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Rallying the Elves in Standard


Hello everyone. I'm a person that mainly sticks to Standard, however there are times when I will venture outside of my comfort zone and try other formats. Since I've been playing Magic for more than a decade, I have a large collection of older cards and have played a small bit of Modern. One of my favorite decks to play in Modern is a deck that features Gilt-Leaf Archdruid alongside other Elf Druid creatures (and Mirror Entity) that attempts to take control of an opponent's lands. For this reason, the Elven tribe has become one of my favorites. Luckily for me, there are a lot of Elves currently in Standard. This week, I have for you three different decks that all feature an Elven Tribal theme. Let's get started.

Mono-Green Elves

The first Elf deck I have is a Mono-Green deck that can attack for a ton of damage in a single turn. Let's take a look at it.

For an explosive victory, you can play Return of the Wildspeaker. This instant will give all of your non-Human creatures a +3/+3 bonus until the end of the turn. Since all of the creatures in this deck are non-Humans, with the exception of Realmwalker, you can attack for a lot of damage on the turn you play Return of the Wildspeaker. If possible, you'll also want to get Garruk's Uprising onto the battlefield. Not only does this enchantment provide you with a means of drawing additional cards, but it also gives all of your creatures trample. That can allow you to win games even when all of your creatures are blocked.

Return of the Wildspeaker isn't the only way to boost your creatures. Heraldic Banner will provide a +1 power boost for each Green creature you control. It can also be tapped to add a Green mana to your mana pool, allowing you some much-loved mana ramping. Another way to boost nearly all of your creatures is by having a copy of Canopy Tactician in play. This 3/3 Elf Warrior gives a +1/+1 boost to every other Elf you control, plus it also can be tapped to provide three Green mana. That mana can be spent to add additional creatures to your side of the battlefield, or to pay the mana requirement of a certain Elf Warrior that can also boost your team.

Of course, I'm talking about Elvish Warmaster. For a mere seven mana, Elvish Warmaster can give a +2/+2 bonus to all of the Elves you control. In addition to this bonus, it also gives them deathtouch. When this deathtouch is combined with the trample that Garruk's Uprising provides, you'll only need to deal a single point of damage to an opponent's creature in order to destroy it. That allows any additional power to trample over to hit the opponent directly. This can be a really satisfying way to defeat your opponent.

Golgari Elves

Next, I have a mostly Green Elf deck, with a splash of Black for added goodness. Let's take a look at the deck.

Golgari Elves | STX Standard | minijunky, deckstats.net user

As you can see, many of the creatures in this deck are the same as in the Mono-Green deck. Jaspera Sentinel, Llanowar Visionary, and Canopy Tactician are all here, providing you with a ton of additional mana. With this mana, you'll be able to bring out a ton of creatures, ensuring that you have numerous Elves in play. You can also use that mana to cast Tyvar Kell. Tyvar Kell has a static ability that allows all of your Elves to be able to tap for a Black mana. His other abilities also help you out by creating 1/1 Elf Warrior creature tokens, giving a +1/+1 counter to an Elf you control, and creating an emblem that allows your Elves to be hasty and allow you to draw additional cards. All in all, he's a very sound addition to a Golgari Elf deck.

By using Tyvar Kell's 0-Loyalty ability, you can create a 1/1 Elf Warrior token. Doing this not only helps to protect Tyvar Kell from your opponent's attacks, but it also has another use. By filling up your battlefield with as many Elves as possible, you'll be able to double the amount of creatures you have in play when you play Elven Ambush. Timing is key when playing this instant, and if you play it on your opponent's turn, you'll be able to attack with each of your newly created Elves. You can also play this after your opponent has tapped all of their mana sources, ensuring that they cannot counter Elven Ambush.

One great way to get Tyvar Kell into play is with the help of Harald Unites the Elves. Chapter One allows you to mill three cards and put any Elf or Tyvar card from your graveyard onto the battlefield for free. Chapter Two adds a +1/+1 counter onto each Elf you control. These counters can allow your Elvish horde to swarm your opponent, going wide to attack for a lot of damage. With Chapter Three of Harald Unites the Elves, simply by attacking, you'll be able to remove your opponent's potential blockers. That helps you swing in easier, dealing that much more damage.

Simic Elves

My final deck this week features an Elf tribe sporting Simic colors. Let's check it out.

Canopy Tactician is the star of the show in this deck. It provides a +1/+1 bonus to every other Elf you have in play, and it can tap to produce three Green mana. Imagine how it would feel if you could have upwards of a dozen or more copies of Canopy Tactician on the battlefield. That's possible with this deck. Glasspool Mimic can enter the battlefield as a copy of a Canopy Tactician that's already in play. Moritte of the Frost can also enter the battlefield as a legendary copy of Canopy Tactician, with a pair of +1/+1 counters on it. Finally, Double Major can create a copy of a creature spell as you cast it. This instant is also useful to copy some of your other, less expensive Elves as well.

Elvish Warmaster is a great creature to create a duplicate of with Double Major. Since Elvish Warmaster will create a 1/1 Elf Warrior creature token whenever another Elf enters the battlefield under your control, but is limited to happening only once per turn, having multiple copies of Elvish Warmaster in play will help you get additional tokens. Those additional tokens will turn into major threats once you have a couple of copies of Canopy Tactician on the battlefield.

The final card I want to talk about is Realmwalker. When this Shapeshifter enters the battlefield, you'll be able to choose a creature type. Obviously, you'll want to choose Elf. For as long as Realmwalker stays in play, you'll be able to look at the top card of your library at any time. If that card happens to be an Elf, you'll be able to cast it from the top of your library. This acts as a great source of virtual card advantage for you.

Wrapping Up

The Elf tribe is a favorite of many players, myself included. Each of these decks utilize many of the best Elves currently in Standard, but each of them plays out a little bit differently because of their mana differences. Do you have one that stands out as your favorite?

What do you think of these decks? Do you have any suggestions for improvements? Let me know by leaving a comment below. Also, feel free to share this article with your friends anywhere on social media. And be sure to join me here again next week as I continue my search for innovative decks in Standard. I'll see you then!

-Mike Likes

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