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Hello & welcome to this weekly deck tech! This week we’re looking into a pillar of the Legacy format: Elves. So far we’ve talked about Merfolk & Goblins in the past few weeks as decks that can be both played in Modern & Legacy; I wanted to keep the ball rolling and explore yet another archetype that spreads across the formats. Elves has been a top tier deck in Legacy ever since the Lorwyn blocks and can be very cheap to build (if you don’t buy Gaea’s Cradle, which are very expensive, but they are really good to be honest). Let’s jump right into it, and at the end I’ll talk about how to make some changes to make the deck modern-legal.
Craterhoof is the finisher of the deck & pretty much your only goal. The deck is considered a combo deck because of all the crazy interactions your cards will have and the speed of it. The end goal each game is too go crazy, ramp up & tutor your single Craterhoof for the win. We’ll see how you get to that point but that’s pretty much your only win condition.
An Elves deck wouldn’t be the same without the good old Llanowar Elves! You need mana dorks because you rely heavily on playing some elves & creatures. The deck plays very little lands (between 16 & 18 usually) so you need to cast as many mana dorks as possible, as quickly as possible.
Another Mana Dork
Elvish Mystic is pretty much the same as Llanowar Elves, serving as another mana dork to accelerate your game and put as many elves on the battlefield.
Yet Another Mana Dork
This is the last one, I promise. Deathrite Shaman is just such a good mana dork that can screw over Loam decks while giving you mana, as well as interact with graveyards in general, gaining you life & pinging your opponent. It’s just a very versatile card, on top of being an elf!
Not Technically a Mana Dork
With this guy you can get mana from your elves the turn they come into play, which is awesome and helps you accelerate way faster. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s a very good card in the deck, really.
Not Technically a Mana Dork 2: Electric Boogaloo
Pretty much the same than Rangers, but on steroids. This card lets you generate big mana quickly, even the turn when your creatures come into play. I know this might not seem too crazy either, but by the end of the deck tech you’ll understand why these cards are so good.
Let’s Start Over
Here you can bounce a forest to your hand to untap an elf. It seems like it would set you back but since the deck plays so few lands you might find yourself missing a land drop so in that situation you can use a forest for mana, bounce it, play it again and tap it one more time, on top of untapping a mana dork, netting you 4 mana. This card isn’t CRAZY, but it does provide that little extra ramp to be honest.
I Swear, I’m a Elf
Similar to Quirion Ranger, but this time you bounce an elf. You might wonder “why would i bounce a creature??” but trust me, this card is VERY good! There is a good reason why people play this non-elf in an elf deck. Just think of the fact that with Heritage Druid & Birchlore Rangers you can tap your creatures with summoning sickness for mana; just use your creatures, bounce them, use some of the mana generated to replay them, use them again & so on.
Putting it All Together
This is it. This is the card that let’s go get so much mana, so quickly. Just think about it for a few seconds, we’ve been talking about tapping all your elves, bouncing them, replaying them, but there was something missing to go overboard. This is the card. While you do all of that, if you have 2 or 3 Nettle Sentinels on the field they’ll get to untap every single time you cast a spell, which means that with a Heritage Druid, you net yourself 3 mana for every spell you cast. So this is how you end up with HUGE amount of mana.
Using All That Mana
Now that we’ve seen how to generate tons of mana, you might ask yourself “what if I can’t do anything with my mana?” or “what if I don’t have enough creatures to really go off?”. Don’t despair, Glimpse of Nature is here for you. With some Nettle Sentinels & Heritage Druids you’re netting yourself some good mana for every spell you cast, and with Glimpse, you’re drawing cards for every spell you cast; making sure your hand stays full so that you can keep playing more & more spells. Usually if you can resolve a Glimpse of Nature, the game should end on the same turn.
Finding Big Mama
This is pretty simple; generate tons of mana, find your Craterhoof, play it and win. This can also help you find other things if necessary, even some Dryad Arbors or something. It’s just a very versatile card that can help you in many situations and usually assures you the win when cast.
What if Big Mama is Gone?
Let’s say for some reason your opponent was able to deal with Craterhoof before you can play it, then you need another plan. Shaman of the Pack does that; just play all those nice little elves and then cast 2 or 3 Shaman of the Pack to drain them for a good amount of health. It usually works to finish the game but Craterhoof should be your number 1 plan.
The plan is somewhat similar: play as many elves as possible. The only difference is that you’ll play Ezuri, Renegade Leader as a finisher instead of Craterhoof Behemoth, with some Elvish Archdruids, Dwynen’s Elite & Elvish Visionary instead of the Birchlore Rangers, Glimpse of Nature & Quirion Ranger. Also you’ll play some Chord of Calling instead of Green Sun’s Zenith and try to fit in some Collected Company instead of Deathrite Shaman (sadly it’s banned in modern…). So you just play a bunch of elves & make them trample over with Ezuri, it’s that simple, with the Shaman of the Pack back-up as well.
That’s it for this week! I hope you guys enjoyed the deck tech as much as I did. If I missed anything let me know. I’ll see you guys next week for another deck tech!
When you see this card, you often know that there’s a combo coming. Anything that taps to make a creature like Grenzo or the like can just swarm the board, leading to a huge army that with haste can just end the game. If this card is in your deck it’s going to be a combo piece one way or another, which is partly a reason why I don’t play with it much. But hey, if two card combos are your thing, Intruder Alarm is one of the premier blue combo enchantments out there.
Drafted the Gearhulk, Miner, and Expertise, others came from my prize packs. Consulate Turret actually looks really nice in foil! and there was an abandoned Baral so uh I guess I now have all the AER legendary creatures