When I first decided to jump into the format of Modern, I had a hard time choosing what deck I wanted to build and stick with. I spent a lot of time researching and watching Modern games to see what sort of deck fits best without completely breaking my wallet. This was also around the time when Dragons of Tarkir first released that I started to get interested in Modern. Elves for me, was a good choice as I had a lot of the cards at the time in Elves but what really pushed it over the edge for me was when Magic Origins came out that cemented my choice for Elves. With cards such as Shaman of the Pack and Dwynen’s Elite being spoiled I knew I wanted to play this deck.
So I begun my slow acquirement of building Elves. It wasn’t until about December 2015 I just took the plunge and bought the expensive pieces that I needed, namely Cavern of Souls. It was Christmas Time, so what the heck right? My sideboard is still not perfect, I think I can do with getting 1-2 Spellskites and then it would be fine. For now what I have will have to do with the deck tech explanation.
Just a note, I will not be going into different match ups, that’s best left for my Weekly Modern updates when I bring Elves with me. Reason being there are so many different types of decks you can and will go up against it’s hard to write about them all. So here’s the decklist and let’s go!
Dwynen’s Elite- A 2 CMC Elf that gives you a 1/1 Elf Warrior Token Creature if there is another Elf on the battlefield. One of the newer elves to join the throng in the tribe. I feel he is a great addition especially on turn 2 if you managed to have a turn 1 Heritage Druid. Having 3 Elves right away on Turn 2 can be very rewarding for you.
Elvish Archdruid- Our 3 CMC Elf lord that also acts as a mana dork. When you see me mention the term lord, it usually refers to jargon or slang that usually buffs your creatures +1/+1. If your Archdruid manages to survive the next turn and you happen to have a lot of Elves out, welcome to endless mana for you to play with at this!
Elvish Champion- Our other 3 CMC Elf lord that gives our elves forestwalk. Now you have a chance of making your elves unblockable as well! This lord has served me well in the deck but sometimes he can be sideboarded out if your opponent is not playing green.
Elvish Mystic- Llanowar Elf of another name. He is functionally the same as Llanowar Elf and he is a perfectly capable turn 1 play.
Elvish Visionary- A 2 CMC Elf that lets you draw a card. Drawing cards is never bad. Other than that, Visionary makes a good chump blocker.
Ezuri, Renegade Leader- It’s always sweet to drop him from Collected Company and proceed to pump up your elves and just manage to squeak by enough damage to kill your opponent. The bad thing about Ezuri is he will become a major target if he resolves. Keep him safe if you can.
Heritage Druid- This is the most expensive creature in the main board (If you don’t main Spellskite) and for good reason. With her ability to tap 3 untapped elves immediately as she resolves gives you the ability to do a lot more on your turn. Imagine you have 3 Nettle Sentinels and a Heritage Druid, you have potential access to a crap ton of mana at that point. Living the elf dream!
Llanowar Elves- The classic mana dork of Magic the Gathering. What more can be said about him?
Nettle Sentinel- At first glance Nettle Sentinel may not seem that good. He doesn’t untap normally? Paired with Heritage Druid is where Nettle’s power is truly seen. Since the majority of our spells are green, Nettle Sentinel will be untapping a lot and potentially tapping for a lot of mana.
Shaman of the Pack- Probably the best Elf card to come out of Magic Origins. This card wins games just by entering the battlefield. It’s always a pleasure CoCo’ing into a Shaman and proceeding to win the game.
Collected Company- Or CoCo for short. This card not only allows for us to potentially build up our board presence after a wipe it also helps out by triggering Shaman of the Pack, Dwynen’s Elite and so on. This card has become a must in this deck now.
Lead the Stampede- Or what I like to refer to as CoCo’s little brother. I’ve tried both the Chord of Calling variation and Lead variation of Elves and I have to say, I prefer Lead the Stampede over Chord of Calling. It acts very similarly to CoCo but they do not go onto the battlefield. It allows you to fill up your hand again though.
Normally I would go over the Sideboard but my sideboard is mainly tuned for my local meta and I change it up from time to time if I were to take this to a Comp REL event. My local meta is sort of devoid of the Eldrazi Menace right now but it has a lot of Affinity and Abzan and Jund so it’s more tuned to that. What I recommend to others is study their local meta and adapt your sideboard to that. Fracturing Gust is a perfectly good card as a sideboard and I highly recommend Spellskite.
How do you play this deck then? I feel this deck can be very similar to affinity in a sense. You want to swarm the board with these little elves and kill as quickly as possible. If you know your opponent has board wipes be wary of how many elves you play and which ones and be sure to try and keep your hand as much as you can. Affinity is normally faster than Elves so try to swarm them before they swarm you.
Also, knowing which elves to play and when. Typically by turn 2 you’ll want to have 3 Elves out by then so maybe by Turn 3 you have twice that many and so on. Having a Heritage Druid in your opening hand is always good as long as you have the other cards to support it, such as Dwynen’s Elite or some Mana Dorks. As far as land is concerned you can get away with having 2-3 land. You’re only playing with 18 land so if you get land flooded then I apologize as the gods of MTG have declared their hatred upon you.
So why play Elves? As far as Modern Decks go, it is relatively inexpensive to play. Your most expensive card will most likely be the Cavern of Souls. I see it being relatively safe from any sort of banning from Wizards as Elves is not a top tier deck in the meta of Modern. So if it’s not top tier why play it? Uhm, maybe because it’s fun? Also, maybe because I’m afraid of investing into the top tier decks in Modern right now because Wizards likes to ban fun? So yea, that explains it pretty well. Who doesn’t like to have a board full of creatures and you play a Shaman and go, you’re dead!
That about covers my Elves deck. Next i’ll be going into my Grixis Delver list and more! Thanks for reading!