I don't think you can define the creativity or quality of something based on what isn't there. That a story avoids tropes tells you nothing about the story or about the way it delivers. To me, the conversation feels like a red herring. It's like chefs arguing about whether it's better to prepare chicken or duck. Maybe you can find a way to win the argument, but it wouldn't do anything towards making you a better chef. There's a way to make elves awesome. There's a way to screw it up. What can't that be said about? Tropes can often be lazy writing because we tend to think of them first. But they also give readers a sense of familiarity. Elves and dragons take less "work" for readers to process, which leaves you more of that mental space to do new things with your story. It would be a lot to ask readers to dive into a story and care about all eight of your magical races if you didn't mix some of the familiar in with the strange. What's important, I think, is to start with that core concept lying underneath your story and finding ways to support it. Familiar tropes can offer some of that support, or not, but it's the core concept that matters, that sets the barometer for the needs of your story. When we talk about avoiding tropes, or embracing them, it's important to understand that we're talking about redesigning the core around that stipulation.