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Magic the Gathering: Vraska and Vampires

Magic the Gathering: Vampires and Joy Division

I’m pretty sure my 10-year-old beat me a GAJILLION times in a row with his modified Jace-led, mostly-merfolk Magic the Gathering deck. My vampire-centric deck seemed destined for impotence with creatures constantly enchanted and beaten to a bloodless pulp despite Vraska’s potential for bad-assery.

I’m GENUINELY happy for my son, who continues to develop both a love for the game and a mind for strategy. But I’m also pretty aggravated that I constantly find myself in situations with a field full of permanently tapped creatures and/or scenarios where I am repeatedly paying to re-field creatures that have been returned to my hand.

That’s when I hit eBay.

Bursting with Joy (Division)!

With an idea in mind, I went in search of dollar- and mana-cheap, swamp-based vampires that had the ability to play nicely with other vampires and/or the potential to severely aggravate and annoy with a variety of life-taking and life-restoring powers.

In retrospect, I probably should have read up on deck-building and viable strategies. Instead, I window-shopped and frequently fell victim to “Ooooo, pretty picture!” in my research process. That said, I ended up impulse purchasing some Bloodbone Vampires, Guul Draz Vampires, Screeching Bats/Stalking Vampires, Vampire’s Bites, Vampire Envoys, and a Vampire Cuttthroat.

A bundle of Joy (Division).

A few packages — bundles you might say — arrived and it was time to start customizing my deck. I subjected the kids to Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures (see below) for the process. I now realize a completely missed opportunity to pump Bauhaus’s “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” instead.

Womp, womp.

Anyway, here’s how I modified my standard Vraska, Scheming Gorgon Planeswalker deck:

Creature (30)

  • 4 Vampire Envoy
  • 3 Guul Draz Vampire
  • 3 Vraska’s Conquistador
  • 2 Bloodbond Vampire
  • 2 Queen’s Bay Soldier
  • 2 Screeching Bat/Stalking Vampire
  • 2 Skymarch Bloodletter
  • 1 Bishop of the Bloodstained
  • 1 Champion of Dusk
  • 1 Deathless Ancient
  • 1 Dusk Legion Zealot
  • 1 Sanctum Seeker
  • 1 Vampire Champion
  • 1 Vampire Cutthroat
  • 1 Vicious Conquistador
  • 2 Inspiring Cleric
  • 1 Paladin of Atonement
  • 1 Legion Lieutenant

Sorcery (2)

  • 2 Vraska’s Scorn

Instant (5)

  • 2 Moment of Craving
  • 2 Vampire’s Bite
  • 1 Moment of Triumph

Land (22)

  • 18 Swamp
  • 4 Forsaken Sanctuary

Legendary Planeswalker (1)

  • 1 Vraska, Scheming Gorgon

Taking a Joy (Division) ride?

Short story, now made extremely long, the revised deck was a Joy Division-fueled success in its first run! I was able to field enough vampires to overcome my son’s deluge of enchantments. And I was satisfied… for about 15 minutes.

The next round we played, I was over-powered by three Sphinxes and it was time to go back to the drawing board.

Womp, womp again.

A Joy (Division) to behold!

So, the process sort of worked. And by “sort of” I mean that it didn’t really work.

But I do think I’m on the right track. I subsequently picked up a pair of Defiant Bloodlords at Alpha Omega Hobby. And I also eBayed some Vampiric Links, some Blood-cursed Knights, a Guul Draz Assassin, a Gatekeeper of Malakir, and a Captivating Vampire on the cheap.

When I mix-and-match my deck to a soundtrack of “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” I’ll let you know how it goes.