Elves just continues to evolve. And improve. I've recorded a few sets with Elves in the past and I'm pretty familiar with the deck, so when I saw Beast Whisperer and a full playset of Lead the Stampede make the Top 8 of Grand Prix Portland in the hands of Aren Kasner, I knew I had something I was interested in.
There are a few different ways to go with Elves, from all-in combo to "mostly" combo to the other extreme – this version built to grind. You give up the selection of Chord of Calling, but you get a whole lot in return, with Guilds of Ravnica providing the latest addition.
While some builds of the deck have gone to white for sideboard options plus the Devoted Druid and Vizier of Remedies combo, this built goes in a different direction entirely. Utilizing black mana – even going so deep as Elves of Deep Shadow – this deck makes for some extremely powerful Shaman of the Pack.
Which is exactly where Beast Whisperer comes in. Glimpse of Nature – a card good enough in specifically Elves to be banned in Modern – attached a creature is extremely powerful, especially when that creature happens to be an Elf itself. As the format contorts itself to play reactive cards to beat fast decks like Krark-Clan Ironworks, Dredge or other fast decks, Kasner took advantage by showing up ready to outlast that removal.
Beast Whisperer and Lead the Stampede are the biggest giveaways, but it goes deeper than that as well. Elvish Clancaller represents a threat all by itself if you get to untap with it, and once you add in the already established power of Collected Company, you have a build of Elves that is unlikely to run out of gas in the late game. Horizon Canopy and even Westvale Abbey fit into this gameplan perfectly, making this a very effective take on Elves that might start to creep up more and more. As a deck, Elves actually has quite a few solid matchups, while access to hand and graveyard disruption in the sideboard means the deck stands a chance against the unfair decks of the format at the same time.
Thanks for reading,