18, May, 22

Monster Tourism is Booming in MTG, But Who's the Best Guide?

Article at a Glance

The Dungeons & Dragons character, Volo, takes on interesting manifestations in Magic: the Gathering, rather unlike any other card in the game.

Whereas most creature types in MTG work well with each other, Volo strives to play as many creature types as possible. This makes building a deck around him almost counterintuitive. But that same reason is also what makes building Volo decks really fun and challenging.

Volo first appeared in the Magic universe from the set Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. Now, with Battle for Baldur’s Gate, there’s a second version of Volo. Volo, Itinerant Scholar, plays on the same creature-crazy-theme as the Guide to Monsters but executes the strategy in a slightly different way.

Volo, Guide to Monsters

The original Volo makes for an awesome Commander. If you build your deck using entirely different creature types, Volo, Guide to Monsters, will always make copies of each creature you cast.

You can approach building Volo, Guide to Monsters, with the challenge of including as many unique creature types as possible. Or you can focus on copying Volo to make even more copies of your other creatures.

If you’re interested, I wrote an entire deck guide for the OG Volo: It’s a Magic Monster Mash! Best Cards For Volo, Guide to Monsters in Commander.

Volo, Itinerant Scholar

The new Volo still cares about playing a wide variety of creature types. But the Itinerant Scholar works very differently. He takes notes on the creatures he finds in his Journal. The more creatures he finds, the more cards he can draw from his Journal each turn.

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Possible Background Color Combinations

There will be a bit of overlap when building a Commander deck around the Itinerant Scholar compared to the Guide to Monsters. But the biggest difference between the decks is what background you give Volo, Itinerant Scholar, as this determines the color combination of your deck and can open many new possibilities.

It’s perfectly fine if you want to pair a green background with Volo, Itinerant Scholar, and stick to the Simic (blue-green) color combo like the original. But Volo can explore more creatures of the Magic universe.

With a red background, Volo will encounter more Goblins and Dragons. Black gives him access to horrific creatures like Zombies and Nightmares. And Volo will find more Spirits and Angels when paired with white.

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