Tana and Thrasios join together to form a powerful Elfball deck! Welcome to the first partners Deck Tech here on Commander Society!
Tana gives us the ability to make small swarms of creatures. If you can untap with a small swarm of creatures you can easily win the game via one of the creature tutor effects like Natural Order or Chord of Calling to get Craterhoof. Tana is also good at enabling damage effects such as Purphoros, God of the Forge with her Saprolings.
Tana’s is very helpful to reset your boardstate if your initial elfball start is stopped by a wrath. She’s also an elf and benefits from all the elf tribal effects.
Thrasios is another backup plan we have to dig for combos or value. Elves are good at making mana and Thrasios can help us dig to get us more lands in play or cards in hand.
The Main Strats:
The main goal of this deck is to become mana enabled and then capitalize with that mana. We become mana enabled through natural land drops or the use of elves to facilitate very very large amounts of mana.
Once we have mana we need to figure out what to do with it. Sometimes we’ll curve out with our creatures into game ending plays like Craterhoof Behemoth / Avenger of Zendikar. Other times we’ll find a mana sink and create so much value through mini or infinite combos that even control decks can’t shut us down. Cards like Natural Order and Chord of Calling help us bridge the gaps between these lines of play when we need to.
Peeling Against Spot Removal:
While it is easy to get value when you have a lot of mana sometimes getting a lot of mana is the real win condition. Opponents with just one or two pieces of spot removal might smartly try to shut you down by denying your most efficient mana creatures.
Offer up a smaller option that is tempting to spot remove to try to peel for the real mana enabler. If they take the bait you can play out your other more powerful mana enabler. This of course requires a understanding for what creatures are most critical to the value engine you are trying to achieve. Some mana elves are small and efficient, while others are higher costed with higher upside. If you can guess correctly what your opponents are willing to remove you can clear the way for your infinite combos to become enabled.
If your meta is heavily control focused just focus on gaining minor value each turn because Thrasios offers you a inevitable mana sink for the late game to abuse that control decks can’t easily stop.
The Power Of Partners:
A problem most Elfball decks experience is that they can easily run out of steam if their opponents disable the most critical part of their value engine. The real power Tana and Thrasios bring to the table is that they are recastable threats with a low opportunity cost. Tana helps you rebuild your boardstate and Thrasios gives you a cheap and easy to use mana sink. Your commanders in this deck are really game plan B and C when your traditional Elfball strategy runs against a lot of removal.
How to get your Value:
Temur Sabertooth + Major Mana Elf (like Elvish Archdruid, one that can make enough mana to net its casting cost and Sabertooth’s 1(g) activation cost with mana left over) + Haste allows us to use what I call our Toolbox of Elves an infinite number of times to end the game in whichever manner the situation calls for. Aluren is not a required piece to any of the infinite combos in this list however it adds both a level of speed and efficiency the deck could otherwise not attain.
- By bouncing Elvish Visionary and recasting her we can filter through out entire library.
- By bouncing Reclamation Sage we can clear a board of Enchants and Artifacts.
- By bouncing Wellwisher we can gain infinite life.
- By bouncing one of our utility creatures such as Wirewood Symbiote or Kiora’s Follower we can untap our permanents indefinitely (with Aluren it can be done at instant speed)
- By bouncing Eternal Witness we can pull our entire yard back into our hand for reuse.
- By Bouncing Avenger of Zendikar paired with Purphoros we can deal infinite damage.
- Using Eternal Witness to recur Beast within an opponent’s board can be reduced to nothing but 3/3 tokens than can be circumvented by Akroma’s Memorial, Trampled over or returned to hand with Cyclonic Rift.
- When you achieve naturally high amounts of lands/elf mana sources, your deck becomes incredibly inevitable. Thrasios is a built-in mana sink so even if your boardstate gets answered you can rebuild. When you have access to a ton of mana it can become incredibly difficult for your opponents to stop all of your win conditions during your turn.
- Aside from the usual win cons found in a traditional elf list like Hoof and Ezuri we also run three creatures that act as wingmen to Tana in the form of Timberwatch Elf, Xenagos, God of Revels and Immaculate Magistrate. Besides pushing commander damage through it allows for a godly amount of token generation which can then be used to trigger Purphoros and act as mana using Cryptolith Rite. I feel like Purphoros and Doubling Season hold their spots by both strongly interacting with our commanders ability although a debate can be made to the viability of Doubling Season but for now it’s carried it’s weight in the past to earn it a slot for now. The deck is not walker-centric but the added loyalty is not a bad plus.
- Triumph of the hordes is a solid alternate wincon for when you can’t get a full 40 or 21 damage across onto your opponents.
- Minna and Denn, Wildborn play a powerful support role here in allowing us to give a creature trample which in this deck is the least spectacular ability. The ability to play a Gaea’s Cradle, tap it for mana, bounce it just to replay it again ensures we always have fuel in the tank.
- There are aspects not covered here such as tutors and card draw spells such as Urban Evolution and Harmonize but we know why they are here – value generation and to find what you need for various situational needs.
- Panharmonicon: Harmonicon is Life, Harmonicon is Bae. Panharmonicon is one of those silly cards that when it was spoiled for Kaladesh I got super excited to see how it would interact. It interacts with nearly every utility creature and has an added bonus it’s effect causes Purphoros to trigger twice.