Let me preface this article by saying: I’m hyped for Commander 2017. I’ve always loved tribal decks. My first true standard deck (created right after the Scars of Mirrordin pre-release) was black-red vampires. Sure, I lost to caw-blade all of the time… but who didn’t? I love tribal so much that I approached Strictly to create a weekly serial focused around the best, the worst, and all of the tribes in between. Naturally I will begin my first article highlighting the best tribe in Magic: vampires!
The first vampire in Magic has been around since Alpha: Sengir Vampire. In his heyday Sengir Vampire was a powerhouse. A five converted mana cost (2 black 3 colorless) 4/4 with flying that only got stronger as it destroyed creatures was perfect for black decks as their very own Serra Angel. Despite being a fan-favorite, Sengir Vampire never found his glory. The gold bordered championship decks were printed from 1997-2004 and not a single copy of Sengir Vampire graced one of these decks. Sengir Vampire would remain the only vampire in Magic until Krovakin Vampire came out in Ice Age.
Krovikan Vampire is bad. Like, really really bad. Five converted mana cost (2 black 3 colorless) 3/3 that allows you to gain control of a creature if he deals damage to it and it dies the same turn. At the time there was also no way for a creature to deal its damage to another creature with a card like Fall of the Hammer, making this card pretty terrible. However, from a lore perspective it’s a bombshell. The vampire “turns” the creatures it kills and puts them under his control. The only other good part of this card is the art by Quinton Hoover. Hoover depicts a very classic fantasy vampire plunging his fangs into the neck of his victim.
From Alpha to Ice Age only these two vampires were printed. It wouldn’t be until October 1995 with the release of everyone’s favorite set that the third vampire in Magic would be printed. Tune in next week as I discuss Homelands, Baron Sengir, and the wonders of the Grand Creature Update!