EDH Deck Time: Varolz the Recycler

There was a request for my take on a [card]Varolz, the Scar-Striped[/card] EDH deck, and since I don’t get that many requests (except from Lauri), I thought “why not?” So, here’s my deck.

A note on rules: If a creature has power/toughness of */*, then the ability that defines its power and toughness functions while its anywhere (such as [card]Lord of Extinction[/card]). If a creature has a power/toughness 0/0 and an ability that gives it plusses (such as [card]Nighthowler[/card]), then its power is 0 when you Scavenge it.

First, you need to understand the meta I’m playing in. Graveyard hate is rampant. There has been so much abusing of the graveyard that people are very wary of letting people use it. Most decks are going to have some ways to empty it or at least keep it under control. [card]Crypt Incursion[/card] is popular, and I’m personally a big fan of [card]Cremate[/card]. In this environment Varolz is going to be fairly weak. Also, tucking generals, and sweepers are popular.

With these in mind (and in my limited experience, they are not unusual circumstances), I can’t really rely too much on a single ability of a single creature. Otherwise, the deck would probably be a cavalcade of cheap creatures with huge drawbacks, such as [card]Phyrexian Dreadnought[/card] and [card]Death’s Shadow[/card], as well as ways of getting them to your graveyard, such as [card]Entomb[/card], [card]Buried Alive[/card] and the oft-forgotten [card]Jarad’s Orders[/card].

[draft]
Phyrexian Dreadnought
Death’s Shadow
Entomb
Buried Alive
Jarad’s Orders
[/draft]

So, instead, I’m going for a deck where Varolz is a good tool, but not the only way to win. The basic idea is that I’m going to do everything (or as much as possible) with creatures. This is going to limit us in many ways, because its going to mean very expensive and only sorcery speed removal, but we can live with that.

With this in mind, there’s only two noncreature spells in the deck: [card]Birthing Pod[/card] and [card]Doubling Season[/card]. There’s plenty of other potential spells, such as [card]Hardened Scales[/card] (pretty marginal effect for a deck like this, but also very cheap), [card]Retribution of the Ancients[/card] (can kill that pesky Ulamog or Blighty handily), or [card]Solidarity of Heroes[/card].

I’m going with these two specifically, because of how powerful they are. There’s a newer, somewhat limited, version of Doubling Season available, but I can’t remember its name or from which set its from, so it didn’t get any thought here.

[deck]
[Commander]
Varolz, the Scar-Striped
[/Commander]
[Ramp]
Borderland Ranger
Civic Wayfinder
Dawntreader Elk
Diligent Farmhand
Farhaven Elf
Frontier Guide
Gyre Sage
Ondu Giant
Oracle of Mul Daya
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Sylvan Ranger
Viridian Emissary
Yavimaya Elder
[/Ramp]
[Removal]
Butcher of Malakir
Dark Hatchling
Gatekeeper of Malakir
Fleshbag Marauder
Nekrataal
Necroplasm
Polukranos, World Eater
Shriekmaw
Slum Reaper
Tornado Elemental
Ulvenwald Tracker
[/Removal]
[Card draw]
Erebos, God of the Dead
Elvish Visionary
Harvester of Souls
Masked Admirers
Sapling of Colfenor
Soul of the Harvest
[/Card draw]
[Beatdown]
Canker Abomination
Deity of Scars
Lord of Extinction
Predator Ooze
Reaper of the Wilds
Skullbriar, the Walking Grave
Spiritmonger
Stalker Hag
[/Beatdown]
[Utility]
Acidic Slime
Champion of Lambholt
Corpsejack Menace
Eternal Witness
Fauna Shaman
Bane of Progress
Kalonian Hydra
Longshot Squad
Mer-Ek Nightblade
Nylea, God of the Hunt
Pharika, God of Affliction
Puppeteer Clique
Rune-Scarred Demon
Scavenging Ooze
Sepulchral Primordial
Terastodon
Tuskguard Captain
Vigor
Wickerbough Elder
Withered Wretch
Woodfall Primus
[/Utility]
[Spells]
Birthing Pod
Doubling Season
[/Spells]
[Lands]
Bojuka Bog
Command Tower
14 Forest
Gilt-Leaf Palace
Golgari Guildgate
Golgari Rot Farm
Jungle Hollow
Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
Overgrown Tomb
Reflecting Pool
Rogue’s Passage
8 Swamp
Tainted Wood
Temple of Malady
Thawing Glaciers
Twilight Mire
Volrath’s Stronghold
Woodland Cemetery
[/Lands]
[/deck]

My selection in other types of cards is probably also somewhat lacking, as I based this solely on cards I have in my collection (which is pretty well geared towards this sort of deck). I might be missing some cards somewhere, but hopefully not. Some key things:

[draft]
Nylea, God of the Hunt
Tuskguard Captain
Champion of Lambholt
Rogue’s Passage
[/draft]

One key thing to the deck is that in this format blockers are easy to come by. Often the opponent will have be able to get themselves plenty of time to set up their end game while you’re Varolz (or another big creature) is mindlessly attacking into 1/1 tokens. Therefore you need evasion (or pseudoevasion in the form of trample). There are other ways of doing this, which might work well, such as a number of Bestow-creatures from Theros: [card]Nylea’s Emissary[/card], [card]Noble Quarry[/card], [card]Herald of Torment[/card], and [card]Cavern Lampad[/card]. I just feel they are too expensive. They would fit our theme of creatures, and depending on your meta, they might work very well.

[draft]
Ulvenwald Tracker
[/draft]

A very underappreciated card. Especially since there are a few very nice combos with it in the deck. The combo with [card]Predator Ooze[/card] is actually one I used in standard. Ooze doesn’t really work in this deck otherwise, but I just like it. Another one is with [card]Vigor[/card]. Lets say you have (a very Magical Christmas Wonderland situation) [card]Tuskguard Captain[/card] and a huge [card]Lord of Extinction[/card] in play. Now, have those two fight. You’ll have two immense creatures with trample to boot. The third one is with [card]Pharika, God of Affliction[/card]. Its deathtouching snakes can be used to get rid of all sorts of pesky creatures.

[draft]
Necroplasm
[/draft]

Well, a bit problematic card, but in right hands (and the right situation), very powerful sweeper, which can be used to devastate your opponents, while leaving you relatively safe. Its going to be hard, but its possible. However, part of the format is having fun with cards like this. Also, dredge definitely works in this particular deck.

Some cards are more for fun than anything else… as usual in my decks.

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