Elf Tribal: Pauper

It’s Tuesday O’Clock! Time for a deck tech!

This week is Commander 2017’s release, and with the advent of the 4 new tribal decks, I decided to honor it by detailing a tribal deck in another format. That deck is, of course, Pauper Elves.

Elves are a great tribe that has had cards printed for it since the very beginning of magic. It is a very popular tribe due to how explosively powerful it can be, and pauper elves is no exception. Despite the limitations of only playing with commons, this does not slow down the deck in the slightest. Pauper elves still have access to almost all of the cards seen in the other more expensive versions of the deck, for only a fraction of the price.

When playing elves in Pauper you will probably be asked the question as to why you aren’t playing Stompy? Afterall Stompy is another green based aggro deck that utilizes a lot of the same cards but is seen as the better deck. There are a lot of reasons to run Elf tribal instead, one of the chief reasons is the ability to gain access to all of the Elves matter cards such as Timberwatch Elf, Wellwisher, and Lys Alana Huntmaster. Each of these cards provide powerful effects that decks like Stompy simply don’t have. Another great reason to use Elves over Stompy is the fact that you only need to run 13 lands! Very few decks in the entire existence of magic can claim to a land count that low.

One of the main reasons that Elves can run so few lands is because one of the defining features of Elves is their ability to generate mana on their own. Cards such as the Llanowar Elves, Elvish Mystic, and Fyndhorn Elves allow the deck to produce mana at a much faster rate than your opponent. One of the all stars in the deck for producing mana, however, would have to be Priest of Titania. This single card can allow you to out ramp your opponent even if you have only drawn one land for the entire game. A turn 2 Priest will mean bad things for your opponent if they can’t remove it, and it is quite common for this deck to play out its entire hand by turn 3 or 4 thanks to this single card.

Because of this ability to play out your hand so quickly, it becomes necessary to play cards that can refuel your hand, and one of the best ways to do this is with Distant Melody. If your hand is empty when you are casting this card, you are looking at drawing anywhere from 4-8 cards for just 4 mana, and with all of the mana dorks you have you can just slam it all back on the table! One of the problems with this card, however, is the fact that it is blue so we also have to run cards such as Sylvan Ranger, and Birchlore Rangers in order to ensure the ability to cast Distant Melody.

Once you have amassed a massive board by turn 3-4 you can then turn your attention towards killing your opponent. Luckily for us, we can accelerate this through the use of cards such as Timberwatch Elf, and Wirewood Pride, both of which can give a massive boost to any elf that manages to slip through our opponents defenses. One sneaky thing that is possible through this deck is by using Quirion Ranger to untap your Timberwatch Elf thus allowing you to double up on your pump which usually means lethal.

There is a lot more that could be covered in this deck tech as Elves can be one of the most complicated aggro decks that anyone could choose to play. It may seem simple at first blush, but it is actually a very complicated deck that requires a lot of thought and foresight to be put into every turn. If you are someone who can see all of the potential plays one cna make in a turn, and can quickly find the optimal play, then Elves just might be the deck for you.

Here is a decklist for those of you interested in looking at the full deck. https://www.mtggoldfish.com/archetype/pauper-elves-24395#paper

And here is some gameplay of the deck run by Tomer from MTGGoldfish in his series Playing Pauper. https://www.mtggoldfish.com/articles/playing-pauper-elves.

I hope you enjoyed the deck tech! And as always, have a great week, and an amazing Tuesday!

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