Last updated on May 1, 2023
Vorel of the Hull Clade | Illustration by Mike Bierek
Vorel of the Hull Clade brings a theme that’s popular with many players, especially the Johnny crowd. Doubling the total counters of creatures, lands, and artifacts on demand can be very powerful in the right shells.
My return to Magic happened right before Dragon’s Maze, and I’ve always liked the theme of doing cool stuff with counters. That’s why I identify so much with this commander and style of deck.
Today I’ve got a standard build for Vorel with staple effects in blue and green along with lots of permanents that have counters begging to be doubled. I’ll also cover specific synergies for the deck, combos, budget options, and some other builds.
Ready? Let’s jump right in!
Everflowing Chalice | Illustration by Steve Argyle
Sage of Hours
Roalesk, Apex Hybrid
Prime Speaker Zegana
Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider
Rishkar, Peema Renegade
Moritte of the Frost
Rings of Brighthearth
Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
Minamo, School at Water's Edge
Novijen, Heart of Progress
Temple of the False God
Temple of Mystery
Field of Ruin
The Vorel deck I’ve got for you today revolves around having your commander in play and doubling the counters on your permanents. Mainly creatures, but also artifacts.
Vorel is in Simic (), frequently considered the best colors for Commander since it has access to plenty of ramp and card draw. It’s not cEDH level because it doesn’t have infinite combos and the strategy relies on having creatures on the board, which can suffer a lot in case of wraths.
Vorel of the Hull Clade is a Simic creature, and the Simic Guild always has a theme linked to +1/+1 counters, doubling counters, and moving counters from one permanent to another to show evolution. It’s important to note that Vorel doubles the number of counters on a given permanent, the same rules as proliferate. Creatures can have other types of counters beside +1/+1 like level up counters, ability counters, and sludge counters which were introduced in Crimson Vow on cards like Toxrill, the Corrosive and Sludge Monster.
In this list you want to include artifacts that have counters (usually charge counters), creatures with +1/+1 counters, and some lands that interact with counters. Planeswalkers are nice if you go heavy on the proliferate mechanic, but then you should play Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice, right? You ideally want to activate Vorel every turn, doubling counters from the permanent that makes the most sense.
Creatures with Counters
Fun with Counters
- Rishkar, Peema Renegade
- Master Biomancer
- Zameck Guildmage
- Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider
- Roalesk, Apex Hybrid
These creatures are there to support and enhance your army of +1/+1 counters.
Experiment Kraj has other creatures’ abilities as long as they have a +1/+1 counter while also giving them out.
Gilder Bairn helps strengthen Vorel’s ability.
Artifacts with Counters
Proliferate and Doubling
- Inexorable Tide
- Doubling Season
- Steady Progress
- Solidarity of Heroes
- Tezzeret's Gambit
This proliferate and doubling package is very helpful in a lot of situations since you’ll have a lot of different targets.
These cards offer some spot and mass removal in case there’s a need to interact with what your table is doing.
The Mana Base
Mana Fixing and Ramp
These cards offer ramp, mana fixing, and even an untap ability that goes well with Vorel’s tap ability in Kiora's Follower.
The land package is a bunch of cards that generate Simic mana, and this deck really doesn’t need a ton of mana fixing. Some duals can be traded for cheaper versions or basic Forests since the deck is heavier on the green side.
Your priority in the early game is to ramp with land fetching or artifacts and have Vorel in play with a permanent that can get its counters doubled. Establish your defense with green creatures. This deck has a power late game with card draw effects like Prime Speaker Zegana, clone effects, mana sinks in the form of Hydroid Krasis and Walking Ballista, and mana producers like Everflowing Chalice with a lot of counters.
Your ideal plan is to have three to five permanents with +1/+1 counters, Vorel in play, and some sort of steady proliferate effects like Karn's Bastion or Inexorable Tide. It goes without saying but you probably want to wait until every player has made their move to activate Vorel’s ability.
Combos and Interactions
Rings of Brighthearth can double Vorel’s and other activated abilities for two mana.
Darksteel Reactor can reach the counters needed to win the game every once in a while.
Kalonian Hydra can double a lot of counters, including its own.
Experiment Kraj can be Vorel #2 if Vorel has a +1/+1 counter.
Possible Rule 0 Violations
This deck is safe if your group or local game store has ‘’Rule 0” terms to define the format of casual Commander and what’s acceptable in your playgroup. With the exception of Magistrate's Scepter and Sage of Hours interactions, it doesn’t have any “I win!” moments, infinite combos, or unfun play patterns.
It’s possible to switch a lot of the dual lands in this list for cheaper lands, or even just plain old Forests.
Finally you can shave an artifact combo piece or two for more 2- to 4-mana counterspells if you need more interaction.
One thing to note about Vorel of the Hull Clade is that it’s a merfolk, and merfolk tribes are very well supported in Simic. So that’s definitely this option. A lot of creatures on this list are merfolks themselves and the counters/merfolk Vorel decks share a lot of cards. A different creature suit with Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca, Lord of Atlantis, True-Name Nemesis, and the likes of Jadelight Ranger is possible while still keeping up the counters theme.
Unravel the Aether | Illustration by Jung Park
I really like Simic as a guild in Ravnica, and the theme of moving counters around is one I always enjoy. I really liked building this deck and I hope I gave you a different insight on counter decks in EDH.
Don’t forget to comment down below if you enjoyed this deck. Let me know how it goes if you give it a try.
Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one!
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