The Blood Harvest

Hey everybody,
It’s been a while since Magic has been at the forefront of my mind, but today I thought I’d once again spend a bit of time talking about a deck that I’ve been tinkering with recently. It’s an older red/black deck, which I think I’d originally built years ago – Vampires and Demons, Zombies and Wizards! It was, like many such decks, a bit of a homage to the deck I used so often with the android app, but has since evolved into something a bit more like my normal style of deck-building. Any time I’m building a paper deck, it’s hampered by the fact I didn’t get into the game until well after most of the legendary sets, such as Zendikar and Innistrad, so the card pool is somewhat limited! But still, enough prattling on, let’s look at the deck itself!

As always for me, it’s creature-heavy, but this one is particularly big on bodies.

Creatures (22)
Harvester of Souls
Blood Cultist
Kargan Dragonlord
Onyx Mage
Blind Zealot
Rakish Heir (2)
Bloodcrazed Neonate (2)
Markov Blademaster
Stromkirk Noble
Vampire Outcasts
Falkenrath Torturer
Falkenrath Aristocrat
Falkenrath Exterminator
Guul Draz Vampire
Kalastria Highborn
Vein Drinker (2)
Blood Seeker

Instants / Sorceries (5)
Uncanny Speed
Dark Temper
Vampire’s Bite
Feast of Blood
Blood Tribute

Enchantments (5)
Curse of Wizardry
Raid Bombardment
Talons of Falkenrath
Maniacal Rage
Claws of Valakut

Artifacts (3)
Veinfire Borderpost
Onyx Goblet
Elbrus, the Binding Blade

Land (25)
Swamp (11)
Mountain (9)
Lavaclaw Reaches
Crypt of Agadeem
Smoldering Spires
Teetering Peaks
Akoum Refuge

The main idea behind the deck, then, is to just beat on my opponent with constant attacks. There are a few effects that don’t allow my creatures to block, emphasizing the vicious nature of the deck. There aren’t really any key pieces for the deck, either, which is something of a philosophy for me when making these kinds of decks. Far too often, you’ll be playing a game with an army out there, and key cards are getting removed in one way or another; for me, it’s much better if I can just keep going with whatever I have to hand.

The Innistrad vampires have the subtheme of +1/+1 counters going onto cards, and I was thinking about including some of the Proliferate cards from Scars of Mirrodin block, as I have done with my Sheoldred deck, but I think this deck is a little less involved than that one. If the cards can generate counters, then that’s great, and there are a couple of “target creature can’t block” effects to hopefully get some combat damage through to make it happen, but that’s not the force of the deck, really.

It’s just all about dealing damage, all the time. There’s a little bit of deathtouch, and a little bit of intimidate, but otherwise we’re not being too fancy here. Sometimes it’s just good to go all out and kill stuff, you know? The big lad in the deck is the Harvester of Souls, which would be nice if he had some form of evasion like flying, but I think deathtouch can be enough of a deterrent at times that he should still be able to get some damage through. I’ve got Falkenrath Aristocrat in the deck as well, who is quite a powerhouse in the right circumstances. I was actually trying to alter the deck up to include more humans to sacrifice to her abilities before I realised that I basically have one copy of her in the deck, so it became a bit silly.

There are a couple of cards that I can still see myself swapping out, though for the moment I’m leaving them where they are. Raid Bombardment is just a nice call-back to my deck on the app, but isn’t really necessary for the deck to work (it’s just good to have, as there are a lot of low-power creatures here!) Falkenrath Exterminator is another of these cards that I think I could potentially do without, but for the time being I’m leaving him in, as well. I was considering going heavier with artifacts at one point as well, but that’s gone by the wayside somewhat, too.

It’s definitely the type of deck that I enjoy playing. Relatively straightforward, no requirement to set up a combo and won’t fall down if some cards get removed. There are a lot of singleton cards in here, so it’s not vulnerable to stuff that discards all copies, and stuff. Generally, it’s the kind of janky deck that nobody expects, and can very often do well as a result! But it can definitely be vulnerable to -2/-2 effects…

Having written all of this up, I am now kinda tempted to try and make this into a much more “streamlined” kind of deck. You know, the sort of deck where you have 4-of everything for maximum efficiency, and whatnot. I probably won’t, of course, as I can’t afford it, but it’s an interesting idea!! The deck originated in an idea that I’d had for making a singleton deck (aside from basic lands), and included a lot more cards from Alara block. It’s interesting to see how it has been refined into the Vampire deck that it is today, at any rate!

9 thoughts on “The Blood Harvest”

  1. When I played, the singleton format was only in commander. How do you find the deck, using that much mana? Do you have something allows you to get extra lands out?

    1. Nope, it’s just a straight up throw bodies at the opponent! In fairness, I do tend to use 23/24 lands per deck as a rule, no matter what type of deck it is. So far, it hasn’t really been a big problem.

      But I’m definitely moving it into a different direction. It’s still going to be janky, because pretty much all of my decks are, but hopefully it’ll be fun to play/play against!!

      What’s your Magic experience, then?

      1. I started playing in 95’ish, then stopped before going to Bibleschool and then got back into it around ’15 or so. Got into commander in ’16 and I was a “only edh” kind of guy after that. Then the guy I played with moved and WotC did a bunch of stuff I flat out disagreed with so now I don’t play anymore. I can’t play with random people, I need to know them and use the time of playing as a social time. Considering I’m an introvert, well, that makes it very tough to find new people 😀

        For decks, I’d usually buy the annual precons and modify them and play around that power level. I’d rather have a good time than win 🙂

      2. You sound like my kinda player, I have to say! Shame you don’t play anymore, but I do get it! I’m basically just playing in my boxes and boxes of cards, and rarely get involved with the game anymore. Too much like hard work!

        It’s not that I don’t try to win, but I don’t try to build decks to win – like you, I’d rather have a good time than anything else.

        If we were ever to play, I’d probably be too focused on trying to convince you about Cloak of Deception, after all 🤣

      3. Hahahahaha! If you were going on about Cloak, that would be perfect, as you wouldn’t be paying attention and I’d bring out 4 sol rings 😉

        I’ve gone through enough hobbies through the years that I’ve learned to accept when a hobby stops for me, whatever the reason. I still have 10’s of thousands of cards but they’re sitting in a cupboard waiting for me to do something with them (like sort out all the rares and mythics and trash the rest)

      4. Magic is an interesting one for me. I’ve not been in all that long, but while I’ve definitely waned a lot since the early years, it often manages to pull me back in somehow, and I end up writing a couple of blogs a year about it!

        But hey, if all you’re going to do is trash those cards, I could always find a home for them along with my unplayed cards 🤣

      5. I like magic a lot but without another person I already connect with, it doesn’t work out. One of the issues of being an introvert :-/

        Hahahaa. Well, if shipping to the UK wasn’t so expensive, you could have them for shipping 😀

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