Moral Vorel

David steps in to cover for Cassidy after his departure, and takes the opportunity to work on a complicated, interesting Simic deck with Vorel of the Hull Clade at the helm.

Dear Azami,

Hi, this is the list for my Vorel of the Hull Clade Commander deck. It is based around untap effects such as seedborn muse and awakening to double the number of counters on my creatures turn after turn so by the time it comes back to you, you have a 16/16 Fertilid for example. How can I make my deck better at what it does and more streamlined?

Bant Panorama
Inkmoth Nexus
Novijen, Heart of Progress
Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
Minamo, School at Water’s Edge
Thespian’s Stage
Command Tower
Simic Growth Chamber
Winding Canyons
Breeding Pool
Alchemist’s Refuge
Temple of Mystery
Strip Mine
Darksteel Citadel
Tree of Tales
Seat of the Synod
Magosi, the Waterveil
City of Brass
8 Island
6 Forest

Consecrated Sphinx
Eternal Witness
Fathom Mage
Forgotten Ancient
Gilder Bairn
Glen Elendra Archmage
Gyre Sage
Lighthouse Chronologist
Master Biomancer
Progenitor Mimic
Seedborn Muse
Trygon Predator
Zameck Guildmage
Prime Speaker Zegana
Trinket Mage
Prophet of Kruphix
Sage of Hours
Dryad Arbor
Scavenging Ooze
Phyrexian Metamorph
Spike Weaver
Primordial Hydra

Garruk, Primal Hunter
Jace, Architect of Thought
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
Tezzeret the Seeker
Contagion Clasp
Contagion Engine
Darksteel Reactor
Thousand-Year Elixir
Expedition Map
Magistrate’s Scepter
Simic Signet
Sol Ring
Sun Droplet
Doubling Season
Inexorable Tide
Sylvan Library
Arcane Denial
Green Sun’s Zenith
Blue Sun’s Zenith
Worldly Tutor
Time Warp
Temporal Mastery
Parallax Tide
Crop Rotation
Lux Cannon
Eternity Vessel
Liquimetal Coating
Last Word
Jace Beleren
Increasing Savagery
Mana Vault
Gilded Lotus
Voltaic Key
Everflowing Chalice


Matthew Darlington

Vorel of the Hull CladeAh yes, Vorel of the Hull Clade, truly a Commander that is ranked up there with Zur the Enchanter and Vendilion Clique as some of the strongest leaders of 99 cards around. And by that I mean I rarely see him, ever. Even in the thousands of bulk rares I see every weekend, he seems to have been spared that fate and used as tinder for fires in Bangladesh. Although green and blue are often lauded as the two best colors in the format (in a format defined by card draw and mana? NO WAI!), our dear Vorel faces tough competition in the forms of Prime Speaker Zegana and Edric, Spymaster of Trest. Not to mention people who grew up with the loading times of the Playstation 1, and want to spend their lives shuffling with Momir Vig at the helm.

As you might have noticed by now, I am in fact not Sean or Cassidy. I have been granted an additional guest appearance by Cedric, God of Coverage. While I am not too entirely sure on the future of any of the players on this grand stage of Dear Azami, until I do, I hope that at least I can bumble around and have the show carry on. At least as long as my Devotion to Kithkin and Karn is at least five.

So what exactly is Matthew doing with Vorel? From the get-go we can tell that Vorel demands to be countered. Not counterspelled, but be smothered in a McDonald’s ball-pit of counters so deep that not even the Dwarves of Moria would delve that far. So clearly we need to be +1/+1, charge, and other counter (loyalty?) oriented. He’s the only Human Merfolk in existence, and if somebody brings up Chameleon Colossus one more time, I’m gonna lose it. So we could explore these creature types if we really wanted to, but much like his power and toughness, they aren’t that exciting. So this gives us one true theme to explore with this guy. I’m usually not a fan of cookie-cutter builds (check out my Scion of the Ur-Dragon deck), but this guy is unique enough to warrant his own strategy. His playthings are relatively sparse throughout Magic, so we can always be on the lookout for new, unique cards that will let us double them for the profit of Kruphix.

As the Dear Azami handbook illustrates, I’ll be breaking things up between cards I’m taking out and cards I’m putting in. Of course nothing is technically right or wrong, this is all just an opinion – I just so happen to have been granted an SCG sized megaphone to bellow mine through. This deck seems to be a victim of “Goodstuffitis,” a common malady inflicting commanders of two to five colors. While it isn’t necessarily a bad thing (heck, my Maelstrom Wanderer has it), it leads to rather unexciting deckbuilding, and my goal is to explore the space that Vorel lets us fill, and in so doing I will bring down the deck’s power level ever-so-slightly, but will make these 100 cards more apt to creating stories and construct something more unique than your classic ramp into Consecrated Sphinx/Avenger of Zendikar approach that we’re all used to.

Simic Scenes


Bant Panorama Inkmoth Nexus Forest

Let it be known that 37 shall be the minimum number of lands thou shalt runneth in a 100-card deck. Just look at the ratio that you run in a 60-card deck, or even a 40-card deck. You can’t get by skimping on lands like my cohort in Commader crime, Danny West, does in every video. You can’t cast spells without lands, and ramp spells do nothing if you’re not hitting land drops every turn. I’ve just taken out a couple low-impact lands to make room for some shiny new ones!


Temple of the False God Opal Palace Yavimaya Coast Llanowar Reborn Rogue's Passage Hinterland Harbor

Nothing too special here. Opal Palace doesn’t make many of my decks, since having your Commander cost one more is the opposite way I’d want his mana cost to go, but in a deck focused around counters, who can complain? Llanowar Reborn Grafts some lands into our modus operandi, and Rogue’s Passage helps fix the “Giant Fatty Getting Chumped” problem.

Creatures Of The Combine


Glen Elendra Archmage Sage of Hours Fertilid Consecrated Sphinx Spike Weaver

Spike Weaver doesn’t do much, and Glen Elendra Archmage’s Persist counters work in the opposite way that we want. Fertilid seems exactly what this deck wants to be doing, but if you’ve cast Fertilid, Vorel, and have started to double up its counters, did you really not use Fertilid to ramp up in the first place? We’ve got way beefier creatures to bash with, and as a ramp spell Fertilid leaves much to be desired. I’m normally not a fan of Time Warping, but if you go through all the work to activate Sage of Hours, you deserve your extra grains of sand. Of course, it’s a bit too much work for this deck, but eventually you get to a point where it’s no work at all, and you’re performing what we in the biz like to call an “infinite combo.” I’ll pass, thank you very much. And lo and behold the Sacred Cow Sphinx gets the axe, not only because it is completely not on theme, and not only because I’m tired of playing with him in all my blue decks, but because we actually have some potentially better creatures at the six-drop slot!


Champion of Lambholt Kalonian Hydra Draining Whelk Experiment Kraj Colossus of Akros Cytoplast Root-Kin Thrummingbird Viral Drake Treasure Mage Renegade Krasis Vigor

Champion of Lambholt is one baaaad girl (get it? Lamb?). One of our main goals in this deck is to uh, double up, uh, uh, the counters on an enormous creature, and for it to just be chumped would be a shame. She can simultaneously be that creature and try to stop the aforementioned scenario from happening! Treasure Mage lets us find our Eternity Vessel (How high can you go?)

Kalonian Hydra seems tailor-made for this deck. A trampler with a built-in Vorel ability? For all of my creatures? Hull Yeah! Thrummingbird and Viral Drake let us have some evasion creatures that progress our plan of rolling up dice with everybody’s favorite Scars of Mirrodin Block mechanic, Proliferate. If you just happen to score a kill with Infect, more power to you. I’m not a big fan of Skitheryx just one- or two-shotting people, but this little guy’s got moxie.

Draining Whelk lets us actually do stuff on our opponents’ turns with a Seedborn Muse or Prophet of Kruphix in play, and is the peanut butter to Vorel’s jelly. Renegade Krasis and Cytoplast Root-Kin combine Simic mechanics throughout the ages to spread the counter love around. The Limited bomb and casual favorite Vigor gives us some creatures protection with green’s favorite keyword, Trample, and Colossus of Akros does everything you’d ever want, for a small investment of mana of course. He might cost as much as an Eldrazi, but it’s much less nightmare-inducing when he gets Briberied.

Finally, can we really have a Simic counter deck without the original “champion” of the Guild, Experiment Kanji? Momir Vig might have created it to rule over Ravnica, only to lose in a fight to Rakdos, but in this deck he can get pretty silly. If he assimilates Gilder Bairn and Vorel into his bioplasm, well, I’m not too entirely sure what will happen.

Hull Clade Artifacts


Liquimetal Coating Mana Vault Gilded Lotus Voltaic Key Expedition Map Simic Signet Sun Droplet

I don’t like Mana Vault in non-artifact-themed Commander decks. Dark Rituals are extremely powerful, but I like my Commander games to have a lasting impression. Dark Ritual gives you black mana, and Sol Ring untaps every turn, but this does neither, and I really want to use all my mana every time. Hey, sometimes it’s hard pointing out the negatives in completely busted cards.

Sun Droplet doesn’t really do anything, and if you’re playing a green deck, don’t play Signets, play a Rampant Growth effect. Artifacts get blown up, but lands are usually safe for the most part. And Expedition Map really needs something good to go find. I don’t think Llanowar Reborn or Novijen, Heart of Progress are really all that vital to search up.

Liquimetal Coating, despite its awesome synergy with The Greatest Thief in the Multiverse, does nothing by itself. Vorel already affects creatures (the main card type he will be targeting), so the only type this card can really bend to Vorel’s influence are Planeswalkers. We already have Doubling Season to make them be able to insta-Ultimate, so this gets the cut for being too dependent on other cards. Same goes for Voltaic Key. Leave the artifact manipulation to Muzzio, Sydri, or Sharuum. Gilded Lotus is awesome in terms of playability and flavor, but I could use a little more XXX in my life.


Illusionist's Bracers Astral Cornucopia Chimeric Mass Ring of Kalonia Pentad Prism

Illusionist’s Bracers has quickly become a shoe-in with any Commander that has an activated ability. Doubling’s the name of the game, so why not double the doubling? Astral Cornucopia’s mana cost is as much fun as watching Vin Diesel play a generic action hero (personally, my favorite role of his is The Iron Giant), but at least we can ramp up to untold heights! Speaking of ramping, Pentad Prism is a wonderful example of an extremely mediocre card being propelled here to greatness. Sure, it starts off at two, but before you know it you’ve got sixty-four available mana from a simple mana rock. All it takes is five turns, and ten mana. OK, maybe not that simple, but still pretty neato!

Chimeric Mass is fat, fetchable with Trinket Mage or Fabricate, and survives Wraths! Meanwhile the “green” member of the excellently-illustrated but rarely-played M13 cycle of Rings gives us trample and a kickstarter to our +1/+1 counter machine.

Spells For Counters To Counter


Arcane Denial Blue Sun's Zenith Ponder Preordain Reshape Time Warp Temporal Mastery Parallax Tide Crop Rotation Last Word Jace Beleren

And we finally get to the deepest cuts of this deck (not necessarily the first). Cards like Ponder and Preordain are just filler. Sure, they can go in every blue deck and are gonna treat you right, but come on – Embrace the Chaos! Unless they serve an actual purpose in your deck (Melek, Izzet Paragon; Talrand, Sky Summoner; etc.), leave them in your Legacy deck. Reshape and Crop Rotation don’t have anything that’s too specific to fetch, and counterspells for the sake of counterspells aren’t all that useful in Commander. Sure, a couple aren’t all that bad, but I like the ones with value such as Cryptic Command or Spelljack. I’d rather be helping myself to some board advantage rather than just prohibiting only one person’s spells.

I’m still not a fan of Time Warps. They make the entire game all about you, and your buddies will get tired of it real fast. Parallax Tide, meanwhile, will only do nefarious things. While Vorel combines almost too well with old-timey Fading cards (I’m looking at you, Tangle Wire!), it’s not something I’m interested in. Put that kind of stuff in your Arcum Dagsson deck with Ensnaring Bridge, Meekstone, and lots of other ways to make your friends miserable.

Blue Sun’s Zenith might not actually deserve a cut, but it’s just random card draw. How about something that does something? And nothing speaks to my dedication for giving you the best, most honest Commander content than advocating the cut of Jace Beleren. That’s just how much I care about you, all three of my avid readers.


Primal Vigor Nature's Will Garruk, Caller of Beasts Give

For all the cutting of the spells we did, we sure don’t have a lot to add in, as I’ve tried to retool the deck to better take advantage of not only the Simic’s affinity for creatures but also Vorel’s activated ability. Primal Vigor is essentially an additional Doubling Season (that doesn’t work as unintended with Planeswalkers), and Garruk, Caller of Beats does interact favorablly with Doubling Season, as well as green creatures (of which this deck has plenty). Give // Take is a much sweeter way of drawing cards than Blue Sun’s Zenith, and although you can’t slip in a Vorel activation in between the two, you can cast just one side of this fuse spell on the cheap to perfectly fit your sorcery needs.

Nature’s Will is quietly becoming one of my favorite cards. Unlike Sword of Feast and Famine, any old creature you control will do the trick. Plus, it stops any shenanigans your opponents might have (such as countermagic) in your post-combat main phase. Pick yours up now. Sword and Feast and Famine is already a billion dollars. The ceiling on this card has to be close, right?

With all my suggestions, it brings our final list to this here Simicly concoction:

Magic Card Back

And as usual, Matthew has earned himself 20 StarCityBucks he can use to buy cards or accessories. Might I suggest some Vorel sleeves? If not, here’s some prices to a few of the cards I have mentioned. I purposely left out some of the higher end things (Tropical Island, Mana Crypt, etc) to try to keep costs low.

Card Price
Farseek $0.25
Chimeric Mass $0.49
Illusionist’s Bracers $0.49
Ring of Kalonia $0.49
Llanowar Reborn $0.99
Nature’s Will $0.99
Draining Whelk $2.99
Experiment Kraj $2.99
Primal Vigor $4.99
Hinterland Harbor $5.99
Garruk, Caller of Beasts $11.99

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed my journey through this process. Much like how Vorel was a Gruul shaman turned Simic strategist, hopefully I’ve given Michael’s favorite Implicit Maze Runner new life as a counter-making machine. It’s a little hard to envision just what exactly goes on when you start slinging these spells, but I guarantee you it’ll be a lot of fun. So hopefully even without the Myojins, Deserted Temples, and Briberys that this deck could employ, it’ll still a blast to just be in a game with, which I feel is the whole point of the shindig.

While I’m primarily a video guy (it’s hard for me to sing Disney songs and make fun of Danny in a purely-written medium), maybe I can buckle down and get some more electronic paper coverage out there. Let me know what you all might want to see, and I’ll see if I can deliver it. And it doesn’t even have to be Commander related! I’m a student of all formats and all things Magic, as well as many other games (I’m currently working on the Megaman X4 world record and a Disney custom cube), and would like to pass on this extremely niche knowledge on to you! If not, well you can always ridicule me at your local SCG Open Series event or Grand Prix, as there’s a decently high chance I’ll be there, either playing (more likely losing) or being behind the booth with my fellow Roanokians. Thanks for sticking through to the end, guys.

Actually, now that I think about it, let’s not cut that Jace. And we’ll add a Farseek, because I said those sorts of cards are going to be better than Signets. Plugging it in for final entry as a deck has pointed out that the original deck was only 97 cards, not 99, so I get to sacrifice my sacrificing my moral principles in order to keep that sweet, sweet Jace Beleren in the deck!

It was good while it lasted, that whole “being principled” thing, but it sure wasn’t any fun. I’m sure Jace approves, and forgives me too! Welcome back, old buddy. It was scary while you were gone.

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