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Volo's Historia Animalium [PRIMER]

Commander / EDH Combo GU (Simic) Tokens



Instant (2)

Enchantment (1)

Creature (1)

Artifact (1)

Volo, Guide to Monsters deck, focusing - obviously - on two-for-the-price-of-one creatures. Uses mana dorks, ramp, and draw to accelerate to big hitters like Apex Devastator, Apex Altisaur, and It That Betrays. Support lended by a chunky counter package, focusing on keeping Volo, Guide to Monsters on the board. I am not working with graveyard shenanigans. This deck is entirely unique creature types, even shapeshifters, as I want every possible trigger I can get.

All points made below assume the presence of Volo, Guide to Monsters in play, so ensuring his protection is essential.

Panharmonicon - Since most of the value of the deck is exploiting "...enters the battlefield" triggers, doubling those triggers is useful. Panharmonicon does this statically, saving my mana for progressing the board state, and when triggering with Volo, Guide of Monsters leads to 4x ETB triggers, which is insanely beautiful.

Sphinx Mindbreaker - As a mill player at heart, this Sphinx is a beauty, taking out 10-40 cards and providing a meaty evader.

Apex Altisaur - This Dinosaur is everything I dreamt of happening in the R rated Jurassic Park pool opening. Able to deal with most enemy threats, two of them can clear a board in little time at all.

Thorn Mammoth - This Elephant is the smaller, Scrappy Doo, version of Apex Altisaur, which is harder to control. It hits, it's clone ETBs, it hits again, the clone hits...hits galore. It means keeping a tight leash on the creatures that I cast or, more aptly, letting it run wild till its end.

Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath - One of the few legendary creatures in the deck, this Elder Giant does everything Simic wants to, twice, and then keeps doing it.

Stunt Double - There are many Shapeshifter cards you could choose, but the combat trick aspect granted by Flash makes this the favourite for me. Providing 2 perfect blockers or 2 copies of your best attacker, at instant speed, ready to potentially untap on your next turn is everything I need.

Apex Devastator - Speaking of 'best attacker', this Chimera is among them. Obviously, I wish it didn't say Hydra, but Cascading into - wishfully - 4 other creatures and 8 ETB triggers feels as awesome as the card art. Shame Cascade isn't an ETB, or it'd be 8 creatures/cards.

Biogenic Ooze - While Acidic Slime might be more competitive, this Ooze is far more fitting for a Commander that researches new species. It works as a much more revolting Avenger of Zendikar, and swells the board with blockers.

Foundation Breaker - Speaking of Acidic Slime, this Elemental fills that spot very confidently, as I don't dabble in land destruction. Being able to hit 2 artifacts, possibly at its lower Evoke cost, makes this far more impactful, especially early game, where this deck needs to accelerate, fast.

Man-o'-War, Quickling - This Jellyfish and Faerie go a long way for providing longevity to the triggers above, dropping down when the tokens have died, bouncing the original card back to hand, and allowing it to be recast. Even better, tactically, is Quickling, who is quite the saviour, in a pinch, against opponents.

Deadwood Treefolk - And if Quickling fails, this Treefolk is here to save 2, then 2 more creatures from the grave. As mentioned above, this deck does not run multiples of a creature subtype, so Deadwood Treefolk is purely here to revitalise the army after dangers on previous turns.

Twinning Staff, Strionic Resonator - After exploiting ETB triggers, creating token copies of creatures is key to this deck. As Parallel Lives and Doubling Season effects don't work with Volo, Guide to Monsters effect, we need to copy the copy trigger, not the token. Twinning Staff does it as a static effect, which is ideal, but Strionic Resonator can do it for . Lithoform Engine is an option, but more mana intensive, so not included. Then, the deck becomes above copying creatures that affect the board, if not with ETB, then with valuable effects.

Pathbreaker Ibex - While not as speedy as End-Raze Forerunners, this Goat can smash for an incredible +10/+10 Trample, which can't be sniffed at. There are enough reliable sources of high power in this deck to ensure this attacks for enough power to make up for the loss of Vigilance and Haste.

Blossoming Bogbeast - Similar, but less reliable, is this Beast that gives +2/+2 and Trample as a minimum, but when coupled with a certain Halfling below, it can provide significantly more.

Prosperous Innkeeper - Feeding that +X/+X is this Halfling, a rather innocuous figure. Duplicated, with boosts +2 health very regularly (Getting that Blossoming Bogbeast up to +4/+4 and beyond), but even without Volo, Guide to Monsters, he sets up a good board with a Treasure token and makes every creature played into small, but often lifesaving, lifegain.

Reef Worm - 2 9/9s for is just great, and this little Worm makes it all possible. Also, Fish, Whale, and Kraken are not in the deck, so there is no chance that this ever-increasing testament to Qui-Gon Jinn will negatively impact the game plan.

Giant Adephage - Volo, Guide to Monsters copying creatures is wonderful, but this massive Insect copies itself. It doesn't need lands or mutate stacks to make it happen, like Scute Swarm, it does it on one card. Yes, it needs to connect, which makes this less likely, but this monster makes an opponent consider unfavourably blocking, just to stop it happening.

Bramble Sovereign - Lower on the pecking order, as holding the mana open to do this more than once is tricky, but reliably being able to copy an impactful creature for makes this Dryad very valuable, especially if Volo, Guide to Monsters keeps getting hated out or a token remains on the board after a bounce.

Sludge Monster - turns all the opponents' stuff into basic 2/2s, even their commanders. With 2 copies going at one time, this can soon invalidate an enemy army.

Sol Ring, Arcane Signet, Simic Signet - The powerhouses of Commander, these set up a secondary mana source where fleshy mana dorks fail.

Birds of Paradise, Sylvan Caryatid, Ornithopter of Paradise - Speaking of mana dorks, this tri of Bird, Plant, and Thopter ensure any mana I want is available, on curve. While copying them with Volo, Guide to Monsters is the dream, they're just as useful in the early turns before he comes down. The Sylvan Caryatid's Hexproof is proving essential.

Solemn Simulacrum, Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath - Slower and less on-curve is this Golem and his Elder Giant papa. With a mana dork turn 1, these can provide Volo, Guide to Monsters turn 3 or, more importantly, be copied by him to set up a very successful mana state for further turns.

Cultivate, Nature's Lore, Three Visits, Growth Spiral - Speaking of mana states, Cultivate provides loads of reliable mana on turns after the one it is cost. I've noticed cost mana fixing is really important, so Nature's Lore and Three Visits are here to push forwards with untapped mana, and Growth Spiral to push my hand onto the battlefield.

Courser of Kruphix + Dryad of the Ilysian Grove - Similarly, this Centaur and Nymph are here to ensure an excess of land can reach the battlefield. I would rather play Oracle of Mul Daya than Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, but Elf was taken. Part of me would swap the Courser of Kruphix for a Selesnya Eulogist, which would then need a swap for Wayward Swordtooth which would need to swap out Apex Altisaur...sooo, these two stay, for now.

The Great Henge - Auto-include in many green decks, this does everything, least notably, tapping for .

Rhystic Study - Auto-include in most blue decks, this goes without saying. As they advance their board, I build my options.

Elemental Bond - Similarly, as I develop my board, I refresh my hand. 16/35 creatures in this deck have 3+ power...with Volo, Guide to Monsters, that's a potential 31 cards drawn.

Beast Whisperer - The Elf I had to lose Oracle of Mul Daya to. This guy does what green wants, draws cards when creatures are cast. Sadly, it says 'cast', so it will only trigger once, but with this guy out, that's going to be pretty reliably. The second a comparable card says "...enters the battlefield", this guy will have met his replacement.

Ohran Frostfang - This Snake gives us Coastal Piracy in creature form, and with the amount of creatures we hope to have, is sure to connect with at least once card. Like Giant Adephage, they need to make contact, but considering the huge stats on some of the creatures we're swinging with, and the duplicates of everything we're hoping for, this card spells doom, either way.

Loyal Drake & Sea-Dasher Octopus - This Drake and Octopus draw on smaller scales, but round out the mana curve on creatures. Both are more specific than I would like, but fit into unfilled creature subtypes, so can stay for the time being.

Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath & Solemn Simulacrum - As in the ramp section, these help to push the board state forward, either on entry, attack, or death. Multipurpose creatures are great includes.

Vizier of the Menagerie - Not technically draw, but as Courser of Kruphix allows us to filter lands off the top of our deck, this *Naga allows us to filter creatures. Unlike the Centaur, Vizier of the Menagerie allows us to keep the identity of our top card hidden, making this as close to an extra card in the hand as we can get.

The Great Henge - Auto-include in many green decks, this does everything, and one of those is drawing a card.

Fierce Guardianship - The MVP of the counter package, as playtesting has made it clear that the purpose of most of the protection below has to be purely keeping Volo, Guide to Monsters on the board. Free is better than anything, and without losses, like other free counters.

Counterspell - Hard counter that allows a solid level of assurance due to no downsides and even deal with creatures and planeswalkers, unlike most of the rest of the protection package.

Swan Song, Stubborn Denial, Miscast - narrower counters than the options above, but more responsive than Counterspell.

Muddle the Mixture - Both a counter spell against removal spells and a costly tutor. No, 3 mana to find a card is not the most efficient, but there are enough cards, especially mana rocks, at 2 mana that are worth finding to advance the board state if Volo is already safe.

Heroic Intervention - Narrow - not helping against wider, non-destructive board wipes - but a great response to black and target-based spells.

Crystal Shard - especially cheap in blue (), this can save a Volo, Guide to Monsters from Commander Tax, save a key card, set up a creature card for round 2 of casting, or - in a pinch - bounce an enemy creature in an overspent board state. Can have a conscious opponent playing behind the whole time it's out.

Quickling, Temur Sabertooth, Man-o'-War - Crystal Shard on a creature and, therefore, copyable. Quickling is the most responsive to threats, but Temur Sabertooth gains its own upside from bouncing, and all 3 set up ability to reuse ETB and copy effects when they've been exhausted.

Cyclonic Rift, River's Rebuke, March of Swirling Mist - Obvious board wipes in blue. Since I often cast Cyclonic Rift in it's Overload form, I want to test out River's Rebuke as an alternative, so running both to see. Mostly used not in response, but as clearing the decks for a final push. March of Swirling Mist acts as both a protect Volo, an protect my whole field, or remove all opposing threats. Akk if these are nice situations.

Lightning Greaves, Swiftfoot Boots - Obvious Commander staples. Mostly providing Hexproof and Shroud for Volo, Guide to Monsters

Sideboard contains all the alternative Subtypes I considered instead of the ones included.



30% Casual

70% Competitive

Revision 31 See all

(4 months ago)

-1 Echoing Equation  Flip main
-1 Forest main
-1 Impervious Greatwurm maybe
-1 Volo, Itinerant Scholar maybe
Top Ranked
Date added 1 year
Last updated 2 months

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

7 - 1 Mythic Rares

50 - 2 Rares

18 - 2 Uncommons

8 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.62
Tokens Beast 3/3 G, Bird 2/2 U, City's Blessing, Copy Clone, Fish 3/3 U, Insect 1/1 G, Kraken 9/9 U, Ooze 2/2 G, Treasure, Whale 6/6 U
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