Last updated on May 23, 2023

Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider - Illustration by Daarken

Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider | Illustration by Daarken

Green’s color identity is all about being big and verdant. It’s got the best mana production and ramp out of all the colors without relying on artifacts. It’s also the realm of the strongest creatures, token armies, and surprisingly abundant card draw.

This Commander deck embodies everything that makes green green in a fast shell that rushes down your opponents with an army of monsters. And you’re doing it with one of the most broken things you can do in Magic: a commander that lets you double whatever you’re doing.

In the case of Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider, that’s counters. This deck goes fast, hits hard, and can even put every permanent in your deck into play. Let’s take a look!

The Deck

Vorinclex - Illustration by Daarken

Vorinclex | Illustration by Daarken

This deck is built with Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider in mind, so it’s got a strong focus on counters and things that care about counters. This has a strong planeswalker subtheme and a bunch of +1/+1 counter synergies.

Notably, +1/+1 counter decks got a lot of strong pieces with March of the Machine that really help support this deck. It’s far stronger than it could have been prior to MOM’s release. The counters are especially important to the deck because you’ll use them to close out the game with your monsters.

The deck’s pretty simple: ramp, ramp, and then ramp some more to help power out your big threats. Your commander costs six mana, but you have plenty of things to do before then. Once Vorinclex is down, it’s easy enough to double up on your value and close out the game.

This is a solidly high-powered deck. It’s not winning at any cEDH tables, but it puts up a strong fight against lots of 7s and 8s and outstrips precon decks by a pretty wide margin. It’s a great way to spice up your pods with a strong, mono-colored deck.

The Commander

Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider

Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider is the strongest tool in this deck, full stop. It’s just Doubling Season in the command zone. You might not get extra tokens, but that’s not something this deck is concerned about.

This deck functions fine without Vorinclex in play, but its presence graces your board with explosive value that’s hard to top. Almost all your planeswalkers were chosen with Vorinclex in mind; one of the criteria was that they must come down and ultimate the same turn with Vorinclex in play.

Doubling your counters makes it so much easier to close out the game. It’s an honest, hard-working green deck that takes your opponents out with combat damage. Vorinclex has trample and haste, which is especially good at that. It can be suited up with +1/+1 counters for a bit of Voltron win, though that’s not the main game plan.

Vorinclex is also a bit of a stax card. Any opponent trying to make their own planeswalker or counter synergies work get cut down by its ability.

Planeswalkers

The superfriend subtheme in the deck makes it incredibly powerful. It gives the deck a lot of grindy potential and some game-ending threats once Vorinclex is down.

I said before that most of your planeswalker ult with Vorinclex in play; the exceptions to the rule are Nissa, Voice of Zendikar and Jiang Yanggu, Wildcrafter. Jiang is more of an enchantment in this deck to help produce mana and spread creatures. Nissa’s a little slower than the other walkers, but using it to dispense +1/+1 counters across your entire team is invaluable with all the ways you can double and stack them.

Wrenn and Realmbreaker

Wrenn and Realmbreaker can provide early pressure or defense by animating your lands. The ultimate makes it almost impossible for your opponents to deal with your board state. You ramp hard, so replaying your threats won’t be a problem, and it will leave your opponents scrambling to find answers.

Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury

Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury gives you incredible card draw and mana generation. It also helps stop busted artifacts and enchantments. The board presence also helps once you start distributing counters and want to win.

Garruk, Primal Hunter

Another planeswalker with board presence and card draw is Garruk, Primal Hunter. It makes 3/3s or 6/6s with Vorinclex. It also immediately draws six and stays at a healthy life total with your commander in play.

Nissa, Vital Force

You’ll likely start seeing a trend with Nissa, Vital Force, a planeswalker who makes the cut because of the powerful card advantage generated by its ultimate. It’s even a “may” ability, so you don’t have to worry about decking. It also provides a little ramp and card draw, though this is a planeswalker you’re playing for the emblem.

Nissa, Who Shakes the World

Nissa, Who Shakes the World is one of the best green planeswalkers ever printed, and it makes its presence known in this deck. It’s aggressive, defensive, and the best mana producer in the deck. Its ultimate basically guarantees you’ll have endless mana and only draw gas for the rest of the game.

Vivien Reid

Vivien Reid is the first planeswalker in the deck with a finishing ult, giving your team a mini, permanent Overrun effect. And it still draws you cards because you’ll need something to do with all that mana.

Garruk Wildspeaker

Garruk Wildspeaker gives your team a literal Overrun to close out the game alongside some board presence and ramp. Notably, you really don’t need Vorinclex to enable Garruk. Unlike some of the other walkers, it won’t take too long to ult, just a turn cycle.

Nissa, Ascended Animist

Of course, you could just buff the team immediately with Nissa, Ascended Animist. It provides amazing board presence even if you need to use both Phyrexian mana to compleat it, and it ends the game when cast naturally.

+1/+1 Counter Synergies

The other half of this deck are the cards that care about your counters. These are either the cards distributing, increasing, or directly benefiting from you using the +1/+1 counter cards in the deck.

Armorcraft Judge

Armorcraft Judge tops the list as a great way to draw cards with your +1/+1 counters. This is better in the later turns of the game when you’ve built up a board state. This easily draws three or four cards, though it’s weaker earlier.

Renata, Called to the Hunt

Renata, Called to the Hunt becomes a pretty powerful attacker since your devotion to green is usually high. The real value of this card comes from spreading free counters across your team for a relatively low mana investment.

Pir, Imaginative Rascal

Pir, Imaginative Rascal gives you a slightly more subdued Vorinclex. It’s not doubling your counters but getting an additional counter on your planeswalkers and creatures is still powerful.

Vigor

Vigor is a monster that spread counters across your creatures via combat. It’s a great finisher that puts your opponents between a rock and a massive turtle monster. They never trade in combat and only grow your creatures, but can they afford not blocking?

Rishkar, Peema Renegade

Rishkar, Peema Renegade spreads counters around and helps produce a bunch of mana by turning all your creatures with counters into Llanowar Elves.

Gyre Sage

Gyre Sage is a classic card for +1/+1 Commander decks, and for good reason. This little Elf spirals out of control quickly once you start stacking +1/+1 counters and easily taps for five or more mana after a turn or two.

Kami of Whispered Hopes

Kami of Whispered Hopes is Gyre Sage’s new cousin from MOM. This card doesn’t put counters on itself but has the potential to tap for a bunch of mana and critically increases the number of counters you’re putting everywhere else.

Hardened Scales

Hardened Scales isn’t flashy, but it’s an efficient card that stacks your +1/+1 counters ever higher for the cheapest mana investment possible.

Defiler of Vigor

Defiler of Vigor gives out +1/+1 counters if you so much as sneeze while making your spells cheaper. This is one of the better ways to spread counters in your deck since it gives them to everybody.

Kodama of the West Tree

Kodama of the West Tree buffs your team with trample while ramping you incredibly hard as you start getting into the red zone with your creatures. The sneaky reach can also help defend your planeswalkers from the dreaded Storm Crow.

Evolution Sage

Evolution Sage’s proliferate triggers don’t just help your creatures but also your planeswalkers. It’s relatively easy to get multiple landfall triggers per turn, so this turns a solid board state into a dominant one.

Champion of Lambholt

Champion of Lambholt is another fantastic finisher. They naturally stack counters on themselves for playing the game and prevent your opponents from blocking. You can easily cast this, do some doubling, and one-shot a player from nowhere.

Tribute to the World Tree

Tribute to the World Tree is another new counters card from MOM that provides counters or card draws. This is far more flexible than other Elemental Bond variants because it gives you something far from any creature you play, and the color-intensive mana cost doesn’t matter in mono-green.

Ozolith, the Shattered Spire

The last counters card from MOM is Ozolith, the Shattered Spire. How do you feel about another way to increase the counters you’re putting on your creatures? This one even distributes those counters for added value.

Card Advantage

We’ve already looked at several spells that draw you cards, but you can never have enough card draw. This deck generates so much mana that you need card draw to keep the growth going.

Sylvan Library

Sylvan Library is one of the best card draw spells ever. You don’t have a ton of shuffle effects which makes it a little weaker, but you’re generally quite happy to spend a bunch of life to keep the cards flowing.

Vorinclex

Vorinclex provides you with a bunch of card advantage right out of the new set. It’s massively overstated for five mana as a 6/6 that draws two Forests. It’s easy to hit eight mana and flip it for the immediate value of a creature or two. The counters, fights, and flipping back into Vorinclex are all icing on the cake.

Genesis Hydra

Genesis Hydra gives you a peek at the top cards of your deck and a free permanent. You generally don’t want to cast this for less than five, which curves perfectly into Vorinclex because you can cast it on six mana followed by the Hydra on seven for a 10/10 that comes with a friend!

Reki, the History of Kamigawa

Reki, the History of Kamigawa doesn’t draw you an explosive number of cards but provides steady card advantage throughout the game. You’ve got about twenty cards that cantrip off Reki, so it’ll almost always replace itself at the very least.

Genesis Wave

Genesis Wave enables some of the deck’s best draws. Once you’ve got cards like Gyre Sage tapping for double digits of mana in addition to all your other ramp options, this dumps tons of power and value on the board.

Rishkar's Expertise

Rishkar's Expertise gives you eleven mana worth of value for a measly six mana. This draws six or seven cards before factoring in your counter shenanigans. Casting a spell with a cost of five or lower is also the perfect amount to cast most of your planeswalkers for free.

Green Sun's Zenith, Worldly Tutor, and Chord of Calling don’t provide you with a large amount of card advantage but add important consistency to help find your creature-based finishers.

Interaction

Commander decks don’t function in a vacuum, so you need interaction to impede your opponents and stop them from messing with you. Green is famously weak when it comes to interaction, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fight back against your opponents.

Allosaurus Shepherd

Allosaurus Shepherd protects you from those pesky blue players trying to rain on your parade with a suite of counterspells. You can occasionally use the pumping ability too.

Kogla, the Titan Ape

Kogla, the Titan Ape has quickly become a personal green staple. It’s large enough to kill the best creature on the board and often survives and puts a bunch of pressure on players trying to hide behind artifacts and enchantments.

Voracious Hydra

Voracious Hydra is another feisty creature looking to throw hands. Or heads, in this case. It comes down, kills a creature, and leaves a big threat behind.

Reclamation Sage is a staple creature that’s especially useful in this deck since you have multiple ways to tutor it. This and Nature's Claim should practically always be in green decks to help curb early enchantments and artifacts.

Veil of Summer gives you more counter-protection and selective hexproof to keep Vorinclex and your other monsters safe from spot removal. Tamiyo's Safekeeping and Tyvar's Stand similarly protect your key pieces from removal.

Heroic Intervention

Heroic Intervention is one of the best cards to protect yourself. It offers blanket protection from pretty much anything that isn’t Farewell.

Ram Through

Ram Through gives you some instant-speed creature interaction with the added benefit of dealing a little bit of extra damage to finish off a player who thought they assembled enough blockers to survive your finisher.

Beast Within

Beast Within is solidly a color pie break, giving green access to unconditional removal. As for the Beast token it leaves behind, a 3/3 is outclassed by this deck.

Bushwhack

Bushwhack is as close as green gets to one-mana kill spells. It’s cute with Vigor and finds a land, so it smooths out a lot of draws. It’s a surprisingly versatile inclusion.

The Mana Base

The mana base for a green deck is super simple: a bunch of ramp and basic Forests. That said, you have some ramp pieces besides the counter synergies we looked at earlier and a few value lands hanging around.

There’s got lots of typical green ramp hanging out, cards like Elvish Mystic, Three Visits, and a few others. It’s a typical ramp package.

There are also quite a few modal-doubled-faced cards. MDFCs are powerful because they help make land drops while minimizing the number of lands you need to play. Turntimber Symbiosis is a great way to grab a threat late game, while Tangled Florahedron ups your mana dork count. Bala Ged Recovery gets your best card from the graveyard, and Khalni Ambush is another removal spell in a color that struggles with removal.

Rogue's Passage

You’ve also got some straight-value lands. As a mono-colored deck, it’s easier for you to play a bunch of colorless value lands than a multicolor deck because your color requirements are looser. Rogue's Passage sneaks a monster through your opponent’s defenses to score a kill.

Karn's Bastion and Oran-Rief, the Vastwood distributes counters across your creatures and planeswalkers while Strip Mine keeps your opponents honest and away from cards like Gaea's Cradle and Cabal Coffers.

War Room and Bonders' Enclave round out the value lands with a little more card draw in case you run out of gas but still have ample mana.

The Strategy

This deck’s strategy is the epitome of green’s color identity: go big and send your opponents home in defeat. You’ll use a flurry of the game’s best ramp spells to generate a massive mana advantage that translates to a huge board advantage, then stay ahead of the curve because so many of your spells draw you more cards.

Hands with no form of ramp should pretty much always be thrown back for something faster. You get a free mulligan in pod games, and this deck wants to make aggressive use of that. This deck must go fast, and ramp enables that. Especially with such an expensive commander, you need six mana as quickly as possible. It’s easy to play Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider on turn four or even three. That said, Vorinclex is a commander that complements other cards, so simply casting it isn’t the end-all-be-all.

Another crucial aspect of this deck is the sequencing. It’s nice to have hands that power out a turn three Vorinclex, but that’s not typical. You need to consider how you want to play the preceding and ensuing hands once you’ve got your synergy monster down. For example, do you play Vivien Reid now to build out your board state, or wait two more turns so you can cast Vorinclex next turn and follow it up with a Vivien who’s ready to drop an emblem?

This deck has lots of powerful payoffs, but also quite a few setup cards to enable them. Vorinclex is one of those setup cards. Figuring out when to hold those cards and when to deploy them earlier is one of the keys to piloting this deck well. It’s not always optimal to play Vorinclex as soon as you have six mana; sometimes, you want to get other key pieces down instead. An easy trap to fall into is playing Vorinclex without any real reason and getting no value from it before an opponent casts Swords to Plowshares.

Combos and Interactions

I mentioned putting all my permanents into play in the intro, so let’s walk through that. It happened in playtesting and was surprisingly easy. I started with Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider in play and dropped Nissa, Who Shakes the World and immediately ulted to get all 26 Forests in the deck in play.

The next turn, I simply cast Genesis Wave with the mana doubled from Nissa’s ability. That gives you 54 green mana, allowing you to look at 51 cards from your library. I also had a fairly stacked Gyre Sage and had drawn enough cards to get X to equal the number of cards in my library.

I milled myself but also won in that turn thanks to getting Vivien Reid and Garruk Wildspeaker into play for plenty of trampling power. It’s honestly not the most consistent line, but also easily replicated in the mid to late game with a developed board state.

A far more consistent combo comes from Ivy Lane Denizen and Herd Baloth, which is a two-card infinite all your tutors help you hit.

You start with the Denizen in play and Herd Baloth in hand. Cast the Baloth. When it enters the battlefield, it triggers Ivy Lane Denizen. Put the counter on the Baloth, creating a 4/4 green Beast token that triggers Denizen again.

You simply rinse and repeat for infinite 4/4s and an infinitely large Baloth. You can also start this combo with Denizen and Baloth in play as long as you have a third card that either triggers Denizen or Baloth.

There’s also an interaction between your commander, Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider and your various cards that add additional counters. Let’s use Hardened Scales as the reference point.

Both Scales and Vorinclex have “instead” in their abilities, which makes these replacement effects. This means that they influence other effects and abilities, and there’s no trigger put on the stack. For example, a Genesis Hydra cast with X = 2 enters the battlefield with three +1/+1 counters instead of two if Hardened Scales is in play. There’s no trigger to add the additional counter; it simply happens.

When two or more replacement effects affect a permanent, spell, or player, the owner of the card being affected chooses which replacement effects are applied in which order. For example, if two of your opponents controlled Dauthi Voidwalker, you could choose which opponent would exile cards going to your graveyard because each replacement effect is trying to affect your cards going to the graveyard.

In the case of this deck, you can decide the order in which Vorinclex’s and Hardened Scale’s replacement effects affect your permanents. The ideal way to do this is to allow the Hardened Scale effect to occur first so that you add one before doubling. If you were to add a single counter to a permanent and apply Vorinclex before Scales, you’d get a counter, doubled to two counters, with one counter added for a total of three +1/+1 counters on the chosen permanent. When done the other way, you get a single counter, increased by one, doubled to four.

This applies to your other effects that stack counters like Ozolith, the Shattered Spire, and Kami of Whispered Hopes. Each one of these effects in play lets you add additional counters before doubling. Two of these effects result in one counter with one added, another one added, then doubled for a total of six counters, etc. Pir, Imaginative Rascal lets you do this math with your planeswalkers’ loyalty counters.

Rule 0 Violations Check

This is an honest deck that won’t violate the rule 0 of most groups. Some players might not like the infinite combo, but Ivy Lane Denizen and Herd Baloth are functional enough pieces on their own that you can simply not use the combo without losing too much value if the playgroup doesn’t like it.

Some players with a similarly themed deck might not enjoy Vorinclex naturally hosing their strategies, but that’s not really something you can help with this commander. It’s the cost of doing business with these new praetors.

Budget Options

There are a couple of budget options you can follow to make this deck a little cheaper and more accessible.

Reki, History of Kamigawa could be replaced with Beast Whisperer or Lifecrafter's Bestiary as other card draw options. You could also use one of these in place of Sylvan Library, which is the most expensive card on the list next to Vorinclex itself.

Allosaurus Shepard could be traded in for Destiny Spinner or Prowling Serpopard, which give more limited protection from counters. One of these could also potentially replace Veil of Summer.

Vigor gives the deck lots of resiliency and some synergy, but it could be replaced with a cheaper monster like Titan of Industry.

Three Visits costs a bewildering amount more than its functionally identical cousin Nature's Lore. You can play a spell that tutors a tapped land like Rampant Growth instead.

Green Sun's Zenith and Worldly Tutor give the deck a lot of consistency but could swap for other cheaper tutors like Uncage the Menagerie or Fauna Shaman. Plus, ditching Zenith lets you drop Dryad Arbor for another Forest.

Strip Mine can be replaced with something like Demolition Field to take care of those pesky value lands at a much cheaper cost.

Other Builds

Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider only asks you to care about counters, so there are a few other ways you could build it. One other option is as a Voltron commander trying to win through combat damage. This deck can do the Voltron strategy, but it’s more a result of you wanting to put counters on the overstated creature with trample than a consistent game plan. But haste, trample, and naturally making itself larger make Vorinclex a great option for a Voltron commander.

You can also become the villain of the table and have Vorinclex helm a mono-green infect deck. Killing a table with infect is pretty tricky. You need to deal thirty damage to your opponents with a bunch of spindly creatures and salt. Vorinclex lets you do it with fifteen damage for something truly monstrous.

Commanding Conclusion

Worldly Tutor - Illustration by Volkan Baga

Worldly Tutor | Illustration by Volkan Baga

Green has always been about big monsters, ever since Magic began. It clung tightly to that aspect of its color identity through the years, as evidenced by the number of cards from March of the Machine that slipped into this Commander deck.

Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider is a great commander to embody everything green, from massive monsters to absurd mana production. It also slows similar strategies to show why mono-green is the way to go.

Which of the new praetors have you built around? Which is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below, or over in the Draftsim Discord.

Stay safe, and stomp your opponents!


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