Deck analysis #7: Elves14/05/2018
I am Rinriet, a Spellweaver regular with three Masters Championship titles. I welcome you back to my article series, where I analyze a deck every week.
For an extensive list of competitive decks, you can check out my What is META? article.
Today I bring an old deck that was resurrected with one of the new cards: Elves!
The main purpose of this deck is to finish off the opponent as quickly as possible. To do that, the deck uses high speed creatures to bypass blockers, and swift creatures to keep dealing damage.
Why should you try this deck?
- Good aggro deck capable of burst damage.
- Uses only Nature cards so it’s useful in conquest lineups.
- It is easy to learn, but it has a lot of little tricks and mechanics.
- It is quite cheap.
What are the deck’s weaknesses?
- It is very susceptible to removal spells, especially Suffocate.
- It lacks high HP creatures so it will have problems trading with other creatures.
Hero: 1x Neeva, Child of the Forest
|4x Grove Guardian
4x Elf Scout
3x Gurko Tribe Shaman
4x Elf Warrior
4x Brothers in Arms
3x Summoner Druid
2x Nienna, Legendary Storyteller
4x Elvish Champion
4x Master Hunter
4x Haldiri Rider
|4x Ambush Strike
2x Tidal Wave
2x Elven Sanctuary
16x Nature Shrine
How to play the deck?
- For your starting hand you want a great curve. That usually consists of at least a Grove Guardian and other cheap elves. A Summoner Druid is a very good early play, value him highly when gauging the strength of your starting hand.
- Level order is simple: two green levels. You usually want to go up the second level when you want to play a 2 mana 2 levels card.
- The game plan is also simple: play your creatures, swarm the board with the help of Summoner Druid and Brothers in Arms, and go face until you win. Your only win condition is beat down and you should do that very fast.
- Your hero skill has two main uses. The first is to help gaining board advantage in the early game. The second is to reach lethal in mid-late game. The cooldown is pretty high but you should be able to use the skill twice in a typical game.
- Summoner Druid is a monster, and being able to activate the card twice usually leads to an easy win. One little mechanic: if you have 3 mana and a Druid in play, you can play a 1 mana creature and then a 4 mana creature; playing a Haldiri or Master Hunter one turn in advance can be crucial.
- You should be careful when playing Druids with Brothers in Arms. The Druid’s effect can only be used on the second creature you play, and the Brothers make you play two creatures. That means that if the first creature you play is a Brother in Arms, you won’t be able to activate Druid. It’s better to play another creature, then Brothers for free.
- There is a reason why some people are playing elves now: Elvish Champion. You play a lot of cheap creatures, Brothers and Druid, so you will nearly always be able to make her Swift. And against other creature-based decks she becomes a 3/4 swift: a trading champion (well, she is named like that for a reason, right?).
- The deck lacks card draw except for one card: Nienna, Legendary Storyteller. You are playing 30 elves, so chances will be around 50% to hit one of them in the top of your deck. If Nienna doesn’t get killed, she can provide an insane amount of cards.
- How to properly use Nienna?
1: Start. At the start of your turn, don’t use a shrine immediately. Check your deck for a free elf.
2: Shrine. If you don’t have an elf on top, decide whether you need the card you see. If it’s a card you want (e.g. Ambush Strike), draw it with your shrine. That reveals a new card, so another chance for a “free” elf. Other cards with a card draw such as Tidal Wave do the same effect.
3: Divine Offering. If you don’t like the card before drawing, or if you already used a shrine but you want another chance to use Nienna, use DO. Third opportunity!
4: Brother in Arms. Playing one of them from your hand shuffles your deck. That changes the top card, so it’s another chance to get an Elf. This could also be useful for another shot at getting a specific card you might need to win.
Conclusion: The (around 50%) chance can be rolled three times minimum each turn, and some more if you get the right cards. In the late game, when you have your hero skill available, Nienna can summon A LOT of elves out of nowhere if you manage your deck wisely.
Alternative card choices
- Jungle Deathtrap: Isn’t an elf, but it can help to deal with control decks like One Turn Heal, or Wisdom-Rage Control.
- Silver Fang: If you prefer a more reliable curve in the early game, some of these will help. But beware, it is Legendary, don’t put 4 copies of them.
- Ambushing Sharpshooter: He is an elf, but quite expensive. An okay option against Zombies or Spiders.
- Tornado Outbreak: Phoenix? What Phoenix? If you plan to win before card advantage is crucial, this card effectively kills a creature.
- Word of Vigor: Better trades, and nobody plays around it. Try with 1-2 copies if you are feeling brave.
- Landslide: Against aggro and midrange this is a very good card. It can remove blockers, Angelic Temple, or Dwarven Mortar, for example. Most of the time you will get great value of it, unless you are playing against control. Use Divine Offering to get rid of it in the latter case.
What are the common matchups?
The favorable matchups are control ones if you get a good hand and midranges with lack of high speed blockers and slow starts.
Any deck that lacks early removal spells and relies on 2-speed blockers will suffer. Decks like Wisdom-Dominion Control will be favorable matchups too, because you can kill them before Cataclysm, and even after that you can still pass Swift damage.
The unfavorable matchups are midranges with high speed blockers, and any Suffocate deck.
Corruption control can be extremely hard to deal with: cheap removal, Harpy, and Suffocate.
Zombies can both kill your creatures with spells and hit harder than you, while being hard to trade with.
Valor Rage can be a problem too, because of Fireblast and early pressure against your Grove Guardians.
I hope you liked the guide! If anyone has a suggestion or comment, feel free to send me a forum message, add me in-game, or talk on the game’s discord.