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By: Arnnaria, Sean Costales
Jun 11 2008 11:33pm
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Welcome to Pure Standard!

The more things change the more they stay the same.  Pro Tour Hollywood is in the record books and no new decks have emerged from the metagame.  Quicken Toast has made some headway in paper tournaments, but according to Jamuraa’s last article it hasn’t seemed to make any headway in the online metagame.  This is probably due to the fact that the mana base is so reliant on Shadowmoor cards; both the hybrid lands and the Reflecting Pools.  But today I’m going to talk about a deck that has been dominating the meta: Gindy Elves.  Here’s the decklist for your perusal:

I know what some of you may be thinking.  “Sean, you already wrote about Elves and you weren’t too kind to them.”  That is true, but since the metagame has shifted since then, Elves has become a much better deck.  There were more control deck viable back when I reviewed Elves; both RG big mana and GW big mana were contenders that were tough on the Elves matchup.  Now, everyone seems to be playing more aggressive strategies and control has gone the way of the dodo.  Let’s talk about some of the powerful spells this deck has to offer: 


In a format with some crazy two drops, Thoughtseize is king.  A turn one Thoughtseize prevents that Bitterblossom, (Wren’s Run Vanquisher), or Tarmogoyf from hitting play.  However, there are two drawbacks to this sorcery.  The first drawback is that it can be a bad play in the late game.  If you opponent is playing most of their spells and holding onto land, you’ll lose two life and get rid of nothing.  The second drawback is against red burn decks.  Most red burn decks run a pleathora of cards that deal two or more damage, so stealing one of their Incinerates or Lash Out isn’t really helping you any.  The good news is, you can sideboard them out for Kitchen Finks, but they will be a dead card in game one. 

Wren’s Run Vanquisher

If it wasn’t for Bitterblossom, this card may well be the most disgusting two drop in the format.  However, powerful faerie enchantments aside, the Vanquisher is a threat that can’t be stopped by mere creature power.  What are they going to do, block with their Wall of Roots?  The deathtouch is the coup de grace as the card can play defensively as well – holding off a much bigger Tarmogoyf of Doran, The Siege Tower from attacking in the late game.  When faced with the dilemma of having botha  Vanquisher and Tarmogoyf to play on turn two, always go with the Vanquisher.  It’s a much more solid body in the early game and the Tarmogoyf will be bigger late game so you don’t have to worry about Incinerates or Nameless Inversion. 

Imperious Perfect

This is what I said about Imperiouis Perfect last time: “How many turns can an opponent let an unchecked Imperious Perfect go before dying?  Three turns?  Four?   The army-building potential of this guy is ridiculous.  Not only does it turn your Llanowar Elves and Boreal Druids into credible threats, you can stop casting your creatures and hold them back in case of a Wrath of God or Damnation; building your army on the back of Imperious Perfect alone.” The same is true now, but the deck also runs Civic Wayfinder and Mutavault.  Civic Wayfinder and Mutavault turn into 3/3’s with the Lord out, and a 3/3 can trade with Vanquisher in the mirror match.  “Imperious Perfect puts the “!” in “Elves!”.  Without it, the deck would just be dubbed “Random Rock Variant 3.74”.”

Profane Command

Profane Command wins games.  It’s as simple as that really.  This is the ultimate utility card for black, it gets rid of creatures, drains your opponents of their precious life totals, and returns back baddies from the graveyard to do double duty.  Don’t neglect the fear granting ability either, it’s the one you’ll use the least but every once in a while it will win you the game.  The only downside to Profane Command is the double black in the mana cost, but with Civic Wayfinders in the deck you’re almost always sure to be able to hit the double black mana requirement.  Profane Command is a “long game” card as it gets exponentially better the longer the match goes on.  So in games where you don’t expect a long game, such as Red Deck Wins, side it out for more efficient spells. 

The Matchups


Mirror Match

Since the deck is popular, this is a matchup that you’re going to be facing a lot of times.  The key to this is not rushing and making sure you back up your beefy threats with solid removal.  If you can stick an Imperious Perfect in play, and deny your opponent from their Imperious Perfect, you can congratulate yourself because you’ve probably won the game.  When sideboarding, add your extra removal to seal the deal and win the game.


-2 Garruk Wildspeaker; -1 Civic Wayfinder; -1 Thoughtseize

+2 Slaughter Pact; +2 Shriekmaw



Faeries isn’t a tough matchup at all… if they don’t get a Bitterblossom out.  If they manage to stick that turn two Bitterblossom, you’re in a lot of trouble.  Fortunately, you have Thoughtseize to disrupt their plans.  Your creatures are bigger than theirs and they have limited counter magic to negate your beaters.  And if they have enough counterspells to nullify your offense, you can always beatdown with (Treetop Village) and Mutavault.  This matchup isn’t easy, but it’s not as hard as it seems. 


-3 Chameleon Colossus; -2 Profane Command

+3 Cloudthresher; +2 Squall Line


If the deck had a cakewalk matchup, this is it.  Charles Gindy defeated Jan Reuss 3-0 in the finals of Pro Tour Hollywood, and that result isn’t far fetched.  Your guys are just plain bigger than their fish.  And you don’t have islands to worry about Islandwalking over your army.  In fact, Lord of Atlantis actually hinders them more because it gives your Mutavaults islandwalk and delivers three damage to the dome.  When you sideboard, remove your Chameleon Colossus in favor of more removal.  This matchup is so easy, anyone could play it. 


-3 Chameleon Colossus

+2 Slaughter Pact; +1 Shriekmaw

Red Deck Wins

This is one of the tougher matchups the deck has to face.  IN order to beat the deck, you need to get an early offense of Tarmogoyfs and Wren’s Run Vanquishers into play.  If you do, your opponent will have to dedicate burn spells to your creatures instead of aiming them at you.  The sideboard strategy is simple for this matchup: add your life gainers and try to stay out of the “kill range” of their deadlier spells.


-3 Chameleon Colossus; -3 Profane Command

+4 Kitchen Finks; +2 Primal Command

Enjoy the deck!  You’ll be surprised at how versatile it is and how many wins you can rack up! 

Sean Costales

Arnnaria on Magic Online


by Trumpetman at Sat, 06/14/2008 - 03:32
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Yup I play Fae, and Colossus is my worst enemy...

AJ_Impy's picture

Given the existence of a 3-mana 3-damage sweeper effect in the format, what would be the deck's optimal response to the decks running it?

by iceage4life at Thu, 06/12/2008 - 16:14
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RDW has less than a third the t8s of Big Mana.  RDW is popular in the TP room but not in PEs (and the fact that it has a total of one good matchup keeps it out of t8s.)

Play around it by Arnnaria at Thu, 06/12/2008 - 16:24
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Play around it if you think your opponent is playing it.  Your Tarmogoyfs will survive it given adequate cards in the graveyard.  Don't overextend yourself and hold some threats back.

by iceage4life at Thu, 06/12/2008 - 11:50
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You don't mention any of the decks bad matchups.  Lark, mana ramp, and quick & toast will all be players online with Shadowmoor coming out.  And I don't think elves wants to face any of them.

by PieterV (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 06/12/2008 - 08:25
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I ² that. Colossus also has "can't be blocked by bitterblossomtokens", which is quite relevant.

I also wouldn't side them out against merfolk, since they can become a 5/5 islandwalker thanks to an lord of atlantis on the other side of the table. 

by Hollow0n3 at Thu, 06/12/2008 - 12:17
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Well written as always, overall I am not to sure how I'd approach the sideboarding..

But as a Timmy/Johnny I'd probably tend to keep the Colossus arround too. 

I just mentioned by Arnnaria at Thu, 06/12/2008 - 11:57
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I just mentioned the decks that were on Jamuraa's PE recap.  In my journeys in the tournament practice room, I haven't faced any of those decks.

I'll be the first to admit... by Arnnaria at Thu, 06/12/2008 - 09:26
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I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a fan of the Colossus except for in the mirror match.  That's why you see me siding him out in a majority of the matchups.  Removing Garruk is probably the better choice, as Garruk is way too slow for Standard right now.  I like removing the Colossus against the fae, because he's so expensive and he just usually gets countered.  But I see your point as valid.  Next time I play faeries I'll try siding out the Garruk.  Thanks for the advice.

colossus by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 06/12/2008 - 06:01
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there is no way siding out colossus vs the fae is right. garruk should come out since garruk never survives the evasive faeries.

its realy good by evden eve nakliyat (not verified) at Sat, 01/30/2010 - 04:44
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Good work! Your post/article is an excellent example of why I keep comming back to read your excellent quality content that is forever updated. Thank you!

Re: by patriciabrown at Sat, 10/21/2023 - 04:04
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Playing it was truly connections amazing