Everyone loves a good Voltron deck. Suiting up your Commander to do battle with all manner of swords, maces, breastplates and relics can be a lot of fun. But which Voltron Commanders are the most lethal? Which can take on the table? Kristen has some suggestions.
The common play pattern with Voltron decks is to gingerly spread out chip damage at your opponents while keeping tabs on who is likely to pop off first. Your challenge as a Voltron player is quite often in not starting a blood feud too early before you start to snowball Commander Damage, but also making sure to soften people up enough.
It’s a real tightrope walk, and I’d argue that the correct play pattern, more often than people would like to admit, is to just go ham at one player at a time. If that’s not your style, or your playgroup are less receptive to it, or even if they just play too many blockers? Well, you might need a strategy that can take on the whole table.
Here are ten Voltron Commanders that can solo the table.
Stangg is a really interesting one, and one that I’ve never had the pleasure of sitting down against. For just four mana, you have a Commander that can create a mirror image of itself tapped and attacking. That could be at the same opponent, or a different one. What pushes Stangg to the next level is that the Stangg Twin also copies every aura and equipment attached to Stangg, effectively giving you two Commanders at a time (though only one will deal Commander Damage).
In building Stangg, you can’t go so deep on Legendary Equipment like Shadowspear or Blackblade Reforged, but instead you’ll be dipping deep on all of the Swords of X & Y, and the myriad non-legendary equipment and Auras that exist in the format. The average build will be halfway between Enchantress and Voltron, but with the added utility of being able to run Parallel Lives to double up on Auras and Enchantments (and even Stangg Twin, if you can otherwise make it non-legendary).
Ah, Snapdax. The Ikoria treatment art really does justice to just how lethal this thing is. You might not peg Snapdax as a Voltron deck, but stick with me. Mardu colors are some of the best to be in for controlling the table. Plenty of mutate creatures can already remove things, and others can buff Snapdax to higher base power or give it evasive keywords. Snapdax’s own mutate ability can remove blockers, and it can still be suited up with equipment.
A 3/5 Double strike base is brutal, and means you only really need to get it to 6 power to two-shot anyone; at 11, it’s a one shot. Between Ruinous Ultimatum, Mythos of Snapdax, Kediss, Emberclaw Familiar, Kunoros, Hound of Athreos and Urborg Scavengers, your opponents don’t stand a chance. Snapdax is Voltron Control in all the best ways.
Light-Paws should really be named Lighting-Fast-Paws for how quick it can take the table past setup and straight to the end-game. She’s a tricky Commander to pilot well, and your deckbuilding really does have to dedicate a lot of effort to figuring out the exact package of Auras to run, but should you put the time in, you’ll find you can bully your way past most types of high-power decks.
The Auras you run will be a combination of buffs, protection, and removal. Playing a good amount of Auras with Flash gives way more utility too; tutoring out the right protection in the face of board wipes or removal always feels better than simply playing it and having Light-Paws removed in response.
Check out this great Primer on Moxfield if you fancy a brush with this Kitsune’s nine tails.
Not all Voltron Commanders suit themselves up. Some opt for more transient boosts in power. Veyran, Voice of Duality, is one such Commander. Veyran goes hard and fast, and has no qualms with taking people out of the game in the set up stages.
A good Veyran deck runs a variety of rituals, cantrips, and boosts, and if possible, likes to put those different uses on the same cards.
Storm-Kiln Artist and Harmonic Prodigy are what you most want to draw into, but don’t sleep on cards like Frantic Search and Snap that can essentially be cast for free to keep you pushing up your storm-count. Shadow Rift and Twinferno are major tools, with the former being a common Mystical Tutor target.
If you’re after something a bit more spell-slinger for your Voltron deck, Veyran gets it done… and then some.
Okay so Lathril might not be your first idea of a Voltron Commander, but hear me out. We just got Sting, the Glinting Dagger, which enables her to attack and use her tap ability. That’s a solid start. So what does the rest of the deck look like?
Well, it’s all about using those Elves for fodder. You’re buffing Lathril with the usual equipment all-stars, but because you can make a bunch of Elf tokens, you have access to Stoneforge Masterwork, Alpha Status, and Fallen Ideal, all of which buff Lathril considerably and get her much closer to lethal. You can, of course, play all of the other aristo-elf payoffs like Shaman of the Pack and Elderfang Venom, but what you really want to do is throw those elves under various buses.
Attrition. Mind Lash. Skullclamp. Cultist of the Absolute. Make use of those pawns, and the rest will come. Lathril comes with an in-built way of finishing off the table as it is, so you can hopefully use that to pick off whoever wasn’t smacked for lethal Commander Damage.
Do I have a soft spot for Syr Gwyn? Sure. Does that make her any less deserving of being on this list? Not at all.
While you do have to ensure you run enough early-game ramp (Sword of the Animist, Dowsing Dagger, et all) to get her out reliably, once she does come down, she starts taking names. Never underestimate Menace on a Voltron creature, especially if you can otherwise grant it Flying. Vigilance is also a big part of what makes her strong, because she can block like a champ too – meaning its less likely you’ll be killed on the backswing.
Still, that’s what Sunforger is for. Gwyn is a great Sunforger enabler, given the free equips, and the ability to dip into black for Anguished Unmaking and Rakdos Charm. Comeuppance and Teferi’s Protection, or the new Galadriel’s Dismissal will see you escaping most assaults.
That free equip also lets you use Heartseeker to mow down opposing boards, provided you play some amount of Knights in your deck. Between Heartseeker, Sunforger, Vona, Butcher of Magan and the rest of what makes Mardu great, Gwyn really does have it all. Just be sure to run non-knights too, some are too good to pass up on.
4. KARLACH, FURY OF AVERNUS & SWORD COAST SAILOR
Now for something a little different. When you marry up red’s aggressiveness with blue’s sneakiness, you can actually get yourself a surprisingly good Voltron shell.
Making Karlach unblockable for the turn after her first attack means that any subsequent extra combats she’s just unblockable. You’ll need to buff her with some good equipment to get her into 3-shot range (or 2-shot, if you’re lucky), but between Two-Handed Axe and Blackblade Reforged it shouldn’t be too tricky.
So why are we playing blue? Well, what is an extra turn spell, if not an extra combat spell with value?
Most people’s problems with extra turns is that they don’t necessarily present a win condition straight away. With Karlach, you have one. Use spells like Dig Through Time and Memory Deluge to dig for your impactful spells, Mystic Sanctuary to go again, and the best of blue and red interaction to dismiss efforts to stop you. You get to play some decidedly fun creatures like Thieving Skydiver and Schema Thief too.
Slicer has taken the cEDH format by the throat recently, so if that’s not enough to convince you it can solo a table, I’m not sure what else can. On the surface, you’re getting a double striking hasty robot that can come down for three mana as Living Metal. What makes this card so lethal, though, is the fact that on every turn but yours, you can loan it out, ala Assault Suit, to wreak havoc on the rest of the table.
How much of Slicer’s success is due to the somewhat predictable cEDH metagame? Some, at least. It’s unlikely that Slicer can hope to achieve the same things in a Casual environment, owing to the larger average size of creatures and more removal/wipes being played. If you want to try a Voltron approach in cEDH though, this is your best bet. It’ll play like a Control deck, but you’re still running enough Voltron tech to make it a Voltron deck too.
If you’re set on playing Voltron even though your local tables are full of aristocrats, removal, and wraths, then let me introduce you to your savior: Sigarda, Host of Herons. Sigarda is incredibly hard to remove, especially if you have access to wrath protection like Yavimaya Hollow, Robe of Stars, Teferi’s Protection and the like.
Sigarda comes down a little later than some Voltron Commanders, but she makes up for it by being the Commander equivalent of an Ice Road Truck: she just keeps coming, barreling at you with increasing velocity. In order to propel her forward, your deck should skew Aura-Enchantress, which offers a much more reliable ramp and draw package than going deep on equipment.
This article isn’t the 10 best Voltron Commanders, nor is it my 10 favorites. It’s the 10 that can solo the table. So obviously, Narset, Enlightened Master tops the list.
Narset is (in)famous for being able to snowball value. Littering the deck with extra turns, extra combats and splashy sorceries and Planeswalkers ensures a relatively safe path to victory, especially as she’s hexproof.
Adding plenty of haste and evasion granting equipment is important, and adding some indestructible wouldn’t hurt either; Mithril Coat seems a safe bet. The hardest part of building Narset is balancing out the win conditions from the set up cards. The hardest part about playing it is finding the right table.
When you do, though, she’s a lot of fun and can be built in many, many ways. Is she pure Voltron? Not quite. But she ends games on her own, like the many other creatures on this list.
Voltron can be a lot of fun, but it can also feel tired and uninspired. Perhaps some of the Commander mentioned today have piqued your interest. If you’re looking for something quirkier in the Voltron-sphere, I can recommend Nahiri, Forged in Fury, who is an excellent go-wide equipment Commander that pivots well to a Voltron finish. There’s more info on that build in this article.
Kristen is Card Kingdom’s Head Writer, and member of the Commander Advisory Group. Formerly a competitive Pokémon TCG grinder, she has been playing Magic since Shadows Over Innistrad, which in her opinion, was a great set to start with. When she’s not taking names with Equipment and Aggro strategies in Commander, she loves to play any form of Limited.