Thursday, 25 July 2019 13:04

Review: 'Commander 2017: Vampiric Bloodlust'

Written by
Review: 'Commander 2017: Vampiric Bloodlust' WOTC / VOLKAN BAGA

Magic: The Gathering has gone tribal with its Commander 2017 preconstructed EDH decks with each of the four decks having their own creature type focused themes -- Cats, Dragons, Vampires, and Wizards.


Compared to other Commander 2017 decks, Vampiric Bloodlust might be the most consistent to play.  It's a good aggressive mid-range deck with a focus on smaller creatures that can grow into large powerhouses.  That said, the deck relies on momentum probably more than the other three C17 decks.  Thankfully, the deck has a lot of removal to keep opponents off-kilter.

The face of Vampiric Bloodlust is the new card Edgar Markov, who was the first vampire of Innistrad.  A three-color 4/4 for six mana, he helps players both go wide through his vampire-cheating Eminence ability while also helping them go big with his ability to put +1/+1 counters on all of your vampires each time he attacks.  Aside from Draconic Domination's The Ur Dragon, Edgar Markov may be the best default commander in this year's batch.

There are two other new legendary creatures included in Vampiric Bloodlust.  Licia, Sanguine Tribune is  a bit more selfish than Edgar as her ability largely only affects her, but she goes will with a life gain deck and can discount herself around the commander tax.  Unfortunately, she isn't very exciting and is overall a bit of a disappointment.  Thankfully, Mathas, Fiend Seeker, is a bit more appealing than Licia.  A three-colored 3/3 with menace for three mana, Mathas is very appealing economically and is pure politics.  Thing "group hug" with a twist.  He lets you single out one opponent at a time and puts a big target on that player's creatures, incentivising and rewarding other players (you included) to go after that player and that player's targeted creature.  He provides a great way to control the game at large, underhandedly tilting the balance of power in your favor.

Looking at Vampiric Bloodlust's non-legendaries, there are a few cards of note.  Crimson Honor Guard is one of them.  This mono-red creature punishes players every turn with four damage for simply not having their commander in play.  The downside, however, is that this includes you.  While designed for EDH, it would be interesting to see if anyone tries to brew something with Crimson Honor Guard in a different format such as casual Legacy.  Another notable card is Patron of the Vein, which is a 4/4 with flying that not only has built-in ETB removal, but also buffs all of your vampires with a +1/+1 counter whenever an opponent's creature bites the dust.

Looking at all the uncommons, Bloodline Necromancer deserves special recognition.  It's a 2/3 with lifelink for 4B that is able to bring a vampire back from the (un)dead, plopping it back onto the battlefield for another go.  That' nice two-for-one value and since its ability is ETB, it could be fairly easy to abuse.

Another new single worth highlighting in the Vampiric Bloodlust deck is the sorcery New Blood.  If played right (or simply in the right scenario), it could be the most powerful card in the entire deck.  Way back in the day, black had a similar card called Ritual of the Machine and it was difficult to deal with at the time because it's a creature-stealing Control Magic sort of card, but on a bit of a more permanent basis because there's no aura to destroy and allow players to get their creature back.  The downside then, however, is that you'd have to sacrifice one of your own creatures and Ritual of the Machine couldn't hit black or artifact creatures.  For the same casting cost, New Blood is stricktly better as players only need to tap one of their vampires rather than sacrifice it and the card can hit any targetable creature regardless of its color (or lack of thereof).  Plus, by changing the creature's type to vampire, the stolen creature also gets to befefit from the "vampires matters" cards such as Edgar Markov and Patron of the Vein.  Exciting!

One final new single that's absolutely bonkers is the nostalgia-heavy Teferi's Protection.  This card is easily one of the most exciting in all of the C17 decks.  It's the ultimate protection card for players and their creatures.  Defensively, it's extremely powerful thanks to it giving you protection from everything and locking in your life total at whatever it is until your next turn, but it also phases (yes, phasing is back) out all of yourpermanents.  And it's that phasing part that can make Teferi's Protection a very curel offensive card as well.  Imagine casting Armageddon, holding priority, then casting Teferi's Protection, thus phasing out your permanents and saving your lands while your opponents' lands go bye-bye.  Similar can happen with Wrath of God, Obliterate, and darn near any other board wipe option you can think of.  You might not make any friends playing this way, but dang if it isn't a cool (and cruel) way to go.

As was mentioned earlier, Vampiric Bloodlust plays well as an aggressive mid-range deck.  Unlike the cats deck, which has a muddied focus between going wide and going tall, Vampiric Bloodlust does a good job at doing both.  Players should be able to keep tempo fairly well thanks in part to the deck's removal options and selection of both value and effective on-curve cards.  Having two of the top overall cards between the four decks in New Blood and Teferi's Protection is a bonus and really makes this deck quite appealing from both a player's and a collector's standpoint.

The Magic: The Gathering Commander 2017 deck Vampiric Bloodlust is available now at retailers at $34.99.