Long a presence in Northern European folk tradition, “Christmas Elves” became traditional in other places by the mid 19th Century, as this snippet from the  anonymous 1857 poem, “The Wonders of Santa Claus,” attests:

It would be a capital treat be sure,
A glimpse of his wondrous ‘shop;
But the queer old man when a stranger comes,
Orders every elf to stop;
And the house, and work, and workmen all
Instantly take a twist,
And just you may think you are there,
They are off in a frosty mist.

The elves in this selection are not content to tinker with toys, however. While I’ve included elves in other packs, I had yet to give a pack an explicitly “elf tribal” theme. Well, here it is! There are many ways one could construct an elf-themed Jumpstart pack, so I’ve opted to highlight a theme that I find myself missing especially terribly this holiday season: gathering with family and friends.

Advent 8: The Elven Family

Creatures (7)
Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf Daen
Fyndhorn Elves
Heritage Druid
Immaculate Magistrate
Marwyn, the Nurturer
Timberwatch Elf

Artifacts (1)
Prophetic Prism

Spells (4)
Elvish Promenade
Song of Freyalise
Band Together
Guardian Project
Lands (8)
Snow-Covered Forest
Thriving Grove

This thematic selection is polyvalent. One throughline is that these elves take their strong tribal bond, and are able to turn that outward. Creatures like Timberwatch Elf and Wellwisher, for example, either buff a creature or gain life out of the excess of goodwill of their community. The other is that this pack references the day’s feast on the Catholic liturgical calendar: the Immaculate Conception. Immaculate Magistrate and Marwyn, the Nurturer point to the significance of this day for Christians who honor Jesus’s mother Mary’s holiness from the moment she was conceived. In addition, there are few fantasy creatures more “full of grace” than elves—I can’t think of a better fit for the holy day.

“Marwyn the Nurturer” by Chris Rahn

Like most decks that make use of an elf tribal theme, these elves all get more powerful with each other elf that’s played, and the pack synergizes well with any other pack that has elves or big effects to sink mana into. Even without finding key synergies from outside, however, the interior synergies here—mana ramp, card draw, and team-wide anthem effects—are potent enough to bolster any other pack you find yourself shuffling in.

Jacob Torbeck is a researcher and instructor of theology and ethics. He hails from Chicago, IL, and loves playing Commander and pre-modern cubes.

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