Wallet Warriors: Edgar Markov
Whenever I hear people reminisce about their early magic days it always fills me with thoughts of the color Black and, more specifically, Vampires!
Welcome back Wallet Warriors! I’ve got a very flavorful deck for you all this time around. When I was first introduced to the game and the color pie was shown to me I was almost immediately seduced by the dark side. The one thing that I’ve loved about the color Black can be summed up pretty neatly in the flavor text of the card Dark Confidant: “Greatness, at any cost”.
What Black does best is sacrifice it’s own resources for an even greater gain. This can be incredibly powerful when used correctly but you have to be careful not to fly too close to the sun (especially when vampires are concerned.)
The deck I have for you today is a fully on-theme Vampire deck led by none other than the very first vampire on Innistrad, Edgar Markov! The deck will run you about 90 bucks with tons of room for improvements over time. Here’s the list!
If you’d like to see the deck separated by the categories I talk about click here.
The deck has no non-vampire creatures and I’ve done my best to make sure every card follows this blood-sucking theme. This means we are playing some sub-optimal cards because they fit the theme but that doesn’t mean the deck is necessarily weak. Vampires have had so much support this past year that the deck can have some strong games just off the back of the impressive creature suite.
Beyond just playing a bunch of vampires and hoping to run our opponents over we have two main synergies we’re looking to take advantage of in this deck. The first is turning our expendable vampire tokens into valuable resources. The second is draining life from our opponents and spending the extra life to good effect.
Alright, let’s get into the categories!
I want to start off with what Vampires do best, sucking blood! I have clumped into this section some of our cards that drain life as well as those that spend it for some benefit.
A lot of our life drain comes in the form of good ol’ fashioned Lifelink. Here we’ve got Vampire Nighthawk, Tithe Drinker and Edgar told me wouldn’t let his vampires out of the mansion without the Markov Patrician.
We also have Sanctum Seeker in this section because he is incredibly good at gaining tons of life. This wonderful limited bomb out of Ixalan might be one of the strongest cards in this deck. The fact that it triggers off each vampire that attacks synergizes very well with the tokens Markov generates. On top of that it has the two wonderful words “each opponent” on it which, whenever it appears on new cards, continues to show that the design team takes multiplayer formats seriously.
Campaign of Vengeance has a similar effect to Sanctum Seeker but doesn’t hit every opponent which is unfortunate. It is much harder to remove as an enchantment though so you can feel safer dropping it relatively early even for just a couple of life to start.
After we’ve successfully padded our life total at our opponents’ expense we can spend that life to draw cards with Sign in Blood, Bitter Revelation and Arguel’s Blood Fast.
For the Greater Good
Now I know what you’re thinking. It’s extremely cruel to sacrifice the vampires that literally join our army because of their loyalty to the Markov bloodline. You would be correct. But we’re going to do it anyway because they don’t really seem to care, they just keep coming.
The beauty of having Edgar as our commander is that we don’t need to put in any extra work to make expendable tokens. Tacking on a 1/1 Vampire to every creature we play may not seem like much at first glance but there are lots of hidden benefits to the ability.
We can turn the loyal vampire horde into cards with Vampiric Rites and Skullclamp. Ashnod’s Altar let’s us turn them into mana which is great since we’re a bit light on ramp in these colors. Indulgent Aristocrat and Bloodflow Connoisseur convert them into power and then we have Butcher of Malakir, Blood Artist and Falkenrath Noble that really appreciate sending some vampires to an early grave.
Strength in Numbers
Here we have our captains that can pump our army. Stromkirk Captain, Captivating Vampire, Bloodlord of Vaasgoth, Rakish Heir and their trusty Vanquisher’s Banner all do a great job of helping out the smaller infantry. The banner is secretly the most powerful out of the group because it allows you to dump your hand without actually going down on cards.
We then have a couple big finishers in Malakir Bloodwitch and Bishop of the Bloodstained. These types of effects that make opponents lose life can be invaluable in a long game where someone has built up a huge amount of defenses, be that with creatures or defensive enchantments and artifacts.The fact that they do not deal damage is something I think a lot of people will overlook. It can be very relevant when someone has gotten out a Glacial Chasm, or a similar type of damage preventing effect, and expect to be fully protected. Make sure to keep an eye out for when their smug smile turns to horror as they read your card you just plopped down.
Clearing the Way
Here we have our removal suite. This is the spot you will find our strongest cards because we can easily remain on theme while still playing some great removal.
We have a big list of great spot removal options in Anguished Unmaking, Slaughter, Feast of Blood, Mortify, New Blood, Profane Command, Urge to Feed, and Victim of Night. It’s not difficult to find ways to kill stuff in these colors while sticking to our spooky vampire theme.
In addition to our removal spells we’ve got vampires that can help clear the way on their own. Anowon, the Ruin Sage is fantastic since literally every creature in our deck is a vampire. Patron of the Vein just does it all, it’s a kill spell, messes with our opponent's graveyard shenanigans and pumps our dudes.
On top of all that we have reusable removal in Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief, Dark Impostor, Guul Draz Assassin and Vona, Butcher of Magan. Some of these can be pretty mana intensive to get going but having them as options is great since they’re typically good enough just as vampires for attacking and blocking.
Then to round it all out we have some board wipes for when the sun comes out and we’re at risk of getting overrun. Blasphemous Act, Kindred Dominance, Barter in Blood and Merciless Eviction. Merciless Eviction has recently become one of my all time favorite commander cards and here’s why. Selective board wipes are incredibly powerful in the mid-late game. They can often be used to just get rid of the most annoying permanent type for you at that stage in the game while leaving most of your board intact. Merciless Eviction also has the added bonus of just completely demolishing artifact or enchantment-based strategies.
These are just the rest of our good vampires that don’t really fit anywhere else. They provide some great utility so i’ll just quickly go over them.
We’ve got graveyard recursion vampires in Bloodline Necromancer and Bishop of Rebirth. Vampires that can grow out of hand when left to their own devices in Malakir Cullblade, Markov Blademaster and Markov Dreadknight. Some extra token makers in Paladin of the Bloodstained and Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle. Then the good old friend seeker, Mathas to help us draw some cards and make some friends.
I alluded to this up at the top of the article but there are tons of flavorful and powerful ways to improve this deck.
The first place I would go to is upgrading the vampires themselves as we have a few less than savory options in the current build. Olivia Voldaren, Drana, Liberator of Malakir and Bloodline Keeper are some very powerful options that can come down early and generate tons of value throughout the game.
Necropolis Regent, Nirkana Revenant and Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter are great top-end options.
Finally, adding almost any of the Sorin planeswalkers will make the deck better while simultaneously being a flavor slamdunk considering the blood relation to Edgar.
Hopefully you enjoyed this foray into something a bit different. This has actually been something I’ve wanted to build since I got into the format but had trouble finding the right balance. I’ve dabbled in vampire tribal in the past but never committed this deeply into the flavor. I really enjoyed how the deck turned out and it’s been a blast to play.
I hope I’ve pleased the vampire fans out there and I’ll see you all in a couple weeks, Cheers!
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