August 24, 2017

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Commander 2017 Breakdown (Part 3)

Welcome everyone to another instalment of the Commander 2017 Breakdown as we count down to release day this Friday. My name is Adam, and I'm here to go over this year's new preconstructed decks and offer a few suggestions on how they can be built upon. As a reminder, I'll be doing my best to stick to the tribal theme of these new decks, and my suggestions are specifically meant for a multiplayer environment. I'm also sticking to a top five selection (as per the upcoming Commander 2017 League), but I may digress into a few honourable mentions as well.

Now, without further ado, it's time to sink my teeth into today's deck: Vampiric Bloodlust!

Vampiric Bloodlust

Creatures (26)
Spells (36)
Lands (37)

Mardu is no slouch when it comes to removal, and this deck shows that right away. Odds are pretty good I'll be starting the game with some targeted removal in hand, thanks to the 10 spells (of varying mana cost and type) already built in, and that's only counting cards that will have an immediate impact on the board. Time to be the fun police!

If I'm going to play aggressively, Edgar Markov is an excellent choice for my Commander. Alternatively, and with a bit more re-working, this deck also offers the very capable Mathas, Fiend Seeker as an option for a Group Hug style build. Edgar's power level is significant thanks mainly to his Eminence ability, so unless you enjoy multiplayer politics more than I, he's my choice to lead this deck to victory.

My first recommendation is an obvious one. I can't see Sanguine Bond in a Vampire deck and not recommend the other half of this game ending combo. Having both Sanguine and Exquisite Blood on the field may be unlikely, but each half is strong enough to stand alone in this preconstructed build. If I wanted to make the combo more consistent, I could include Enlightened Tutor in the deck, or any of the numerous mono-black tutors that don't give away information to my opponents.

So many of the spells in this deck need one or more black sources, I feel like Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth is a necessity. It will diversify the mana base early on without sacrificing functionality, and as the deck is improved it can combine with cards like Cabal Coffers, Liliana of the Dark Realms, or Crypt Ghast to great effect.

Life drain grants us a significant advantage in this deck, and a well timed Exsanguinate can win a game, either as a killing blow, or to stabilize and turn the tables at a critical juncture. I can even put my opponents life to good use with Licia, Sanguine Tribune, if I'm lucky enough to have both available.

She may not have seen much Standard play, but Drana, Liberator of Malakir is an excellent addition to this tribal deck. When her ability triggers, it occurs before most of our creatures will be able to deal or receive damage. I should have a number of expendable Vampires from Edgar's Eminence ability, and my opponents will quickly need to start spending removal before the tokens get out of hand. Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet almost made the cut here, but he's been acting weird ever since he started hanging out with Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger...

I'm fairly certain the rules don't allow my own creatures to attack a Planeswalker I control (barring shenanigans), so Sorin, Grim Nemesis is my obligatory choice for the role. He's a bit up there on the mana curve, but all of his abilities are more than strong enough to make up for it. His plus hits all opponents and gives us card advantage, so unless there's a serious threat to him on board, that's my default mode. His minus can clear out most serious threats, and help police a board if he sticks around for a while. To top it all off, if I'm in a bad way and need a ton of blockers fast, his ultimate is absolutely beastly in Commander.

That about wraps things up for this installment of the Commander 2017 Breakdown. If you'd like to weigh in on one of my recommendations, think I missed something, or have preferred picks of your own, please let me know in the comments below.

As always, if you're in the Ottawa area and would like to put your new Commander 2017 deck to use, please check out our store Events page for our brand new Commander 2017 League. With decks like this one, it's sure to be a bloody good time!