Discount Fish; Standard on a Budget

Recently I have been playing quite a bit of Standard online, primarily with only cards from the Ixalan expansion because of, ‘reasons’. I have found out two things during this time. Dinoaurs and Pirates are fun, but ultimately underpowered. And Merfolk tribal is OP in block constructed. After multiple games with several different builds I found that these latest iterations of Merfolk are a ton of fun to play, surprising competitive, and very affordable.

This worked out quite nicely as I have been on a bit of a budget kick recently. Ever since I built a modern deck for my Nephew for the #MTGRecruiterChallenge, I have been looking at trying my hand at making something for Standard. Well, after some tweaking and experimenting I came up with a list that will set you back a whooping $11 (or 1 tix on MTGO). So if you are in the mood for a Standard deck for less than the cost of a single Walking Ballista, just sit back and enjoy some U/G Fish.

This isn’t the first time I have had a go at working on a Merfolk deck for Standard. However, after trying out some of the cards from the previous build, I found the deck to be lacking in its ability to interact with my opponents. As a result, I cut back on creatures and instead added some more combat tricks and evasion spells to back up the tribal synergies. We start will the Merfolk themselves, with playsets of Kumena’s Speaker, Merfolk Branchwalker, River Sneak, Vineshaper Mystic and Shapers of Nature, with three copies of Herald of Secret Streams to provide a way for us to power through damage when the board get gummed up.

The rest of the spells in the deck are designed to either remove our opponents threats, or provide us with even more damage output. Unsummon is a great tempo play for only one blue mana, especially when the meta is comprised of Longtusk Cubs and Indestructible Gods. It might not answer the problem permanently, but we aren’t racing with this deck. We want to build up the build and swing in for one giant alpha strike, plus it is way too my fun to bounce a Longtusk Cub after our opponent has dumped all their energy into it.


Next, we add a playset of River Heralds’ Boon as well as two copies of Savage Stomp. Both of these spells will help us setup for when we can get our Herald of Secret Streams to join the party, and the Stomp can be useful removal even if we have to pay full retail for it. W finish off our none land cards with two copies of One with the Wind and three Deeproot Waters. One with the Wind can be super powerful, especially if you can attach it to a Kumena’s Speaker on turn two, while Deeproot Waters can provide us with a steady stream for Hexproof blockers that can also pump up our River Sneak too.

The mana base is as budget as we can get it, eleven Islands and eleven Forests. Our sideboard gives us a wide slue of answers to most situations. Negate and Spell Pierce help us battle against control decks. Crook of Condemnation gives us an answer to graveyard strategies like God-Pharaoh’s Gift, while Appetite for the Unnatural handles Artifacts and Enchantments. Two addition Savage Stomps are useful when we are needing more removal, and two copies of Life Goes On is useful again Ramunap Red style builds.

4 Kumena’s Speaker
4 Merfolk Branchwalker
4 River Sneak
4 Vineshaper Mystic
4 Shapers of Nature
3 Herald of Secret Streams
4 Unsummon
4 River Heralds’ Boon
2 Savage Stomp
2 One with the Wind
3 Deeproot Waters
11 Island
11 Forest
4 Negate
2 Spell Pierce
3 Crook of Condemnation
2 Appetite for the Unnatural
2 Savage Stomp
2 Life Goes On

And there you have it, Budget Fish in Standard. Now while I am very happy with this deck, I would be remised if I didn’t help you get the most out of these aquatic warriors, so let’s talk upgrades. Firstly, upgrading the mana base with Botanical Sanctum and Unclaimed Territory will provide us with better fixing. I would also try and find room for Kopala, Warden of Waves to help protect your creatures and if you can afford them, playset of Metallic Mimics is a solid investment due to their synergies with Herald of Secret Streams.

So what do you think of Fish in Stardard? Is this a deck you want to try for yourself? Or have you had success with your own budget brew? Why not drop us a line and let us know your thoughts. If you have enjoyed todays article and want to read more, then please like and share on social media, it really does us help grow the site. But until next time remember, Good Luck and Have Fun.


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