Maybeboard


Welcome to my Lathril, Blade of the Elves Primer!

For now this will be a little "Bare Bones" as it is ongoing (and slow-going) but id like to give you a rough idea of general strategy and card selection. Comments are welcome and I will try to respond to everyone. Everything here is just my opinion but ill do my best to make it a half decent one! :)

A little history

Kaldheim, despite its flaws, was one of my favorite sets and with it came the Elven Empire precon! Initially I paid little attention to Lathril but when our pod began to increase in its competitiveness I decided to help upgrade a friends copy of Lathril. In the process of playtesting and updating my own copy in line with his I fell in love with the Aesthetic and synergy of the deck. My first EDH deck and only EDH deck at the time (Teysa Karlov) instilled a love of black, token/aristocrats type themes, and a sturdier midrange playstyle. As a player that favors black, midrange archetypes and having a little more in the way of options and strategy this deck was a home run where mono green elves fell short.

Deck Philosophy

The idea of "Death Elves" has very much shaped this deck and Aesthetics/Flavor/Vorthos does play a small role in the card selection. Unfortunately much of that has been lost to optimization as I'm sure many of you are familiar with. One of the biggest reasons I love this deck and the high synergy it provides is that it allows for room for pet cards and flavor while still being quite strong. Another note is that I don't like to build with an overabundance of tutors and I don't like to build decks that use stax or other "pod-specific" strategies. Some of this is unavoidable I know but I'm ok losing a game here and there if it means I'm more affective against whatever deck I may play against and we can all have a good time. Our biggest way to mitigate that problem is running protection and lots of removal!

I wont yet cover much in the way of increasing or decreasing the power level of the deck in regards to a budget or lack thereof but this deck should sit around 75% optimized 25% personalized and someplace around a 7-8 power level and should be easily scalable to your tastes and respective pod.

A brief note on my pod... I try to get games in with many different decks and power levels but I regularly play against The Gitrog Monster, Chulane, Teller of Tales, Tuvasa the Sunlit, Wilhelt, the Rotcleaver, and Saheeli, the Gifted

General Strategy

Combat: Typical Elves things, flood the board as fast as possible and pump with cards such as: Ezuri, Renegade Leader.

Damage/Drain: Kill spells such as Hatred or Lathril, Blade of the Elves second ability.

Combo: Such as: Staff of Domination + Priest of Titania + Lathril, Blade of the Elves.

Bonus win-con: Make lots of mana and cast Torment of Hailfire.

Combat

Foreword: The basic strategy of any Elves deck is typically hit them hard and fast. We can definitely do that here with a couple of neat nuances! Filling the board is the the root of the deck. We need to build up a board state as fast as possible to enable basically any strategy in the deck sooooo first off: Fill the board!

Step 1: Fill the board: The first priority of any game with Lathril is to get her onto the board as fast as possible. A turn 2 lathril can make a world of difference so to that end we run both Mana Crypt and Sol Ring along with other moderate "fast mana" cards and mana dorks. Lathril is the fastest and easiest way to fill the board but along with the general ease in casting other elves. Other cards that can speed up building your board state include but are not limited to: Elven Ambush, Elvish Promenade, Prowess of the Fair, and Lys Alana Huntmaster. I don't run those card personally as I have found lathril produces all of the tokens I need and I find the majority of those cards to be too slow for my taste but they may work for you! I will discuss how I prefer to make tokens in the Damage/Drain section!

Step 2: Smash face: Once we have a decent board state (and along the way because it all adds up!) its time to put in the damage. While a decent number of tokens would do a decent amount of damage we don't want decent we want dead! To this end we turn to our Pump effects! The easiest cards to use to clean up a game when you have a decent board state are Ezuri, Renegade Leader, Elvish Warmaster, Allosaurus Shepherd, and Joraga Warcaller.

Damage/Drain

One of the fantastic things about Lathril is the Synergy of her own abilities! If combat isn't much of an option by the mid to late game then then a "Tap/Untap" strategy is a huge way to win the game even early on! This is the strategy that initially drew me to the deck and makes it a lot of fun to play!

Step 1: Fill the board: see step 1 in the Combat section

In addition to the cards and strategies mentioned above we can get into one of the best ways (and my favorite) way to make tokens which is pumping Lathril full of steroids. Lathril functions as a pseudo Najeela, the Blade-Blossom (one of the strongest commanders in EDH and cEDH) when buffed up correctly. Hatred is one of the all stars of this deck as you can use it to snipe a player with commander damage at instant speed (so cast it after blockers are declared and at the damage step) by paying x life into Hatred which in turn nets you 21 or so Elf Warrior tokens to close the game out via combat, combo, big mana, or drain. There are many ways to accomplish this same effect and the Najeela, the Blade-Blossom vibes really level up with Elves matter buff effects such as Alpha Status, and Timberwatch Elf

Credit to the "B.A.D. Lathril - Size Does Matter"/"the smoovest lathril in the world" deck and primer on Moxfeild for this idea! Go check it out! (its also a pretty funny read)

Step 2: Tap/Untap=Drain: So since we know this deck revolves around a full board we know that at this point we can win via combat (maybe even without a pump ability if you made enough tokens or everyone has low enough health), combo, or whatever else but for this section lets talk about the coolest way to win in my opinion! In the deck we have multiple ways to untap our creatures and this is the primary reason! With lathril on the board we can use her tap ability and 10 elves to deal 10 damage to each opponent and gain 10 life. If at any point we have this and enough ways to untap its game unless we are disrupted. To this end we run cards such as Wirewood Lodge, Quest for Renewal, Seedborn Muse, Wirewood Symbiote, Copperhorn Scout, Vitalize, Benefactor's Draught, and Staff of Domination.

Combo

This is obviously a pretty limited section as this isn't much of a combo deck but I like to have a good combo in my back pocket for when the board state gets locked or for variety. This all revolves around Staff of Domination. This card is a powerhouse in this deck! Whether its drawing your deck for another win-con or answer, gaining infinite life, tapping down your opponents creatures, or just going for the drain win with Lathril! Though it lacks some of the speed and resilience more competitive combo lines I have found this card to be a blast!

Staff of Domination + Priest of Titania + Lathril, Blade of the Elves

Explanation :

Result: Infinite Draw, life gain, Drain, and creature control, infinite mana. (everything but the drain only needs Staff of Domination and a card like Priest of Titania and the sufficient number of other elves in play)

Step 1: Build your board up to 10 Elves in addition to Lathril, Blade of the Elves and Priest of Titania.

Step 2: Tap Priest of Titania for 12 mana.

Step 3: Tap 10 other Elves to Lathril, Blade of the Elves second ability and drain 10 from each opponent and gain 10 life.

Step 4: Use 6 of the 12 floating mana to untap another elf and Priest of Titania.

Step 5: Use 1 more mana to untap Staff of Domination and continue to tap and untap an elf and Priest of Titania until all of your elves are untapped.

Step 6: Repeat steps 2-5 to drain for the win!

General Strategy: Notes

Weaknesses: The biggest weaknesses of decks like this are that they are very susceptible to losing momentum. This comes most notably in the form of board wipes and a lack of card draw.

To remedy this we run various forms of removal, protection, and draw and card advantage.

Draw: Realmwalker, Skemfar Avenger, Toski, Bearer of Secrets, Pact of the Serpent, Necropotence, Sylvan Library, Sylvan Anthem, Benefactor's Draught, Deadly Dispute, Plumb the Forbidden, Village Rites, Bolas's Citadel, Skullclamp, and Staff of Domination.

I like instant speed sacrifice card draw because our creatures will inevitably die to combats or removal of some form so we can sac or creatures in response to profit off our loss!

Removal: Boseiju, Who Endures, Deathrite Shaman, Reclamation Sage, Torment of Hailfire, Toxic Deluge, Living Death, Song of the Dryads, Assassin's Trophy, Beast Within, Deadly Rollick, Golgari Charm, Imp's Mischief, Infernal Grasp, Krosan Grip, Nature's Claim, and Putrefy

Removal is essential to our game plan and a midrange-aggro playstyle. Some of this comes with game sense and threat analysis but this is how we protect our board and remove threats as they appear.

Protection: Allosaurus Shepherd, Eladamri, Lord of Leaves, Ezuri, Renegade Leader, Wirewood Symbiote, Veil of Summer, Yavimaya Hollow, Imp's Mischief, Cavern of Souls, Golgari Charm, and Heroic Intervention

Not a lot of explaining on protection, build up a winning board state and keep it that way! :)

Recursion: Agadeem's Awakening  , Living Death, Volrath's Stronghold, and Bala Ged Recovery  

We have less of this than we would like in conjunction with the deck philosophy but for the most part these serve as plenty enough to recover our board state or key pieces.

Another key weakness I have noticed in playing this deck is sometimes we can rely to heavily on our creature based mana so when a wipe happens we struggle to have the actual lands to build back up reasonably quickly. For this reason I have added actual land ramp cards like Three Visits. I may add more in time but for now we are doing quite well with the added card draw getting us our lands each turn. I will also list our other forms of ramp here for your convenience.

Ramp: Sol Ring, Mana Crypt, Arbor Elf, Deathrite Shaman, Elves of Deep Shadow, Elvish Archdruid, Elvish Harbinger, Elvish Mystic, Fyndhorn Elves, Gnarlroot Trapper, Joraga Treespeaker, Llanowar Elves, card: Marwyn, the nurterer, card: preist of titania, Wood Elves, Three Visits, and Elvish Guidance

As our main way to make token and potentially take someone out is lathril another thing we need is to make it as hard as possible for her to be blocked so we can do damage and make tokens. Wizards of the Coast did a great job with this card by adding menace but we will often need a little more juice to get through enemy lines and ensure our game plan. Here are some ways we do that!

Ezuri, Renegade Leader, Elvish Warmaster, Gnarlroot Trapper, Cover of Darkness, Shizo, Death's Storehouse, and Benefactor's Draught

The careful use of removal can also help us to do this.

General Stetegy: Extra Tech

When facing another tribal deck with the advantage in numbers Pact of the Serpent can serve as a kill spell and can even on very very rare occasion draw someone out when facing heavy draw and tribal such as with Wilhelt, the Rotcleaver and other zombie tribal decks.

Elves can generate a ton of mana quickly so as mentioned above Torment of Hailfire can serve as an excellent kill spell.

One of my all time favorite things to do is to use cards like Necropotence to draw and then discard the majority of the elves I get and play Living Death. I think this takes the cake as far as the flavor win of the deck!! The only thing to note is that this is obviously a very very volatile strategy and so you need to leave yourself a way out.

Another thing to remember is that Bolas's Citadel can sacrifice 10 non-land permanents to deal 10 more damage to each opponent. This being the same number of elves needed for Lathrils drain ability we can clean up a game if we need to make that last 10 damage using Bolas's Citadel. This is also a volatile strategy but it can win games when played carefully.

Potential Cuts and how I organize

A brief note on organization. The though not 100% reflective the Maybeboard consists of cards I have played or considered or want to keep track of in theses colors. I will clean it out from time to time to keep it accurate but that list is an excellent place to look for potential cards to increase or decrease power level or even to go in another direction with the deck entirely.

The Sideboard will typically consist of cards I am strongly considering putting in the deck.

Potential cuts: Many of these are pet cards that could arguably be cut for something stronger or cards that are conditional on another deck which I mentioned I don't like. None of these are even remotely bad cards but could be a good cut for something more optimal.

Torment of Hailfire: This can end up as a repetitive win card in many many decks and its a question as to if it hits as many things as you need it to. This would be best replaced with a more consistent board wipe I think.

Krosan Grip: I have never really been disappointed with this card but there are more optimal cards at lower cost. Tbh the biggest reason its here is the Strixhaven: Mystical Archive Art!! :)

Cover of Darkness: At the mana value this card is pretty hard to beat on top of the menace keyword lathril has. The only reason its here is because it can sometimes be a waste of a play against the wrong deck. I would likely replace it with another evasion source but for now its plenty good enough!

Sylvan Anthem: This has been a more recent experiment, I wanted another cheap card draw source but settled for the scry 1 in addition to the lord effect which nets us another token with Lathril. My verdict is not yet out but I have my suspicions.

Song of the Dryads: Another indisputable great card to lock down key pieces on the enemy board but at 3 mana and not instant it can be quite slow and takes planning ahead and likely slowing down a turn to play it. Its usually a worthy trade but its utter lack of reactive capability is what puts it here.

Oran-Rief, the Vastwood: This land has been a struggle to play for its second ability and I do my best to avoid tap lands as they WILL kill the early game for you. Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers serves our purposes much more efficiently. This will likely be replaced but I'm not sure with what yet.

Imp's Mischief: This is a huge pet card for me! This has proved excellent time and time again and wont be going anywhere for the foreseeable future but I understand why some wouldn't want to play it outside of mono-black.

Thanks for visiting my Lathril, Blade of the Elves Primer! I hope you like the deck and the rationale! Again feel free to comment I will try to respond!

Feedback is much appreciated and an upvote would be even more so!! Thanks!! :)

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28% Casual

72% Competitive

Date added 1 year
Last updated 1 month
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

8 - 0 Mythic Rares

52 - 2 Rares

18 - 1 Uncommons

13 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.12
Tokens Beast 3/3 G, Elf Warrior 1/1 G, Shapeshifter 3/2 C, Treasure
Folders My Decks, inspiration
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