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April 9, 2018

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Daily Dose of Dominaria – Time to add more Merfolk to the mix

Welcome all to another week on the Daily Dose of Dominaria.

This week, I’m starting things off by talking about one of the major creature types from Ixalan – Merfolk! That’s right, Dominaria hasn’t forgot about our fishy friends. Quite the opposite. Dominaria will provide three great new Merfolk to add to what we’ve seen in Ixalan.

I like when a new set still has some overlap with previous sets so that you can expand on decks that might be close to greatness, but just needed a few more things. Unlike the last transition, where we  plenty of Zombies in Amonkhet, but none in Ixalan, we are seeing some crossover into Dominaria from Ixalan. Cards like the Dinosaur Territorial Allosaurus are a great example of this. There are also a few Vampires kicking around Dominaria, like Arvad the Cursed. And while there aren’t any Pirates kicking around Dominaria yet, there are plenty of Merfolk.

Merfolk were one of my favourite creature types to play in Ixalan. Although there aren’t any Limited synergies with Merfolk in Dominaria, there will be some in Standard thanks to these three new cards.

First off, I want to talk about a tricky little Merfolk that can sneak up on your opponent and turn off one of their threats. Here is Merfolk Trickster:

merfolktrickster2

To start off, you get a 2/2 creature for two mana with flash. Being able to cast it on the end of your opponent’s turn or surprise them with an unknown blocker would be a strong enough card in my opinion. But Merfolk Trickster also has two enter the battlefield abilities that can be used in different ways.

The first is tapping a creature an opponent controls. This can be used offensively and defensively. If your opponent has a big creature, you can prevent it from attacking by tapping it before their combat phase. If you have creatures you want to get through during combat, you can use it to tap down a blocker. Its second ability makes that creature lose all its abilities until end of turn. This could turn off abilities like flying or deathtouch allowing you to block a creature you wouldn’t normally. You can even use it during their upkeep to turn off a mana ability they might have used during their main phase. Having these two abilities makes Merfolk Trickster a versatile uncommon card.

If you like surprising your opponent, having a creature with Flash is one way to do that. Merfolk Trickster is a prime example, but it’s not the only Merfolk with Flash in Dominaria. Let’s take a look at Sentinel of the Pearl Trident:

Sentinel

Sentinel of the Pearl Trident is another Flash Merfolk with a versatile enter the battlefield ability. The ability allows you to blink a historic permanent which will come back during the next end step.

There are a number of reasons why you want this. First off, you can use it to save any historic permanent you have from an opponents’ removal spell. This will fizzle their spell and save your historic permanent, while also getting a 3/3 creature on the battlefield. Another use of Sentinel of the Pearl Trident’s ability is to reset a historic permanent. This means Legendary creatures with enter the battlefield abilities can now be triggered again. It also means a Planeswalker can have its loyalty reset so that can use more of its abilities the following turn. Or you can reuse an artifact’s ability that you had already used during your turn. One of the most intriguing uses for this ability is to reset a Saga back to Chapter I. It will re-enter the battlefield during the next end step and immediately trigger Chapter I for a second time.

Sentinel of the Pearl Trident is a great way to get more value out of any of your historic permanents.

The last card I’m going to be talking about today is one that a lot of players are excited to get their hands on. It’s multicolour, which is great, and it provides you with endless amounts of value. Here is Tatyova, Benthic Druid:

tatyovabenthicdruid

I know a lot of Commander and Brawl players who can’t wait to get their hand on a foil copy of Tatyova, Benthic Druid, and for good reason. The value you get with Tatyova, Benthic Druid on the battlefield is tremendous. Players will no longer have any dead draws of lands in the mid to late game, as every land will allow you to draw a card to replace it and gain one life as well. If you start playing fetch lands, that will net you two cards and two life.

Cards like Hour of Promise are now even better. How would it feel to get two lands directly onto the battlefield, plus two Zombies, two cards drawn, and gain two life? That sounds pretty good to me! Do you know what else sounds great? How about creatures with explore? Explore lets you get more lands in your hand, which allows you to gain more life and draw more cards each turn.

As you can see, there is going to be an injection of more Merfolk into the Standard metagame. Being able to have two Merfolk at the higher end of the mana curve will fit well into a Merfolk deck. Which of the new Merfolk are you most excited to see? I look forward to rebuilding my Merfolk deck later this month.

Thanks again for reading the Daily Dose of Dominaria. The countdown is on to prerelease, but there is still plenty to talk about with the new set. Join me tomorrow as I have a second look into some new cards taking advantage of the new mechanic historic.