When I first got back into Magic about two years ago, the first Modern deck I built was a classic elf brew. The deck was your standard affair with staples such as Heritage Druid, Elvish Archdruid and Ezuri, Renegade Leader, teamed up with Collected Company and Chord of Calling to flood the board full of pointy eared forest dwellers. These elves served me well during many PPTQ’s, and although I have moved on to other projects, I still have a soft spot for them. However, recently I was inspired to revisit me beloved elves, and the reason was surprisingly because of a Merfolk!
Just over a month ago I watched Jimmy and Josh from the Command Zone battle Christine Sprankle and Ashlen Rose on episode 11 of Game Knights. They were battling with the new multi-coloured Legendry’s from Ixalan, and if you haven’t seen it yet I would highly recommend giving it a watch (if only to see Jimmy and Josh’s attempt at cosplaying). Josh took command of Tishana, Voice of Thunder, but instead of building a Merfolk tribal deck he went ahead and created an Elf deck. His logic was sound. Tishana doesn’t have any Merfolk synergies to speak of, and instead cares about getting a lot of creatures on the battlefield. This then allows Tishana to draw you a ton of cards to resupply your hand. Although Josh didn’t win, he did show how crazy mass card draw can be in an elf deck. This got me thinking. Would this strategy work in Modern? Well, never been one to let an idea rest I set to work brewing. The result is a combo/aggro deck that can resupply and rebuild very quickly, and will more often than not overwhelm your opponent’s defences before they can react. So if you’re looking for an alternative to Abzan Elves, then read on.
If you have ever played, or played against Modern Elves then the base if this deck won’t be all that surprising. The deck runs playsets of Llanowar Elves and Elvish Mystic, as well as Heritage Druid and Nettle Sentinel for speedy mana acceleration. The hope is that we can then follow them up with a turn two Elvish Archdruid, which will provide the necessary mana for either a Craterhoof Behemoth or one of our Ezuri, Renegade Leader, which function as our win conditions. The deck also runs a playset of Dwynen’s Elite to quickly increase the number of elves on the board. Additionally, the deck runs three Joraga Warcaller and a single Elvish Champion to help pump the team, with the added benefit of Forestwalk if the opportunity arises. The last two mainstays of the deck are two Chord of Calling and a full playset of Collected Company.
Most other builds of elves are either Green/Black or Green/White, making use of Shaman of the Pack or the Devoted Druid/Vizier of Remedies combo respectively. This is where we shift from conventional wisdom with two copies of Tishana, Voice of Thunder. Thanks to the large amount of mana our elves can produce casting Tishana should be no issue, and when she arrives we draw a ton of cards. This allows us to refuel our hand, as well as dig through our deck to find our win conditions. We also run two Distant Melody (a mainstay of Pauper Elves) for addition mass card draw, and a single copy of Growing Rites of Itlimoc. The mana base is fairly straight forward with playsets of Botanical Sanctum and Misty Rainforest, with two Breeding Pool for fetching. Two Hinterland Harbor provides additional fixing, and a single Westvale Abbey works as an alternative win condition. We round out the mana base with a single Island and four Forests.
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Heritage Druid
4 Nettle Sentinel
3 Joraga Warcaller
4 Dwynen’s Elite
4 Elvish Archdruid
2 Ezuri, Renegade Leader
1 Elvish Champion
1 Craterhoof Behemoth
2 Tishana, Voice of Thunder
1 Growing Rites of Itlimoc
The sideboard is as always high customizable depending on the local meta. I like to include a copy of Reclamation Sage and Fracturing Gust to handle Affinity, as well as two Scavenging Ooze and a Grafdigger’s Cage to battle against graveyard decks. Melira, Sylvok Outcast is good if we come up against Infect, and pairs up brilliantly with the Kitchen Finks that we bring in to battle Burn. Surgical Extraction and Phyrexian Revoker are solid sideboard options in any deck, and since we are in Blue, two Negate and one Dispel function as our counter spells. Finally, we will take a single copy of Flight to allow Tishana take to the skies if the ground becomes to gummed up.
And there you have it, a deck I like to call Mer-Elves. The deck is a ton of fun to play, providing all the explosive aggression of a traditional elf deck with powerful card draw effects. But what do you think? Is this a deck you are interested in trying for yourself? Why not get in touch and let us know in the comments below. If you have enjoyed today’s article and want to read more, why not like and subscribe to keep up to date on the latest articles from us here at Master of Magics. But until next time remember, Good Look and Have Fun.