Hello, brave explorer! Do you want to learn the secrets of Merfolk and improve your fresh Commander precon? If so, you’re at the right place, as this Explorers of the Deep Upgrade Guide will help you do just that.
I’m writing this article quite soon after the release. In order to get it out as quickly as possible, this is just the first version of the guide. Thus, you’ll first find the three essential cards that you’ll want to add to the original decklist. This way, if you’re planning on preordering the deck, you can also order some amazing cards alongside it.
In the upcoming days, the article will get an update with more potential inclusions, recommended cuts, and sample upgraded decklist.
With that said, let’s get to it.
Explorers of the Deep Overview
What do Simic (blue-green) decks like to do? Draw cards, play extra lands, and get all the value. This deck does play in that same vein, but with some twists.
There’s a large focus on Merfolk creatures. The name would suggest there’s also a subtheme around the explore mechanic, but that’s not really the case. There are just a couple of cards that use that mechanic included. Nevertheless, the deck does use +1/+1 counters and various synergies with them.
Hakbal is a fascinating commander. If you have a bunch of Merfolk in play, you’ll be able to explore many times, typically setting up a good card on the top of your deck, then pumping all of your Merfolk. Thus, you want to put as many Merfolk in play as you possibly can.
It also has an attack trigger that lets you either ramp or draw, whichever is better for you. Certainly useful.
Explorers of the Deep Decklist
The original decklist contains a surprisingly high amount of the best Merfolk. Still, there are some missing. Mana base is the deck’s weakest part, but it’s better than the one you could get with a three color deck. Thankfully, you need only two colors of mana.
The new cards might not be showing yet, you can find them in the Lost Caverns of Ixalan Commander Decks Guide.
Top 3 Cards to Upgrade Explorers of the Deep With
Beginners, and sometimes even more experienced players, might encounter problems when upgrading the full deck all at once. Especially, if they haven’t played with the precon much. Furthermore, upgrading everything can be quite pricey.
That’s why I’m first highlighting just three cards. Each one of them should add a lot of power to your card, while being on-theme. If you decide to swap just three cards, these are a great way to do so, and will make your deck more fun to play.
There’s one key Merfolk missing in the decklist, and that’s this unassuming two drop. Lords (creatures that give other creatures of the same type a buff) are always useful. However, this one has an additional ability.
You can sacrifice a Merfolk in order to counter a noncreature spell, unless your opponent pays one mana. While one mana seems not much, you can sacrifice multiple creatures. On top of that your opponent might not see this coming, as Hexcatcher comes with flash.
This helps with one of the big problems with a deck like this one. You need to put lots of creatures on the board in order for your deck to function best. That opens up a possibility that you’ll be set behind by a mass removal spell like Wrath of God. With Hexcatcher, you only lose a creature or two and counter it.
Besides, there’s a whole slew of other noncreature spells you might want to counter. On top of that, it’s not like you’re playing an actual Counterspell, but a Merfolk, which opens additional synergies with your deck.
Here’s a cool card from Lord of the Rings Commander decks. While it’s quite simple, it does a lot of work.
Taking a peak at your library is useful, especially if you want to lean more into the explore direction. However, the most power of the cards from the other two lines of text.
You can cast creatures from the top of your library. Now, that’s some value! Even if there isn’t a creature on top of your deck, you might still get to one, by using the explore ability of your commander.
Finally, all of your creatures become honorary Birds of Paradise. (They don’t fly, though. Speaking of which, here’s a funny video about flying Merfolk.) If you control some creatures when you play this enchantment, you can immediately get some mana back? Don’t have anything in your hand to cast? Take a look at your library, maybe there’s a creature on top.
As you can see, this card can be really powerful, and it doesn’t ask much from you.
Ozolith, the Shattered Spire
The original decklist already contains Hardened Scales and Branching Evolution. There are a lot of ways to put counters on your creatures, so this does make a lot of sense. These effects can get out of hand quickly, granting you a very favorable position.
Thus, it’s a good idea to add a similar card in order for more consistency. The additional mana you need to pay, compared to Hardened Scales, shouldn’t be too problematic, as the card comes with two additional effects.
For two mana, you can put a +1/+1 counter on one of your creatures. (Which means you’re actually getting two.) Furthermore, if this card isn’t what the doctor ordered, you can simply cycle it for a new card.
So, it’s a card with really low opportunity cost, that can be insanely powerful when things do go your way.
Bonus Suggestion: Titan of Littjara
Finally, let’s wrap with a bonus highlight pick. This Titan could be anything, even a Merfolk. That’s useful for all of your Merfolk synergies.
It comes with a typical Titan ability, that’s one that triggers both when it comes into play, and when it attacks. What will it do in your deck? Ideally, it’ll draw you a ton of cards, and you’ll have to discard only one.
This can also be a kind of protection against mass removal spells. While you won’t keep your board, at least your hand if full, as you played Titan of Littjara before that.
Explorers of the Deep Upgrade Guide – Conclusion
Anyway, that’s it for today. At least for a few days. As mentioned, you can expect an update soon, so look forward to that. If you don’t want to miss it, follow us on Facebook or Instagram, where we post whenever there’s a new article.
Furthermore, if you want to explore how to refine the other decks, check the following articles:
Until next time, may you draw a Sol Ring in your starting hand often, and enjoy playing with your upgraded Explorers of the Deep deck.