Deck of the Week: Pauper Elves

Hallie SantoPauper

Thanks to all who tuned in to coverage of our two Legacy 1K tournaments last weekend! We’ll still have plenty of Legacy content coming up as GP Seattle approaches, but for now, we’re going to pivot slightly toward Pauper, in anticipation of our upcoming Rags to Riches tournament this weekend. Incidentally, today’s Deck of the Week covers an archetype that’s been having a resurgence in both Legacy and Pauper: Elves!

While Pauper Elves draws from a smaller card pool than its Legacy counterpart, the decks have many common elements. Both share a common goal of using Elves to generate mana and leveraging untap effects to put mana-producing creatures to even better use. As such, Quirion Ranger and Nettle Sentinel are key components of both decks, and both use Elvish Visionary as an efficient means of card draw. Without Heritage Druid and Gaea’s Cradle, Pauper Elves needs to lean harder on Birchlore Rangers and bring in Priest of Titania to produce mana, and it uses Distant Melody to keep the cards flowing in place of Glimpse of Nature.

Lower power level also means smaller payoffs, but Pauper Elves has plenty of game-winning strategy up its sleeve. Lys Alana Huntmaster is a linchpin of the deck, providing an extra 1/1 body every time you cast an Elf spell. Elves often wins by going wide, and Timberwatch Elf can make combat math tricky or allow an unblocked Elf to sneak in for the win. The addition of Elvish Vanguard to the Pauper card pool with the release of Eternal Masters also gave Elves another valuable tool at its disposal, allowing the deck to go tall when going wide doesn’t work out.


Pauper Elves

4 Birchlore Rangers
4 Elvish Mystic
2 Essence Warden
3 Fyndhorn Elves
4 Nettle Sentinel
4 Quirion Ranger
4 Elvish Vanguard
2 Elvish Visionary
3 Priest of Titania
3 Wellwisher
3 Timberwatch Elf
4 Lys Alana Huntmaster
4 Land Grant
4 Lead the Stampede
2 Distant Melody
1 Viridian Longbow
9 Forest

1 Magnify
1 Relic of Progenitus
1 Scattershot Archer
1 Viridian Longbow
4 Gleeful Sabotage
1 Mob Justice
2 Tangle
1 Wellwisher
1 Luminescent Rain
2 Spidersilk Armor


Elves is the deck I’ve gravitated to most while exploring the Pauper format. While it lacks hard answers to opposing all-in strategies, Elves plays plenty of “must-answer” creatures of its own, and it can gain enough life to provide a buffer against aggro decks of all kinds. I come back to Elves time and again because of its rich internal synergies; if you’re looking for a deck that will force you to improve your sequencing, Elves is definitely worth picking up.

Want to see your favorite Pauper deck featured on Deck of the Week? Tweet at us at @Card_Kingdom and let us know, and don’t forget to tune in to coverage of Rags to Riches this Saturday, February 3rd, and 12:00 PM PST!


Header design: Justin Treadway
Header image: “Lys Alana Huntmaster” by Pete Venters