I started playing Magic: The Gathering when i was nine years old. The first product I ever got for myself was the Goblins vs. Elves duel decks, and I spent a lot of time messing around with the Elves deck. Being able to summon hordes of beautiful, lanky elves to swarm over your opponent appealed to me. Eventually that kitchen table deck became a modern deck, then finally a Commander deck, but I have had an Elves deck with me for my entire MtG journey. This is where it’s at now.
What does it do?
Marwyn is a high-power commander who plays out similarly to a high-power or competitive Selvala, Heart of the Wilds deck (such as the deck in this article by halfcyborg: https://mysticalteachingsmtg.com/2018/07/27/gotta-go-fast-selvala-brostorm/). You run a lot of mana dorks to get Marwyn out as fast as you can, then you cast your elves, draw more elves, cast more elves, untap Marwyn a bunch, and win through one of several win conditions.
This deck is weaker than the Selvala one for two main reasons: Where Selvala draws cards by herself, you need additional cards to draw off of your creatures in Marwyn. You are also more reliant upon your draw to succeed: if you only have mana creatures, you won’t be getting anywhere. Where this deck succeeds as compared to Selvala is that the combo is more resilient – there are five, yes, five different elves that can substitute for Marwyn in order to combo off, in case she is removed too much and you can no longer pay for commander tax.
Dorks? In my deck? It’s more likely than you think.
We run a ton of one-mana accelerants in order to get Marwyn onto the field as early as possible, generally on turn two. These five are the best of the bunch, as they are all elves, which plays into our gameplan much more so than the other land enchantments, sol ring and pointy-ear-lacking-creatures.
Want to win? Then you’d better draw.
Regal force is the worst of your mass card draw, but it is instantaneous, which cannot be overstated. Most of your other engines rely on you casting elves or having them enter the battlefield, which tends to end up working better in the long-term. Regal Force is an excellent brute-force way to draw anywhere between three and twenty cards, depending on how set up you are, and it can lead to a win from seemingly out of nowhere.
These two are six mana – which is expensive for high-power decks. In this deck, though, you’ll often drop Soul of the Harvest or Primordial Sage on turn three, then follow that up with an explosive turn four, or even cast several creatures on the same turn to churn through your deck.
Beast Whisperer is my second-favorite card to come out of Guilds of Ravnica (following after the lovely Burglar Rat), and it slots beautifully into this deck. If you manage to curve into Beast Whisperer on turn two after playing Marwyn, you’re likely going to win that turn. Being two mana cheaper than this effect generally demands, and being an elf to boot means that Beast Whisperer is one of the best cards in the entire deck.
These three remaining cards ensure that you have a number of card draw engines. Guardian Project is amazing in Commander, as it’s effectively an enchantment with the text of Soul of the Harvest. You will never run into a situation where you play a creature and fail to activate Guardian Project.
Vanquisher’s Banner makes Marwyn tap for more and turns all of your elves into cantrips. Fairly self-explanatory.
You will have enough mana to activate Lifecrafter’s Bestiary on nearly every creature you cast. That’s how much mana this deck generates.
How do I win?
These are your backup commanders. These all work with some or all of your untap lines in order to generate infinite mana, which will in turn lead to your victory. Incubation Druid is a test slot currently, as it works with the least of the lines, but it is still a massive mana generator. The others all need some amount of elves or creatures to win, but that is simple to get.
This is your main win condition. Once Marwyn is large enough and you have these three creatures, you have infinite mana. You simply tap Marwyn for some large amount of mana, return the Elvish Visionary to your hand and untap Marwyn with Wirewood Symbiote. Then you use Temur Sabertooth’s ability and return Wirewood Symbiote to your hand. Cast Elvish Visionary and Wirewood Symbiote from your hand and repeat this ad infinitum. Since the game considers the Wirewood Symbiote to be an entirely new instance, you can use its ability again to untap Marwyn by returning Elvish Visionary back to your hand. All you need to do this is a Marwyn with 6 or more power, in order to pay for the creatures and abilities.
While you can’t abuse Thousand-Year Elixir like many of the other untappers in this deck, it’s still fantastic, and ensures that a lot of your elves you’re cycling through can pay for themselves.
If Marwyn has power of at least two on her own, she goes infinite with Sword of the Paruns. You tap her, and then her ability checks her power. Since she’s now tapped, she is getting +2/+0, and taps for four. Pay three of that to untap Marwyn, rinse, and repeat.
This is the best and easiest way to get infinite mana with Marwyn. Tap for mana, untap to make larger, tap for more mana, untap to make larger until Marwyn is obscenely huge.
Acidic Slime is a simple win condition once Marwyn is infinitely large and your deck is on the field. Your opponents’ counterplay is severely limited when they have no permanents.
You know what’s better than one Craterhoof Behemoth? An infinite number of Craterhoof Behemoths, using Temur Sabertooth. The eponymous green finisher, it’s as good in this deck as it can be.
Infinitely large, trampling elves means that if you have Marwyn and two other elves before your big turn, you kill up to three opponents. Plus Ezuri gives you backup and protection from his first ability.
What I like most about this deck is the level of variety you can fit in. You can make it close to competitive, very casual and battle-cruiser-y, or some level in between. Marwyn relies on the rest of your deck to function, so she can be any power level. You can also individualize it to your liking. Until recently, I ran Entourage of Trest because I enjoy the monarchy mechanic. Due to the level of card draw and mana generation, you can get away with larger margins of error than more refined lists.
As usual, thanks for reading! You can find the decklist here: https://archidekt.com/decks/3238#Marwyn_Elfball
Let me know what your favorite mono-green deck is, or your favorite tribe in Commander.