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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Oct 10 2014 12:00pm
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I love this game. I love writing about it. Compiling lists about it. Evaluating it. Sometimes, I even play it. I'm an Accidental Player.

 The Tolarian Academy of Arcane Arts and Pictures presents: THE TOPDECK AWARDS!
 The best way to celebrate 20 long years of this silly game, by rewarding all those beloved cards that, at one point or another, starred in our personal tragicomedies and psychodramas.

 Today's category: Outstanding Elf. Amounting to one of the all-time most popular tribes in the game, the Elf type has currently 276 hits on Gatherling (not counting the Un-Sets, and the one token that's somehow included in the database), making it the 12th largest creature type. The nominations are divided into sub-categories and accompanied by a brief profile of the nominees, which are listed alphabetically. Winners will be published with the announcement of the next category. Last month's winners are here.

 And the voting duty, ladies and gentlemen, is all yours.

 But first, here's the Elf Hall of Fame. All the Hall of Famers aren't eligible for Awards.

  

  

  

> GO DIRECTLY TO THE BALLOTS <

> PREVIOUS CATEGORIES <


 Category A: Outstanding Mana Elf

 The nominees are: 

1. 

  • Name: Arbor Elf
  • Rarity: Common
  • Birthdate: February 2010
  • Birthplace: Worldwake
  • Reason for Nomination: Because untaps a Forest... and everything attached to it.

 

2. 

  • Name: Birchlore Rangers
  • Rarity: Common
  • Birthdate: October 2002
  • Birthplace: Onslaught
  • Reason for Nomination: Because it's Pauper's Heritage Druid. And makes Elves splash for stuff.

 

3. 

  • Name: Bloom Tender
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: July 2008
  • Birthplace: Eventide
  • Reason for Nomination: Because he can tap for 5.

 

4. 

  • Name: Elves of Deep Shadow
  • Rarity: Uncommon
  • Birthdate: August 1994
  • Birthplace: The Dark
  • Reason for Nomination: Because she's still our favorite goth girl.

 

5. 

  • Name: Elvish Harbinger
  • Rarity: Uncommon
  • Birthdate: October 2007
  • Birthplace: Lorwyn
  • Reason for Nomination: Because she gives you mana AND your next draw.

 

6. 

  • Name: Elvish Spirit Guide
  • Rarity: Uncommon
  • Birthdate: June 1996
  • Birthplace: Alliances
  • Reason for Nomination: Because it's the boost out of nowhere that can make the difference.

 

7. 

  • Name: Gyre Sage
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: February 2013
  • Birthplace: Gatecrash
  • Reason for Nomination: Because even a mana dork can... evolve.

 

8. 

  • Name: Joiner Adept
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: June 2004
  • Birthplace: Fifth Dawn
  • Reason for Nomination: Because she's the ultimate fixer.

 

9. 

  • Name: Joraga Treespeaker
  • Rarity: Uncommon
  • Birthdate: April 2010
  • Birthplace: Rise of the Eldrazi
  • Reason for Nomination: Because she pays off down the line.

 

10. 

  • Name: Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: June 1999
  • Birthplace: Urza's Destiny
  • Reason for Nomination:  Because he's more powerful that his art would let you think.

 Honorable Mentions: Llanowar Dead, Quirion Elves, Radha, Heir to Keld.

> GO TO THE BALLOTS <


 Category B: Outstanding Utility Elf

 The nominees are: 

1. 

  • Name: Essence Warden
  • Rarity: Common
  • Birthdate: February 2007
  • Birthplace: Planar Chaos
  • Reason for Nomination: Because she's the Soul Cousin.

 

2. 

  • Name: Glissa Sunseeker
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: October 2003
  • Birthplace: Mirrodin
  • Reason for Nomination: Because she really packs a hate for artifacts.

 

3. 

  • Name: Nullmage Shepherd
  • Rarity: Uncommon
  • Birthdate: October 2005
  • Birthplace: Ravnica: City of Guilds
  • Reason for Nomination: Because in the right board, she's the best at what she does.

 

4. 

  • Name: Reclamation Sage
  • Rarity: Uncommon
  • Birthdate: July 2014
  • Birthplace: Magic 2015
  • Reason for Nomination: Because we waited 21 years for this.

 

5. 

  • Name: Rhys the Redeemed
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: May 2008
  • Birthplace: Shadowmoor
  • Reason for Nomination: Because nothing populates at his rate.

 

6. 

  • Name: Riftsweeper
  • Rarity: Uncommon
  • Birthdate: May 2007
  • Birthplace: Future Sight
  • Reason for Nomination: Because she's the only one who can reach into the blind eternities of the exile zone.

 

7. 

  • Name: Selesnya Evangel
  • Rarity: Common
  • Birthdate: October 2005
  • Birthplace: Ravnica: City of Guilds
  • Reason for Nomination: Because that's the best deal you'll find for a Saproling.

 

8. 

  • Name: Selesnya Guildmage
  • Rarity: Uncommon
  • Birthdate: October 2005
  • Birthplace: Ravnica: City of Guilds
  • Reason for Nomination: Because it's Glare of Subdual's old partner in crime.

 

9. 

  • Name: Wellwisher
  • Rarity: Common
  • Birthdate: October 2002
  • Birthplace: Onslaught
  • Reason for Nomination: Because massive lifegain is one way to go in Elf.dek.

 

10. 

  • Name: Wolf-Skull Shaman
  • Rarity: Uncommon
  • Birthdate: February 2008
  • Birthplace: Morningtide
  • Reason for Nomination: Because he's still one of the best strictly better Grizzly Bears.

 Honorable Mentions: Golgari Guildmage, Greenseeker, Llanowar Mentor, Oracle of Nectars, Tajuru Preserver, Viridian Zealot.

> GO TO THE BALLOTS <


 Category C: Outstanding Card Advantage Elf

 The nominees are: 

1. 

  • Name: Bloodline Shaman
  • Rarity: Uncommon
  • Birthdate: October 2002
  • Birthplace: Onslaught
  • Reason for Nomination: Because in an Elf deck she's "T: Draw a card" half the times.

 

2. 

  • Name: Coiling Oracle
  • Rarity: Common
  • Birthdate: May 2006
  • Birthplace: Dissension
  • Reason for Nomination: Because it's an artificial Naga!

 

3. 

  • Name: Elvish Visionary
  • Rarity: Common
  • Birthdate: October 2008
  • Birthplace: Shards of Alara
  • Reason for Nomination: Because it's the go-to for a cantripping body.

 

4. 

  • Name: Masked Admirers
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: October 2007
  • Birthplace: Lorwyn
  • Reason for Nomination: Because it's recursive card-drawing.

 

5. 

  • Name: Momir Vig, Simic Visionary
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: May 2006
  • Birthplace: Dissension
  • Reason for Nomination: Because an entire format is named after him!

 

6. 

  • Name: Oracle of Mul Daya
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: October 2009
  • Birthplace: Zendikar
  • Reason for Nomination: Because she cuts though land pockets like a hot knife through butter.

 

7. 

  • Name: Sylvan Messenger
  • Rarity: Uncommon
  • Birthdate: June 2001
  • Birthplace: Apocalypse
  • Reason for Nomination: Because it might well draw you 4 cards.

 

8. 

  • Name: Sylvan Ranger
  • Rarity: Common
  • Birthdate: July 2010
  • Birthplace: Magic 2011
  • Reason for Nomination: Because sometimes the right basic is all you need.

 

9. 

  • Name: Wirewood Herald
  • Rarity: Common
  • Birthdate: October 2002
  • Birthplace: Onslaught
  • Reason for Nomination: Because he really wants for you to attack into him.

 

10. 

  • Name: Wood Elves
  • Rarity: Common
  • Birthdate: June 1998
  • Birthplace: Exodus
  • Reason for Nomination:  Because it's still the most powerful land fetcher ever printed.

 Honorable Mentions: Fierce Empath, Multani's Acolyte, Realm Seekers, Selvala, Explorer Returned, Viridian Emissary, Zameck Guildmage.

> GO TO THE BALLOTS <


 Category D: Outstanding Aggro Elf

 The nominees are: 

1. 

  • Name: Bloodbraid Elf
  • Rarity: Uncommon
  • Birthdate: April 2009
  • Birthplace: Alara Reborn
  • Reason for Nomination: Because she's the (deposed) Queen of Jund.

 

2. 

  • Name: Caller of the Claw
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: February 2003
  • Birthplace: Legions
  • Reason for Nomination: Because it's the bane of the sweepers.

 

3. 

  • Name: Gempalm Strider
  • Rarity: Uncommon
  • Birthdate: February 2003
  • Birthplace: Legions
  • Reason for Nomination: Because you don't even have to actually cast him.

 

4. 

  • Name: Gladecover Scout
  • Rarity: Common
  • Birthdate: July 2011
  • Birthplace: Magic 2012
  • Reason for Nomination: Because she's Slippery Bogle's unlikely girlfriend.

 

5. 

  • Name: Glistener Elf
  • Rarity: Common
  • Birthdate: May 2011
  • Birthplace: New Phyrexia
  • Reason for Nomination: Because it makes for turn-2 wins.

 

6. 

  • Name: Llanowar Sentinel
  • Rarity: Common
  • Birthdate: June 1997
  • Birthplace: Weatherlight
  • Reason for Nomination: Because it's four guys in one.

 

7. 

  • Name: Mul Daya Channelers
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: April 2010
  • Birthplace: Rise of the Eldrazi
  • Reason for Nomination: Because when it's not a 5/5 for 3, you might get 2 mana as a consolation.

 

8. 

  • Name: Silhana Ledgewalker
  • Rarity: Common
  • Birthdate: February 2006
  • Birthplace: Guildpact
  • Reason for Nomination: Because she's very hard to deal with.

 

9. 

  • Name: Timberwatch Elf
  • Rarity: Common
  • Birthdate: February 2003
  • Birthplace: Legions
  • Reason for Nomination: Because it turns any unblocked attacker into lethal damage.

 

10. 

  • Name: Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers
  • Rarity: Uncommon
  • Birthdate: May 2008
  • Birthplace: Shadowmoor
  • Reason for Nomination:  Because they're a boon for devotion.

 Honorable Mentions: Elvish Vanguard, Gaea's Skyfolk, Llanowar Knight, Naya Hushblade, Nissa's Chosen, Pendelhaven Elder, Thornweald Archer, Wren's Run Vanquisher, Yavimaya Barbarian.

> GO TO THE BALLOTS <


 Category E: Outstanding Combo Elf

 The nominees are: 

1. 

  • Name: Devoted Druid
  • Rarity: Common
  • Birthdate: May 2008
  • Birthplace: Shadowmoor
  • Reason for Nomination: Because she combos with Necrotic Ooze!

 

2. 

  • Name: Elvish Piper
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: June 1999
  • Birthplace: Urza's Destiny
  • Reason for Nomination: Because she combos with Emrakul!

 

3. 

  • Name: Fauna Shaman
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: July 2010
  • Birthplace: Magic 2011
  • Reason for Nomination: Because she combos with Vengevine!

 

4. 

  • Name: Gamekeeper
  • Rarity: Uncommon
  • Birthdate: June 1999
  • Birthplace: Urza's Destiny
  • Reason for Nomination: Because he combos with Emrakul!

 

5. 

  • Name: Glissa, the Traitor
  • Rarity: Mythic Rare
  • Birthdate: February 2011
  • Birthplace: Mirrodin Besieged
  • Reason for Nomination: Because she combos with Wurmcoil Engine!

 

6. 

 

7. 

 

8. 

 

9. 

  • Name: Nettle Sentinel
  • Rarity: Common
  • Birthdate: July 2008
  • Birthplace: Eventide
  • Reason for Nomination: Because she combos with Heritage Druid!

 

10. 

  • Name: Taunting Elf
  • Rarity: Common
  • Birthdate: June 1999
  • Birthplace: Urza's Destiny
  • Reason for Nomination: Because he combos with... an alpha strike!

 Honorable Mentions: Mayael the Anima, Norwood Priestess, Savra, Queen of the Golgari, Voice of the Woods.

> GO TO THE BALLOTS <


 Category F: Outstanding Tribal Elf

 The nominees are: 

1. 

  • Name: Advocate of the Beast
  • Rarity: Common
  • Birthdate: July 2013
  • Birthplace: Magic 2014
  • Reason for Nomination: Because he loves Beasts!

 

2. 

  • Name: Bramblewood Paragon
  • Rarity: Uncommon
  • Birthdate: February 2008
  • Birthplace: Morningtide
  • Reason for Nomination: Because she loves Warriors!

 

3. 

  • Name: Deranged Hermit
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: February 1999
  • Birthplace: Urza's Legacy
  • Reason for Nomination: Because he loves Squirrels!

 

4. 

  • Name: Elvish Farmer
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: November 1994
  • Birthplace: Fallen Empires
  • Reason for Nomination: Because he loves Saprolings! (For dinner.)

 

5. 

  • Name: Gilt-Leaf Archdruid
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: February 2008
  • Birthplace: Morningtide
  • Reason for Nomination: Because he loves Druids!

 

6. 

  • Name: Greatbow Doyen
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: February 2008
  • Birthplace: Morningtide
  • Reason for Nomination: Because he loves Archers!

 

7. 

  • Name: Thelon of Havenwood
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: October 2006
  • Birthplace: Time Spiral
  • Reason for Nomination: Because he loves Fungi!

 

8. 

  • Name: Thelonite Hermit
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: October 2006
  • Birthplace: Time Spiral
  • Reason for Nomination: Because he loves Saprolings!

 

9. 

  • Name: Wirewood Savage
  • Rarity: Common
  • Birthdate: October 2002
  • Birthplace: Onslaught
  • Reason for Nomination: Because she loves Beasts!

 

10. 

  • Name: Wren's Run Packmaster
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: October 2007
  • Birthplace: Lorwyn
  • Reason for Nomination:  Because she loves Wolves!

 Honorable Mentions: Totem Speaker, Turntimber Ranger.

> GO TO THE BALLOTS <


 Category G: Outstanding Elf Lord

 The nominees are: 

1. 

  • Name: Edric, Spymaster of Trest
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: June 2011
  • Birthplace: Commander
  • Reason for Nomination: Because he turns all your creatures in card advantage.

 

2. 

  • Name: Eladamri, Lord of Leaves
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: October 1997
  • Birthplace: Tempest
  • Reason for Nomination: Because he protects your Elves.

 

3. 

  • Name: Elvish Champion
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: October 2000
  • Birthplace: Invasion
  • Reason for Nomination: Because she's dangerous in the mirror match... for both sides involved.

 

4. 

  • Name: Immaculate Magistrate
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: October 2007
  • Birthplace: Lorwyn
  • Reason for Nomination: Because permanent counters aren't ephemeral.

 

5. 

  • Name: Imperious Perfect
  • Rarity: Uncommon
  • Birthdate: October 2007
  • Birthplace: Lorwyn
  • Reason for Nomination: Because she's one elegant lady army.

 

6. 

  • Name: Joraga Warcaller
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: February 2010
  • Birthplace: Worldwake
  • Reason for Nomination: Because he really knows how to pack a punch.

 

7. 

  • Name: Lys Alana Huntmaster
  • Rarity: Common
  • Birthdate: October 2007
  • Birthplace: Lowyn
  • Reason for Nomination: Because it's incremental board position.

 

8. 

  • Name: Master Biomancer
  • Rarity: Mythic Rare
  • Birthdate: February 2013
  • Birthplace: Gatecrash
  • Reason for Nomination: Because with him on the battlefield, things can get out of control quickly.

 

9. 

  • Name: Wilt-Leaf Liege
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: May 2008
  • Birthplace: Shadowmoor
  • Reason for Nomination: Because she's the prime enhancer for Selesnya and associates.

 

10. 

  • Name: Yeva, Nature's Herald
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Birthdate: July 2012
  • Birthplace: Magic 2013
  • Reason for Nomination:  Because she's the green Teferi.

 Honorable Mentions: Emmara Tandris, Gaea's Herald, Heedless One, Wirewood Hivemaster.


Time to cast your vote!

 You can first review specific profiles here: Mana, Utility, Card Advantage, Aggro, Combo, Tribal, Lord


And the winners are...!

 Outstanding Mono-White Human: Thalia, Guardian of Thraben!

 Runner-ups: Academy Rector, Mother of Runes

 

 Outstanding Mono-Blue Human: Ninja of the Deep Hours!

 Runner-up: Venser, Shaper Savant

 

 Outstanding Mono-Black Human: Nekrataal!

 Runner-up: Royal Assassin

 

 Outstanding Mono-Red Human: Young Pyromancer!

 Runner-ups: Ash Zealot, Avalanche Riders

 

 Outstanding Mono-Green Human: Argothian Enchantress!

 Runner-ups: Azusa, Lost But Seeking, Melira, Sylvok Outcast

 

 Outstanding Multicolored Human: Huntmaster of the Fells

 Runner-up: Teysa, Orzhov Scion

  

 Most Voted Card: Argothian Enchantress!

 Runner-up: Huntmaster of the Fells

CONGRATULATIONS!

Check the complete statistics

8 Comments

All my votes to Glissa the by AJ_Impy at Fri, 10/10/2014 - 19:36
AJ_Impy's picture
5

All my votes to Glissa the Traitor and Jarad, because the only good elf is a dead elf. ;)

I LOVE elves, I want to vote by ScionOfJustice at Fri, 10/10/2014 - 21:59
ScionOfJustice's picture

I LOVE elves, I want to vote for them all. I've never seen an elf deck I didn't want to play, hexproof: sure, infect: yes please, cascade: umm best haste creature ever according to Channelfireball. I don't see how AJ can claim to be a fan of magic and not love the little green men from the woods.

Scion you may not have had by Paul Leicht at Fri, 10/10/2014 - 22:27
Paul Leicht's picture

Scion you may not have had much interaction with AJ but I have. Let me tell you, AJ is a huge fan of MTG and also hates elves. Not all elves (though his statement above seems to contradict that) but all the elves that ruined them for people who used to love them (like me.)

Once you have seen the Nth iteration/variation of stompy elves, elves guised as druids, elves guised as warriors, combo elves, Elf infect, etc they start to blur and when they start to become ubiquitous (every newb gravitates to them and goblins initially and they are the easy button tribe of choice amongst budget players) they cease to be adorable green men/women and become that hated monotonous source of uncreativity that is choking the very life out of the game.

I don't feel quite as strongly and some elves are near and dear to my heart (including the fan favorite berserker) but I empathize.

That makes more sense, it is by ScionOfJustice at Fri, 10/10/2014 - 23:18
ScionOfJustice's picture

That makes more sense, it is just that there are some many things you can do with elves, it makes it hard for me not to love them.

You even namecheck more by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 10/10/2014 - 23:26
Kumagoro42's picture

You even namecheck more Elvish archetypes than it's due, Paul: I wish we'd see Infect Elves or Warrior Elves in TribAp sometimes. Alas, it's 99% Elfball/ramp Elves with some random endgame that can range from Ezuri to whatever. Given that Elves generate nearly infinite mana in a bad day, it's just a matter of either watch them build the win, or sweep the board before that and they lose (because they are forced to go all-in with their ramp strategy). Either way, it's rarely an interesting game.

I'm also saddened because as a green player, I'd like to build ramp decks, and I do, but there's always that bitter awareness that whatever I try to do, an Elf deck would do it better. And then maybe I think, "I could build an Elf ramp with an elaborate endgame." But what's the point? It would just play like any other Elf ramp and then do something strange at the end, assuming the opponent would actually stay and watch rather than concede.

But it's not the poor Elves' fault — if anything, R&D could have dialed down the ramp a little over the years, rather than constantly double down on it: was Elvish Archdruid really necessary? Was Heritage Druid really necessary? Did they really think Ezuri was a good design? Next time, they might just do an Elf that says, "20: You win the game", so it'll spare us the wait for more clicking.

The Elf tribe has great stuff. Some truly great cards are only incidentally Elves, like Momir or Deathrite Shaman. And who doesn't love Elvish Aberration?

Yeah the hatred for elves by Paul Leicht at Sat, 10/11/2014 - 01:08
Paul Leicht's picture

Yeah the hatred for elves goes a lot deeper than just a few years of the apocalypse. We are talking way before Ezuri was even a twinkle in some degenerate's evil eye.

I miss casting Deranged Hermits and such just because its too boring to consider the "better" elves and no point in considering the less efficient.

It has also become weird from by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 10/11/2014 - 13:01
Kumagoro42's picture

It has also become weird from a flavor point of view. Elves of the Celtic tradition are unpredictable alien beings. Elves of the Tolkienian tradition are super-warriors. Elves of Magic: The Gathering are mostly known to be... mystical gardeners or something.

Devoted Druid by Rerepete at Mon, 10/13/2014 - 13:40
Rerepete's picture

Devoted Druid because it combos with Quillspike and self sacrifices itself to Deathrender,