I’m a big fan of Merfolk and they’re going to get some new tools from Jumpstart: Historic Horizons. Now, I’m not going to tell you the deck is going to be Tier 1, but if you’re a fan of the
deck too, you will surely enjoy Historic Merfolk.
Shoreline Scout – this is one of the cards that will only exist on Magic Arena specifically for digital play, meaning you won’t be able to find it anywhere in actual packs with paper cards.
It won’t be as good as Cursecatcher or Tideshaper, but I am willing to give it a try. It will allow you to essentially transform any land or merfolk in your hand into a Tropical Island, smoothing your mana. The second ability makes it a pretty decent attacker, as you will have Islands and Merfolk enter the battlefield quite frequently. I am a bit confused about the wording. Normally the “until end of turn” clause is at the end of the +1/+0 bonus, but if this got pumped forever for every island and every Merfolk then it would definitely be way too good.
Having indestructible sounds good to me and getting 2 other Merfolk in play shouldn’t be an issue, but it does look to me like a classic example of a “win more” card. If I already have 3 Merfolk in play, I am probably doing pretty well and I don’t need one of them to draw me an extra card, I think I’d rather want to play more lords or something that interacts with the opponent. If there is space, I am willing to try a few copies, but I don’t think it is going to make the final cut.
Master of the Pearl Trident – this is the main reason to build this deck. The more lords you can play, the bigger all your creatures get.
The mana base for enemy colors is great, especially if you are in the market for aggro. Botanical Sanctum is an easy 4-of because you only really care about the early game, so if it comes into
play later, it is not going to matter. Two more playsets of Breeding Pool and Barkchannel Pathway means you will have 12 untapped duals for turn 1. Mana won’t be an issue. I rounded it up with a few more basics and a couple of Hashep Oasis.
4 Kumena’s Speaker
4 Shoreline Scout
4 Mist-cloaked Herald
Kumena’s Speaker and Shoreline Scout are easy inclusions, but after that the options get a lot worse. Jade Bearer and Benthic Biomancer seem worse to me than an unblockable creature that is gonna get buffed by all the lords.
8 lords, a creature that lets you interact with the opponent and a two drop that replaces itself. The two drops are pretty strong, though it could definitely use Lord of Atlantis as well.
Merrow Reejerey is a lord with a great ability and Glasspool Mimic is usually gonna copy one of your lords as well and work as a land when you need it. Vineshaper Mysitc is certainly going to be one of the weaker cards, but I believe it’s better than the alternatives. Realmwalker sounds really good in theory and perhaps there should actually be more copies.
At first I was looking for some tempo cards like Vapor Snag or Memory Lapse, but Unsubstantiate is basically both of these cards combined together. Running Memory Lapse instead is certainly a possibility though.
What cards is this deck missing to be tier 1
Basically, the rest of the Modern Merfolk package. Aether Vial means you get to put cards into play at instant speed and during your opponent’s turn, which lets you play around sweepers and other tricks. Force of Negation would be huge to be able to deal with sweepers and combo decks without having to keep open mana for cards like Negate. Lord of Atlantis, Tide Shaper and Spreading Seas gives you another angle of attack and an extra lord. Mutavault is also huge for this deck because it is often a really big creature for no cost, so basically like starting the
game with an extra card. I think of all of these cards, not having Mutavault is probably the biggest loss, closely followed by Aether Vial.
All of these cards just seem weaker than the options we already have. Forerunner sounds good in theory, but 4 mana is just way too much. You don’t need the extra lands from Branchwalker or Jadelight either, you care more about pumping your team. Cards like River Herald’s Boon are also just not good enough for Historic.
Negate is a pretty obvious choice as we need ways to fight against sweepers and combo. Relic of Progenitus comes in against graveyard decks like Dragonstorm and Rakdos Arcanist. Mistcaller seems great against Collected Company decks. I’m hoping Herald’s Horn would be good against control decks because it gives you continuous card advantage, but perhaps something like Deeproot Waters could be good too. Masked Vandal is a random naturalize that is a merfolk and Kira seems slightly better to me than Kopala because countering the spell is just a lot better than giving them the option to pay 2 more.