Ever heard of “Elfball”? Here’s why.
Since the beginning of Magic in Alpha, Elves continue to see support in numerous expansions and releases. Such as the classic Llanowar Elves originally from Alpha, the card still sees play thirty years on in various Modern, Commander, and Pioneer strategies to help cast spells ahead of schedule.
Elves primarily focus within Green with ample representation in White, Black, Blue, and Red. Typically, you see Elves as base Green, then feature a second or third color to present different abilities. Like with Goblins, a lot of the color-shifted Elves are plane-dependant such as Ravnica, where you see Elves fall into Selesnya or Simic, and with Adventure in the Forgotten Realms, there are Elf cards in red to highlight pivotal characters from the Dungeons & Dragons-focused expansion. Given the immense support for the pointy-eared creatures, Elves remain deeply loved by players, with appreciation only growing over time.
Elves are a big deal in Magic: The Gathering with their evergreen influence by generating bundles of mana and going wide with Elf creatures. Let’s look at some of the best Elf cards you can play in Commander right now.
While technically an Elf from Kaldheim, Realmwalker grants the ability to cast the named creature type (in this case, Elf) from the top of your library. In a creature-focused Commander strategy, you want a solid density of creatures to ensure you can carry out your game plan easily. With cards such as Realmwalker, this allows you to overwhelm the board with cheap Elf creatures since there are so many ways to generate mana. Plus, the ability to see the top card of the library at any point gives you the information to plan your future turns or to find a way to scry the card to the bottom.
#9 Circle of Dreams Druid
Adventures in the Forgotten Realms
From Dungeons & Dragons: Adventure of the Forgotten Realms comes an effect seen on the fantastic yet expensive Gaea’s Cradle, Circle of Dreams Druid allows you to add a Green mana to your mana pool for each creature you control on the battlefield. For many Magic: The Gathering players, trying to acquire a Gaea’s Cradle is unreachable due to the Reserved List. The printing of Circle of Dreams Druid gifts the opportunity for players to achieve the effect for an affordable rate.
Market Price: $24.39
With Elves, these effects continue to be desirable since you cast and play so many cheap Elves during a game. You can use Circle of Dreams Druid to generate a ton of mana to cast your haymaker spells such as Cratherhoof Behemoth or a massive Green Sun’s Zenith to find the creature you need to win. There’s also additional usage along with Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler from Phyrexia: All Will Be One, who grants Circle of Dreams Druid’s activated abilities as though it has haste, meaning you can generate mana quickly instead of waiting for your next turn. Alternatively, you can use the excess mana to activate a game-ending ability such as Ezuri, Renegade Leader multiple times to demolish your opponents.
#8 Rhys the Redeemed
Double Masters, Rare
Another powerful card to lead an army of Elves into battle is Rhys, the Redeemed, which can create Elf Tokens and then duplicate any creature tokens on the battlefield that you control. Being able to play your Commander on turn one is a solid play and one of the few reasons to opt out of playing Sol Ring instead if you have the Artifact card in your opening hand.
Market Price: $44.50
Market Price: $88.31
What makes Rhys, the Redeemed such a compelling Commander to lead your Elf strategy is gaining access to white, extending the option to incorporate additional token generators and cards in these colors. By adding Anointed Procession and Mondrak, Glory Dominus, gives you an extra token doubler alongside Doubling Season to offer an explosive way to swarm the board with Elf tokens. Plus, you can give yourself an insured win condition by adding Halo Fountain from Streets of New Capenna if a Commander game goes on for too long.
#7 Bloom Tender
Double Masters 2022
One of the best mana-generating creatures for multicolored Commander strategies is Bloom Tender, a two-mana Elf that adds one mana of that color for each color amongst the permanents you control. While you don’t see Bloom Tender in Mono-Green Commander strategies because it becomes mana negative, the Elf Druid shines in three to five-colored strategies as it becomes mana positive, allowing you to cast spells ahead of schedule. Bloom Tender is excellent in giving you support to cast those mana-intensive spells, which is a demanding aspect of playing any multicolor Commander strategy.
Before the Double Masters 2022 reprint, Bloom Tender became an expensive card, with Eventide being the only genuine printing until recently. Such as with Allosaurus Shepherd, this gives Commander players another chance to pick up the sought-after Rare for their multicolored Commander lists.
#6 Elvish Archdruid
Duel Decks: Elves vs. Inventors
Like Zombies and Goblins, Elves come with several Lord effects to power your creatures during a game of Magic. Elvish Archdruid is one of the better effects available since you can also turn your Elves into mana. Coupling these two abilities gives you those explosive starts, which Elves are notorious for achieving in constructed and singleton formats.
Market Price: $22.07
Market Price: $9.36
There are a couple of other options you can add to your Elf Commander strategy, Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf Dean gives you the ability to gain life every time you attack with your Elf creatures. Elvish Champion is a classic option to grant your Elves with Forestwalk, an ability that makes your Elves unblockable if an opponent controls a Forest on the battlefield. Then, there are colorless options such as Eldrazi Monument and Obelisk of Urd that can slide into any Commander tribal strategy. There are numerous ways to stack these effects, but Elvish Archdruid remains one of the best available.
#5 Beast Whisperer
Commander: Kaldheim, Rare
Despite being four mana, Beast Whisperer from Guilds of Ravnica comes with a simple ability that turns those creature cards you cast into card draw. For a strategy such as Elves, you want as much card draw as possible to cast more Elf cards. It even turns creature cards you wouldn’t otherwise play into a resource advantage, such as playing an Elvish Mystic on turn ten in a game of Commander, for example. Going further, Leaf-Crowned Visionary from Dominaira United also serves a similar role, where you get this Glimpse of Nature-esque ability where you can draw a card if you pay a single Green mana, and whenever you cast an Elf spell.
#4 Allosaurus Shepherd
Double Masters 2022
Market Price: $31.95
One of the strongest cards to feature in Jumpstart and Double Masters 2022, Allosarurs Shepherd comes with a mountain of text for a one-mana creature. Not only does the card itself is uncounterable, but so do the Green spells you decide to cast with Allosaurus Shepherd in play. With these abilities, it means you can ignore powerful countering effects such as Force of Will or Chalice of the Void. Before Double Masters 2022’s release, Allosaurus Shepherd commanded a steep price due to its effectiveness in Commander and Legacy. Now with a reprint, it’s given players another opportunity to pick up the staple card for their Elf lists.
Market Price: $57.57
Market Price: $52.94
Then, you have this game-ending ability that turns all your creatures into base 5/5 Dinosaurs in addition to its other creatures types. When playing Elves in Commander, this is one of the more significant cards to feature as it does so much for so little mana. You can ignore counter spells, play your Elf cards without worry, then use the last ability on Allosaurus Shepherd as an Overrun effect. Another detail about the Elf Shaman is your existing lord effects stack with the activated ability as they remain as Elves in creature typing. With that in mind, you can create an impressive alpha strike by playing Elf cards and generating mana.
#3 Ezuri, Renegade Leader
Duel Decks: Elves vs. Inventors, Mythic
A classic Elf from Magic: The Gathering’s past is Ezuri, Renegade Leader, a favorite win condition for Elves players in Commander and Modern. It’s common to see an Elves player generate absurd amounts of mana, cast Ezuri, then activate the second ability multiple times to win the game. Through having an effective and straightforward game plan, Ezuri is currently one of the top five Commanders (according to EDHREC) along with Glissa Sunslayer and Abomination of Llanowar to lead Elves into battle.
Market Price: $10.95
Market Price: $10.94
Market Price: $9.18
Ezuri comes with a second ability to regenerate another target Elf creature which immediately can save one of your key Elf creatures in a pinch, this can also force your opponent to remove Ezuri first before targeting your other Elves. Since Ezuri comes with a mana value of three, it’s easy to cast the card from the command zone with Llanowar Elves or Elvish Mystic on turn one, giving you access to an Overrun-style effect in the late-game.
#2 Lathril, Blade of the Elves
Commander: Kaldheim, Mythic
Headlining Kaldheim’s Elven Empire Commander Precon is Lathril, Blade of the Elves. The Elf Noble comes with two strong abilities, the first is to go wide with Elf Warrior tokens by dealing combat damage with Lathril, then tapping those Elves to shave ten life off each opponent at the table. There are two ways you can build Lathril, Blade of the Elves in Commander. First, you can lean into the Voltron approach by loading Lathril with Equipment and Auras to maximize her first ability. Or, you can take the traditional method by playing a bunch of value Elf creatures that can extend to the go-wide game plan.
Market Price: $22.56
Market Price: $19.45
Since Lathril comes with Black in her mana cost, you can add the more deadly Elves such as Shaman of the Pack, the Elf Shaman enables you to one-shot an opponent from having an army of Elves on the battlefield. Pair this with Cloudstone Curio to return Shaman of the Pack to your hand when you play another Elf, you can then repeat the process. Either way, Lathril is a deadly option to lead an Elf Commander strategy as it can become dangerous if left unchecked.
#1 Marwyn, the Nurturer
Commander: Kaldheim, Rare
From Dominaria comes Marwyn, the Nurturer, a three-mana Elf Druid with some powerful abilities. Whenever another Elf enters the battlefield under your control, Marwyn gets a +1/+1 counter. You can tap Marwyn to add an amount of green mana to your mana pool to the number of +1/+1 counters on Marwyn.
Market Price: $38.42
There are a few reasons Elf archetypes can be called “Elfball” and Marwyn is another reason for it. You can progress your game plan by simply casting cheap Elves such as Llanowar Elves, adding counters to Marwyn to generate more mana for those haymaker spells. With that mana, you want to fire off a massive Chord of Calling or Green Sun’s Zenith to find your game-ending threat, such as Craterhoof Behemoth. Marywn can become a more significant threat alongside doubling effects such as Doubling Season and Hardened Scales to maximize her ability and for you to unload an army of Elves onto the battlefield. It’s this ability to snowball so fast and overwhelm the opponents that make Marwyn, the Nuturer the best Elf card you can play in Commander right now.