Voltron is a deck archetype with the goal of casting one creature, then using other cards such as Auras and Equipment to enhance that creature and making it a true threat to the opponent. The archetype’s name derives from the Japanese animated series Voltron which features several small robots that combine into one large robot.
In the terms of Commander, this focuses on players buffing up their Commander with Auras or Equipments to do 21 Commander damage as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Common Voltron Commanders:
- Bruna, Light of Alabaster
- Godo, Bandit Warlord
- Karona, False God (special case)
- Kemba, Kha Regent
- Rafiq of the Many
- Sigarda, Host of Herons
- Thrun, the Last Troll
- Uril, the Miststalker
- Zur the Enchanter
Technically speaking, any legendary creature can win with Commander Damage – but this is the kind of deck that is specifically built for it. You generally aim for 7 or more damage per hit from one of these Commanders, as then it’s a clean 3 or less hits to knock out an opponent with that creature.
The main qualifications for Voltron commanders are:
A. Able to protect itself
Creatures with 1 or more of these can be extremely powerful, and all of the ones you’ll see below do their job quite well.
A. Able to Protect itself
Creatures that are hard to get rid of are the best targets for equipments and auras. Having built-in protection on creatures makes it not only that your opponents can’t get rid of it, but haves it very difficult to get rid of any enchantments on them, specifically.
Hexproof is the best example of this – your opponents can’t target them, but you can still cast auras and equip equipments without any problems. In the case of Thrun, he has even more protection by being uncounterable and having the ability to pay 1G to regenerate. Sigarda on the other hand has evaston in the form of flying, and protection in the form of preventing players from making you sacrifice permanents – the one thing that Sigarda would otherwise be weak to.
Other creatures have the option of just having a lot of versatility, and the deck supports them by being a tool box for them to pull from. Zur the Enchanter is the best known of these.
Zur the Enchanter‘s utility comes in the form of his ability – whenever he declares an attack, you get any enchantment with converted mana cost 3 or less and put it into play. With a massive array of possible auras, he can survive just about anything. In addition, as it’s just Enchantments and not auras, you can search out powerful cards like Ghostly Prison, Propaganda, and Necropotence.
Similarly, Godo, Bandit Warlord searches for equipment on his own, and has his own powerful ability to give himself additional combats, along with every samurai you play. Sadly, he can only search for an equipment when he first enters, but that choice can be extremely relevant.
Bruna, Light of Alabaster searches your hand, board, and graveyard for auras and attach all of them to herself, making her an instant force to be reckoned with as soon as she attacks or blocks. This is less utility and more so immediate benefit from having things around – but you can find the utility by sending the auras you want to the graveyard with things like Merfolk Looter and Frantic Search.
The other creatures that fall into the Voltron category tend to have the above and more. Commanders like Uril, the Miststalker and Kemba, Kha Regent both have big effects based on how much they’re being buffed.
Kemba, Kha Regent is a 2/4 for 1WW Cat Cleric that makes a 2/2 white Cat token for each equipment attached to it during each of your upkeeps. With the amount of equipment you would be playing in a Kemba deck, you could easily be getting 3 or more a turn pretty fast. Uril, the Miststalker on the other hand, has Hexproof and gets +2/+2 for each Aura attached to him – getting massive fast. Even protection that would help him out gives him a buff, and the ones that do give buffs give another +2/+2 on top of what they already do now.
And then there are other Commanders that get massive for other reasons.
Karona, False God is a 5 color Commander that puts itself above the magic number just by attacking and declaring Avatar as a creature type (she has been errated to be an Avatar), giving itself +3/+3 to make it an 8/8. Although it goes around the table, cards like the 5 vows prevent them from hitting you with your commander and forces your opponents to just wipe each other out instead.
Rafiq of the Many for example isn’t really large on his own, but his exalted ability automatically makes him a 4/4, and if he attacks alone he gives himself double strike. White/Blue can easily become unstoppable with cards like Steel of the Godhead and Invisibility – but those are cards we’ll talk about in the next part of Voltron – the Auras!
Until next time.