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Competitive Modern On A Budget: Elves

Modern Aggro BG (Golgari) Budget Competitive Elves Tribal


Hello everyone, I decided I'd reopen my budget Modern Collection back on tappedout, and deliver what I think would be the best bang for the buck for anyone who is interested in playing Elves in modern and doesn't want to go straight to the tiered lists.

The real question though is WHY PLAY ELVES? the answer lies in what elves are, small creatures that really like to be buddy-buddy with each other, and can pose quite a threat when coupled by Ezuri or a lord.

Overall, modern has had great elf decks in the past, and the ones that are played today are still quite decent, however with cards like Chord of Calling and Collected Company climbing higher in price because of decks like Abzan Chord, the world tournament level decks seem to reach ever higher in price.

However, most of the deck is very cheap, in fact all of the creatures in this list are played in variations of tiered lists, and the sideboard is basically a tiered one, with the exception of a few key cards.

Towards the bottom of this list I have listed the steps to upgrade this list into what you may want to play should you want to put the funds towards this deck's full potential.

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We are playing budget elves, and want to splash black in our manabase for 2 cards we play, since we play only 18 lands, there is a decent chance that we will draw at least one of our splash lands during a game.

Llanowar Wastes: While this card could easily be substituted for the multitude of other Green-Black budget duals, there are a few of reasons this one was chosen.

  1. Being able to be played untapped on turn 1 is huge in this deck, and are duals cant be tap lands if we want to cast Duress on turn 1, or play Shaman of the Pack when we want to.

  2. It is extremely cheap, making it a great card to take out later if you want to upgrade.

  3. Since we want to be winning the game turn 4-5, we really don't care about taking a point of damage on our first few turns, or to cast the spells we need.

Forest: Sometimes a little green is all ya need.

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Elvish Mystic & Llanowar Elves: These linear mana dorks are great at making turn 3 plays happen turn 2. They also help us swarm the board and allow us to only play 18 lands.

Nettle Sentinel: A 2/2 for 1 is always aggressive, and always has a drawback, however when we are farting out 2-3 creatures a turn usually, the drawback is easily acceptable. Also, should you ever get 2 of these and a heritage druid out, you can do some insane things in this deck.

Heritage Druid: This basically makes all elves mana dorks, which is a huge gain when you can activate the ability of Ezuri twice in a single turn and win on the spot.

Dwynen's Elite: The strategy here is to go wide, and any Elf that makes another Elf if we have an elf, is basically a do it yourself army builder.

Reclamation Sage: While this card is far more effecent when used in builds with Chord of Calling, mainboard artifact/enchantment hate in modern is huge, as cards like Ghostly Prison and Ensnaring Bridge can cause huge problems against our deck.

Elvish Visionary: Since our deck is so aggressive, we want to be channeling out threats whenever we can, and the best way to do that is by cycling through our deck while giving us more creatures to go wide with.

Sylvan Messenger: Any card that can basically do what Lead the Stampede does in our deck is fine as a one of. Messenger works great since we aren't as penalized for playing it like we are if we play Lead the Stampede.

Shaman of the Pack: Our main reason to splash black, Shaman allows our deck to be very scary on a lot of boards against a lot of decks, since a deck like Death's Shadow doesn't always expect to lose 8 life without an attack. Shaman also gives us the ability to get free wins with cards like Ensnaring Bridge, or even more rogue cards like Stonehorn Dignitary.

Elvish Archdruid: Elves like Elf Lords, and Archdruid takes the cake. Being able to easily churn out 3-4 mana on most boards turns 2-3, we can start funneling out elves like its 1999, and with cards like Ezuri out, this card becomes a real knockout.

Ezuri, Renegade Leader: He's scary, and with good reason. Ezuri is easily the scariest card that this deck plays most of the time, as Elves can sometimes be thwarted by large creatures from various deck, and with enough removal, are left with nothing but 1/1s. Ezuri solves that problem by being a physical overrun for our deck, giving us an almost combo feel to win some games.

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We only need to play 2 spells besides creatures in our maindeck.

Lead the Stampede: Being a control player, I understand that one of the main weaknesses of this deck is when your opponent plays a Wrath of God, Pyroclasm, or something else of the sort. Having protection from boardwipes also means it's a hand reloader, as there are many times when elf decks fizzle because they didn't draw the one lord they needed.

Overrun: Ezuri is great, but we only really play 2 of him due to price and that he doesn't stack great in hand, meanwhile Overrun can be played along with Ezuri, and is very useful if Ezuri gets discarded, and you need the sweet path to victory. (In other variants of this build, I've seen Triumph of the Hordes be used, but honestly you just need a heavy striker).

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Scavenging Ooze: With decks like dredge running around, you'll want some graveyard hate, and what better card to use that'll synergize with your dorks than scooze!

Reclamation Sage: With fringe decks like enchantment prison (and some other decks as well) you may want another creature you can nab and Naturalize something. This card becomes better if the creature tutors are in the deck.

Phyrexian Revoker: A creature who can prevent an Ugin, the Spirit Dragon or a Gideon Jura from causing issues is great.

Krosan Grip: Being uncountable is huge against decks that use things like Chalice of the Void and Detention Sphere.

Fracturing Gust: Against affinity, bogles, and any other artifact or enchantment based strategy; you can hit easily 5 mana and then blow up their whole board while gaining some life, you can also get rid of any other issues on the board you see.

Evolutionary Leap: Does your opponennt want to use spot removal yo get rid of your creatures? Then sac them to get new ones! Spin the wheel and see what you can get for your board.

Elvish Champion: Good against decks that are green, Champion can shine in the mirror matchup if you are looking to win the game, but is usually for grindier matchups.

Duress: It's no Thoughtseize, but it can shred combos, get rid of boardwipes, and take anything that we don't like thats not a creature from our opponent's hand. (also sometimes information is fantastic)

Choke: For fighting control, if you are lucky and can get this down on turn 2-3, it cans sometimes win you the game.

Chameleon Colossus: Death's Shadow, Gurmag Angler, and Tasigur, the Golden Fang can't stand up to this card (Not without help at least)

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Looking to upgrade?

Take out Lead the Stampede and Overrun for Chord of Calling and Collected Company.

Unbudget the manabase by adding in cards like Windswept Heath and Overgrown Tomb, fetches make duals easier to grab and also cut out more lands so you are more likely to draw gas.

In the sideboard, replace Duress with Thoughtseize, no explanation needed.

If you are looking to go abzan, you can use cards like Selfless Spirit, Gaddock Teeg, and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben with an added Temple Garden or two.

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If you liked this primer and want to see more content like it, feel free to give this deck an upvote and/or leave a comment.

As for suggestions, please try to keep everything constructive, and as a reminder I'm trying to keep this deck below $100.

If you want to check out more brews, builds, and articles, be sure to check out my profile @ Sargeras.

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Compare to inventory
Date added 1 year
Last updated 10 months

This deck is Modern legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.24
Tokens 1/1 Elf Warrior
Folders Uncategorized, Modern, Modern Budget
Ignored suggestions
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Revision 2 See all

1 year ago)

+4 Llanowar Wastes main
+14 Forest main
+3 Overrun main
+4 Lead the Stampede main
+1 Elvish Champion side
+1 Evolutionary Leap side
+1 Chameleon Colossus side
+2 Choke side
+1 Reclamation Sage side
+1 Phyrexian Revoker side
+1 Krosan Grip side
+1 Scavenging Ooze side
+4 Duress side
+2 Fracturing Gust side