Uril, the Miststalker | Illustration by Jaime Jones
Commander is a format filled with variety. Some people like to play combo decks, others control games, and some just want to get things done and be as aggressive as possible.
I prefer the last kind of decks while disrupting my opponents, so no wonder one of my favorite commanders is Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, right? But lately I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic.
Who remembers five big cats transforming into a Megazord-style robot? Well, if you guessed right, I’m talking about Voltron, and today I’m going to go over a style of commander that carries the same name. So while we may not be engineering robots, we will be doing something similar.
Intrigued? Let’s find out which commander has crossed the shards this time!
Sol Ring | Illustration by Mike Bierek
Herald of the Pantheon
Light-Paws, Emperor’s Voice
Sram, Senior Edificer
Sythis, Harvest’s Hand
Archon of Sun’s Grace
Eidolon of Blossoms
Gisela, Blade of Goldnight
All That Glitters
Gauntlets of Light
Shield of the Oversoul
Runes of the Deus
Sigil of the Empty Throne
City of Brass
Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers
Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep
Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion
Temple of the False God
This is an enchantment deck with the primary goal to build the biggest and baddest creature on the board, and potentially kill more than one player a turn. To do that, I’ve picked Uril, the Miststalker as its commander.
There are tons of other Voltron-like commanders out there. The most popular probably being Rafiq of the Many followed by Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest and, on some occasions, unorthodox ones like Narset, Enlightened Master. What sets Uril, the Miststalker apart is that it has built-in protection and grows for every aura attached to it.
The “hexproof” part is what makes Uril so good in this style of deck. It’s tough for your opponents to deal with it and will become virtually unkillable in a blink of an eye if you pair it with other cards to push the protection further.
Let’s talk about individual card choices to accomplish that feat.
This deck runs a few spells to search for other critical cards that enable combos or are just needed in narrow scenarios.
Three Dreams can help you get the last pieces of evasion/protection your commander or other creatures need to make them the Megazord they always dreamed of.
Things don’t always go as planned and you need to have your bases covered. You run a decent amount of removal to make sure you’ve got it handled. The most notable ones are Austere Command, Oblivion Ring, and Swords to Plowshares.
Oblivion Ring is fine removal. It’s something you can tutor for in a pinch, but I wouldn’t rely on those effects too much because they can quickly be dealt with. But I still think one copy is good.
Swords to Plowshares is the single most effective spot removal ever printed, and you’re playing it.
Uril is a big boy that needs to enter the battlefield sooner rather than later, so you run a fair amount of ramp spells to get the feat done.
The deck had multiple ramp creatures in the original build including Birds of Paradise. But I figured that enchantment-based ramp spells are better in this kind of deck since it synergizes perfectly with the rest of the cards, especially the card draw engines.
These effects are the most important for the deck because they allow you to draw cards whenever an enchantment is cast or enters the battlefield.
Light-Paws, Emperor’s Voice also lives in this category since it’s almost like a draw spell but better, since it can help you find multiple auras a turn for less mana.
The deck also runs a bunch of utility creatures that mostly have a dedicated role in the deck that no other card has.
Destiny Spinner protects your enchantments from being countered while being a hidden win condition. And if we’re talking win conditions, Gisela, Blade of Goldnight can win games on its own. You’re almost guaranteed not to lose the game if you manage to give it protection of some sort.
Last but not least, I’ve grown to like Grand Abolisher quite a bit as a way to prevent your opponents from interacting with you the turn you want to assemble Voltron to win games.
Like their creature counterparts, utility spells are here to provide an extra reach to the deck. They do have synergy with the deck’s plan even if they’re not enchantments.
Retether can help you bring some of your already-used auras back and attach them to a creature, preferably Uril.
Faith’s Reward has a similar role, and it’s your safety card after a board wipe happens. You can pair it with your board wipes and leave your opponents with nothing while you still will have a mighty creature staring at them with enough mana.
The last utility spell is Seize the Day, which gives you multiple attacks per turn. You can kill the whole board one player at a time with enough luck.
Around 20 auras in the deck have a mixed purpose of pumping your creatures into mighty threats, giving them protection, or some relevant keyword that helps during combat.
One quick thing that I’ll remind you of later is that some auras grant your creature protection from color, like Flickering Ward. But be careful with the color you choose since all auras of that color attached to that creature will fall off.
Archon of Sun’s Grace, Hallowed Haunting, and Sigil of the Empty Throne all trigger whenever another enchantment is cast or enters the battlefield. The Archon creates 2/2 lifelinkers and the Sigil makes 4/4 angels for the cost of one more mana, but the Haunting is the real deal. It can create creatures that escalate in power the more tokens you manage to make.
These three combined are powerful enough to make your opponents think twice before attacking you because it won’t be easy, and these cards are essential for protecting your life and representing a win condition.
Shatterskull Smashing is here for the extra removal, Emeria’s Call creates a couple angels in a pinch, Sejiri Shelter is good for protection at instant speed, and Bala Ged Recovery is here for recursion.
You can approach the deck in two ways depending on how the board develops.
The first option is to be as aggressive as you can and suit up a creature to be the mightiest of all, then try to kill an opponent without even needing your commander. While this may be good, it can make you the whole table’s target in the blink of an eye. Even if you succeed in killing one of the other players, chances are you’ll be killed by the rest of the table next turn since your only creature is probably turned sideways.
That’s why I recommend the second option: ramping and establishing board presence by casting enchantments. You’ll also usually create a big guy that acts as a safe keeper so others don’t attack you. You’ll also want to attach auras to multiple creatures so that you don’t get blown out by a single removal spell. Also avoid casting your game-winning auras like Ethereal Armor or Ancestral Mask too early, saving them for last or until you want to deal the final blow.
You also rely on your token makers to develop further board presence and have a different way to protect yourself and finish the game. My advice is to try not to overload too much unless you have a protection spell, a way to bring back your enchantments from the graveyard, or you’re close to finishing the game.
You can do some cute interactions with this deck, and hopefully you can use them in each of your play sessions. But remember that you should ask your playgroup if they’re okay with some of the interactions this may have.
Gauntlets of Light and Sanctum Weaver can provide infinite mana if you can produce more than three mana with the Sanctum. This is one of the interactions that could cause discomfort in your group, but it’s so easy to deal with that it generally shouldn’t be an issue. Still, it’s worth bringing it up.
Flickering Ward can draw you multiple cards if paired with any of your card draw engines. It also has the potential to draw your entire library if you manage to get infinite mana with the previous combo.
Cast your board wipe and return everything in the same turn with Faith’s Reward.
Prioritize ramping first, casting your non-ramp enchantments later. This way you secure casting multiple spells at a turn with the potential to draw tons of cards.
Some of these cards, especially the older ones, may be a bit too expensive to invest in. Particularly if this is your only Voltron deck. So I’m going to go over some cheaper replacements that perform about the same for the deck.
Jukai Naturalist, the newest addition from Neon Dynasty, has the same role as Herald of the Pantheon except for the lifegain part. Heliod’s Pilgrim, Open the Armory, and Plea for Guidance are other options as far as tutors go, with the downside that they’re a bit pricier in terms of mana cost. Still, they do the job okay.
Boros Charm is an acceptable replacement for Faith’s Reward that has the same function. Brilliant Restoration is your “other” Retether effect that can be used as a replacement or just a second copy. Jungle Shrine and Naya Panorama are your budget versions of Jetmir’s Garden.
Speaking of fixing your mana, Temple of Triumph, Temple of Abandon, and Temple of Plenty are great for that, and they’re very cheap. Divine Reckoning and Single Combat are pseudo-wrath effects that can be useful in this deck since you’ll leave your most powerful creature against theirs, and you’ll hardly lose from there if the creature happens to be your commander.
Bloom Tender | Illustration by Chippy
This deck can’t go much out of its rails since it’s pretty simple. You attach multiple things to either your commander or another creature and proceed to win, just like Voltron did on the Cartoon Network! You can change your numbers and run a more aggressive approach by slamming more auras into the deck, but having a backdoor on the go-wide token plan is very good at a Commander table.
What do you think? Are there any suggestions of cards you’d run instead? Do you want to see other Voltron decks in the future? Let me know in the comments or over in the Draftsim Discord.
As always, it’s been a pleasure, and I’ll see you in the next one. Take care, everyone!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: