Legacy on MONDAYS, No. 11: Helix Elves

Welcome Back!

This series has [c]Time Warp[/c]ed to Monday, so look for Legacy articles on the first of every week from now on!

Elves is one of Magic’s favorite tribes. The pointy-eared mana machines tend to grab people because the traditional “Elf Deck” can be either aggro or combo based, and Elf Decks tend to be both fun and very powerful. Combo Elves usually strings together lots of dudes with [c]Glimpse of Nature[/c] and then casts [c]Regal Force[/c] to draw a ton of cards and win through a [c]Craterhoof Behemoth[/c], or just [c]Natural Order[/c]s up [c]Progenitus[/c] for the win. This week, I would like to explore the potential for Elves to win in another way using, you guessed it, [c]Helix Pinnacle[/c]. The amount of mana that this tribe churns out is enough to the point where I thought it possible to win using this CMC-1 enchantment. Check out this list, then let’s break it down:

[d title=”Helix Elves”]

1 Argothian Elder
1 Eladamri, Lord of Leaves
3 Elvish Mystic
4 Fyndhorn Elves
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Priest of Titania
4 Elvish Archdruid
4 Quirion Ranger
2 Seedborn Muse

4 Helix Pinnacle

2 Genesis Wave
3 Green Sun’s Zenith

2 Doubling Cube
2 Thorn of Amethyst

15 Forest
2 Gaea’s Cradle
2 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
1 Maze of Ith

3 Relic of Progenitus
3 Staff of Domination
2 Thorn of Amethyst
4 Vexing Shusher
3 Krosan Grip



Like all tribal decks, Pinnacle Elves relies on having a bunch of dorks from the same tribe in play at the same time. For this list, a whopping eleven of the creatures are 1/1 mana dudes. Four copies each of [c]Fyndhorn Elves[/c], [c]Llanowar Elves[/c], and three [c]Elvish Mystic[/c] will ensure that you will almost always have three mana on turn two. They can also provide beats if necessary, as the aggro plan is a good backup for any deck that has some way of circumventing a Pinnacle win. [c]Quirion Ranger[/c] is the only other 1-drop, and she is pretty boss. She untaps all of the other mana-producing creatures for the mere cost of returning a forest to the hand. These dudes are an essential part of the deck, as they provide early mana to help fuel the big mana producers.

As most Elf decks do, this list also runs the big guys. Both [c]Priest of Titania[/c] and [c]Elvish Archdruid[/c] make it rain (mana) with all of those little dorks in play to assist them. [c]Seedborn Muse[/c] is equally ridiculous, as untapping all of the mana producers and lands twice per go-around makes it quite easy to get to the magical 100 faster. The last two creatures might be the most out-of-place. [c]Eladamri, Lord of Leaves[/c] is important because he stops spot removal and other targeted effects like [c]Stifle[/c] from preventing mana production. [c]Argothian Elder[/c] is not quite of the same importance, but allows you to win the game on your next upkeep with [c]Maze of Ith[/c]. The two in combination make infinite mana. These two are only 1-ofs because the deck runs three copies of [c]Green Sun’s Zenith[/c]. This card is very powerful, and allows for these two “toolbox” inclusions as well as makes the deck more synergous.

Everything Else

There is not much else other than the creatures; they provide the bulk of the mana production. Two [c]Genesis Wave[/c] can be cast for ridiculous advantage in the mid-to-late game. The Wave also makes it easier to aggro-kill the opponent with a ton of Elves if there are a couple of Archdruids in play. [c]Thorn of Amethyst[/c] deserves special mention. Most of our deck is composed of creatures, so Thorn doesn’t have that much of an effect, but a deck like ANT, Stoneblade, or even Jund will have a problem with this card. It is to hopefully slow them down enough to get 100 counters on our [c]Helix Pinnacle[/c]. [c]Doubling Cube[/c] is also powerful, but only when mana production starts to exceed 10 or so per turn does it really shine. This means the Cude can only be a 2-of so as not to pollute the curve with unnecessary cards.

For the lands, a solid fifteen [c]Forest[/c]s provide the legwork for the deck. A turn 1 mana dork or Ranger is very necessary, and Forest gets the job done. [c]Maze of Ith[/c] was already spoken about as a 1-of that will make infinite mana with an attacking [c]Argothian Elder[/c]. The standard [c]Gaea’s Cradle[/c] is used, just like most Elf decks, to make 8+ mana per turn after just a few turns. I also like the split between [c]Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx[/c] and the Cradle, as 2-2 allows for multiple ridiculous lands to be in play at the same time without the legend rule interfering too much.


The ‘board makes some matchups much easier, and can even be transformative. For obvious reasons, Manaless dredge seems to be running rampant around the tournament practice room. Ergo, three copies of [c]Relic of Progenitus[/c] are important for keeping them off the graveyard. One card per turn will do good things early in the game, but nuking the yard will be important, as always, once the opponent starts to hit the 10+ card range. [c]Staff of Domination[/c] just does what it always does for Elves: goes infinite. The Staff can provide an alternate means to win the game once a sufficient number of elves and a [c]Priest of Titania[/c]/[c]Elvish Archdruid[/c] hit play. The extra two [c]Thorn of Amethyst[/c] kill combo and control, while [c]Vexing Shusher[/c] wins the game against [c]Counterbalance[/c] and other control-heavy decks. Finally, [c]Krosan Grip[/c] answers typical artifact/enchantment threats such as swords and [c]Humility[/c]. That is the gist of sideboarding with the deck; go with your gut. The most common cards to remove from the main should be [c]Doubling Cube[/c] and [c]Genesis Wave[/c], since they support the main goal and do not accomplish it by themselves.

So, Helix Elves – Is the deck better than Combo Elves? Not necessarily. They are both pretty on-par for consistency, although Combo will usually be slightly faster. The best part of this deck is its versatility. It can win in any number of ways, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of you crazies decided to add [c]Banefire[/c] and a [c]Taiga[/c]-fetch combo to the list. Elves as a whole should be a lot more flexible than it is made out to be as an archetype, and I hope that this list illustrates to you why.

Lastly, I met the nicest, most cynical fifteen-year-old kid while playing some online games a month or so ago. He reminds me a lot of myself. And I just found out that he is clinically depressed and sometimes contemplates suicide. He is also a digital artist, but thinks all of his stuff is awful. Honestly, I have no visual artistic talent whatsoever. This kid is a lot better than me, but refuses to take compliments and hates it when I say that he is good. Please, if you are so inclined, look at this page: http://vastwhiteart.tumblr.com/ and follow if he is better than you. Do not feel compelled to do so, I just think that people like this need a little recognition for being good at something, and maybe it’ll help this young man realize it himself. Thank you.

I hope to see you next Monday for more crazy Legacy action! Thanks for reading!