Tuesday Night Takeover

Hakbal of the Surging Soul Merfolk Explore Brewed EDH

“These blessed waters still carry their power to the worthy.”

Art:Hakbal of the Surging Soul by Tyler Walpole

Hakbal of the Surging Soul is an absolute bomb of a commander and a great card for the merfolk creature type. Being able to explore with every creature on our combat step is not only a great way to buff our creatures but a great way to filter through the deck as well. We are a Simic deck that focuses on casting Merfolk and Hakbal as soon as possible and then exploding with a bunch of explore triggers. This deck is a ton of fun and one that I have been quite excited for since spoiler season, really excited to share this one with you all today! Without further adieu let’s get it!

The Deck:

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Hakbal of the Surging Soul Merfolk Explore!

Commander (1)
Hakbal of the Surging Soul

Creatures (31)
Coralhelm Commander
Deeproot Elite
Lord of Atlantis
Master of the Pearl Trident
Merfolk Mistbinder
Merfolk Skydiver
Metallic Mimic
Nicanzil, Current Conductor
Stonybrook Banneret
Vodalian Hexcatcher
Cold-Eyed Selkie
Emperor Mihail II
Kopala, Warden of Waves
Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca
Merfolk Sovereign
Singer of Swift Rivers
Svyelun of Sea and Sky
Thada Adel, Acquisitor
Tishana’s Tidebinder
Topography Tracker
True-Name Nemesis
Forerunner of the Heralds
Herald of Secret Streams
Roaming Throne
Seafloor Oracle
Tempest Caller
Mist Dancer
Tatyova, Benthic Druid
Deepchannel Mentor

Instants (8)
Arcane Denial
Beast Within
Heroic Intervention
Inspiring Call
Noxious Revival
Rapid Hybridization

Sorceries (7)
Aquitect’s Will
Overwhelming Stampede
Praetor’s Counsel
Raise the Palisade
Shamanic Revelation
Skyshroud Claim

Artifacts (7)
Sol Ring
Arcane Signet
Ozolith, the Shattered Spire
Simic Signet
Thought Vessel
Herald’s Horn
Door of Destinies

Enchantments (11)
Hardened Scales
Deeproot Pilgrimage
Merrow Commerce
Primal Rage
Bow of Nylea
Branching Evolution
Court of Garenbrig
Deeproot Waters
Elven Chorus
Path of Discovery
Reflections of Littjara
Lands (35)
Barkchannel Pathway
Breeding Pool
Cavern of Souls
Command Tower
12 Forest
Hinterland Harbor
11 Island
Otawara, Soaring City
Path of Ancestry
Rejuvenating Springs
Reliquary Tower
Vineglimmer Snarl
Yavimaya Coast
Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth

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Why Hakbal of the Surging Soul?

Hakbal of the Surging Soul is in a unique position since we can go the whole game without casting him, but we typically opt to as soon as possible. Hakbal just makes all of our deck a lot better and helps us in combat both offensively and defensively. Being able to commit lands to the board or draw a card on top of the mass explore makes Hakbal a really strong commander for only 4 mana.

Deck Overview:

This section contains information about cards in the deck and how they function within the deck! As well as highlighting some of my favorite cards in the deck!


We have an absolute ton of sweet merfolk, honestly too many to talk about individually so I am going to highlight some of my favorites in the deck. Deepchannel Mentor is a card that can end games pretty quickly since when it hits it makes nearly all of our creatures unblockable. Since we explore an absolute ton Herald of Secret Streams has a very similar effect. Kopala, Warden of Waves makes single-target removal or abilities against any of our creatures an absolute nightmare. The strength of Master of the Pearl Trident varies if we are up against any blue decks but succeeds heavily in those matchups. Nicanzil, Current Conductor is a great way to dump a bunch of lands from our hand. Stonybrook Banneret is one of the best early-game creatures in our deck that reduces almost all of our creature’s cost. Topography Tracker is just a ridiculous creature letting us double-explore, who is allowing us to do this!


We have a few counterspells that can be quite helpful like Arcane Denial, Counterspell, and Voidslime. While Voidslime may be a little harder than the others to cast being able to target a trigger or activated ability can be really strong and lifesaving in a pinch. Rapid Hybridization and Beast Within are really the only creature / permanent-based removal we have and are both cheap and strong. Heroic Intervention is a great way to protect against board wipes or cards like Damn and Cyclonic Rift.


We have two ramp spells in Skyshroud Claim and Cultivate, the beauty of Skyshroud Claim is the variety of dual lands we can grab off of it like Breeding Pool. We have a few creatures that have islandwalk that we want to hit our opponents with so Aquitect's Will is really strong especially cause we can often get our islandwalk ready and a card for only one mana. Speaking of unblockable creatures we can really hurt our opponents with Raise the Palisade, bouncing all non-merfolks and swinging for the fences. Since through our exploring we put a lot of cards in the graveyard Praetor's Counsel brings a ton of them back and gives us no maximum hand size, this card is very strong in our deck.


We have format staples like Arcane Signet, Sol Ring, and Simic Signet which are all great ways to speed out Hakbal or get our board established a little earlier than normal. Thought Vessel rounds out our artifact package and the no maximum hand size is very valuable to our deck making it by far the best rock in our deck. Door of Destinies and Herald's Horn are some huge payoffs for all of the merfolk we have in the deck and help buff them up even more. Since we get a ton of counters off of explore, Ozolith, the Shattered Spire is a great way to get more counters and target put on a counter.


Deeproot Pilgrimage and Deeproot Waters are two enchantments that really make our board explore, when we generate all of these tokens we can get even more value out of Hakbal’s ability. Hardened Scales, Branching Evolution and Court of Garenbrig are three cards that make our exploring even stronger when we get “double” the buffs. Court of Garenbrig is also strong since we get the monarch buff and a card at least for one turn, this card can get really out of hand if we keep the monarch. If you are thinking that we don’t explore enough, don’t worry we also have Path of Discovery which makes our explore triggers on ETB! Since we are buffing our creatures up pretty much every turn we can use Primal Rage as a cheap enchantment that can help a ton with finishing off an opponent.

Land Base:

The most important land in our deck is Cavern of Souls which is not only an untapped source of colored mana for most of our decks, but also makes our creatures uncounterable and is quite strong against a variety of decks. Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth is a strong piece of mana that is almost always really strong. We are a Simic deck so the cards come to us early and often, because of that Reliquary Tower was an absolute no-brainer for this deck. Path of Ancestry is a strong land in any deck that focuses on a specific creature type but is especially good in our deck since we can get a peek at what we are going to explore into. Beyond that, we have a bunch of strong duals like Breeding Pool and Rejuvenating Springs as well as a ton of others. I found that 35 lands was the sweet spot for this deck after testing a 34-land version.

Strengths of the Deck:

  • Buffs for all of our creatures at every combat
  • Commander provides a strong way to filter through the deck
  • There is a decent amount of interaction, especially on the stack

Weaknesses of the Deck:

  • Weak to creature hate
  • It can be a little slow to start
  • It is hard to rebuild after mass board destruction

Deck Stats:

Sample Hands:

Main Win Conditions:

There are no infinite combos or loops in the deck. We are a combat deck, while we do have an inherent advantage since we can reliably buff our board once we have our commander out. Not only that all of our merfolk buff up and help to protect each other. This allows us to get a strong board established by the mid-game. We don’t have much of an early game but make up for it by exploding in the mid-game.


Hakbal of the Surging Soul is a really cool card from a really cool precon that I have been excited to build since spoiler season! Hakbal feels like the type of commander that the merfolk creature type was missing which is a huge combat swing commander. Being in Simic we have access to counterspells, some removal and some great card draw as well as a huge pool of creatures. This deck is an absolute blast and is perfect for a pro or new player. Just a good pile of fun! Thanks for reading to the end and thanks for all of your support.