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By: kelvinmai, Kelvin Mai
Jul 15 2015 12:00pm
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ELVES YO!!

As some of you may know I started playing FNM around the time of Avacyn Restored. Which meant that I was there for the insane summer of magic Elf wave deck that happened. It was one of my favorite decks to watch because it puked out more creatures than an aggro deck and more damaging than the usual midrange decks running around. It was probably one of the decks that steered me toward the Johnny/Timmy lifestyle that I love. For those that don't know what I'm talking about it was a deck that generated huge amounts of mana with the usual mana dork (Llanowar Elves) and the ever powerful Elvish Archdruid and then it used that mana to power a huge Genesis Wave and practically put the deck into play and attack for the win with a Craterhoof Behemoth.


Courtesy of Lameck's Ponderings for this take on Collected Company.

And then I learned that an elf combo deck had a place in legacy, but it never quite got the spotlight in modern until the recent GP Charlotte where it won the entire tournament. Collected Company was the breakout card of Dragons of Tarkir for modern and while modern was trying to relive the Birthing Pod days with this card with Abzan Company, it shined the brightest on the green tribe of elves. The elf deck could generate a ton of mana with Elvish Archdruid and Heritage Druid and use all of it through Ezuri, Renegade Leader for a huge his overrun ability. Both Collected Company and Chord of Calling, it's only spells in the deck, provided so much value because more elves mean both mana and beat down and it's not entirely dependent on Ezuri to win.

 

Doing this in current standard is going to be really hard cause there's only 3 elves right now; Elvish Mystic, Reclamation Sage and Sunblade Elf. Aside from the Sunblade, those elves aren't all that exciting and they don't really scream elf tribal, but Magic Origins came out with some sweet spoilers that does! Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf Daen is here, so check mark next on the elf lord. Shaman of the Pack fulfills the finisher role and the shaman is also cmc 3 so the key card, Collected Company, will fetch it. Woodland Bellower, although not an elf, serves a strong role here, it's basically another Collected Company/Chord of Calling type card that can easily find us a Shaman. And of course Sylvan Messenger means you will never run out of elves to play. So far that puts us into green and black, but if we add white, that lets us get full use of Sunblade Elf and his pump as well as letting us use Siege Rhino, one of the best standalone creature in standard right now. 

Abzan Elves
 
Creatures
4 Leaf Gilder
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Sunblade Elf
2 Siege Rhino
4 Elvish Visionary
18 cards

Other Spells
4 Collected Company
2 Chord of Calling
4 Shaman of the Pack
2 Woodland Bellower
3 Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf Daen
4 Dwynen's Elite
1 Reclamation Sage
7 cards
Lands
4 Llanowar Wastes
4 Temple of Malady
6 Forest
4 Windswept Heath
2 Plains
2 Caves of Koilos
22 cards
 
Siege Rhino

This is the Abzan list that has everything that I mentioned earlier. Unfortunately after testing I realized it's not quite optimal. It packs a huge punch though as landing a Siege Rhino after a shaman could cause nightmares and the land base isn't all that bad. The problem comes with all of the fetching cards, this list has too many cards that are over 3 CMC so both the bellower and collected company suffers. And Sunblade Elf just isn't worth it for splashing another color, his pump is nice but it's too much of an investment and is nowhere near Ezuri levels of power.

So I thought let's streamline this take the white out completely. Sure you lose the rhino and Sunblade Elf is practically useless but in its place you gain room to include more elves from Magic Origins. Sylvan Messenger is the first auto include and Gnarlroot Trapper can be seen as a fully-fledged mana dork in this Golgari build.

Green Black Elves
 
Creatures
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Elvish Visionary
2 Sylvan Messenger
4 Leaf Gilder
14 cards

Other Spells
2 Gnarlroot Trapper
4 Collected Company
3 Chord of Calling
4 Shaman of the Pack
2 Woodland Bellower
3 Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf Daen
4 Dwynen's Elite
1 Reclamation Sage
1 Gilt-Leaf Winnower
8 cards
Lands
4 Llanowar Wastes
4 Temple of Malady
10 Forest
4 Windswept Heath
22 cards
 
Shaman of the Pack

The consistency of just going green and black makes this a much stronger deck. And the elf selection is so strong that when Collected Company hits you are putting in so much value. There are times where you will cast a company and put down an elite, spawning a token and then a shaman after that token to guarantee a hit for at least 3. Or you could hit Elvish Visionary instead for that sweet, sweet card draw. And it's not impossible to play 2 shamans in one turn and the following turn play a Chord of Calling off of your creatures alone to fetch a third shaman for the win. But Dwynen is in here too so you are not entirely dependent on drawing that shaman. Dwynen lets you turn your elves sideways and just overwhelm your opponent with these little green men. One would say that a weakness of this deck is any wrath effect, and in a way they're right, but the Sylvan Messenger allows you to reload and start puking out more elves. It can overwhelm any deck that will try to one for one you because you'll be putting out more than one creature each turn. And against aggro decks you can easily go wider than them. The silver bullets in the deck is matchup specific and could easily move to the board in place of more messengers. So how do you want to win? Beating them down with an army of woodland creatures or watch them shrivel up as creatures enter the battlefield, because this deck offers you both avenues to win.

So yeah, I got super excited to see one of my favorite tribes to play back in competitive form that I had to write about it, It may not be the same as legacy or modern elves but it's a taste of what they can do and with Zendikar, a plane full of elves, coming up next this deck is going nowhere but up. Anyways that's it for now, thanks for reading and I hope all of you are excited for this archetype to hit tournament tables as much as I am.