Mythic Championship Barcelona is unfortunately Modern, which means that despite my love for the current Standard and Core Set 2020 Draft, I will need to focus primarily on Modern and Modern Horizons Draft. I still stream every morning on Magic Arena, and I like this current Standard a lot because there are infinite viable decks. Two caught my attention delivered a very good win rate: Vampires and Simic Steal.

Today I’m focusing on Vampires, and will follow up with another article on the Simic deck.

Andrea Mengucci – B/W Vampires in Standard

7 Plains
7 Swamp
4 Godless Shrine
4 Isolated Chapel
3 Sanctum Seeker
4 Champion of Dusk
4 Legion Lieutenant
2 Dusk Legion Zealot
4 Knight of the Ebon Legion
4 Adanto Vanguard
3 Skymarcher Aspirant
2 Vicious Conquistador
4 Legion's Landing/Adanto, the First Fort
2 Mortify
2 Cast Down
4 Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord

Sideboard
4 Noxious Grasp
2 Despark
3 Duress
2 Gideon Blackblade
2 Devout Decree
2 Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants
Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord

Vampires might seem a tribal joke deck, but it’s actually very strong, especially thanks to Sorin, Imperial Bloodlord. I streamed with Vampires for two days in a row and I started counting the percentage of games in which I played Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord on Turn 3 and won–and that percentage was 100%.

The card is fantastic, either as a Show and Tell for Champion of Dusk or Sanctum Seeker, or to boost your Adanto’s Vanguard, as well as being a spot removal for some key creatures like Hero of Precinct One or Hostage Taker. Sorin is the reason why this deck is better than White Weenie and Sorin is one of the many reason why Esper (either Control or Aggro) is now much worse-positioned in the metagame.

Before talking about sideboarding, I’ll briefly talk about some deck building decisions.

Unclaimed Territory

While Unclaimed Territory fixes your mana, it also makes Isolated Chapel come into play tapped, and I hate taplands to the point that I’m not playing any Temple of Silence. On top of that, Unclaimed Territory doesn’t help cast Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants or Gideon Blackblade out of the sideboard. The mana base is unfortunately bad–15 sources per color isn’t enough–but I don’t want to play any Temple of Silence, I hate playing taplands in aggressive decks, and I’d rather have a slightly worse mana base and mulligan when needed.

Vona, Butcher of MaganSanctum Seeker

From Oliver Tiu’s list, I cut Vona in place of the third Sanctum Seeker. I think that having a creature without a clear ETB ability is too difficult against removal or Teferi, Time Reveler. Vona can take over the game, but so can Sanctum Seeker. Also, the fact that it costs one less mana in a deck with 22 lands is something to note.

Ajani, Adversary of TyrantsSorin, Vengeful Bloodlord

My viewers know my hate for this Sorin, and you should know it too. It’s a meme at this point so I felt the need to point it out before anyone could ask about it in the comments: it’s an awful card, don’t ever put it in your deck.

Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants, on the other hand, is a great planeswalker with three solid abilities. Unfortunately, I don’t think it can fit into the deck anywhere, as I want to have a cheap curve, and the only expensive cards have to be Vampires so Sorin can put them into play.

Two slots in the sideboard is as much as I can do, as I love it against any Control decks together with Gideon Blackblade.

Gideon Blackblade

Gideon Blackblade is the card chat most often suggests I sideboard, and most of the time I don’t. Gideon is only good in matchups without creatures like Simic Nexus or Esper Control, where they try to answer your cheap creatures and then go over the top. Gideon is fantastic against Esper Control, and one of the few ways White Weenie could beat Esper in the previous Standard.

Against those decks, I’ll cut Legion Lieutenant, as you’ll rarely go wide. Sanctum Seeker is bad against Kaya’s Wrath, but very good against Fog.

Sideboarding

Vs Nissa Ramp decks

In

Noxious GraspNoxious GraspNoxious GraspNoxious Grasp

Out

MortifyMortifyDusk Legion ZealotDusk Legion Zealot

When sideboarding in Noxious Grasp to answer Nissa, Who Shakes the World, you need to take out Mortify in order to balance your deck so you’re not left with too many reactive cards. You are still an aggressive deck, after all. Only sideboard in Duress against Nexus of Fate decks, I don’t like Duress against Simic Steal or any other sort of Nissa deck.

Vs Esper Hero

In

DuressDuress

Out

Legion LieutenantLegion Lieutenant

I’ve beaten Esper the few times I’ve played against. I think I was overboarding most of the times, and I think you don’t need to change much in order to be favorite. I like just a couple of Duress to snag a Kaya’s Wrath. And I like to board out Lieutenant since you don’t want to go wide against a deck with Kaya’s Wrath.

Vs Mono-Red

In

Devout DecreeDevout Decree

Out

Dusk Legion ZealotDusk Legion Zealot

While I used to sideboard in Despark when playing Esper, I don’t think it’s right here. We’re a proactive deck, so we want fewer reactive cards. Also it’s not guaranteed that our opponent will have too many expensive cards against us, so I don’t like it. The lifegain off Gideon Blackblade is totally irrelevant, and Gideon is not a good card against Mono-Red.

I think Vampires is a very good deck for the next three months, future will be unclear since we don’t know if “Archery” (the next set) will have Vampires, since many from Ixalan will rotate out. But it will be fun until then!