Q: I just saw Mark Rosewater's "80,000 words" on what the Wizards of the Coast's new offices look like. I saw many statues of goblins and no elves!
Is it just me or is Wizards biased against elves?
Is this why my elf decks are never as good as goblin decks?
A: From Devin Low, Magic R&D:
Aluethai Morgan, tu'menneloth annuethyn,
Biased against Elves?? Do you realize how many Elves still work at Wizards?!? How else do you explain the reoccurrence of Elves, Elves, and more Elves all across Magic? How do you explain the consistent power and synergy packed into these little 1/1's across thirteen years? You can argue the order, but Alpha's three best one-mana creatures have got to be Birds of Paradise, Llanowar Elves, and Savannah Lions. In a sea of broken Urza's Saga combo engines, Priest of Titania, Rofellos and Gaea's Cradle still powered out infinite pointy-eared buddies, including Elvish Lyrist, Deranged Hermit, to power up with Coat of Arms and deal 36 in one turn.
Invasion brought Elvish Champion, a fitting nemesis to that snarky Goblin King and a true hero of the Elven nations. And then Onslaught Block. Whoooa, Elves in Onslaught Block. Wellwisher, Timberwatch, Elvish Vanguard, Elvish Warrior, Wirewood Savage, Voice of the Woods, Wirewood Pride, Wirewood Lodge, Wirewood Hivemaster, Caller of the Claw, Ambush Commander, Fierce Empath, Wirewood Symbiote. Elves have almost every kind of green spell built right in, from artifact destruction to enchantment destruction to Giant Growths, to token-making to mana-fixing. Heck, we even give 'em 8/8s. Heck, in Time Spiral we even give 'em direct damage to creatures and players!
In short, Wizards is pretty clearly pretty heavily biased in favor of Elves. Why? Elves are an important, integral, beloved part of fantasy literature, games, and movies. And over time they have become an important, integral, beloved part of Magic's worlds, storylines, and gameplay. Players enjoy seeing Elves on the table, and enjoy putting Elves in decks. We enjoy that too, and we want to see that keep happening. So when we design little green creatures, we try to concept as Elves a lot of the cool and powerful ones whose mechanics match Elven values.
Finally, let me address your Goblins vs. Elves question. Both tribes are among Magic's absolute most powerful. Each is capable of incredible tribal effects when it gets a lot of its creatures together. Since green has enchantment destruction, green Elves are way better at handling enemy circles of Protection than red Goblins. But red can kill little creatures (such as Elves) and green can't kill little creatures (such as Goblins). So, when Goblins fight Elves directly, Goblins can kill off the key Elves, Elves can't kill the key Goblins, and Goblins usually come out ahead.