Elves always seems to go under the radar in Modern. For a deck that has won a Modern Grand Prix, it's certainly not normally on the top of people's minds. At Grand Prix Hartford, Elves quietly converted another GP Top 8, with 12 players playing the deck Day 2. Here's his list:
Grahn chose to go with the consistency of playing the Lead with the Stampede and Shaman of the Pack build, trying to win with a wide board of little green men. More commonly seen versions of Elves play Chord of Calling with Nykthos, Shrine of Nyx to consistently power out insane Ezuri, Renegade Leader-fueled attacks. Once you have Chord of Calling you generally go the Devoted Druid / Vizier of Remedies combo route. That version is much slower, clunkier and all-around less consistent, while also being quite susceptible to Grafdigger's Cage or even cards like Dispel.
I think this strategy is awesome in Modern right now. Lots of decks are focusing and dealing with specific hard-to-deal with threats from Hollow One, while also being stretched to have hate for Affinity and Bogles. This deck is very good against typical one-for-one removal. It not only has the capability of explosive unfair Modern draws, but it also has the backbone to play against more grindy decks. Bloodbraid Elf, Company and Lead the Stampede are huge card advantage engines that allow you to transition into late game.
The sideboard is a work in progress. I found that this deck needs so many creatures to fuel Company and Stampede that you can't afford to sideboard in that many spells. I have had success with Dismember as my kill spell of choice, as the lands can make it hard to cast stuff like Decay and Push. Dismember can kill most of Hollow One's big threats and is a very cheap and efficient spell against Tarmogoyf decks. Ooze is quite strong postboard as it doubles as both an anti-mass removal spell and graveyard hate. Many decks side in lots of removal and sweepers and Ooze can be a game winner as the last card you play or if you find it off Company/Stampede in the late game. Fracturing Gust is the one whammy card that makes playing a deck Elves powerful in Modern – when you don't have much space for interaction, you want to be able to interact in a big way, and Gust is a game winner against Modern's most popular decks of the moment in Bogles and Affinity.
- Steve Rubin
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