It's always interesting when we get a new Planeswalker that challenges the rules a little bit, and newcomer Tyvar Kell is a great example. For the most part, my deckbuilding follows the restrictions of EDH—just imagine that the Planeswalker is something like a General. If I have something like Nissa Revane, the deck is Mono Green, even if, as discussed previously, the original version of Nissa was based on a B/G version of the character from the Duels of the Planeswalkers video game. Nissa Revane doesn't have a Green mana symbol on her, so the deck doesn't have Black. Tyvar, then, presents us with an interesting conundrum.

He's a mono Green card that heavily incentivizes adding Black because of his ability. Should I stick to the orthodoxy that has guided the construction of these other decks, or bend a bit to accommodate a more flavorfully interesting Planeswalker? 

I'm pleased to report that we bent the rules on this one! I might have felt differently if there were a bunch of Elf-centric B/G Planeswalkers already, but the ability to open up some previously closed off design space— especially concerning a huge tribe like Elves—is too exciting to ignore!

Let's see what a Black/Green Elves deck looks like: 

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Tyvar Kell by Andy Hurst

'Tyvar Kell' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Andy Hurst

Event:

Rank:

Freeform (Casual)

Market Price: $27.31

Cards

Tyvar Kell

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $9.34

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230211_200w.jpg

Elves you control have "{T}: Add {B}."
+1: Put a +1/+1 counter on up to one target Elf. Untap it. It gains deathtouch until end of turn.
0: Create a 1/1 green Elf Warrior creature token.
−6: You get an emblem with "Whenever you cast an Elf spell, it gains haste until end of turn and you draw two cards."

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaldheim/tyvar-kell

Skemfar Shadowsage

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230204_200w.jpg

When Skemfar Shadowsage enters the battlefield, choose one —
• Each opponent loses X life, where X is the greatest number of creatures you control that have a creature type in common.
• You gain X life, where X is the greatest number of creatures you control that have a creature type in common.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaldheim/skemfar-shadowsage

Return Upon the Tide

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230727_200w.jpg

Return target creature card from your graveyard to the battlefield. If it's an Elf, create two 1/1 green Elf Warrior creature tokens.
Foretell {3}{B} (During your turn, you may pay {2} and exile this card from your hand face down. Cast it on a later turn for its foretell cost.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaldheim/return-upon-the-tide

Prowess of the Fair

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.23

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/231252_200w.jpg

Whenever another nontoken Elf is put into your graveyard from the battlefield, you may create a 1/1 green Elf Warrior creature token.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/commander-kaldheim/prowess-of-the-fair

Broken Wings

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230182_200w.jpg

Destroy target artifact, enchantment, or creature with flying.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaldheim/broken-wings

Elvish Fury

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/190629_200w.jpg

Buyback {4} (You may pay an additional {4} as you cast this spell. If you do, put this card into your hand as it resolves.)
Target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/modern-horizons/elvish-fury

Elvish Warmaster

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $1.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230124_200w.jpg

Whenever one or more other Elves enter the battlefield under your control, create a 1/1 green Elf Warrior creature token. This ability triggers only once each turn.
{5}{G}{G}: Elves you control get +2/+2 and gain deathtouch until end of turn.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaldheim/elvish-warmaster

Reclamation Sage

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/231255_200w.jpg

When Reclamation Sage enters the battlefield, you may destroy target artifact or enchantment.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/commander-kaldheim/reclamation-sage

Gilt-Leaf Ambush

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/15505_200w.jpg

Create two 1/1 green Elf Warrior creature tokens. Clash with an opponent. If you win, those creatures gain deathtouch until end of turn. (Each clashing player reveals the top card of their library, then puts that card on the top or bottom. A player wins if their card had a higher converted mana cost. Any amount of damage a creature with deathtouch deals to a creature is enough to destroy it.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/lorwyn/gilt-leaf-ambush

Cast Down

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/226354_200w.jpg

Destroy target nonlegendary creature.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/commander-legends/cast-down

Eyeblight Assassin

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227070_200w.jpg

When Eyeblight Assassin enters the battlefield, target creature an opponent controls gets -1/-1 until end of turn.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/commander-legends/eyeblight-assassin

Wilt

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212274_200w.jpg

Destroy target artifact or enchantment.
Cycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/ikoria-lair-of-behemoths/wilt

Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230466_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaldheim/swamp

Koma's Faithful

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230171_200w.jpg

Lifelink
When Koma's Faithful dies, each player mills three cards. (To mill a card, a player puts the top card of their library into their graveyard.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaldheim/komas-faithful

Unclaimed Territory

Market Price: $1.71

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212478_200w.jpg

As Unclaimed Territory enters the battlefield, choose a creature type.
{T}: Add {C}.
{T}: Add one mana of any color. Spend this mana only to cast a creature spell of the chosen type.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/commander-2020/unclaimed-territory

Skemfar Avenger

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.41

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230489_200w.jpg

Whenever another nontoken Elf or Berserker you control dies, you draw a card and you lose 1 life.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaldheim/skemfar-avenger

Nameless Inversion

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/98604_200w.jpg

Changeling (This card is every creature type.)
Target creature gets +3/-3 and loses all creature types until end of turn.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/modern-masters-2015/nameless-inversion

Canopy Tactician

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.76

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/229267_200w.jpg

Other Elves you control get +1/+1.
{T}: Add {G}{G}{G}.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaldheim/canopy-tactician

King Harald's Revenge

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230459_200w.jpg

Until end of turn, target creature gets +1/+1 for each creature you control and gains trample. It must be blocked this turn if able.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaldheim/king-haralds-revenge

Struggle for Skemfar

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230886_200w.jpg

Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature you control. Then that creature fights up to one target creature you don't control. (Each deals damage equal to its power to the other.)
Foretell {G} (During your turn, you may pay {2} and exile this card from your hand face down. Cast it on a later turn for its foretell cost.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaldheim/struggle-for-skemfar

Elvish Warrior

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/93632_200w.jpg

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/duel-decks-anthology/elvish-warrior

Sylvan Messenger

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/231264_200w.jpg

Trample (This creature can deal excess combat damage to the player or planeswalker it's attacking.)
When Sylvan Messenger enters the battlefield, reveal the top four cards of your library. Put all Elf cards revealed this way into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/commander-kaldheim/sylvan-messenger

Gnarlroot Trapper

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.34

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/100239_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life: Add {G}. Spend this mana only to cast an Elf creature spell.
{T}: Target attacking Elf you control gains deathtouch until end of turn. (Any amount of damage it deals to a creature is enough to destroy it.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/magic-origins/gnarlroot-trapper

Eyeblight Massacre

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/231216_200w.jpg

Non-Elf creatures get -2/-2 until end of turn.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/commander-kaldheim/eyeblight-massacre

Tainted Wood

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $1.76

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/132182_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{T}: Add {B} or {G}. Activate this ability only if you control a Swamp.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/commander-anthology/tainted-wood

Forest

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230468_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G}.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaldheim/forest

Binding the Old Gods

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.32

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230118_200w.jpg

(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I — Destroy target nonland permanent an opponent controls.
II — Search your library for a Forest card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library.
III — Creatures you control gain deathtouch until end of turn.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaldheim/binding-the-old-gods

Elderfang Disciple

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230382_200w.jpg

When Elderfang Disciple enters the battlefield, each opponent discards a card.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaldheim/elderfang-disciple

Harald, King of Skemfar

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230305_200w.jpg

Menace (This creature can't be blocked except by two or more creatures.)
When Harald, King of Skemfar enters the battlefield, look at the top five cards of your library. You may reveal an Elf, Warrior, or Tyvar card from among them and put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaldheim/harald-king-of-skemfar

Elderleaf Mentor

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230446_200w.jpg

When Elderleaf Mentor enters the battlefield, create a 1/1 green Elf Warrior creature token.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaldheim/elderleaf-mentor

Recover

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/155779_200w.jpg

Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.
Draw a card.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/rivals-of-ixalan/recover

Wirewood Lodge

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $5.79

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/93675_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{G}, {T}: Untap target Elf.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/duel-decks-anthology/wirewood-lodge

Gilt-Leaf Winnower

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227071_200w.jpg

Menace (This creature can't be blocked except by two or more creatures.)
When Gilt-Leaf Winnower enters the battlefield, you may destroy target non-Elf creature whose power and toughness aren't equal.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/commander-legends/gilt-leaf-winnower

Shaman of the Pack

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.23

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/231259_200w.jpg

When Shaman of the Pack enters the battlefield, target opponent loses life equal to the number of Elves you control.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/commander-kaldheim/shaman-of-the-pack

Roots of Wisdom

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230219_200w.jpg

Mill three cards, then return a land card or Elf card from your graveyard to your hand. If you can't, draw a card. (To mill a card, put the top card of your library into your graveyard.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaldheim/roots-of-wisdom

Harald Unites the Elves

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230379_200w.jpg

(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I — Mill three cards. You may put an Elf or Tyvar card from your graveyard onto the battlefield.
II — Put a +1/+1 counter on each Elf you control.
III — Whenever an Elf you control attacks this turn, target creature an opponent controls gets -1/-1 until end of turn.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaldheim/harald-unites-the-elves

Skemfar Elderhall

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230532_200w.jpg

Skemfar Elderhall enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {G}.
{2}{B}{B}{G}, {T}, Sacrifice Skemfar Elderhall: Up to one target creature you don't control gets -2/-2 until end of turn. Create two 1/1 green Elf Warrior creature tokens. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaldheim/skemfar-elderhall

Masked Admirers

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/231238_200w.jpg

When Masked Admirers enters the battlefield, draw a card.
Whenever you cast a creature spell, you may pay {G}{G}. If you do, return Masked Admirers from your graveyard to your hand.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/commander-kaldheim/masked-admirers

Eyeblight's Ending

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/118764_200w.jpg

Destroy target non-Elf creature.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/eternal-masters/eyeblights-ending

Elvish Skysweeper

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/132029_200w.jpg

{4}{G}, Sacrifice a creature: Destroy target creature with flying.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/commander-anthology/elvish-skysweeper

Twinblade Assassins

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.26

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/231268_200w.jpg

At the beginning of your end step, if a creature died this turn, draw a card.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/commander-kaldheim/twinblade-assassins

The Game Plan

We're not reinventing the wheel here. Play Elves. Don't stop doing that. Also attack with them. I'm excited to try out some Black Elves; there's usually not too much cause to run them, so hopefully they'll get to shine in this deck! Now that we have a B/G Planeswalker to incentivize us, the tribe's contributions from Lorwyn, Morningtide, Magic Origins, and now Kaldheim have a great stage to see some play. 

Speaking of Magic Origins, two of our better knockout punches come to us from that set. Sylvan Messenger and Shaman of the Pack can provide a nice refill of cards and some reach, respectively. We're also able to make use of some potent downshifted cards in Masked Admirers and Gilt-Leaf Winnower (from Modern Masters and Commander Legends), which offer resilient threats that can leave us ahead on cards. 

If we can land it early, Prowess of the Fair ensures that we can get ahead in any game going long. Sure, our Elf tokens won't make more tokens, but we also have plenty of real Elves, so we can expect several leftovers. Our removal can be a touch clunky sometimes, but the fact that the Eyeblight's Endings and the Nameless Inversion are themselves Elves can sometimes trigger effects. Remember, we get all of those if they get revealed with the aforementioned Sylvan Messenger

I know it seems fairly straightforward, but Eyeblight Massacre can really swing games around. A one-sided effect like Infest can allow you to make a big attack, shrink the opposing board after combat to decimate the remains, or get back to parity. 

The Rares

Is it slightly disappointing that this can only give us one extra Elf per turn? I suppose, but let's not overthink it. We've got a 2-drop that will help us go wider, it will likely give us a token every turn since our whole creature base is tribally related, and it provides us with a massive game ending payoff. And all of this is on a 2-drop. An excellent package, and we'll be thrilled to see this every game. 

Maybe this ends up going a little overboard and kills us every once in a blue moon...but hey, that's Black card advantage for you. Like many different Midnight Reaper effects, the more likely outcome is that this will bury our opponents in cards. Our deck is already filled with creatures and wants to attack—it'll hardly ever mind trading, or even throwing, creatures into the meat grinder to get the benefits! Pay attention to your life total. As we learned in Magic years ago, card advantage matters...but the last point of life does, too. 

I wanted a Lord in here, and choosing the Tactician allows me to do so, while also going out and getting one of the new cards. As a 4-drop, I'm not sure how valuable the mana addition will be, but I suppose at the very least it combos with the Warmaster to guarantee that I can power it up the following turn. Yay Lords! 

I adore Sagas. They're incredibly flavorful, the art is almost always stunning and unique, and the gameplay is super fun. This one is brand new from Kaldheim, and provides quite the payoff for our Elves theme! Something to keep in mind here is that most decks in this project aren't filled with ways to bring back the Planeswalker itself if something kills it; in fact, many of them have no way to do this at all. But note that this Saga can bring Tyvar back, should the worst happen. The last ability should also be enough to push you over the top in a close game, or serve the function of a time bomb that forces your opponent into disastrous combats just to avoid losing to it. Thanks for the memories, Harald! 

Unsung Hero

I alluded to it above, and I've touched on this before, but Downshifts are one of my favorite things about this project. Limiting the number of available Rares can make card choices difficult, and when cards get Downshifted—especially ones I think are interesting and want to play—it's very exciting. Just on its face, a 5-mana 4/3 Menace with the meaningful creature type is something we'd probably consider playing. But once you throw in the Shriekmaw ability, it becomes something we've just gotta have. 

There will be frustrating game spots where you want to kill a big creature but it happens to be a 7/7, not a 7/6. That said, there might also be a time when you really need to kill that Rorix Bladewing, and the Winnower will be there for you. And hey, if you're staring down an Avatar of Woe, Nekrataal/Shriekmaw/Bone Shredder can't save you. The Winnower only has eyes for the imperfection of asymmetrical Power and Toughness. The wins you get because Winnower bailed you out of a tough jam are more satisfying than the other wins. And if someone tells you that how you win doesn't matter, well. The Standard queues are over there. Planeswalker Deck battles definitely have style points.