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Magic the Gathering vampires.

Magic the Gathering: Fourth time’s the charm for my vampire deck

You may remember a while ago, I was determinedly tweaking my black/white mana vampire deck to combat my son’s all-blue, Jace-led, mostly-merfolk Magic the Gathering deck. I’ve since modified my deck three more times with varying degrees of success. However, the most recent version seems to have made the most significant impact.

Vampires, the next generation.

Creature (29)

  • 2 Captivating Vampire
  • 2 Drana’s Emissary
  • 2 Gifted Aetherborn
  • 2 Inspiring Cleric
  • 2 Martyr of Dusk
  • 2 Paladin of the Bloodstained
  • 2 Tithe Drinker
  • 2 Vampire Cutthroat
  • 2 Vampire Neonate
  • 1 Blood Artist
  • 1 Blood Seeker
  • 1 Bloodrite Invoker
  • 1 Bishop of the Bloodstained
  • 1 Drana, Kalastria Blood Chief
  • 1 Elenda, the Dusk Rose
  • 1 Gatekeeper of Malakir
  • 1 Legion Lieutenant
  • 1 Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle
  • 1 Skymarch Bloodletter
  • 1 Vampire Nocturnus

Enchantment (1)

  • 1 Legion’s Landing

Sorcery (2)

  • 2 Call to the Feast

Instant (2)

  • 1 Moment of Craving
  • 1 Moment of Triumph

Land (25)

  • 9 Swamp
  • 4 Forsaken Sanctuary
  • 4 Kabira Crossroads
  • 4 Piranha Marsh
  • 4 Scoured Barrens

Planeswalker (1)

  • 1 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad

Even vampires don’t always get it right on the first try.

Really, one of the simplest changes came out of a very simple observation made by my ten-year-old. Despite fielding a semi-spammy low-mana deck, I found that the luck of the draw left me land-starved more often than not. My son’s very astute suggestion of increasing my land-to-other-card ratio was probably one of the most beneficial changes I made.

The other change that seemed to have significant impact was doubling down on lifelink, “gain 1 life,” “lose 1 life,” and “create a 1/1 [token]” cards while eliminating most others. As a result, I’m constantly gaining a life here and there while my opponent loses a life just as frequently. I suspect this makes my deck super-annoying to play against which makes it even more appealing to me.

Up next? Figuring out a sideboard.

Then? Tweaking my five-mana, no-creature deck!

Vampire notes!

I always like it when things match and coordinate, so I’ve since tricked out my deck with some accessories that I thought I’d share:


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.