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What Are Staples for Voltron Decks in Commander?

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If you have been playing Commander for a while, you may have come across someone trying to take you out of the game with Commander Damage. Once you receive 21 points of damage from a single Commander, you are taken out of the game, no matter how much life you have remaining. Players that lean into this type of strategy are using a play pattern known as Voltron. It got this name from the classic cartoon Voltron, which is about a huge, super robot that is created using smaller robots. That analogy is drawn from playing lots of Equipment and Auras to make your Commander as strong as possible to deal lethal damage to your opponents. Examples of Voltron Commanders include: Wyleth, Soul of Steel, Balan, Wandering Knight, and Galea, Kindler of Hope. Let's dive into what are the best cards to include in a Voltron Commander Deck!

Wyleth, Soul of Steel
Balan, Wandering Knight
Galea, Kindler of Hope

Understanding Voltron Strategies

When looking through Magic's massive arsenal of weaponry to choose from, our inclusions should check off a few key features. The three main types of effects we are looking for are: boosting our Commander's damage output, getting through our enemies' defenses, and keeping our Commander safe. Now that we have our checklist ready, it is time to dig through the archives and see what we can find!

Colossus Hammer
Rogue's Passage
Swiftfoot Boots

Best Equipment for Voltron

Starting right off the bat with the most famous swords in Magic's history, the Mirran Swords (also known as the Sword of blank and blank cycle). These swords give our Commander protection from two colors, buff our attack and defense, and give us another bonus effect when we deal combat damage. This checks off ALL the boxes on our checklist! Sword of Feast and Famine allows us to untap our lands so we can cast more equipment on Main Phase 2. Sword of Fire and Ice draws us a card and deals some extra damage around. Sword of Sinew and Steel can also help remove some of our opponents' resources. Now some of these swords come with a steep price tag, so let's look at some budget options as well.

Sword of Feast and Famine
Sword of Fire and Ice
Sword of Sinew and Steel

Blackblade Reforged doesn't give us any fancy effect like the Mirran Swords, but it does boost our Commander's power for each land we have. Maul of the Skyclaves attaches to our Commander when it enters the battlefield, gives flying, and boosts our attack. Bloodforged Battle-Axe increases our power the more combat phases it gets through by making more copies of itself. Colossus Hammer, Belt of Giant Strength, and Argentum Armor to (hopefully) make our commander the biggest creature on the board just by themselves. The only drawback is their high Equip cost, but we have a way around that!

Equip costs can be steep, but luckily we have some squires to help hand us our weapons. Bruenor Battlehammer, Codsworth, Handy Helper, Puresteel Paladin, and Sigarda's Aid will all help us get around that pesky Equip cost and get our Commander ready for battle in the blink of an eye. These effects are also helpful if ever our Commander dies in battle and we need to recast them and start preparing for combat again. All of these squires are also super helpful by giving us another effect, such as Bruenor's power buff or Codworth's protection.

Bruenor Battlehammer
Codsworth, Handy Helper
Puresteel Paladin

Best Auras for Voltron

Equipment is one thing, but what about Auras? Auras are just as powerful, although they fall off if our Commander dies in battle. This does not mean we shouldn't include them; it's just a reminder that they are more fragile than Equipment. Spirit Mantle and Unquestioned Authority have to be some of the best Auras for Voltron. Protection from Creatures is a powerful line of text: it assures you can through your opponent's creatures no matter what! All that Glitters, Ethereal Armor, and Strong Back boost your Commander's power by a ton based off your board state. Angelic Destiny boosts power and gives flying. Bear Umbra and Hyena Umbra boost power, protect our commander and give us a bonus!

Spirit Mantle
All that Glitters
Bear Umbra

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Protection and Support for Voltron Commanders

Keeping our Commander alive so we can knock out our opponents in quick succession is the key to victory. So what are some ways to keep our Commander alive and kicking? Flawless Maneuver, Silkguard, Tyvar's Stand, Boros Charm, Swiftfoot Boots, Winged Boots, and the new Flare of Fortitude are some of the best ways to ensure our Commander does not depart from the battlefield. Some of these also have other helpful effects like increasing power or providing a keyword!

Flawless Maneuver
Boros Charm
Flare of Fortitude

Finishers for Voltron

The last thing to consider for a Voltron deck is a "Finisher." A Finisher's role is to deal an extreme amount of damage in order to take out an opponent or win the game. Jeska, Thrice Reborn, Kediss, Emberclaw Familiar, and classic Temur Battle Rage are all perfect examples of cards that will help you take down an opponent. Kediss is one of my personal favorites as it might be able to take down the whole table at once! A Finisher could also be something as simple as an extra combat spell such as: Grim Reaper's Sprint, Karlach, Fury of Avernus, Relentless Assault, and Seize the Day. If hitting your opponents once with your huge Commander isn't enough to kill them, I have found hitting them again is quite effective. Remember, it only takes 21 Commander Damage to knock out one of your opponents.

Kediss, Emberclaw Familiar
Temur Battle Rage
Seize the Day

Voltron Commanders span just about every color and they can lead to some really creative deck construction. If this article inspires you to go and search out a Voltron Commander, just keep in mind the three key things to search for are: increasing Commander's power, getting past blockers, and keeping your Commander alive.

I hope you enjoyed learning about one of the many ways to claim victory in Commander!

Thanks for reading!

-Nigel

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