Aggro Control

It’s an Oxymoron I know. But the strategy is a simple one. Get your board presence early and hold it while denying your opponent a chance to get his game plan together. Basically it’s like a control deck that makes your opponent deal with the double duty of creating a board presence of his own while dealing with your gains at the same time. Aggro Control plays the Tempo Game. Delver was a solid example of this style of play. Turn one play Delver flip it and through various means of card advantage and cheap bounce and kill spells remove blockers. If it all went right 5-7 turns later you’d shake hands with an under prepared and fumbling opponent. Aggro-Control in modern runs along the lines of decks like Grixis Delver (a Zac Hill creation) and Merfolk. Modern Merfolk was my first modern deck. It’s a cheap deck thanks to the lack of fetches and it’s mono to two colored reliance.

The strategy is simple, win the dice roll, play an Æther Vial on turn one and blast out Merfolk Lords for free while Pathing/Vapor Snagging/ Mana Leaking your opponents dreams. In the late game cards like Sygg River Guide and Skaab Ruinator can help against opponents who were able to get around your hoard. Use Spreading Seas to let your dudes through while mana screwing your opponent.

It’s not a tier one deck, but you have one advantage. You are an unknown quantity. There are a few ways to build Merfolk. Personally, speaking I still prefer sending Ariel and her buds in with some white mana for Path to Exile, as well as sideboard spells (white is still the best hate color in the board).

Previously, my build looked like this.

75 cards, 15 sideboard
2 Cavern of Souls
2 Island
4 Wanderwine Hub
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Mutavault
4 Seachrome Coast
20 lands

4 Silvergill Adept
2 Skaab Ruinator
4 Lord of Atlantis
4 Merrow Reejerey
2 Phantasmal Image
4 Master of the Pearl Trident
4 Cursecatcher
24 creatures

4 Path to Exile
4 Æther Vial
2 Vapor Snag
4 Mana Leak
2 Spell Pierce
16 other spells

2 Pithing Needle
2 Spellskite
1 Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
2 Thada Adel, Acquisitor
2 Stony Silence
2 Spreading Seas
2 Relic of Progenitus
2 Grafdigger’s Cage

That was five months ago. I even 3-1’d a TNM with it. But the meta is shifting toward aggro, and away from control. If I were to play fish in the future, I’d remove the Spell Pierces and up the Vapor Snag count and I’d trade 2 Cursecatchers for 2 Sygg River Guide. Everyone is playing with bolt, protecting your lords is the best way to stay ahead of their removal. In the board I’d run Rootborn Defense and Venser, Shaper Savant for help against Supreme Verdict. Grafdigger’s cage and Spellskite seem like obvious easy picks to take out. I’d like to see 2 Spreading Seas main as well. Maybe remove two more Cursecatcher.

Right now, with so much aggro and midrange going around there’s a premium on getting through without dealing with Tarmagoyf or Baneslayer as a blocker, not to mention Wurmcoil Engine. Skaab Ruinator is a zombie so it can surprise Æther Vial flash block some otherwise scary flyers. Merfolk is a deck that can take game where an opponent stumbles on mana and it can play the long game reasonable well as long as you are wary of your opponent’s board wipes. It takes a few reps to get the subtle nuances of the deck (it doesn’t have a ton) but its easy to master and very forgiving with mistakes. If I were playing in a PTQ anytime soon, this would be my deck of choice.

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