This Deck is Born

My Elvish journey in Standard started with the release of Magic Origins and a powerful three drop Elf creature, Shaman of the Pack. She allowed Elves decks in Standard to actually work and possibly be competitive. The first version of this deck was Golgari colors (G/B) and called Golgari Elves. The very first decklist was:June 30, 2015

Chord of Calling

During the first day of playtesting on I came to the conclusion that Thoughtseize is not really needed game 1, but rather games 2 and 3 to take your opponent's board wipes and Planeswalkers. I moved 4x Seize to the sideboard for 4x main deck Chord of Calling. I quickly found out that Chord was bonkers in this deck and with Elves in general. Convoking a Chord for six to get Shaman was easy for this deck and extremely powerful.June 30, 2015

Woodland Bellower

Adding Bellower gave this deck a fantastic one of Chord target since he can find and put Shaman directly into play. At the time I could convoke a Chord for 9 using my Elves on the battlefield and lands to get a Bellower which was a powerful play, but I realized much later that Bellower really does cost too much to reliably play in this deck.July 1, 2015

Sylvan Messenger

The name Messenger Elves is born. At first I wasnt playtesting with Messenger at all. Someone in the comments section recommended that I add some Messengers because Chord can get her and since then I haven't looked back. I Added 4x Messenger to the deck and took out 4x Company.July 5, 2015

First Sideboard

Up until now I wasn't using a sideboard in my playtesting since the meta had not even remotely started to become clear. The first sideboard for this deck was a mess:I quickly found out that Deadbridge is not a good card and Seize should go back into the main deck.July 6, 2015

Winning Decklist

After taking a few weeks off from playing this deck I returned to it and developed the first completive decklist. I started winning a lot on and was feeling really good about the deck.July 20, 2015

Thoughtseize Back

I moved 4x Seize out of the sideboard and put it back in the main deck. The main reason for this change was because of Abzan and main deck Languish.

July 22, 2015

Gilt-Leaf Winnower

Winnower was a completely overlooked card by me at first. I didn't think it was a good card at all. Then Abzan with Siege Rhino became the best deck in Standard so I decided to start playtesting Winnower and was very much surprised how good he is. 1x Winnower was added to the main deck and sideboard.July 24, 2015

Chord Toolbox

This was the first really thought out sideboard plan using a variety of singleton creatures and using convoke with Chord of Calling to get any one of them when I needed them. Some interesting creatures included:This sideboard plan while neat turned out to not be needed and after a while I changed the sideboard back to a traditional plan.July 27, 2015

Downfall and Obelisk

Hero's Downfall was added main deck in place of Murderous Cut basically because of Abzan with Rhino and Elspeth. I had cut Downfalls for Cuts in the early stages because of the double black casting cost of Downfall which was a misstake. 2x Obelisk of Urd was also added which gave this deck another powerful way to win the game if I wasn't finding or drawing Shaman or Chord.Aug 15, 2015

More Nissa

At one point I was playing 4x Nissa main deck with 20 lands. I quickly found out that four Nissa is too much and 20 lands is not enough. I ended up using 3x Nissa and 21 lands for a while until I finally settled on 2x Nissa.

Aug 18, 2015

Collected Company

All this time I wasn't playing Company at all instead deciding to go with 4x Messenger as my card advantage. Company is too powerful of a card not to play in this deck because of the interaction with Shaman. I added 2x Company main deck.

Aug 19, 2015

Self-Inflicted Wound

By this time Abzan Aggro and Midrange was rampant in Standard. Wound turned out and still is a terrific sideboard card vs Abzan. Added 4x Self-Inflicted Wound to the sideboard.

Aug 24, 2015

Standard Rotation

Standard rotation was a month away, all cards from Theros block and the M15 core set can no longer be used in Standard. This deck lost a lot at this rotation with the biggest losses being Elvish Mystic, Chord of Calling, Thoughtseize and Downfall. All other elves in this deck were not affected which still left a great core in place moving forward.Sept 3, 2015

Battle for Zendikar

Battle for Zendikar while a pretty poor set in general, did give this deck three great new Elves. The returning creature type Ally and its new mechanic Rally added three Ally Elves to this deck, an excellent mana Elf in Beastcaller Savant, a flying Elf Skyrider Elf and an Elf that can mass pump a team of creatures for a turn Tajuru Warcaller. Battle also brought new powerful fetchable dual lands to Standard which allows this deck and many more to easily include a third color or more.Sept 15, 2015


With the release of Battle for Zendikar and Skyrider Elf this deck takes on a new shape by including blue as its third color, turning Messenger Elves into Sultai. Up until this point this deck was Golgari making this the first time I was splashing a third color in this deck. The first Sultai decklist was:Sept 19, 2015

Rattleclaw Mystic

I decided to replace Leaf Gilder with Rattleclaw Mystic because Mystic could help to cast since he can make blue mana a turn 3 Kiora, Master of the Depths or a 5/5 Skyrider Elf much easier then Gilder could. This change worked very well if I had either a Kiora or Skyrider in my opening hand, but was not the best with all the other elves, specifically Dwynen's Elite and Shaman of the Pack. Sept 26, 2015

Reality Shift

Before GW Megamorph was such a popular deck this deck used Reality Shift as its main deck and sideboard cheap removal spell. Shift replaced Murderous Cut. Shift could exile Hangarback Walker giving no value to your opponent in the process. Once GW Megamorph became so popular then the big drawback of giving your opponent a manifest after using Shift was too much of a negative to continue using the card.Oct 1, 2015


Added Drana, Liberator of Malakir to the main deck as another aggressive single creature threat and a powerful threat with a battlefield of Elves. Drana is another Ally creature for Tajuru Warcaller and Beastcaller Savant can help to cast her.

Oct 6, 2015

Gnarlroot Trapper

Since turning this deck into Sultai colors Gnarlroot Trapper hasnt been used because I didn't think a good manabase could be configured to have turn 1 Trapper, turn 2 Beastcaller and turn 3 Skyrider. I have retooled the manabase to make Trapper work including 10x come into play untapped black sources for a turn 1 Trapper. Trapper giving deathtouch to Skyrider is very powerful.Oct 11, 2015


Since the first version of Sultai Messenger Elves I haven't been playing Dwynen, which has been a mistake. Dark Jeskai is a very popular deck in Standard. This deck really struggles vs Jeskai and Mantis Rider. Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf Daen is a four toughness lord Elf with reach that can attack through and block a Rider. Dwynen is also very good with Skyrider Elf because Skyrider is an Elf creature so he gets the pump from Dwynen. I added 2x Dwynen to the main in place of Drana, Liberator of Malakir because Drana is terrible vs Rider.Oct 27, 2015

Windswept Heath

After taking a break from playing this deck for a while I returned to it. All this time I have been using Bloodstained Mire and Flooded Strand as my two fetch lands because both can get all three of Sultai's color requirements. Both Mire and Strand can't fetch a Forest; this has turned out to be a large oversight by me of the building of this deck's mana base. Windswept Heath is replacing Strand in this deck because it can fetch a Forest and a blue source with Prairie Stream. Heath can't get a black source, but Mire can. Being able to have a fetch land that can fetch a Forest in the early game is very beneficial for this deck I just wish that I had realized this much earlier.Nov 21, 2015
Dec 14, 2015

Leaf Gilder

Added 4x Leaf Gilder giving this deck another two drop mana Elf. Gilder allows the possibility of a turn three Collected Company or Sylvan Messenger. Mana created by Gilder can be used to cast any spell in the deck which is great with Company. As a result of this Company has been increased to 3x main deck. The new Sulati decklist:
Jan 22, 2016

Oath of the Gatewatch

The set Oath of the Gatewatch is released. Oath gave this deck four very good main deck-able cards Sylvan Advocate, Oath of Nissa, Nissa, Voice of Zendikar and Hissing Quagmire. Advocate with Quagmire has turned out to have excellent interaction. To make room main deck for these new cards the Sultai Elf Ally strategy with Skyrider Elf, Beastcaller Savant and Tajuru Warcaller was cut.
Jan 22, 2016


With the release of Oath of the Gatewatch and having a new G/B Dual land Hissing Quagmire this deck moves back to Golgari colors. This move really simplified the manabase making it more consistent, not having to rely on fetch lands and battle lands. Cutting blue of Sultai colors was the biggest change for this deck in a while. Sylvan Advocate replaced Skyrider Elf, Oath of Nissa replaced Beastcaller Savant and Nissa, Voice of Zendikar replaced Tajuru Warcaller. The new Golgari decklist:
March 27, 2016

Shadows Over Innistrad

SOI didn't have any Elves in the entire set. Instead it brought combo back with Elves in the form of Cryptolith Rite and Westvale Abbey  Flip. This marks one of the biggest overall deck design changes for this deck in a while. No longer having to rely on just Shaman of the Pack or an Elf swam to win the game. Collected Company completely replaces Sylvan Messenger and the deck name Messenger Elves is changed to Rite Elves. The new Rite Elves decklist:
May 25, 2016


Rite Elves becomes Abzan to take advantage of the powerful cards Eldrazi Displacer and Declaration in Stone. Displacer adds yet another excellent combo piece to use with Cryptolith Rite and Shaman of the Pack. Continually, blinking Shaman now becomes the win condition of Rite Elves. This deck is now packing three powerful combo pieces to be used with Rite and Elves, Displacer, Duskwatch Recruiter and Westvale Abbey  Flip. Declaration is added mostly to combat Humans. Unconditional creature exile that can also completely wipe a battlefield of tokens is excellent. Abzan Rite Elves decklist:
July 17, 2016

Eldritch Moon

Eldritch Moon the second set in the Shadows Over Innistrad block also has no Elves just like the previous set. Huge Eldrazi Distended Mindbender and Decimator of the Provinces brought a new powerful mechanic to Magic, emerge. Emerge was great with the Cryptolith Rite combo strategy with Elves. Both these Eldrazi were included in this deck with Mindbender as the stand out and Decimator ending up in the end in the sideboard. Due to the double black emerge casting cost of Mindbender I cut white leaving behind the more complex Abzan manabase for a much more consistent Golgari one. Golgari Rite Elves decklist:
Sept, 2016

Shaman Rotates

The end of an era. Since the beginning Shaman of the Pack has been the center piece of this deck, but she rotated at this rotation. This was a huge rotation, rotating 90% of Elves out of Standard. The rest of Khans of Tarkir block rotated meaning Collected Company is gone as well as all of Magic Orgins. Magic Orgins was a great set for Elves because it had Shaman, Dwynen's Elite, Elvish Visionary, Sylvan Messenger and Nissa, Vastwood Seer  Flip. The loss of Shaman means this deck and Elves as a tribe are in trouble. Kaladesh the next block in Magic has to have Elves or the tribe is extinct in Standard. Because of this impeding rotation and the unknown fate of Elves I took a break from playing this deck until Kaladesh.
Sept 30, 2016


Thankfully, Kaladesh had Elves which really saved the Elf tribe in Standard. A new mechanic was introduced, energy. I liked energy right away and build the next version of this deck around it. Rite Elves is dead, but Energy Elves lives on. I changed this deck's name to Energy Elves. Skyrider Elf returns, the first time using him since the Sultai version of this deck back in Battle for Zendikar(BFZ). I used energy as a mana color fixer to take advantage of the converge creatures Skyrider and Woodland Wanderer from BFZ. A new type of artifact is also introduced, Vehicles. Smuggler's Copter ended up being the best Vehicle in the set and the best one with Elves. For the first time red is used in this deck for Harnessed Lightning, an excellent creature removal spell that uses energy. I started out in Sultai colors, but ending up in Temur. The Temur Energy Elves decklist:
Oct 16, 2016

More Tribal

Even though Energy Elves as it was built was fine I wasn't happy with the lack of tribal synergy. The deck was changed including an equipment for the first time, Stoneforge Masterwork as the tribal card with Elves. The energy strategy with Skyrider Elf remained and Peema Outrider joined the tribe giving this deck two Elves with evasion, flying and trample to best take advantage of Masterwork. The new Temur Energy Elves decklist:
Jan 10, 2017

Aether Revolt

The second set in the Kaladesh block is released. Rishkar, Peema Renegade and Metallic Mimic are tribal cards for Elves who had fantastic synergy with each other. Rishkar in particular was a very strong new Elf for Standard. Aether Revolt continued the energy mechanic in the set having some great options in Rogue Refiner and Aethersphere Harvester.
Jan 24, 2017

Sultai Counters

A new version of Energy Elves is Sultai. Using energy and counters strategies with Winding Constrictor. Energy remained with Constrictor as the build around card for this version because of it's great synergy with both Rishkar, Peema Renegade, Metallic Mimic and Verdurous Gearhulk adding even more counters creating a layering counters effect with Elves. Constrictor was also great for energy production. Blue remained for Skyrider Elf since he too was very good with Constrictor. One of the better removal spells in black printed in a while was Fatal Push. Push became the go to removal spell in this version. The new Sultai Energy Elves decklist:
Feb 23, 2017

Metallic Mimic

Mimic was the weakness card because it needed to be played turn two and was pretty bad after that. Mimic was cut for more powerful cards this meant that the tribal aspect of Elves was gone. I decided not play a lackluster card just to keep this deck tribal. With the cutting of Mimic Armorcraft Judge was also cut in favor of Tireless Tracker. Nissa, Voice of Zendikar was also under performing and was cut for Aethersphere Harvester. Due to the addition of Tracker as well as needing to trigger revolt for Fatal Push I added Evolving Wilds cutting Botanical Sanctum. The new Sultai Energy Elves non-tribal decklist:
April 2017


Amonkhet set featuring another new plane in the Magic multiverse is released. Amonkhet didn't have any Elves, but it did have the return of Gods to Standard as well as one of the better unconditional removal spells printed in a while.

April 17, 2017


A new version of Energy Elves is Bant. Rhonas the Indomitable becomes the new build around card replacing Winding Constrictor and counters strategy. White replaces black for Cast Out and Tamiyo, Field Researcher. The new Bant Energy Elves decklist:
May 20, 2017


Another new version of Energy Elves is Temur. I finally settled on Temur cutting white for red for Harnessed Lightning and Glorybringer to take better advantage of energy. For the first time this deck lacks a real build around card, but because of the power of energy this wasn't a problem. Building this deck around Rhonas the Indomitable while powerful was not utilizing energy to the fullest. Rogue Refiner was added and became one of the best energy cards in the deck and in Standard. Verdurous Gearhulk was cut for Glorybringer and Woodland Wanderer cut for Bristling Hydra to better use energy. The new Temur Energy Elves decklist:

Budget Energy Elves

Standard* multimedia



Exciting news to share from PAX Unplugged happening this weekend. New art from the upcoming Dominaria set releasing April 2018 has been revealed. Only five images were shown at the event, but one of them is Elves. Elves are back after a four set hiatus!

Speculation from PAX about this Elf art is they're Golgari Elves, possibly Elves of the Thelonite Order from Havenwood who manipulated fungi with dark magic to create Thallids. Their armor appears to have fungus growing out of it and they look sinister, consumed with dark magic. If these Elves are from Havenwood then this could mean that the time frame of Dominaria set takes place during Dominaria's Dark Age before the Ice Age. This time frame was first seen in the fifth set of Magic, Fallen Empires and appeared again in fortieth set Time Spiral.

It's also possible, honestly more likely, that these Elves are from Llanowar and we're looking at new art for a reprint of Llanowar Elves. The Elf in the center is very similar to the lone Elf in Llanowar Elves and the other two Elves in the back dipict the plural of Elves, more than one. Some characteristics of the center Elf could make them from this region. Using original Llanowar Elves and Llanowar Elves as references the Elf has a similar face strap and the shape of the blades/swords are very similar to the same curve as well as wielding two blades/swords. Llanowar Elves has two swords, one he's holding and the other is sheathed. The center Elf also has a very similar hairstyle, long hair that appears to be braided back with the sides shorter than the top.

Elves of Llanowar have tattoos on their face or head; the center Elf in the new art has a face tattoo. Elves however don't have glowing eyes at least not in Llanowar lore. Glowing eyes signify these Elves are strong with magical powers; they could have evolved in the forest gaining stronger armor and powers. Llanowar is called a haunted forest and these Elves look haunted.

Here's an example of what Llanowar Elves might look like with the new art. Wow, it looks good I really hope it's for real!

The story of the Elves, Thelon and Thelonite Order from Havenwood in Fallen Empires is interesting. As food in the region was dwindling Thelon saved the Elves from starvation by using green magic to create Thallids out of fungi. These Thallids were raised like cattle to produce Saprolings for food. This food saved the Elves from starvation and brought the creation of the Thelonite Order; Elves, Druids and Monks were given powers by Thelon to create Thallids.

The Order abused their powers using dark magic and blood sacrifices of Thallids and Saprolings to create new life. This angered the Thallids and they eventually rose up becoming aggressive against the Elves resulting in war, the Thallid Revolution. The Thallids eventually won the war defeating the Elves and taking control of Havenwood.

Comments View Archive

sliversftw says... #1

It's awesome that you put so much work in this deck :)

December 14, 2017 9:16 p.m.

multimedia says... #2

Hey sliversftw, thanks a lot for the upvote. Work on this deck has pretty much stalled. I sure hope Dominaria next year brings Elves into the limelight.

December 15, 2017 1:58 a.m.

sliversftw says... #3


December 15, 2017 7:16 p.m.

sliversftw says... #4

Elves is my favourite modern deck

December 15, 2017 7:18 p.m.

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Date added 2 years
Last updated 1 month

This deck is Standard legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 1.95
Folders Standard TRS-M15-KTK-ORI, Standard, standard to build, Golgari, Standard, ok, Elves, Standard, Interesting Decks, Inspiration, See all 296
Top rank #3 on 2016-02-07
Views 114893

Revision 231 See all

1 month ago)

-2 Aethersphere Harvester main
-1 Narnam Renegade main
+3 Blossoming Defense main
-1 Doomfall side
-1 Rhonas the Indomitable side
+1 Aethersphere Harvester side
+1 Abrade side