Magic the Gathering players gained plenty of new Elves cards to play with in the Kaldheim set. But, none may be as truly impactful as Lathril, Blade of the Elves, at least in EDH. As the lead card in one of the two Commander decks released with Kaldheim, the four mana Legendary creature instantly appeared an obvious choice to lead a new breed of Elf deck in Green and Black. Despite Lathril looking like a monster in multiplayer, though, she could well be a monster in one-on-one competitive EDH, too.
Lathril costs 2 colorless mana, 1 Green, and Black mana to cast. She has menace, meaning she can only be blocked by two or more creatures. When she deals combat damage to a player, you create a 1/1 Green Elf Warrior token for each point of damage. Also, Lathril has a tap ability where you tap ten untapped Elves to deal 10 damage to each opponent and you gain 10 life.
Kaldheim introduced three new cards poised to be strong allies for Lathril. The first is Canopy Tactician, a super mana dork that taps for 3 Green mana and also pumps Elves by +1/+1. The second is Elven Ambush, an instant speed Elf token generator for 4 mana. The third is not technically an Elf at all, but rather a Changeling that counts as an Elf (and every other creature type at once for that matter) in Realmwalker.
In particular, Realmwalker helps the Lathril plan by allowing you to cast Elf creatures from the top of your deck. An Elf deck that doesn’t need to play creatures from the hand is pretty scary, allowing you to swarm the board even more quickly. Getting to that ten Elves that you can tap for Lathril’s incredibly powerful drain ability (a twenty point life total swing) is a major win condition.
Unfortunately, Kaldheim Commander cards exclusive to the decks aren’t playable in Standard or Modern, nor Historic on Magic Arena. Imagine if Lathril was legal in those formats; Elves would be a top-tier deck for sure. Of course, Lathril is doing just fine in Commander, being among the Top 10 Commanders in early 2022 according to EDHREC.
With all of the token doubling effects and creators available to Lathril, Blade of the Elves in Commander, Elf Tokens seemed to be the most potent build of the deck. Yet, as creative Commander deck builders can get with building around their favorite Legendary Creatures, most Lathril decks end up just being solid Elf Tribal. Considering Lathril is a Top 10 Commander overall by EDHREC’s ranking, it seems that this is the correct choice. Also, Lathril has become a particularly potent choice in cEDH, such as this Lathril, Blade of the Elves competitive EDH deck from MTGTop8.
Lathril is one of my favorite Commanders of all time. Despite having pulled away from the game proper, as the Wizards push towards making Arena the competitive future of the game to my great distaste, I will always have my Lathril deck built and ready for a game (along with Bruna, Light of Alabaster). These Standard-set related Commander releases have been a great thing for Magic, especially since we now have one of the best Elf Commanders, if not the greatest Elf Commander, of all time.
How would you play Lathril, Blade of the Elves?