Should you fail to draw Aether Vial when playing a Vial deck, it's important to have more than one good flash creature. That's why I consider Vodalian Hexcatcher a solid powerup for Merfolk, and so do veteran Merfolk pilots. Below is what notable archetype expert TheDogFish thinks about the card, paraphrased by me. I'd like to thank him for sharing his valuable insight!
First off, thanks to the Hexcatcher, you can focus on Merfolk with a mana value 2 or less. You can play more of a draw-go game, but still keep the list dense with Merfolk to benefit from team boosts and the ability to counter noncreature spells. Though the tribe's one-drops are generally bad, this addition makes them better. The deck now has more lords and more early game pressure, clearly a good thing.
If you do decide to focus on instant-speed action, you might even want to include Merrow Reejerey because then you can tap your opponents' lands with flashy creatures. This tactic is well complemented by the new Merfolk's sacrifice ability and is bound to slow opponents down. Another question that arises here is whether or not you should even play Force of Negation. If you decide on both Cursecatcher and Vodalian Hexcatcher, you might not even need a playset (although this sounds like a meta call). Harbinger of the Tides and Merfolk Trickster can theoretically allow you to cut down on other interaction too, making for a more fish-dense build overall.
Going first, one of your best plays is probably going to be a Trickster or Hexcatcher and an untapped Vial at the ready. This way, you basically already have two Force Spikes or other pieces of interaction or pressure. Passing turns will give you time in more interactive matchups to slam Svyelun or Kira to safeguard your board state, while still be able to counter spells. All in all, it seems like the good matchups are getting insanely good, but only time will tell. There are many routes you can take and much testing to do.
|TheDogFish's Monoblue Merfolk, Modern|
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