For years I never really thought of myself as "The Elves Guy," even though that's by far the deck I'm most associated with. Even now, almost four years after putting the deck away in Legacy, I still hear players surprised I'm not playing it at a Legacy event. But for me, it was just another deck I played for a while and then put down. Just like U/W Delver, Maverick, or Mono-Blue Devotion.
But maybe there's something about the tribe that really speaks to me. Because my recent foray into Modern Elves has been great, and not just because it led to a couple more top 8s on my resume'. There's something about a horde of small creatures coming together to make a ton of mana and overrun the opponent. I want to root for the small and the downtrodden to band together and vanquish their more powerful enemies. There's nothing we can't accomplish if we work together.
So, now that I've worked from Legacy to Modern with my clan of choice, the next and final frontier is Standard. For a Standard format that will feature multiple sets without Elves, there are a surprising number of tools for the tribe right now, particularly with the Llanowar Elves and Steel Leaf Champion, two cards that already served as key pieces of a proven deck over the last few months.
However, the idea of building, in Standard, an Elf deck like we see in Modern or Legacy - that is a deck built around powerful synergies and a large pile of cheap creatures - is a non-starter. Standard isn't big enough to have the volume of pieces necessary to make that style of deck work.
Fortunately, all is not lost. Because the most success Elves has ever had in Magic came in Standard a decade ago, and that deck was a different style as well: