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By: Salgy, Michael Salgado
Mar 30 2008 2:05am
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Today I got to sit down with a man who won two Morningtide release leagues with two impressive merfolk decks.  Now that we heard from two other great league players (MagicMirror, and Nabu) we get to tap into the vast knowledge of a man who is on his way of becoming a MTG great like Paul Cheon.  Mr.Huang will share his thoughts about drafting the perfect merfolk build and break down every card and gives suggestions on what to pass by and what to go for instantly.  Read on and climb into the mind of a awesome sealed player.
 
Full Name: Huang Yung Ming

Age: 27

Hometown :
Tainan,Taiwan
Occupation : Master degree graduate student in Engineering

Clan:  No

Other Hobbies: Watching MLB , Warcraft3 ,
Reading ,Traveling

MTGO account: Mtgo_ShowTime , xnegator

Previous accomplishments(MTGO events and Real life as well)
2001 Taipei GP 6th
2002 Taipei GP 10th
2004 Kuala Lumpur GP 11th
Several PT appearance.
MTGO special record:
Ext several top8 with RDW (Inv to Kam block,first one to play the deck on MTGO)
Ext 4x Championship with UW solution design by myself.(Inv to Kam block, that is the field full of Psychatog, Rock,T&N ,RG aggro,UG madness and RDW, I’m the first one to play the deck on MTGO)
Morningtide league 1st place with 57-5 (1 disconnection ) no.1150265
Highest Limited Rating: 2040

Player Rating:
Composite:1788
Constructed:1794
Limited:1782


Favorite Magic Format: Extended and Draft
Favorite Card:
Gaea's Cradle Favorite Magic Set: Urza’s block
 
 
Wow what a impressive resume so many wins and so many real life placings.  I for one wouldn't mind sitting down and take a drafting lesson from Mr. Huang since we all know I need one!  Often times I ask questions to get our players to brain storm and anwser some frequently asked questions.  However, this time Mr.Huang took the reins and went into detail about everything so without further ado I give you Mr. Huang's thoughts.
 
Huang Yung Ming's Limit Thoughts: How to Draft Blue White Merfolk
 
Hello everyone, I’m very glad to get invitation to share my thought about draft format. This article includes two parts. First one is the draft thought about merfolk after I come back from Kuala Lumpur PT. Second one is the card pool of the league I played, which improve the thought to play a merfolk deck as well.
 
Lorwyn is a nice set in MTG history. In draft games, you are not only chosen the “color” you play, but also the “Race” and “Occupation” after Morningtide is released. Before Morningtide , merfolk is one of the best races in Lorwyn without doubt. How do we draft a merfolk deck right now?
 
Comparison with other race, merfolk are not big enough. They have no trample, first strike or flying. So fighting alone is not the wise way for them. E verything you have to know about merfolk is “special ability” and “card advantage”. You should focus on it. The most important thought of merfolk is you have to find some way to make merfolk can become tapped by itself. Because you can have some trigger ability to make you have card advantage, even to win.
 
You got to notice the followings key cards to play merfolk (common and uncommon):
 
1.      You need a small curve to make early defence.   Lots of two to three mana cost creatures , especially Silvergill Douser and Streambed Aquitects.
2.    You need to have tapped triggered abilities: Judge of Currents, Stonybrook Schoolmaster, and Fallowsage are all great cards that have an ability that matters when they tap.  I would grab at least  one then as many as you can.
3.      You need a way to activate these tapping creatures outside of combat: (Springleaf Drum),Mothdust Changeling, Drowner of Secrets, Summon the School and ,Weight of Conscience are all tools you can use to take advantage of the merfolk.
4.      I like to have one or two counterspells in the deck. I prefer Sage’s Dousing over the rest in the block, but will rate them in the order of Broken Ambitions, Faerie Trickery and Familiar’s Ruse.
5.      At least one Draw engine: Mulldrifter, Distant Melody , Sage of Fables , and (Diviner’s Wand).
 
Talking about merfolk in Lorwyn. We have many good guys to pick. I try to list the order of picks in my mind as recommend:
They are 1st picks for me: I’m very glad to pick them in my early draft.
1.   Summon the School: best uncommon card of merfolk , when you pick this, the next point is to take as  many Judges as you can.
2.    Merrow Reejerey: you can win easy with its trigger ability if you can draw many merfolk in the whole game.
3.   Silvergill Douser: best merfolk common card, in merfolk tribal cards, I’ll only pick Summon and Sygg over it.
4.    Judge of Currents: 1st pick Judge is not a crazy point ,especially we only have two Lorwyn boosters right now. I guess it is 2nd best common if you focus on UW merfolk.
5.    Streambed Aquitects: Streambed Aquitects plus Silvergill Douser can block almost all creature in the ground.
6.      Drowner of Secrets: as Summon the School, next point to find Judge.
Sometime you have difficult choice when you open Oblivion Ring ,Crib Swap , Mulldrifter and AEthersnipe with those merfolk. For Oblivion Ring and Crib Swap , my suggestion is to take merfolk as well because you still can pick Weight of Conscience and Coordinated Barrage in Morningtide. Sometimes you can get the card passed in five picks. For merfolk ,they don’t really need that many removal spells, compared with Red or Black based deck. Their ability can defeat almost every creature when fighting if you take a complete merfolk deck. The target of removal spell is only some uncommon and rare creature bomb. And if you pass too many merfolk cards, it is hard to take them back in 2nd booster and you have no chance to take those key cards in 3rd booster because it is Morningtide, not Lorwyn.
For Mulldrifter and AEthersnipe, I recommend to take Mulldrifter only after Summon the School. You still have Distant Melody, Sage of Fables, and Diviner’s Wand to draw cards. But Summon can not be replaced. And I’ll take AEthersnipe after Silvergill Douser.
If you don’t like to focus on merfolk , you still can take those cards over merfolk as you wish.
 
The rest cards are playable, not absolutely needed compared with cards above. You can take notice. And I skip all Faeries. Only discuss merfolk cards ,creature with ability and other cards can improve merfolk deck. (The order is no meaning):
1.    Springleaf Drum: try to take at least one in case you can not get Summon or Drowner in Lorwyn booster.
2.    Goldmeadow Harrier: Nice creature itself.
3.    Amoeboid Changeling: Because of kinship,you can have one in your deck.
4.    Deeptread Merrow: Normal creature but its good when you face a sweet island.
5.    Stonybrook Angler: This is an  above average creature. You can gain one life for two mana with Judge.
6.    Whirlpool Whelm: This is an unsummon with clash. You need this kind of cards in your deck. I would write one at least and two at most.
7.    Wings of Veils Vel: a blue Giant Growth. It become more powerful when you have Merrow Reejerey or Stonebrook Banneret in play.
8.   Kithkin Greatheart: you can use it when you have at least four changeling creatures in your deck. It’s not very hard.
9.    Moonglove Extract: It’s a Shock.
10. Broken Ambitions, Faerie Trickery and Familiar’s Ruse: You have to take at least one of them because you can not predict to get Sage’s Dousing for sure.
11. Ego Erasure: This is playable, especially when your opponent have rare creature champion for random race or Jagged-Scar Archers.
12. Glimmerdust Nap: normal cards,only use it when you face Green based deck.
13. Paperfin Rascal: playable creature.
14. Zephyr Net: use it only face islandwalk creature or very big champion creature.
15. Neck Snap: normal removal.
16. Inkfathom Divers: I won’t play it in main unless you have at least two (Stoneybrook Banneret).
17. Silvergill Adept ,Avian Changeling,Harpoon Sniper,Merrow Harbinger ,Turtleshell Changling ,Veteran of the Depths ,Changeling Hero: Nice creatures but not absolutely needed in merfolk deck.
18. Benthicore: Seven mana is too big, but still not bad. Especially you can “tap” merfolk by itself. I would play one in your deck at most.
 
Sideboard:
Merfolk’s natural enemy is Hurly-Burly, Dreamspoiler Witches, Weed-Pruner Poplar, Festercreep, Final Revels, Flamekin Spitfire, and Thundercloud Shaman.
You should take at least Shields of Velis Vel or Burrenton Forge-Tender, so that can deal with Hurly-Burly, Festercreep, and Thundercloud Shaman.
About other guys and Final Revels, you can only use removal or any counterspell to deal with.
 
Well,after you draft two packs of Lorwyn. You have to count what you have and what kind of cards you need. Because the card you target and pick in Morningtide is based on different kinds of situation. Let’s move on to Morningtide right now.
 
There’s no absolutely 1st pick here. Only see what kind of cards you need. I list the  important cards in Mornongtide.
1.      Mothdust Changeling: If you have no Springleaf Drum, Drowner of Secrets, and Summon the School, but you got some Judge of Currents and Fallowsage. Without doubt, just take it for your 1st pick. Then target Stonybrook Schoolmaster later.
2.      Stonybrook Schoolmaster: If you have enough way to tap your creature. Then you can take this card over Mothdust Changeling for 1st pick.
3.      Weight of Conscience: If you don’t really need Mothdust Changeling or Stonybrook Schoolmaster. And you have no removal. You can take this card for 1st pick.
4.      Coordinated Barrage: same as Weight of Conscience but choose Weight over it.
5.      Disperse: if you have no Whirlpool Whelm, take one at least but don’t pick it too early.
6.      Ink Dissolver: I really like this guys. I’ll choose it over Deeptread Merrow in main. Don’t forget you can use it with Drowner. If you kinship a card you don’t need, you can mill yourself to get another new card.
7.      Negate: If you have no countspell or you have just one but like to play two. You can use it. Same as Disperse, don’t take it too early.
8.      (Stoneybrook Banneret): very nice card. Take it very early if you haven’t seen any Mothdust Changeling, Stonybrook Schoolmaster, and Weight of Conscience. If you have enough that kind of cards. You can take it for 1st pick.
9.      Diviner’s Wand and Distant Melody : Draw engine.
10. Sage of Fables: It is very good. Because almost all merfolk are wizards, and it’s a merfolk itself. Take it very early and it worth 1st pick.
11. Sage’s Dousing:  It is a counterspell.  I think it is the best counterspell in the field.
12. Burrenton Bombardier: It’s good enough to play it alone.
13. Inspired Sprite: Nice creature especially when you have no draw engine.
14. Changeling Sentinel: normal creature but it is a merfolk.
15. Waterspout Weavers: I don’t think it is “very” good in merfolk deck. If you like a 5cc creature,I prefer to play Inkfathom Divers in main.
16. Floodchaser: Keep it in sideboard unless you have Sage of Fables or you do not have enough guys.
17. Wandering Graybeard: Nice guy but I don’t really like it.
 
The most important card in Morningtide is Mothdust Changeling (tapped way), Stonybrook Schoolmaster (tapped trigger), Weight of Conscience (removal & tapped way), and (Stoneybrook Banneret). So you have to know what kind of cards you need then make your choice.
 
In conclusion, for the merfolk draft deck. You should have at least two creatures with a tapped trigger ability.  You should have at least two ways to tap your creature itself , one to two counterspells,one unsummon and one draw engine. If you are lucky enough, have some rare bomb. Then it will be a complete and nice merfolk deck. Should finish in 2-1 in draft at least.
 
In Kuala Lumpur PT, I lost to two Japanese who played merfolk. Then I find I’m wrong for merfolk, although I am 5-1 in Day1. In my mind before I join PT, I think merfolk is getting worst because of Morningtide. Then after Day2 of the PT, I played in a  money draft with Paul Cheon and some Japanese Pros. I try this way to draft merfolk and finished in 2-1.Not a bad record but I still lost my money!
 
Well, let me share my another experience. I played a Morningtide released league and finish in 1st place with 57-5 record. I have 1 disconnection or I can only lost 4 games.
And I stop at the point 10.100 because I am ahead of 2nd place by too much. Or maybe I can win more and make a better record then. Someone ask my card pool in MTGO, and I share it to everyone now.
 
Cardpool:
 
1x Ballyrush Banneret
1x  Broken Ambitions
1x Cloudgoat Ranger
1x Changeling Sentinel
1x Cenn's Tactician
1x Drowner of Secrets
1x Coordinated Barrage
2x Fencer Clique
1x Ink Dissolver
1x Judge of Currents
1x (Kithkin Harbringer)
1x Mirror Entity
1x Mothdust Changeling
1x Oblivion Ring
1x Plover Knights
1x Silvergill Douser
1x Springleaf Drum
1x Stonybrook Angler
1x Stonybrook Schoolmaster
1x Sygg, River Guide
1x Weight of Conscience
1x Whirlpool Whelm
1x Murmuring Bosk
1x Primal Beyond
1x Graceful Reprieve
1x Order of the Golden Cricket
1x Rings of Brighthearth
2x Footbottom Feast
1x Fire Juggler
1x Rage Forger
1x Dawnfluke
1x Oaken Brawler
1x Noggin Whack
1x Scattering Stroke
1x Violet Pall
1x Weed-Pruner Poplar
1x Burrenton Shield-Bearers
1x Soaring Hope
1x Game-Trail Changeling
1x Inkfathom Divers
1x Bog Hoodlums
1x Lunk Errant
1x Orchard Warden
1x Boggart Birth Rite
1x Facevaulter
1x Hunt Down
1x Boggart Forager
1x Flamekin Bladewhirl
1x Kindled Fury
1x Mudbutton Clanger
1x Needle Drop
1x Merrow Witsniper
2x Stream of Unconsciousness
1x Veteran's Armaments
2x Blightsoil Druid
1x Nameless Inversion
1x Pulling Teeth
1x Revive the Fallen
1x Squeaking Pie Sneak
1x Bosk Banneret
1x Deglamer
1x Fertile Ground
1x Leaf Gilder
1x Lignify
1x Sunflare Shaman
1x Zephyr Net
1x Cenn's Heir
1x Forfend
1x Elvish Warrior
1x Obsidian Battle-Axe
1x Shared Animosity
1x Kithkin Healer
1x Final-Sting Faerie
1x Hoarder's Greed
1x Moonglove Winnower
1x Quill-Slinger Boggart
1x Squeaking Pie Grubfellows
1x Ambassador Oak
1x Bog-Strider Ash
1x Elvish Promenade
1x Giant's Ire
1x Roar of the Crowd
1x Tar Pitcher
1x Axegrinder Giant
1x Guardian of Cloverdell
1x Walker of the Grove
 
Clearly I have Mirror Entity ,Sygg, and Cloudgoat Ranger. So I focus on UW at first. Because I have Springleaf Drum andMurmuring Bosk.  I considered to add little black like Violet Pall and Nameless Inversion. But I already have Oblivion Ring, Weight of Conscience, and Coordinated Barrage. Three pieces of white removal is enough as I said. Because I have to keep some space for other kind of cards I need.
 
It is the deck I play in the league.
 
1x Ballyrush Banneret
1x  Broken Ambitions
1x Cloudgoat Ranger
1x Changeling Sentinel
1x Cenn's Tactician
1x Drowner of Secrets
1x Coordinated Barrage
2x Fencer Clique
1x Ink Dissolver
1x Judge of Currents
1x (Kithkin Harbringer)
1x Mirror Entity
1x Mothdust Changeling
1x Oblivion Ring
1x Plover Knights
1x Silvergill Douser
1x Springleaf Drum
1x Stonybrook Angler
1x Stonybrook Schoolmaster
1x Sygg, River Guide
1x Weight of Conscience
1x Whirlpool Whelm
8x (Islands)
9x Plains
Mirror Entity
 
Let me list each kind of card in my deck to compare with what I said before.
1.      small curve: I have Silvergill Douser and many small and fast guys.
2.      tapped trigger ability: I have Judge of Currents and (Stonybrook Schoolmaster).
3.      tapped itself way: I have (Springleaf Drum), Mothdust Changeling, Drowner of Secrets,and (Weight of Conscience).
4.      1-2 counterspell: I have Broken Ambitions.
5.      at least 1 Draw engine : Sadly I don’t have it. But I have Kithkin Harbinger to search Mirror Entity. It’s enough and it’s why I play Kithkin Harbinger in a merfolk deck. Sometimes I have to find Mothdust Changeling,not a joke.
6.      Lucky Bomb: I have Mirror Entity ,Sygg, River Guide, and Cloudgoat Ranger. Three bomb in a single deck is quite enough.
7.      1 unsummon: I have Whirlpool Whelm
 
It’s a complete merfolk and I have each kind of cards I need. So I have good record based on the deck. If my spell is all removal (add black),I don’t think it’s better than the vision I play right now. Because I need each kind of card in different situation
 
Let me explain some question you may ask.
1.      Ballyrush Banneret: because I have a pair of Fencer Clique and they are soldiers.
2.      Cenn’s Tactician: I have Ballyrush Banneret , Fencer Clique ,and some changeling. Turn one Cenn’s Tactician follow by turn two Mothdust Changeling.   If you activate the Tactian every turn, things get out of hand quickly!
3.     Kithkin Harbinger: as I said this is just for Mirror Entity and Mothdust Changeling.
4.     Order of the Golden Cricket: It’s not a merfolk. I need several merfolk or my Drowner and sygg are not powerful.
 
In my whole league games,I get screw many times. But because my curve is not high and I have Judge to gain life. I always can keep my life until I have lands I need.
Sometimes my opponent have a better deck then mine. But I can win with Drowner plus Sygg to mill his my opponents bomb cards.  It’s a crazy combo.
 
I have another vision. Sometime I switch my deck to this vision because of the followings:

1x Ambassador Oak
1x Ballyrush Banneret
1x Bosk Banneret
1x Changeling Sentinel
1x Cloudgoat Ranger
1x Elvish Warrior
1x Fertile Ground
1x Game-Trail Changeling
1x Guardian of Cloverdell
1x (Kithkin Harbringer)
1x Kithkin Healer
1x Leaf Gilder
1x Lignify
1x Mirror Entity
1x Nameless Inversion
1x Oaken Brawler
1x Oblivion Ring
1x Orchard Warden
1x Order of the Golden Cricket
1x Plover Knights
1x Violet Pall
1x Weed-Pruner Poplar
1x Weight of Conscience
1x Murmuring Bosk
7x Plains
2x (Swamps)
7x (Forests)
Orchard Warden
 
1.      My opponent have Final Revels, Flamekin Spitfire, and Festercreep based on a very good deck.
2.      My opponent play a fast ,complete and strong kithkin or elemental deck.
 
But in many situation, I can win easily with my original vision.
 
 
Well,thanks for reading. I hope my suggestion and experience is useful for many reader.
 
Huang

There you have it folks a BEAUTIFUL walkthrough on U/W merfolks to get you competitive in limited and in sealed.  I for one am a huge supporter of merfolks and will be looking out for theses bombs like a hawk in my next sealed or draft.  Thank you once again Mr. Huang for you knowledge and your time to share it with us good luck on your next GP and Pro Tour.  Tune in next week folks for another community profile.

4 Comments

pool and decks are now up by Salgy at Sun, 03/30/2008 - 18:39
Salgy's picture

sorry it took awhile to put the pools and deck but he added both his main deck and his alternative deck so check them out:)

pictures? by t0v at Sun, 03/30/2008 - 03:32
t0v's picture

is it only me or are the pictures (of the pool & decks) missing?

by JXClaytor at Sun, 03/30/2008 - 04:18
JXClaytor's picture

No it is not just you.  Salgy will be importing this images today.   

Best Community Profile Yet by MirrorMage at Sun, 03/30/2008 - 06:44
MirrorMage's picture

Thanks a lot MTGO Showtime.

I have to say I read a lot of limited articles, from Nick Eisel, Rich Hoaen and Noah Weil, but I've never seen someone do such a comprehenesive walkthrough for Merfolk as you just did. You can tell that this isn't theory, it's solid lessons learned from experience.

Thanks for your advice!