Before we head out to sea with Thassa, there’s something I’d like to bring to your attention. Regular readers know that I’m both a veteran and a huge Dream Theater fan. There’s a three-song portion of my "Best of Dream Theater" playlist that I call the "horror of war trilogy." With Veterans Day just past here in the US, I’d like to bring your attention to the Save a Warrior Project. The three songs are "Lost, Not Forgotten," "Outcry," and "The Enemy Inside," the latter of which promotes the project. Check out the video and see what you might do to help give a returning veteran a fighting chance.
Sometimes you build decks outside the box; sometimes you build the obvious ones. This build of Thassa is more of the latter. It just seemed that it’s only right to build the god of the sea with merfolk and sea monsters. Because of some of the difficulties mono-blue presents, the deck isn’t one hundred percent theme perfect, but it gets reasonably close. Let’s take a look at the list:
- 1 Solemn Simulacrum
- 1 Lord of Atlantis
- 1 Silent Arbiter
- 1 Giant Oyster
- 1 Seasinger
- 1 Old Man of the Sea
- 1 Seahunter
- 1 Empress Galina
- 1 Aboshan, Cephalid Emperor
- 1 Tidespout Tyrant
- 1 Deep-Sea Kraken
- 1 Merrow Harbinger
- 1 Merrow Reejerey
- 1 Mulldrifter
- 1 Silvergill Adept
- 1 Wanderwine Prophets
- 1 Slithermuse
- 1 Wake Thrasher
- 1 Kederekt Leviathan
- 1 Merfolk Sovereign
- 1 Lullmage Mentor
- 1 Merfolk Seastalkers
- 1 Thada Adel, Acquisitor
- 1 Scroll Thief
- 1 Stormtide Leviathan
- 1 Void Stalker
- 1 Master of the Pearl Trident
- 1 Tidebinder Mage
- 1 Shipbreaker Kraken
- 1 Thassa, God of the Sea
- 1 Master of Waves
- 1 Burnished Hart
- 1 Dakra Mystic
- 1 Scourge of Fleets
- 1 Harbinger of the Tides
- 1 Sensei's Divining Top
- 1 Opportunity
- 1 Siren's Call
- 1 Borrowing 100,000 Arrows
- 1 Whispers of the Muse
- 1 Desertion
- 1 Turnabout
- 1 Citanul Flute
- 1 Evacuation
- 1 Coastal Piracy
- 1 Ensnare
- 1 Rhystic Study
- 1 Breaking Wave
- 1 Deluge
- 1 Keep Watch
- 1 Frozen Aether
- 1 Cryptic Command
- 1 Merrow Commerce
- 1 Research the Deep
- 1 Armillary Sphere
- 1 Spreading Seas
- 1 Elixir of Immortality
- 1 Temporal Mastery
- 1 Cyclonic Rift
- 1 Bident of Thassa
- 1 Sea God's Revenge
Other than Thassa, the card I really wanted to leverage is Siren’s Call. It’s not even going to get cast that often without a Tamiyo emblem happening; I just wanted to evoke some of that "call of the waves" feel with the deck.
For the most part, "cast Thassa turn 3" is the way to start. Once the devotion is high enough to make her a creature, we’re off to the races. Her ability to scry each upkeep means that we don’t have to draw that many cards or have as much land enabling as we otherwise might, a strength that I think will play out in the long run. Especially in those critical mid-to-early turns, I think that scrying is going to be invaluable. Let’s take a look at the individual cards:
Armillary Sphere: This is one nod to the necessity of hitting land drops every turn. The deck isn’t going to ramp like the green decks, but it doesn’t really need to.
Crawlspace: I’m going to Sharpie over the name of the card and call it "Hidden in the Whitecaps" or something. I just want to keep swarms off of my back.
Elixir of Immortality: The only recursion in the deck, Elixir of Immortality is a little life gain and reuse for all the stuff that I’ve already cast. My graveyard will never be scary, so I really doubt anyone will Tormod’s Crypt me.
Mycosynth Wellspring: Another land-grabber.
Orb of Dreams: With a lower mana curve than most everyone else, I want to see how well Orb of Dreams slows down the faster decks. The thing it most obviously shuts down is Maelstrom Wanderer and friends.
Burnished Hart: Sharpie time again. Burnished Porpoise. A little land ramp will go a long way toward keeping up with the big boys.
Inkwell Leviathan: Sometimes big shrouded creatures just win games.
Silent Arbiter: The tides come in and the tides go out, but the Silent Arbiter stands steady.
Solemn Simulacrum: I’m going to get an artist to alter one of these for me so that it’s not a mountaintop the robot is standing on but an island.
Colossal Whale: Part of the "release the kraken" suite in the deck, Colossal Whale is giant creature with a cool ability.
Deep-Sea Kraken: Speaking of krakens, it’s quite unlikely that this one will ever be hard cast. I played this in my Phelddagrif deck right after the card came out, and it rarely took long for it to come into play.
Lord of Atlantis: The Merfolk subtheme is large enough to make having the Merfolk buffers worthwhile, plus Xenograft is in the deck to give everyone Merfolkyness.
Lullmage Mentor: This isn’t a Talrand deck, but there will be occasions when there are enough Merfolk around for this to be quite valuable.
Master of the Pearl Trident: More Merfolk mania.
Master of Waves: We’ll see how this goes. I’m not super confident in its value even though there are a few other Elementals in the deck. There were quite a few more, but they didn’t make the later cut rounds.
Merfolk Seastalkers: The fact that you don’t tap Merfolk Seastalkers is significant. It’s part of the "tap stuff" subtheme (in which I really wanted to play Frost Titan, tried to rationalize the icy seas of the north, and then just told myself to quit it).
Merfolk Sovereign: I know that putting too many eggs in a tribal lord basket is a way to ruin, but these fish gotta swim.
Merrow Harbinger: Adding this card to the deck—in truth, getting to this point in the write-up—made me realize that I had to have Coastal Piracy, both for its thematic flavor and raw goodness. On its own, it’s strong enough, especially since it has Islandwalk.
Merrow Reejerey: I remember this creature being pretty annoying in Standard. Seems like he should be good enough here as well.
Mulldrifter: When I knew I wanted to play Master of Waves, Mulldrifter was the first card I thought of. It’s one of the few remaining Elementals after all the cuts.
Old Man of the Sea: Confusing wording, but the Old Man is mostly going to steal utility creatures—if Xenograft and a few of the lords are running around, maybe something larger. There’s an argument to playing several Swords in order to make him bigger and Thassa more dangerous. Confidence is high that this deck is going to be fun to play as is, but if it fails, I’ll probably go to the armory and unsheathe a few of those blades.
Rootwater Thief: There are cards that you do want to see, and Rootwater Thief will help you avoid seeing them.
Sea Gate Oracle: It’s awesome when cards are good and fit a narrow theme.
Seahunter: Before I play the deck, I’ll make a side list of which Merfolk there are and what cool abilities they have so that I don’t waste people’s time when I’m searching up the Merfolks.
Scroll Thief: Once one of those Islandwalk-granting lords is online, then there will be plenty of card drawing. Someone always has Islands.
Seasinger: Hey fellow blue player. Give me one of your creatures.
Shipbreaker Kraken: The monstrosity ability fits right into the tapping theme, so once again we have a double win with a card.
Silvergill Adept: Another card that I seem to remember giving me troubles when Merfolk were played in Standard, the card draw is the main reason it’s around. I should almost always be able to reveal a Merfolk or just pay the extra mana.
Slithermuse: Another Elemental holdover and a card that I might be becoming a little too fond of lately. The card draw in the deck seems like it’s going to keep me full of gas. If it does, something awesome will come in.
Stormtide Leviathan: Thematically appropriate and a nice defensive card, it may be time for Stormtide Leviathan to come out of Intet and into here. Most of my creatures having Islandwalk does not hurt one bit.
Thassa’s Emissary: The play I obviously want here is draping the Emissary across Thassa’s shoulders and then making her unblockable.
Tidebinder Mage: It’s new, and I didn’t put it in any other decks because I wanted to save it for this one. There are many red and green creatures that need to stay tapped down.
Void Stalker: Another solid card that’s a holdover from the Elementals part of the list, I realized that I’m not playing it in any other decks. It provides a little defense from/tuckability for opposing commanders that have gotten out of hand.
Wake Thrasher: Combo with Turnabout!
Wanderwine Prophets: Infinite turns are bad for the format. One additional turn is fine. We’ll see how often Wanderwine Prophets actually gets me the extra turns.
Aboshan, Cephalid Emperor: There are no other Cephalids, but Aboshan can tap itself. Its ability to tap all the non-flyers at end of turn is going to win a game or two. The ability is probably also going to save my tuna a few times as well.
Empress Galina: I’m so surprised that this card doesn’t seem more play than it does. I didn’t really ever think of it until I was combing the list of Merfolk, so I suppose that it just flies under the radar.
Lorthos, the Tidemaker: Must. Play. Octopi.
Thada Adel: Merfolk Rogue, baby! Gimme that Solemn Simulacrum! Gimme that Sol Ring! Gimme that thing that I won’t cast but I need you to not cast either!
Coastal Piracy: As I earlier confessed, this wasn’t on the original list. What matters is that it’s on the final one. It’s an incremental advantage card that won’t get blown up too often by non-repeatable enchantment destruction. Sure, Harmonic Sliver is going to take it out, but people will be saving Return to Dust for Greater Good and Lurking Predators.
Invoke Prejudice: The God of the Sea does not tolerate those who are not like us! It turns on Thassa all by itself, if you know what I mean.
Merrow Commerce: Should this be Opposition instead? Or should I play Opposition plus this? I had Meekstone in this deck at one point, which still might be worth it if I want to go for the Opposition plan.
Ordeal of Thassa: Thematic, and we’ll see how well it does.
Rhystic Study: Some folks say you can’t draw too many cards and the redundancy might be nice, but if I find that I’m always carrying a full grip anyway, Rhystic Study will likely come out for something with a bigger punch.
Spreading Seas: With so many super-good lands in the format, Spreading Seas is reasonable protection. I suspect that it might go on Maze of Ith a fair amount.
Xenograft: Another Sharpie job. Maybe I’ll just paint over the art with solid white and write MERFOLK in blue.
Bident of Thassa: Thassa can’t roll without her Bident. Or swim. Or whatever the hell she does.
Cryptic Command: I don’t believe in overloading on counterspells in blue, but having a few is a fine idea. This deck also wants to run as many permanents as possible, so I have to be careful about the number of non-permanents, meaning the ones I run have to be powerful. Cryptic Command fits.
Cyclonic Rift: Typhonic Rift? Works for me.
Deluge: I may need to revisit things that keep creatures from untapping. There are enough things that do tap down to be worth it.
Ensnare: Another card that would expect to see more of in the format, I think at this point we can call this a hidden gem.
Evacuation: This is definitely a creature deck, but sometimes everyone else’s creatures are just going to be better than mine. I’ll consider replacing this with Oblivion Stone or Nevinyrral’s Disk if it doesn’t work out.
Jace’s Ingenuity: If the card draw engines aren’t running, drawing multiple cards at once is the way to get them jump started.
Siren’s Call: How about "beginning of your attack, tap all your creatures, draw a card" with Cryptic Command and that card being Siren’s call? Spicy.
Spelljack: Spelljack is a card that I played in the ancient days and probably haven’t cast in seven years. Time to change that. I want you to spend lots of mana to cast something so that I can have it later. kkthx.
Theft of Dreams: More card draw, perhaps too situational. Perhaps even too greedy. Could be replaced with a counterspell that does something cool. Like Desertion.
Turnabout: This Turnabout is completely unfair play.
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage: The moon hangs over the ocean, right? Right?
Borrowing 100,000 Arrows: It’s new(ly available), there are boats, and there’s a crap ton of arrows. What’s not to love?
Breaking Wave: I can’t see casting this too often without paying the extra two.
Research the Deep: I’m not going to win all that many clashes, but I’m counting on this as an early-turn card drawer with the potential for repetition. Think Twice might be better, but it’s less thematic.
Halimar Depths: Because of the depths, you see.
Lonely Sandbar: At one point I had Living Tsunami in the deck so that I could do land shenanigans, like drop this early then be able to cycle it later. It’s still worth having the cycling lands to get deeper into the deck.
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx: Probably one of the few ways I’ll cast the Krakens and Leviathans on a middle-game turn, I’m pretty confident that it’ll most times be capable of giving me at least three mana since many of my permanents have double blue in their casting costs.
Opal Palace: The commander I’m most scared of seeing this played in is Ghave, Guru of Spores, but I’ll point out that it turns a six-power commander into a three-turn killer as opposed to four.
Reliquary Tower: If I’m drawing cards, I’ll want to be hanging onto them.
Remote Isle: Another cycler.
Minamo, School at Water’s Edge: Even with Back to Basics in the deck at one point, I had this because of its interaction with the Meekstone that was in the deck. I could probably be convinced that Meekstone is still a good idea.
It’s not often that we hear mono-blue and think of fun, but this deck seems to have a chance. I hope I’ll have the opportunity to put it together soon (schoolwork is still keeping me pretty busy) and sleeve it up to give you a full report on it. I suppose while I’m at it I need to sleeve up Heliod as well. We’re off of EDH League at Armada Games until after Thanksgiving, which actually gives me more time to get some games under my belt, so we’ll see what happens.
Embracing the Chaos,
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