Maybeboard


The Goal: Exploit Volo's 2 for 1 creature discount to overwhelm the battlefield with monsters and smother our opponents with value.

The Rule: No repeating creature types!

Volo gives us 2 for 1 on every creature we cast, provided that it doesn’t share a type with one we already control or is in our graveyard. With so many overlapping creature types amongst the simic staples, having to limit yourself to one or two of each type makes for some challenging choices. While some Volo decks try to circumvent this “one of each type” strategy, I’ve found the build process to be extremely fun because of the added constraint.

The Best thing about Volo is how versatile his build can be. In constructing the deck, we invariably end up with a list of extra creatures for each type, which can be swapped between play tests until we determine the best setup.

You’ll like playing Volo if:

  1. You like casting creatures

  2. You like turning creatures sideways

  3. You like a challenging deck building process

You may not like Volo if:

  1. You like an easy deck building process

  2. You dislike creature based strategies

By far the most challenging aspect of building Volo is creature selection. As I stated above, I’ve chosen to stick to just one of each type, and I’ve listed those types below for reference.

Avatar - Beast - Bird - Boar - Cat - Citizen - Cleric - Crab - Dinosaur - Drake - Druid - Dryad - Elder - Elemental - Elephant - Elf - Faerie - Giant - Goat - God - Golem - Halfling - Homunculus - Horror - Human - Illusion - Insect - Jellyfish - Merfolk - Nymph - Ooze - Pirate - Plant - Salamander - Serpent - Shapeshifter - Snake - Sphinx - Spirit - Thopter - Treefolk - Wall - Wizard - Zombie

We need reliable and repeatable card draw with Volo so that we can churn through our deck and continue to cast creatures.

Beast Whisperer - two of these makes for very consistent card draw.

Consecrated Sphinx - x2, Drawing four cards every time our opponents draw one is insane value.

Elemental Bond - Twice as good in Volo.

Fblthp, the Lost - Draw two for two.

Lifecrafter's Bestiary - We cast lots of creatures, this is just one more way to draw a card each time we do. The scry 1 is also quite useful.

Mulldrifter - My elemental(s) of choice… it was a tough call over Avenger of Zendikar, but this deck grinds to a halt without consistent card draw. The evoke cost is a great way to draw four cards for just 3 mana.

Mystic Remora - Draw more.

Primordial Sage - a more expensive Beast Whisperer, but still worth it with Volo.

Rhystic Study - Draw more.

Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath - Another legendary Creature that draws us two, drops 2 lands and gains us 6 life with Volo… a great rate at 3 mana.

Wall of Blossoms - draw two and get two defenders for two mana.

In a perfect game we can get Volo out on turn two, but our ramp package is designed to ensure that we can at least drop him by turn 3. To accomplish this we’ll stick to 2 mana ramp spells in the form of sorceries, rocks, and dorks.

Arcane Signet, Simic Signet and Talisman of Curiosity are our color fixing rocks. We could swap these for more mana dorks but we need some of our ramp to survive board wipes.

Sol Ring and Mana Crypt can potentially net us that t2 Volo, but they’ll still be useful in the late game.

Nature's Lore, Three Visits, and Farseek - All of these can grab our Breeding Pool.

Birds of Paradise, Ornithopter of Paradise and Maraleaf Pixie are dorks with the benefit of evasion. At 2 for 1 they’re better than ever with Volo out, but we can absolutely drop them sooner if we need to.

Solemn Simulacrum is awesome with our commander, grabbing us two lands and potentially drawing us 2 cards as chump blockers.

Prosperous Innkeeper drops 2 treasures for 2 mana… and gaining 2 life for each creature cast is a solid benefit.

Lotus Cobra narrowly beat out Sakura-Tribe Elder as our snake(s) of choice, as they continuously ramp and color-fix us throughout the game as long as we hit our land drops… and they’re even better with the next two cards.

Dryad of the Ilysian Grove and Wayward Swordtooth - While not strictly ramp spells, each of these let us play three lands per turn with Volo out. A great way to accelerate our mana base, and to control our hand size when our draw engines are humming. Also these are amazing with Ruin Crab and Scute Swarm.

Creature-based removal is obviously ideal for Volo, but tends to come at a higher mana cost than instant speed removal, so this deck runs the best of both. I also favored removal spells that create tokens as a flavorful way to stay on theme with Volo.

Acidic Slime - x2

Amphin Mutineer - x2

Brutalizer Exarch - also a tutor!

Mind Flayer - Be careful when stealing creature types we want to cast!

Terastodon - x2, can effectively become a non-creature boardwipe.

Pongify and Rapid Hybridization are solid creature removal options that stay on theme by creating tokens. Resculpt also makes the cut as it can remove an unwanted artifact. Beast Within is the best of these options as it can remove anything.

Cyclonic Rift, Curse of the Swine and Perplexing Test are our board wipes, with the latter providing some nice synergy with our strategy.

Clever Impersonator - Be careful with what creature types you clone! Also a fantastic way to copy noncreature permanents at 2 for 1.

Spark Double - Because three Volo’s are better than one! This card is nuts, an automatic include for any Volo deck.

Wandering Archaic   - Helps protect Volo and the whole team. One is awesome. Two or more get quite ridiculous.

Ruin Crab - Two of these will always make our opponents salty. They probably aren’t going to win us games, but they’re targets for removal that distract opponents from our commander. Probably not the best if there are lots of reanimator decks in your meta.

Scute Swarm - Just one of these can let us run away with the game in most decks. Needless to say it’s twice as good in Volo.

Junk Winder - Can be cast for far less than its cmc, and acts as pseudo removal with every token we create allowing us to tap down two enemy creatures.

Kiora's Follower - A very nice utility piece at 2 for 1, allowing us to keep blockers up after combat, or helping us reuse our lands and mana dorks.

Man-o'-War and Temur Sabertooth - Both great ways to bounce high value creatures to our hand so that we can recast them. The sabertooth is the only creature we don’t get a tremendous benefit from having two of… but it’s invaluable at being able to protect our commander and other important creatures.

Peregrine Drake - Untap up to 10 lands! A great target for the temur sabertooth.

Twinning Staff and Strionic Resonator - The Staff is a must for any Volo deck, turning our commander’s ability into a 3 for 1. The resonator is slower but we can still get great value from it.

Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots - Classic protection package.

Deadwood Treefolk - Currently my only piece of recursion, but one of the best options for Volo. Amazing with Temur Sabertooth.

Worldly Tutor - The best tutor option for Volo.

Swan Song, Fierce Guardianship, Counterspell and Heroic Intervention - More protection.

This section definitely needs expanding, but I’ve had good luck finding one of the following in most games. It’s even possible that we can win without them if we can go wide enough with our other creatures. A well timed Cyclonic Rift can also help us close out, and Scute Swarm or Ruin Crab can have a huge impact if the conditions are right.

Craterhoof Behemoth - One of these is enough to close out a game in most creature based decks. Two of them at once practically guarantees victory.

End-Raze Forerunners - A less powerful Craterhoof, but they can still win us games on the turn we drop them.

Pathbreaker Ibex - A slower win-con, these will need to survive a full turn cycle before we can swing with them. As with the above creatures, sometimes one is all it will take. A great creature to cast before our turn with Alchemist's Refuge.

God-Eternal Rhonas - Another solid buff for the team, quadrupling the power on our battlefield.

I’ve had many excellent games in the first few months of playtesting Volo. I’m consistently casting him within the first 3 turns, and getting immediate value on the following turn. He’s open to removal right out of the gate, so it’s important to get him out while our opponents are still setting up their boards.

I’ve noticed that our opponents are more often concerned with removing the creatures that Volo copies, rather than dealing with our commander first, which ultimately works to our benefit. If we cast an annoying Scute Swarm, Ruin Crab, or Consecrated Sphinx, our opponents will always scramble to remove them first, but usually not before we’ve gotten some excellent value out of them.

With two of each creature, we can virtually guarantee that we’ll have a populated battlefield regardless of how much removal comes our way. The goal is to just keep casting creature after creature to make it impossible for our opponents to keep up.

In my earlier build I was running more token copying effects like Full Flowering, Second Harvest, and Rite of Replication, but they were ultimately cut in favor of… you’ve probably already guessed… more creatures! More often than not, these wound up as dead cards in my hand, and I was wishing that they were creatures instead. This is ultimately not a token strategy deck, this is a creature deck that happens to make token copies. There are much better Simic commanders for a token strategy.

Finally, I’ve noticed that this build flies a little lower to the ground than some of the other Volo decks I’ve looked at, including my earlier build which ran at a much higher average cmc. I've found that the lower curve ensures that we always have something to do, and we can sometimes fly under the radar until we’re ready to drop our big threats and win-cons.

Stay tuned for more tips and updates!

Thanks for checking out the deck!

Suggestions are welcome.

Suggestions

Updates Add

First round of updates after some extensive playtesting.

IN:

Counterspell - Protecting Volo is paramount, so this classic gem is getting added to the mix.

Farseek - More two mana ramp please.

Wandering Archaic  Flip - Volo copies creatures, this copies instants and sorceries. An avatar creature with far greater consistency than the primordial mentioned below, this is also another fantastic protection piece for our list.

God-Eternal Rhonas - Another potential win-con for our list, pumping the whole team in a big way.

OUT:

Panharmonicon - Don't get me wrong, this card has done some serious work in a few games. However, in the VAST majority of games I found myself not casting it, or even discarding it. In a flicker/bounce deck this is a must, but only about half of the creatures on this list have ETB effects, and Volo is already doubling those. Plus we'll get much better value copying Volo's cast trigger with Strionic Resonator and Twinning Staff. Four mana is the wrong part of the curve for an effect that will only trigger half of the time, so it's getting the axe. I wouldn't fault anyone for running it, but it just felt too "win more" for this list.

Double Major - Another card I found myself rarely casting. It was intended to serve as a one time backup for Volo, but the specific scenarios where it can be valuable are exceedingly rare. I won't miss it.

Diluvian Primordial - For seven mana I want guaranteed value. When this works it works well, but having to rely on my opponents decks and graveyards for value just doesn't feel reliably good.

Loyal Guardian - This card was good in one game... and even then it was extremely slow and clunky. We need more consistent value in the five mana slot.

Comments

40% Casual

60% Competitive

Top Ranked
Date added 2 months
Last updated 6 days
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

6 - 0 Mythic Rares

41 - 0 Rares

23 - 0 Uncommons

12 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.23
Jetons Copy Clone, 3/3 G Token Creature Beast, Boar 2/2 G, Ape 3/3 G, Treasure, Frog Lizard 3/3 G, Elemental 4/4 UR, Insect 1/1 G, 2/2 U Token Creature Bird, 3/3 G Token Creature Elephant, C Emblem City's Blessing
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Revision 21 See all

2 weeks ago)

+1 Counterspell main
-1 Diluvian Primordial main
-1 Double Major main
+1 Farseek main
-1 Panharmonicon main
+1 Sludge Monster maybe