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Feb 25 2015 1:00pm
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CJB: Voltroning


Voltron Up!
Sorry about my general hiatus for about a month from this glorious site, but I often go through periods of time where I start an article, or two, or six and get anywhere from a  few paragraphs into it, down to near-completion and then I scrap the whole thing.
This has happened numerous times in January.
The inspiration for this article came in the form of January's Lootcrate. It featured a licensed t-shirt from Voltron.  It ties in with Voltron's 30th anniversary.
Voltron, for those of you who don't know, was a 1984 cartoon that was more infuriating than Thundercats and He-man in terms of its lack of production and drawn-out, barely animated sequences. Voltron is all about a giant robot being formed out of five Lion vehicles. You take five mostly badass things and turn them into a kickbuttier robot thing.
It turns out, that Voltron as a show was actually a Voltron of three shows. I find it ironic that Voltron itself, as a series, is a voltron. Anyway I digress, but the show was cobbled together from Japanese animation episodes of (and I can't make these up) Beast King GoLion, Armored Fleet Dairugger XV, and Lightspeed Electroid Albegas.

So what does "Voltron" have to do with Magic?
Now you may have heard it different, or not heard this at all, but Voltroning in Magic, to me, can mean one of two things:
A Voltron cycle, or a Voltron set, or a bunch of things meant to combine together to make something epic. Some Core sets give us the most recent examples:
Festering NewtBogbrew WitchBubbling Cauldron
Crown of EmpiresThrone of EmpiresScepter of Empires
But the tried and true ol' reliable Voltron: the Voltron to define Voltron in Magic: Kaldra.
Shield of KaldraSword of KaldraHelm of Kaldra
But, if you go back into Magic's storied past.. you may just find some other sort of Voltrons:
Urborg PantherFeral ShadowBreathstealerSpirit of the Night
Kyscu DrakeSpitting DrakeViashivan Dragon
Mirage block was rocking this idea.
Don;t forget the Portal Three Kingdoms Voltron-athon
Liu Bei, Lord of ShuGuan Yu, Sainted WarriorZhang Fei, Fierce Warrior
Which is nothing special...
One could argue things like
 Tenza, Godo's MaulGodo, Bandit Warlord or Heartless HidetsuguHidetsugu's Second Rite
...are mini sets of Voltroning... assembling more than one card to work together, 
You could argue that Slivers, or Relentless Rats or Allies could all Voltron each other-- and friend, I wouldn't argue with you.

Voltroning is actually a viable stratagem in certain formats:

Oliver Law discusses GW auras right here on A Voltron deck if ever there were one in Modern.

The mothership also has a Voltron deck article.

Voltroning is a very viable stratagem for Commander as well, as you may have guessed, since I am discussing it and this article series is all Commander all the time.

When one thinks of Voltroning in Magic, I wouldn't be surprised if your first pick was Uril, the Miststalker. He's a powerhouse, who, frankly, has been written about to death. His strategy is somewhat Johnny, but more straightforward. Just stack the crap out of him with Auras and swing and attack. He's preferable because each Aura gives him an extra +2/+2 per his innate stacking ability, aaaaaaand he has the vaunted Hexproof (Which I still, to this day, call Trollshroud.)

Hexproof is always great because with Voltroning, you're taking 5 lions, or 5 spaces in your deck, all to create one big creature. Legitimately popping all your eggs in one basket, or all your colloquiums in one article.

Uril, Ancestral Mask, Ethereal Armor, Sage's Reverie, Daybreak Coronet, and Eldrazi Conscription-- respectively.

Uril, the Miststalker

1 Hero of Iroas
1 Krond the Dawn-Clad
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
1 Femeref Enchantress
1 Mesa Enchantress
1 Verduran Enchantress
1 Yavimaya Enchantress
1 Totem-Guide Hartebeest
1 Kor Spiritdancer
1 Umbra Mystic
1 Selvala, Explorer Returned
1 Acidic Slime
1 Nomad Mythmaker
1 Eidolon of Blossoms
1 Xenagos, God of Revels
1 Boon Satyr
1 Eidolon of Countless Battles
1 Heliod's Pilgrim
1 Dreampod Druid
1 Sigarda, Host of Herons
20 cards
Other Spells
1 Alpha Authority
1 Ancestral Mask
1 Angelic Destiny
1 Armadillo Cloak
1 Bear Umbra
1 Bestial Fury
1 Blessing of the Nephilim
1 Burning Anger
1 Chained to the Rocks
1 Conviction
1 Dust Corona
1 Ethereal Armor
1 Gaea's Embrace
1 Holy Mantle
1 Kithkin Armor
1 Ordeal of Nylea
1 Shield of the Oversoul
1 Unflinching Courage
1 Indestructibility
1 Eldrazi Conscription
1 Song of the Dryads
1 Enchantress's Presence
1 Idyllic Tutor
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Pollenbright Wings
1 Daybreak Coronet
1 Rancor
1 Ajani, Mentor of Heroes
1 Beast Within
1 Celestial Mantle
1 Council's Judgment
1 Banishing Stroke
1 Mizzium Mortars
1 Coercive Portal
1 Staff of Nin
1 Sol Ring
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mirari's Wake
1 Darksteel Plate
1 Spirit Mantle
1 Lightning Helix
1 Warleader's Helix
42 cards
1 Maze of Ith
1 Plateau
1 Clifftop Retreat
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Krosan Verge
1 Savannah
1 Sunpetal Grove
1 Temple Garden
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Stomping Ground
1 Rootbound Crag
1 Command Tower
1 Opal Palace
1 Yavimaya Hollow
1 Rogue's Passage
1 Dust Bowl
1 Encroaching Wastes
1 Strip Mine
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Deserted Temple
1 Petrified Field
1 Jungle Shrine
1 Reflecting Pool
1 City of Brass
1 Grand Coliseum
3 Forest
3 Plains
3 Mountain
1 Taiga
1 Wooded Bastion
1 Serra's Sanctum
37 cards
Bestial Fury

Now, I'm not going to talk about Uril til we're blue in the face, because it's been done.


This features one of my favorite Voltron red auras: Dust Corona. A seemingly innocuous card until you realize that if you pair it with a card that grants flying, it makes the creature unblockable. So let's pair it with Pollenbright Wings. Now let's put that on a creature with Hexproof. Two auras on the 5/5, one of which gives it +2/+2 = an 11/11 Unblockable Commander than drops 11 Saproling tokens onto your battlefield after it hits. Uril is the epitome of Commander Voltroning.
FUN FACT: If you strip out the red, you can easily convert this deck into a Krond the Dawn-clad Voltron deck.

I've talked about equipment filled Voltron commanders before, but you should note that many people prefer to Voltron with equipment over auras, as auras 90% of the time are hosed alongside the Voltron, if a well times Swords to Plowshares drops, while equipment will remain on the board.

So now tha you all know how to stack auras and/or equipment, let me discus two of my favorite Voltron commanders (that are not particularly the norm of Voltron commanders).


Isamaru, Hound of Konda

Isamaru was the third Commander deck I ever built, and was just told by an opponent on Feb. 20th that it was "nice to see an original commander." Now I've seen a few Isamaru decks before, I don't claim to be its originator, but I will say I had never seen him as a Commander before I decided to build a deck around him.

Isamaru is a Savannah Lions on Bane's Venom with Batman's legendary status. You can always drop him on turn one, and it is a rare occurrence than your opponent can block him on turn two. Commander is often a fun, casual chess game of building up board pieces and swinging for ridiculous kills later on, so many times it confounds your opponent to have white aggressive commander pressure on them from the get go.

Isamaru, Hound of Konda

1 Soltari Emissary
1 Soltari Champion
1 Mother of Runes
1 Academy Rector
1 Commander Eesha
1 Weathered Wayfarer
1 Paladin en-Vec
1 Celestial Crusader
1 Knight of Meadowgrain
1 Knight of the White Orchid
1 Kor Cartographer
1 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Pilgrim's Eye
1 Accorder Paladin
1 Mirran Crusader
1 Signal Pest
1 Hero of Bladehold
1 Grand Abolisher
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Mentor of the Meek
1 Odric, Master Tactician
1 Intrepid Hero
1 Serra Avenger
1 Precinct Captain
1 Duplicant
1 Imposing Sovereign
1 Silverblade Paladin
27 cards

Other Spells
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Tithe
1 Serra's Embrace
1 Oblation
1 Steelshaper's Gift
1 Shuko
1 Wrath of God
1 Sword of War and Peace
1 Faith's Fetters
1 Griffin Guide
1 Glorious Anthem
1 Crusade
1 Divine Transformation
1 Ajani Goldmane
1 Austere Command
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
1 Armored Ascension
1 Marshal's Anthem
1 Sol Ring
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Sword of Body and Mind
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
1 Elspeth Tirel
1 Angelic Voices
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Day of Judgment
1 Spirit Mantle
1 Angelic Destiny
1 Honor of the Pure
1 Pithing Needle
1 Holy Mantle
1 Blind Obedience
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
1 Blessing
1 Dictate of Heliod
1 Unexpectedly Absent
  36 cards
20 Plains
1 Flagstones of Trokair
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Opal Palace
1 Myriad Landscape
1 Forbidding Watchtower
1 Kjeldoran Outpost
1 Vesuva
1 Gargoyle Castle
1 Strip Mine
1 Emeria, the Sky Ruin
1 Maze of Ith
1 Buried Ruin
1 Thespian's Stage
1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
1 Thawing Glaciers
1 Dust Bowl
36 cards

My Isamaru deck has a twofold stratagem: White Weenies and Voltron-town, U.S.A. I've won both ways. Either your hand is stacked with cheap creatures which can be cast in rapid succession to attack, attack, attack and keep the pressure up or you get out your hound and stack him with swords and Holy Mantle and such.

I have had many games where turn one was the hound and turn two was a Shuko and a Signal Pest, which leads off the game on turn two with three damage from your Commander. Turn three? Silverblade Paladin, now you are doing six damage. Maybe turn four is a Griffin Guide? All I know is my opponent is usually sweating pretty hard.

Now the hound gets blasted a lot, so Opal Palace becomes a VIP in the deck. I can't guarantee you'll win, because often the white weenie Voltroning peters out and you are topdecking while a game of Commander is heading into deeper rounds with your opponent(s) casting heinous and heniousier things, and Isamaru gets eaten by Maelstrom Wanderer. So, tweak this deck however, but know that if you get him out and apply enough pressure quick enough, you can win pretty fast.

Silumgar, the Drifting Death

1 Mulldrifter
1 Grave Titan
1 Catacomb Dragon
1 Keiga, the Tide Star
1 Kokusho, the Evening Star
1 Sakashima the Impostor
1 Clever Impersonator
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Lazav, Dimir Mastermind
1 Consecrated Sphinx
1 Baleful Strix
1 Shapesharer
1 Corrosive Mentor
1 Erebos, God of the Dead
1 Thassa, God of the Sea
1 Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon
1 Cavern Lampad
1 Thassa's Emissary
1 Flitterstep Eidolon
1 Duplicant
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Sun Quan, Lord of Wu
1 Royal Assassin
1 Sand Squid
1 Noxious Dragon
25 cards

Other Spells
1 Curse of Death's Hold
1 Sword of Body and Mind
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Sword of War and Peace
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Imperial Seal
1 Conspiracy
1 Xenograft
1 Runed Stalactite
1 Ponder
1 Preordain
1 Serum Visions
1 Brainstorm
1 Umezawa's Jitte
1 Batterskull
1 Argentum Armor
1 Stolen Identity
1 Hero's Downfall
1 Spin into Myth
1 Cyclonic Rift
1 Dismember
1 Aqueous Form
1 Batterskull
1 Karn Liberated
1 Sol Ring
1 Mana Crypt
1 Spine of Ish Sah
1 Chromatic Lantern
1 Curse of the Swine
1 Reality Shift
1 Crux of Fate
1 Curse of Inertia
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Well of Ideas
36 cards
1 Volrath's Stronghold
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Dust Bowl
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Strip Mine
1 Encroaching Wastes
1 Tainted Isle
1 Underground River
1 Underground Sea
1 Watery Grave
1 Drowned Catacomb
1 Creeping Tar Pit
1 Reflecting Pool
1 Rogue's Passage
1 Halimar Depths
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Phyrexia's Core
1 Buried Ruin
1 Academy Ruins
6 Swamp
6 Island
1 Shizo, Death's Storehouse
1 Thespian's Stage
1 Vesuva
1 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
1 Darkwater Catacombs
1 Command Tower
1 Opal Palace
38 cards

Drowned_Catacomb_f.jpgCatacomb DragonDarkwater Catacombs
"I feel so at home in this deck..." ~ Catacomb Von Dragonbritches

Now, I'm going to talk about this deck more than anything else I prattled on about in this article, because this deck makes me smile on a lot of levels.

I know Lazav, Dimir Mastermind already exists and thus a Hexproof black and blue Commander existed, but Silumgar spoke to me a lot more. He gives me options to Johnny combo, has beefy toughness, built in flying evasion, hexproof and automatically gives a universal flanking spank just by attacking only with him.

This deck has both a changeling and other dragons to fuel Silumgar's heinous stackable -1/-1 to all creatures. To top that all off, with a johnny flair, I've slapped in Xenograft and Conspiracy so you can call 'dragon' and seriously overwhelm your opponent. Also for a tiny bit of extra zazz, threw in Runed Stalactite to be

I also very much enjoy copying Silumgar with Sakashima, which makes for a ton more stackable shenanigans.

This deck has all the swords, the Jitte, Argentum Armor, Batterskull and the Bestow creatures to pump up Silumgar.

I also enjoyed putting in Corrosive Mentor, the idea being that if he is blocked, he'll be withering creatures coupled with his -1/-1 ability which I'm just gonna call MegaFlanking from now on. Speaking of combining -1/-1ness, Curse of Death's Hold, AMIRITE?

This deck is all about Evasion as well, giving your hexproofy commander that much more of an edge, or you know, murdering someone with Skithiryx if it came down to it. Ya got Shizo, Thassa, Aqueous Form, Sun Quan, the two Bestow creatures that grant intimidate and can't-be-blocked respectively, the protections from the swords, the natural murderizing ability of UltraMegaFlanking if you attack with a bunch of dragons, Rogue's Passage, and...

Curse of Inertia, which I'd use to tap down a potential blocking creature so Silumgar could swing in for damage. A fun johnny fact, I also slapped in Royal Assassin for nostalgic reasons & to take advantage of the curse, and then also threw in Sand Squid because Sand Squid has been my mascot (or should I say Masques-scot) since I cracked him in my first pack of MM at an event in Dragon's Den, Poughkeepsie, NY.

See you in hell, Icy Manipulator...

I hope you enjoyed a trip through Voltroning possibilities in Magic, and get out there and brew your own stuff. (Hint, go to gatherer or mtgotraders and search for legendary hexproof and go from there.)

I'll leave you with on last tidbit, remember, if you want an army of Kaldras for one mana a pop, like a bunch of clay warriors ready to do your bidding, there's always:

Shield_of_Kaldra.jpgSword_of_Kaldra.jpgHelm_of_Kaldra.jpgMirror Gallery