Cheers for the input. What you have said I basically already know in my heart, but the issue is that I can't really afford to run a straight Ezuri just yet, whereas I have nearly all of the cards (aside from Heritage druid) for my proposed build.
In short, the Gilt-Leaf Archdruid is a fun win-more card which probably shines more in multi-player or kitchen table Magic but will be too slow and clunky for competitive modern.
I certainly agree with this. But if I did rock up with that build, what percentage of games do you think I would win? Only 10% when the other side gets mana blocked? 25%? What you have basically said to me is that it is "not optimal" which I am sure is the case, but I am wondering how "non competitive" it actually is.
What you have basically said to me is that it is "not optimal"
Fair enough. If you have a suboptimal list, one choice is to play a "best efforts" list that tries to fill in the missing gaps with the "next best thing" that's available, in order to try and preserve the focus of the deck. The other choice is to play a similar deck with a different strategy, filling in what's missing from one deck with another package of cards that leads it down a different path.
Gilt-Leaf is a different strategy for sure, so we have to look at what makes it different from the other elf decks. It's slower, and activating the Gilt-Leaf doesn't necessarily win you the game, whereas activating Ezuri almost always puts you close to the finish line, if not over it. Fast decks like burn or affiniti can probably handle a land reset if they have a decent board presence. However it's definitely a hard blow to control. If your meta is control-heavy, the Gilt-Leaf approach might be good. Additionally, having the critical mass of druids means you're playing a lot of cards that are not really strong by themselves, like Boreal Druid. I think for these reasons, your win rate would decline compared to option #1, though I can't put a % number on it.
If you wanted to change your list to run closer to a stock list, I would recommend moving away from Gilt-leaf and trying to the 'best available' budget options. The expensive parts you're missing are really just CoCo and Chord. You can probably keep the Harbinger as a "pseudo-chord" and fill your last slots with Lead the Stampede, instead of CoCo. I'd swap your Boreal Druids with Nettle Sentinels, and the Gilt-Leaf Archdruids for Dwynen's Elite or Elvish Visionary. The Channelers can probably stay if you like them. Their best replacement would be Shaman of the Pack, but then you're dipping into black and have to shore up the manabase - which costs money. If you want some flex slots to play with, the Arbor Elves are redundant with 4x Llanowar/Mystic already.
But before you go changing everything up, first play with what you have and see how it goes. It may end up doing well, despite my doubts. Playtesting will be a better judge than any amount of writing I can do on a forum.
As for the main page, I think we need to update the SB card guide for 2018. Merfolk is getting an update thanks to it's community.
I would like to propose a list of cards to update as well for 2018.
scavenging ooze is the main GY hate card that can be tutored off chord and LTS, you can play it off heritage Mana and almost instantly attack their GY. It is a very MB-able card atm thanks to all the snap decks and hollow one. It is even good against burn and the control decks because of logic knot. MB 1/ SB 1 or MB 2 to attack your regionals metagame.
It is very good against a heavy hollow one, creature based format like humans. You want it on the draw vs. control decks because you want a bit less spells, and more creatures for them to deal with. Since G1 will always be a linear gameplan, this isn't an elf to produce Mana.
reclamation sage is a powerful toolbox elf atm. It is very good against amulet Titan, aethervial, and hollow one. All of which are recently popular decks. MB interaction against affinity is also a plus, and killing off a t2 azcanta against control means they can't filter their draw step, which is good for you to hasten your gameplan.
MB 1/ SB 1 seems to be the main plan with this card atm, which is fine since there is no way to know if the card will interact with the lower rounds of the tournament (i.e. non pyromancer storm decks, ad nauseum, etc.)
I'll continue with more cards later since I have to work, but I'll continue to update with my thoughts and choices on MB and SB cards.
I'll be updating the primer in the coming days. Lots of new information as well as new variations (RG, Jund etc.) to add
Update on sideboard cards. (Aka long post)
Continuing on creatures.
ramunap excavator pick this card up now while it is cheap as a standard card. This card is crucible of worlds on a stick, meaning it can be company/chord-able against rg ponza, pox, land destruction decks. It also brings back dead fetches if need be in a grind match up. Definitely always have one to SB on hand. 2/3 body is still okay, not decent.
essence warden very good against creature decks or decks that gum up the ground. Okay against burn match up, but it doesn't give the same impact as your other elves, I feel you need to play some amount of LTS to keep the life gain train rolling against semi-based non creature decks.
obstinate baloth this card has been seeing A LOT more SB against hollow one/jund, lili decks, and it's a 4/4 for 4. So it's still a good beater. The 4 life gain is good against burn, it's better than essence warden imo if I plan to SB for burn/creature heavy metagame. It's still good against control match up, just having an extra body that doesn't die to bolt/helix/push. I would consider 2 copies for the SB if you plan to bring it.
thrun, the last troll if you plan to play chameo colossus, I would recommend this card before heading over to our pro black friend. This card is VERY good against a heavy jeskai match up atm, it also evades verdict with a self regeration ability. It has the ability to block hollow ones, and it can even chump against angler and almost all the ground creatures. Only 1 copy as it is a legendary.
chameleon colossus this card has it's days, but the meta is shifting towards non black creatures and jund isn't putting up the results in the recent events. It would be benched until jund or some form of deck that tops and includes a hefty amount of black creatures where evading them for the kill would be good. One copy like thrun is all you need.
melira, sylvok outcast melira used to be an auto include one-of for infect. But infect is the worst deck to bring into a format with a bunch of eletrolyze and mardu decks that have large amount of chump blockers. She will be benched for now unless you want to bring her against the affinity match up where they use blinkmoth as their alternate win con, which is a pretty bad reason.
glissa, the traitor this card is better with nihil spellbomb as your gy removal of choice. You also need cavern to make this Mana cost playable. The first strike and deathtouch hoses ground creatures very nicely. This is mostly against pyro/hollow one decks to keep reusing spellbomb to net CA and remove their yard.
dryad arbor I want to play test this card a lot as a 2-of. Chord can be casted for 0 and if we are stuck on land. Chording for a dryad arbor might not be so bad. It helps towards getting to that important collected company play faster and a creature to attack and chump with. REL states you can only play with future sight arbor, which is stupid. Since they only need to enfore that dryad arbor should be in the "zone where creatures are placed".
wilt-leaf liege this card used to be an okay SB card vs. jund and hollow one, but baloth took its' place and has become a bench warmer. Same as baloth if you were to play them, 2 copies.
shalai, voice of plenty this is a multi-utility card. It is good against storm, hand disruption decks, it makes them waste removal on this first before your dorks. It is also gavony on a stick, since it is a new card. It seems to be a one-of currently and requires A LOT of playtesting before any verdict can be made. It's supposed to be good in the grindy match ups where you can start putting counters on your dorks ornin any creature heavy match up.
eidolon of rhetoric good against the solitaire decks and shuts them down completely. Also very good against decks that want to cast multiple spells a turn, like pyromancer, it is also okay vs. hollow one assuming they don't get the nut draw. It is currently a one-of and should stay that way as a SB toolbox card.
kataki, war's wage I think it isn't as good as Stony silence, but it is a chord-able creature against any artifact heavy deck. It is a singleton for the SB.
thalia, guardian of thraben a powerful 2/1 first strike with the ability to slow down any deck using spells. It isn't as effective as eidolon against the solitaire decks. It still punishes them for not playing creatures. It is a nonbo with 5 Mana Coco. It is a one-of.
thalia, heretic cathar this is a more powerful version imo as it makes opponents lands come into play tapped. Effectively slowing their gameplay, and any blockers they wish to play comes into play tapped. Still having first strike along with a 3/2 body means she can effectively deal with a bunch of ground creatures. Same as before to a singleton in the board.
It is very good, but it isn't as important as using our few tutors to chord a better lockdown card like eidolon. I have zero idea why anyone would play blazing archon even in reanimator decks. If you are just playing casual, just put it the many kill spells that kills flyers.
for one you would need blue mana, which is not impossible but UG elves doesnt have much to offer except choice counterspells like Unified Will. then you would have to ask yourself why you are playing Distant Melody over Lead the Stampede, which is on color, cheaper, and doesnt require a board state. Distant Melody might have a higher ceiling, since you could technically draw more than 5 cards, but the floor is going to be way lower. If you are going to be paying 4 mana at sorcery speed to draw 1-2, then you might as well be playing Divination.
edit: i guess Coiling Oracle is a reason to play UG elves, but its been a hot minute since ive seen anyone use that build to any level of success.
Private Mod Note
Rollback Post to RevisionRollBack
Modern: UWGSnow-Bant Control BURGrixis Death's Shadow GWBCoCo Elves WCDeath and Taxes (sold)
I've been experimenting with a blue green build for a while. I love Coiling Oracle, and Dramatic Reversal can be quite good, but Beck//Call is just a worse version of glimpse of nature, and it's not even worth running in modern. I haven't really tried out Distant Melody, but it does seem awfully expensive and in most cases worse than lead the stampede. In any blue variant, the biggest issue you're going to run into is that the deck produces almost exclusively green mana, and while a ug build can pump out a gigantic amount of mana in a very short time and draw a lot of cards, its limited by the fact that it really can only ever get one or two blue mana per turn. I've had a lot of fun with my blue build, but I don't think there's much of a competitive future in it because I think elves' biggest competitive advantage is a sideboard toolkit that can deal with anything through chords and companies, and Abzan or GW has a much better ability to use a toolkit like that.
1) it is a card you would still want for toolboxing imo. If the case should ever arrive, there is no downside to picking one up while it's cheap.
2) and 5) coincide because of hollow one decks mostly. But idk if hollow one has enough % of the metagame to warrant the cards.
4)yeah, I would figure on that already. It's mostly an idea more than a realistic opportunity. It was a nice try for the idea maybe. I would've also considered 3 mana to avoid Lili of the veil sac as well. I am not sure how good that would be though.
I would use westvale Abbey, as you can make creatures off it if you should ever flood.
Just saw the new elf spoiled for m19, elvish rejuvenator is an edh card. 3 mana search for any land from the top 5 isn't good enough for the deck in modern. Maybe it is more powerful in legacy as it can get gaea's cradle?
A lot of the toolbox cards can't be pumped by elves, but they do something to help stem the bleeding of w/e the format is in. g/r ponza has been seen here or there, but the number isn't large enough to warrant the card. Just saying if it is ever needed, then it would be used.
I was hoping more from the new green walker. She is as generic as green has been, not being able to kill any creature makes her impact a lot worse. Vital force, garruk caller of beasts are a lot better in the grind match ups you want them in. The only difference is if you care about the naturalize ability, along with the niche kill a vault skirge/freebooter/mantis rider.
It's mostly for the combo decks/ solitaire decks where you can cast it on t2/3 to get rid of their win cons.
Vivian doesn't seem to be the right walker for 5 Mana in modern. It needs to be a very high impact card the moment you draw it and cast it for 5 in a fast format such as modern. If she made a beast/wolf as her +1 instead, I would have been on the boat.
walking ballista since there are devoted druid builds, you want something to do with infinite Mana other than ezuri. Ballista walker offers that option as an instant cast win button. It doesn't mean you have to hold it in your hand as well, with the large amount of Mana from archdruid. You should be able to cast this and get rid of pesky blockers, shoot to the face for next turn shaman lethal, clear the board against creature centric decks, etc. I believe this card will be the "spellskite" in a creature/control heavy format as both a combo piece and a removal spell. This would be a 2-3 copies depending how saturated your regional is with creature heavy decks.
eidolon of rhetoric it's a better aethesworn canonist as it hardlocked to all spells. You can immediately play it to control combo decks using cantrips; into playing a tempo game and reach critical mass for a slower t6-t7 kill on avg. 1 of is fine for the toolbox deck.