Magic The Gathering: 2012: Vampire Onslaught
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Competitive Magic players often face the difficult choice between an aggressive deck that wins as fast as possible and a combo deck that uses powerful synergies to generate an insurmountable lead. With the "Vampire Onslaught" deck, you don't need to make that choice—you can have both!
Efficient attackers like Vampire Lacerator and Vampire Nighthawk hit hard enough on their own to win some games. With an excellent mana curve and eight removal spells (don't forget to "kick" your Gatekeepers of Malakir!), this deck can be played as a straightforward beatdown deck. Sometimes you're just going to drop a 4/4 Vampire Outcasts on the fourth turn and your opponent won't be able to catch up. But different cards in this deck can combine for an out-of-nowhere combo kill. The more you play with this deck, the more comfortable you'll be with those strategies. For example, Pawn of Ulamog effectively lets you get double use out of every creature you sacrifice to make Bloodthrone Vampire bigger, and Kalastria Highborn "drains" your opponent for 2 life every time you sacrifice a Vampire in that loop. That's a lot of life loss in a hurry.
Or suppose you have a creature equipped with Blade of the Bloodchief, a sacrifice outlet like Bloodthrone Vampire on the battlefield, and a Bloodghast anywhere in sight. Sacrificing Bloodghast gives you two +1/+1 counters on the equipped creature and an extra 2 damage in combat from the Bloodthrone Vampire. Then play a land and do it again! It's as though every land you draw is an extra 4 damage—and that's before your opponent is so low on life that Bloodghast has haste!
Your sideboard allows you to tailor your deck to beat what you're up against in games two and three. Against creature decks, you'll want to sideboard in Skinrenders and Go for the Throats to back up your Gatekeepers of Malakir—it's very possible to kill every single monster thrown at you. Vampire Nighthawk grants you some much-needed life against red decks, while Vampire Hexmage helps control your opponents' planeswalkers. Finally, against other combo decks or control strategies that rely on casting a single powerful spell, Distress allows you to deal with threats before they're even cast.
After you get more familiar with the deck, you might decide to amp up its combo elements. One way to do that is to max out on Bloodghast, Kalastria Highborn, and Blade of the Bloodchief. Alternatively, you might decide to focus on the beatdown approach. If so, you'll want to cut the higher-end spells for faster threats. You could decide to build a dedicated Vampire deck with cards like Malakir Bloodwitch from the Zendikar set or the brand-new Bloodlord of Vaasgoth from Magic 2012.