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What are the Top Five Elves in Constructed Magic?

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When I first started playing Magic, I learned by playing with a Black and Green deck using a number of Zombies, Trolls, and a little creature type called Elves. Since then, I was hooked, and found myself jamming powerful Elves in all kinds of decks until finally Onslaught block came out and with it came a whole myriad of Elves. Not only were these creatures good, they were powerful enough that you could make an entire tournament viable deck with them! I was totally hooked, and as time would prove, I wasn't the only one. Elves has proven to be among the most popular creature types in the game.

I've been a major proponent of these little Green duders for years, and at this point have played them in just about every format you can think of. So, this week I'm going to be talking about my picks for the five best Elves in a more general sense, leaning on their utility in Constructed formats. I'll follow it up soon after with another article talking about my picks for the top five in Commander.

With all the intro fun out of the way, let's dive in and rank some elves!

Number Five

Reclamation Sage

When you think of the best elves in Magic, odds are decent that your mind jumps to some big, flashy effect. In my case, I quickly think of something like Wellwisher or Timberwatch Elf - both of which offer huge abilities for a small investment with solid tournament pedigrees. Sometimes, though, all you really need is a simple effect on a respectable body. Case in point: Reclamation Sage.

Few people would think of Rec Sage as one of the greatest elves of all time; it's not flashy or majorly impactful. Despite that, it can provide a massive swing by way of blowing up an opponent's key permanent while also leaving you with a solid body in exchange. This simple effect continues to show up in several formats and in both typal and non-typal decks alike, and is still a rock-solid creature to this day.

Number Four

Allosaurus Shepherd

In a format like Legacy, where you can play almost every card from Magic's entire 30+ year history, it's always impressive when something proves capable of breaking into an established archetype. That's even more true in a deck like Elves that utilizes many of the strongest elf cards ever printed to make a truly cohesive deck. So, when Jumpstart released in 2020 and gave us the mighty Allosaurus Shepherd, it was a big surprise when it single-handedly revived Elves as a viable strategy.

When you look at a format like Legacy, it's well known for its power to counter and answer spells cheaply, if not for free. Allosaurus Shepherd made it that much more difficult for Blue decks to answer your Elves by making all your Elf spells uncounterable. This was already possible with something like Cavern of Souls, but not even remotely on this scale. It proved even more powerful when you factor in the fact that you could activate the Shepherd and make all of your creatures into massive dinosaurs off the back of a Gaea's Cradle. Who needs Craterhoof Behemoth when you can just do it in one handy dork?

Number Three

Heritage Druid

There is no shortage of ways to generate tons of mana with the help of Elves. You have tons of individual mana dorks with some providing just a single mana and others providing ridiculous amounts off the back of Priest of Titania, Elvish Archdruid, and Circle of Dreams Druid. While I do love several of those across multiple formats, few have proved to be as universally impactful as Heritage Druid.

It doesn't generate a whole ton of mana by itself the way those aforementioned cards do, but it makes up for that by how it makes the mana. Each of those creatures have a tap ability (with the tap symbol and all) meaning that unless you grant them haste or wait a turn to use them. Thanks to Heritage Druid not having the tap symbol, it gives it a unique workaround where it can tap itself and other creatures the turn they enter the battlefield. This enables you to churn out tons of Elves and then immediately tap for even more Elves. A remarkably powerful creature that has proven to be an absolute powerhouse in every format it's legal in.

Number Two

Shaman of the Pack

One thing Elves typal decks have really struggled with over the years is finding a way to firmly slam the door and end a game. Certain lists over the years have relied on cards like Craterhoof Behemoth and Ezuri, Renegade Leader to get it done, but often the decks would fall back on lords like Elvish Archdruid or Leaf-Crowned Visionary. Shaman of the Pack was like a line being drawn in the sand going forward, acting as a clear-cut way to end games pretty much instantaneously. That alone enables Elves decks to exist in formats where they otherwise might not, and also decimates Commander games in a flash by utilizing bounce spells as well.

Number One

Llanowar Elves

First place could hardly be anything else. You could argue other Elves are more potent in how they impact games directly compared to a small mana dork, but Llanowar Elves is what enables those big plays. It inspired tons of similar creatures that tap for mana in the decades since Alpha - including two functional reprints in Fyndhorn Elves and Elvish Mystic - but the gold goes to the original. Elves wouldn't be the creature type they are today if it weren't for this one innocuous common from Magic's first ever set. A true classic in every sense of the word.

Paige Smith

Twitter: @TheMaverickGal

Twitch: twitch.tv/themaverickgirl

YouTube: TheMaverickGal


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