Primers: Modern Merfolk

Merfolk is a relatively upstart archetype in the modern metagame. Relegated to tier 2 for almost its entire life in Modern, it only recently has had notable showings and started to command a respectable share of the field.

Master of Waves Art

So why should you play Merfolk in Modern? It’s not as fast as Affinity, consistent as Burn, or as streamlined as Zoo. What it does have going for it is dodging the majority of the hate that the format brings for these decks. No catch-all disruption exists for beating Merfolk, apart from removal, which can itself easily be beaten by solid sideboarding and redundancy in our creature base. Combined with cheap spells and interaction that provides large tempo swings, the deck has more to it than just its tribal synergy.

Examining the List

Merfolk’s recent appearance is somewhat out of the blue – the core of the deck has remained relatively the same, outside of a few recent additions. So what has caused this fish resurgence? Merfolk’s sudden appearance started right after its placing at GP Copenhagen. Not one, but two Merfolk decks appeared in the Top 8 and ended up taking the whole thing down. What is interesting is how wildly different these two lists were outside of the “core” and just how many flex spots this supposedly crammed deck actually allows.

The eventual winner had a more typical build – that is to say along the lines of the previous norms for the deck, with a few changes. The deck had no splash (apart from non-island lands to beat Choke) and did not deviate far from the common build. Outside of Dismember and main deck Relic of Progenitus, the list was mostly stock.

Here’s the list I’m currently running:

Merfolk, by Will Archer

Creatures (27)
Lord of Atlantis
Cursecatcher
Merrow Reejerey
Master of Waves
Master of the Pearl Trident
Silvergill Adept
Harbinger of the Tides
Phantasmal Image

Artifacts (4)
Aether Vial

Enchantments (4)
Spreading Seas

Instants (5)
Vapor Snag
Spell Pierce

Lands (20)
Mutavault
Ghost Quarter
Cavern of Souls
Minamo, School at Water’s Edge
Oboro, Palace in the Clouds
12 Island
Sideboard (15)
Negate
Hurkyl’s Recall
Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
Thassa, God of the Sea
Spellskite
Hibernation
Chalice of the Void
Buy deck on Cardhoarder (MTGO)Buy deck on TCGPlayer (Paper)

After testing against the majority of the field, I can finally say I’m happy with where my current list is. Let’s touch on the card choices.

Card Choices: Maindeck

Merrow ReejereyThe core of the deck is the creature base, which is somewhat stock and unchangeable. Full playsets of the Merfolk lords is where you want to start – Merrow Reejerey is the lesser of the three (outside of specific instances, but is somewhat of a win more card) and at three CMC is the first one I’d trim down to three copies. Silvergill Adept is solid – drawing a card on a body is great when it’s of the relevant tribe – little more can be said other than you want four.

The remaining creatures are all somewhat stock, but hotly contested by some players. Cursecatcher, for starters, is seen as low impact and occasionally is dropped all-together, but I’d caution against this route. While a poor top deck late game and really then only having its creature type going for it, turns one through four is where it shines. Its ability to slow the opposing player and gain tempo while just sitting on the board is hard to account for, or even see for a new pilot of the deck, and only noticed over a high number of games. Be it making them fetch poorly, shock themselves, or wait a turn to cast that Kolaghan’s Command, Cursecatcher more than makes up for its poor late game usage.

Master of WavesMaster of Waves has appeared in lists anywhere from one to four copies, but I chose to run the whole playset. It breaks board stalls, is near irremovable against a large part of the field, and can sometimes win the game when Vialed in EOT against an unsuspecting opponent. As the curve topper, I would be hesitant to reduce this to less than three copies in the current meta.

Harbinger of the Tides is a very recent addition from Origins, but immediately has been slotted into the deck. Its uses are numerous and is easily one of the best cards in the list and occasionally a huge tempo swing. I like two, but three would be easily defensible, as it is an all-star outside of a few matches.

Phantasmal ImagePhantasmal Image is a great catchall creature. Be it lords 12 through 14, copying an Adept to draw a card, Harbinger to bounce, or copying your opponents best creature, it is an extremely good card that promotes knowing the format, when to use it, and just what you can do with it.

The interaction in Merfolk has to do a few things. One is be cheap. Outside of the Aether Vial on turn one draw, you will be using your mana every turn and rarely will have more than one or two open on your opponents turn. Two: be as high-impact as possible. You win games because of how consistent and streamlined the deck is, being tribal, and you want the interaction to also be as streamlined.

Spreading SeasSpreading Seas is a great card. Enabling islandwalk can turn a stalled board into the signing of a match slip in one turn. It doubles as splash over Tron hate – keeping them off Urzatron for even a few turns can be enough to win the game before Karn and friends show up. It also punishes greedy three color mana bases like Grixis and Jund, and turns off annoying manlands. Oh, and it also draws you a card. I like four, but have tested three and am comfortable at that number.

Vapor Snag is great and sometimes game-winning. Cheap, effective, occasionally a huge tempo swing as well as helping push through attacks or stymie them, the card does a ton of heavy lifting in Merfolk. Bouncing a delved out creature is a huge play, and with the rise of Grixis Control, a play that happens quite often.

Spell Pierce does a lot of the same thing. Cheap, effective, and occasionally a huge tempo swing. It’s highly underused in Modern and very rarely respected. Easy to hold up, it’s great against many of the greedy decks.

MutavaultThe land base is fairly straight forward. Mutavault is great, doubling as a Merfolk (and Elemental!) that beats sorcery speed removal. Ghost Quarter is currently at its all-time high in playability and the deck can handle one more colorless land outside of the worst of draws. Islands fill up the rest, as well as any non- basic blue providing lands you want to run if Choke is a concern. While it seems like you can skip on them, they are actually more important then they appear. Dodging Choke is critical, as that is the only real “hate” card floating around in sideboards. Minamo, School at Water’s Edge is sometimes relevant, being able to untap a Kira or Thassa, and Oboro can provide fuel for Liliana’s discard ability in a pinch.

Card Choices: Sideboard

The sideboard, in my opinion, is the biggest contributing factor to winning with Merfolk. We have a lot of great matchups but a few very, very bad ones. I personally do not believe you can play Merfolk and be okay with sacrificing the bad matchups, so the sideboard will have to make up for this.

Hurkyls RecallHurkyl’s Recall and Chalice of the Void are nods to the worst match-up for the deck: Affinity. Chalice on zero or even one, if you can wait that long, are game breaking. I’d still consider it tough after board but dedicating 6 slots makes it a lot better. Chalice is also near unbeatable for Bogles as well as Burn, so it isn’t a narrow inclusion.

The Negates provide further interaction against decks we need to have answers for. Scapeshift, Tron, and Grixis are all decks I’m happy to bring these in against to provide tempo swings when countering high costed spells like Karn or Cryptic Command.

ThassaKira, Thassa, and Spellskite are all nods to the high amount of removal some decks bring to the table. Kira, Great Glass-Spinner stops the spot removal that can be the bane of the deck. Thassa, God of the Sea is indestructible card selection that is easily turned on and creates more ways to make your team unblockable Spellskite is a catch-all answer to the formats most maddening decks and cards. All of these are very broad answers to a lot of decks and provide consistent answers to the most troublesome problems the deck can face.

We round out the sideboard with two Hibernation. Hibernation is a concession to the newly popular (but still mostly tier 2) Elves deck, which is a horrendous matchup, as well as doubling as an answer to the other Collected Company decks. An aptly timed Hibernation sometimes just reads “win the game”, so while a narrow answer, it’s a sad necessity.

Cards That Didn’t Make the Cut

  • Splashing a second color
    Wanderwine HubAdding white is usually the way you can go if you want to add a second color, due to the lands (Wanderwine Hub and Seachrome Coast) being easily added. The most common cards added with white are Path to Exile and more/better Affinity sideboard hate in the form of Kataki, War’s Wage or Stony Silence. Personally, I feel this is not needed and we do not gain enough from it. Path is great removal but not where the decks wants to be. Spreading Seas becomes a lot worse at cutting off mana sources, and the tempo generating cards we run become less effective when you are ramping your opponent.
  • Dismember
    DismemberWhile great removal and a perfectly fine inclusion, Merfolk has a lot of added bonus in the fact it takes zero damage from its manabase/cards. Not taking 1-3 damage against the other aggressive decks in the format automatically make our match ups much better. Continuing with this, playing a card that you will automatically take 4 from just to cast doesn’t seem like where the deck wants to be. I feel Vapor Snag does (mostly) what you are looking for out of that slot.
  • Further permission
    I can absolutely get on board with more permission in the side, but be careful. Without cheating on mana with Aether Vial, we routinely tap out turn after turn. One-mana answers are where we want to be (Spell Pierce, Swan Song, Dispel, etc.). I would be hesitant to run more then a few two mana answers (Negate, Remand, etc.).
  • Grafdigger’s Cage
    Grafdiggers CageA perfectly fine sideboard card against Snapcaster Mage, random graveyard strategies, Collected Company decks, and more. I find these matchups to already be somewhat good for Merfolk, but if you are having trouble this is a great card to add to the board.
  • Tidebinder Mage
    Great at locking down any annoying green creatures, this is another card you can easily put in the board if you are concerned about it. I believe our natural evasion via Seas can somewhat make this card redundant, but nevertheless is perfectly fine if that is a match up you are concerned with.
  • Pithing Needle
    Merely good in a large number of matchups, it is a good catch all answer, if a tad unimpressive at times. Great against Affinity and sometimes Tron, it’s susceptible to splash-over Vial hate/bounce which can lead to blow outs. Use with that in mind.

Next Level Playing TIps

General Deck Tips

  • Use your mana efficiently
    While ideally you will always have a turn one Aether Vial, reality is different. The deck is smashed full of two drops that all want to be played as soon as possible for the tribal bonuses. Sequencing is extremely important: think ahead multiple turns to when you want to use your low-costed interaction, and play out your creatures accordingly.
  • Aether Vial counters are important
    Aether VialKnowing when to go from two to three, or even to four, is an acquired skill that has huge ramifications. Think of all the possible draws and how exactly you’d want to sequence them, and plan out the ticking up or holding of the counters. You will quite often keep it at two as most of our creatures as well as creature based interaction comes from that CMC.
  • Think before you tap your mana
    The deck has a glut of double blue cards. Think about how you tap your mana and what you need to leave up. Don’t accidentally tap double blue for the Silvergill Adept and face palm when you draw into the Lord of Atlantis you would have been able to play.
  • Don’t Vial creatures in with no purpose
    When used well, Vial is easily one of the best cards in the format. Not only does it let you cheat on mana, and avoid counterspells it lets you play creatures at instant speed.
  • Become skilled at doing combat math
    Master of the Pearl TridentWith all the lords in the deck, damage can easily be missed, or the clock you have miss-read. Double check your power and toughness (as you are responsible for doing that checking).
  • Watch your devotion!
    When playing with Master of Waves, I notice people missing Spreading Seas. You control the enchantment and thus it counts as another pip for devotion. Easily missed and sometimes beneficial if you have a Thassa and your opponent doesn’t realize.
  • Play around sweepers
    While the Modern format is relatively devoid of them, they still float around. Of note are Anger of the Gods in the majority of Grixis and Twin boards, and the occasional Damnation out of Jund. Don’t forget they exist in Modern by walking into them!

Single Card Tips

  • Phantasmal Image versatility
    Deceiver ExarchThis card has a plethora of uses and can do many interesting things. When Vialed in against Twin, you can copy the Deceiver Exarch or Pestermite in response to Splinter Twin and tap it down, giving you an extra turn to draw an answer or swing in for lethal. Watch out for them end of turn tapping your Vial though!
  • Harbinger of the Tides flash
    Harbinger of the TidesThe flash is very relevant. While it’s best to just Vial it in, don’t forget about it also has flash itself. Watch your mana – always remember against Twin they can tap one down before they go off. Harbinger is great interaction that gets around the commonly-held Dispel.
  • Harbinger of the Tides and tempo
    Against aggressive decks don’t be afraid to run it out as soon as possible for any tempo gain. It doesn’t always have to be a “gotcha” card. Sometimes returning the Birds of Paradise is all you need to get value out of it.
  • Spreading Seas targets
    Play these smart. Not only do they enable islandwalk but they can really mess up people’s mana base. If possible cut them off a colored source. Failing that, hit a manland or other relevant land.
  • Spreading Seas against Tron
    Against Tron, don’t run them all out. Play as many as have to that can keep them off assembling Tron, as Oblivion Stone only costs three to cast then five to activate and sweep them away.
  • Spell PierceSpell Pierce
    The longer you hold it, the worse it gets. Don’t be afraid to use it early against something somewhat relevant. It eventually becomes near useless, but is huge in the early game.
  • Merrow Reejerey
    His tap/untap ability only triggers on casting, not Vial-ing in Merfolk. You can occasionally go “off” and spill your hand with enough Merfolk. Remember, its tap or untap any permanent. Blockers, lands, Aether Vial, all great targets for its ability. Combined with an instant-speed Harbinger can really catch people off-guard.

Sideboarding Guide

Affinity

Chalice of the VoidOUT
Cursecatcher
Merrow Reejerey

IN
Hurkyl’s Recall
Chalice of the Void

Affinity is easily the decks worst match-up, and if anything is the only strike against the deck. Game one is extremely hard – winning the die roll is almost necessary to have a chance, as is seeing most of your interaction and curving out extremely well. Vault Skirge, Inkmoth Nexus, Cranial Plating, and Arcbound Ravager all spell doom for the Fish player, and putting any of these together without relevant interaction is almost impossible to beat. Because of this, the sideboard needs to be extremely slanted due to Affinity’s large share of the metagame. Chalice of the Void on zero is extremely hard to beat, (even on the draw, as Chalice on zero followed by a Recall is just as good) and Hurkyl’s Recall can enable an alpha strike or give you enough time to get ahead.

Twin (UR, Temur, Grixis) / Grixis Delver

SpellskiteOUT
Spreading Seas or Merrow Reejerey
Phantasmal Image

IN
Negate
Thassa, God of the Sea
Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
Spellskite

I lump these together as they seem to blend together lately, and the sideboarding strategy is nearly the same. You want to bring in counterspells, Kira to dodge the targeted removal, Spellskite for the same reason as well as stopping the Twin combo, and Thassa as a hard to remove threat that improves your card selection to find relevant interaction. I sometimes leave a few Spreading Seas in if playing Grixis as you can occasionally take them off a color early. Overall, this matchup feels very good, and outside of them drawing extremely well, is one of our best matchups. Watch out for Anger of the Gods post-board.

Jund / Abzan

KiraOUT
Aether Vial
Phantasmal Image

IN
Spellskite
Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
Thassa, God of the Sea

An average matchup, that gets much better after board. Watch out for Anger of the Gods in Jund. This match often comes down to how well you draw: it’s hard to beat removal-heavy hands pre-board. Thankfully our sideboard is tuned well to beat these style of decks. Aether Vial comes out to increase our deck’s threat density. Spell Pierce is okay here as it can often counter a Liliana or early removal spell.

Burn

NegateOUT
Merrow Reejerey
Harbinger of the Tides
Phantasmal Image

IN
Negate
Spellskite
Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
Chalice of the Void

A fairly decent matchup overall. Our creatures outclass them once we land a few lords, and we have cheap permission that is highly effective. Spreading Seas does a very good Stone Rain impression, and can lock them out of the game or off a splashed color in land light hands. Aether Vial helps you dodge damage from Eidolon of the Great Revel, so don’t be quick to cut it when boarding.

Infect

CursecatcherOUT
Phantasmal Image
Merrow Reejerey

IN
Chalice of the Void
Negate
Spellskite

They are faster but outside of Blighted Agent we can block most of the threats. Spreading Sea hits the annoying Inkmoth Nexus while Cursecatcher and Spell Pierce can keep them off over-commitment into pump. Chalice on one can turn off half of the deck. Just be mindful of how you sideboard when you bring in Chalice as you do have a fair amount of one CMC spells as well.

Amulet Bloom

OUT
Merrow Reejerey

IN
Negate
Chalice of the Void

An average matchup. Spreading Seas is merely okay against the bounce lands. We have to rely on drawing our permission and having a fast clock with this matachup. Chalice on zero can swing the game in your favor.

Tron

OUT
Merrow Reejerey
Harbinger of the Tides

IN
Thassa, God of the Sea
Negate

Blue Tron is the much easier of the two, but GR Tron isn’t the worst. Spreading Seas and permission coupled with a clock win this match up. Be careful not to play out all your Seas only to watch them get swept away by Oblivion Stone. If you have a lot of Tron in your area, Pithing Needle can be added to name Karn Liberated or Oblivion Stone.

Abzan Company / Elves

HibernationOUT
Spreading Seas

IN
Hibernation

I lump these together as the sideboarding is somewhat the same. Unfortunately we do not have much we can do against these decks other then bring in Hibernation (which is often a ridiculous blow out). Watch out for Choke. Spell Pierce is merely okay, but catching a Collected Company/Chord of Calling is great.

Conclusion

Overall, Merfolk is in a pretty good place at the moment: it has great match ups against most of the format, is full of cheap tempo plays, and dodges specific hate that plagues the majority of the other aggressive Modern decks after board. These factors finally enable Merfolk to be considered a tier 1 deck. It absolutely rewards the experienced pilot, and gets to play one of the formats most underused and overpowered cards in Aether Vial.

I hope this primer was helpful, and as always let me know in the comments if you think I missed something!

Will has played Magic since 1999, his love of the game being forged in the dead of “Combo Winter”. He has recently dedicated his free time to the life of the Magic grinder. A modern enthusiast, he has two Modern GP money finishes and is currently chasing his Pro Tour debut.

12 thoughts on “Primers: Modern Merfolk

  1. Great Primer! The Death and Taxes player in me hates that Merfolk has been doing so well, since it’s a nightmare matchup, but the White Weenie player in me can’t help but root for another classic, no-muss-no-fuss archetype to do well. Of course, the same White Weenie player in me is simultaneously terrified of Chalice of the Void. I might have to revisit my opinions of the matchup…

  2. A very nice primer on what is (by far) my favorite deck in Modern. My maindeck is very similar to yours, with notable difference being that I don’t run Phantasmal Image (since it can’t be protected by Kira or Spell Pierce), and I have full playsets of Vapor Snag and Reejerey. My lands are also a bit different (I’m running 4 Cavern/4 Vault/1 Minamo/1 Oboro/10 Island), since my experience has been that Spreading Seas is sufficient on the land destruction front. I do have questions for you regarding the sideboard, though:

    1. I’m in on the 4 Hurkyl’s Recall and the 2 Chalice of the Void, but I think Tidebinder is also a critical part of the board. I find him handy against BGx (Harbinger is meh at best against the likes of Bob, Siege Rhino, and Huntmaster of the Fells), Elves (Master of Waves doesn’t do diddly here), and sometimes even Burn (tapping down Guide and Swiftspear > bouncing them. Even if you choose not to include them, I think they deserve a bit more discussion.

    2. How has Thassa performed for you? I never found the room for her, and many people who did ended up taking her out of the 75. I know you included her as a nod to removal-heavy decks, but I would posit that she’s not very useful there, since it’ll be harder to switch her on without other guys on the table, and a CMC3 enchantment that lets you scry and make creatures unblockable is kind of expensive in Merfolk.

    3. Where’s your graveyard hate? I think something like Relic of Progenitus is pretty important, and I think it outperforms Grafdigger’s Cage thanks to its ability to be cycled. It also stuffs Delve creatures (not that we have a whole lot of trouble with those, but still).

    1. Thanks!

      Tidebinder is good, but just seems very unimpressive at times. Against the removal heavy decks he is usually quickly removed, against burn our creatures are very quickly better so tapping down isnt as relevant, and against elves is usually just a speed bump, as without hard removal the deck can go off very easily. I just think we have higher impact cards to run.

      I like her as a one or two of for sure. Switching her on is just a bonus, the irremovable selection she provides against the more removal heavy decks is great, and her ability is relevant.

      I was running Relic’s but cut them as the meta really isn’t heavy with the need for it at the moment. Merfolk has a few match ups it almost needs to oversideboard for and sadly they got the axe, but can definitely see them put back in. I

      1. Thanks for the quick response. Let me offer some counter-arguments to your points on Tidebinder and Relic:

        1. Tidebinder is a removal magnet, true, but that’s a good thing – protecting the Lords is paramount (since at the end of the day, they are your win-cons), and having other appealing targets for them to remove is part of how you protect them. Secondly, some of the decks you bring them in against can’t remove them (Elves). They can also be protected from removal with cards like Kira and/or Kite. Hibernation does provide some overlap in terms of function (and they’re plain better against decks like Bogles), but I don’t feel that outweighs the cheaper cost and the fact that you get a tribe-appropriate Bear to go with it.

        As far as using Tidebinder vs. Elves goes, timing is key – the likes of Elvish Archdruid and some board states involving Heritage Druid take a turn to get going, so clamping down on it before it gets a chance to make a bunch of mana tends to buy you the time you need. In the case of a board state that got big before you could respond, AEther Vial + Tidebinder reduces the number of attackers you have to account for, and can oftentimes be the difference between them getting in for lethal or not. I’m still all-in on it.

        2. I respectfully disagree with Relic not being needed in the current meta – the GP-winning list was running it mainboard for a reason (though I feel that’s a bit extreme). I think it gives you a leg up against the likes of Grixis (very dependent on its graveyard), Jund (somewhat dependent on its graveyard) in the Tier 1 bracket, and it’s huge against decks like Grishoalbrand, Living End, and Storm on the Tier 2 bracket, which are decks that we would otherwise struggle against. Given that the top 10 decks make up less than 60% of the meta according to this site, I think preparing for the unexpected is important in sideboards, and Relic helps us do that.

        1. Tidebinder being a tribal bear is good, granted, but outside of Jund, the decks we are bringing them in against, we need much higher impact answers. I totally can see having it in the board, and for a time was running it myself, but with the board being clogged as it is, I think it’s the first card cut.

          Relic is an option in the board, for sure, and again is another card I had in it up till awhile ago, and can see putting back. At the moment, permission seems like the better answer for those sorts of decks as it doubles as a card to bring in against a variety of match ups, where relic may be a tad narrow and low impact.

  3. As an affinity player, allow me to strongly suggest not setting chalice on 1. It typically shuts off 8 cards, and the 4 springleaf drum are basically dead draws past turn 2 anyway. If you see galvanic blasts it might be ok on 1, but otherwise it is very low impact.

  4. Nice article. Merfolk is my primary deck at the moment.

    The only big area where my deck diverges is the inclusion of 3 Dismember main. I do think a few pieces of permanent removal (as opposed to bounce) are needed as much as I wish Merfolk could remain free from self-damage. For example, I’m not crazy about having to vapor snag an exarch or pestermite, as it leaves a piece of their combo alive. Same goes for creatures with ETB effects, such as Huntmaster, Rhino, Fiend Hunter, etc. With that said, it’s not pretty to draw all 3 of them during the course of a game (though I’ve played and won several games taking 12 damage from my own Dismembers).

    I also really like 3-4 Tidebinders in the side, as so much of the field runs red or green creatures, including some of your worst match ups.

    One fun trick with Aether Vial: if you’ve got nothing to vial in, it can still pay off to tap vial when your opponent has a lot of untapped mana sources just to force them into a response (assuming you want to provoke a response). A lot of people want to get the jump on an additional lord, a spellskite, a cursecatcher, or a Kira, so you can sometimes get them to commit to suboptimal plays that way (such as using removal on a lord that could have been used on the Master of Waves you’re about to play).

  5. Something I learned while watching GP Charlotte coverage was that you can get really cute with aether vial: if you need to draw out some removal from the opponent, it can pay to activate vial with nothing to vial in just to make your opponent pull the trigger on something. I’ve played with Aether Vial since it was printed, and somehow it never occurred to me to mess with people’s head like that!

  6. Hey,

    i think relic is in general very underestimated. I looked at the top 32 of the recent starcity open and there are only 10 decks i would not want relic against. (burn, affinity, tron, mirror). Next to the obvious snpacaster/delve/tarmogoyf/ooze help (almost enough to justify them), they are good against the melira company decks, knight of reliquary, grim lavamancer!, lingering souls and of course every graveyard deck. Additionally they fit the curve quite well.

  7. The exclusion of Tidebinder and the inclusion of Thassa are mistakes. The match-ups you bring Thassa in for she is either a do nothing or win more card. It’s counter intuitive to run a card dependent on permanents specifically for match-ups where they keep those permanents dead.
    You’re better off bringing in another bolt target than a 3 cost enchantment that will never be active that also incidentally hates on half the format.

    Why cut a lord over spreading seas against affinity when your goal is to race? Are you that afraid of inkmoth nexus or is it so you can try to get islandwalk?

    Why is Spellskite brought in against Jund/Junk? In Jund you open yourself up to a needless 2 for 1 with command with the hope of stopping only 4 cards in the whole deck. If you’re using it to chump an abrupt decay or terminate then why not just play another creature instead that can at least swing in? Same argument for junk but they literally have 0 cards that don’t just kill spellskite. How is phantasmal image just not absolutely better in general?

    Spreading Seas in against Burn? You have way too much wishful thinking. You’re cutting lords over spreading seas which gives them an incidental target for revelry while in most games is not as much a stone rain as it is cycling for 2. What world do you risk a turn 2 spreading seas over a lord unless you’re absolutely forced to? Harbinger of the tides is one of the best cards you can include for this match-up. Burn decks aren’t simply bolt to the face anymore as they are turn 1 swiftspear/goblin guide/nacatl, turn 2 goblin guide. The tempo swing while putting a creature on board is too huge to pass up.

    Against tron I find it strange you cut a reliable lord that can protect you from pyroclasm and double your tempo over a card like Thassa. She can’t swing until turn 4 and does nothing when she lands. Reejery at least protects your field and increases the clock. You’re not going to win a long game against Tron without Tectonic Edge in your sideboard.

    WHY ARE YOU CUTTING SPREADING SEAS AGAINST GREEN DECKS THAT RUN NO ISLANDS AND CAN OUTVALUE YOU AND TRADE THEIR KITCHEN FINKS OR REGENERATE THEIR CHUMP BLOCKERS??!!?!?!?

    Your primer is good for general information but I find some of your sideboarding questionable.

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