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Price of Glory #9 – Vampires

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Vampire decks have popped in and out of Standard since the release of Zendikar—first mono-Black with Vampire Nocturnus, then splashing Red for Lightning Bolt, and eventually Hero of Oxid Ridge. With Zendikar block rotating out, almost all of the pieces of the old decks are gone. However, Innistrad presents an opportunity for a new kind of R/B Vampire deck—one that lacks some of the speed of previous versions, but makes up for it with staying power. Here’s the list I’ve been experimenting with:

[cardlist]

[Creatures]

3 Bloodrage Vampire

4 Bloodcrazed Neonate

4 Bloodline Keeper

4 Rakish Heir

4 Stromkirk Noble

4 Vampire Interloper

[/Creatures]

[Spells]

2 Shock

4 Dismember

4 Incinerate

4 Curse of Stalked Prey

[/Spells]

[Lands]

6 Swamp

9 Mountain

4 Blackcleave Cliffs

4 Dragonskull Summit

[/Lands]

[/cardlist]

The Vampires

Stromkirk Noble is an excellent 1-drop. If your opponent doesn’t play a blocker immediately, the Vampire is just going to swing for more and more damage each turn. With Curse of Stalked Prey or Rakish Heir helping out, Stromkirk Noble can get very big very fast.

Bloodcrazed Neonate isn’t quite as strong as Stromkirk Noble, but it gets the job done. The drawback often won’t matter at all in this deck, since attacking every turn is exactly what you want to be doing.

Rakish Heir gives all of your Vampires the Slith ability, including itself. With one of these on the board, your army can get out of control very quickly.

Bloodline Keeper would be good even if all it did was make 2/2 flying Vampires, but the ability to transform and give your army a huge boost brings it to ridiculous levels. If this ever transforms, you’re most likely going to win the game immediately.

Vampire Interloper’s stats aren’t all that impressive, but Curse of Stalked Prey and Rakish Heir can fix that, and having Flying means it will almost always be able to get some damage in. Like Bloodcrazed Neonate, the drawback doesn’t matter much here, as you’ll probably be attacking every turn.

Bloodrage Vampire will almost always be a 4/2 in this deck, and for 3 mana, those are pretty good stats. If this guy manages to get through just once, you’ve gotten a Flame Javelin, and it only gets better from there.

The Spells

Curse of Stalked Prey is a critical part of this deck, making sure your Vampires stay large enough to take down any creature that might get in their way. Following up a turn-one Stromkirk Noble with this on turn two is fairly devastating, and your opponent will be hard-pressed to find an answer before it’s too late.

Dismember, Incinerate, and Shock are some of the best cheap removal spells in Standard, and you’ll need them to clear the path for your Vampire-Sliths. Most of your creatures are rather fragile for the first turn or two, but these will make sure they can grow big and strong from the blood of your opponent.

Play-Testing

With so much of the set still unknown, it’s hard to know what the format will look like after the rotation. Therefore, in lieu of trying to test against one of the top decks, I paired this deck up against last week’s to see how they fared against each other.

Game 1

I lost the roll and kept a hand of Blackcleave Cliffs, Swamp, Dismember, two Shocks, Stromkirk Noble, and Bloodcrazed Neonate. My opponent opened with a Plains, and I drew a Mountain, played Blackcleave Cliffs, and cast Stromkirk Noble. I passed the turn. My opponent played a Plains and cast Myrsmith before ending his turn. I drew a Mountain, played it, and attacked for 1, and put a counter on the Noble. I cast Shock on the Myrsmith and passed the turn. My opponent cast Sickleslicer and ended his turn. I drew Blackcleave Cliffs, played it, and cast Shock on the Germ token. I swung for 2 with Stromkirk Noble, bringing it to a 3/3, and then cast Bloodcrazed Neonate. I passed the turn. My opponent played another land and cast Flayer Husk and Sickleslicer, then passed the turn. I drew a Bloodcrazed Neonate, played a land, and cast Dismember on the 2/2 Germ token, paying 2 life. I attacked with both of my creatures. The other Germ traded with Bloodcrazed Neonate, and Stromkirk Noble hit for 3, getting another counter. I cast the second Neonate and passed the turn. My opponent played a land, cast Kemba, Kha Regent, and equipped her with Flayer Husk before ending his turn. I drew Bloodline Keeper, played a land, and attacked with both other creatures. Kemba blocked Stromkirk Noble, and Bloodcrazed Neonate dropped my opponent to 12 and got a counter. I cast Bloodline Keeper and passed the turn. My opponent got a Cat token during his upkeep, then played a land, equipped a Sickleslicer to Kemba, and cast Mortarpod. He passed the turn. I drew a Vampire Interloper and cast it, then tapped the Bloodline Keeper to make a Vampire token and paid b to transform it and give all of my creatures +2/+2. Stromkirk Noble and Bloodcrazed Neonate attacked. Kemba blocked the Noble, and the Mortarpod’s Germ token was sacrificed to finish the job. A Cat token blocked the Neonate. I ended my turn. Two more Cat tokens were made during my opponent’s upkeep. He equipped Sickleslicer and Mortarpod to Kemba, making her a 7/10, and attacked, dropping me to 11. He passed the turn. I drew Bloodrage Vampire, and attacked with everything, dealing just enough damage to kill my opponent with flyers.

Game 2

My opponent took a mulligan, and I kept a hand of two Swamps, Dragonskull Summit, Stromkirk Noble, Rakish Heir, Curse of Stalked Prey, and Incinerate. My opponent played a Plains and passed the turn. I drew Curse of Stalked Prey, played Dragonskull Summit, and passed the turn. My opponent played a land and cast Myrsmith before ending his turn. I drew a Mountain, played it, and cast Incinerate on the Myrsmith, then passed the turn. My opponent played a land, cast Kemba, Kha Regent, and passed the turn. I drew Blackcleave Cliffs, played it, and cast Stromkirk Noble and Curse of Stalked Prey. I ended my turn. My opponent played another land and passed the turn. I drew Bloodcrazed Neonate, played a land, cast Rakish Heir, and passed the turn. My opponent played another land, cast Signal Pest, and passed the turn. I drew Bloodrage Vampire and cast it along with another Curse of Stalked Prey, then passed the turn. My opponent cast Flayer Husk, equipped it to Kemba, and ended his turn. I drew Incinerate and attacked with all three creatures. My opponent blocked Bloodrage Vampire with Signal Pest and Rakish Heir with Kemba. Stromkirk Noble hit for 1, getting 4 counters. I cast Incinerate to finish off Kemba, then played Bloodcrazed Neonate and passed the turn. My opponent cast another Kemba, Kha Regent, equipped her with Flayer Husk, and passed the turn. I drew a Mountain and attacked with everything. Kemba killed Bloodrage Vampire, and the other two dropped my opponent to 12, and got 3 counters each. I ended my turn. My opponent got a token during his upkeep, then cast Mortarpod and Accorder's Shield. He equipped the Shield to Kemba and passed the turn. I drew Rakish Heir, and attacked with my 8/8 Stromkirk Noble and 5/4 Bloodcrazed Neonate. Kemba blocked Bloodcrazed Neonate, and the Germ token blocked the Noble, and sacrificed itself to deal the 1 damage necessary to kill the Neonate. I cast Rakish Heir and passed the turn. My opponent got two more Cat tokens, then equipped Mortarpod to Kemba and passed the turn. I drew Blackcleave Cliffs, played it, and passed the turn. My opponent got three more tokens, and then cast Mortarpod and sacrificed the Germ to deal 1 to me before equipping it to Kemba. He then attacked me with three tokens. Stromkirk Noble killed one, Rakish Heir traded with another, and I took 2. He ended his turn. I drew a Dismember and attacked with Stromkirk Noble. My opponent didn’t take the bait and blocked with a Cat token. I passed the turn. Four more Cats were made, and the three previous ones attacked me, dropping me to 11. My opponent passed the turn, and I drew a land and conceded.

Game 3

I kept a hand of Blackcleave Cliffs, Mountain, Dragonskull Summit, Bloodcrazed Neonate, Bloodline Keeper, Shock, and Dismember. I played Blackcleave Cliffs and passed the turn, and my opponent played a Plains and passed back. I drew Bloodcrazed Neonate, played a Mountain, and cast it. I ended my turn. My opponent played a Plains and cast Myrsmith before passing the turn. I drew Rakish Heir, cast Shock on the Myrsmith, and attacked for 2. Bloodcrazed Neonate got a counter, and I cast a second one and passed the turn. My opponent played a land and cast Mortarpod. He passed the turn. I drew a Shock, cast Rakish Hair, and attacked with both Neonates. The Germ token blocked the larger one and sacrificed itself to kill the smaller. I ended my turn. My opponent cast two Flayer Husks and passed the turn. I drew Curse of Stalked Prey, cast it, and cast Shock on one of the Germ tokens. I attacked with both of my creatures. The second Germ blocked Bloodcrazed Neonate, and Rakish Heir hit for 2 and got 2 counters. I passed the turn. My opponent cast Puresteel Paladin, then cast Accorder's Shield and drew a card. He equipped the Paladin with everything, making it a 4/8, and ended his turn. I drew another Rakish Heir and attacked with both creatures. Puresteel Paladin blocked the Rakish Heir, and I cast Dismember to shrink it to a -1/3. My opponent sacrificed it to deal 1 damage to me, and Bloodcrazed Neonate hit for 3 and got 3 more counters. I passed the turn. My opponent passed the turn with no play. I drew Incinerate, cast the second Rakish Heir, and attacked with my two other creatures. My opponent had a Dispatch for each of them, and I passed the turn. My opponent played a land, cast Sickleslicer, and passed the turn. I drew Vampire Interloper, cast Incinerate on the Germ, and attacked for 2 and put 2 counters on Rakish Heir. I ended my turn. My opponent played a land, cast another Sickleslicer, and passed the turn. I drew a Mountain, played it, and attacked with Rakish Heir. My opponent blocked with the Germ token. I cast Bloodline Keeper and passed the turn. My opponent cast Kemba, Kha Regent, equipped her with Mortarpod, and passed the turn. I drew another Vampire Interloper, cast both of them, and ended my turn. My opponent got a Cat token during his upkeep, and then equipped both Flayer Husks to Kemba. He cast Dispatch on my Bloodline Keeper. I made a Vampire token in response, and he ended his turn. I drew another Rakish Heir, cast it, and attacked with my three flying Vampires, dropping my opponent to 5. Each one got 3 counters, and I ended my turn. My opponent drew his card and conceded.




This deck is a lot of fun, and takes more skill to play than it seems at first glance. To get the most out of the deck, you sometimes have to make what can seem like a bad play to make sure you get a creature through. With a few Curses or Rakish Heirs, dealing just 1 damage can mean you have a 5/5 ready to go next turn. The deck can be extremely powerful with the right draws, and the fact that Bloodline Keeper can win the game by himself is a nice bonus. If you’re dreading the rotation of your Vampire deck, or if you just have the urge to play with some Sliths, this is a great deck to try out at your local FNM.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, you can find me on the forums under Twinblaze, on Twitter under @Twinblaze2, or simply leave a comment below.

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