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Ixalan Merfolk

Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

A small number of Magic: the Gathering players we've be talking to have their focused on building standard decklists with Merfolk next week when the newest set, Ixalan is finally available in gaming stores.  Although there may not be very strong support to entice players to build with this (Allied color check lands, no clear traditional tribal lord), there is just enough incentive to give this a try.  Some brief examples - 

Deeproot Waters - a 2U enchantment which generates a 1/1 blue merfolk creature token with hexproof whenever you cast a merfolk spell.

Kopala, Warden of Waves - 1UU legendary merfolk which forces your opponents to pay 2 more should they paint a target on one of your merfolk.

Herald of Secret Streams - 3U merfolk warrior which grants an lovely unblockable abilities for your creatures with a +1/+1 counter on them.

Overflowing Insight, illus. Lucas Graciano

Other creatures from the two previous blocks not rotating out of standard may also assist - namely Metallic Mimic (to assist in getting those +1/+1 counters on), as well as Rishar, Peema Renegade (also brings +1/+1 counters to the party).

Although it is entirely too early to determine the success of a Blue / Green Merfolk build, it has given us enough promise of potential to forge ahead upstream with a list for the first few weeks of standard.  

Half of our enjoyment is contemplating and brewing up strategies, the other half is all about the storyline and flavour, which brings us to our next point - We have not had any mention of merfolk in the first three Magic Stories so far.  We do expect that this is to be corrected however, as soon as tomorrow's scheduled story, as River's Rebuke one of five Ixalan Story Spotlight cards.  This card's flavour text here - 
Carefully following the thaumatic compass Bolas had given her, Vraska blundered straight into the River Heralds' trap.
Updated with today's Magic Story 'The Shapers'.

For now however, we want to summarise a bit of Ixalan Fish Flavour for other merfolk fans.  As we all know, Merfolk is a creature type for a race of aquatic humanoids, and although this race is centered on the color blue, they have also shown up in white in Lorwyn, black in Shadowmoor and now green in Ixalan.  In fact, some Merfolk River Heralds of Ixalan are actually mono-green.

The Merfolk of Ixalan used to rule much of the continent of Ixalan, but their empire was eclipsed by the Sun Empire of the dino-riding humans.  Of the approximately 21 Merfolk, the following subtypes have creature cards -
scout (2), 
warrior (8) but also 
shaman (7) and 
wizard too (7). 

Presently the Ixalan merfolk live a nomadic existence within the dense jungle.   These Merfolk have a deep spiritual connection to nature, specifically the water and jungle are are able to 'shape' / animate and control both water and vegetation.  Central to Merfolk spirituality is the Great River, Primal Wellspring and the Deeproot Tree.

The merfolk of Ixalan are colorful and bright like tropical freshwater fish, and they use and wear jade jewelry, weapons and armor.  There is an indication that jade may be embued with magic.

There are Nine Tributaries and Nine Merfolk Tribes, each led by a master Shaper, who take their name from the river as well as some of the characteristics of that waterway.

Watertrap Weaver, illus. Josu Hernaiz

From the Magic Story (The Shapers) we know that most Merfolk believe it is their duty to keep the golden city of Orazca and the Immortal Sun hidden from trespassers, although there is some dissension.  

For now, here are a number of named Mefolk in Ixalan -

• Tishana, Voice of Thunder - the oldest among Merfolk Shapers who had instructed Kopala and other Shapers.

• Kumena - a Merfolk Shaper.  He is perhaps the most powerful among the nine Shapers, second only to Tishana.  He believes the only way to keep his enemies at bay is to use the Immortal Sun relic.

• Kopala, Warden of Waves - the youngest among the Merfolk Shapers.

Other Merfolk Shapers
• Falani - nothing yet known.
• Pashona - a Shaper with ability of foresight / future.
• Tuvasa - a Shaper with ability to control air / flight.


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