Hello everyone, and let me start by apologizing for my lack of articles over the past few months. I’ve been grinding through both International Baccalaureate (IB) exams and my high school diploma exams, leaving precious little time to devote to Magic. However, I’m officially done high school and intend to play a ton of Magic over the summer, which hopefully means more articles here.
In case you haven’t heard, Wizards has implemented some radical changes to extended, giving us only 4 years worth of cards to work with instead of 7. I’m a huge fan of this change, although Extended was one of my favourite formats for the last few years. This change makes Extended a much more accessible format, as well as giving us a whole new format to dissect and discover.
For those who don’t know, my Extended season this year culminated with a 5-2 record at a PTQ with Merfolk. This deck has a special place near my heart and I’ve played it in standard, extended, and legacy over the last few years. It’s my pleasure today to outline an adaptation of Merfolk for the new extended, which uses cards from Time Spiral, Lorwyn, Alara, and Zendikar blocks, with Core Sets from 10th Edition to Magic 2011 inclusive.
To use as some sort of base, let’s take a look back at my Merfolk list from the last extended PTQ.
Here Fishy Fishy
The first thing we must decide is what colours we want to play. Without the aid of the Ravnica shocklands such as Hallowed Fountain, we can’t easily play white for Sejiri Merfolk. However, due to the nonexistance of Dark Depths in this format, the need for 4 maindeck Path to Exile is mitigated. Therefore I think we can make a first draft using only blue spells.
The only other loss from the above list is the always-awesome equipment Umezawas Jitte. This card was part of what made merfolk so great was that you would be able to have the edge on your opponents both in terms of creature power but as well as having a stream of removal for their chump-blockers.
So let’s go through the shell of the deck we want to use:
A part of every merfolk deck is its lords: creatures that give a global pump to all your other merfolk. There are 4 merfolk lords we can consider for this deck: Lord of Atlantis, Merrow Reejerey, Merfolk Sovereign and Coralhelm Commander. Lord of Atlantis is good because it’s cheap, and Merrow Reejerey is good because of the degenerate tapping/untapping shenanigans you can pull off with it. There’s an amazing synergy between the Sovereign and Wake Thrasher, but sovereign can be less than stellar if you have them in multiples. I tend to dislike the commander because each mana you spend on leveling him up is another mana you could leave up for a counterspell or some other merfolk that will have a more immediate effect of the game state. The 10 lord configuration has always worked well for me, so I think it’s fine for this deck as well.
Countermagic is essential in maintaining the aggro-control mixture that is the merfolk deck, and having a good suite of counterspells is critical to ensure that your army of fish can take out the enemy. This last week saw the spoiling of Mana Leak for Magic 2011. Prior to that, I was distraught as to what might take it’s place, contemplating Negate or Spell Pierce. However, with one of the most solid counters in recent memory in the new Core Set, playing a playset should be no question.
Of course, no mono-blue deck would be complete without the addition of Cryptic Command-The counterspell that does it all. I tend to play this card very aggressively, using the tapping ability to get in for some serious amounts of damage. However, the ideal play can be to counter an opponent’s spell and tap their guys on their turn, so always be questioning how you can most effectively play the command, not just considering your opponents turn, but how you’ll follow up on your net turn.
To give our deck a solid one-drop, we can add Cursecatcher. How many get played is very much a metagame-dependent decision, and with no tournament results for this new format, the number of instants and sorceries which get played cannot be determined. Even if more aggressive decks become the norm, I would not have a problem with playing some number in the mainboard because they’ll gain the bonuses from lords. We’ll try playing 4, but this is one of the most variable slots.
I don’t have words to describe cards like Silvergill Adept and Wake Thrasher except for “Awesome”. Drawing cards and making huge guys is always good, and they’re the grease that makes the giant merfolk machine run smoothly.
What’s a good blue deck these days without the aid of planeswalker Jace, the Mind Sculptor? Not only will Jace be able to bounce opposing blockers, but he will be able to net us more merfolk to keep up the pressure. He’s an awesome card that finds a welcome home in this deck.
These last slots had me scouring gatherer for all the blue cards that will be legal in the new extended. Hot off it’s success in standard, Spreading Seas not only has the potential to slow an opponent’s mana base, but it will help our islandwalking merfolk get in unhindered. Again, these slots are very much a meta call depending on the colours and mana bases of the most popular decks. If decks like 5 colour control and Reveillark proliferate, this choice will be much better than if faeries and other decks just play islands anyway. As well, the addition of Spreading Seas gives us another 2-drop which draws us a card, giving us a high pro
The land base for this deck is pretty simple. Mutavault is a great attacker who only gets better as we play lords. A plethora of fetchlands will allow us to not only thin the deck (which is usually insignificant) but also shuffle away our dregs from Jace’s Brainstorm ability. Because we have 8 spells which gost 4 mana, I think that adding an extra land from the original list is warranted.
Without further ado, let me present the final list:
Here Fishy Fishy
I hope to test this deck out sometime soon, and will probably purchase it on Magic Online so I can put up some videos. As always, feel free to sound off in the comments, or contact me at zak -AT- power9pro.com, or contact me via twitter at www.twitter.com/zturchan.