Deck Guide of the Day: Elves

Modern Elves is one of the most powerful decks in the format and it has good matchup against Eldrazi. The Legacy version has many things in common, but with a few critical differences that add power.

The basis of the Elves deck is cheap creatures that can make a bunch of mana. Heritage Druid and Birchlore Rangers are near the top of the list, being 1 drops Elves that can turn all your other Elves (as well as themselves) into mana producers. This is especially important on explosive turns, since both creature’s ability requires tapping Elves and doesn’t care if they’re summoning sick.

Heritage DruidBirchlore Rangers

To combo with the Heritage Druid and Birchlore Rangers, Nettle Sentinels are the perfect engine. What was meant to be a drawback makes this a potent combo card. With Sentinels in play to go with your Druid, every 1 drop Elf you play will net mana. With 2 Sentinels in play, casting a 1 drop Elf will untap the Sentinels, allowing you to tap the new Elf as well as the Sentinels for 3 more mana to easily go off.

Nettle Sentinel

Wirewood Symbiote is great for protecting your creatures, but will also keep the engine going. Returning an Elf to your hand gives you another creature to cast, as well as untapping a creature and recasting the bounced creature. As the glue that holds everything together, many players consider Elvish Visionary the most important card in the deck. It’s cheap, draws an additional card, and is exactly what you want to be bouncing with your Symbiotes when you’re in search of action. Being able to activate your Symbiote on your turn to replay Visionary, and then again on your opponent’s turn, means you can recast Visionary, bounce it again on your turn, and see multiple extra cards per turn. Quirion Ranger is an additional tool for the Legacy version to make sure you can generate tons of mana. Untapping Elves is akin to adding mana to your mana pool.

Wirewood SymbioteElvish VisionaryQuirion Ranger

Craterhoof Behemoth is the card that will actually end the game. Giving all your creatures a big boost and trample makes for tons of damage since you’ll be playing every creature you can.

Craterhoof Behemoth

The key differences between Legacy and Modern start with Deathrite Shaman. Deemed too powerful for Modern, Deathrite is as powerful a mana creature as you can find. He adds reach or life gain in a close game, and disruption against Dredge, Reanimator, flashback spells, and Snapcaster Mages. It’s also a 1/2 Elf that blocks surprisingly well against a handful of decks.

Deathrite Shaman

Green Sun’s Zenith and Glimpse of Nature are 2 more cards that are banned in Modern. In this deck the Zenith is a tutor to get you started with a Dryad Arbor, mana creature, a Heritage Druid or Nettle Sentinels for the engine, a Wirewood Symbiote to keep it going, an Elvish Visionary when short on action, or Craterhoof Behemoth to win the game. The Zenith really does it all in this deck. Sometimes you’ll cash in Glimpse of Nature for a card or two to try to get off the ground, but 1 or 2 Glimpses means drawing through your entire deck, playing more Elves, and generating even more mana off of those to keep going.

Green Sun's ZenithGlimpse of NatureDryad Arbor

Natural Order is your finisher. Some versions of Elves run Progenitus in the main deck while others sideboard it in, but Natural Order usually gets the Craterhoof to end the game as early as turn 2.

Natural Order

The final difference between Modern and Legacy may be the most important. Gaea’s Cradle can generate an explosive amount of mana to kill your opponent in a single turn. The change in the legendary rule is great for Cradle as you can use the first as a “ritual” of sorts before playing another and getting that mana boost as well.

Gaea's Cradle

Here’s the full list:

Creatures (31):

2 Dryad Arbor
2 Birchlore Rangers
2 Craterhoof Behemoth
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Elvish Visionary
3 Heritage Druid
4 Nettle Sentinel
1 Reclamation Sage
4 Wirewood Symbiote
1 Llanowar Elves
4 Quirion Ranger

Spells (12):

4 Glimpse of Nature
4 Green Sun’s Zenith
4 Natural Order

Lands (17):

2 Bayou
2 Forest
4 Gaea’s Cradle
2 Misty Rainforest
1 Pendelhaven
1 Savannah
4 Verdant Catacombs
1 Wooded Foothills

Sideboard (15):

3 Abrupt Decay
3 Cabal Therapy
2 Choke
1 Gaddock Teeg
1 Progenitus
1 Ruric Thar, the Unbowed
1 Scavenging Ooze
3 Thoughtseize

With its explosiveness and consistence Elves is a really great Legacy deck!

Thanks Everybody for reading,

Andreas

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