Hello and welcome to another episode of Raise Your Standards. I don’t know about you, but this preview season for Dominaria has me hyped. I’m not a player that has a deep love and affection for Magic’s original plane, but as a fan of Magic lore, I can definitely appreciate the nostalgia that has been built into this set. I guess it makes sense, since I’m a big fan of comic books and it’s universally known that the majority of comic fans care considerably about continuity. That’s what this set brings for me, that feeling of continuity, bridging the lore from many years ago to today, showing us the changes that have happened to this plane since we last saw it.
But continuity, history, and nostalgia aren’t the only things I’ve been enjoying from these previews lately. From a gameplay stance, what I’ve enjoyed the most has to be the introduction of some new Elf tribal cards to build around. Today, I’ll be showing you some of my favorites and discussing some possible strategies to use with them. Let’s get started.
I think the tribe I’ve been most looking forward to having back is Elves. There’s something about the mana ramp that Elves used to provide that I’ve been missing. And the Elves from Dominaria certainly don’t disappoint.
The original mana-ramper itself, Llanowar Elves, is back. For those of you who are newer to Magic, once you learn what it feels like to cast a 3 CMC (converted mana cost) creature on turn 2 it’s hard to go back to just casting things on-curve. Llanowar Elves enables you to do busted things like this, but it’s not alone.
Elfhame Druid has the same mana ramping ability as Llanowar Elves does, but Elfhame Druid costs 1 more mana to cast. In return, you do get a second ability that gives you two Green mana to use only when casting kicked spells. It’s a decent trade-off, but without having some way to increase this card’s power to be above 0, this card might have trouble seeing play.
Another Elf that costs 1G to play is Llanowar Scout. This card allows you to tap it to put a land card from your hand onto the battlefield. So, while it’s a little bit delayed due to needing to tap this creature, the amount of mana ramping this card can enable could be quite impressive. Also, the fact that you are able to put any land, not just a basic land, onto the battlefield means that this Elf can be splashed into decks of other colors fairly easily and will also allow green decks to splash for other colors easier.
The next Elf I want to talk about is Llanowar Envoy. This creature allows you to create mana of other colors simply by paying 1G to do so. While it’s a bit on the expensive side, if you only need a splash of color for a few high-powered spells, it could be worth it.
Our last mana-ramping Elf is Marwyn, the Nurturer. Marwyn is a great way to quickly rack up not only a huge creature with a bunch of +1/+1 counters on her, but she’s also a way to generate a ton of Green mana. The main drawback of her is that she’s legendary, so you can only have one copy in play. Even so, she has the potential to produce a great amount of mana for you, so it’s a drawback you can definitely work around.
So, now that we’ve seen all of the mana providers that the Elves have to offer, what can we do with all of that mana? I have a few suggestions. The first is to use that mana on things that will boost your team, such as Vanquisher’s Banner or The Immortal Sun.
Another thing you can do is play big, splashy creatures. Ghalta, Primal Hunger and Carnage Tyrant are a couple of the best options in mono-green. If you want to add something from Dominaria, I’d consider adding Thorn Elemental. The ability to assign your combat damage as if you were unblocked with it is simply too game-ending. You can also run Rhonas the Indomitable alongside as a way to use your mana each turn and boosting one, or more, creatures for when they attack. And while making your creatures bigger is always a good thing, you could also include Walking Ballista as another mana sink which also can double as removal or direct damage.
If Elves aren’t your cup of tea, fear not, because Dominaria has a lot of other races and classes to build tribal decks with. They include: Goblins, Wizards, Knights, Saprolings, and Angels. Which creature type are you most looking forward to building with? Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment. Or you can reply to me directly on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg), or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. And, don’t forget to like our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/MTGDeckTechs/) to be sure to be notified when a new article is posted.
Also, be sure to check out my articles every Thursday on GatheringMagic.com. If you like the innovative decks I write about here each week, you’ll want to check out my articles there as well.
Be sure to join me back here next week for another installment of Raise Your Standards. I’ll see you then!