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Welcome to the Competitive Ezuri Primer. While the name may lead you to think this is a guide to playing cEDH Ezuri, that isn’t quite right. Ezuri doesn’t quite have what it takes to be a real competitive commander, but this is hopefully the absolute best version of Ezuri Elfball that can be made, putting it a little under cEDH in power level. Also, this primer is a counterpart to WizardSpartan’s and is meant to show what budgetless combo Ezuri can do, rather than aggro. WizardSpartan’s primer on aggro Ezuri can be found below.
First, why play Ezuri? Well, of all available elf commanders, he is the only one to have a win condition on him. His ability to overrun all of our elves gives us an excellent mana sink and he can regenerate key combo creatures, all while being relatively cheap. As for elfball, it’s a fast, creature-based ramp strategy that centers around one thing: MAKE MORE MANA. Elves are low cost, so getting off the ground and rebuilding after a wipe can both happen very quickly. With the enormous number of infinite mana combos present in this deck, all we need is any combination of key pieces to win. Unlike other combo decks that often need a few specific cards for their combo, we just need infinite mana, Ezuri, and one elf for each opponent. That is incredibly easy to accomplish, leading to this deck having explosive wins from seemingly weak board states.
The most fun thing about elfball, to me, is trying to solve the puzzle of squeezing every last bit of value out of your cards until you draw into a combo piece. Should I tap the Cradle now, or use other mana and hope for creatures? Should I commit my big mana to dumping my hand, or should I play Ezuri and hold up enough to regenerate what I have? Do I use Glimpse of Nature this turn, or do I wait and double down on next turn when I’ll have more mana?
I would look elsewhere if you don’t enjoy creature-based strategies or having little interaction. This is mono green fast combo; we’re reliant on creatures, we don’t have counter spells, and our few pieces of interaction are to prevent wins or crack a lock. We suffer under stax, and board wipes mean resetting our progress to almost nothing. If this sounds unfun to you, there are plenty of decks out there that have what you’re looking for.
Now, for the fun stuff. How do we win? As stated earlier, our main win condition is Ezuri himself. We make infinite mana, pump the team, and swing with infinity/infinity trample elves. Because this strategy is reliant on combat, turbofog is basically our worst nightmare. To deal with this, we have Helix Pinnacle as a backup win condition. If we have infinite mana, we can usually get Temur Sabertooth and something that lets us draw on casting a creature/creature ETB. This lets us draw into Pinnacle; after that, we just have to dump 100 counters onto it and pray that we get to untap. Our other backup is Craterhoof Behemoth, in case something happens to make Ezuri unavailable.
There are a number of cards in the deck that might not make immediate sense, but are in fact vital to our strategy.
Why include three artifacts that accomplish the same thing?
Well, we’re in mono green. We don’t have artifact tutors or great draw options, so we just run a lot of redundant combo pieces and pray we draw one of them.
While more dorks is always great, these are cheap enchantments that can make mana immediately and, most importantly, they enable infinite combos with Argothian Elder.
This costs a lot of mana, you don’t care about life gain or counters, and there are cheaper draw spells.
Yes, but this is a repeatable draw effect that makes mana. And, it usually comes in cheaper. There are several ways to make this come in very cheap, and the card draw is nice. This still hasn’t been tested enough to be a sure thing, but it seems good here.
Why would you run symmetrical effects like these?
Aluren enables certain infinite combos with Cloudstone Curio (blow up all artifacts and draw your library with Reclamation Sage and Elvish Visionary), but it also allows us to conserve mana that we need to spend on big spells and combo pieces if we’re trying to dig for a win. Concordant Crossroads is one of the few blanket haste enablers available to green (actually, the only other option is Akroma’s Memorial). There are plenty of times when we need dorks to tap the turn they come down or we need creatures able to swing once we finally find a combo piece.
Useful for the reasons mentioned above.
Even a weaker Veil of Summer is great and U/B ruin us.
Comes in untapped and the only things we really care about recurring are combo artifacts.
Let's us play solitaire. We don't tend to cast many spells on other people's turns, anyway.
-Hall of Gemstone:
Good at preventing interaction on our turn, since everyone's lands will tap for G. Also ruins multicolor decks that rely on lands. Be careful of overconfidence, though. Force of Will can still hit us.
Keeps our opponents' lands tapped, so they can either play on their turn or someone else's, not both.
With a bounce effect, clears the board of all artifacts/enchantments. Plus, it's an elf, so it adds to our big dorks.
Possibly the best draw effect in green. Play a card, draw a card is an incredible effect for us. I'd honestly pay twice as much mana for this effect.
Slows us a little, slows our opponents a lot. We're only running 3 artifacts that even have a tap effect.
-Seeker of Skybreak:
-The Great Henge:
The mana, life, and +1 counters are nice, but holy shit another draw effect on creature ETB. Solid gold for us.
-Tooth and Nail:
Protects big dorks from removal, untaps them for big mana, and can be bounced for infinite untaps.
-Wrap in Vigor:
Is it as good as Heroic Intervention? No, but it does save us if someone exiles Ezuri before a board wipe.
These are cards you might expect to see here, but don’t.
This card is a great infinite mana sink that also gets around fog; why not use this as one of the backup wincons?
Walking Ballista has a few fatal flaws: it’s an artifact creature, it still relies on damage to win, and it’s not an elf. The fact that it’s an artifact creature means that it’s vulnerable to split-second removal like Krosan Grip and Sudden Spoiling. These will get rid of it before it ever has a chance to shoot, instant speed ability or not. It relies on damage, so someone can prevent it or Teferi’s Protection, float some mana, and remove the Ballista after it resolves. Finally, the Ballista doesn’t contribute to cards like Priest of Titania and Elvish Archdruid. It will make mana with Gaea’s cradle, but none of the elf-specific effects. As such, it’s basically a dead card outside of combo turn.
It’s a green staple that makes a lot of mana cheaply.
It’s also an enchantment that doesn’t draw us cards. Making more mana isn’t really what we want to spend slots on at this point.
IT'S SOL RING. COME ON.
This was a tough decision. Yes, it’s a staple and yes, it’s a mana-positive rock. However, the deck is to a point that Sol Ring becomes a dead card more often than not. We’re also not running Mana Crypt, Mox Diamond, Chrome Mox, etc… It can be great in the early game for ramping out a draw engine or getting out a fast combo piece. It can be good later for rebuilding after a wipe. Still, it doesn’t help us play a large portion of our cards that require only green mana. We don’t need to rush Ezuri out, and our priority early on is playing as many mana dorks and card advantage pieces as possible to look for a win. In mid and late game, Sol Ring doesn’t draw us cards and we’re usually not in dire need of MORE mana. I wouldn’t call it a bad include, but I cut it after several games in which it stalled out my engine (drawing a rock when I needed to play a creature to keep digging) and I haven’t missed it since. I’m always happier to keep a Llanowar Elves in my opening hand than if it were a Sol Ring.
Mana doublers (and the pinnacle of green bullshit that is Nyxbloom) are great for big mana decks, but this isn’t big mana. It’s INFINITE mana. These cost a lot to play, and we don’t care if Priest of Titania taps for four mana or forty-seven mana. All that matters is we have enough to go infinite with one of our combo pieces, and that can be accomplished more efficiently without these cards.
Green has very little removal outside of artifacts and enchantments. Why not run one of its best options for creatures?
This is fast combo. We run some interaction and protection because we can’t always goldfish and pray for good draws. However, those cards have to be cheap and effective enough to deserve a slot. We run Kenrith’s Transformation and Song of the Dryads because the former draws a card and the latter turns the permanent into a land, making it very hard for colors without enchantment removal to deal with. Lignify is a little too easy to get around by just blocking with the creature or blowing either card up, then recurring the creature. It might get added in at some point after more playtesting, but right now it doesn’t quite make the cut.
You need Ezuri to win, why not protect him?
We make infinite mana. If he dies, we just play him again. If he gets hit by Darksteel Mutation or stolen, we pivot to a backup. Another card I wouldn’t call a bad include, but I can’t find a slot that isn’t better filled already.
More tutors means more consistency; why not run all that you can?
Pod-style tutors make us sacrifice (or discard) creatures that we would really rather be playing. We’re running nine tutors and, for the moment, that appears to be plenty. Should that change, these are under consideration.
This card makes your creatures into walking laundry lists of keywords.
Seriously? Does anyone actually run this?
It makes colorless, which isn't helpful for early ramping into dorks, which often cost G.
Not repeatable and it's expensive.
-Eladamri, Lord of Leaves:
Fantastic card for protecting elves. Sadly, shroud means that none of our infinite combos work, because we have to target elves to go infinite.
We run a lot of tutors already, and this is just a limited version of Natural Order.
Only good for grabbing big lands, which are a backup plan anyway. Not worth the slot, in my opinion.
Was in for a while, but it's not an elf and recursion honestly isn't that important for us. The only card that can't be replaced in our combo is Ezuri.
Was in for a while, but we can usually find another draw engine, so this often just sits on the field for 3 mana.
Same as Eladamri, plus it takes up a slot. Not a bad include, but I can't find a card in here that I wouldn't rather have.
Another card that can be added back in if more recursion is necessary.
Another non-basic that gives fewer targets for things like Utopia Sprawl, but the effect doesn't really do much for our game plan. We don't typically chump block with mana dorks, and they're usually all being used for mana.
-Return to Nature:
Already covered this one. Seriously, this deck doesn't need the extra mana and this can turn a game-winning turn into nothing if you Glimpse of Nature and hit this before another draw effect.
Outside of a T1 Tabernacle, there aren't many lands that I would waste a land drop blowing up. Even then, you'd have to have this ready for the Tabernacle. Slows us down without enough value for doing so, I'd say.
Better and worse than Lightning Greaves. They don't prevent comboing off, but they do require mana to shuffle them around. Not a bad include, but I can't find a slot for them.
This comes in tapped as a land, so it's basically only a cantrip. Even then, I'd rather run a draw spell over this.
-Triumph of the Hordes:
Often not game-winning without another pump effect, plus we don't really need another combat-based win condition. If we could tutor for it, maybe, but for a luck-of-the-draw card, not worth it.
Another big dork I was running for a while. The requirement of an Ezuri Overrun to prime his infinite mana combo isn't too bad, but it doesn't do much outside of combo turn.
As has been said several times, this is fast combo. Emphasis on fast. In the name of all that is holy, do not keep a hand that doesn’t have a T1 play, preferably a mana dork. In fact, if you don’t have a decent idea of what you’ll be doing on turns 2 and 3, the hand might still need to go.
A good baseline for a keepable hand is 2-3 lands (non-forests are a risky keep), a 1 CMC dork, and a T2 play. That could be another ramp piece or card draw. Assuming your hand meets these criteria, there are a few cards you should look out for and some you should avoid.
Sword of the Paruns and Umbral Mantle are both great early keeps if you have the ability to go infinite or a big dork waiting to go infinite in hand. Not so great if you have three Forests and three functional reprints of Llanowar Elves.
One of the strongest T2 plays you can make is a land, this card, and another dork. That’s a bit Magic Christmas Land, but this is still an incredible early card.
This usually draws you a card the turn it comes down and turns into a discount Cradle soon after. Fantastic early keep.
Both are cheap, powerful draw engines that you want out as soon as possible. The Library is strong enough that it’s occasionally worth keeping a hand that doesn’t quite meet the baseline just for this card.
Cheap enough to not disrupt our early ramp, this can let us blow up a particularly nasty stax piece or value engine early in the game.
Literally any card in this section is worth having in the opening, since we build fast and our opponents can hold back for an early wrath or removal spell/counter.
Can turn an otherwise okay hand into a perfectly sculpted masterpiece.
Despite not making colored mana, this is a great early land that will often turn an early big dork into solid gold. Especially if you somehow manage to get Argothian Elder, too.
There’s just no reason to keep a high-costed card early on unless we’re literally going to win with what’s in our hand. (Forest, Llanowar Elves, Llanowar Tribe, Leyline of Abundance, Umbral Mantle, Staff of Domination, Grave Sifter would be the exception.)
We don’t want to cast this for less than 15-20 mana, typically, so it’ll likely sit in our hand for a while.
Recursion pieces are great, but we hope to never need them. We would need a great opening 6 to let one of these be the 7th.
That’s basically it. Outside of these, most cards are fine to keep. This deck is highly optimized, so most of the deck is cheap and effective enough to keep in an opening hand.
Well, that does it for this primer. Hopefully, I’ve covered everything you need to know to pick up and pilot this deck or decide that it’s not for you. If anyone has any questions, I would be happy to answer them in the comments. Credit to WizardSpartan for giving me the idea to make my own primer, and his primer on aggro Ezuri is great, too. If you’d like to see that thread, here’s a link.
This is a link to the thread about this primer, if you have any comments.
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|Nom||Main||Tour 1||Tour 2||Tour 3||Tour 4||Tour 5||Tour 6||Tour 7||Tour 8||Tour 9||Tour 10|
|»||Révision 11 (dernière)||Mai 13, 2020||Slyvester12|
|Révision 10||Mai 13, 2020||Slyvester12|
|Révision 9||Mars 15, 2020||Slyvester12|
|Révision 8||Mars 12, 2020||Slyvester12|
|Révision 7||Mars 11, 2020||Slyvester12|
|Révision 6||Mars 11, 2020||Slyvester12|
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|Révision 3||Mars 11, 2020||Slyvester12|
|Révision 2||Mars 11, 2020||Slyvester12|
|Révision 1||Mars 11, 2020||Slyvester12|
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