Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief

Legality

Format Legality
Pre-release Legal
Noble Legal
Leviathan Legal
Tiny Leaders Legal
Magic Duels Legal
Vintage Legal
Modern Legal
Casual Legal
Vanguard Legal
Legacy Legal
Archenemy Legal
Planechase Legal
1v1 Commander Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Unformat Legal
Pauper Legal
Commander / EDH Legal

Printings View all

Set Rarity
Commander 2017 (C17) Rare
Commander 2014 (C14) Rare
Rise of the Eldrazi (ROE) Rare

Combos Browse all

Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief

Legendary Creature — Vampire Shaman

Flying

: Target creature gets -0/-X until end of turn and Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief gets +X/+0 until end of turn.

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Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief Discussion

RingweMakil on Damned Devotion

1 week ago

APPLE01DOJ - I don't know. Yesterday, I could have written you an essay; today, I'm facing down Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I know nothing until further testing. I have rushed to bring back two copies of Liliana of the Veil to the list since the unbans, a card I had eschewed very quickly in my original construction of the deck, since it hardly favours the player drawing an extra card a turn; however, with the advent of Bloodbraid Elf and Jace TMS, opponents are now likely to be able to keep up with the CA of Phyrexian Arena, and as such, Liliana of the Veil is likely to be good again (even if the format is being overrun by lots of Bloodghast, Hollow One, and Faithless Looting).

However, I can offer a breakdown of how the creatures function in non-blue matchups:

a. Pack Rat:

The deck started with the set of Pack Rat. But that all in-strategy was soon found to be suboptimal - drawing multiple Pack Rats was unnecessary and rarely served any purpose; not to mention the speed of Modern means turn 2 Pack Rat is often too slow. As sweepers, Detention Sphere, and Maelstrom Pulse became common, and as Hollow One and Death's Shadow and Tasigur, the Golden Fang started to surface, Pack Rat lost some of its luster.

The natural question, then, if Pack Rat is slow and vulnerable, why play him at all? The answer: Pack Rat is ten cards in one card. Backed up with any kind of disruption and removal, he takes over the board and ends the game, quickly and unstoppably. Two activations are more than enough to put away games, and trading spot removal for Rats is a losing proposition. So in this list, he's gone from being a windmill early slam, to a lategame engine that turns dead land drops and discard spells into an army of creatures. Barring Path to Exile before a single activation is possible, Liliana, the Last Hope can always buy him back - one copy of the Rat, therefore, is ample.

Fringe case: Pack Rat allows for arbitrarily large amounts of devotion for Gray Merchant of Asphodel in boardstalls/against Lantern.

b. Desecration Demon

I've covered the virtues of this card in a post above - essentially, he's my Tarmogoyf, but he flies. Whether he functions as The Abyss or as a 6/6 unblockable, he ends games very quickly, and many a game against combo/Tron has been put away by disruption into disruption into Demon. Of the quick clocks available to black, he's one of the better ones. I believe the added utility to be well worth the extra two mana over Goyf (besides, far be it from me to argue against 6 6 fliers for four - speaking of which, Demon is almost always a strictly superior option to Abyssal Persecutor, since Persecutor requiring us to find an additional kill spell for our own demon while Phyrexian Arena ticks down/the burn opponent is topdecking is not a good feeling).

c. Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

I cannot praise this card enough in any mono black midrange list. He exiles creatures, he gains life consistently, and he makes every removal spell in our deck a 2 for 1. Traditionally, efficient mono black removal has been weak to graveyard recursion such as Flamewake Phoenix, Bloodghast, Geralf's Messenger, Kitchen Finks, and so forth, since all these cards must be killed more than once, at no additional expense to the opponent. Thoughtseize and Phyrexian Arena is a painful combination, especially in a world of Lightning Bolt and Kolaghan's Command. Kalitas solves all of these issues beautifully, and with any removal spell stalls the board incredibly easily and well.

d. Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief

Okay, have you seen the art? If Drana were real, she'd totally be my Valentine.

Jokes aside, one of the issues I was frequently running into with the deck was the amount of time it took me to close out once I had stabilised. While all of my creature threats (Gray Merchant of Asphodel is basically a Corrupt, he doesn't count) end the game quite quickly, I just wasn't drawing them fast enough - my opponent would get the opportunity to find that Cryptic Command or Sphinx's Revelation, or get those last 2 Boros Charm. There is a delicate balance between disruption and pressure that must be maintained in all decks that are not pure control, and maintaining that balance required me to find another fast game-ending threat.

I considered running the fourth Desecration Demon, but the idea of another big dumb beater was not appealing. I wanted a powerful threat with intrinsic value attached to its kit, that could help deal with the board even when I was not drawing multiple cards a turn, and hopefully one that was either resilient, or dodged some of the common removal in the format (Lightning Bolt, Abrupt Decay, Fatal Push - although I was open to playing four drops, since consistently having revolt to deal with a whole myriad of four drop threats is difficult). While black has plenty of value three drops, none of them offered this game ending power, or were too easily killed - Nightveil Specter and Lifebane Zombie, for instance, offer great card advantage in specific situations, but don't really pack the same punch as something like a Desecration Demon or Pack Rat army.

Finally, I settled on Drana. There are a lot of powerful five drops in black with value built in (Bloodgift Demon, for instance), but Drana does something none of the others do - she kills things, turn after turn, while being able to attack in the air for huge chunks. In a meta with Lingering Souls, Dark Confidant and Young Pyromancer, Drana seemed like an elegant solution, and so far, she has far exceeded my expectations. I do not think I should consider running multiples of her, since she is quite expensive and can be killed for no value the turn she comes into play, but untapping with her can feel a bit like untapping after a Supreme Verdict to an empty board.

e. Gray Merchant of Asphodel

No Geralf's Messenger, no Phyrexian Obliterator; only 2 Gray Merchant. I do not believe the all in devotion plan is likely to ever become Modern competitive, for sheer want of interactive capability and card advantage - if you are playing a midrange list in Modern, you need lots of early interaction in the form of hand disruption and removal, a proactive plan to end the game with efficient threats, and ways to pull ahead on cards after both players have been stripped down to limited resources. Gray Merchant is an extremely powerful card, as good as or better than Siege Rhino if it drains for upwards of five; it swings races, it ends games, it doesn't care about board stalls, and for all intents and purposes is basically a Modern legal Tendrils of Corruption (not my quote - blame LSV. Then again, that man also calls Disciple of Phenax Mind Twist, so take these statements with several grains of salt).

But despite his inherent power level, Gray Merchant of Asphodel is a very high variance card, and can sometimes be Highway Robber. Removal in Modern is aplenty, and curving out into enough devotion for Gray Merchant to be good is not a reliable plan. Even when the traditional mono black lists do manage to implement their plan - Geralf's Messenger into Gray Merchant, for instance, after having gotten two or more of their creatures removed, despite being an overall drain for seven to nine, just lacks the power/speed to push through opposing Tarmogoyf, Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, Grim Flayer, Death's Shadow - not to mention blue decks with their Cryptic Command and board sweepers and Sphinx's Revelation.

Gray Merchant of Asphodel in my list is therefore a card I'll often be discarding to the various discard outlets in the early game; using either the second copy or Liliana, the Last Hope's minus two to drain the opponent out if necessary later on. His being a zombie means he can be sacrificed to Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet either to simply grow the great vampire, or to be recursed with Liliana, as the situation calls.

I do not think running more than two of the card is likely to be feasible for Modern given the uncertainty of whether Merchant will be Corrupt or Highway Robber, and also given Merchant's relatively high mana cost; while it is possible that one is the correct number (and indeed, often in post board games, I do go down to one or no Merchant) at least in game 1, the proactive plan of discard, kill, kill, flier, smack, Merchant win is a very strong one. Having access to the second copy in case the first gets exiled and therefore cannot be returned with a future Liliana is also quite relevant against decks with Path to Exile and Pyxis of Pandemonium.

Despite Merchant's variance, I believe his power level and his ability to end the game on the spot through cards like Ensnaring Bridge and Witchbane Orb is not to be undervalued. In a deck with Phyrexian Arena and Ob Nixilis Reignited, every life point represents an extra card; while Highway Robber may be terrible, a five mana 2 4 that draws 4 cards on etb and drains the opponent for four is an absolutely phenomenal Magic card.

I would also like to point out the maindeck inclusion of incidental lifegain like Collective Brutality and Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet in conjunction with Gary makes most burn and aggro matchups extremely favourable.

While the creature suite has been carefully picked, and is constantly being chosen and rechosen and tweaked, the engine that enables this deck is Phyrexian Arena. Any interactive deck with reactive spells always runs the risk of its reactive measures not lining up well against the threats being deployed on the other side; Arena churning through the deck presents the critical mass of answers and threats to overwhelm the opponent, ensures land drops are made, and essentially in every regard dots the deck's i's and crosses its t's. With discard outlets like Collective Brutality and Liliana of the Veil to trade potentially dead cards for relevant spells early on, irksome draws with too many high cmc cards can still function smoothly and well.

enpc on Looking For a Budget Voltron

1 week ago

Have played Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief before and can say she is pretty fun. Removal, buffing and evasion in one card is good.

Nai_Hsimah on Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror

3 weeks ago

I highly recommend Nirkana Revenant she works really well with Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief to take out pesky indestructible creatures, if you aren't running Dark Impostor.

Did you purposefully avoid the classic vampire infinite combo of Exquisite Blood and Sanguine Bond? I would recommend having one or the other, alone they are strong cards and people know the combo so it is likely to be disrupted. It can however be handy to end that 6 player game after three hours...

All and all you made some interesting choices.

DashJovis1 on

2 months ago

I'm running Stromkirk Captain. He's baller, especially with eminence. Indulgent Aristocrat is also in the deck, and is insane. You can spread counters really fast in this build.

So... As for the rest, in order: I ran Adaptive Automaton and Metallic Mimic in my first draft. Automaton underpreformed, whereas Mimic was hit and miss. Markov only triggers on CASTING vampires, so I ended up dropping both of them for more vampires.

Eldrazi Monument and Akroma's Memorial are both great, but again, I wanted to cast vampires. They'll help you get further ahead, but having a vampire can help you catch up or rebuild. So, its a matter of taste. I wouldn't run too many of these artifact "lord" effects, Vanquisher's Banner only makes the cut because it draws me cards.

Obelisk of Urd is underwhelming, and not a vampire. Coat of Arms helps other people's tribes, so... pass. Too risky.

But DUUUUDE. I never even heard of Stoneforge Masterwork. Not sure what to cut for it either, at this point the deck is pretty tight, and there isn't room to cut another mana land. Still, that definitely IS in the ideal Markov build. I'll have to find room for it.

Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief is great, but too expensive, and doesn't synergize a lot with the rest of the deck. I could drop Olivia Voldaren for her, but then I'm upping my curve.

Malakir Bloodwitch is cool, but this also isn't the sort of token deck where you have 40+ tokens, it's the sort of deck where you have 5-8 vampires and they're all getting huge. Still, the protection from white is solid, and you'll gain a lot of life. I'd say run it over Soul Collector to taste.

Anowon, the Ruin Sage eats my +1/+1 lords and my goats. I don't like that, especially the lord part. He's cool, but I think he's more of a stax stack guy than a Vampire lord.

Gatekeeper of Malakir is cool, but he's situational. If opponents are relying on a single hexproof creature he's your guy, but other than that... Underwhelming IMO. At least, without other stax pieces.

Olivia, Mobilized for War very nearly made it, for having madness and providing haste. But there are only 3 non-vampires in the deck for her vampire making effect, and I only have a little splash of madness. Also, you can only discard as you cast, meaning instant speed madness shenanigans don't work with her. Stromkirk Condemned made way more sense as a madness enabler/lord. Still, she's a 3 drop vampire, and there are several creatures that she could be swapped out for in a deck with more reanimation/madness.

ZendikariWol on Olivia bathes in your blood.

2 months ago

Sorry this comment is coming so late, I REALLY had to sleep, then shit happened, anyway. Sorry.

Your mana base is a little screwy and you have... how many removal spells? I'm probably not one to talk here, but you NEED some removal against commander-centric decks. Making their lives that much harder can give you the edge you need to take them down.

Many of your creatures are suboptimal. Bloodmad Vampire, Erdwal Ripper, Sengir Vampire.

You NEED some Dark Impostor, maybe Sanctum Seeker, Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief (for removal).

epajula on Edgar's Dega Vampires

3 months ago

It also depends on what kind of deck you are running. Aggro players know that every damage counts so Bloodghast T2, and after wraths is relevant. If you are playing more control Guul Draz Assassin is amazing. Personally I would always take Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief over the assassin since it's removal + beater + mana sink. Viscera Seer isn't bad, but playing Skullclamp + black draw packages makes more sense for me. If you play against blue or Threaten players Viscera Seer is irreplaceable.

Vampira on Drana Said Knock You Out

3 months ago

I would replace one copy of Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief with Drana, Liberator of Malakir. +1 from me because it's a solid deck and I like the name.

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