Last updated on May 1, 2023

Vorel of the Hull Clade - Illustration by Mike Bierek

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!

The Deck

Everflowing Chalice - Illustration by Steve Argyle

Everflowing Chalice | Illustration by Steve Argyle

Commander (1)

Vorel of the Hull Clade

Planeswalkers (2)

Nissa, who Shakes the World
Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner

Creatures (28)

Gilder Bairn
Sage of Hours
Spike Weaver
Fathom Mage
Experiment Kraj
Progenitor Mimic
Roalesk, Apex Hybrid
Altered Ego
Incubation Druid
Evolution Sage
Prime Speaker Zegana
Renegade Krasis
Murkfiend Liege
Plaxcaster Frogling
Kalonian Hydra
Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider
Hydroid Krasis
Zameck Guildmage
Lorescale Coatl
Chasm Skulker
Master Biomancer
Walking Ballista
Rishkar, Peema Renegade
Experiment One
Avabruck Caretaker
Moritte of the Frost
Kiora's Follower

Instants (12)

Cyclonic Rift
Rapid Hybridization
Unravel the Aether
Fuel for the Cause
Plasm Capture
Solidarity of Heroes
Beast Within
Return to Nature
Heroic Intervention
Growth Spiral

Sorceries (6)

Search for Tomorrow
Tezzeret's Gambit
Rampant Growth

Enchantments (2)

Inexorable Tide
Doubling Season

Artifacts (15)

Rings of Brighthearth
Chimeric Mass
Astral Cornucopia
Ratchet Bomb
Everflowing Chalice
Replicating Ring
Magistrate's Scepter
Darksteel Reactor
The Ozolith
Swiftfoot Boots
Lightning Greaves
Sol Ring
Simic Signet
Commander's Sphere
Arcane Signet

Lands (35)

Crawling Barrens
Tranquil Thicket
Lonely Sandbar
Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
Lumbering Falls
Dreamroot Cascade
Reliquary Tower
Command Tower
Opal Palace
Minamo, School at Water's Edge
Novijen, Heart of Progress
Karn's Bastion
Castle Vantress
Castle Garenbrig
Temple of the False God
Simic Guildgate
Temple of Mystery
Thriving Grove
Thriving Isle
Thornwood Falls
Breeding Pool
Hinterland Harbor
Blast Zone
Field of Ruin
Evolving Wilds
Terramorphic Expanse
Llanowar Reborn
Littjara Mirrorlake
Forest x4
Island x3

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.

The Commander

Vorel of the Hull Clade

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

Fathom Mage, Altered Ego, Lorescale Coatl, and Chasm Skulker get counters naturally. And if Mage gets a lot of counters, you also draw lots of cards.

Spike Weaver, Plaxcaster Frogling, and Walking Ballista provide utility with their counters.

Prime Speaker Zegana, Kalonian Hydra, and Hydroid Krasis are the heavy hitters and prime targets for counter doubling.

Fun with Counters

These creatures are there to support and enhance your army of +1/+1 counters.

Progenitor Mimic, Altered Ego, and Moritte of the Frost double the best creature you have or clone the best one from your opponents.

Experiment Kraj

Experiment Kraj has other creatures’ abilities as long as they have a +1/+1 counter while also giving them out.

Sage of Hours

Sage of Hours is basically Time Walk with Vorel (or maybe two).

Gilder Bairn

Gilder Bairn helps strengthen Vorel’s ability.

Artifacts with Counters

Astral Cornucopia, Ratchet Bomb, Everflowing Chalice, and Replicating Ring produce a lot of mana and are strengthened by Vorel’s ability.

Rings of Brighthearth, Magistrate's Scepter, and The Ozolith have synergy with the deck’s theme and Vorel’s abilities.

Chimeric Mass and Darksteel Reactor can be alternate win conditions, especially if your board gets wiped.

Proliferate and Doubling

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.


Nissa, Who Shakes the World and Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner offer ramp and card draw. Nissa has synergies with counters and Kiora with big creatures, plus it can untap Vorel or another permanent.

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.

Oran-Rief, the Vastwood, Novijen, Heart of Progress, Opal Palace, and Karn's Bastion fit the +1/+1 theme for the deck.

Vorel can double the counters on Blast Zone, Llanowar Reborn, and Crawling Barrens.

 Castle Garenbrig and Temple of the False God can effectively ramp.

The Strategy

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

Magistrate's Scepter and Sage of Hours go great with your commander to take extra turns.

Rings of Brighthearth

Rings of Brighthearth can double Vorel’s and other activated abilities for two mana.

Darksteel Reactor

Darksteel Reactor can reach the counters needed to win the game every once in a while.

Fathom Mage

Fathom Mage basically has “Creaturefall: draw a card.” It’s possible to go to town combined with some effects that double counters.

Kalonian Hydra

Kalonian Hydra can double a lot of counters, including its own.

Experiment Kraj

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.

Budget Options

It’s possible to switch a lot of the dual lands in this list for cheaper lands, or even just plain old Forests.

You could trade some rare and mythic creatures for cheaper options. Creatures like Nimbus Swimmer, Elusive Krasis, and Ridgescale Tusker work with the +1/+1 counter theme.

Finally you can shave an artifact combo piece or two for more 2- to 4-mana counterspells if you need more interaction.

Other Builds

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.

Wrap Up

Unravel the Aether - Illustration by Jung Park

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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