Modern Spotlight: Elves
Now that the SCG Invitational in New Jersey has come to a conclusion, I think it’s a great time to take a look at the winner’s Modern deck.
The impressive thing is not only did Liam Lonergan win the Invitational with Elves, he battled it out to an 11-0 record with the deck (I’m not sure what his Standard record was). Not dropping a match in Modern seems pretty good if you ask me, especially when it’s with an archetype that many would not consider to be incredibly “good” (Elves generally falls as a tier 2 or tier 3 deck choice). Without further ado, here is the list:
Elves may be a deck that plays 34 creatures, but it very much is a combo deck. The trick is to amass an army of cheap creatures, pump them with your “bad lord” (compared to what Merfolk get) in Elvish Archdruid, and then just win the game on the back of Ezuri, Renegade Leader.
The deck does not function when it doesn’t see those previously two mentioned creatures, as it’s mostly just bad 1/1s for one mana, that can make more mana that you probably don’t have anything to do with. Mass removal is also extremely potent, as well as any repeatable method of killing 1 toughness creatures (Darkblast, Izzet Staticaster), against the deck. Lastly, you run into a problem with having zero interactive spells in the main and not very many in the sideboard. Elves very much is one of those glass cannon combo decks in Modern that people love to hate.
The deck is surprisingly resilient against decks trying to trade one for one with you, as Collected Company is amazingly good at gaining card advantage for you and Chord of Calling counts as additional copies of the creatures that really matter. The deck can also be blistering fast, certainly capable of winning on turn 4 with a decent draw, and it can kill on turn 3 when the stars align.
How to Fight It
As stated earlier: the two creatures that really matter to the deck are Ezuri and Archdruid. If you can keep these off the board you will have a much higher chance of winning. Do your best to hold back the swarm of weak creatures while holding removal for these key creatures, and you should hopefully be all set. Other than that, just remember that they are lacking removal spells so you are pretty safe on that front. Be aware that they can go from a reasonable amount of mana to a ridiculous amount very quickly, but Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx is often only a singleton.