January 3, 2018

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Daily Dose of Rivals of Ixalan – Gaining card advantage with Merfolk

Welcome all to today’s Daily Dose of Rivals of Ixalan, where I’m going to be talking about some new additions to one of Ixalan's four major tribes.

Introduced in the Ixalan set, the four major tribes were Dinosaurs, Vampires, Pirates, and Merfolk. All of the four major tribes will be getting some major upgrades in Rivals of Ixalan, but today I want to focus on our fishy friends, the Merfolk.

Previously Merfolk were only represented by blue cards, but green Merfolk appeared with the new set. Ixalan brought us 21 of these new Merfolk to play with, but that proved to be not quite enough to build a viable Standard deck with. In building a Merfolk deck, you want to build it so that you can have plenty of Merfolk on the battlefield to overwhelm your opponent. One way to improve the Merfolk deck for Standard is to figure out the best Merfolk to play from each casting cost as well.

Today, I’ll show you a two, three, and four drop Merfolk that could all fit nicely into any Merfolk deck curve, and which will help you gain card advantage and be able to fill the battlefield with all the Merfolk you want. First off, let me start with a welcomed reprint from Lorwyn. Here's Silvergill Adept:


This card represents everything that a Merfolk deck wants. It starts off as an early two-drop creature that can get in some damage quickly. In the early turns, you will most definitely have another Merfolk in your hand, making Silvergill Adept gain even more value by replacing itself with a card draw. Even in the late game, you can spend five mana to replace it, so there isn’t any worry of being stuck with only a 2/1 creature late in the game.

Here are some of the other current two-drop merfolk that it would compete against for a spot in your deck:

Silvergill Adept fits very nicely into the two-drop spot in a Merfolk deck as you want to have plenty of Merfolk on the battlefield as quickly as possible. Combined with Merfolk Branchwalker, this card all but guarantees a strong play on turn two.

The next card I want to talk about is a blue Merfolk creature that will allow you to gain card advantage not just from it, but from every Merfolk you have on the battlefield. I present to you, Seafloor Oracle:


What makes this card a four-drop rather than a three-drop creature is that it could be downright game breaking on turn four if you already have two or three creatures on the battlefield. It turns every attack you make with every Merfolk into a serious threat because of the card advantage you could gain. A lot of times it could force your opponent into making combat trades they didn’t want, or unfavourable blocks just to stop you from being able to draw more cards.

Here are some of the other current four-drop Merfolk that it would compete against for space:

Personally, I can see playing one or maybe possibly two copies of Seafloor Oracle in a Merfolk deck, but you don’t want to have too many four drops in your deck.

Finally, Rivals of Ixalan is bringing us a new Merfolk lord. But this isn’t the Merfolk lord that you're used to, as it gives all your other Merfolk +1/+1 in a different way. Take a look at Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca:

kumenatyrantoforazca (1)

Wow, talk about three amazing abilities on one card. It’s like having three Planeswalker abilities on one creature. Let’s break down all the abilities on Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca.

“Tap another untapped Merfolk you control: Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca can't be blocked this turn.” – If you want to get in for some unblockable damage, this will get you that. It may even be the damage you just might need to finish off a game. Works well with Seafloor Oracle as well if you just need that extra card advantage.

“Tap three untapped Merfolk you control: Draw a card.” – I immediately thought of Cryptbreaker when I saw this ability. Being able to play Merfolk on turns one and two, followed by this ability will allow you to draw cards every turn and take over the game.

“Tap five untapped Merfolk you control: Put a +1/+1 counter on each Merfolk you control.” – This ability will allow you to flood the battlefield with Merfolk and eventually grow them so large that you can win any combat battle.

Here are some of the other current three-drop merfolk that Kumena would compete against:

Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca is the best of the lot but, as with any Legendary Creature, you don’t want to have too many of them in your hand at the same time. I would probably play three of them in my Merfolk deck.

I think that these will be three amazing additions to Merfolk in Standard and could lead to a viable Merfolk deck in the coming months. How do you think Merfolk will be affected by the additions of these cards? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think? Thanks again for reading today’s Daily Dose of Rivals of Ixalan, and I look forward to seeing you tomorrow as I continue talking about some exciting new cards.