MtG: Modern Budget Elves – Building (a) Deck(s) for a Friend…

Hello, hello and thrice hello to all Magic: the Gathering enthusiasts out there!

After a lengthy break in posting on here – due to massive workload in real-life, well sort of – I am finally taking the time again to write a new post on here. This time it is once again a Magic Deck & Strategy post, but one with a special purpose: My good old friend Thomas from a nearby city here in Upper Austria has recently gotten into MtG (or rather I talked him into it successfully – one could argue about that lol) and he has taken a particular liking to the Elves tribe, playing my (slightly) modified, very first “real”, serious Magic Deck, which was and is Monogreen Elves. Well, so we talked a bit and Thomas agreed to let me build a Modern Format Elves Deck for him, me using my supreme knowledge and skill on building decks on a limited budget (yeah, there we go again, bragging like hell as always… wicked, silly me!). So yeah, this article goes out to my friend Thomas and may amuse or be of interest other readers as well.

Since the deck will be intended for Modern Format (if and how competitive it will be has to be seen but we are going to play it casually for the most part anyways) we have to forgo on many a great non-Modern Elf card such as cheap mana maker Priest of Titania, life gaining Wellwisher and their best friend Ambush Commander… How unfortunate. Anyways there are tons of great Modern legal Elves to mess around with, so let’s see what comes off it!

Fortunately we got a lot of “Elven Gems” in Modern to choose from, first and foremost your one-stop Elf Deck win condition…

Once again unfortunately, the price of that one has risen considerbly, for obvious reasons, so, as we will have to confine ourselves to a very tight budget, we will be able to only run a single copy or MAYBE two in the two decks I am going to present in the context of this here article. However, one copy can still work as, and I’ll spoil that detail about the two decks I am going to present to Thomas in the form of this post and with all other interested readers, will be “Elf Toolbox Decks” powered by this fine Elven “Tutor” (card searcher):

Elvish Harbinger can search out Ezuri as shown above as well as pretty much any other Elf Spell (not only Creatures mind you but also Tribal Sorceries and Enchantments as we will see) plus he will provide some, rather negligable, mana ramp. I mentioned already that I will be showcasing two different builds of Elf decks. Well I want to give Thomas a bit of a choice here to some degree, the first deck being a Monogreen (green Spells only) Elves Deck and the second one featuring both green and black Elf Spells, thus being a two color Black-Green Elf Deck. So let us not waste any more time and get to Deck #1: The Monogreen Elf Toolbox Deck. First I will provide my suggested decklist as usual, followed up by some explanatory words on the strategy behind said deck! One last note: This is not supposed to be one of those expensive as hell Elves Combo Decks that grow rampantly everywhere nowadays, may it be in Modern or Legacy.

Alright, here comes

Monogreen Elf Toolbox for Thomas (Modern Format):


4 x Llanowar Elves G

4 x Elvish Mystic G

4 x Elvish Harbinger 2G

4 x Elvish Archdruid 1GG

1 x Jagged-Scar Archers 1GG

1 x Imperious Perfect 2G

1 x Reclamation Sage 2G

1 x Ezuri, Renegard Leader 1GG

4 x Drove of Elves 3G

2 x Immaculate Magistrate 3G


4 x Might of the Masses G


4 x Elvish Promenade 3G


3 x Descendants’ Path 2G


3 x Slate of Ancestry 4


2 x Oran Rief the Vastwood

18 x Forest

About the Deck:

Well, the typical basis of any good Elves Deck is first turn (one casting cost) Elves like Elvish Mystics and Llanowar Elves…

These little guys will ensure you can either drop your number 1 Search Engine (Elvish Harbinger, as shown above) or your Priest of Titania replacement Elvish Archdruid reliably on turn 2. With Elvish Harbinger you have a ton of options. You can search out the big boss of all Elves, Ezuri, Renegade Leader and put him on top of your deck or pretty much any of your many one-of Elves. Before I talk about those, I would like to point you to a card that I REALLY REALLY like in a Tribal Creature Deck with at least some green involved, ESPECIALLY in conjunction with Elvish Harbinger. Take a gander:

So what you’d do, you’d search out your Elf creature card of choice with Elvish Harbinger, put it on top of your library and just wait until your next upkeep, when Descendants’ Path will put it into play reliably and for absolutely no cost to you whatsoever. And even without setting this up like this you have almost a 50:50 chance to get a free Elf through this awesome enchantments almost half of your deck consists of Elves (26 in total). Not too shabby I would say.

Here some other gems you can search out with Elvish Harbinger, besides Ezuri:

  • Jagged Scar Archers (1GG) are as strong as you control Elves and deal massive damage to pesky fliers.
  • Imperious Perfect (2G) strengthens all your Elves AND creates Elf Tokens.
  • Reclamation Sage (2G) is useful for getting rid of pesky enchantments and artifacts.
  • Immaculate Magistrate (3G) puts X +1/+1 Counters on target Creature whereby X is the number of Elves you control. That is so awesome I included not one but 2 copies of this one in the deck!

Also I am running a full 4 copies of Drove of Elves, which costs 3G and has Power and Thoughness equal to the total number of Elves you control PLUS it has Hexproof on top of that, meaning only you and no opponent can target it with Spells and Abilities.

A really awesome mid-game target for searching out with Harbinger is Elvish Promenade, since it is a Tribal Elf Sorcery that can be searched via Elvish Harbinger just like an Elf Creature. Just look at it!

Another great addition to the deck is the instant Might of the Masses. You are bound to have lots of Creatures around so why not attack with a few and slam this on the one unblocked attacker to swing in for some major damage.

Lastly, for massive card draw, I included 3 copies of Slate of Ancestry:

OK that’s it for the Monogreen Elves Toolbox Deck I would like to suggest to Thomas. On to the Green Black one!

Green Black Elf Toolbox for Thomas (Modern Format):


4 x Llanowar Elves G

4 x Elves of Deep Shadow G

4 x Elvish Harbinger 2G

4 x Elvish Archdruid 1GG

1 x Imperious Perfect 2G

1 x Rhys the Exiled 2G

1 x Ezuri, Renegade Leader 1GG

1 x Lys Alana Scarblade 2G

1 x Shaman of the Pack 1GB

1 x Immaculate Magistrate 3G

1 x Nath of the Gilt Leaf 3GB


3 x Prowess of the Fair 1B

3 x Descendants’ Path 2G


4 x Might of the Masses G

4  x Eyeblight’s End 2B


4 x Elvish Promenade 3G


4 x Llanowar Wastes

6 x Swamp

10 x Forest

About the Deck:

Well much of the deck is the same or at least similar to the monogreen version we looked at above: There are 8 one mana mana makers, with the notable change of swapping in the black mana producing Elves of Deep Shadow…

…we got Descendant’s Path in there as well as a source of free, additional elves and of course our central search engine Elvish Harbinger. Only the targets are somewhat different in this one. Here the partly black one-ofs I included:

  • Lys Alana Scarblade (2B) lets you discard an Elf-card to give a Creature -X/-X whereby X equals the number of Elves you control. This adds some great Creature pinpoint destruction.
  • Rhys the Exiled (2G) gains you life and can be regenerated if needed.
  • Shaman of the Pack (1GB) has great stats as well and makes your opponent lose life equal to the number of Elves you control. Awesome with Elvish Promenade!
  • Nath of the Gilt-Leaf is one hell of a nuisance as well. Just look at what he does!

Probably the card that intrigues me most and has great potential in the deck, even more so as it can be searched via Harbiger being a Tribal Enchantment – Elf is Prowess of the Fair:

Basically whenever one of your nontoken Elves dies there will be a token to make up for the loss. Pretty cool when playing against control decks or decks with heavy creature destruction in particular!

One card has to be mentioned lastly. Eyeblight’s End is a highly potent creature pinpoint removal Spell that is tribal as well and can be fetched (searched) with your Elvish Harbinger if you need an answer to a threatening opponent Creature! I like it!!

Well Thomas, well, dear readers, these are my two suggestions for Modern Elf Decks built on quite a tight budget. I am well aware that one could create far better and more competitive Elves deck in the Modern Format but that was neither the goal nor do I or Thomas have the financial means to assemble such an über-powerful deck.

So yeah Thomas, now it is your call!! Which one will it be?? 😀

Anyways, to all my readers, thanks for your interest once again and I hope you enjoyed my little budget deck suggestion post. Maybe I will find more time to post more regularly on here again, on all kinds of subjects. There is definitely enough to share but not enough time, alas, on my end at this point in time.

So as always I wish you




P.S.: Thomas, you will find all the cards mentioned in the decklists at!! 🙂


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