Myriad Games
December 6, 2008
18 Players
Top Eight

Had events not conspired quite as they did, it is quite unlike that I'd have
sleeved up Fyndhorn Elves for today's tounament. Control Slaver, though and
excellent deck, had failed to take me to top eight on either day of TravisCon.
My concerns with my current build of Control Slaver being a topic for another
discussion, I'll say nothing beyond that I had no desire to write "Mana Drain"
on a decklist for this tournament. So, wishing to play something as different as
possible from my usual faire, I took note of LSV's recent Pro Tour Victory and
decided to turn green creatures sideways.

Before further proceeding, then, let me take a moment to give props both to LSV
and to Owen. Owen was very helpful in discussing deck ideas, and provided some
key insights about the deck. He had taken a prior version of Elves to a top
eight finish at another tournament, and had some key insights about where to
take the deck.

Now, let's get to the build itself.

    4 Wooded Foothills
    4 Forest
    4 Windswept Heath
    1 Bayou
    4 Birchlore Rangers
    4 Fyndhorn Elves
    4 Heritage Druid
    4 Llanowar Elves
    4 Nettle Sentinel
    4 Wirewood Symbiote
    1 Regal Force
    2 Elvish Visionary
    4 Quirion Ranger
    1 Viridian Shaman
    1 Mox Emerald
    1 Black Lotus
    4 Skullclamp
    4 Glimpse of Nature
    1 Grapeshot
    4 Summoner's Pact

// Sideboard:
SB: 1 Viridian Shaman
SB: 3 Gleeful Sabotage
SB: 4 Thoughtseize
SB: 4 Leyline of the Void
SB: 3 Xantid Swarm

I'm not going to explain how the engine itself works, since that is already set
forth in detail on Wizard's own website ( It is worth noting that Gaea's Cradle was cut because it greatly increases the number of hands which you mulligan; you can't keep a hand with Cradle as its sole mana source. The fetchlands were there simply to thin out the deck; if your metagame includes copious quantities of Stifles, then having a slew of Basic Forests is better. The final note on the manabase is that Elvish Spirit Guide was not worthwhile in testing.

As for the sideboard, it is designed for a New England metagame. Your mileage
may vary. Leyline is the best option I could think of against Ichorid. Anything
else can be hit by Unmask, and anything costing mana can slow you down. Thus the
Leylines. Gleeful Sabotage was the best answer I could think up for removing
annoying things like Chalice, but I will need to try some more options.

Now, onto the matchups.

Round One: Craig Dupre
Craig has cut his usual maindeck Fire/Ices and Brassman Guildmages, a decision
that did not serve him well in this match. He stops both Nettle and Clamp in the
first game, Mana Drains an Insect, and Slaves me. He can't do much harm but does
bounce my board using my own cards. I can't rebuild before he has several Slave
turns lined up in a row and I concede. I win the second game very quickly after
a first turn Xantid Swarm. The third game is very intense. The long and short of
it is that Craig leads with a first turn Master of Etherium. He knocks me low on
life, and gets out a Welder and a Triskelavus. Trisk kills two Swarms and
attacks, knocking me to two life. Craig removes a token from the Trisk. If
Master E weren't in play, he could have shot his own Trisk, Welded it back in,
removed two tokens and won. However, Master E looks out for his buddy Trisk and
prevents him from being shot by a lowly token. Instead, Craig must pass the turn
and does not get another. Craig was an Atog away from victory.

Round Two: Jeremiah
I have a first turn Llanowar. Jer Mysticals for Tinker on his first turn and
then Mana Drains my Sentinel. Jer uses the Drain mana to cast the Tinker and
gets a Colossus. I untap, Glimpse, and win. In the second game, Jer opens with
Lotus, Island, Bitterblossom, Timewalk. He Extirpates my Symbiote who died to
Skullclamp, but that's not enought to stop my going off.

Round Three: Josh with Fish
I have a first turn Llanowar Elf. He casts Ancestral, a slightly stronger card
from the same set. He then Wastes my Bayou, which I had the misfortunate of
having as my single land in that hand. I, however, play two more mana producing
Elves. Josh starts to play some Fish creatures, and I go off. He Stifles my
Grapeshot, but dies the next turn to a horde of green gentlemen. In the second
game, I mulligan. Josh opens with Wasteland and Lotus. I play a Fyndhorn Elf,
which Josh steals with Sower. He then Strips my Forest, but not until I've
played another Fyndhorn. Josh Forces my Llanowar Elf off the Fyndhorn and
Stifles my fetchland. However, Fyndhorn eventually produces enough elves to beat
Josh to death in Onslaught Block Limited fashion.

Round Four: Eastman
I get paired down and Eastman needs to play. I open the first game with a turn
one mana elf. Eastman has Land and Black Lotus. I play another Elf and a Clamp
and pass. Eastman tutors up an Ancient Grudge and destroys my Clamp. This
reduces me to attacking, and Eastman is able to assemble Time Vault and Key
before my six points a turn gets there. In the second game, Eastman opens with a
land, three Moxes, and a Chalice at one, of which he had a single copy. He
counters both of the Shamans I play and that's it.

Round Five: ID

Top Eight: Bill Copes with Stax
I open with a Forest, Lotus, and four elves. Bill drops a Chalice on One. On his
next turn, Karn comes to play with my elves. I soon become unable to attack
through Karn's army of lock pieces, the very same cards which are precluding my
advancing my board. I'm one mana away from being able to get Shaman recurring
with the Insect, but sad to say my board dies to Smokestack and Karn does his
thing. The second game goes better for me, and I manage to keep enough Elves on
the table to beat Bill to death. In the third game, Bill opens with Trinisphere.
No problem, I think, as I have three lands in hand. His second turn Sphere
didn't hurt, but his third turn Tangle Wire sure did. The subsequent Karn and
second Tangle Wire on the following two turns preventing me from being able to
cast a single spell in the game.

So, that's it. Elves was a blast to play; it has many lines of play at a given
time and is a very decision-intensive deck. Is it optimized? No -- I keep having
the feeling that, given the breadth of the Vintage card pool, I must be missing
something. But it performed very well, and while the Stax matchup needs a bit of
work, I'm sure that future versions of this deck could be made stronger against
it. I was very confident against the other six decks I could have faced in the
top eight.

Thanks for reading.

Oh, and Chris, Happy birthday!