Top 10 Vampires in Magic: The Gathering

Updated on August 5, 2018
Jeremy Gill profile image

Jeremy casts spells in-between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.

Vampire in Magic

Vampires are a creature type in Magic typically belonging to the black and/or white factions. They're not the strongest bunch in terms of battle stats, but vampires wield a variety of life-based effects, reflecting their bloodsucking abilities. Vampires often bear lifelink to recover health whenever they battle, and several can drain life when certain conditions are met. Many also harness the flying keyword to soar over ground-based blockers and madness, letting you cast them for reduced costs when discarded.

Several vampire abilities strengthen depending on how many vampires you control, making them a family-inclusive series that can still blend with other archetypes (like Ajani or demons). Thanks to some support in newer expansion sets, vampires remain a competitive and fun group that I definitely recommend testing for yourself. But with hundreds of immortal twilight denizens running amok, which fanged creatures reign supreme? These are the ten best vampire cards in Magic: The Gathering!

Jeleva, Nephalia's Scourge
Jeleva, Nephalia's Scourge

10. Jeleva, Nephalia's Scourge

CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 4

Only having 1/3 (one power and three toughness) while costing four mana is a poor deal; however, the legendary Jeleva compensates with other alluring traits. She bears flying, and she counts as both a vampire and a wizard, supporting two of the bigger creature types in the game. She's also red, blue, and black, accessing three colors (more than most vampires) when serving as your general in EDH format.

Even better, when she enters the battlefield, each player exiles X cards from the top of their deck, where X is the number of mana needed to cast Jeleve. Normally, this will be four, but if you're using her as a commander and recasting her from the command zone, X will be higher. And you want X to be large since Jeleva lets you cast an instant or sorcery from the exiled cards for free when she attacks! This can access many of the best blue sorceries in the game, from Expropriate to Time Strech and more. And as long as she survives and can attack again next turn, you're welcome to play another exiled spell without spending its mana cost.

Gatekeeper of Malakir
Gatekeeper of Malakir

9. Gatekeeper of Malakir

CMC: 2

If you cast Gatekeeper with his base cost of two, you've simply got a 2/2 vampire warrior. That's not a bad deal, but he works best when you apply his kicker trait by spending another black mana to play him. Do this, and when Gatekeeper enters the battlefield, a target player sacrifices a creature.

Thus, three mana nets you a 2/2 combatant and forces your opponent to forfeit a creature, bypassing even indestructible and protected foes. You can even target yourself with Gatekeeper's effect if you wish, perhaps to activate an exit-the-field ability of one of your units. Versatile and inexpensive, Gatekeeper remains one of the most criminally-underestimated undying units.

Gifted Aetherborn
Gifted Aetherborn

8. Gifted Aetherborn

CMC: 2

If you like 2/2 on a two-cost creature, try Gifted Aetherborn's impressive 2/3. Not only does this monster (bearing the aetherborn and vampire subtypes) wield impressive stats for its low cost, it also bears deathtouch and lifelink. The former lets it kill any creature it battles regardless of that unit's toughness, and the latter restorrs you life (normally two, stemming from Aetherborn's base power) whenever it clashes.

Aetherborn doesn't wield any special abilities beyond that, but what more could you want? Great toughness, good power, deathtouch, lifelink, and two creature types all for just two mana.

Bloodghast
Bloodghast

7. Bloodghast

CMC: 2

Yet another useful two-cost immortal, Bloodghast belongs to both the vampire and spirit factions. Like most low-cost vampires, he's not legendary, so you can field multiple copies at a time in standard formats.

Bloodghast only arrives as a 2/1 and he can't block. However, if an opponent has 10 or less life, he comes with haste, letting him attack/tap the turn he arrives. Even better, while in your graveyard, whenever a land enters the field under your control, you can return Bloodghast from your graveyard to the field, an excellent revival that repeatedly summons your unit, possibly with haste to immediately attack. This ability helpfully activates when you acquire any land, not just the black swamps that most vampires feed from.

Arvad the Cursed
Arvad the Cursed

6. Arvad the Cursed

CMC: 5

Arvad the Cursed possesses both black and white in his color identity, the two hues most associated with vampires. He's our most expensive vampire yet (on this list, that is), but five really isn't that pricey in the grand scheme of things.

Avad's a bit weak for his cost, bearing only 3 power and 3 toughness, but this vampire knight wields both deathtouch and lifelink. Not only that, he boosts the stats of other legendary creatures you control by +2/+2, a sizable upgrade that strengthens your best warriors even further. Since all commanders must be legendary, Arvad works great as a lieutenant in EDH decks, especially ones littered with a myriad of legendary creatures.

Elenda, the Dusk Rose
Elenda, the Dusk Rose

5. Elenda, the Dusk Rose

CMC: 4

Another black/white legendary vampire soldier, Elenda's a bit cheaper than Arvad, requiring only four mana. She wields lifelink, but only possesses a pitiful 1/1 in stats. Thankfully, Elenda amasses a +1/+1 counter whenever any creature dies, including allied, opposing, and even token creatures. This should get her battle prowess up to par before long, especially if you're using black's numerous creature-annihilating spells.

Not only that, but when she dies, Elenda creates X 1/1 white vampire tokens with lifelink, where X is Elenda's power. This should guarantee at least one weak bat upon death, but can provide many more as Elenda accumulates +1/+1 tokens. Boost her strength even further with artifact equipment spells or aura enchantments to amass additional blood-sucking tokens.

Drana, Liberator of Malakir
Drana, Liberator of Malakir

4. Drana, Liberator of Malakir

CMC: 3

Legendary Drana has several boons working for her. She's both a vampire and an ally, assisting the type-dependent abilities of two large creature families. She's inexpensive and only needs one color to cast, arriving with a decent 2/3, flying, and first strike (dealing damage first in battle and potentially avoiding a counterattack).

As if that weren't enough, Drana places a +1/+1 counter on each attacking creature you control whenever she inflicts combat damage to a player, boosting not only vampires, but all forces you wield—including herself! Her flying trait can help her bypass land defenders to hit your opponent, but if they're also using airborne creatures, you may need to employ other unblockable-providing tricks (blue can help with this) to consistently trigger her effect.

Blood Artist
Blood Artist

3. Blood Artist

CMC: 2

Blood Artist should spend a bit less time painting and a bit more in the gym considering his terrible 0/1 stats. However, he's inexpensive, and whenever he or another creatures dies, a target player loses one life and you gain one life.

This amazing ability can really punish your foes for destroying your weaker vampire tokens, and it functions when all creatures (even tokens and Artist himself) perish. At the absolute worst, Blood Artist can block an attack and drain one health upon death, which for just two mana is already decent. But as his best, he can scavenge you dozens of life points after ripping them from your foes. And since he's not legendary, go ahead and congregate your artists as you see fit.

Vampire Hexmage
Vampire Hexmage

2. Vampire Hexmage

CMC: 2

Yet another two-cost black nonlegendary immortal, Hexmage counts as both a vampire and a shaman. A 2/1 with first strike isn't bad for just two mana, but then Hexmage throws out one of the game's best benefits: you can sacrifice her at any time to remove all counters from a target permanent.

This awesome trait doesn't require tapping or spending any mana, may activate at instant-speed on any turn or phase, and can immediately remove all counters from an opposing planeswalker, essentially setting their loyalty to zero and defeating them. Hexmage also works great at shutting down hydras or other counter-happy enemies, making her my favorite nonlegendary vampire yet.

Edgar Markov
Edgar Markov

1. Edgar Markov

CMC: 6

Bearing the highest mana cost we've seen today, Edgar demands six mana to play. His 4/4 stats are comparatively low, but first strike and haste make up the difference, especially since Markov places a +1/+1 counter on each vampire you control (including himself) whenever he attacks.

However, Markov's real treats lie in his skill as a commander. Not only does he provide you with black, red, and white in your deck, the three colors that encompass nearly all vampires, his eminence trait creates a 1/1 black vampire token whenever you cast a vampire spell. This works from both the battlefield and the command zone, meaning Markov will field you several disposable creatures long before he hits the field. Factor in his helpful trio of colors and sweet capabilities if he ever actually arrive, and you've got our best vampire yet.

I've used Markov's token generation to great effect in my own EDH decks, and I highly recommend picking one up for those interested while he's still inexpensive, costing less than five dollars (that's pretty low for a rare legendary monster of his power)!

Which vampire do you prefer?

See results

Future of Vampire Creatures

Vampires can really suck (ba-da-cha) to face considering their health-draining, token-swarming, and aerial capabilities. Most don't need to tap to activate their effects, keeping them ready to either swing or block, and they're a relatively inexpensive clan, letting you form your combos early in the game.

I hope to see some vampire-supporting planeswalkers in the future, but I'm pleased with the attention they've seen in recent expansions. For now, as we eagerly await more Dracula-esque monster releases, vote for your favorite vampire and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Jeremy Gill

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hobbylark.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hobbylark.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)