Wallet Warriors: Vorel, the Hull Clade

Kilian Johnson
January 08, 2018
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Welcome back Wallet Warriors! I hope you all had a great holiday season and played a ton of Commander! Today I’ve got a sweet budget Simic deck for you led by Vorel of the Hull Clade!

I’m not sure how many people remember their first commander game but mine was stamped into my brain by a 600/600 trampling hydra coming at me from my buddy playing the very commander I am writing about today. I find it very fitting that my first experience with this crazy format was getting beaten to a pulp by a creature bigger than anything I had seen in the game before.

This is a great deck for someone looking to start out in the format. For about $90 right now it’s fairly simple to play, has a good amount of interaction and a straight forward goal. Plus you get to make hilariously gigantic things!

Before we progress too much farther, here’s the deck list:


Vorel of the Hull CladeKilian Johnson Gyre Sage Crystaline Crawler Llanowar Elves Elvish Mystic Vizier of Tumbling Sands Fertilid Managorger Hydra Hooded Hydra Nimbus Swimmer Lifeblood Hydra Altered Ego Forgotten Ancient Chasm Skulker Scute Mob Lorescale Coatl Simic Manipulator Champion of Lambholdt Elusive Krasis Cytoplast Manipulator Heroe's Bane Bane of Progress Experiment Kraj Scavenging Ooze Kazandu Tuskcaller Prime Speaker Zagana Tireless Tracker Fathom Mage Viral Drake Thrumming Bird Herald of Secret Streams Tuskguard Captain Plaxcaster Frogling Novijen, Heart of Progress Oran Rief, the Vastwood Temple of Mystery Temple of the False God Llanowar Reborn Command Tower Lumbering Falls Yavimaya Coast Simic Growth Chamber Halimar Depths Alchemist's Refuge Thornwood Falls Rogue's Passage Simic Guildgate Forest Island Everflowing Chalice Astral Cornucopia Pentad Prism Sol Ring Swiftfoot Boots Contagion Clasp Orochi Hatchery Thousand-Year Elixir Illusionist's Bracers Puppet Strings Inexorable Tide Hardened Scales Freed from the Real Pemmin's Aura Counterspell Plasm Capture Delay Arcane Denial Foil Heroic Intervention Inspiring Call Swan Song Simic Charm Savage Summoning Benefactor's Drought Steady Progress Blue Sun's Zenith Pull from Tomorrow Cerulean Wisps Tezzeret's Gambit Rishkar's Expertise

To see the list separated by the groups I talk about click here


Our Plan of Attack

This deck is based on a known magic archetype called “Miracle Grow”. Miracle Grow is a strategy where you try to stick an early threat that can grow over time and protect it to let it do it’s thing.

 

Managorger Hydra is a great example of a Miracle Grow creature as it’s cheap, has a built in way to get around blockers and can grow very quickly. The primary way we protect our creatures will be through countermagic.


Dreams Can Start Small


 

The creatures we plan to protect mainly consist of creatures that will grow when left to their own devices, such as Forgotten Ancient, Chasm Skulker or Champion of Lambholdt. And creatures that we can make huge very fast with the help of Vorel’s doubling ability like Lifeblood Hydra, Hooded Hydra and Nimbus Swimmer.

One of the things I love about this deck is that it does not rely on the commander to function. Obviously getting to double the strength of one of your creatures every turn is powerful, but the 99 work just fine on their own thanks to our powerful suite of creatures and interactive spells.


Keeping Our Dreams Alive

I tend to put at least a few counterspells into all my blue decks these days. Having a few catch-all answers generally makes games a lot more interesting because no matter what your game plan is you always have some amount of interaction and have the ability to stop someone else from going off.

Apart from our countermagic we have Heroic Intervention, Inspiring Call and Simic Charm as versatile instants which have different kinds of applications. Then we have a couple of permanents which can provide hexproof in Swiftfoot Boots and Plaxcaster Frogling.


Redundancy is Key



Vorel is definitely our strongest payoff for all the counters flying around but we need a bit of redundancy since once people catch on to the power of the fish man he won’t be sticking on the battlefield for very long, even with all the protection we’re packing.

Inexorable Tide, Contagion Clasp, Thrummingbird and Viral Drake provide the very powerful ability: Proliferate. Being able to add counters to anything you want is incredibly powerful. This specific ability is scarce but we’ll always be happy to see any of these four tools in our hand.

Herald of Secret Streams and Tuskguard Captain give our giant monsters some much needed evasion while Hardened Scales makes our creatures a bit stronger at an incredibly efficient rate of just one mana.


Doubling Up on Doubling Up

 

Considering how powerful our commander's ability is we’ll want a few ways to get extra uses out of it (Especially since it is exponentially powerful the more times you can activate it on the same permanent).

We’ve got three different types of untappers in the deck. We have a set of artifacts that stick on the battlefield and let us get one more activation each turn. These are strong but we also have a couple of auras that let us untap Vorel for as many times as we have the mana in Pemmin’s Aura and Freed from the Real. These have the added risk of losing them when Vorel dies. Then we also have a pair of cantrips that can untap Vorel while replacing themselves in Benefactors Drought and Cerulean Wisps.

 

Ramp


Typically the ramp section of a deck is very straightforward and doesn’t have a lot to talk about. With Vorel it’s a bit different though.

We have three mana rocks that produce mana based on the number of counters they have, Everflowing Chalice, Pentad Prism and Astral Cornucopia. With Vorel out we can invest mana into them for big gains later on.

Gyre Sage, Crystalline Crawler and Fertilid act as ramp that synergises with Vorel as well as threats on their own if we have a threat-light draw. Vizier of Tumbling Sands can untap lands for ramp in the early game then in the late game also untaps Vorel for multiple activations. Then we round things out with a couple of mana elves and Sol Ring for some ramp on turn one.


Card Draw

 

Prime Speaker Zegana and Rishkar’s Expertise go hand in hand with our plan of making huge things. Blue Sun’s Zenith and Pull from Tomorrow give us a place to dump all our mana. Fathom Mage and Tireless Tracker can be large threats as well as card advantage machines. Then we’ve got Steady Progress and Tezzeret’s Gambit for some card draw with Proliferate tacked on.


Upgrades

 

There are some great hydras we’re missing out on due to our budget constraints so if you are a true Timmy at heart and want the best of the best for your army, these two are a great place to put your money.

 

These are two enchantments that go absolutely nuts combined with Vorel’s ability. When Vorel doubles counters with either of these in play, the doubling gets doubled. This means if Vorel is used on a creature with two +1/+1 counters on it. Vorel will try to add two counters, this is doubled so there will be four counters added instead. The creature will end up with three times as many counters than it started with.

Keep in mind though that Doubling Season in particular tends to attract a lot of attention as it has such a high potential power. Don’t put it onto the battlefield lightly.

 

These are a couple artifacts that are not too expensive and if you were looking to upgrade the deck slowly over time I would pick these up pretty early.

 

Here are effectively two alternate win conditions. Depending on your play group and your play style you may not want to include them. If you prefer sticking to your guns and killing people with giant creatures, go for it. If you want another avenue of attack for a back door win, these could be just what you’re looking for.


Wrapping Up

There you go! A super fun budget deck for the Timmiest of players. Vorel will always have a soft spot in my heart since it was my first interaction with the insanity that is Commander. I really hope this article will create similar memories for prospective EDH addicts.

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