Benthic Biomancer

Posted in Card Preview on January 8, 2019

By Andrew Brown

I've always loved tribes and trying to make tribal decks. Growing up playing Magic, I always found that tribes were easy to latch on to and build decks with. I started playing during Onslaught block, and easily got attached to Goblins. Goblin War Chief and Goblin Piledriver were my favorites. When I opened my first pack of Champions of Kamigawa, the Kiki-Jiki Mirror Breaker went straight into my Goblin deck. Now, while working at Wizards, I always try to give as much love as I can to my favorite tribes.

While Ravnica Allegiance isn't a tribal set, the Simic guild opened some opportunities to add cards to one of my favorite tribes, Merfolk. Normally, creature types are given out by the Creative team. For playtesting purposes, we use placeholder names and creature types. On certain occasions, the Play Design and Set Design teams request for a certain creature type.

When going into Ravnica Allegiance Future Future League, Play Design could see the effects of the tribes on Standard with the releases of Ixalan and Rivals of Ixalan. This helped us identify the decks' weaknesses and then craft cards that would synergize with the tools we had available. World, meet Benthic Biomancer!

Benthic Biomancer

The adapt mechanic was a perfect fit for the Merfolk, as many of the cards from Ixalan block play into putting +1/+1 counters on your Merfolk. While activating the adapt cost is an easy way to get card filtering, Benthic Biomancer's real power is unlocked alongside cards like Deeproot Elite and Vineshaper Mystic. Putting tons of +1/+1 counters on Benthic Biomancer can get you so deep into your deck to find just the right card.

Tribal decks normally have a hard time when drawing too many lands, as the cards have high synergy and are normally weak on their own. Benthic Biomancer also helps you filter out all the cards you have drawn from Silvergill Adept and Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca. Benthic Biomancer also makes it easier to play more situational cards, as you can trade them off for other cards when a +1/+1 counter is placed on it.

The other two cards that add power and consistency to Merfolk in Standard are Zegana, Utopian Speaker and Breeding Pool. Zegana can be a single large threat in your otherwise smaller creature aggro deck and rewards you for putting counters on your creatures. Breeding Pool is essential for casting either Benthic Biomancer or Kumena's Speaker on one mana and casting color-restrictive cards like Merfolk Mistbinder.

Breeding PoolZegana, Utopian Speaker

I can't wait for Friday Night Magic after Ravnica Allegiance releases, when I'll be at my local store playing this!

Andrew Brown's Merfolk

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