Volrath, the Shapestealer

Published March 1st, 2023

Commander (1)

Volrath, the Shapestealer

Lands (35)

Alchemist’s Refuge
Ancient Tomb
Arch of Orazca
Bloodstained Mire
Boseiju, Who Endures
Breeding Pool
Command Tower
Flooded Grove
Flooded Strand
Misty Rainforest
Overgrown Tomb
Path of Ancestry
Phyrexian Tower
Polluted Delta
Rimewood Falls
Snow-Covered Forest x3
Snow-Covered Island x3
Snow-Covered Swamp x3
Sunken Hollow
Sunken Ruins
Takenuma, Abandoned Mire
Twilight Mire
Verdant Catacombs
Volrath’s Stronghold
Watery Grave
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills
Woodland Chasm
Zagoth Triome

Artifacts (2)

Sol Ring

Enchantments (9)

Animate Dead
Bottomless Pit
Energy Flux
Glorious Sunrise
Moldervine Reclamation
Necrogen Mists
The Meathook Massacre
Verdant Embrace

Instants (8)

Beast Within
Chord of Calling
Cyclonic Rift
Heroic Intervention
Lazotep Plating
Shared Summons
Vampiric Tutor
Worldly Tutor

Sorceries (15)

Demonic Tutor
Dread Return
Dryad’s Revival
Into the North
Kodama’s Reach
Nature’s Lore
Rampant Growth
Skyshroud Claim
Threats Undetected
Three Visits

Planeswalkers (2)

Liliana, Dreadhorde General
Liliana, Waker of the Dead

//Creatures (28)

Beledros Witherbloom
Blood Artist
Craterhoof Behemoth
Eternal Witness
Farhaven Elf
Koma, Cosmos Serpent
Krav, the Unredeemed
Magus of the Abyss
Molder Slug
Muldrotha, the Gravetide
Rankle, Master of Pranks
Sakashima of a Thousand Faces
Seedborn Muse
Sheoldred, Whispering One
Spark Double
Tendershoot Dryad
The Mimeoplasm
The Raven Man
Thieving Amalgam
Timeless Witness
Toxrill, the Corrosive
Twilight Prophet
Verdant Force
Wolverine Riders
Zulaport Cutthroat

Maximum Annoyance with Plausible Deniability

Untap. Upkeep. Trigger. Learn these 3 words and learn them well. This deck is all about garnering the most advantage in a turn rotation, every turn rotation. You’re the main character in this universe right? Sick of waiting for other people to play out their turns, and just want to play more things, but unwilling to fully commit to being “The Extra-Turns Narset Guy”? Start sleeving up your new commander, Volrath, the Shapestealer.

Main Theme

A favourite strategy of mine lately, which has led me to having some amazingly fun games, is going tall and wide at the exact same time. It started with updating one of my commander decks after a long break and realizing how good Koma, Cosmos Serpent was. Then in my Pre-8th Edition only commander deck, realizing just how much work Verdant Force was consistently putting in. Then I thought, why not just play literally all of them?

Wolverine Riders, Thieving Amalgam, Toxrill, the Corrosive, Verdant Embrace, Ophiomancer, just every one of them I could find. Throw in some added spice like Fatespinner, Molder Slug and Magus of the Abyss and whoa now, we’ve got a new deck. To ensure we have access to them all, we play a few tutors such as your standard Demonic Tutor and Worldly Tutor. It really takes off with Shared Summons and Threats Undetected. The former is pretty self-explanatory, but with threats, we have enough “army in a can” creatures to select that it won’t matter which 2 they choose to give us! Talk about damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t. To take advantage of the token armies and go for the win, we also have great stuff such as Liliana, Dreadhorde General, Craterhoof Behemoth, Blood Artist, and a surprising overperformer in Glorious Sunrise.


Card Name: Volrath, the Shapestealer. Mana Cost: {2}{B}{G}{U}. Card Oracle Text: At the beginning of combat on your turn, put a -1/-1 counter on up to one target creature.{1}: Until your next turn, Volrath, the Shapestealer becomes a copy of target creature with a counter on it, except it's 7/5 and it has this ability.. Power/Toughness: 7/5

Volrath, the Shapestealer

You may have noticed I haven’t spoken much about the commander. In this deck, it was a bit of a struggle to find something that fit within the colour combination I wanted to go with that also had enough of a synergistic effect without just being a generic value piece. When I stumbled on Volrath, I was immediately inspired to go for a Clone Subtheme.

Volrath’s ability lasts a complete turn cycle, which is perfect for copying some of our nonlegendary value generators such as Molder Slug and Verdant Force. He can even become one of our opponents creatures in a pinch, or shoot down low toughness creatures with his ability to put a -1/-1 counter on creatures. For our other clones, since a lot of our value generators are legendary, cards such as Spark Double and Sakashima of a Thousand Faces that bypass the legend rule work perfectly and help us to double up. There aren’t too many as of now, but I would expect to add more as they are inevitably printed due to the popularity of the format.

Card Name: Bottomless Pit. Mana Cost: {1}{B}{B}. Card Oracle Text: At the beginning of each player's upkeep, that player discards a card at random.

Bottomless Pit

Next we have a Discard Subtheme. We really want to make sure that we’re the ones getting the most value out of every turn rotation, so we’re not just going to build up our army, we’re going to strip away their resources. Necrogen Mists, Liliana, Waker of the Dead and The Raven Man. Meanwhile, our hands will stay stocked with Liliana, Dreadhorde General, Moldervine Reclamation and Skullclamp.

While not discard, Magus of the Abyss, Sheoldred, Whispering One, Molder Sug and Essence Flux are just as oppressive. Toxrill, the Corrosive pulls double duty, thinning out our opponents creatures and replacing them with an army of slug tokens.

Card Name: Necromancy. Mana Cost: {2}{B}. Card Oracle Text: You may cast Necromancy as though it had flash. If you cast it any time a sorcery couldn't have been cast, the controller of the permanent it becomes sacrifices it at the beginning of the next cleanup step.When Necromancy enters the battlefield, if it's on the battlefield, it becomes an Aura with


Finally we have a Recursion Subtheme. With all of the discard and our focus on some specific creatures, it just made sense to include a few classic options like Animate Dead and Dread Return. Eternal Witness continues to be a green staple and is joined by some newer friends like Timeless Witness and Dryad’s Revival. Since we’re in sultai colours anyways, Muldrotha, the Gravetide is too good not to run, and The Mimeoplasm can come in as a supercharged version of one of our “army in a box” creatures. Just when they thought they’d finally killed Koma for good…


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I’ve been on a bit of a deck brewing spree lately, but few have really grabbed me as much as this has. I think if I ever want to switch up my current sultai deck, Brokkos, Apex of Forever, then this is going to have to be it. It’s just too much fun. Sure it’s not the most competitive deck out there, but if you want to win, go play Thassa’s Oracle combo or something. If you want to lose, but lose in style, give Volrath the Shapestealerevery upkeep is YOUR upkeep” tribal a try. And be sure to let us know if you do! I’d love to hear how it goes.

Article by Dr. Peace

Before starting Magic, Dr. Peace has been an active player of various card games as long as he can remember. He began playing Magic towards the end of Tarkir block where he was introduced to the Commander format. Now, his time is spent brewing stranger and stranger decks while aiming to stay in line with the true spirit of the format.


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