DECK TWO: 100c 3 Color Elves!
While last month’s column saw me toss Red’s version of little green men on the dissecting slab, this month I am ready to tackle the pure Green pedigree: Elves! Courtesy of BryTheFryGuy’s 2nd place finish, the starting list for this month’s Deck Two is a whopping three (!) colors. (That’s right- now Elf creatures hang around Plains and Swamps on occasion.) If you want to see the inspiration, look here: BryTheFryGuy, Green-White-Black Elves, 2nd Place, November 8, 2009.
A lot has changed from the days of Squirrel-Craft (Squirrel Nest and Earthcraft for those not familiar), Onslaught Limited-style shenanigans, and Armageddons in the sideboard- Elves is now a fully powered wrecking crew. (Way to go Bry- this incarnation of Elves is definitely my favorite!) And contrary to popular perception, Elves is NOT a one trick pony (like Red, where you can even play Dwarven Pony).
So, what does Lord of the Ring’s most noble race bring to the battlefield? Alot:
- Progenitus, feared multi-headed Mythic and just what nature ordered. This is the most obscene Natural Order target to be printed in the history of the game. He even saw play by pro players at a Legacy Grand Prix this past year. While I am not 100 percent sold on the Technicolor titan, I will try him out. (I am also considering my favorite eight drop, Empyrial Archangel, or a mono-Green menace like Regal Force or Woodfall Primus for this slot.)
- Big Bang Theory- Armageddon, Ravages of War and (to a lesser extent) Winter Orb. While RDW and Goblins have the Miners and Moons, Elves has access to the best mana denial in the format. Only decks similarly minded to Elves (and all of the mana creatures that the strategy entails) will be able to shrug off the mass land kill in any salvageable capacity.
- Smorgasbord of tutors- Diabolic Intent, Tainted Pact, Eladamris Call, and Chord of Calling. And Wirewood Herald. And Elvish Harbinger. And Ranger of Eos. And, and, and… (well, there’s some additional tutors in the sideboard). Elves can manipulate its own destiny by virtue of the cards that it plays. It’s not a deck that just shuffles up and prays to the gods that be.
- A ridiculously low mana curve. With only 12 cards over converted mana cost four, you can get away with playing a relatively low amount of lands (33 for this deck; 34 if you include Chrome Mox). This means more spells (and more fun) per game. Sign me up.
I made a few play style adjustments to Bry’s list (and I’ll have to keep track of how many times I wish I had the Drove of Elves, Eyeblights Ending, Viridian Shaman, Bathe in Light or Chameleon Colossus I cut).
- Baneslayer Angel- I wouldn’t see myself using Elf-specific tutors for Chameleon Colossus or Drove often, so I had no qualms adding the Serra’s number one all-star my starting line-up. In an ocean of Red, lifelinked, five toughness creatures will always be good!
- Druid of the Anima- I am not sold on this guy and Skyshroud Elf, but I have a hard time justifying one without the other. I have even considered adding Bloodbraid Elf and the Red-Green duals to support it because of these two Elves.
- Sylvan Safekeeper- I’ve lost to this almost every time it has resolved past Turn 4. Between that and my brief foray with Olle in GW many months ago, I cannot imagine playing a Green-base creature deck without him. Much like Gobbos, this decks thrives on a single creature type (guess which one…). So protecting your Imperious Perfect, Elvish Champion, and any other body of note for a measly land seems like a more than fair exchange.
- Safehold Elite- Yet another anti-Red measure (that also is a frequent volunteer for Diabolic Intent).
- Nameless Inversion- I like being able to tutor for removal with Elf-only effects. This is a metagame call. (Eyeblight would be better if we ever have a Midrange resurgence.)
Since Exodus just released (well, pre-released), I plan on making a spot of Skyshroud Elite when I secure one of the Three Deuce stars.
I’m not sold on Nissa Revane (and her Chosen) in Singleton, so I threw in (you guessed it) another Red hate card (Burrenton Forge-Tender) and Krosan Grip (against Control) in the sideboard. Beyond those two, the sideboard is completely untouched from Bry’s list. I am a big fan of the Enlightened Tutor packages and can’t wait to try them out!
The deck does some pretty silly things. Quirion Ranger supercharges mana production and saves lands for post ‘Geddon effects. Wirewood Symbiote allows come-into-play Elves to happen again and again and again (and again…) And with all of the different competencies, I’m looking forward to seeing Elves through a Weekend Challenge.