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Vamping White After Labor Day

Standard Aggro Budget Tribal Vampires W/B (Orzhov)



If you're looking for a hyper-competitive deck, Vampires is not really it right now. However, flooding the board with small creatures and turning them sideways is always a decent strategy and the new Ixalan Black/White vampires are actually pretty darn good at doing just that. You may not Top 8 a GP with this list but there's no reason you couldn't steal an FNM with it, and on a shoestring budget, too. Plus smashing face with your vampire horde is really quite fun.

But enough of my rambling. On to the deck! (And make sure to read to the end for upgrade suggestions.)

Our Sanguine Congregation

I'm gonna start with the payoff creatures first: Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle and Sanctum Seeker. These guys look somewhat unassuming but they're actually very strong. Mavren Fein is a below-par body on his own but most of the time we'll be able to trigger him on the turn we cast him, and once we're swinging consistently, he's a massive value engine that feeds perfectly into our go-wide strategy. Sanctum Seeker is also below-curve but a 3/4 actually attacks pretty well into a lot of boards, and then there's his ability, which is absurd. Play this guy on turn four and every one of your creatures becomes a master of attrition fighting. If you ever get out more than one, your opponent will likely die on the next swing.

To make sure we can trigger Mavren Fein and Sanctum Seeker consistently, we're running a few evasive and pseudo-evasive creatures: Duskborne Skymarcher, Adanto Vanguard, and Skyblade of the Legion. Duskborne Skymarcher is a great turn-1 play and its ability makes it relevant even after it's been outclassed later on. Adanto Vanguard attacks as a 3/1 into virtually any board and ensures we can keep a board state through most wraths; paying 4 life to keep it alive is a real cost, but this deck has just enough Lifelink and drain to make it reasonable. Skyblade of the Legion is basically Vanguard 5-8. It's a Shock-proof turn 2 play that can almost always attack safely on turn 3 to get that Mavren Fein value started early, plus it blocks a lot of flyers in a pinch. It isn't the best card in our deck but the evasion is really important.

Finally, we have our value creatures to fill in the gaps: Vicious Conquistador, Gifted Aetherborn, and Queen's Commission. Vicious Conquistador is effectively a 2/2 for B when attacking into an open board, it can block Bomat Courier for days, and it gets one point of damage through even when blocked. Not bad for the cost. Gifted Aetherborn is an amazing card that's way above the curve, but it's also going for $3 a pop right now, and our mana isn't the strongest so I'm only running two to help lighten the mana load as well as the budget. Queen's Commission helps accelerate our board very efficiently while also filling in a gap in our curve, plus the lifelink is nice.

Implements of Holy Conquest

Our removal package is... a bit janky. Fatal Push is way out of our budget, so we're running Vampire's Zeal instead. Combat tricks are rarely in vogue for Constructed formats, I know, but our creatures are going to become outclassed pretty quickly and Vampire's Zeal might just be the key to helping us force damage through, plus it's really nice on our Lifelinkers. Walk the Plank is an obvious inclusion; the Sorcery speed makes it really clunky but it does the job.

The Promised Lands

Other than the usual budget stuff (Forsaken Sanctuary and basics), we're also running a spicy Desert package: Ifnir Deadlands to pick off blockers, Shefet Dunes to set us up for huge slams, and a copy of Scavenger Grounds to give us better Game 1s against graveyard shenanigans. Shefet Dunes is particularly notable since it powers up our go-wide plan perfectly, pumping the team when we start to flood out.

Prayers Answered

The sideboard mostly makes itself. Crook of Condemnation is more graveyard hate, Lost Legacy hamstrings combo, Duress helps with non-creature matchups, and Ixalan's Binding is some catch-all removal with upside. Where things start to get interesting are with Dusk / Dawn. Most of our creatures naturally have only 1 or 2 power so in the right matchups, Dusk/Dawn can take out our opponent's board while leaving our own untouched (seriously, this card is gas in the right matchups.


I designed this deck to be bargain-basement cheap, but there are a lot of ways it can be improved very easily for a few more bucks.

First and foremost, replace Forsaken Sanctuary for Concealed Courtyard. This deck has greedy color requirements and a low curve, a rough combination. Being able to play an untapped dual land on turn 1 would allow you to play a Duskborne Skymarcher into a Gifted Aetherborn into a Mavren Fein into a Sanctum Seeker, all without having to drain yourself with a desert. This is a massive upgrade, allowing you to empty your hand and start swinging much, much more efficiently. You should also probably add a second Scavenger Grounds while you're at it (in place of a basic land), since that card can auto-win you a lot of matchups.

Once you've upgraded your mana, drop two Skyblades and go up to the full 4 Gifted Aetherborns, which is such a strong card. Seriously, I've had opponents hit me with a turn-2 Lay Bare the Heart, see a hand of white mana, great White creatures, removal, and Gifted Aetherborn, and still take Gifted Aetherborn. They never want to have to deal with this on the battlefield, and I do not blame them.

Then, take out Vampire's Zeal and one Walk the Plank for 4x Fatal Push. That change more than doubles the budget but Push is unparalleled at what it does. You'll notice an improvement in play instantly.

I haven't had a chance to test it but it's possible that Legion's Landing  Flip is better than Duskborne Skymarcher; I'm not convinced the deck really wants ramp or to grind out one 1/1 vampire each turn for 3 mana, but the opportunity cost for playing it is really low so I could see how Legion's Landing might be really good. Still, it's rather pricey so I left it out of the initial build.

Finally, Cast Out is probably better than Ixalan's Binding for the sideboard. Ixalan's Binding has real upside, don't get me wrong, but the combination of Cycling and Flash makes Cast Out probably better overall, allowing for blow-outs while also letting you use your mana more efficiently.

Go Forth

And that about covers it. Thanks for reading, and I hope you like the deck; it's done surprisingly well in testing so far, considering the budget. Sanctum Seeker is a really powerful Magic card and it will win you way more games than you think. Let me know if you have any suggestions!



Hunson_Abadeer says... #1


I am super stoked about the new vampires. My first deck was a vampire tribal so I am always happy to see another vampire deck.

I think a full playset of Gifted Aetherborn would be worth it. It can kill a Carnage Tyrant; sure you'll take some damage but it takes out a huge threat.

also have you considered Legion's Landing?

October 8, 2017 8:04 a.m.

BlaineTog says... #2

Thanks for commenting!

Gifted Aetherborn is definitely much stronger than Bishop's Soldier, but I dropped to a 2x-2x split for budgetary concerns. If you can afford the extra Aetherborn and can run Concealed Courtyard over Forsaken Sanctuary, you should definitely do that. At the $28 price point, though, Bishop's Soldier is better due to its more permissive mana cost.

Legion's Landing is outside of our budget range so I haven't given it much serious though. My inclination is to stick with our current 1-drops since tokens don't trigger Mavren Fein and we're not really looking to grind games out. However, go ahead and test Legion's Landing if you have a playset! It could absolutely be a real card for this deck.

October 8, 2017 4:49 p.m.

Variux says... #3

I have been using Call to the Feast as a two of in my deck and it's been incredible when I can play it, but I already have the play sets of Concealed Courtyard so I can see where Queen's Commission is better in terms of mana.

Adanto Vanguard is absolutely ridiculous. Please play that over Skyblade of the Legion. Yes, it only has 1 toughness, but I've had nothing but great things to say about that card. People really underestimate the work it can do.

Otherwise, great deck as always. :)

October 11, 2017 8:32 p.m.

BlaineTog says... #4

Thanks for the suggestions!

My main reason for running Queen's Commission over Call to the Feast is for curve purposes. We're light on quality 3-drops, especially since Mavren Fein is Legendary and we only want to run 3, but Queen's Commission fills that gap perfectly. Color isn't a problem by the time we have 4 lands on the battlefield, I just really don't want to run any more 4-drops than absolutely necessary.

You're totally right about Adanto Vanguard. I was skeptical that we'd be able to afford paying 4 life all the time to keep it alive but it turns out that that's not really that bad most of the time. I'd still like to fit Skyblade in here somehow, as an evasive, Shock-proof 2-drop hits a lot of sweet spots for this deck. The deck does have two flex slots currently taken by Duress (or by Vampire's Zeal, if you can run Fatal Push in its place), so maybe Skyblade would work better there as Vanguard 5-6. I might give that a try and then switch back to Vampire's Zeal if it doesn't work out.

October 11, 2017 11:36 p.m.

BlaineTog says... #5

@Variux: Ok, I pulled the trigger and swapped in Adanto Vanguard for the 2 Bishop's Soldier and 2 Duress. I got in a bit of testing last night and Vanguard plays way, way better than it looks. Meanwhile, Bishop's Soldier is just so terrible; the Lifelink is nice, I guess, but it can't attack safely into very many board states and I hate running basically-strictly-worse versions of cards already in the deck. Duress is not a great 2-of; if you're running it at all, you really need to run 4 to make sure you can fire it off on turn 1.

I'm keeping Skyblade for now; playing an evasive creature by turn 2 is really important for enabling this deck so I want to maximize our chances. It's on the short list for replacement when Rivals comes out, though (and switching to 2x Skyblade and 4x Gifted Aetherborn is one of the best reasons to run better lands).

Thanks again!

October 12, 2017 10:27 a.m.

Snivy__ says... #6

Please replace Skyblade with Metallic Mimic. It's super good in a creature spam deck

October 16, 2017 1:13 p.m.

BlaineTog says... #7

Thanks for commenting!

Metallic Mimic isn't a budget-friendly card at all, so it's out for that reason alone. I managed to pick up a playset when it first came out but now we're stuck with a $13 pricetag.

More generally, I've been really disappointed with Metallic Mimic. The card just eats a removal spell if you play it early and does nothing if you play it late. It's too inconsistent to be worth including if you have any other options for the tribe.

In this deck in particular, Metallic Mimic really isn't the turn-2 play we want. We really, really need to be able to attack on turn 3, but Mimic can't do that -- it dies to any board if it attacks. We're trying to win with Sanctum Seeker procs anyway so +1/+1 counters, while nice, aren't crucial to our plan. Attacking safely is.

October 16, 2017 1:58 p.m.

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Compare to inventory
Date added 2 weeks
Last updated 1 week

This deck is Standard legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.11
Tokens 2/2 Vampire
Folders Budget Decks, ST decks, Mono Black Troll, stand
Top rank #18 on 2017-10-15
Views 1195

Revision 4 (1 week ago)

-2 Duress main
-2 Bishop's Soldier main
+4 Adanto Vanguard main
-1 Bishop of the Bloodstained side
+2 Duress side
-1 Dusk / Dawn side

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