Ah man... unfortunately, I really missed the boat on getting the cards together on MTGO, so won't be able to try this myself for a while (though getting the paper stuff together at least).
While I'm sure the deck would enjoy unrestricted Chalice as per the Modern version, perhaps playing 4x Thorn of Amethyst (plus the one Chalice & maybe 3sphere) is the way to go, to slow down the broken decks? That might be a bit easier on the manabase.
As to lifeloss - a Tomb of the Spirit Dragon in the SB against decks pressuring your life total is just one idea. Worked well for UR Modern Eldrazi.
I agree on the comparison to Merfolk and it will be fascinating to see if someone can knit this together into a workable whole.