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.

Advisor - Ape - Avatar - Beast - Bird - Boar - Cat - Cephalid - Citizen - Cleric - Crab - Dinosaur - Drake - Druid - Dryad - Elder - Elemental - Elephant - Elf - Faerie - Giant - Goat - God - Golem - Halfling - Homunculus - Horror - Human - Illusion - Insect - Jellyfish - Merfolk - Ooze - Pirate - Plant - Salamander - Shaman - Shapeshifter - Snake - Sphinx - Spirit - Thopter - 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.

Tribute to the World Tree - When Volo is out we draw two cards for each creature that enters that's over 3 power, and all weaker creatures each enter with two +1/+1 counters. Amazing.

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.

Loyal Drake - When copied we draw two cards at our combat phase while Volo is out.

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 card.

Wayward Swordtooth - While not strictly a ramp spell, this let us play two extra lands per turn when Volo copies it. A great way to accelerate our mana base, and to control our hand size when our draw engines are humming. Also this is 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!

Shield Broker - Basically another Mind Flayer, but we usually get to keep what we steal for much longer.

Silverback Elder - It’s basically Aura Shards on a creature… or two.

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.

Tendershoot Dryad - This gets crazy very fast when Volo makes a copy of it. The city’s blessing is very easy to attain with this list, and we’ll be creating two 5/5 saprolings at the beginning of EVERY turn.

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.

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.

Worldly Tutor - The best tutor option for Volo.

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

My Land package is definitely not as optimized as it could be, but I’m personally not a fan of running off-color fetches or shocks. I try to limit the number of lands that enter tapped to 3 or less, and I keep enough basics in the deck to enable my ramp spells as well as my fabled passage and prismatic vista. Only a few utility lands here:

Boseiju, Who Endures - Cheap removal on a land. Love it.

Otawara, Soaring City - see Boseiju.

Scavenger Grounds - We don’t run much recursion, so this piece of graveyard hate comes in handy against many decks.

Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth - Turns all of our islands into Tropical Island!

Reliquary Tower - This deck can draw lots of cards… LOTS.

I also chose some flavorful AFR basics, each with a quote that mentions a creature of some kind.

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.

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

This is one of the most reliable decks in my arsenal. I’m consistently casting Volo within the first 3 turns, and getting immediate value on the following turn. This deck regularly draws lots of cards, removes lots of threats, and spits out a board full of monsters very fast. Volo is 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 often more 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 (at least) 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.


Updates Add

My list hasn’t changed too much over the last year, as it has proven to be one of my most consistent decks. I’m periodically tempted to swap creatures around, but I keep coming back to that old adage: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The maybe-board above features some creatures I’ve been tempted by, but as of yet I have not play tested them. Here’s the one recent swap I made:


Tribute to the World Tree - This is a strictly better version of Elemental Bond, which is already one of the better card draw enchantments in the deck. It gives a solid buff to our little guys, and draws us two cards for everything else when Volo is out. At three green mana it’s a little more difficult to cast, but color fixing is usually not a problem with this list.


Lifecrafter's Bestiary - I’ve been looking at swapping this one for some time, though it has saved me in a couple of games. The scry is nice, but Tribute to the World Tree is just… well… worlds better.

Comments View Archive

36% Casual

64% Competitive

Revision 32 See all

(1 month ago)

+1 Faerie Mastermind maybe
-1 Lifecrafter's Bestiary main
+1 Tribute to the World Tree main
Top Ranked
Date added 2 years
Last updated 1 month

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

8 - 0 Mythic Rares

48 - 0 Rares

20 - 0 Uncommons

9 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.19
Tokens Ape 3/3 G, Beast 3/3 G, Bird 2/2 U, Boar 2/2 G, City's Blessing, Copy Clone, Elemental 4/4 UR, Elephant 3-3 G, Frog Lizard 3/3 G, Insect 1/1 G, Saproling 1/1 G, Treasure
Folders Decks, Big Ol' Decks, EDH Considerations, Test, Decks that i like, Decks I Wish I'd Built, Cool Ideas, fun smashass edh, Simic UG, Cool ideas, See all 27
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