Magical Cards: Legacy Elf Deck

I’ve been playing Magic: The Gathering for a little over 20 years, and wow I bet you are all stunned by this revelation – a Fighting Fantasy blogger also plays Magic: the Gathering? Stop the presses! So the problem was, my girlfriend has been playing for little more than a year. Getting new cards is okay, but I have boxes full of cards that I’d like to occasionally get some use out of. So we needed to make an old school cool deck for her to play. When I asked her what she wanted to play, she said “cute Elf girls” – Great! It’s good to have a starting point. But there’s a funny thing, I just don’t have a large pile of old elf cards. Well, beyond the obvious ones.

Llanowar Elves was the only elf we needed when we walked uphill both way, in the snow, to the game store to play magic! And we had to use batches!

Llanowar Elves was the only elf we needed when we walked uphill both ways, in the snow, to the game store to play Magic! And we had to use batches!

So we needed to get some elves. And preferably good ones. Sorry, Fallen Empires elves.

Less time farming Thallids and more time being useful in combat and you'd all have been in this deck.

Less time farming Thallids and more time being useful in combat and you’d all have been in this deck.

Other criteria were: Affordable, actually wins some games, does interesting things, and Legacy legal. So after we dug around it turned out there was a viable elf strategy after all. Involving this:

Old man Archdruid wants you kids to keep off his lawn, and his friends are here to help with that.

Old man Archdruid wants you kids to keep off his lawn, and his friends are here to help with that.

Let me tell you how it looks coming back after a 10 year break: Magic went a bit bonkers with power creep. But there was now a plan. A simple plan, but also a crazy plan. Here’s the plan: Get lots of elves out, make huge amounts of green mana, do something destructive. I’m old school and I know what destructive mana sink means in green…

Still hilarious good fun for the person casting it after all these years.

Still hilarious good fun for the person casting it after all these years.

What else can you do with mana and a lot of elves?

If you don't understand this game at all, assume this card says "Crush your enemies" and you'll be fine.

If you don’t understand this game at all, assume this card says “Crush your enemies” and you’ll be fine.

Okay that’s cool, anything else?

Technically an elf. The best kind of an elf.

Technically an elf. The best kind of an elf.

Berserk on a stick. That’s good. For my partner. Not for me. But also it’s nice to see this doubling effect on stuff after it was declared “too hard for n00bs” or “this is too powerful” by WOTC back in the 90’s.

"What do you mean I'm redundant now?! Graaaah!"

“What do you mean I’m redundant now?! Graaaah!”

What this deck won’t have is Gaea’s Cradle, because of this:

Ridiculous!

Ridiculous!

As usual, a creature deck is vulnerable to mass removal, so drawing more creatures is good. Lead the Stampede pulls more than one creature from the top five, which enables quick recoveries. Invigorate deals with damage-based removal on small creatures, but there’s no real answer for Swords to Ploughshares and other spot removal than play more creatures. Oh yeah, green is all creatures, all the time. So here’s a cheap and cheerful Legacy Elf Deck.

4 x Lead the Stampede
3 x Overrun
4 x Invigorate
3 x Hurricane

4 x Llanowar Elves
4 x Elvish Mystic
4 x Elvish Archers
4 x Reclamation Sage
4 x Elvish Archdruid
4 x Chameleon Colossus
1 x Yeva, Nature’s Herald
1 x Imperious Perfect

20 x Forest

So, looking at my online card seller of choice (which is American due to availability reasons) that comes to… US$26.20 at the time of me pricing it up last week. Half of which is the Elvish Archdruids, and $2 more is the forests if you need them. Oh sure, it’s not going to win the Pro Tour (mainly because there’s no Legacy Pro Tour), but it’s going to have some good, fun games involving Overrun, gargantuan chameleons, and Hurricane for the win.

Elvish Archers are useful, no matter what people think: First strike is broken when you can pump them for more or less free thanks to Invigorate, making them handy in combat. Reclamation Sage is a bit overcosted for beatdown if you’re casting her with just lands, but mana elves make anything costing 3 come out on turn 2. Plus she’s removal, so she’s not there for the beatdown.

Elvish Archdruid is a super mana elf and turns all your mana elves into better attackers, so that’s good. Imperious Perfect lets you churn out little attackers that immediately get pumped up for the fight while being annoyingly hard to say properly for added comedy value (Adjective Adjective is not a name, we all know it’s not a name, so naturally people will say Perfect instead). Yeva? She’s just handy for playing creatures on opponent’s turns – this is always a good thing. Plus she’s cheap.

So that’s a nice start for a new player to build up. What are the upgrades? Well, there’s an endless supply of interesting small elves and pump spells, and you can totally make this into a land destruction machine easily. But the obvious way to shift it up?

If you want to annoy people, every time you play this sing "Here comes the sun" and don't stop until you're done shuffling.

If you want to annoy people, every time you play this sing “Here comes the sun” and don’t stop until you’re done shuffling.

Green Sun’s Zenith allows a switch from bulk draw to value plays, and the option for more utility elves. That means more comes-into-play effects, or one-of cards to give bonuses such as Elvish Champion and her forestwalk granting powers; or if you have a lot of money Eladamri, Lord of Leaves.

More like Eladamri, Elven Forcefield

More like Eladamri, Elven Forcefield

The list of creatures that help elves out of a jam gets rather long and included non-elf creatures that are worth having one of in this deck, like Craterhoof Behemoth. In fact you could just stick in some super effective, hard to kill huge creature to pull out of the deck or cast with your near-bottomless pool of mana. So let’s move on to… Lands. Hmmmm… I favour avoiding non-basic lands because clearly they’re vulnerable to Wasteland or other hilarious ways to punish people for spending a fortune on small pieces of cardboard. But some cards are so good, like Pendelhaven.

Good enough that the invisible "Wasteland this!" on it is worth the risk.

Good enough that the invisible “Wasteland this!” on it is worth the risk.

…but not only is that a bit pricey, it actually doesn’t work since the goal is to give all our 1/1 creatures bonuses. We’re going for cheap as hell here and want the bonuses from Elf Lords. So how about Heart of Yavimaya?

See that blue number? That's much more realistic.

See that blue number? That’s much more realistic.

Much better. All right, yes, that costs you if someone Wastelands it, but it costs a forest and you don’t need forests – if they’re prioritising your lands when you have mana elves in play, they’re not really going to get anywhere other than Overruntown (this is a real town – seriously, look it up). If you want a land with the potential to save critters and have money to burn then there’s Yavimaya Hollow. Other options are perhaps Wirewood Lodge (it untaps an Elf for one green mana, which can mean doubling the output of an Archdruid or untapping a creature to block with), or Treetop Village, which can turn into a 3/3 creature and hit your opponent in the event of all your creatures dying.

As always, you can put in Homelands lands to mess with your opponent. They’ll be so confused they won’t know what’s going on.

The sheer power!

The sheer power!

You’ll also have trouble casting your spells, and lose outright if you only draw these, but that’s the price you pay for utilising the powerful psychological games that only these lands make possible.

What’s it vulnerable to? Creature removal, obviously (hold back creatures). Things that make you pay costs to attack or stop attacks outright (remove them or get more mana out). Really, this is so old school it’s not really got any particularly odd weaknesses. It’s the same stuff magic was doing in the 90’s, just faster and more of it.

There we have it, a fun starter Legacy Elf Deck for people to put together and change in whatever direction they want to take it. It goes wide with hordes of mana elves psyched up to kill, it can pull a giant creature into play, it blasts opponents to pieces with powerful damage spells.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: