Testing: One, Two, Three

DECK TWO: 100c 3 Color Elves!

Lands (33)
Creatures (45)
Other Spells (22)
Sideboard (15)
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100c Elves Click the arrow to download the above deck in .txt format

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.

  1. After playing the control list in the 12/6 PE, I was never sad when I had lands to drop, hated the signets, and would make a few changes…. Cut signets in favor of either coldsteel heart/mindstone, or 2 more lands. Exalted Angel always felt clunky, and is generally bad against RDW/RG which is most of the meta when dropped for its morph cost…. if it gets there it gets there, but I generally want to have answers than playing a card into the wind. In place of Exalted I would probably shove Tabernacle to the main.

    Also, PTE. Oh how I love thee, yet hate thee. Pathing red usually ensures I get killed faster ;/ I would probably push it to the board for Survivalesque decks and move something a little more stable into the main, maybe even Piracy Charm! :)

  2. Well after playing a near identical list to your RecSur/RecZur list in the 12/6 PE and going 5-0 in the swiss without any prior testing on the specific build, I’ll say it has quite a bit of power and potential. (Near identical because I did some collaborating between my list and Chris’s.)

    I would like to add something about Survival of the Fittest. Chris alluded that there is a strong possibility for this card to be banned. After playing with it I don’t think it yet deserves that fate. Only once all day did I use Enlightened Tutor to find SotF and when I did I really only activated once or twice. Survival on it’s own is not really that broken. Sure if you are not under pressure from an opponent it can be nuts, but in the current metagame you are often under extreme pressure from aggro decks. Also the card is nuts with Living Death, but we already have quite a few instant 2-card kill combos in the format, so that is poor grounds to ban the card on as well. I would like to see the card prove itself ban worthy and not just get the hammer based on reputation from 6-8 years ago. Honestly, Goblin Recruiter deserves to be banned before Survival most likely as they do about the same thing except one requires extra mana and creatures to discard, but I am not saying i want Recruiter banned either.

    The differences in my deck were as follows (not including differences in my manabase) :
    -1 Necrogenesis: Too slow vs all the red decks and your mana is often tied up doing better things than paying 4 mana for a 1/1 or 6 mana for 2x 1/1s
    -1 Oversold Cemetery: It can be great late game, but it can also be a virtual mulligan
    -1 Pale Recluse
    -1 Pernicious Deed: A while back I was testing Gainsay’s deck quite a bit to understand it and tried this card main it never performed as well as I wanted it to. I should have maybe played it SB.
    -1 Yavimaya Elder: Double green can be hard especially under a moon
    -1 Avenging Druid: Seems easy to block for not much benefit unless you have Death/Nightmare already in hand. I like to guarantee that I will get the land I want vs waiting 2 turns to try and get some CA.
    -1 Wood Elves

    +1Krosan Tusker: I like it better than options like Pale Recluse
    +1 Sterling Grove: I actually didn’t want to play this card but put it in the list when I was including potential cards and it slipped past me while I was making cuts. That said it is not terrible for the deck.
    +1 Rhox War Monk: More red hate
    +1 Civic Wayfinder: I ran these guys over Yav. Elder and Avenging Druid
    +1 Borderland Ranger: see above
    +1 Meloku the Clouded Mirror: Meloku just does crazy things and is a nice high end card that comes back with Lark.
    +1 Empyrial Archangel: I wanted another Natural Order target
    +1 Knight of the Reliquary: This guy can just be huge, plus finds all the good special lands run in the deck.

    -1 Aura of Silence/+1 Aura Shards
    -1 Circle of Protection Red/+1 Sphere of Law
    -1 Faerie Macabre/+1 Loaming Shaman
    -1 Heartwood Storyteller/+1 Bitter Blossom
    -1 Ghost-Lit Stalker/+1 Flash Flood
    +1 Pernicious Deed
    Using my list as a base cards that I would consider cutting are:
    Fact or Fiction – I never really needed the Card Advantage
    Sterling Grove - I didn’t mean to play it in the first place
    Sylvan Library – This is a hard card to use effectively in the current metagame. I would prefer to drop something that can block on turn 2.

    Cards I would consider:
    Wild Mongrel – Can be great with Living Death and other reanimation spells, Also blocks and is a green guy to sac for Natural Order
    Maelstrom Pulse – I had cut this for Mystical Tutor
    Pernicious Deed – I’m on the fence with this still
    Nekrataal – good with Recurring Nightmare
    Harmonic Sliver – another CiP guy
    Angel of Despair- I’d likely have to cut the Archangel
    Ancestors Chosen – Another gain life guy if you want to go with a heavier grave theme, better in the side
    Spike Weaver – I’d just like to test him in the format, but may not be worth it

  3. Heya dragonbgx! I think we both use Krovikan Horror over Squee, Goblin Nabob since Krov has more in-game impact (that was my reasoning at least). Squee is very good (don’t get me wrong), but between reanimation and Genesis we won’t be going crazy with Squee. He might make a good sideboard inclusion versus Control, but if you play him main deck I am sure you’ll still be happy with his performance. :)

    Plat- I’ll need some time to craft a proper response. Also, I am still missing Survival (so not testing yet)!

    Zwick- I made some changes. I’ll keep you guys updated and post an interim list when I do BelcherGrind videos.

    Cheers everyone!

  4. I didn’t forget about Squee. I just don’t think he is auto-include for this format. Squee is pretty crappy if you draw him in this deck without survival and you are not guaranteed to get survival in any given game. If this were a 60 card 4x card format maybe squee would be auto-include because you are nearly guaranteed to get survival every game. Krovikan Horror functions nearly the same and has more impact when drawn without survival as Chris already mentioned. Survival is plenty good on its own and doesn’t really require Squee.

    In reanimator Squee is decent because there are numerous cards that combo with squee instead of just one as in this deck.

  5. Nice job Chris, perhaps one day i learn how to play, and them someone will call me to write something. Meanwhile I will learn reading your articles. Trolls’ too, but don’t tell him please. XD XD XD

  6. I played a game with RecZur and have talked to trolls (who is playing Green-White-Black RecSur), and we both are happy with the abilities of the package. Maybe Survival is going to be Green’s answer to Goblin Recruiter. It seems like Blue doesn’t add a lot to the deck, so 3 color may be the way to go. (You only really miss Zur and Mystical Tutor. I may also try Oath of Ghouls main over Oversold (and move the Oversold to the SB).

    el_fake: :P Glad to see you around! I won’t tell trolls, but I fear you may have just told him yourself…

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