Several years ago, Merfolk was a dominant force in Legacy. The prevalence of Blue decks means that a high density of Lords that grant Islandwalk is a big deal, and there are a number of decks in Legacy that just struggle with large creatures. However, formats shift. Snapcaster Mage was printed, followed by Terminus and Entreat the Angels. Suddenly, Merfolk has a much harder time staying on the board and keeping pressure on opposing Blue decks. But with the banning of Sensei's Divining Top and some new technology, maybe the fish can make a comeback:
Merfolk ? Legacy | Ehhh, 5-0 Legacy League
- Creatures (24)
- 4 Cursecatcher
- 4 Lord of Atlantis
- 4 Master of the Pearl Trident
- 4 Phantasmal Image
- 4 Silvergill Adept
- 4 True-Name Nemesis
This has always been one of the best Aether Vial decks in Legacy. Traditionally, Aether Vial fulfills three functions. First, it lets you accelerate out your threats by generating extra mana each turn. Second, it allows you to continue to develop your board while activating creature lands. Third, it allows you to develop your board while leaving up mana for interaction like Spell Pierce.
This Merfolk deck is a little different. You’re not really playing Daze, Spell Pierce, and Standstill. Instead, you’re playing proactive disruption like Chalice of the Void and more pressure. Smuggler's Copter is the big new addition, and it seems like a great fit for this deck. Frequently, your games will be decided by how many Lords you can find, and if you have access to a counterspell on a critical turn. Smuggler's Copter allows you to turn extra lands and Aether Vials into real cards to try to fight through whatever removal spells your opponent happens to have.
That’s not to say that this solves all of the deck’s problems. Fatal Push and Abrupt Decay aren’t great for Merfolk decks, and Snapcaster Mage plus removal spells is still absolutely brutal. However, with people shifting toward Stifles, Wastelands, and Tarmogoyfs as well as Baleful Strix to counter those decks, then this may be a real contender. After all, you don’t really care about Stifle or Wasteland, and both Baleful Strix and Tarmogoyf are effectively blank.
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Merfolk make leave a real impact on Legacy. That may be about to change thanks to variants like this one.