Vampires in Rivals of Ixalan

The new set Rivals of Ixalan contains a lot of good tribal cards, including fan favorite vampires. Cards like Legion Lieutenant and Radiant Destiny look really strong, but thats just to start. This article discusses the top 10 vampire cards of Rivals of Ixalan and shows a sample vampire deck, too.

At Pro Tour Ixalan, pirates, merfolk, and dinosaurs did not see any play, but some people had decent success with vampires. The mono white vampire deck tries to swarm the board and finish the opponent with a big army. Rivals of Ixalan contains several new interesting vampire cards. When vampire was a decent strategy before Rivals of Ixalan, then it definitely is now. Here are the top 10 vampire cards of Rivals of Ixalan.

Top 10 Vampire Cards of Rivals of Ixalan

  1. Legion LieutenantLegion Lieutenant alone is the main reason why vampire decks got so much better. Vampires were missing a card which makes your small creatures bigger. The lord is cheap, efficient and can lead to quick kills.
  2. Legion Lieutenant
  3. Skymarcher Aspirant2 power for one mana in an aggressive standard deck is pretty decent already. Since Skymarcher Aspirant is a vampire, it is actually more than just a 2/1. It gets bigger with lords or can trigger cards like Mavren Fein. Since your game plan is to swarm the board, Ascend shouldn't be hard to get.
  4. Skymarcher Aspirant
  5. Radiant DestinySince vampires seems to be a fast deck with a bunch of small creatures, an additional anthem effect can't hurt. Even though Legion Lieutenant is probably better, you will likely want to play both. Getting the city’s blessing is not very relevant here, but it can be good in some scenarios.
  6. Radiant Destiny
  7. Dusk Legion ZealotElvish Visionary is an important card for elves and it stands to reason that it might also be good for vampires. Not only is it a vampire for free which benefits from anthem effects, but it also can trigger Paladin of Atonement or can be a fodder for Yahenni.
  8. Dusk Legion Zealot
  9. Martyr of DuskWhat looks like a good limited card could be pretty good in constructed, too. Martyr of Dusk is a resilient 2-drop, which can efficiently trade against other small creatures or is an annoying threat against most removal spells.
  10. Martyr of Dusk
  11. Elenda, the Dusk RoseElenda could be an important card against decks with sweepers. It also works well with your own removal spells as long as the opponent’s creatures are actually dying and not being exiled. Another way to abuse Elenda, the Dusk Rose is to sacrifice your own creatures. One example of this is Yahenni, Undying Partisan. If cards like Magma Spray and Moment of Craving are not played heavily, Elenda can easily make the cut.
  12. Elenda, the Dusk Rose
  13. Champion of DuskChampion of Dusk could be a good curve topper after you played out your hand. 5 mana is a lot though, so maybe it is more of a sideboard card for the mirror match.
  14. Champion of Dusk
  15. Twilight ProphetIt is hard to evaluate Twilight Prophet, because it really depends on how reliable you can get the city’s blessing. There could be a vampire list including treasure map, Legion’s Landing and other token generators, where getting the city’s blessing fast enough might not be that difficult.
  16. Twilight Prophet
  17. Bishop of BindingBishop of Binding can win a game by itself if it stays on the battlefield unanswered, but one toughness is most likely too vulnerable. If you spend 4 mana to cast this and the opponent just uses Shock to kill it, you will likely fall behind. Maybe the Bishop could be a sideboard option against decks like Merfolk which have no good removal spells.
  18. Bishop of Binding
  19. Paladin of AtonementYou do not have to hope that the opponent is attacking you, because there are also other ways Paladin of Atonement can grow. While Pain deserts are an elegant way to put a counter on the Paladin each turn, Adanto Vanguard and Dusk Legion Zealot work as well. The Paladin could function like a Longtusk Cub in the right decklist, while his second ability makes sure you get your invested life back after it dies.
  20. Paladin of Atonement

Sample List

With all these new tools, there are many ways to build a vampire deck now. This deck is an aggressive version with some backup plans against sweepers. In theory, cards like Yhanni, Adanto Vanguard, and Elenda work well against Fumigate or Sweltering Sun. Dusk Legion Zealot, Mavren Fein, and Legion’s Landing generate card advantage and the rest of the deck pumps your Vampires for quick kills. The mana is always an issue in the current standard format, but this deck should be fine by having 17 white sources and 13 black sources to cast your vampires. The real problem is post-board. You want to bring in spells like Duress, which can hard to cast because of Unclaimed Territory restriction. Playing Forsaken Sanctuary would hurt too much because you have too many 1 drops and really want to curve out. Still, Duress is too important against control decks and, with 9 sources, you should be able to cast it before the opponent can play their mass removal most of the time. The extra Swamp in the sideboard can help to cast your Duress or Champions of Dusk. Maybe Kitesail Freebooter is better than Duress because you can cast it with Unclaimed Territory though.

Conclusion

Before Rivals of Ixalan, there were not a lot of reasons to build a B/W Vampire deck instead of a mono white one. Legion Lieutenant could change that. The Lieutenant is the reason you want to play black now, but there are other interesting cards as well. It will be exciting to see which vampire deck list will end up on top.  

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