Last week I went in-depth on Collected Company in Elves, and threw together a strong starting brew for what I believe could be the best way forward for the little green guys (and gals). Today I put that list through some preliminary testing in the MTGO tournament practice room to get a feel for the list and to get an idea of what we should change before diving into a more competitive setting. See for yourself below.
Collected Company Elves in Action
I'm currently missing Spellskite, Cavern of Souls, Horizon Canopy, and Pendelhaven, so the list in the video is a little different to what you saw last time. But this is preliminary testing and the core is very much there, so it doesn't hurt much. Also, I'm testing Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx because CurdBros -- an MTGSalvation user and Modern Nexus reader -- saw very good results with it in his brief testing of my list.
I face four different decks in the video: Grixis Delver, Storm, 4c Slivers, and Scapeshift. Excepting the two rough tempo losses against Delver due to never drawing a second land, Elves performs very well and consistent overall. In theory, Elves should be heavily favored against Delver, since it plays fair and we do not. Electrolyze can be a pain, but we do run a lot of 2 toughness creatures, and Pendelhaven will help with the 1 toughness guys.
Some things to take away from this:
- A lot of Elves players will say the deck just fine on one land, but this is often not true. It's why I run 18 instead of 17 ( and there's an outside chance we should run 19). 17 or less is appropriate in Legacy where there are more ways to work through a one land game, but Modern requires more. 18 land felt very good in these games (again, excepting the Delver games).
- With Grixis Delver on the rise, Scapeshift still a bit of a thing, and Twin very much a thing, Cavern of Souls should probably be in the maindeck. In combination with Nykthos and with both cards in the right amounts (maybe 3 of each), there should almost never be casting issues. The GGG cost on Chord might dissuade you, but remember creatures can count toward it.
- This deck is fast. Thanks in part to Nykthos, it's entirely possible to win turn 3. Statistically, especially considering disruption, it'll probably happen 10% of the time or less, but it can happen, and that's important.
- Nykthos lines up mathematically very well with the rest of the deck, particularly Ezuri. Often I had just the right amount of elves to power up Nykthos, activate Ezuri, and swing for lethal (other times I had an extra mana or two for regeneration backup). Needing to tap less elves to use his ability means more attackers, which means a quicker deck.
- 3-of Nykthos and Chord feels right. Neither were an issue at these counts (excepting one game where I opened with two Chords), but I suspect they would be at 4.
- Eternal Witness should probably be sideboarded or cut. She's good, but slots are limited. Spellskite and Ooze mainboard (more, if we already run either) are going to be useful more often in that slot instead. Witnessing a Company is cute, but usually unnecessary; her ability to recur creatures is nice, but usually too slow to matter in my previous experience.
- Fauna Shaman does work and is a great way to help fill the void left by Glimpse of Nature and Green Sun's Zenith, along with Chord and Company.
- Choke is stupid good, as usual. We should maybe run more.
- Splashing white is probably a good choice for certain metas (e.g. Aven Mindcensor vs Scapeshift), but generally speaking, monogreen is best, especially when we consider Nykthos.
- The Fauna Shaman/Vengevine plan sideboard could still be worth testing, at least for certain metas.
- Chord and Company at instant speed are great weapons against disruption; often you'll wait for them to tap down mana, then cast either. Or they wrath and you cast either at the end of their turn and recover. It's equally effective and satisfying, which is part of the reason I'm completely convinced now that Chord should be in the deck and not Summoner's Pact.
Updating the List
Based on that, below is my updated list, which I'll take to a daily soon.
The 4 Sage plan is something I picked up from MTGSalvation -- I like it with Company and could see it proving strong or at least sufficient versus Affinity and Auras. Failing that, we swap some out for Fracturing Gust.
The board is still something of a work in progress. I'll feel more or less confident in it as I play with the deck more. Once I'm satisfied, I'll be sure to fill you guys in on sideboard plans.
Stay tuned, because this one has promise. If it lives up to it, there will be plenty of daily footage to come.