Budget cEDH Deck Guide: Volo, Guide to Monsters

Magic: the Gathering


Budget cEDH Deck Guide: Volo, Guide to Monsters

This article brings a budget decklist for Volo, Guide to Monsters, one of the most interesting, powerful and fun commanders from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms!

By FELIPE, 07/25/21, translated by Humberto, with help from our readers



This decklist was built with the following conditions and restrictions: • The deck must cost up to R$ 500 at the time of the deck creation (which is around US$100) • Commander(s) are not included in the final value. • The deck is built to be as strong and consistent as possible given the deck's limitations. • Basic lands are included in the final value. • Decks must adhere to Wizards of the Coast's Banned/Restricted list.


The list that will be presented fits into the


Archetype, and was created by me and the player Eduardo Lorram, being developed to operate against other decks that are in the same price range.

The List

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Commander's Analysis

This commander has a great ability to generate value when left on the battlefield, and you cast creatures, as he creates copies of them, as they don't share a type with another creature on the battlefield, doubling.

Winning the Game

This deck uses some loops that somehow involve generating infinite mana, plus some way of drawing cards from the deck and finding a Blue Sun's Zenith, using it on your opponents, so they draw their entire deck and lose the game.

Combo Pieces

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Deadeye + Drake

Loop condition: Volo, Guide to Monster on the battlefield, Peregrine Drake, Deadeye Navigator, and Spectral Sailor on hand, plus the ability to generate at least 4 mana through lands. You cast Peregrine Drake, when it enters the battlefield, Volo's ability triggers and copies it, while Drake's ETB effect is still on the stack, this way you can tap your lands between triggers and leave the extra mana in the pool. With Drake in the field, you cast the Deadeye targeting the non-token Drake. You'll use the Deadeye's ability to generate infinite mana by blinking Drake over and over, cast Spectral Sailor and draw cards until you find Blue Sun's Zenith/Stroke of Genius and Archaeomancer or Eternal Witness, you can also use one of the deck's tutors who can fetch them. Using Blue Sun Zenith on your opponents and using one of the other pieces mentioned to return it to your hand along with the Deadeye Navigator, thus making your opponents lose the game.

Drake + Archaeomancer/Eternal Witness + Ghostly Flicker

Loop condition: Volo, Guide to Monster on the field, Peregrine Drake, Archaeomancer/Eternal Witness, Ghostly Flicker and Spectral Sailor in hand, plus the ability to generate at least 4 mana through lands. You cast Peregrine Drake, when it enters the field Volo's ability triggers and copies it, while Drake's ETB effect is still on the stack, this way you can tap your lands between activations and leave the extra mana in the pool. With Drake in the field you cast the Ghostly Flicker targeting the nontoken Drake and any other creature, after this effect resolves you cast Eternal Witness, targeting Ghostly Flicker in your graveyard, and activating its effects again from ETB, thus having an infinite blink of these 2 creatures, generating infinite mana to cast Spectral Sailor and draw cards until you find Blue Sun's Zenith or Stroke of Genius, also being able to use some of the tutors who can fetch them. Using Stroke of Genius on your opponents and using one of the other pieces mentioned to return it to the hand along with the loop, thus making your opponents lose the game

Important Notes

There are substitutes for the different deck pieces that can be used to streamline the combo or adapt to adverse situations: • Cloud of Faeries can, in some cases, replace Peregrine Drake, but this requires using one of the deck's clones, along with Baral's Expertise and Archaeomancer/Eternal Witness, to generate infinite mana. • Pull from Tomorrow may work to draw cards in place of Spectral Sailor. You can also use Deadeye Navigator or Archaeomancer + Ghostly Flicker with Mulldrifiter instead of Sailor.


• If you lose Blue Sun's Zenith somehow, the deck still has some ways to win the game, such as Winds of Rebuke or Reality Shift. • If you already have a Stroke of Genius when you have infinite mana, you won't need to use the Spectral Sailor to draw the deck, as the card is necessary for winning the game is already in your hand.

Analyzing the deck's packages

To make the explanation easier, I have separated the deck's cards into different packages, having different sizes that have been defined according to the deck's needs; some cards fit into more than one pack, and I'll talk about them below. The packages are: Ramps, Recursions, Tutors, Card Advantage, Cantrips, Removals, Counterspells, Card Advantage and Clones.


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This list has numerous ramps, all mana cost 1 ramps that are into our budget, plus the mana cost 2 ramps to cast Volo in turn two or three as consistently as possible. In my tests and games, it was rare to see two or three hands in a row without a ramp spell. When Volo is already on the field, there's still the possibility that you can cast one or duplicate dorks to generate more value for subsequent turns, since even if they can't generate mana in the turn they hit the field, they generate more mana in later turns.


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This package is essential, as it allows even if you don't have the exact tool to win the game, create card loops to generate value to the point where it's impossible to beat you, and even allows you to reuse tutors and find combo pieces more easily, without having to find another tutor to do it. Gaea's Blessing allows you to protect yourself from mill without casting it.


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Tutors are essential in any deck to find what you need to win games or deal with situations on the field. Most tutors on this list see competitive play, they are crucial in this deck to find the combo pieces. To find any piece, we have Long-Term Plains, for creatures we have Chord of Calling, Eldritch Evolution, Green Sun's Zenith and Neoform that tutor to the battlefield and do not count towards Volo's effect, but they leave fewer loopholes for opponents' interaction, Shared Summons brings 2 creatures into the hand with a single card. For instants and sorceries, we have Solve the Equation and Merchant Scroll.

Card Advantage

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When your list is aggressive like this, using more cards that generate plenty of card advantage at once turns out to do better than focusing on tools that adds value slowly. With my list tests in this price range, the number of creatures used to generate mana is higher than in more expensive lists, as, in its budget range, cards like Verity Circle have great potential to generate card advantage, and even make your opponents think twice before tapping their creatures.


Cards like Of One Mind, which can only cost one mana to draw two cards, and Frantic Search which even fits more like a looting, will at least cost zero mana, if you have any enchantments on a land like Utopia Sprawl, Wild Growth or a Simic Growth Chamber on the battlefield, it will generate more mana for you by untapping more mana than was spent casting it. Mulldrifter generates two draws with its ETB, and with Volo, it doubles, and you draw four cards for three mana, while Beast Whispererer turns your creatures into cantrips, every creature you cast makes you draw a card. Cards like Blue Sun's Zenith, Stroke of Genius, and Pull from Tomorrow are cards that allow you to draw many cards at once. Spectral Sailor and Prophet of Distortion are more emergencies for drawing cards while not finding the other combo pieces.


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Cantrips are important in a deck, even if you have 99 cards, being able to look at 3 cards from the top of your deck is important to find the answers and other essential cards using the least amount of mana possible. Not to mention that all cantrips in the deck, except for Gitaxian Probe, interact with Long-Term Plans allowing you to put the tutored card in your hand earlier. Gitaxian Probe allows you to look at your opponent's hand and see what resources they have available to deal with your threats.


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The removals were chosen to deal with problematic things and threats from the board that your opponents aren't interested in removing, so some bounces were chosen as they can deal with the threat when needed and then perform the combo. If the threat is already in the field, try to use more specific removals and bounces before opting for interactions that work in more situations so as not to end up with that useless card later; removals that create creatures for the opponents end up not being that much of a problem when your plays generate so much value on the board.


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Counterspells are an important way to protect your interactions and your combo. The spells placed in the deck were designed to deal with different situations and cover the highest number of possible scenarios to protect yourself and avoid unwanted threats. Counters that affect any spells like Counterspell, Delay, Rewind and Mystic Snake that work for any situation, Unwind, and Spell Pierce to deal with non-creature spells. Dispel and Spell Pierce to handle instants and sorceries. The goal is to keep your interactions safer while you proceed with your strategy, that's why counters like Unwind, and Rewind were also chosen, which in addition to countering stuff, untap your lands, so you can proceed with your plays.


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This is an interesting package, as it is as good as the cards you already have on the battlefield, and they will always activate Volo's ability and create two copies of the creatures they clone. This makes it much easier to generate value while searching for the combo pieces. You can even copy Volo, using Spark Double, which can make each creature that you cast to be copied three times, generating its effect 4 times when entering the battlefield; they can speed up the board well and are extremely versatile, the hardest part of this package was defining the ideal number of clones, as having too many leaves you without many options, and having too few makes them rarely seen.


Strengths & Weaknesses


The deck can explode quickly, generating a lot of value with your duplicated creatures, making it harder for opponents to deal with your field, and if your opponents don't try to deal with you the probability that you will take over the game is too big. The list has many tools to perform loops and not losing the chances of winning the match, it can adapt to many situations that would normally lead to a loss.


The list manages to be very fast, but refrains from interacting directly with opponents. The deck has many tools to deal with opponents' boards, but it doesn't interact well with Stax pieces, and they usually end up slowing you down a lot, so avoid allowing them to hit the battlefield. Because the deck behaves more aggressively on the board, keeping a hand without some form of card advantage can be tricky because even if the deck has enough tools for this, you may not find them, and end up with no cards in your hand.


I close this article here, and stay tuned that soon we will have another cEDH budget deck guide, to demystify this idea that every cEDH deck is more expensive than a car. Any questions, I'm available in the comments!
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Started playing Magic on M20 in 2019. Prefers control decks and seeks to improve his deckbuilding.

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