I've been following this topic for a while, but haven't posted yet, since I'm too biased in this topic. I still play most of my games parched
Interestingly elves used to be my fave race in the alpha, yet in the full version after a while I also stopped using them. What has changed?
Elves no longer give +2 mana per glyph (without less glyphs, I'll get to that later), you can hold onto more glyphs so a spellcaster can possibly use them all (no forced conversion), all the glyhps are usefull most of the time (one less reason to autoconvert). B2P doesn't let you regen more mana than the number of your tiles, and synergises better with high health.
But the most important changes seem to be the god changes. JJ overclasses the elf's managain, and Mystera's Refreshment makes you regret early glyph converts. EM doesn't care about your max mana when refilling it...
Also in the alpha you couldn't prep anything besides your class and race. So to guarantee that you will have more mana you had to choose the elves. Now there are better preps for that.
All these said elves are not bad. They have their uses, but it's different. They are not the optimal race for pure spellcasters most of the time, but they are great for elevating classes with absolutely 0 spell casting support into fine hybrids. Or very potent spellcasters if you're okay with not using manapotions and trading them with JJ. It's not a big deal, 2 schadenfrauds (1 prepped, 1 bought) accomplish the same as 5 manapots, in this case even more since you raised your mana.
Elves still get the most out of Crystal Ball, Dragon Soul, mid fight levelups and if you're not a pure spell caster, they have easier time leveling up than gnomes.
So all I'm trying to say is elves aren't bad, they just changed from casters to hybrids mostly. Btw we shouldn't forget about beginners of the game either. Without the gods unlocked, most items unseen, some races still missing elves make a perfect choice for spellcasters.
Oh and it just occured to me, there is 1 more spellcasting god: GG. ELves get rewarded for glyph converts under him, and if you rush Enlightenment without absolution and beads, later you can use all your piety for % based mana and health refills.
Somewhat unrelated, but from all the preps available less glyphs seem to be the worse. Even for warmongers they aren't as good as the extra att. boosters for example. All glyphs converted you gain +100 CP compared to normal, but +20% damage equals 200 CP for humans, and synegises better with Orcs. Even the 3rd classes don't benefit much from less glyphs, cuz giving up their starting glyph translates into losing traits.