Welcome to Volrath, the Shapestealer 's Stronghold! Please step this way to be cloned...

Formatting courtesy of Suns_Champion's Well of Ideas

Volrath, the Shapestealer is a lot like Mairsil, the Pretender , Lazav, the Multifarious , and Experiment Kraj . I recommend checking out decks running those commanders in addition to decks running Volrath. Some of these have obvious differences but the main thing between all of them is being able to use cards together that you normally can’t.

Volrath in particular allows you to attack with him, turn him into Devoted Druid to untap him, then turn him into Tree of Perdition and tap again after no blocks are declared to kill a player. There are a lot of silly synergies just like that using other cards with all of these commanders.

Volrath was immediately of interest to me because of his colors and because I’ve enjoyed Mairsil so much with my Should I Pretend This Or That? deck. The huge upside here is that I’m changing out for so mana will be much easier to produce. Volrath does make for more vulnerable synergies since everything will have to be in play instead of in exile but I think my buddies will appreciate that and be more likely to want to play against Volrath than against Mairsil.

Mana: Cards which provide mana by making it or by grabbing other cards that make mana.

Card Advantage: Cards which provide extra cards or at the very least replace themselves.

Removal: Cards which remove resources from your opponent’s.

CounterProduction: Cards which produce counters. With this deck we don’t care what kind of counters are produced as long as they are going on creatures that we want to change into.

Utility: Cards in this deck that we want to change into or provide some kind of useful benefit.

Specific Card Choices: Here are all of my card choices and explanations.

Forest , Island , Swamp - provide basic mana :P

Myriad Landscape , Ash Barrens , Evolving Wilds , Terramorphic Expanse - go fetch your missing color

Bojuka Bog - get rid of that annoying reanimation player

Command Tower , Exotic Orchard , Opulent Palace - effectively any color mana

Darkwater Catacombs , Dimir Aqueduct , Sunken Hollow - lands

Foul Orchard , Golgari Guildgate , Golgari Rot Farm , Jungle Hollow , Llanowar Wastes - lands

Simic Growth Chamber , Simic Guildgate , Woodland Stream , Yavimaya Coast , Thornwood Falls - lands

Reliquary Tower - provides infinite hand size on an unlikely to be removed permanent

Thespian's Stage - becomes a land worth copying

Cultivate , Kodama's Reach , Farseek , Sakura-Tribe Elder - grab lands

Devoted Druid , Sol Ring , Incubation Druid - produce multiple extra mana, Devoted Druid can also be used to untap Volrath

Jiang Yanggu, Wildcrafter , Rishkar, Peema Renegade - Cause any creature with +1/+1 counters to produce mana

Rogue's Passage - allows us to swing in uncontested

Seedborn Muse - opens up possibilities on opponent’s turns

Cold-Eyed Selkie - combines wonderfully with Volrath to draw 7 cards

Generous Patron , Fathom Mage - goes great with the counter production theme of the deck

Rishkar's Expertise - with a large commander this is never a bad card

Yawgmoth, Thran Physician - provides counters and draw

Beast Within - removes anything

Casualties of War - extremely efficient removal

Dark Impostor - not particularly efficient but targeted exile can be worth it

In Garruk's Wake - one sided board wipe

Krosan Grip - easily one of the best cards for stopping a combo

Putrefy - just a decent removal for artifacts and creatures

Retribution of the Ancients - takes advantage of any extra unneeded counters

Sultai Charm - multi-tool

Wickerbough Elder - easy to use over and over and over

Altered Ego - this is a way to copy an opponent’s creature that has hexproof or shroud, you can then make Volrath into a copy of it unless it is shroud

Black Sun's Zenith - gets counters on everything and doubles as a potential board wipe

Blowfly Infestation - stops people from getting rid of all your hard work when creatures die, can also combo with Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons

Carnifex Demon - wipes out creatures and gets counters on everything

Cauldron of Souls - stops creatures that you really like from dying and gets a counter on them

Experiment Kraj - works very similar to Volrath and gets counters on things

Forgotten Ancient - get a lot of counters on it and spread them to things without counters, can even get around shroud and hexproof

Hadana's Climb  Flip- gets counters on a few things and then flips into a huge buff

Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons - might get a few counters out of her but generally just a great source of snakes and combos with Blowfly Infestation

Loyal Guardian - get counters on all your things easily

Master Biomancer - when used with Volrath puts 9 +1/+1 counters on all your creatures that ETB

Midnight Banshee - get counters on non-black creatures and wipe out some things

Mikaeus, the Unhallowed - stop some things from dying and get counters on them

Nissa, Voice of Zendikar - get counters on your stuff

Path of Discovery - card advantage and counters

Plaxcaster Frogling - a few counters and shroud for things with counters

Simic Ascendancy - get some counters and possibly win the game

Unspeakable Symbol - counters for life

Vigor - immortal creatures with tons of counters

AEtherling , Endling , Jodah's Avenger , Morphling , Thornling , Vampire Nighthawk - lots of awesome abilities worth having access to using only a handful of cards

Archfiend of Despair - combine with Volrath to double up the end of turn effect

Cephalid Constable - combine with Volrath to bounce 7 permanents

Champion of Lambholt - make your creatures almost unblockable

Journey to Eternity  Flip- reanimate important creatures

Tree of Perdition - kills players

Most Volrath decks will be running proliferate and infect. These are powerful effects that can really help the deck run. Infect obviously provides a great way to win too. I just don’t like infect and didn’t see a point in increasing the number of counters on cards when I’d rather add counters to new cards.

None at the moment.

Evaluating the Deck: Here is a breakdown of the deck's strength, weaknesses, combos, non-bos, and synergies.











There are many other synergies and some other combos but I'm not going to list them all. Interactions simply just happen when cards get used in ways they were never meant to be used in.

Nonbos: I'll let you know when I find them...

The gameplan is pretty simple. I will start with the opening hand and go through from there.

I always go for 3 or 4 lands in my opening hand. The deck is very mana hungry and if you start short on mana you are just going to fall further and further behind. If you start with more than 4 lands you are probably going to have a tough time getting gas...

Next you want to get some kind of acceleration going or it will be a slow game... Or fast... If your opponents take advantage of the blood in the water. Acceleration can be achieved through extra card draw or mana ramp cards such as Farseek .

You can play Volrath, the Shapestealer whenever you want in the game, though I’d highly recommend waiting for when there are creatures to change him into. Whether those be your creatures or an opponent’s creatures is up to you.

Finally combo off and win? Or go for broke with Volrath and swing at your opponents. He is a 7/5 and it only takes 21 commander damage to kill.


Updates Add


72% Casual

28% Competitive

Top Ranked
Date added 1 month
Last updated 1 month
Exclude colors WR

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.85
Tokens 0/1 Plant, 3/3 Beast, None Copy Clone, 1/1 Snake
Folders Excellent Primer, EDH Primer, Commander Decks, Volrath, Not My Decks, Really cool decks I want to buy, Commander, Retired, Xmage, Inspo, See all 12
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Revision 6 See all

1 month ago)

+1 Oblivion Stone main
-1 Dark Impostor main
-1 Oblivion Stone maybe