Pyramiden Cup (Round 5)


Since the last time I played Merfolk, I made two changes: I replaced one Island with Minamo, School at Water’s Edge and tried out Mistcaller instead of Rishadan Dockhand.

Round 1: Cawblade (Loss, 1-2)

The first round was against the guy who would make the first place in the end. In game 1 I saw Teferi, Time Raveler, Prismatic Ending and a bunch of lands so I assumed he was on UWx control.



In game 2 everything looked fine fine and I was able to assemble a few Merfolks while keeping backups in hand in case of a Supreme Verdict. But then he played a Stoneforge Mystic to grab a Batterskull and I realized that this wasn’t UW control as I thought. While I was able to beat him down to 6 thanks to island walk, he quickly gained control over the game with Solitude and Batterskull. Since I didn’t have any Dismembers in my deck anymore, I didn’t have any out and lost that game.

For game 3 I brought back Dismember but I still wasn’t fast enough and lost with him being at 34 life.

I’m pretty sure I played very badly here since I never faced the deck before. Also I’m not sure what the best sideboard options would have been. Dismember still felt pretty medium as isn’t a real solution for Batterskull.

Round 2: UW Hammer (Loss, 1-2)

I knew my opponent was on a UW Hammer since I played against him before but he didn’t remember my deck. He told me that there are like three Merfolk decks today and asked if I also faced one of them in round 1. We both had a good laugh when I played Cavern of Souls on Merfolk. From the experience in round 1 he knew that it was a good plan to try to avoid playing Islands which bought him some time but in the end I was able to make an Island for him with Tide Shaper to swing for the win. I think this was also the first time I ignored an Urza’s Saga with it.



I tried Nikachu’s plan of not keeping all the Forces and not bringing in Chalice of the Void.

I kept a hand with an Island, two Aether Vials, and a Tide Shaper and felt pretty safe. Unfortunately, I didn’t draw a second land to deal with his Urza’s Saga so he was able to fetch a Pithing Needle to stop my vials. In addition he found three Colossus Hammers which didn’t give me any chance of winning.

In game 3 I kept I medium hand of six cards because I didn’t want to go to five. I didn’t see any Tide Shaper or Spreading Seas for his sagas and my lack of interaction made it very easy for him to beat me.

Overall, I still like the idea of not keeping the Forces after sideboarding. I think with better mulligan decisions I would have had a fair chance even though it’s still an unfavourable matchup.

Round 3: Red Prison (Win, 2-1)

My opponent started with Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and played a Blood Moon on turn three but I was able to get around both with blockers and Aether Vial.

I didn’t have any sideboard plan for his deck but I saw a Chandra, Dressed to Kill and assumed he would have Fury so I figured that Subtlety would be a good card. I decided that Force of Negation wouldn’t be that necessary since Blood Moon isn’t that great against me.



That sideboard plan turned out to be quite bad in game 2 when he showed me that he played Ensnaring Bridge. I didn’t find an Otawara, Soaring City so he had enough time to tick up his Planeswalkers to kill me with Koth’s emblem.



Game 3 was a lot better. He played several moon effects but I had three basic Islands so that wasn’t any issue for me. I was able to develop my board quite well even under Trinisphere thanks to Aether Vial. He tried to stabilize with Ensnaring Bridge but I kept an Otawara, Soaring City on my starting hand so I was able to bounce it end of turn to kill him.

Round 4: UR Prowess (Win, 2-0)

My opponent won the die roll and started with Mountain and Monastery Swiftspear which I immediately killed with Dismember on my turn. He had another one but eventually I was able to stabilize a bit with a few lords. At the same time I was able to pressure him a bit because he was to afraid to block in case I’d play Vodalian Hexcatcher or vial in a lord. That way I was able to stabilize on one life and bring him down from 12 with an army of Merfolks.



In game two I kept a hand with two Chalice of the Void and Force of Negation so I felt pretty safe. My opponent was able to get rid of the Chalice at some point with allowed me to play an Aether Vial and play my other Chalice. I also found another Force of Negation so he wasn’t able to remove the second Chalice and I won quite fast at 16 life.

Round 5: Heartless Summoning Combo (Win, 2-1)

For the last round my opponent started with Swamp and then Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth so I thought he was on some kind of Coffers control deck but then he played Heartless Summoning which I had never seen before. I assumed it was some deck that Aspiringspike played recently (which turned out to be true) but since I don’t watch his content, I was quite clueless what was happening to me. I figured that he probably still plays Cabal Coffers so I made his Urborg into an Island with Tide Shaper but that allowed him to evoke Mulldrifter for one mana. Then he played Relic of Legends and Acererak the Archlich while I was tapped out and after reading all the cards and the dungeon he explained to me that I’m dead.

I don’t remember how I sideboarded just that for some reason I boarded out all Dismembers and brought in Subtlety. He was able to combo off in game two before I could race him.

After game 2 I brought Dismember back and kept a hand with more interaction. I was able to counter two Heartless Summoning but he had a third one and played a Grief. I was able to draw a Dismember in case he’d find an Acererak but he never did and my Merfolk were able to race his lonely Grief.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I went 3-2 and made 8th place which didn’t get me any prices (again). At least I was able to dodge the mirror.

I’m still not sure on Mistcaller instead of Rishadan Dockhand but I didn’t face any relevant matchups. Svyelun of Sea and Sky is still the best card in the deck and in my opinion is one of the main reasons the deck is quite strong today. She draws cards, protects my Merfolk, and pressures the opponent. My biggest concern with the deck is still what to do on turn one if I don’t have a vial. Both Rishadan Dockhand and Mistcaller feel pretty weak in comparison. I remember that 2008 I realized that it was a winning strategy to always mulligan with Vial Goblins if I didn’t have Aether Vial of Goblin Lackey because even five-card hands with one of those were better than seven-card hands without. Of course, Merfolk doesn’t have any Goblin Matron or Goblin Ringleader so we can’t mulligan too much anyway with Svyelun as our only card draw.

In the end, I’d like to thank the organizers and judges. I’m so glad to have regular well-organized tournaments with good prices at an LGS here. In addition, I don’t think I’ve ever played against someone that wasn’t nice or got really salty when losing.