This is my Volrath deck, (paired with an example budget land base)

I thought he looked like a really neat commander to build around when he was shown off in the c19 precon. I started to think of things that got their own counters somehow and I looked for neat things to turn volrath into, somewhere along the line the question popped up into my head, "What if you just made a deck around persist? you could make volrath a creature with persist or undying whenever he gets targeted, and you have tons of recursion value." so I got to work... turns out most creatures with persist aren't that good, but im very happy with how combo-y this deck became with mostly incidental combos.

This is how it works. The deck can be a combo or a value based deck, centered on taking creatures with persist and making them something useful, this is an aristocratic list by nature so one could imagine that just having persist and being allowed to be sacrificed twice is pretty good value. But it doesn't stop there.

for combo

Some of the more expensive cards in the list are cards that make the combos work or that make them consistent Birthing Pod for example you want to find a persist creature and plop it down, next turn play pod immediately pod the (lets say 3 drop creature assuming you're on curve) and you get a 4 drop from your deck, as well as your persist creature back. If that 4 drop is a 4 drop with persist you do it again next turn for River Kelpie and if someone hasn't seen the writing on the walls by this point and you get to untap again or you get off a Neoform you use kelpi to get Mikaeus, the Unhallowed. The loop is whenever a creature you control with persist dies they trigger both persist and undying, if the creature had a -1 on it it comes back with undying otherwise persist triggers as normal and it comes back with a -1. Now with any sac outlet in the deck you have infinite sacrafice and infinite draw, with some you even have infinite mana. continue the loop until you get to Laboratory Maniac or if labman is out of the question you can dig for Exsanguinate if you are using one of the altars. and finally if you're using Altar of Dementia you get rid of kelpie and you mill the table out.(or just dont find kelpie in the first place if you already have altar of dimentia)

(as a side note mikaeus can be replaced with Master Biomancer)

This is just one example a fairly slow example at that this would mean you win at best what turn 9, that's not the case. the example above is just how to play if you get pod to resolve, there are plenty of ways to get to a winning board state faster with totally different combos.

For example you have Yawgmoth, Thran Physician and either Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons or Nest of Scarabs. The loop is pay 1 to yawg kill an insect put a -1 on a creature somewhere and whipe the board 1 life and draw at a time.

similarly if you have Blowfly Infestation and hapatra/nest you can use volrath or any persist creature to triger hapatra/nest to make an insect and blowfly will have you place a counter, place the counter on the bug this will trigger hap/nest again and you can loop this indefinitely all you need is a blood artist effect and you can close out.

another way you can circumvent having to go through all the pods is with any persist creature on the board and any sac outlet on the board, you can play Spark Double copying the persist creature. The loop is fairly self explanatory kill spark double to your sac outlet he persists and you get to choose a new thing to come in as, you choose the same creature with persist, spark double attempts to enter with a +1 counter but instead the +1 counter nullifies the -1 counter it gets from persist and you have infinite sacrafice.

value The deck has a lot of choices when it comes to pumping value, whenever your opponents play something spooky they run the risk of you leeching off their value with volrath. the deck has ways of protecting volrath with is 1 mana ability and it has spark double which allows you to "bank" a volrath transformation if the option comes up. There's times when this happen it can feel really backbreaking to your opponents. example, one of the first times I played this deck my opponent had played a Roil Elemental as it came to my turn i passed through combat putting a counter on the elemental making volrath a 7/5 roil elemental, then i played spark double making spark double a copy of volrath, or a 8/6 roil elemental, that wouldn't go away.

on top of this with some aforementioned infinites with persist you can get infinite puppeteer clique activations and essentially play Rise of the Dark Realms, sadly without any hast givers but if you stay cool with it you can hold off on doing it untill the end step right before your turn, and if anyone tries to interact with your board in any way other than a board wipe you can do it in response to that too.

To build on this deck there is a fairly large maybe board, if you've seen this deck before you may recognize it as being a third of the previous list. I realize that some people are playing on a much tighter budget, as apposed to myself who plays with no building restrictions on the site I play on.

So to start there's the mana base: basically for a faster more competitive deck take the 33 lands currently in the deck and subsitute the 33 lands in the sideboard. you will notice improvements to the decks speed for every land you put in, except mayve for volraths stronghold which to be fair is just a really good flavor win. -(as a frame of reference the changes in the mana base cost around 2800$)

on top of that I replaced vampiric tutor and imperial seal with diabolic tutor and beseech the queen -(a $600 difference)

and I put in thaumatic compass and sylvan scrying in place of mox diamond and mana crypt -(about $400 saved)

lastly when Eldraine comes out put in the which's cottage and the arcane signet in place of a swamp and the commander sphere respectively.

Thank you for checking out my volrath aristocrat list, I'd like to think for every person that wants to make a volrath deck that comes likes my volrath list, is one less potential infect player.

please upvote if you like the deck, feel free to leave a comment if you tried the deck I’d love to hear how the deck works in other play groups, also if you have a suggestion to make the deck more budget friendly, I've never really worked on a budget before so I don't know the good budget options.

If you’re morbidly curious about the price of the better mana base its around $2800 for the fully upgraded deck.

After playtesting I decided that the land count is a bit high for a deck with avg cmc less than 3 so i cut a few for interaction and a couple cards that didnt quite make the cut before


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Top Ranked
Date added 10 months
Last updated 1 week

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

7 - 0 Mythic Rares

32 - 0 Rares

33 - 0 Uncommons

15 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.72
Tokens 0/1 Insect, 1/1 Snake, 0/1 Eldrazi Spawn, Experience
Folders Favorites, EDH, ideas, neat decks
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