Raise Your Standards – Vampires Need Love Too


Hello and welcome to another episode of Raise Your Standards.

Since Ixalan was just released on MTGO this past Monday, there haven’t been too many decks utilizing the new cards just yet.  While I’m sure that will pick up soon, it leaves me in a bit of a bind for a topic to write about in my article this week.  Usually I like to bring to you tested and proven decks to use at your local events, but with no major tournaments happening and no real appreciable MTGO results, I decided to look elsewhere.  It seems like everyone that creates content has been brewing up new decks showcasing the massive power of the Dinosaurs, or the new sweetness of the Merfolk.  I’ve even seen articles detailing multiple types of builds for Pirate decks.  Luckily though, there’s one tribe that hasn’t seen as much love from the other professional writers, so I figured I’d see if I could find any juicy decks that I could sink my teeth into.  And that tribe, of course, is Vampires.

The first deck I ran across that seemed like it might be a good starting point was a B/W deck from tappedout.net.  Let’s take a look at it.


Vampire Conquistadors – (by majin_shinsa)

CreaturesVicious Conquistador


LandsCall to the Feast


First and foremost, I realize that this deck is 62 cards.  As such, I’m looking for 2 cards to cut because all competitive players will tell you that it’s best to stay at 60 cards for optimal consistency.  With that being said, I would probably cut 2 copies of Vicious Conquistador.  It’s not a great late-game play, and even early on it’s only mediocre at best.  It also helps to smooth out our mana curve so that we’re not so heavy with 1-drops.

While this list looks like a good starting point, it seems like it could get outclassed fairly quickly.  I know the objective of a deck like this is to fill up the battlefield quickly with lots of little threats so that you can eventually overwhelm your opponent, but that strategy is going to be tough to pull off when facing down a tribal dinosaur deck.  One way to fix that deficiency is to play a card like Dusk // Dawn that can take care of our opponent’s larger creatures, while still leaving our tribe on the battlefield.  Here’s a deck utilizing that strategy.


White Devils (Ixalan Vampire Weenies) – (by OminousRex)

CreaturesPaladin of the Bloodstained


LandsDusk // Dawn



This deck purposefully avoids playing threats that will be destroyed by Dusk // Dawn.  However, if another sweeper should destroy all of the creatures on the battlefield, since this deck has such a low mana curve and the majority of creatures can come back with the Dawn half of Dusk // Dawn, it is very resilient.

But another big reason to play a tribal Vampire deck has to be to take advantage of the lifegain you can get from those vampires.  And, while this deck has a little lifegain, it’s not taking advantage of it in the way I would like to.  That way would be by playing one of my favorite Standard cards, Crested Sunmare.


Orzhov Vampire Lifegain Tokens – (by Banisher666)

CreaturesCrested Sunmare


LandsGifted Aetherborn



This deck plays a full playset of Crested Sunmare, which I wholeheartedly endorse.  While it doesn’t play as many creatures that have lifelink as it probably could, it has lots of ways to create Vampire tokens that have lifelink.  And it only takes 1 point of lifegain for Crested Sunmare to call forth one of his horsey minions.  And those Horse tokens he creates will be indestructible as long as he sticks around, which makes them great blockers of large dinosaur creatures (and also great for blocking smaller creatures of all types to boot).

Gaining life and making horses is great, but I have one more deck to show you this week.  Its main focus is on creating a veritable horde of tokens that you can use to smoosh your opponent into dust with.  Let’s take a look at it.


Pagans & Vandals – (by JaiJackson)

CreaturesBishop of Rebirth





I love that this deck goes hard on the token making strategy.  If you’re able to get out Anointed Procession, the value you get from being able to make the additional tokens is worth the slight loss in tempo you take from playing it.  And when the majority of the tokens you’ll be making have lifelink, you should be able to slow down your opponent’s aggression and survive long enough to get a Bishop of Rebirth in play which can help get back most of the creatures in your graveyard.  While you can get back another copy Bishop of Rebirth, Crested Sunmare, Sanctum Seeker, or Vona, Butcher of Magan, this deck runs March of the Drowned so even your most powerful threats can rise from the grave(yard).


Vampire tribal decks look to be a lot of fun.  Since they all have some amount of lifegain, these decks are able to recover even when things look bad for them.  I’m interested in seeing whether any 3-color tribal vampire decks will be brewed up, as I think the possibilities of R/W/B (using the red for burn spells) or U/W/B (using the blue for either counter magic or flying shenanigans with Favorable Winds) seem to have some potential.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on these decks and the vampire tribe in general.  Let me know by leaving a comment, or by contacting me on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg) or by emailing me directly at mikelikesmtg@gmail.com.

Be sure to come back next week for another installment of Raise Your Standards.  I’ll see you then!

Mike Likes


Mike Likes

Mike Likes

Mike started playing Magic back in 1994, but gave it up at the end of 1995. He came back to the game during the Lorwyn block and has been playing ever since. Around this time, he opened and ran his own comic & game store, while also raising his newborn daughter. After 8 years, he sold his business and moved to Wisconsin with his wife and daughter. With the debut of Kaladesh, his entire family became regular Magic players. He now has hopes of competing alongside his wife and daughter at a Grand Prix or similar event in the future. #MTGDad

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