Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,
For today's post, we wanted to have a look at vampires in today's post-M13 standard environment. Before the release of the Magic 2013 core set we were drawn towards constructed a vampire build with cards such as Stromkirk Captain and Bloodline Keeper / Lord of Lineage. With the return of Vampire Nocturnus in M13, we now have three vampire 'Lords' to help with a stretegy. When we first built a strategy, we went with a red / black build with anything that would collect counters such as Rakish Heir (Whenever a Vampire you control deals combat damage to a player, put a +1/+1 counter on it), 'Bloodthirst' creatures (If an opponent was dealt damage this turn, this creature enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it) or with Curse of Stalked Prey (Whenever a creature deals combat damage to enchanted player, put a +1/+1 counter on that creature).
Unfortunately, playtesting provided somewhat a flop for various reasons which were never fully investigated as our fickle fancies turned us in new directions to create a robust standard deck to take advantages against the weaknesses of our local meta-game. With the return of one of our fav 3-drop crittes of all time, Vampire Nighthawk, we thought perhaps it was time to return to the draft board and develop another Vampire build. We first wanted to get the Nighthawk to party with a Rancor in a black-green build, but that was quickly dismissed (Nighthawk and Rancor came with our 4x uncommons lot from MTG Mint Card). The issue for us was that although there appeared to be a lot of creature choices in black and red, we did not feel comfortable enough with our choices for a two coloured deck. We moved toward a mono-black deck and after a strategy exercise, decided that what we really needed in our local gaming environment was a heavy control package. So, vampires took a bit of a back seat to control.
First, we threw a (physical) pile of all our fav black non-creature spells on the table. Second, we got a good selection of black-coloured vampire cards. We loved Stromkirk Noble as a perfect one-drop vampire but unfortunately we could not find a suitable replacement sw we opted for Typhoid Rats as a one-drop deathtouch usually bought us a turn or two. We considered our 'Triple-D' choices with Despise, Distress, and Duress and decided that Despise and Duress would hang out in the sideboard and Distress would go main purely for metagame reasons. Also in the sideboard are the likes of Mutiliate and Murder among other surprises we won't reveal in case one of the local players is reading (Austin!).
Geth's Verdict and Tribute to Hunger provided a way for spot removal of Dungrove Elder and the host of other green fatties we've been seeing at Friday Night Magic by having the opponent pull the trigger. We appreciated Tribute for its lifegain quality and given the monsters we've been seeing, we could probablly let a hit or two go through unblocked with the solid lifegain we would get latter. Our previous vampire builds, although slick at first, typically stalled out midgame and as a result we liked the idea of Sign in Blood to get our mono-black control vampire heart beating again.
Child of Night, Vampire Interloper, Vampire Nighthawk and Bloodline Keeper / Lord of Lineage (along with the rat) is our critter crew. We wanted to do something with Rancor so decided perhaps that an artifact such as Ring of Xathrid would be ok - it provides +1/+1 counters with a regenerate ability. (Gawd we miss Blade of the Bloodchief something terribad).
Anywhoos - We want to know -
If you are playing with any of the non-sparkly MTG bloodsuckers, which ones? We want to know your suggestions for this build - drop a comment below and a brief reason for your choice. Depending upond how this strategy performs, we might just switch back to a splash of red as we are rather fond of Stromkirk Noble, Stromkirk Captain, Rakish Heir, and Olivia Voldaren.