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Throughout all fantasy universes, there are a handful of races in common: humans (of course), dwarves, and…elves.

This is almost certainly because of Lord of the Rings, which solidified the graceful beings we now know as elves today in high fantasy. Magic: the Gathering, as a vast fantasy universe, is no exception to this influence.

Its storyline is filled with elves. The huge number of elves in MTG’s story is reflected in the card game, in which there is an abundance of elf type cards and cards that support them. With all these options available, elf is actually a pretty popular and powerful tribe.

But which are the best MTG sets for elves? We’ve done the digging so you don’t have to, and the results have been abundant. 

Let’s show you our findings.

A Brief Dossier on Elves

Elvish Archdruid

If you’ve come across this article, you likely know what elves are without us having to describe them to you. But in case there’s anyone reading this who’s not as familiar with fantasy concepts or the game of MTG, we’ll give a quick explanation.

Elves in Magic: the Gathering are pretty similar to elves you’d see in any other high fantasy storyline. They look like human beings with pointed ears. 

Like other stories, elves in MTG have longer lifespans than humans, but it’s unclear exactly how long. They tend to be aligned with the color green in terms of mana, which is fitting, considering that they tend to live in the woods.

In game mechanics, elves are plentiful. Trust us on that one – you can find them in most Magic: the Gathering sets.

What you’re usually getting with elves are tons of tokens or mana. Sometimes even both.

In general, it’s extremely easy to overwhelm your opponents with an elf deck. You can kind of imagine them as an unstoppable tsunami at their best.

Pictured above is Elvish Archdruid. It’s a fantastic example of everything a quintessential elf card does: buffing all your other elves and giving you mana.

Best MTG Sets for Elves

Truthfully, you can find elves in most sets in MTG, even if there isn’t otherwise a lot of elf support in each set. At other times, you might even find random support for the elven tribe in a set that doesn’t have a lot of individual elf cards. 

Furthermore, a lot of core sets will have a sub theme relating to elves. For the most part, we’re choosing not to include these types of sets on our list, because the elves within them are just not noteworthy enough.

We chose the following sets because they have a higher concentration of notable elves or they have cards that support elves as a tribe overall:

  • Onslaught
  • Legions
  • Guilds of Ravnica
  • M19
  • Eternal Masters
  • Lorwyn
  • Shadowmoor
  • Morningtide
  • Urza’s Destiny
  • Magic Origins
  • Zendikar


From all the sets we chose to include on this list, Onslaught is one of the best for elves. Aside from having a high number of them (17), it also has an abundance of cards designed to support the whole creature type.

That’s because Onslaught, and the other sets in its block, had a heavy focus on tribes. Elves were just one of the tribes that were included.

As a bonus, this set includes pain lands, which are pretty valuable monetarily. These are lands that come in dual colors and when you tap them, you pay one life to sacrifice them and search for a specific basic land in your library.


  • Has a large number of elves in it.
  • As an older set, it’s naturally more valuable.
  • You have the possibility of pulling expensive pain lands from any booster pack.


  • It included the morph mechanic, which was pretty weak and irrelevant, even at the time of release.
  • Because of its age, it’s not easy to find booster packs or boxes for this set.

Most Notable Elf: Heedless One


This set is part of the same block as Onslaught. Generally, sets within the same block have similar themes, and this is definitely the case for Legions. It, too, has a focus on tribes because Onslaught did.

In fact, it was called “the creature set” because of its strong tribe theme. One of those tribes, of course, was elves, of which it has a dozen cards. 

Regarding elves, it’s not necessarily as good as Onslaught. However, it still has plenty of support for them.

Please note: booster boxes for Legions are not easy to find anymore, so we’ve provided a link to a booster pack instead.


  • Has a dozen elves.
  • As an older set, booster packs and boxes naturally have a bit more value.
  • Features plenty of tribes aside from elves to choose from.


  • Its age makes it extremely difficult to find booster packs or boxes for.
  • Slivers in the set were perhaps overpowered compared with other cards. 

Most Notable Elf: Timberwatch Elf

Guilds of Ravnica

You probably knew as much based on the name of the set, but we’ll say it, anyway: Guilds of Ravnica’s central theme was guilds. Or, to be more specific, it was five of the ten guilds: Dimir, Selesnya, Izzet, Golgari, and Boros.

But aside from its abundance of dual-color cards, it had a surprising number of elves. With a total of 15 elf cards, it cemented a place on this list. 


  • There are tons of dual-colored cards to add to multi-color decks.
  • There are fifteen elves, as well as decent support for the tribe.
  • Since it’s a more recent set, it’s pretty affordable.


  • In a format that isn’t pre-constructed, such as drafting, this set can be a little weaker because you can’t guarantee you’ll get the colors you need.

Most Notable Elf: Beast Whisperer


M19, also known as Core Set 2019, is one of a series of core sets released for MTG. Every time we include one of these sets, we say one of the best things about them is their friendliness to beginners. That’s certainly the case for this one.

But it’s not just easy for beginners, either. We wouldn’t have put it on this list if it didn’t also have a large number of elves. It’s far from the largest elf set on this list, with only 10 elves, but the elves it does have are worthy of mention.

A lot of them are reprints from previous sets, such as the ever-popular Llanowar Elves, but they’re reprinted because they’re useful.


  • Great set for beginners.
  • Includes reprints of good elf cards.
  • As a recent set, it can be more affordable than older ones.


  • Includes the incredibly powerful Nexus of Fate…but you could only get as a Buy-a-Box promotion from authorized sellers.

Most Notable Elf: Elvish Clancaller

Ultimate Masters

Obviously, we only included sets on this list that were good in terms of elves. But from among the best of the best, Ultimate Masters is a really good set.

As a set in the Masters series, its overall power level is significant. Your average Ultimate Masters booster pack will be filled with powerful and useful cards – which includes elves. With 16 of the greatest elves throughout Magic’s history, this one is worth adding to your stash of cards.


  • High overall power level.
  • Abundance of elves.
  • Great for drafting.
  • The boxes include a special box-topper card.


  • Can be expensive. 

Most Notable Elf: Imperious Perfect


We would be fools if we didn’t include Lorwyn on a list about elves. Not only because it has 24 of them, but because its tribal theme made it ripe for elven support. 

Even if you’re not looking for something that’s just good for elves, this is a fun set. It has a beautiful Celtic theme, filled with intriguing creature types such as goblins, giants, and faeries. If you’re looking for an absolutely enchanting set, this is the one for you.


  • Has the largest number of elves on this list.
  • Provides tons of tribal support for several other tribes.
  • Introduced planeswalkers to the game, which are widely used today.
  • Stunning Celtic inspiration and lore.
  • Has hideaway lands, which are good land cards.


  • It didn’t provide much support for the planeswalkers it introduced.
  • Packs and boxes are incredibly hard to find.
  • The central tribal theme could be too predictable and uninteresting for players.

Most Notable Elf: Nath of the Gilt-Leaf


This set was actually part of the same block as Lorwyn. Because of this, it has a same focus on tribes, although to a lesser degree. It has 17 elves of its own, as well, making it one of the most plentiful sources of elves in this post.

It also has some really fun concepts, such as -1/-1 counters. This is because it takes a lot of the themes from Lorwyn and inverts them on purpose. If you’re a fan of Lorwyn, and you’re looking for something that captures a little of that same magic, then you shouldn’t miss out on Shadowmoor.


  • Has a large number of elves. 
  • Includes many other noteworthy cards.
  • Interestingly inverts Lorwyn’s themes.
  • Uses gorgeous dark themes and art.


  • Hard to find packs and boxes for these days, due to its age.

Most Notable Elf: Rhys the Redeemed


Like Shadowmoor, Morningtide is in the same block as Lorwyn. Also like Shadowmoor, it doesn’t offer quite as much support for elves as Lorwyn does.

However, simply by virtue of being in the same block as Lorwyn and carrying over the same themes, it deserves to be included in this list. It also boasts a decent 13 elves.

Furthermore, if you were a fan of Lorwyn’s Celtic-inspired aesthetic, then you’ll also be drawn to Morningtide, which uses the same themes.


  • Has a decent number of elven cards in it.
  • Continues the popular Celtic aesthetic of the Lorwyn block.
  • Great for fans of tribe-themed decks. 


  • Some players felt that the focus on tribes wasn’t interesting.

Most Notable Elves: Heritage Druid

Urza’s Destiny

At a glance, this isn’t a set you would look at and immediately think of elves. Nevertheless, we just had to include Urza’s Destiny for a couple reasons.

While it only has 7 elves, there’s at least one that needs to be mentioned in any list of solid elven cards: Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary. But aside from having a couple incredibly good elves, the set itself is phenomenal.

It was part of the Urza block, which is known today as having some of the most powerful sets in the game. Urza’s Destiny is no exception. If you can swing it, this is one legendary set that’s worth adding to your collection.


  • One of the most powerful sets in the entire game – and certainly the most powerful one on this list.
  • Incredibly valuable. 
  • Has Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary, which is one of the strongest elves in MTG’s history.


  • As odd as it may be to say as a con, this set was too powerful. Many of the cards in it are “broken,” and too difficult for opponents to deal with.

Most Notable Elf: Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary

Magic Origins

This is another set you could consider if you were a fan of Lorwyn. Of its 14 elves, many were reprints of Lorwyn elves. 

Like its name implies, the set follows the story of a handful of popular planeswalkers: Gideon, Jace, Chandra, Liliana, and Nissa. It was also a core set, which makes it a good pick for beginners, too.

In fact, at the time of its release, it was advertised as the last core set. The years following its release, core sets were not printed, and Wizards of the Coast only just resumed printing them again in 2019.


  • Good for beginners.
  • Has 14 elf cards, many of which were reprinted from Lorwyn.
  • Decent for drafting.
  • Includes unique flip planeswalkers, which are creatures that can transform into planeswalkers.


  • Because it’s more beginner-oriented, it has less interesting combos for more advanced players.

Most Notable Elf: Nissa, Vastwood Seer


Honestly, Zendikar could go on so many lists. For many people, it was one of the most memorable sets in the series, and some would consider it part of MTG’s zenith. 

The number of elves it has is frankly a little low at only 7. But like with Urza’s Destiny, the elves it does have are fairly notable.

We also couldn’t resist adding it to the list because of its value. Since it has fetch lands, this set has a pretty high monetary cost that makes it worth collecting. Furthermore, the nostalgia many players have for this set just adds to its cost.


  • You have the possibility of pulling an expensive fetch land from any pack.
  • Had a huge impact on the state of all formats when it came to mana fixing and deck thinning.
  • Introduced the powerful landfall mechanic.
  • Aside from its elves, it has many strong cards. 


  • This is a fast set, so games resolve pretty quickly with its cards.

Most Notable Elf: Oracle of Mul Daya

Honorable Mentions

Before we complete this post, there are at least two more things we need to mention which aren’t sets: Elves vs Inventors and Elves vs Goblins.

Both are duel decks. That means they each come in halves, with each half being a separate deck. The intent is that you play with someone else, and you each pick one of the decks.

We’ll take a quick closer look at them below.

Duel Decks: Elves vs Inventors

In many ways, this Duel Decks addition was historical. It was the last of the Duel Decks ever to be published, as the concept of Duel Decks was replaced shortly thereafter by Challenger decks.

As you might have guessed by the name, it pits elves against inventors. (Inventors, in this deck, means cards that hone in on an artificer or mechanical theme.)

We’ll focus on the elven side of the deck here, because that’s the theme of this post. In the elf half, you’ll get a full deck that includes 29 elves. 

Some of them are absolutely incredible. Ezuri, Renegade Leader is a remarkably solid card. In fact, he’s one of the top Commanders used in elf tribal EDH decks. He’s a must-have for any elf enthusiast.

Duel Decks: Elves vs Goblins

Interestingly enough, just like Elves vs Inventors was the last Duel Decks in the series, Elves vs Goblins was the very first. So Duel Decks literally both began and ended with elves.

And what a beginning it was! The elven half of this Duel Decks member contains some classic elves, such as Llanowar Elves and Heedless One. 

You’re getting a really powerful elven-themed deck when you purchase this Duel Decks. You could easily leave it as-is and use it, or you could take it apart and disperse it to your other decks.

Unfortunately, due to the age of the decks, we weren’t able to find an intact Elves vs Goblins box for you. Instead, we’ve included an example of one of its cards, Ambush Commander, above.

Wrap Up

If anything, the sheer number of sets we included here should show you that elves are a tribe with a long history. It would be safe to say that they’re present in the vast majority of Magic sets.

Narrowing our list down to even the eleven you see here was incredibly difficult. It took a lot of time and consideration on our part.

That means asking us to pick one above all the others will be even harder. Nonetheless, we’re doing it for you, anyway.

Which one would we pick? When it comes to elves, we have to pick Lorwyn. This classic set not only has the greatest number of them, but it’s powerful and memorable. You wouldn’t regret buying a box for it.

However, we recommend buying a box because you actually want to buy a box, not because you want a specific card or two. If there’s a particular card you’re looking for, it’s usually better just to buy that individual card, since you can’t guarantee you’ll get it in every box.

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