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Much Abrew: Beatdown Elves (Modern)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week during our Instant Deck Techs, our Modern deck—Beatdown Elves—came out on top. As such, we are heading to Modern this week to see if playing endless Elf lords and mana dorks is a competitive plan in the format. While Spirits have gotten most of the Modern hype since the release of Core Set 2019 thanks to Supreme Phantom, it's important to remember that Elves got a two-mana lord of their own in Elvish Clancaller. How much does having not just another lord but an efficient two-mana lord help the beatdown Elves plan? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Beatdown Elves (Modern)

Discussion

  • First off, as far as our record, we play a league and ended up going 3-2, which is a solid if unspectacular record. Our losses came to Infect (which feels like a hard matchup—it's basically a race, but Infect is about a half a turn faster than Elves) and to Merfolk, which was a bit disappointing because it felt like we were favored unless our opponent managed to play a big Master of Waves on Turn 4, which they did both games (even managing to copy it one game with Phantasmal Image
  • With tribal decks, we often talk about competitive advantage. For Elves, this is the ability to make a ton of mana really quickly. With Elvish Mystic and Llanowar Elves, we can usually play a powerful three-mana lord on Turn 2, and if we happen to have Heritage Druid in our opening hand, Elves plays a lot like a better version of Affinity, where we just dump our entire hand on the battlefield on Turn 2. 
  • While fast mana is the main advantage of Elves, with the addition of Elvish Clancaller, the tribe is catching up to Merfolk in terms of lords. While Merfolk still ranks a bit ahead thanks to multiple two-mana lords, the three-mana lords in the Elf deck are powerful. Elvish Champion is the worst of the bunch, since it's just a lord unless our opponent is playing Forests, but both Elvish Archdruid (which can make absurd amounts of mana) and Imperious Perfect (which is both a lord and a Elf producer) are quite strong. 
  • As for Elvish Clancaller, it's better than it looks thanks to Elves' ability to make so much mana. Paying six to tutor up another copy is a very realistic plan in a deck with eight mana dorks along with the Heritage Druid / Nettle Sentinel combo. Plus, being two mana rather than three is a nice upside, making it easier to deploy multiple lords in the same turn and get in a ton of damage quickly. 
  • Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf Daen probably shouldn't be in the deck. While it's technically another lord, four mana is a lot, and it doesn't get hit by Collected Company, which makes it fairly clunky. A single copy of Dismember for a bit of interaction could take its place.
  • As far as being mono-green, Beatdown Elves felt solid. The one card that might be worth considering is Nylea's Presence to make the forestwalk on Elvish Champion relevant more often (similar to Spreading Seas in Merfolk), but it might be that it isn't worth the effort, since we only have one landwalk-granting lord (while it is for Merfolk , since they have both Master of the Pearl Trident and Lord of Atlantis). 
  • Let's take a minute to talk about the different builds of Elves in Modern. While we played mono-green today, GW and GB are both popular options. The upside of mono-green is twofold: first, it's the most budget-friendly version of Elves, since you don't need a bunch of expensive non-basic lands (in fact, Beatdown Elves is only $200, which is quite cheap for Modern). Second, mono-green is the most aggressive of the Elves decks. While it only has one plan of attack (play Elves, attack with Elves, hopefully win), the combination of 17 lords and a ton of mana dorks makes this plan pretty effective. 
  • On the other hand, if you start with mono-green Beatdown Elves and decide to upgrade, you can move into GB Elves (which mostly offers Shaman of the Pack as far as Elves, which gives the deck some reach after the ground gets clogged up, but also more interaction like Thoughtseize and Abrupt Decay) or GW Elves (which give you the Vizier of Remedies infinite-mana combo along with Path to Exile). GB Elves is the slowest build but offers more resilience and interaction. GW Elves is also slower than mono-green, but allows for a secondary line of attack with the infinite-mana combo. While I have no idea which build is best, it's nice to know that even within the narrowness of a tribal deck, you have plenty of upgrade options if you do decide to pick up Beatdown Elves. 
  • So, should you play Beatdown Elves in Modern? I think the answer is yes. The deck is powerful, especially considering it's comparatively cheap price tag. If you enjoy tribal strategies and beating down with little green creatures, Beatdown Elves is a great option that also offers some good upgrade paths.

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's deck by liking, commenting on, and subscribing to Instant Deck Tech videos! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, or you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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