Adventures in the Forgotten Realms
2, Jul, 21

Forgotten Realms MTG Introduces The First Anti-Tribal Commander

Sometimes you've just got to set everything on fire and revel in the chaos that follows. This is one of those times.
Article at a Glance

Another day means even more Adventures in the Forgotten Realms previews. That means yet more opportunities to talk about some of the good, bad, and incredibly weird cards that we’re getting thanks to this Dungeons & Dragons-infused set.

We’ve already seen incredibly fascinating mechanics, new takes on old favorites, and, well, Dragons. It’s really shaping up well so far, and we’re looking forward to seeing how it all shakes out across the various formats that we know and love. One of the most interesting cards so far though, also happens to be one of the most antithetical to the format it’ll inevitably end up in.

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We’ve got a story to tell you

Dungeons & Dragons is a game about the stories that we choose to tell, but it’s also filled with its own stories too. Thankfully for the denizens of that world, Volothamp Geddarm is a legendary traveller and storyteller, and even wrote up his own guidebook, which was published within the universe.

They’re so famous, in fact, that they’ve even had a couple of people try and profit from their reputation by impersonating them. You know they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? Well, that’s probably less true when the person impersonating you also happens to be a pain in the butt who steals a powerful artifact from an even more powerful wizard. No thank you, you can keep your compliments.

Well, Volo, as his friends call him, is now also part of MTG, and his card is one that has our deckbuilding brains going into overdrive.

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A little bit of everything, all of the time

Volo, Guide to Monsters is a four-mana Green and Blue 3/2 Human Wizard. We don’t always mention the full Creature types in these pieces, but this time around, it’s incredibly important. They read, “Whenever you cast a Creature spell that doesn’t share a Creature type with a Creature you control or a Creature card in your graveyard, copy that spell.”

That’s right, Volo is an anti-tribal commander. We get so many cool tribes to play with in MTG, and building a perfect tribal deck using all of the right cards is a huge amount of fun. So, Volo, Guide to Monsters is hilariously against that whole style of deck. What’s more, we’re pretty sure they’re going to convert us, because that ability is absurd.

Now, the fact that it includes the Creatures in your graveyard could be problematic. Well, it would do if it wasn’t for the fact that there are over 250 different Creature types in MTG. However, the most exciting part of the ability is that this triggers when you cast the Creature. That means that you’re basically guaranteed to get at least one copy of every Creature you cast as long as Volo is in play, even if it gets countered.

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What are the best Creatures to have with Volo?

The key thing with Volo is to go hard on enter the battlefield triggers. You don’t have to, obviously, but if you do so, you’ll be doubling up a lot of the best effects in MTG, so it makes sense. You can also double-down on eath triggers too. In fact, why not just go with both. If you’re not running Solemn Simulacrum in this deck, then you’re missing the point, because you’ll get an unusual Creature type with a Golem, then get two Lands into play and draw two cards too.

Do you know what else is nice? When you can cast one Creature and get two different Creatures as a result. That’s not a simple thing to do, but with Phyrexian Metamorph, which can enter the battlefield as any other Artifact or Creature on the battlefield, you’ve got a two-for-one the likes of which your opponents have never seen.

Of course, you’ll also need some game-ending threats too. Now, some people would say this is overkill, but we believe that if you’re not overkilling your opponents, then you’re not playing the game properly. So, how about a double Craterhoof Behemoth? There are a lot of great Creatures you can choose from for a Volo deck, but there are two things you should keep in mind. The first is that you want Creatures with only a single Creature type, and the second one is that you don’t really want Legendary Creatures.

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What are some good support cards to use with Volo?

First up is a card that you should have in most of your Commander decks anyway, and it’s Vedalken Orrery. This card is a four-mana Artifact that allows you to cast all of your nonland Cards as if they had flash. Nothing is better than two Creatures at instant speed. Nothing!

Well, actually, how about three of those Creatures? If you make sure you’ve got a Parallel Lives in play. Parallel Lives is a four-mana Green Enchantment that doubles the number of tokens that get put into play. This whole deck is about making tokens, and incredibly powerful ones at that, so this is an auto-include for sure.

Of course, unless you’re really committed to keeping every card in your deck from a different tribe, then you might have to remove some cards from the graveyard sometimes. For those moments, we’d absolutely recommend you include Primal Command. Primal Command is a five-mana Sorcery that allows you to choose two from gaining seven life, putting a noncreature permanent on top of its owner’s library, have a player shuffle their graveyard into their library, and find a Creature card from your library and put it into your hand. All of these are good options, so this should be there.

What cards are you going to put in your Volo, Guide to Monsters deck?

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