Volo, Guide to Monsters
– D&D: ADVENTURES IN THE FORGOTTEN REALMS
Date Reviewed: August 2, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 4.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
This is an unreal moment for me, as I’m typing this review just feet from the copy of Volo’s Guide to Monsters in my bookshelf. I’m also very impressed how well his ability fits with the concept of the Guide to Monsters, and how well it rewards you for deck construction that reflects the diversity of Faerun and of the Multiverse. In tournament Magic, you might often prefer to select things based on power rather than on unique creature type, but it makes for a very cool theme deck. Even in draft settings, you might find you can get some incidental value from him and perhaps even build around him if you pick him up early enough. I think that’s enough to make him a popular card in coming months and years – just don’t forget to take the changelings out of your deck!
We’ve had plenty of tribal support in the past, but Volo is a very different sort of beast: encouraging you to play a lot of different creature types to benefit from his doubling effect. His body is pretty underwhelming, but his effect is potentially potent if you can benefit from it several times. I think he’s hard to pin down, simply because he’s powerful if built around, but he requires a very different paradigm in deck construction to make work (or a lot of self-graveyard emptying, I guess). My hunch is that he’s too squishy and fiddly to work in Constructed formats, but he’ll do just fine in friendlier formats.
Commander: 4 (powerful, but has specific demands and needs to be built around)
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