A Different Kind of Voltron? Sounds like a Setup!
The past few articles, we've looked at different kinds of kindred decks. Some were supported, but taken in a new direction; some were unsupported, but with a flavorful spin; and some were kindred simply by virtue of head canon. However, kindred aren't the only kind of decks that are hyper-focused. Voltron decks are similarly single-minded and easy for newer players to build.
Where kindred decks tend to go wide, Voltron decks tend to build tall. This focus on a single creature makes the deck weak to removal, yet what if there was a commander with a way around that?
Selesnya has a few different options for enchantment-based commanders, and multiple Aura-based ones. Modern players who love their Bogles have plenty of options for porting over their favorite deck, so what makes Siona special? Simply put, she goes wide and tall simultaneously.
The longer answer is that she makes a Human Soldier token whenever an Aura I control becomes attached to a creature I control. Since the deck has so many Auras, many of which are cheap, mana-wise, it's not difficult to make a token the same turn as Siona (who digs for an Aura on ETB). Why are bodies so important? Edict effects are the bane of Voltron decks' existence, and this ensures Siona will have subjects to sacrifice for her benefit.
Unlike most Voltron decks, this build uses protective Auras, defensive Auras, and card draw engines to snowball advantage. This kind of tank-y build is actually fairly common in Pokemon, as tanks in that game refer to Pokemon with decent defenses and offenses, or those that can heal themselves for staying power. One of my favorites, which also supports the leadership theme of Siona, is Escavalier. While Escavalier is tough as nails, it does have some glaring weaknesses, which is also true of the Voltron archetype.
Siona is pretty clearly an Aura Voltron commander. The direction of the deck is pretty clear, and the average converted mana cost of spells in the deck is low enough that ramping is unnecessary, despite being in green. One of the things Siona does really well, though, is provide card advantage. When it enters the battlefield, Siona lets you find an Aura in the top seven cards, which is almost impossible to whiff with in this deck. Since Siona is so cheap to cast, if she falls, we can easily re-cast her and re-use the effect to get right back to being aggressive.
saw some Standard play, and it's an excellent engine card. It allows you to scry 1 when a creature enters the battlefield, and it doesn't care if it's a token or not. It also draws a card when we cast a spell that targets a creature we control. Since Siona's ability triggers on casting an Aura and makes a body, every Aura becomes part of the engine that feeds a massive card draw machine.
may have a relatively high converted mana cost, but that's because it's a haymaker. It draws a bevy of cards, as it's both exhaust for building up Auras and fuel for continuing the beating. What's more, the boost from it doesn't care about which creature the Aura is on...or even WHOSE!
is one of the more iconic Aura cards, and one that any Modern Bogles player will instantly recognize. It not only holds Auras well, getting +2/+2 for each Aura attached, but it draws cards when we cast an Aura spell. There are a fair few enchantress effects in the deck, and the ones with bodies attached help to provide pressure.
Smart Strike is a Steel-type move that is guaranteed to hit. Voltron decks are low-to-the-ground offensive decks, and they also want to be able to hit accurately. Being able to consistently get in damage is vital to staying relevant later in the game while other players start doing increasingly powerful things. Preferably, they would also add power, but that's not always possible.
is an excellent finisher in any white-heavy deck, but particularly deadly when the power and evasion enable massive beatings. Since we're a white Voltron deck, both the power and the evasion combine with the buildup of Auras to create a big bang finish.
is a classic Voltron card, providing both effectively flying and effectively hexproof. Turning off removal and invalidating blockers are a big combination for keeping the pieces together.
is an old-school, oft-overlooked card, one of those cards that makes the table pick it up and read it. I love those kinds of cards. While this one may be overcosted, and might not hold its role, providing essentially intimidate for four mana is pretty solid. Make sure to check your bulk for gems like this, from Legends!
So...we've got card draw; we've got evasion; we've even got power. But how do we keep from getting attacked? Presenting a board of Human Soldiers can be helpful, but we also need a way to deal with other decks providing big attackers.
The Perfect Fusion
This deck has solid ways to consistently get damage in and protect its threats, but it doesn't mean anything if we can't keep opponents from smacking us repeatedly. It was noted earlier that cards likeand don't care about who owns the creature our Auras are attached to, so we can put Auras on opponents' creatures and still get the bonuses! Over the years, effects have been given functional reprints creeping in power, giving this deck a critical mass of defensive Auras.
is a powerful and underrated Aura. It prevents attacking, blocking, and the activation of abilities, including mana abilities, so it can shut down a range of threats. It also can get passed around whenever a new threat presents itself, and it doesn't target when it switches. As a result, we can even pull the tactical play of enchanting our own Human Soldier token, make a new Human Soldier token, and leave it out there for a hexproof or shroud threat!
is a Pacifism for non-Humans. While it seems like a downside that it can't shut down Humans, it's actually a veiled pump spell! Our commander and the tokens she produces are all Humans, so we have plenty of creatures that would welcome the boost, making this a card that has both offensive and defensive uses. This means that it's rarely a dead card, which removal often is.
is a flexible holdover from Ravnica. It provides a small life buffer, which can be the difference in a race, and it can affect any permanent, which is especially relevant with hard-to-answer card types like planeswalkers, artifacts, and enchantments.
Siona, use Smart Strike!
Here is the most recent iteration of the deck, which is still one of my favorites.
What cards do you use that make opponents have to look them up?
And how do you determine who to attack with an aggro deck?