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By: zebhillard, Zebiriah Ray Hillard
Dec 31 2018 1:00pm
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I took a break from Best Delver over the last two weeks to play around with some other things, I was getting lost in the Daze of mirror matches and wanted to click on a lot more things during my turn than I was getting to.  Time to ‘shoot’ for something new.

Viridian Longbow

Well, the result of this was playing with the pointed-ear forest-dwelling elves.  These little tree-dwellers lead me to a 4-2 finish in my first outing and a 5-2 in the Challenges over the past two weeks.  The losses came to Dignitary Tron, UB Delver, Boros Monarch, and the mirror; and wins came from all across the spectrum.  Two decent finishes were the end result for me and the forest horde (16th and 13th).

Elvish MysticBirchlore RangersElvish Vanguard

If you’re not familiar, Pauper Elves plays very similar to its Legacy counterpart.  You miss out on Wirewood Symbiote, but do get to play out a massive snowballing rush of little creatures, and several of them provide a cumulative and synergistic advantage.  It runs a surprisingly low land count (some as low as 9, going all-in on Land Grant as well), double-handfuls of 1/1s for 1 that tap for G, and an explosive draw package in the forms of Lead the Stampede and Distant Melody.

Overwhelming Stampede

The list I played in the most recent challenge is here:

It was a wild ride through and through, with several games ending on turn three or four with massive Harsh Sustenance (20+) or multiple activations of Timberwatch Elf via Quirion Ranger.  I have had turns along the line of turn One Elvish Mystic into turn 2 Nettle Sentinel and Birchlore Rangers using them to cast Quirion Ranger leading into Nettle Sentinel number 2 and snowballing from there, there are very few things opponents can do at that point to catch up, let alone try and race you.

Need for Speed

Electrickery and Echoing Decay can be absolute beatings sometimes, though.  You have to play along a delicate line of conservative aggression unless you know they don’t have the ability to sweep your board, or wait to deploy copies of Spidersilk Armor to immunize yourself against them.  There are few other real trumps against elves outside of small damage sweepers.

Once you have the ground completely gummed up, though, you can either sit back and accumulate your advantage through life with Wellwisher, put your opponent in the abyss by attacking with overly large copies of Elvish Vanguard while tapping Priest of Titania for practically infinite mana and equipping Viridian Longbow to all of your creatures in turn to kill anything that can be played, or just directly go to your opponents dome over and over again.

Oh, by the way, in my personal opinion, these cards should never have ended up at common through whatever machanications resulted in it.  They let you go absolutely nutso and result in the majority of wins, in my opinion, that aren’t straight from opponent concession.

Elvish VanguardLys Alana Huntmaster

With Lys Alana Huntmaster triggering on cast and not enters the battlefield, you’ll soon find yourself with a huge army.

Birchlore Rangers lets you play sideboard cards of varying colors if you don’t push it too hard, fixing several matches that would otherwise be insurmountable, I am falling in love with the single copy of Harsh Sustenance in the maindeck as it provided me with a game one win against a regularly unbeatable lock of flickering Stonehorn Dignitary as my copy of Viridian Longbow had been countered. 

Surprise Deployment

If you’re looking for something that has a solid matchup across most things in the current online meta, I would suggest you give it a solid try.  You should run a few games through the casual lobby first, though, to get a feel for the sequencing of the deck because you can definitely play out some lines less them optimally and lose mana in the early turns by misusing the Nettle Sentinel and Birchlore Rangers pairing, especially once you have multiple Nettle Sentinels in play.  If you’re familiar with Legacy Elves quite a few patterns are similar, and there’s a straight mono-green list out there running Elvish Visionary that will have you feeling right at home.

With last week ending in 16th, and this week at 13th, I feel the progression can only improve from here.  If you would like more information about the list, a primer-style breakdown, ask about the numbers, or anything else along those lines, feel free to leave a comment or message me on Twitter; I’m generally fairly available on both.  While I’m a little upset I wasn’t able to break into the Top 8 of the last Pauper Challenge of the year, I am fairly happy with how I played through a majority of my matches and the eventual outcome.  They’re keeping me perpetually in the game, at the very least.

Regardless, I hope to see you around in the future and hope my articles have fired up your interest for the format and the decks I’ve written about!  See you in the New Year!