GRN Standard: Ghalta Elves

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

If you would like to see this deck in action, I’ll be streaming it on Arena at 12 pm MST October 20th at

Guilds of Ravnica Standard has been shaping up to be one of the coolest standard formats in a very long time. One of the decks that popped up in a recent 5-0 list was, surprisingly, elf tribal. The list looked odd at first, but the more I thought about it the more I liked it. Elves have had a lot of powerful cards printed for the tribe in the past few sets. Cards such as Steel Leaf Champion and Thorn Lieutenant are both seeing play purely because of how strong they are individually. How many cards are there that support this archetype, and is it even worth attempting elf tribal? Let’s find out!

Image result for llanowar elves art

Starting off with one of the most iconic cards in Magic we have Llanowar Elves. This unassuming common was once deemed to be too powerful for standard, but is currently on probation. Llanowar Elves is one of the main reasons to be playing green this season, and our deck is no exception. Elves are all about accelerating their mana as early as possible and nothing does it as well as a turn 1 dork. Other forms of acceleration include Marwyn, the Nurturer, Growing Rites of Itlimoc, and Druid of the Cowl. Having a critical mass of mana allows us to get away with playing far fewer lands than we should, and allows us to cast huge haymaker spells such as Beast Whisperer and Vanquisher’s Banner.

Image result for vanquisher's banner mtggoldfish

Beast Whisperer and Vanquisher’s Banner are notable cards for the elf archetype thanks to the simple keyword of “whenever you cast a creature spell, draw a card”. Elves are infamous for generating far more mana than they have any right to, and being able to effectively use that mana is key to getting the most of the tribe. Legacy elf players have access to the card Glimpse of Nature, a one mana version of this effect, and it is capable of winning the game as early as turn 2. While Vanquisher’s Banner and Beast Whisperer pale in comparison to Glimpse of Nature, the effect is still incredibly powerful 14 years later. Beast Whisperer and Vanquisher’s Banner are pretty similar to Experimental Frenzy, in that if you can untap with it in play, you are likely to win the game.

Image result for steel-leaf champion mtggoldfish

The cards we are drawing aren’t exactly mopey either. Elves have been blessed with a plethora of good rares in the past few sets, leading to cards such as Steel Leaf Champion, Thorn Lieutenant, and Pelt Collector. All of these cards are powerful in their own right and only become more dangerous when put into a synergistic shell. Putting this much beef on the battlefield leads us to our next card, which while not an elf, is still a respected member of the jungle. Ghalta, Primal Hunger is a natural fit in this style of deck and aims to diversify the way this deck attacks the opponent.

Image result for ghalta mtggoldfish

Elves is looking to be the next breakout deck of this standard. While it’s contemporary in Mono-Green Stompy was unable to find a place, elves looks to be on the verge of success. Finding the right balance of synergistic cards and powerful spells is key to the success of any deck in standard, and elves has both fronts covered exceptionally well. Thank you all for reading, I hope you have a great week and an amazing Tuesday!

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