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  • posted a message on Merfolk
    The interesting thing about Phantasmal Image is that it plays less like a one of and more like the 2nd or 5th version of everything else. Playing more than 1 is rather risky, as it doesn't synergize with Kira and can be dead. However, the main idea with phantasmal image is to have vial on 2 and cast a MoW. It gives you that protection for the tokens while being able to leave vial on 2 for your late game silvergills. Also, MoW can't be targetted by everything, so Image copying it has extra resiliency. The Tidebinder/Harbinger split is a nod to an open meta. Harbinger is so good vs. affinity and fine vs. so many other decks. I was able to hang in a game by lining up Harbinger + Phantasmal. I would play 2 Harbinger except for how great Tidebinder is against mana dorks, and because I like to hedge whenever I'm in doubt. I'd say that Harbinger is the 59th card and Tidebinder the 60th, so they're more there because of the resiliency of the deck and that the exact choices vary.

    1-of Vapor Snag is tough. A year or so ago I played 4. It's weakness vs. the Snapcaster decks (besides targeting your own guys)is balanced by its being an ideal tempo card. Dismember takes the 2-of slot because of the prevalence of cards like Kalitas or even Siege Rhino in the grindy BGx decks. Those are attrition battles, so you need to be able to remove their card for good rather than buying some tempo.

    I've been a proponent of maindeck Relic since Martin Juza's article on CFB. It's never dead. It's clunky vs. aggressive decks like Infect or Burn, but it even slows down Become Immense, so again, not dead. Its value vs. Snap, Goyf, and Dredge (shooting up in popularity) is obvious, but what's overlooked is specifically how it disrupts the game plan. It turns off Junds ability to clock us quickly with Goyfs, which lets us hang around in games and get down more Master of Waves. It disrupts Snapcasters, which are the main way that blue decks can keep up with our abundance of threats and our Silvergills. As a one of, it's not expected to swing the entire matchup. But it does mean that there's a whole additional game in the match where you have an opportunity to draw an effective card.

    1-ofs are a personal preference, but I would contend that the deck is more balanced with 1-ofs as they compliment a resilient game plan while often making opponents overreact in sideboarding.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on Merfolk
    Hey all, I won a 33 person PPTQ with Fish this past Saturday! It's actually my second PPTQ win in a row, as I won an EMA sealed event at the end of last season and this was my first of this season. I had only played the deck at a few FNM since GP LA, where I went 8-7 (6-3 into a rough 2-4), but all the testing stuck with me.

    The list:

    R1 WB Hatebears w/ Eldrazi and new Thalia W 2-0

    This deck is pretty sweet but apparently we're one of its toughest matchups. The mana denial and fetch prevention does little against us. I get Kira + MoW and take g1 easily, G2 my hand gets picked apart by TKS but I draw dismember and take it handily.

    R2 Dredge L 0-2

    He hit 2 Narcomoeba off a faithless looting dredge to prevent lethal in G1 and I couldn't find any Spreading Seas. G2 I also had no seas, and Conflagrate kept my board down. Never resolved Seas or MoW, and both seem essential.

    R3 Jeskai PyroAscension with Thing in the Ice W 2-1

    His deck was pretty cool. G1 he got me with Thing in the Ice and doubled lightning bolt. G2 and 3 I countered his spells in a timely fashion and controlled the yard with Relic. Spell Pierce for Anger of the Gods won the match.

    R4 Affinity 0-2

    G1 I put myself in a great position and have board control on the ground. He draws a Signal Pest and then a Cranial plating to kill me a turn before I kill him. G2 he mulls to 5 but I mull to 4. He has double playing on an ornithopter and I draw 100% lands. At this point I think the tourney is over.

    R5 GR Ramp 2-1
    Through the Breach Primeval gets me G1. G2 I have counters for Through the Breach and G3 I have counter for Anger and Tectonic Edge to slow down Titan long enough to win.

    R6 Goblins 2-0
    He gets me to 1 off Goblin Guide beats + Goblin Grenade in G1, but early trades followed by MoW win the match handily.

    Going into R6 my tie breakers are 5.5% back. I was sure I'd be ninth. But I somehow jump 2 people and end up 7th. I'm thrilled.

    Quarters: Abzan Midrange 2-1

    G1 he establishes control and Scooze clocks me. Games 2 and 3 I have hazy memories of. Silvergill Adept is MVP and Seas messes with his mana. He makes a misplay that clinches what would have been a close game, tapping wrong so he can't flashback Souls. MoW is a house, as I'm able to bait his removal on Lords earlier in the games.

    Semis: Grixis Midrange. 2-1
    One of the better players in the area. G1 he hits me pretty hard. I stumble on mana and he shreds me with Kolaghans Command and snapcasters. Games 2 and 3 are by the book. Relic keeps down Snapcaster and Goblin Dark Dwellers, I pressure him with Islandwalk and Silvergill outpaces him. G3 I draw a few key Lords when we're both hellbent and I get there.

    Finals: Jund 2-1

    Another one of the best players in the area, one who I've never beaten. G1 is super awkward. He has active Grim Lavamancer and I can never get down 2 Lords and lose to Goyf. Games 2 and 3 Kira does work. She was the unsung hero of the day, disrupting the removal heavy decks. Game 2 is no contest as he mulligans and stumbles. G3 is close but I curve out and keep drawing gas.

    I'll try to get back with how I SB'd later, for now I'm tired and need to get ready for GP Portland, a format with a depressing lack of Merfolk.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on Merfolk
    I made day 2 at 6-3. Lost to ABz coco twice and lost to Affinity. Beat Abz coco, burn, bogles, and grixis midrange. Sort of weird matches. I took notes so I'll do a writeup later. Rather disappointing as I lost out from 6-1. There's a 9-0 Fish player.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on Merfolk
    Bringing this to GP LA. Went 4-2 in various Friday tournaments, hoping to convert a good record off my 2 byes. Smile I'll let you all know how it goes.

    Making room for Tec Edge seems mandatory, so down on Hurkyl's and hope to dodge affinity.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on Merfolk
    I just learned that Kira, Great-Glass Spinner is bugged online. That's probably not news to MODO players, but I'm paper/cockatrice and was puzzled why no successful MODO lists were playing Kira. That explains that. I've had her as a 2-of in my main and she's been great (I'm on a 30 creature build).
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on Merfolk
    You don't need to have a sample size to perform statistics. A hypergeometric calculator will tell you whether it's a good or bad idea if you do some calculations. I did an extensive post on Reddit a few months back, I'll try to dig it up. My conclusion was that 20 is best.
    20 lands - Land in Opener: 0 = 4.8% 1 = 19.9% 2 = 32.4% 3 = 27% 4 = 12.4% 5 = 3.1% 6+= 0.4%

    19 lands - Land in Opener 0 = 5.8% 1 = 22.1% 2 = 33.2% 3 = 25.4% 4 = 10.7% 5 = 2.5% 6+= 0.3%

    The 19 land deck has a 58.6% chance of being in the sweet spot (2 or 3 lands). If we consider 0 and 6+ land hands to be mulligans every time, 5 landers to be mulligans half the time (a bit generous), and 1 landers to be mulligans 62% of the time (we have vial 38.4% of the time we have a 1 lander. Other 1 landers are keepable but ill leave them out) then the 19 land deck mulligans 21.1% of the time.

    The 20 land deck is in the sweet spot 59.4% of the time and mulligans 19% of the time.
    This data favors 20 lands as being more consistent. This 2% difference really falls in the 1 land hands. I find that on the draw they are sometimes keepable even without vial considering the number of cantrips that are in the deck. However, keeping a 1 lander is a good way to lose an otherwise winnable game.

    This doesn't look in depth at hitting land drops for Master of Waves.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on Merfolk
    The first thing I've done for the new meta is see what cards I should replace my MD Dismembers with. The default would be Vapor Snag or a counter like Spell Pierce. Something that I haven't done in a long time that I think will be good again is MD Relic of Progenitus. I think the UWR midrange decks will be back to the top of the meta. RoP is bad vs fast aggro, but great against Snap, Tarmo, ThopCombo, etc. At worst it cycles.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on Merfolk
    I was actually okay with the loss, which might've been part of my problem. I have 2 byes and was mostly grinding for Planeswalker points to hit the bye threshold for next season. My opponent being a friend and his needing the byes more was perhaps why he was more tuned in.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on Merfolk
    I top 8’d a 32 man GPT with some interesting matches.
    I searched for Gut Shots but couldn’t come up with them, so I sleeve a sb a few cards off from what I’d have liked.

    Along with the traditional SB guide, I’m going to do a “what I would’ve liked to have.” Hopefully this will cut down on matchups where I have too many or too few cards to bring in.

    Round 1: I lose the die roll and mulligan. My opponent keeps and is on affinity. He puts a plating on a vault skirge, and by the time I can start vialing in Harbingers he has BB to move it to a Signal Pest.

    SB for Play: +4 Hurkyl’s, +3 Chalice (play), +1 Echoing Truth, -2 Spreading Seas, -2 Kira, -1Master of Waves, -3 Merrow Reejery.

    Game 2: I present a fast clock and pop a Hurkyl’s Recall during my main phase to play around countermagic. I have a second Hurkyl’s but I kill him with Merrow taps and don’t have to use it.

    Sb Draw: -3 Chalice of the Void, -2 Master of Waves +3 Merrow Reejery, +1 Dismember, +1 Vapor Snag.

    Game 3: Some interesting plays. He goes turn 1 Blinkmoth, Springleaf Drum, go. I play Island, pass. He plays Signal Pest then casts Mox Opal. With Opal on the stack, I Vapor Snag the Signal Pest. If he had a 0-drop creature he’d have played Signal Pest last turn, so this turns off Mox Opal and means he can’t cast his 2-drop for another turn. Because of that tempo, I pull way ahead in the race until he top decks and plays a Vault Skirge. I swing him down to 7 with an array of Islandwalk. He topdecks a Plating, hits me for 10 lifelink. At that point I need Harbinger to live, or any lord/Hurkyl’s to win. I draw a land and can only swing for 16.
    SB Notes: I would have liked 2 Gut Shots. Taking out Vault Skirge and Signal Pest with no tempo loss seems huge.

    Round 2: My opponent wins the die roll and elects to draw… okay. I t1 a Cursecatcher, he plays a Mountain. I play a Silvergill, he plays a Forest can casts Plated Geopede. I cast Merrow Reejery and swing, noticeably relaxing. My opponent swings, I don’t block, and he casts Harrow. Due to shock and lack of fear, I let it resolve despite having cursecatcher to counter it, immediately realizing that I’ve missed the blowouts. A Swamp and an Island hit, and my opponent casts Tainted Strike with 1 Forest up. Suddenly Geopede is 8 infect… My opponent casts Mutagenic Growth, but taps his Forest to do so! I mize a win out of having blown it. Turns out my opponent is on a casual Flamekin Harbinger/ Kiln Fiend deck. The 0-1 bracket is just full of surprises. Chalice takes G2.
    SB notes: Don’t screw it up.

    Round 3: Affinity again. G1 I get helped as my opponent mulls to 5 and I’m on the play. I take an extra turn couple of turns to kill in order to play around a topdeck Plating, something I couldn’t do if he had more pressure. Having both dismember and vapor snag lets me kill an Arcbound and then bounce its Modular target. Them’s the nuts.

    SB: +4 Hurkyls, +1 Dismember, +1 Vapor Snag. -2 Spreading Seas, -3 Master of Waves, -1 Merrow Reejery. Turn 1 plays are important on the draw, Chalice is bad.

    G2:My opponent gets a plating on a turn 2 Etched Champion and I draw no Mutavault or Hurkyl’s.

    G3: Merrow Reejery + Harbinger dominates. I keep him on the back foot and win without needing Hurkyl’s. I dismember a Master of Etherium and Mutavault shuts down a Champion.

    Match 4: I lose the roll against GR tron. He has a turn 4 Ugin and I don’t last long.

    SB: +2 Negate, +1 Vapor Snag, +1 Echoing Truth. -2 Kira, -2 Dismember.

    G2 I have a pretty good clock, though a pyroclasm sets me slightly back. I Seas him a few times and he’s slow to hit Tron. By the time he lands a Karn I’ve got lethal.
    -1 Aether Vial +1 Tidebinder (just as a bear)
    G3 I have multiple Seas and a Ghost Quarter but not the fastest start. He gets to 5 mana the old fashion way with an Oblivion Stone in play, but I make him crack it and still push damage with Mutavaults. He casts a Wurmcoil, I send it back with Merrow+Harbinger and take the match.

    SB notes: I would have liked 1 more sb card as Aether Vial isn’t great, especially on the draw, but I don’t think it’s worth cutting something else for. Tec Edge/Seas Claim/Ghost Quarter would be best.

    Round 5. My opponent is playing a URg Prowess Delver deck and has beaten 2 Merfolk players on the day. I don’t remember this match precisely, but I recall Harbinger totally trumping Delver and Kira being great. Chalice in Game 2 shuts him down well, though he almost gets there with Stormchaser Mages + Atarka’s Command.
    +3 Chalice, +1 Tidebinder Mage. -3 Merrow Reejery, -1 Aether Vial.
    SB notes: Not much to report. I really like Kira main for this kind of bolt matchup and don’t bring in Negate as I don’t expect huge impact spells and I have 2 Kira Relic could come in for Snapcaster, but doesn’t seem needed as this is more tempo based.

    Top 8 is 2 GR Tron (my opponent), 1 Affinity (my R1 loss), 1 Esper Control, 1 Grixis Midrange, 1 Kiki Chord, and 1 Jund. Eldrazi was in the room but not in huge numbers. I suspect people are trying to GPT with the decks they’ll bring to LA.

    I’m the 4 seed and paired against my friend Travis on Grixis. I’ve beaten him before and am not too frightened by the matchup, but he’s a strong player. He’s always switching his list, but I know he plays Creature Jace, Tasigur (which he cut for g2), Pia and Kirin Nalaar, Snap, and Kalitas.

    G1. I roll over him. Just curve out with Kira while he stumbles.

    -4 Spreading Seas, -1 Vapor Snag, -1 Aether Vial +2 Relic of Progenitus, + 1 Dismember, +1 Echoing Truth, +2 Negate. I would love to bring in Chalice but I know he plays Kolaghan’s Command so it seems pretty bad.

    G2. He gets down a turn 2 Jace and values me out. Bolts, terminates, pyroclasms and K. Commands keep my lords down. Kira gets killed by a Jace +1 and Bolt. Kalitas values me out. He has few ways to kill a Master of Waves, but because I don’t have Spreading Seas I never get much devotion. Maybe leave those in? Hard to say.

    G3 is the same as g2. He’s able to 1 for 1, 2 for 1 with K. Commands and Snapcasters, and generally keep me down. I don’t think it always plays out like that, and Silvergill is amazing here and I didn’t draw any, but that’s how it goes.
    SB Notes: I would have loved a 3rd Relic, as they are excellent in the matchup and I didn’t draw any early enough to be relevant.

    All in all, not a horrible showing. I would add the 4th harbinger in the main, cutting the Vapor Snag or maybe moving a Kira to the board. Next weekend there’s a 1k GPT, and I expect my SB to be 4 Hurkyl’s, 3 Chalice, 3 Relic, 2 Negate, 2 Gut Shot, 1 Echoing Truth.

    Keep swimmin’
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on Merfolk
    For a really good guide on beating control matchups and playing the deck well, check out these articles by Martin Juza, especially his section on UWR Control. While the decks have clearly changed and some of his advice is super outdated (like not playing Hurkyl's and SBing for Pod) a lot of the strategy and principles are the same.


    As he says, your best card against control is Aether Vial because of how it lets you play around Verdict. Commit enough that they have to sweep, but not too much. It's a balance. His plan involves bringing in 4 tectonic edge. I don't necessarily condone that (Scapeshift was bigger back then) but it's certainly strong.

    As for the bans, this moderator is completely off base and ham-handed. Discussing Modern without dominant Eldrazi is not speculation. Stoneforge unbanning or Mox Opal being banned are speculation. Eldrazi being handcuffed, one way or another, is just a matter of time, as confirmed by Wizards R&D. Discussing Merfolk after Eldrazi is a pertinent topic for this thread and should be excepted from any "speculation" that would normally be banned in this thread. As the mod said, "This is to prevent every thread devolving into speculation about probable bans/unbans, which detracts from the strategy and deck development most people want to engage in." Preparing for post-Drazi Modern is exactly the sort of deck development that I would expect. If you're going to a tournament and not speculating about what you'll face, you're unprepared. Same with this topic.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on Merfolk
    GP Costa Rica in ~2012 gave out a Steve Argyle playmat with 3 Merfolk on it. I proudly play it with fish at every non-competitive Modern event I go to. I drew the line at regionals, went with a Siege Rhino playmat.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on [Primer] Merfolk (3/2012 - 11/2015)
    Quote from FetchLand »
    Quote from rothgar13 »
    [quote from="Bearscape »" url="http://www.mtgsalvation.com/forums/the-game/modern/tier-1-modern/220260-merfolk?comment=9580"]You can probably cut two creatures to mainboard the dismembers (you are heavy on 3-drops). Four Tidebinders seems like it would be overkill but I don't know your meta. Finally, I will always recommend sideboarding at least 3 Tectonic Edges for the matchups where you don't want Aether Vial

    Is Tectonic Edge really better than Ghost Quarter for us? I'm thinking the primary matchup I'd want more land hate than Spreading Seas in is Tron, and they can ruin our day with just 3 lands. I see where you're coming from with regards to the land hate, but I don't think being at card parity should matter to us as much as swift disruption.

    Watch Ninkachu's most recent video for a prime example of why tectonic edge is not better than Ghost Quarter against Tron. "Natural Tron" is not all that uncommon. Our gameplan isn't to color screw people in games where they draw 4+ lands, it's to disrupt manlands, enable islandwalk, and get free wins when they're land light.
    Posted in: Modern Archives - Proven
  • posted a message on [Primer] Merfolk (3/2012 - 11/2015)
    Hi! this is what I plan on sleeving up for the RPTQ this weekend. I've been winning a lot with this list and I wrote an extensive SB and card analysis guide that I posted on Reddit. To avoid crossposting I'll just link it here. Feel free to message me or leave questions/suggestions here or there. Thanks!


    Edit: Just noticed it's my 4-year cake day. Sweet.
    Posted in: Modern Archives - Proven
  • posted a message on [Primer] Merfolk (3/2012 - 11/2015)
    Something to note about Dismember: It doesn't get countered by Chalice of the Void on 1. That means that with Cavern of Souls, the only cards that get countered in our deck are Aether Vial and maybe Spell Pierce.

    Also, I can't imagine a planeswalker being good in Merfolk... We don't even play Thassa, and she functions a lot like a planeswalker.
    Posted in: Modern Archives - Proven
  • posted a message on [Primer] Merfolk (3/2012 - 11/2015)
    "but the majority of boggle players are just not very good in my experience"

    Sigh. Every time I forget why I leave MTGSalvation. Then I remember. FNM Heroes trying to beat bad players on budget decks. God forbid we get actual analysis into a matchup.
    Posted in: Modern Archives - Proven
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