Building a Volothamp Geddarm themed Commander Deck

20 Jul , 2021,
Crimson
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The famous (or in some cases, infamous) Volothamp Geddarm is a self-styled authority on all things Faerun, having traversed the face of Toril, survived edition-changing calamities, and braved all manner of danger (from the comfort of the back line, of course). With his name attached to half a dozen published D&D books and numerous cameos in various adventures and video games, he’s practically this sets other poster boy.

Since Volo’s incarnation in Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is aptly named after his Guide to Monsters, we’ll be drawing inspiration from the table of contents of this book, as well as Volo’s many colorful (and oft dubious) exploits to flavor the deck.

Like our Xanathar’s Guild themed deck, we decided to keep the initial card pool relatively accessible for D&D fans thinking of trying out Commander for the first time. The upgrades section expands on this pool, with more power cards from older sets.


The Man (1)
1x Volo, Guide to Monsters

While Volo’s ability to weave spells isn’t much to write home about, this self-styled gentleman explorer, collector of stories, and scribe’s penchant for telling tall and grandiose tales goes unmatched.

Many of these tales are written in his Guide, which is a bestiary with numerous unique monster stat blocks – likely why his ability emphasizes creature spells of different types – and it’s just as well that we’ve got plenty of creatures to choose from in Blue and Green. Effects when they enter the battlefield (ETB) notwithstanding, they’ll also provide lots of soft cover for Volo to hide behind.


Bestiary Contents/Creatures (40)
1x Acidic Slime
1x Amphin Mutineer
1x Artisan of Kozilek
1x Avenger of Zendikar
1x Beast Whisperer
1x Deadeye Navigator
1x Diluvian Primordial
1x Displacer Beast
1x End-Raze Forerunners
1x Gemrazer
1x Genesis
1x Hornet Queen
1x Ilysian Caryatid
1x Keiga, the Tide Star
1x Kiora’s Follower
1x Kodama of the East Tree
1x Lonis, Cryptozoologist
1x Man-o’-War
1x Maraleaf Pixie
1x Meteor Golem
1x Migratory Greathorn
1x Momir Vig, Simic Visionary
1x Mulldrifter
1x Murkfiend Liege
1x Mystic Snake
1x Peregrine Drake
1x Quandrix Cultivator
1x Rampaging Baloths
1x Reclamation Sage
1x Reef Worm
1x Runic Armasaur
1x Sakura-Tribe Elder
1x Sea-Dasher Octopus
1x Souvenir Snatcher
1x Temur Sabertooth
1x Terastodon
1x The Tarrasque
1x Wandering Archaic // Explore the Vastlands
1x Wood Elves
1x Yuan-Ti Malison

With Volo, you’re looking at good stuff from Blue and Green. Lots of them are Commander staples and combo pieces (think Deadeye Navigator, Mulldrifter, Peregrine Drake, and Temur Sabertooth), or those with enter the battlefield effects that can help your deck snowball on value.

With infinite mana (an easy enough feat in these colors), the D&D iconic Displacer Beast becomes a viable win-con, as you drain the life out of your opponents by dipping in and out of Lost Mine of Phandelver‘s Dark Pool.

Some picks are also included for the flavor (like the Tarrasque), or because they synergize incredibly well with Volo’s ability. Keiga, for example, will almost always help you steal an unprotected creature when it comes into play, since you sacrifice the token produced to the legend rule.


Magic Items/Artifacts (5)
1x Altar of Dementia
1x Arcane Signet
1x Sol Ring
1x Tamiyo’s Journal
1x Twinning Staff

Despite his purported fame and numerous book deals, Volo’s always running from one bar tab to the next or mooching off goodly adventurers. Still, with his knack for finding trouble and treasure in equal measure, we wouldn’t put it past the man to stumble on a couple of ensorcelled trinkets during his travels.

That Altar of Dementia (which works as a sac outlet, and as a win-con if you can make an infinite number of creatures) looks awfully like one of those nasty Yuan-ti ritual sites in Chult, and what better place to pen his copious amount of notes than within the pages of a journal of Kozakuran design? The Twinning Staff is reminiscent of an ancient Netherese relic, and any self-respecting mage would surely possess an Arcane Signet or two.


Volo’s Spells/Instants & Sorceries (12)
1x Beast Within
1x Creeping Renaissance
1x Cultivate
1x Decisive Denial
1x Fact or Fiction
1x Misdirection
1x Nature’s Claim
1x Rampant Growth
1x Saw It Coming
1x Search for Tomorrow
1x Snap
1x Whirlwind Denial

Some ramp spells are included to help speed Volo along on his wanderings, while Beast Within and Snap help get him out of tight spots. Some flavorful counter magic has been included to beef up his repertoire (even if at first glance they appear just as unreliable as he is).


Volo’s Exploits/Enchantments (5)
1x Beastmaster Ascension
1x Garruk’s Uprising
1x Kiora Bests the Sea God
1x Ongoing Investigation
1x Propaganda

Considering everything that Volo’s been embroiled in, it’s little wonder he’s got more than a few stories to tell. Ongoing Investigation can help take care of unwanted cards in your graveyard, and Propaganda can help buy you time while you make an unhurried getaway.


Partners-in-Crime/Planeswalkers (2)
1x Mordenkainen
1x Vivien, Champion of the Wilds

Mordenkainen’s inclusion here is because he’s also a writer. His namesake Tome of Foes is the other 5E bestiary for D&D, and we’re sure that given Volo’s penchant for getting on the bad side of every other NPC ever published, he’s likely to cross paths with this Oeridian archmage at some point. Vivien is included as a low costed flash enabler, and can help you dig in a pinch.


Oh, the places I’ve seen/Lands (35)
1x Blighted Woodland
1x Command Tower
1x Evolving Wilds
1x Exotic Orchard
12x Forest
1x Guildless Commons
13x Island
1x Mosswort Bridge
1x Myriad Landscape
1x Simic Growth Chamber
1x Temple of Mystery
1x Terramorphic Expanse

Guildless Commons or Simic Growth Chamber, paired with Kodama of the East Tree (see above), can pave the way for some serious landfall related shenanigans (one of them being an infinite number of 4/4 beast tokens using Rampaging Baloths). With some cheap fetches included, there are ample ways for you to thin the deck and to fix your mana too.


For Discerning Patrons (Deck Upgrades)
1x Craterhoof Behemoth
1x Doubling Season
1x Elemental Bond
1x Finale of Devastation
1x Guardian Project
1x Heroic Intervention
1x Instrument of the Bards
1x Keeper of Fables
1x Lifecrafter’s Bestiary
1x Lightning Greaves
1x Manglehorn
1x Panharmonicon
1x Phyrexian Metamorph
1x Prowling Serpopard
1x Sakashima of a Thousand Faces
1x Sawtusk Demolisher
1x Scute Swarm
1x Simic Signet
1x Spark Double
1x Tamiyo, Collector of Tales
1x Timeless Witness
1x Tireless Tracker
1x Tooth and Nail
1x Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath

The cards in this section are included as an option for players who want to enhance the deck. Many of these are direct upgrades or provide additional ways for the deck to synergize, such as Sakashima and Spark Double.

Panharmonicon lets you get additional triggers, and Uro deserves special mention here, since he is instant value, and can also help you exile unwanted cards in your graveyard if you recast him using the Escape mechanic.

Heroic Intervention is also on the list, simply because it’s in theme for Volo to get bailed out by DM fiat.


And there you have it! We hope you enjoyed this deck idea as much as we did brewing it for you. If you decide to build this deck, be sure to let us know how you fare at the card table!

We’re also doing a POLL for our next Commander article! Come vote for your choice of Commander on our Twitter (poll closes 23rd July, launch day), and we’ll build that deck for our column on the 27th!

The Dungeons & Dragons Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set for Magic: The Gathering releases this weekend! If you’re a D&D fan who’s always wanted to get into spell slinging, you can snag some packs at your favorite local game store.