Orzhov Vampires

Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord (M20) Art by Chase Stone
Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord (M20) Art by Chase Stone

Vampire decks in Core Set 2020 Standard have become much more powerful with the introduction of some key cards – this is our full guide to the deck as well as an updated decklist.


Sample Decklist

  • Event: Star City Games Open Worcester
  • Player: Dustin Taylor
  • Ranking: 5th place
4 Adanto Vanguard (XLN) 1
4 Champion of Dusk (RIX) 64
4 Knight of the Ebon Legion (M20) 105
4 Legion Lieutenant (RIX) 163
3 Sanctum Seeker (XLN) 120
4 Skymarcher Aspirant (RIX) 21
4 Vicious Conquistador (XLN) 128
4 Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord (M20) 115
7 Plains (XLN) 261
7 Swamp (XLN) 269
4 Godless Shrine (RNA) 248
4 Isolated Chapel (DAR) 241
3 Cast Down (DAR) 81
1 Mortify (RNA) 192
3 Legion's Landing (XLN) 22

2 Despark (WAR) 190
2 Disfigure (M20) 95
3 Noxious Grasp (M20) 110
2 Vona, Butcher of Magan (XLN) 231
1 Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants (M19) 3
1 Sorin, Vengeful Bloodlord (WAR) 217
4 Duress (XLN) 105

Vampire tribal decks before Core Set 2020 were more likely to have been a budget or casual build, based on the White/Black starter deck given to new players. Core Set 2020 gives the deck a critical mass of Vampire synergies that may push the deck to be much more than a fun casual deck.

We had a brief look at the deck on our first day of Core Set 2020, but MPL player William Jensen has achieved number one ranking with the deck, which put the deck on a lot of people’s radars.

Decklist

Vampires by William Jensen

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Creature (24)
2
Dusk Legion Zealot
2
Duskborne Skymarcher
4
Legion Lieutenant
4
Skymarcher Aspirant
Instant (3)
Enchantment (4)
Land (23)
4
Isolated Chapel
Cards 60

Deck Strategy

This version of the Vampire deck features an aggro, lower mana curve build and is built and played similar to the already established Mono White Aggro deck. The deck performs best in a new metagame where there is less interaction with each other, and you are more free to establish the battlefield.

Individually, Vampires have low impact so your goal is to build up an army as quickly as possible. Legion Lieutenant will be your most critical source of damage – saving it for later turns after your opponent has used some removal on your other Vampires might be a better strategy.

Your card draw engine will be Champion of Dusk, which ideally will be cheated into play using the ability from Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord. It will allow you to refill your hand, but be wary of how much life you may be losing from its ability.

Planeswalkers such as Sorin, Vengeful Bloodlord and Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants allow you to bring back Vampires from the graveyard, and Legion’s Landing gives the deck some resilience.

Card Choices

Creatures

There are 58 Vampire creatures available to play in Standard, and this particular deck features only the effective ones for the aggro strategy. They don’t try to do anything too fancy, except Knight of the Ebon Legion which by itself is a pretty strong card. Other considerations can be tested for the higher costed Vampires as we can make use of Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord’s ability a bit more.

Remember Knight of the Ebon Legion’s ability can be activated more than once in a turn if you have the excess mana.

Planeswalkers

Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord is what gives this deck an edge. It can do a lot of things only for 3 mana. After you have cheated out a Vampire with its -3 ability (ideally Champion of the Dusk), you can then sacrifice some Vampires to deal 3 damage, and bring them back with Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants or Sorin, Vengeful Bloodlord.

Others

Legion’s Landing is a staple in Mono White Aggro, and also here as it doubles up as a Vampire card. Mortify is a versatile removal spell, that can also remove important Enchantments like Search for Azcanta and Wilderness Reclamation. It not remove Planeswalkers, but hopefully you will be able to pressure them with your creatures.

Matchup and Sideboard Guide

The sideboard is built to be more favorable against its weakest match ups – midrange and control decks that interact with you via creature removal. With several cards offering lifelink to Vampires, the deck is well equipped against other aggro decks.

Conclusion

The Vampire deck is no doubt one of the tribes that shines in the new Core Set 2020 Standard format due to its powerful new Planeswalker, but it remains to be seen whether it can be a strong contender in the metagame. The deck can also be built in different ways, as there are other Vampire cards that can be explored. We think that the deck is well positioned in the early stages of the new Standard format but fade as players build better decks.

Another thing to consider is that the key components of the deck are rotating out with the next set Archery, and cards like Knight of the Ebon Legion and Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord are not very useful outside of this deck. However, much of the deck consists of commons and uncommons, which means the deck is also relatively easy to build.

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