Of the 4 tribes in Ixalan, only Vampires saw any sort of competitive play before the release of Rivals and the bannings in Standard occurred. Mono-White Vampires offered synergies, curve, and power, but it wasn’t tier 1 in a world of Temur Energy and Rampaging Ferocidon. The Vampires got some major additions from Rivals and could be the best tribe in Standard still.
Legion Lieutenant is a game-changer. A 2/2 creature for 2 is serviceable—pumping your entire team, however, is incredible. Glorious Anthem and similar effects tend to cost 3 mana and don’t come with a body attached, but a 2/2 for 2 that pumps all your other Vampires is exactly what the tribe needed to be competitive.
Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle is another payoff in a Vampire deck that’s looking to remain aggressive. You don’t have to attack with Mavren, and in fact you won’t be doing that often, but your 1- and 2-drops give you immediate value on turn 3. Curving into a Mavren that now makes a Vampire token on both turns 3 and 4 puts you way ahead on board and demands specific answers that many decks don’t have.
As far as aggressive Vampire creatures are concerned, white has them in spades. Skymarcher Aspirant is another in a long line of 2/1 white creatures for a single mana, but its value later in the game thanks to ascend makes Aspirant special. You can achieve the city’s blessing in a reasonable time frame thanks to all of your token production, and a 2/1 flyer for 1 before any pump effects is a big threat.
Adanto Vanguard is about as pushed as an aggressive creature can be. A 3-power attacker for 2 mana, the ability to protect it will really put the opponent under pressure if they want to block. Curving Vanguard into Mavren means that you’ll always have a creature to attack with, and all of your life gain helps counter any life you might pay to keep your Vanguards around.
Dusk Legion Zealot is effectively Elvish Visionary, and we all know how good that card has been in Modern and Legacy. Paying a life is a cost, but you’re getting a Vampire and an extra card out of the deal. This keeps the fuel coming, adds a permanent to the battlefield, and is ready to be pumped.
Yahenni, Undying Partisan gives you an outlet to sacrifice your tokens and another aggressive, resilient threat. Traditional removal isn’t answering Yahenni or your Vanguards, which allows you to stay aggressive.
Elenda, the Dusk Rose gives you more play against removal. This can be a great combo on both sides with Yahenni as you can sacrifice creatures to put counters on Elenda and sacrifice Elenda to make more tokens.
Legion’s Landing provides another way to start your curve while eventually flipping into a late game threat that can take over the game with token production. Call to the Feast puts 3 permanents on the board, some lifelinking threats, and plays extra well with cards like Legion Lieutenant.
Radiant Destiny on Vampire gives you yet more anthems and a way to pump up your many tokens. Vigilance on your larger creatures, many of which have lifelink naturally, will also make racing close to impossible. If anyone was dreaming of trying, you have Fatal Push as a nice tempo removal spell.
Rivals has added some amazing cards to the Vampire archetype and it’s now an aggressive machine full of efficient threats, anthems, and life gain!