MTG Merfolk cards are very popular for their aggressive blue strategies, underwater theme, and tempo plays. They’re one of the original ‘tribal’ creature types: fish folk has been a viable strategy since the very earliest days of Magic: The Gathering.
If you’re interested in playing MTG Merfolk cards, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve combed the oceans for the best examples of this creature type, from Merfolk that can lead your next MTG commander deck, to others that have had to be placed on the MTG banlist.
The best MTG Merfolk cards in 2023 are:
- Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca
- Tempest Caller
- Thassa’s Oracle
- Adrix and Nev, Twincasters
- Svyelun of Sea and Sky
- Cold-Eyed Selkie
- Thrasios, Triton Hero
- Lord of Atlantis
- Mist Dancer
- Tishana’s Tidebinder
From creatures that belong in a dedicated Merfolk deck to others that can wreak havoc in a variety of MTG formats and strategies, these fish-faced magic cards are our absolute favorites.
1. Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca
Kicking things off with perhaps the best MTG commander for a Merfolk tribal deck we have Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca. Kumena works best in a deck that’s popping out lots of little Merfolk tokens, because all three of his abilities are hinged on tapping your mermen. There’s a lot of flexibility to this commander. You can draw tons of cards, go wide and gradually buff your board, or make Kumena unblockable and try to knock a player out with commander damage.
2. Tempest Caller
Tempest Caller may seem quite unassuming, but in fact it’s a brilliant way to get in with a board full of little creatures at a crucial moment. In a multiplayer EDH match this card definitely brings the storm. One player generating a clear lead? Provided they’re not to your left, you can tap down their whole board and let everyone take a turn whaling on them while their shields are off.
3. Thassa’s Oracle
A format-warping card in competitive EDH, Thassa’s Oracle is a merfolk who also happens to be one of the strongest alternative win cons in Magic: The Gathering. The card lets you win the game if you have an almost empty library when you play it, making it the perfect card to play alongside infinite draw or self-mill combos.
4. Adrix and Nev, Twincasters
Adrix and Nev, Twinscasters is another popular Merfolk commander, but this one certainly doesn’t need you to be in a dedicated Merfolk deck. The card provides a powerful token doubling effect, so anything that makes strong tokens is a great inclusion. Having an effect like Anointed Procession in the command zone is brilliant, as if its remove you can get it back in a turn or two and continue with your game plan.
Token copies of your own creatures are particularly strong, especially if they’re non-legendary copies. (It all gets rather explosive once you copy your commander and turn the Twincasters into sextuplets.) It’s also worth noting that Adrix and Nev also copies non-creature tokens like treasures.
5. Svyelun of Sea and Sky
You’d expect a Merfolk God to be a pretty strong example of this MTG creature type, and sure enough Svyelun of Sea and Sky is a doozy. For just three mana what do you get?
You get an overstatted creature that can draw you cards, that also makes all your other Merfolk less tempting targets thanks to the MTG Ward effect, and becomes indestructible super easily. Very powerful indeed, but then what do you expect from a Modern Horizons 2 card?
A single word, ‘instead’ turns Hullbreacher from a fun, sneaky card that can net a player extra treasures, to an absolute misery to play against. Hullbreacher shuts down opposing draw effects while gaining value for its controller. The nastiest way to play the card is with wheel effects that make all players discard and draw. The Hullbreacher draws a new hand and gets dozens of treasure, everyone else just loses their whole hand.
Hullbreacher would be a very playable Merfolk without the treasure or the draw denial, but having both was enough to secure Hullbreacher an exclusive spot on the MTG Commander banlist. Bye Felicia.
7. Cold-Eyed Selkie
Since blue is one of the most popular MTG colors in Commander, Cold-Eyed Selkie may as well read ‘draw an extra card each turn’. And that’s the baseline. If you’ve got a way to buff this malicious Merfolk (we’re sure you can think of something) the card draw can get out of hand quickly.
8. Thrasios, Triton Hero
Thrasios, Triton Hero is an absurd Commander to have the ‘Partner’ ability because firstly he grants you access to two of the best colors in Magic and secondly, his activated ability is so generically strong that he works well with literally any other Partner. He’s often paired with the similarly generically strong Tymna the Weaver, and this dynamic duo is a mainstay in cEDH.
9. Lord of Atlantis
This Merfolk card comes from Alpha and is just as good today as it was in 1993. A two mana lord which buffs all your creatures is a pretty standard rate, but Lord of Atlantis does much for you than that: he also gives everything islandwalk. Enjoy your free attacks!
10. Mist Dancer
Mist Dancer has a similar effect to Lord of Atlantis – giving a damage boost and evasion to all your Merfolk. However, the Encore ability is a really nice bonus. Mist Dancer comes back from the grave with a vengeance, granting all your flying Merfolk an extra three power for the turn, and perhaps letting you close out the game.
11. Tishana’s Tidebinder
Tishana’s Tidebinder is a rather unusual Merfolk. She lets you counter a triggered or activated ability, and even better makes the thing you countered useless as long as she sticks around. The mind boggles at the number of things this handily deals with, and we really want to use it on a Sheoldred or The One Ring. Right now it’s seeing some play in Modern, and we expect it to pop up in plenty more decks.
If you enjoyed this menu of Merfolk check out our other guides to learn more about different Magic creatures. We’ve got primers on classic creature types like MTG goblins and MTG elves, but you might also want to know about the most roarsome MTG dinosaurs or the MTG vampires we’re batty about.