After weeks of brewing and trying to get an edge on the meta in preparation for the inaugural Netscape Cup I settled on the following list for HyperExtended Elves.
|Spells (41 + 4 = 45)||Lands (16)||Sideboard (15)|
|3 Elvish Lyrist||4 Forest||1 Plains|
|4 Fyndhorn Elves||4 Windswept Heath||2 Elvish Scrapper|
|4 Quirion Ranger||1 Wirewood Lodge||3 Absolute Law|
|4 Birchlore Ranger||3 Brushland||2 Wellwisher|
|4 Wirewood Symbiote||4 Gaea's Cradle||3 Naturalize|
|2 Wellwisher||1 Tranquil Grove|
|4 Priest of Titania||3 Caller of the Claw|
|4 Wirewood Hivemaster|
|4 Elvish Vanguard|
|4 Timberwatch Elf|
|4 Sylvan Messenger|
|4 Crop Rotation|
While grinding games with the deck in the weeks leading up to the event it became clear to me that payoff cards were not where I wanted to be with this deck. Cards like Coat of Arms, Overrun, and Elvish Champion were often overkill and only created worse hands in this 16 (should probably be 18) land deck.
Sitting down before the event the meta was shaping up to not be as hateful. Goblins and Sligh were both on the downtrend and the prospect of 2 Enchantress decks had my attention. Rather that overhaul the sideboard I just opted to trim an Absolute Law and add in the Tranquil Grove as an optimistic trump card.
Round 1 vs Enchantress
Game 1 I have a solid start involving an Elvish Vanguard with ~5 counters on it and 2 Elvish Lyrist. I'm able to put him to 5 life through Elephant Grass and a Solitary Confinement, but eventually he locks up the board and goes nuts with Sacred Mesa to outrace my 3 Wellwisher activations per turn.
Game 2 I lead on a Fyndhorn Elves and he plays Eladamri's Vineyard on turn 1. Hot damn. I untap, add my GG during main phase 1, and dump my hand off a Cradle. My turn 3 I'm attacking for 15 off multiple Timberwatch Elf activations.
Game 3 I'm able to put a bunch of power in play and have +24 on 3 activations of a Timberwatch Elf. That, coupled with drawing 2 Naturalize (well, mostly by drawing 2 Naturalize), I'm able to push through a Sterling Grove and 2 Solitary Confinements for lethal.
Round 2 vs UB Flash Rector
Game 1 I keep a respectable hand. Unfortunately his hand is a bit better with a turn 1 Flash putting in Academy Rector and getting Yawgmoth's Bargain. He draws a bunch of cards and Show and Tells a Form of the Dragon into play on his turn 2.
Game 2 I have an Elvish Lyrist and hope that's enough to put him off for a few turns. I've got a 3/3 Vanguard, a Lyrist, and something else in play when he Sickening Dreams' for 3 to buy time. He eventually is able to Show a Phantom Nishoba into play and hit me twice with it, but I grow an Elvish Vanguard to an 8/8 thanks to 2 Wirewoods and a Quirion Ranger and clean up the game.
Game 3 I have a strong start with the ability to do lethal on turn 4. He takes a few points of damage on a Lim-Dul's Vault to tap out and get a Yawgmoth's Bargain in play against my Elvish Lyrist, but can't assemble a kill off a dozen cards.
Round 3 vs BW Deadguy
Game 1 is a slog with both of us mulling hard and getting screwed. He gets a Phyrexian Arena into play, but I'm able to keep enough in play to beat out the spot removal of Funeral Charm and Swords to Plowshares.
Game 2 I get brutalized by an Engineered Plague while Nantuko Shades beat my face in.
Game 3 he has to Vampiric Tutors for a basic land and can't assemble a game.
Top 4 vs Opalescence
Game 1 he goes nuts on a Frantic Search and an Attunement then puts multiple Parallax Waves and an Opalescence into play off a Replenish.
Game 2 I put some pressure into play and fight through a Parallax Wave, but he's unable to assemble a threat despite resetting my Elvish Vanguards.
Game 3 is similar to game two, with me having plenty of power in the form of Insect tokens. He stalls out the game with 2 Parallax Waves, a Parallax Tide, and a Chain of Vapor, but only finds Opalescence on the last turn when I have an overwhelming force in play.
Finals vs BW Deadguy
Game 1 is solid, we're both able to play out our gameplans. I don't remember.
Game 2 he gets screwed on lands?
Game 3 has an early Engineered Plague to which I'm able to get 2 Bear Tokens on a Caller of the Claw. He ports down my Cradle while we sit at a standstill and I eventually find a Naturalize. I try to get going after drawing a fresh Cradle, but he shuts down a Birchlore Ranger chain with a Swords to Plowshares and sticks another Engineered Plague. He winds up at 1 life and I risk an attack for lethal with 2 Bear Tokens and a Wirewood. He has the Swords, I'm Ported out of the game, and he beats my face in to deal 21 with a Phyrexian Scuta and Spectral Lynx.
All in all some of the most enjoyable Magic I've played in years. Going forward I'd love to find a way to deal with Sligh that doesn't rely on White mana. The deck definitely wants a mana source or two more, especially with 5 lands that don't produce green on turn 1. In this particular event the mainboard Wellwishers were largely irrelevant, but it's hard to call them bad.