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John Shultis on Magic
Ears of the Elves

      Welcome to the Precon Recon section here at Pojo.com, where I take a look at preconstructed decks and reconstruct them. This time, themed with the fast approaching Christmas holiday, I chose an Elf deck. The elf deck I went with is Nissa Revane’s deck from Duals of the Planeswalkers, Ears of the Elves. The original deck list can be found here:


Main Deck

60 cards

16 Forest
8 Swamp

24 lands

2 Elven Riders
2 Elvish Champion
3 Elvish Eulogist
2 Elvish Visionary
4 Elvish Warrior
4 Farhaven Elf
2 Gaea's Herald
1 Lys Alana Huntmaster
2 Moonglove Winnower

22 creatures

1 Coat of Arms
3 Essence Drain
3 Eyeblight's Ending
4 Giant Growth
2 Naturalize
1 Overrun

14 other spells

     Now first, I would like to address some people out there. Yes, Scourge DID showcase some of the most amazing elf cards. However, this deck Elvish Championwill feature NONE of them. While they are good, elf decks existed long before Scourge, were dominant before Scourge, and will continue to be effective without Scourge. I will be using mainly Lorwyn and Zendikar Elves. If that displeases any of you, that is your decision. Mine was to run something unique, and I liked the foundation of the Ears of the Elves deck, but honestly was also torn between the Elvish Promenade deck from Lorwyn. Both offer some similar cards, but I decided to go with Nissa’s. I felt that the over used and over exaggerated elves of Scourge could use a Christmas vacation ;).

      Now to move on with business, the deck! All elf decks should have mana advantage, it becomes how do you wish to use it? Scourge elf decks became less about the mana, and more about everything else. The decks I was doing recon on went back to the roots of elf decks, making more elves and using certain things to pump them up. The deck keys off of gaining creature advantage (not life advantage) and then going in for the kill quickly as possible. So I will be building off of that strategy, and try and do Nissa (and Santa Clause) proud!

       Since we will be looking to be very aggressive, and getting the most from our mana, we will be eliminating any high mana drop creatures inCoat of Arms exchange for some options that may not require as much mana. This means that you should not need to mulligan, since your entire deck should be self sufficient. We will also look to perform better boosts, and better removal than what the deck has to offer.

      So, what should be taken out? The first card I would like to address, and remove is Coat of Arms. I know, jaws just hit the floor. While Coat of Arms is a good card, and can be very effective when generating tokens, or churning out creatures, it can also backfire if your opponent does the same thing, or worse, if they are running the same themed deck you are. The risk/reward factor is what determines whether I use a good card or not, and in this case, not, remove it if you like, leave it if you wish.

      Next, let’s remove high mana costs. Essence Drain and Elvish Riders are the only two cards that meet that qualification. And thus the copies of those cards should be removed as well. As I said, we will not require life gaining, so the Wurm’s Tooth’s should also be pulled out. And while yes, Giant Growth is a good card, the pump will not be needed. Our elves should be able to pump themselves, and if not there exists much better pump options for this kind of deck, and I will discuss those later on. The Eyeblights Endings are nice, however, again, there exists better options. Sideboard the Eyeblight’s Endings, and later on I will show you what to run in their place. The Naturalize is another removal, especially since there is just one. The Elvish Eulogist should be removed as well due to the life gain no longer being necessaryNissa's Chosen. Greenweaver Druid is also nice, but there exists some better options I would like to explore. And finally, Nature’s Spiral is so limited in what it can return for you, and we will add something better. That generates twenty cards taken out!

        For flavor sake, I think we should exchange the Elvish Warriors with Nissa’s Chosen. They cost the same, but the Nissa’s Chosen go to the bottom of the library instead of into the graveyard should they be killed.

      So twenty cards of just anticipated awesomeness. Where do we begin? I think that several cards from Lorwyn intermingle with cards from Zendikar quite nicely. I think that one obvious addition should be the Joraga Warcaller. Three copies should be plenty, but put four in if you’d like. Another card that you should add four copies of if possible is Elvish Archdruid. The mana ramp he will offer is astronomical. However, should getting your hands on four Elvish Archdruids be troublesome, get Joraga Treespeakers. Once fully leveled they can be just as useful. The target for all of this mana is not just Joraga Warcaller. I think running Genesis Wave in an Elf deck is certainly the way to go. You get to dump as much mana into X as possible, and then reveal cards from the top of your library equal to X, and put any permanent converted mana cost X or less onto the battlefield. When most of your deck is creatures and less than five mana, you get to dig deep, and gain a lot of benefits. I would run two to three copies. Which for reference sake, if you run into Joraga Warcaller with Genesis WaveEzuri, Renegade Leader, don’t worry, he’s on the battlefield, and you can then target him with your Emaculate Magistrate. The +1/+1 counters the Emaculate Magistrate grant him still pumps up your creatures. Another card I would add, carefully, is Ezuri, Renegade Leader. He can save a destroyed elf, and pump your elves, giving them trample in the process. This eliminates the need to have a Overrun in the deck. And since you should have lots of mana, you could pump more into the pump, say you have fifteen mana, you could give your creatures +9/+9 and trample! I would be safe and try and run just two copies, you wouldn’t want too many legendary creatures popping up.

       In place of the Eyeblight’s Ending, you should definitely run Beast Withins, four copies. The reason here is what if you were matched up against another elf deck? The Eyeblight’s Ending would be useless. Beast Within allows you to blow up anything, even planes walkers, and in exchange, they only get a 3/3. Most of your elves will easily be larger than that.

      To close the deck out, I would suggest running two Recollects, one Demonic Tutor, and one Lure. The reasoning behind this is simple, the two Recollects can better get out things than the Nature’s Spiral, and the Lure turns any one creature into a Taunting Elf. And since the elf should be huge, and you may have out Ezuri, you should target the Moonglove Winnower if possible, destroy as much as possible, and then regenerate it. Of course the Demonic Tutor is in there to go get whatever you need to get at that moment, which of course the Recollects could bring back for another use.

Lure      This deck plays very fast, very aggressive. Keep up pressure once you have pressure to give. Sit back on the defensive if necessary. As soon as possible start generating some elves, and begin making them big. It won’t be long before you are able to grab what you need.

      Once all the pieces are in place, don’t be too confident! Do not send all of your creatures, ever. There are no Fogs or Blunt The Assaults in here in case you yourself are Fogged. Always keep some creatures for a defensive, unless your opponent is completely tapped out, nothing they can do, no cards in hand, then sure, unleash the hordes of Elves upon them!

      The deck is very tactful, and should be able to move faster than your opponent. Even modern Goblins would rather hide in their caves instead of daring to challenge these elves!

      So there you have it! Another reconstructed deck reconstructed into a much more playable deck! Join me next week when I will recon an all five colored (WUBRG) deck to continue celebrating the holidays!

      So from all of us here at Pojo.com, myself, and my family, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, etc.! Hope you and yours have a great weekend! So keep safe, keep merry, and keep gaming!


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