Tribal decks are always fun to mess around with, but very few turn out to be competitively viable. Elves is a tribe that has long been viable in just about every format that has access to an abundance of Elf creatures: Vintage, Pauper, Commander, and even Standard at times. Today’s deck is all about Modern elves. Back in the day there was a deck called Elfball. The goal was to be able to produce 21 mana and the cast a massive Fireball targeting your opponent. By today’s standards this combo is actually a little slow, plus we have access to much better game ending cards now.
Elf creatures are know for doing one thing very well: producing mana. A lot of elves out there can somehow produce at least 1 mana. Of course there are some that can’t, but there are some merfolk, fish people, out there that can fly while a majority can’t. I don’t know how that works; I guess islandwalk was too unfair. Anyway, getting back on track, in the 1 drop slot is the ever classic Llanowar Elves, his younger brother Elvish Mystic, and the odd ball of this 1 mana trio, Heritage Druid. Llanowar Elves has been in Magic since the beginning but Elvish Mystic has only been around for the past 7 years and in terms of stats and abilities is exactly the same as Llanowar Elves. Why, you ask? Because you can’t run 8 copies of Llanowar Elves. Heritage Druid has the same power/toughness stats, but it can only produce mana by tapping three elves which incidentally produces 3 mana so in the end it equals out that each elf you tap still produces at least 1 mana regardless if that particular elf can produce mana or not.
In the 2 drop slot is Dwynen’s Elite, Elvish Clancaller, and Elvish Visionary. None of these elves can produce mana on their own, but they do give some nice advantages. Dwynen’s Elite is already a 2/2 for 2 mana, but if you control another Elf when it comes into play, you get a 1/1 elf token, so 3 power and 2 bodies for 2 mana, pretty good. Elvish Clancaller is a 1/1 for 2 mana, but gives a +1/+1 boost to all of your other elves. You can also pay 6 mana and tap it to search your library for another Elvish Clancaller and put it straight into play. That may seem like an expensive ability, and it is, but this is Elves after all so they can pay for that rather easily. The last card in this slot is Elvish Visionary, a 1/1 for 2 mana that draws you a card when it comes into play.
At the top of the deck is Elvish Archdruid, and Ezuri, Renegade Leader. Elvish Archdruid is also an Elf lord that grants a +1/+1 boost. You can also tap him to add 1 green mana for each Elf you control. That’s right, this card is capable of producing 6 mana or possibly even more on its own. Ezuri, Renegade Leader serves as one of the win conditions for this deck. He is a 2/2 for 3 mana which is not great, but for a single green mana he can regenerate any Elf, or you can pay 5 mana to give all Elves +3/+3 and trample until end of turn. To help the deck get more creatures into play, the deck runs Collected Company. For 4 mana, you can look at the top 6 cards of your library and select two creatures that cost 3 mana or less and put them into play. The big win condition is Craterhoof Behemoth, a 5/5 creature for a massive 8 mana that also has haste and it gives each creature +X/+X and haste and trample where X is the number of creatures you control. If this resovles, it’s game over.
The shell of modern elves should look like the following:
Llanowar Elves x4
Elvish Mystic x4
Heritage Druid x4
Elvish Clancaller x4
Elvish Visionary x4
Dwynen’s Elite x4
Elvish Archdruid x4
Ezuri, Renegade Leader x2-4
Collected Company x4
Craterhoof Behemoth x2-4
This is one of the few decks that can get away with running less than 20ish lands. Some versions only run 16. This is also a mana base that does not need fetch lands, just basic forests. You can use a few copies of Pendelhaven and Castle Garenbrig as utility lands if you want. I wouldn’t go over 2 copies of each though. Pandelhaven is Legendary so you can only have one in play at a time and Castle Garenbrig comes in tapped unless you control a forest. Going over 2 copies is just asking for trouble.
This is a creature based deck so a well timed board wipe from an opponent could be game over. Be careful not to overplay your hand in those games. That wraps up modern elves. What deck do you want to see next? Let me know in the comments down below.