Elves has been one of the strongest tribes in Magic for, well, as long as there have been actual tribes in Magic. It’s a powerful Legacy deck and one that only bannings could stop from taking over Modern as well. Origins brought a number of interesting Elves to Standard, but the deck never really took off and was missing some of the critical pieces.
A critical mass of early creatures is key for Elves. In the past, with access to cards like Llanowar Elves and Elvish Mystic, green decks were always equipped with the boost they needed. Now, Gnarlroot Trapper pushes hard in the direction of the Elf tribe if you want that early accelerator. The rest of your ramp comes out on turn 2, but you have access to Beastcaller Savant and Leaf Gilder, who have the benefits of haste and an extra point of power, respectively.
The payoffs come from cards like Dwynen’s Elite to help you flood the board. This turns Dwynen, Gilf-Leaf Daen into a very real threat. Shaman of the Pack, however, is the key card. Flooding the board often doesn’t do much in the face of bigger creatures, but Shaman throws everything for a loop. A bunch of 1/1 creatures getting brickwalled isn’t such a bad place to be when you have Fireballs equal to your creatures in play.
That means you only need ways to find creatures and more Shamans to tie the deck together. Collected Company is great, of course, but Sylvan Messenger also puts in serious work when you can profit 1-3 cards regularly.
The real hidden gem out of this deck that I’ve never seen utilized is Foul-Tongue Shriek. You already want access to as many Shaman of the Packs as you can to finish your opponents off, but this gives you access to additional copies of a similar ability and for only 1 mana. Shriek can completely change the tone of a race and potentially buy time when behind to cast your powerful card advantage cards.
Of note is that this is a World Magic Cup deck, so it was part of a Team Unified Constructed deck where all 3 decks combined had to be Standard legal. While this doesn’t impact any of the actual spells in the deck, and it does have Windswept Heath, a better mana base exists without as many painlands when you have access to more fetches.
By Aleksa Telarov, Team Serbia – Top 16 at the World Magic Cup