Strixhaven Limited Set Review with MTG Nerd Girl
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Cliffhaven Extortion


In this experiment, we drink the blood of our opponent with the power of a reviving dose and a last caress.

Cliffhaven Vampire provides a potent effect that can slowly bleed an opponent dry. All we have to do is gain a little bit of life! Interestingly, it doesn’t scale with high amounts of life-gain; rather, the more frequently we gain life, regardless of the amount, the more we can bleed our opponent out.

Cliffhaven Vampire

Little Bits of Life

Blind Obedience This provides a powerful Kismet effect while also letting us extort. Every time we pay w or b extra for a spell, we can gain 1 life while making our opponent lose life. We don’t need a Cliffhaven Vampire around, but if we do have one, our opponent will lose 2 life overall—a significant chunk.

Tithe Drinker Here is another source of extort, and this little 2/1 also has lifelink, which provides us another method of gaining life (and triggering life-loss from Cliffhaven Vampire).

Blind Obedience
Tithe Drinker
Drana's Emissary

Drana's Emissary For only 3 mana, we can trigger an extortion every upkeep. This Cleric Ally is already buddies with Cliffhaven Vampire in Oath of the Gatewatch Limited, so they should work together quite well here, too.

Last Caress For 3 mana, our opponent loses 1 life and we gain 1 life—that’s much more expensive than paying w or b to extort, but I suppose we can extort on top of this. Drawing the card to replace the spell is key here, though I really wish this were an instant—or maybe just 2 mana. It’s not super-strong, but I threw in one for theme.

Reviving Dose Renewed Faith was also on the list of potentials here, but like Last Caress, I only found room for one Reviving Dose (and zero Renewed Faith). Gaining 3 life should be cute, but the amount of life we gain shouldn’t be as relevant as the fact that we’re gaining any, and in fact, Last Caress causing our opponent to lose 1 life may be more important than the extra 2 we gain from Reviving Dose. At least it’s an instant.

Last Caress
Reviving Dose
Survival Cache

Survival Cache And here’s the white Divination gamble. We have to hope to have more life than our opponent, but with all of our drain effects, the odds should be good as long as our opponent doesn’t have early aggression we can’t deal with. This can trigger the Cliffhaven Vampire twice, draw us two extra cards, and even allow us to extort multiple times, so maybe this card is worth more to us than the two slots I gave it.

Consuming Vapors Here is another rebounding, life-gain spell. It’s also removal and a very powerful effect. Rebound means multiple extortions, meaning multiple Cliffhaven Vampire triggers, and the life-gain means even more Cliffhaven Vampire triggers.

Homicidal Seclusion I thought it would be cute to have a deck built around just Cliffhaven Vampire and then triggering it a bunch of times with various spells, but Tithe Drinker and Drana's Emissary were just too good. You’ll see by the following heading I went a different direction with the deck, but I decided to keep one Homicidal Seclusion around because I love the card—and you can cut it for another Survival Cache in your own list anyway! Leave my Seclusion alone.

Consuming Vapors
Homicidal Seclusion
Vampire Nighthawk

More Vampires! (And Things That Aren’t)

So Cliffhaven Vampire, Tithe Drinker, and Drana's Emissary are all perfectly themed Vampires for this deck, so why not try to find a few more cards?

Vampire Nighthawk This is another lifelink creature, and it’s also among the most powerful Vampires for its versatility.

Feast of Blood We have a good number of Vampires now, only in part by accident, so we may as well play a Vampire-themed removal spell that is also on our primary theme of triggering Cliffhaven Vampire.

Gerrard's Verdict This is a reasonable life-gain effect, though our opponent will have some control over whether we actually gain any. Making our opponent discard two cards for only one of ours is pretty strong, though, as evidenced by Hymn to Tourach.

Feast of Blood
Gerrard's Verdict
Erebos, God of the Dead

Erebos, God of the Dead We may want something to do with all our life-gain, and drawing cards seems to be the perfect choice. This also keeps our opponent from stemming the bleeding because, with the God of the Dead around, he or she won’t be able to regain any life. Oh, and Erebos makes a good finisher to put our opponent out of his or her misery once we reach sufficient devotion.

Treasury Thrull Once I realized I’d given up on the Homicidal Seclusion subplan, I figured a big, burly extort creature that can return dead Cliffhaven Vampires would be good.

Orzhova, the Church of Deals I generally like to sneak relevant lands into the decklists without mentioning them, but Orzhova especially seems worth discussing. Paying 5 might be a lot for a Last Caress that doesn’t draw a card, but it also doesn’t cost a card, and we can do it every turn. We can’t extort off it, but if we have a Cliffhaven Vampire or two around, our opponent could be losing 2 or 3 life overall. If we have any kind of defense set up, that’s a pretty difficult thing to face off against.

Treasury Thrull
Orzhova, the Church of Deals
Shambling Vent

Vault of the Archangel and Shambling Vent Since I’m talking about lands now, these two are in it for the lifelink!

So if you miss playing Orzhov in Gatecrash Limited, if you want to translate the W/B archetype from Oath of the Gatewatch Limited, or if you just like finding ways of making Survival Cache one of the scariest cards in your deck, give this deck a try.

Andrew Wilson


fissionessence at hotmail dot com

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