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Nice article. The idea that you shouldn’t include combos in the deck just because you can is interesting for me to think about, and I think that Nest Craft in Elves is a particularly interesting example to discuss, since the deck does have tutors to find it, but the combo dilutes the elves synergy. I honestly have never questioned it in the lists I see, but after having chatted about it I think I could be convinced that Elves is better without it.
Well if you’ve got a decent amount of basics, Earthcraft works fine with random elves. You’d probably still want Earthcraft even if the combo didn’t exist. So you’re really only forcing yourself to play squirrel nest.
2, I guess. You are giving up the ability to play way better guys to get a couple extra global pumps.
I have played Natural Order/Progenitus in a Doran based deck, solely because I had discard outlets in case I drew into it. It was stronger in the deck simply because of that and the sheer volume of Natty Order targets. To help, I played Dimir House-Guard (as a means to get to the Natural Order), as well as a battery of in-color tutors. This doesn’t seem to be the case the with Elves list on which I am commenting.
As elves produces a massive amount of mana on its own, and the deck can get its hand on board very quickly, I don’t really see what Earthcraft is contributing beyond the hopeful interaction with Nest. And if Nest was actually that potent of a card by its lonesome, we would see in decks with green mana.
Beyond this, BOTH combos are slow, neither providing an instant kill. Both are easily disrupted. The amount of times that Progenitus ends up in your early draws, is Wrathed away or dealt with on some mass removal scale, sits in front of a Moat,or Natty Order eats a counter (losing you a creature in the process) will far exceed the times swinging twice (or more given the number of viable life gain in the format) will win you a game.
I could see siding Progenitus in, if you were playing Natural Order as a way to fetch the relevant elves or a realistic bomb like Vigor that just annihilates RDW, as a way to foil Painter/Stone. But beyond that, it seems very odd to me that, of all decks, one would think to include this in Elves. Wouldn’t an Overrun be more impacting and fitting in a deck that runs such a high number of creatures and has the ability to run out tokens?
Also, playing combo pieces, esp. unneeded ones, affect the way you play. If you happen into one component, suddenly you’re desperate for the other, dedicating all your energy and effort toward that singular goal. Meanwhile you have a hand, deck, and/or table full of great, synergistic cards that in no way relate to this fool’s errand.
Remember, Elves works because of its overall premise is synergy within the creature type. This makes cards that don’t directly relate to that main premise almost extraneous. ‘Geddons? Sure, you have tons of mana men. Removal? Of course. Disenchant effects? Absolutely. These are elementary aspects of every deck. But these “combos” break that synergy, deviating you from the intended focus. Those tutors should be used for cards that can a win a game by itself.
If you’re hellbent on playing a combo in a tight build like elves, consider something like Elfball, where the combo isn’t necessary and the components are already there.
I guarantee you that if you removed these cards (especially the Guilty Conscience/Stuffy Doll combo) and replaced them with creatures and spells that have an INDIVIDUAL value and impact you will not miss the pipe dream pieces. You’re deck will function on a much more consistent and practical level, which easily should offer you the same, if not more, wins without the drawback of being stuck on one of these cards without the other.
Thinking, “well it’s just a few cards” is not the right mindset when trying to make a deck, one that performs, at least. Each and every slot is valuable, and specific card interactions that do little to nothing on their own, don’t affect the game in an immediate, impacting way, or are there “because” or “in case” are a waste of that space.
Hrm, looking back at my games, it does seem Progenitus only gives me 5 games that wouldn’t have been won by an elf card, but I have lost 4 games with Progenitus in hand. Natural Order did however give me 3 games I would not have otherwise pulled out for grabbing non-progen guys. I guess I cut him for Regal Force though that always felt underpowered.
Hey BryFry! ^^
(No, I am not an asian schoolgirl wearing a catholic schoolgirl outfit.)
How many games have you lost after getting Progenitus into play? The games that he has won- what was the game state and what deck was your opponent playing? Think about creatures that would allow you to still win the games that Progenitus won that you can cast- maybe even sometimes a different creature in your deck would be acceptable. Also, think what would allow you to win the games that the hydra loses (if that is applicable).
And the Guilty Conscience/Stuffy doll combo? This seems even more unrealistic and vulnerable to disruption/removal, no?
Again, Elves is a near combo itself. How is this relevant?
The stuffy doll combo was pretty bad. I was just messing with it that weekend to see if having half a combo be a dude made it that much easier to find them.
So progen usually steals away games that I am unlikely to win otherwise. Two of the games were really good draws of rdw. 3rd turn progen raced him, I doubt anything else would have. I guess vigor would have eaten 6 points for me but he still almost raced me through progen. The other games were ones with them having lots of targeted removal eating my guys, then going 1 mana elf, sac it to order before he can kill it then winning. Really, he’s only been answered twice in all the times I’ve pulled him out, and I eventually blew up the moat and killed him one of those games.
The main reason I like NO over overrun is that overrun is really only useful when I’ve already got a decent amount of guys out. Natural Order is still really good even if I’ve only got 1.
I’m not doubting the utility of Natural Order, as it seems like a great tutor for the deck. It’s Progenitus that’s questionable. Beyond the sole discard outlet in Llanowar Mentor, there is no way to get Progenitus out of your hand and back into your deck.
Additionally, I don’t think Regal Force may really be the answer, either. Perhaps I’m being a bit too narrow-minded, but isn’t the point of playing Elves to abuse the inherit synergy and interaction between actual elves? Granted, not every card should or will be “elf,” but clearly this desperate inclusion of a combo is either 1.) unnecessary, or 2.) an indication that the deck is lacking altogether.
I believe Bry is saying that Elves sacrifices creature quality found in non-Elf creatures to get a few cards that key off of the Elf creature type. (As opposed to playing a G/x aggro deck, where each card has to stand on its own.) I think elves has merits in: the fact that it has a very low mana curve, and the ability to have extremely explosive draws if you draw a certain number of elves and one of the global pumps.
I like Natural Order also, but I feel like there has to be a better creature than Progenitus as a singular threat when Natural Order needs to be able to mount a comeback from a precarious situation. I will ponder some about it. Maybe Elves would be a good DeckTech.
So we lost the comments on this article, but I had them archived. Since I added them again, you get to see my face 12 times (now 13).
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