Tag Archives: mono black

Trials and Tribal-ations: Mono-Black Vampires

For this article, like all the previous ones I had to make a decision.  I could have written about mono-black zombies, but zombies have been played to death (see what I did there?).  Vampires, while certainly not being an obscure black tribe, at least haven’t had multiple articles written about them this year.  When I was compiling my list of the best and brightest vampires in Magic, I was surprised at how small the tribe is.  Wizards designers surely took this fact into account when they decided to visit the tribe in the Zendikar block, and the Innistrad block just a year later.  There’s still a lot of room in Magic for vampires.  That said, some great ones have been printed both recently and further back in Magic’s history.  Since historically vampires have been likely sprinkled lightly in sets for flavor, their abilities go in a lot of directions.  Black magic has a few inherent qualities.  Black magic is very good at killing things.  Black mana is willing to supply a planeswalker with the resources he or she needs to win, for a price.  You won’t find a black mage practicing dark arts with power drawn from black mana who isn’t willing to pay with his life.  This is the nature of black mana.  Vampires exist here.  Unlike zombies, vampires are well aware of the price for power.  Unlike the black clerics, vampires already have a vast amount of power, and they aren’t about to spend their energy entreating other forces, like groveling at the feet of demons or evil avatars, or raising filthy zombies to do their bidding.  Vampires worship only their own ambitions, and they will do anything necessary to realize them.  In Magic, there are a few things, though, that you can expect vampires to do.  First, a lot of great vampires can fly.  Second, the longer they exist, the more powerful vampires become.  And thirdly, whatever else is going on in the game, you can expect things to be dying around vampires.  This just happens.  If you’re familiar with Interview With a Vampire, you may better understand how hard it is for a vampire to deny his or her nature.  Stuff dies.  Whether the vampire’s ability requires sacrifice, causes a sacrifice, or just straight up kills another creature, being around vampires is a dangerous business.  The main thing that ties all the great vampires together, however, is their efficiency.  With these creatures, you get a lot more utility than you pay for.  First, we’ll make a list tuned for power.  If we want a power list, the first place we look is Vampire Nocturnus.  This guy is a house, obviously.  He’s also managed to stay around $20 despite being printed in M10, and never seeing much competitive play.  Since I’m basically going for more budget decks, let’s leave him out of it.  Next up on the power scale we have Bloodlord of Vaasgoth.  He was just printed last summer, and this card is very cool.  I love getting bonuses for things I would do anyway, and the Bloodlord does just that.  He rewards you for attacking with vampires, then casting vampires in your second main phase. Continue reading Trials and Tribal-ations: Mono-Black Vampires