It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of gothic horror style stories and video games. Vampires especially. Starting way back to Vampire Hunter D, I was always intrigued by their life styles, vampiric powers and their moral stand of co-existing with humans.
Their decision to treat them as livestock, or as equals.
Of course growing up in America, your attention span only last for so long (minutes even) and I quickly got into comics in the early 90s. Again, I secretly had a crush on Vampirella, but couldn’t buy a single comic since my parents thought it was porn…
I guess they were partially right.
It wasn’t until Castlevania: Symphony of the Night brought me back into it in the mid-90s and Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust in the early 2000s. The art and design especially drew me in. When I got back into Magic, the Magic 2012 Event Deck caught my eye. Strictly all Vampires and aggro. Seemed really good at the time, but not the traditional beautiful, but deadly sort of way. Of course when Innistrad happened, I was incredibly deep into it’s lore.
Finally, Gothic horror in Magic the Gathering (with Angels too)!
More recently, whenever I play with casual players and their fresh starter deck from Target, I would normally play Pauper decks with them. If you’re not familiar with Pauper, it was originally a format found on MTGO or Magic Online which is comprised of only common cards. It has it’s own banned/restricted list, but the format is rather fun and challenging, especially if you’re on a budget.
One of the unique challenges was finding a way to play all the awesome Vampire cards in a functional deck that wasn’t so underpowered, but good enough to hold it’s own in the format. I tried a few times and made a past post about it, but it just wasn’t holding up well. That is until I got my ADHD in check.
The Hunt Begins
First rule was to play as many Steve Argyle drawn Vampire cards as possible! Well not really, but it was a pretty cool theme to start with.
So realistically, we would start the deck as a traditional aggro deck. Since we’re playing in a format with all commons, Vampire Lacerator seems like a bargain. Guul Draz Vampire was also really useful in the late-game since she would almost usually go unblocked. So finding Vampires with evasion and a reasonable mana-curve was right up there.
Of all the recent Vampires printed, Shadow Alley Denizen seems really underrated. Again, finding new ways to slip through easy damage for Gruul Draz Vampire’s power up is welcomed. Since we can’t always rely on 2 power creatures only, finding the right balance for heavy hitters presented a few obstacles.
One of those obstacles was there’s so many spells and abilities that can deal 1 damage directly to a creature. Many interesting Vampires at the common rarity only had 1 toughness, such as Markov Patrician. So in the 3-drop slot, we had to go with Blood Bairn and Chosen of Markov. Blood Bairn is a decent threat with equipment, so she does pose a threat mid-game when your Interlopers and Lacerators can’t get in for damage anymore. Chosen of Markov is somewhat clunky as a reliable beater, but she’s the only common Vampire with beefy stats that aren’t mana intensive.
In testing against various other pauper decks, the deck had a major issue against Black Control lists with Gary in them. There’s not a whole lot to do against that since we’re in a tribal theme, so we had to make adjustments to our evasion plan. Quag Vampires for example, can be somewhat of an evasive threat late game with swampwalk. Distress also allows us to deal with threats that we wouldn’t normally be able to respond to, such as a Gray Merchant.
Against other colored decks, the Vampires list should be just fine. Snuff Out is an amazing tempo card, often allowing us to constantly apply pressure on the board, without skipping our threats. The sideboard also helps to maximize our deck’s focus and answers against other match-ups as well. You can often stall out Tron players with Contaminated Ground and Duress. Also note the synergy with Quag Vampires. Against other aggro decks, there’s more removal/lifegain type cards, as well as Viridian Longbow against Faeries or other similar tribal decks.
Overall, this is quite a fun common deck you can play with your friends, or maybe if you’re so bold, a Pauper daily. Don’t take my list as the gospel, so feel free to discover new ways to improve it as you pilot it!
3 Guul Draz Vampire
4 Shadow Alley Denizen
2 Quag Vampires
4 Vampire Lacerator
4 Vampire Interloper
1 Bloodthrone Vampire
2 Blood Bairn
3 Chosen of Markov
2 Echoing Decay
4 Geth’s Verdict
1 Dirge of Dread
2 Snuff Out
SB: 2 Viridian Longbow
SB: 1 Nihil Spellbomb
SB: 2 Duress
SB: 3 Sign in Blood
SB: 4 Contaminated Ground
SB: 2 Tendrils of Corruption
SB: 1 Corrupt
If you have any questions or comments, or would like to see more articles, follow me on Twitter at @polishtamales or on Tumblr - polishtamales.tumblr.com
Have a magical day!
FOR SCIENCE | Teespring Campaign
What’s up guys! If you’ve been following me, I’ve ran into a series of health issues and hardware problems with my computer. The bills are getting out of hand and I can’t be productive or even create art without a computer.
I’ll be auctioning off a lot of my old MTG cards, collectables, video games, and original art tomorrow on eBay. In addition to that, I have started a Teespring campaign.
Please share this with your friends if you’re able to help out.
The Campaign - [LINK]
I hear this all the time from friends.
"How do I get better at this game?"
I try to look back in their eyes and respond, but more often, they’re glancing down at their cards in frustration. Instead of accepting that they made the wrong lines of play, they just make more excuses.
"If I had this card, I would’ve beaten you!"
"If I only I had better cards."
"I can’t beat you. I’m just going to lose again."
"I’m getting Tacos!"
Naturally, these are all excuses. Instead of accepting that they haven’t grown or refuse to adapt to new situations, they overvalue the cards that they own. This is one of the common mistakes most casual Magic players make when they’re trying to transition from playing with friends, to a FNM environment. To quote Bruce Lee, “The More we value things, the less we value ourselves.” How this relates to playing Magic is simple.
Players focus on their cards too often, but they don’t focus on themselves.
Let it Go
In order to become better at this card game or anything other challenges in your life, you need to accept the problem. You need to let go of your ego and accept that you have faults. Many faults, flaws and probably a manipulative liar after the crown too. You’re human after all, but you can manage these in your life. As long as you’re willing to accept them as a flaw and want change, you most likely will. However, if you only want change, then it’s never going to happen.
Ego plays a large part in personal growth. It limits our actions and most likely, constructed criticism. No matter how good you are among your friends at your dorm or school, there’s always someone out there better than you. So instead of seeking challenges, your ego indirectly wants you to be in a confined comfort zone. You’re only as good as the company you keep. If you keep playing the same people over and over again, you’re not really growing, especially if you keep winning.
You need to let your ego go. You can’t ride on that mighty horse that you top-16’d a Star City Games event 3-years ago, much less won a side event with only 8 people participating. Don’t be that 40-year-old child-star living off of royalty checks every Christmas.
Just let it go.
It’s an Open Door
After you left your ego behind, you’ll be free to do things you’ll never be able to before. So before that, we need to look at your flaws as a player. What I’m about to share has nothing to do with religion or some crazy fad, like jogging during the 80s. It’s about creating balance in yourself first. They’re comprised of 3 things:
Again, nothing to do with religion, but this is an easy way to break down and recognize bad habits. Feel free to make your own list as we go over this. Highly recommended that you do.
The Mind - This section has to do with your knowledge of the rules, your alertness for triggers, and even reading the cards you have in your hand. The Mind is more about mental awareness of the game at any given time. In this section, we want to recognize any flaws you have which would be for example:
Being in control of your mental mindset will help you focus on the important thing that are currently happening, rather than waiting for mistakes.
The Body - This is more about body language, being healthy, and above all, respectful towards everyone around you. The Body is about being aware of your body, as much as being aware of the game. You need to strike the balance with your dedication to a card game, as much as being respectful to your body. Examples would include:
Bluffing is a huge part of the game, especially at higher levels. Your body language will be a large deciding factor against players that have this knowledge, so always be mindful of what your body is saying. What you don’t say, says a lot.
Hydration is important since it allows your brain to do what it needs to do. Always carry bottled water to an event, much less anywhere you go. Having access to water and food anytime keeps you going and nothing is worst than feeling fatigued after a few games.
It’s nice to have access to a refrigerator at home, but that’s not usually an option at an FNM or a large event, unless you wanna pay $5 for a small bag of chips from a vendor. Just keep in mind that doesn’t mean you should gorge on heavy meals, such as a double cheese burger or a buffet between rounds. Keep it small and snack-sized, but never to the point of feeling full.
Maintaining your physical health is just as important as your mental health. Daily exercise and sunlight gives you so many health benefits that you’d be crazy to pass up on. Don’t make excuses when you find time in the day to take a walk or even a quick jog around the neighborhood.
Finally, keep hygienic to respect the people around you. It’s fine that you dress like a 13-year-old man-child, but don’t smell like a toddler too. Dress and smell like your age. Everyone around you will appreciate it.
The Spirit - Again, not about religion, but this is about your competitive spirit and controlling your ego. The Spirit is more about your attitude towards yourself and your opponent. Bruce Lee said it best, “Defeat is not defeat unless accepted as a reality-in your own mind.” Examples would include:
If you’re a female Magic player, you’ve probably heard this excuse once or twice from a male opponent. It’s either excuse:
A) You got lucky I didn’t draw (x) or (y) cards!
B) Must be nice to have a boyfriend that buys me cards.
C) Whatever, it’s just a game…
So, what they’re telling us is that they just spent $50 on an entry fee, $1,000.00+ USD on their Modern deck, and another few hundred dollars on hotel,lodging, and food just so they can say it’s only game?
Having the right attitude is important. Whether you’re trying to transition from the kitchen table to FNM or even to an actual Magic The Gathering Event. The whole point to a large scale tournament is to challenge yourself. You can never get better at anything unless you challenge your mind, body and spirit.
It’s the experience you should take with you, learn and remember by, even in defeat. Regardless of gender, race, religion, or even their taste in vintage fingerless gloves, show respect in either victory or defeat.
For the First Time in Forever
After identifying and writing out all your faults and flaws, it’s time to fix them. It won’t be an overnight thing, but at least you’ve made yourself perfectly aware of your weaknesses. Let some of your close friends know too, so they can help you learn and adjust from your mistakes.
Identifying that you have personal faults before a stack of cardboard is the first step to actually becoming better at the game. It’s important to not only maintain your mental focus, but also physical focus as well. If you can challenge and overcome yourself, your overall attitude and respect for yourself should also change as well.
Strike that balance for your mind, body and spirit!
If you have any questions, comments, or would like to check out more articles and art, feel free to follow me on either Twitter - @polishtamales or Tumblr - polishtamales.tumblr.com
Have a magical day!
Hey everybody, I’m planning a series of cosplays that feature alt-Lili looks, so we can see her in something other than the Of the Veil gothic horror ensemble. For example, my first is going to be a warm-weather outfit “Summer in Fiora” where the concept is basically Liliana on vacation in…