~Three months. There is approximately three months from now for all those Merfolk fans to execute their builds and play with this interesting Magic the Gathering tribe in the standard environment before they loose most of their beloved merrows before the fall rotation. There are only three Merfolk present in Magic 2010, and unless Zendikar provides additional fish, the merrows may very have run dry with this tribe. If you play extended, you do not have to sweat just yet.
The glory days of fish in Lorwyn and Shadowmoor blocks are nearly spent, there was a total absence in Shards of Alara and only three fish mustered for us in M10. Let's have a look at currently what Merfolk can do for us before we have to walk the fish over to the ceramic bowl . . .
Lord of Atlantis had been the first Lord I recall playing and most likely the best liked of the Lords to many out there in MTG land. He pumped your fish and gave them all islandwalk. Unfortunately, he is now retired and we have to look elsewhere. Lowrwyn gave us the quasi-lord, Streambed Aquitects as well as Merrow Reejery. The new M10 hotness for this tribe is Merfolk Sovereign. Unfortunately Magic 2010 has given no other support for Merfolk other than 3 cards (Sovereign, Looter, and Coral).
Favourite Fish Builds
Mill / DiscardI used to run a (not-so-successful) milling deck back in the day which was rather fun. The best card for this build was Drowner of Secrets, which milled one card for one tapped merfolk. We accelerated the mill by adding in Stonybrook Schoolmaster to create more 1/1 Merfolk tokens to tap as well as Judge of Currents, which provided life gain for each tapping Merfolk. Hollowsage, when tapped releives your opponent's hand of cards. When the turn was ended, we used Merrow Commerce to untap everything at the end of turn to be able to do the same damn thing during our opponent's turn.
Island WalkersPerhaps one of my first and favourite Merfolk builds. There are quite a few decent Merrow Islandwalkers out there and all one had to do is ensure that if your opponent did not have an island, you made one for them. Aquitect's Will, Streambed Aquitects, Tideshaper Mystic or the new M10 Convincing Mirage can be used to either flood an opponent's land or landscape it appropriately to make way for your islandwalkers to swim right through their defences. Once this has been accomplished, a variety of merfolk such as Stonybrook Banneret, Deeptread Merrow, Sygg (River Guide), Cold-Eyed Selkie, Merrow Harbinger or Inkfathom Divers can deliver islandwalk pain.
Angry FishMerfolk Aggro was a little more tough to crack as there are not very many fish fatties to play. By using some of the many card tap effects which Merfolk provided, one could use Wake Thrasher which became rather huge and menancing. With all the tapping going on, Veteran of the Depths could also grow to a respectible size as well. Harpoon sniper could also remove board threats from a distance. I personally found Silvergill Douser also provided some level of protection in this build by reducing the power level of a threat on the board. Cards such as the unblockable Inkfathom Infiltrator could be pumped by Infathom Witch to essentially double Infiltrator's pain.
Explore your pondLook for card advantage in merfolk or other blue cards by using such critters as Sygg, River Cutthroat which will give you a free card draw if your opponent lost three or more life that turn - this being rather simpe with all those unblockable or islandwalking fish in your mitt. Whatever the theme or build, one has quite a few other cards to evaluate for inclusion - anything from defense to offense or control - use your best judgement for the metagame local to you and get the fish out in play before the fall rotation.