this creature a good way to get aggressive or get a card advantage on the opponent. Lastly, Kopala, Warden of Waves does a lot in protecting this deck’s more valuable Merfolk, taxing the opponent’s mana and further developing your board.

Here are the changes I would make going forward:

Mainboard

-1 Harbinger of the Tides

-1 Merrow Reejerey

+2 Cursecatcher

Sideboard

No changes.

This is day 286 of Spellsnare.com’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 read day 285 here, where we featured a unique Modern decklist that looks to lock the opponent out and cast Empty the Pits!

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