Well here’s a novel idea, we thought: for Rise of the Vampires’ playtest, why not put it up in a “mirror-match” of sorts against Zendikar’s mono-White equivalent, Kor Armory. As we’d hoped, this yielded a very spirited contest for Sam and I, and changed our thinking on one of the deck’s power cards- not for the better.
As previously discussed on our feature on Vampires in Magic, the eclipse of the Zombie tribe by the Vampires entered full swing with the Zendikar set. Although a last-minute addition in design, they went on to stake a claim to a very flavourful part of Zendikar lore. Rise of the Vampires, as a mono-Black deck, seeks to showcase this aspect of the set, and does a respectable job of giving them their proper showing. The model was successful enough that Wizards would go on to recur it in Worldwake, which featured an updated version of the concept.
In previous incarnations, Vampires tended to be bigger and at the higher rarities. Magic’s “Vampire 2.0” slotted nicely in the design space once occupied by their less comely Undead bretheren- namely, the Zombies- which was comprised of Weenie creatures with frequent ‘twist’ abilities or gimmicks. In our analysis of the deck, there is no better place to begin.