Casual Modern Elf Decktech

Article by BDC

Our man Panda loves his tribal decks. And, for the most part, we build casual decks from whatever we can get out hands on here in the city we live in. It’s been a bit of a sport here at the magic tavern. Of course, once we started buying boxes and gaining access to a greater array of cards, that began to change. This is one of those older decks that, much like many of Panda’s decks, wrecked shop more than I’d like to admit.

ELVES

Panda made me hate elfs with this deck. Just sayin’. Out of all the tribals he’s pulled out, this one irritated me the most! And, believe me, that’s over the Slivers and his Dragon deck. There’s just something about the synergy of elfs in MTG. OF all the tribals, they have invested more cardboard and development to the elfs, it seems. I’ve never seen so many cards devoted to one creature type. But given their popularity in so many different mediums, I shouldn’t be surprised. From D&D to Lord of the Rings to World of Warcraft to any fantasy setting really, you’re going to get an elf.

And so it is with MTG and more so, actually.

MANA RAMP

The first element that resonates with many elf cards is mana ramp. Whenever he’s played this deck, he has hardly ever been low on mana. But it’s amazing how many different ways the elf tribal does this.

First, you have cards like Gift of Paradise and Sheltered Aerie which enchant lands and double mana per land. Abundance facilitates grabbing either lands or non-land to both add to your mana and thin out the same from your deck so you can draw more creatures. Viridian Emissary (an elf creature, of course) allows you to search for land upon death.

Many of the elf type creatures may also tap for land that ramps mana also. Elvish Mystic is the most popular, but Arbor Elf can tap to untap a forest. But the elves you REALLY want in this tribal deck are cards like Priest of Titania that taps for the number of elves in play which means yours and your opponents elves. Marwyn, the Nurturer taps to add forests equal to it’s power. Elves are one with the land and, thus, this mana rampage makes perfect sense.

THE MORE THE MERRIER

The other powerful element of Elf Tribal is the massive power ramp. Any tribal needs this type of synergy but Elfs rule in this area. I believe I counted 14-15 creatures that did some sort of power ramp magic and, when multiples are on the field, it’s easy to get overrun very quickly.

Jagged-Scar Archers power and toughness already equal the number of elves you control. On top of that, if you need to clear out those pesky flying creatures, you may tap it to do damage equal to its power to them. Imperious Perfect, Elvish Archdruid, and Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf Daen all give a +1/+1 ramp to all other elf creatures. They each have their own caveat though. Imperious Perfect makes elf tokens that helps the ramapage. Elvish Archdruid taps for forests for each elf you control. And Dwynen, when attacking, gains life for every attacking elf you control.

If you’re playing in Modern or any format that will allow more than one, Blanchwood Armor is one of my personal favorites. It’s an enchantment that gives a +1/+1 for every forest you control. This works best in mono green and not real well with special lands that aren’t identified as forests.

Man, the math! Because you already have these cards that ramp your elves. But, then, you have cards that put +1/+1 counters on your elves. So, you made need a calculator, some scratch paper and Abacus. Cards like Ivy Lane Denizen drops counters on your creatures. The Denizen does this when another green creature enters. Elvish Vanguard does this too. Numa, Joraga Chieftain can ramp the elves at the beginning of every combat on YOUR turn by paying XX,

There’s plenty of other cards that do a number of things for your elf deck, most of which will be showcased below.

GOTTA HAVE NISSA?

Even Panda admits that Nissa, Worldwaker is probably unnecessary in this deck, but it does add to the fun. Both her +1s add to the power of any elven deck. The top +1 makes one of your lands a 4/4 creature and they’re still land. The second +1 untaps 4 forests. The big move at -7 goes in search of ANY NUMBER of basic lands (if you’re playing this deck, they best be all Forests), place them on the field as both land and 4/4 creatures. Your enemy best not let it go that far or it’s really over. If you hit the -7 and pull all of those forests onto the field, it ramps cards like the Blanchwood Armor enchantment and makes it even more potent.

Panda’s got a lot of work to do to translate this into Commander so, if you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments below or hit us up on our Social Media (Look for THE MAGIC TAVERN on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). Check out Panda’s page at PandaIzzuno.

Check out below a number of the cards that Panda’s looking to add to make this deck a Commander deck.

1 Beast Whisperer [GRN]

1 Beastcaller Savant [BFZ]

1 Bloodline Shaman [ONS]

1 Copperhorn Scout [SOM]

1 Drove of Elves [C14]

1 Elf Replica [MRD]

1 Elvish Champion [10E]

1 Elvish Eulogist [DD3]

1 Elvish Harbinger [LRW]

1 Elvish Lyrist [7ED]

1 Elvish Piper [M10]

1 Elvish Scrapper [ONS]

1 Elvish Skysweeper [C13]

1 Elvish Visionary [BBD]

1 Fauna Shaman [M11]

1 Gaea’s Herald [PLS]

1 Gamekeeper [C16]

1 Glissa Sunseeker [MRD]

1 Golgari Raiders [GRN]

1 Greenweaver Druid [ZEN]

1 Heedless One [ONS]

1 Heart Warden [UDS]

1 Immaculate Magistrate [C14]

1 Joraga Treespeaker [ROE]

1 Llanowar Elves [10E]

1 Llanowar Druid [WTH]

1 Llanowar Tribe [MH1]

1 Lys Alana Huntmaster [C14]

1 Nurturer Initiate [SHM]

1 Quirion Elves [BTD]

1 Riftsweeper [MMA]

1 Scattershot Archer [CON]

1 Skyshroud Archer [STH]

1 Skyway Sniper [M21]

1 Sylvan Messenger [APC]

1 Tajuru Blightblade [ZNR]

1 Tajuru Preserver [ROE]

1 Thornweald Archer [C14]

1 Treetop Ambusher [MH1]

1 Viridian Shaman [10E]

1 Viridian Zealot [C15]

1 Wellwisher [ONS]

1 Wirewood Channeler [LGN]

1 Wirewood Herald [ONS]

1 Voice of Many [C19]

1 Steel Leaf Champion [DOM]

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