Editor's Note: This video and article were written and recorded before the most recent Banned & Restricted announcement. While this deck is still legal in Pioneer, please be aware that the metagame has shifted.

Do you have strong feelings for Godless Shrine? Want to play the most busted tribal planeswalker ever? How about metagaming against the "best" deck? Yeah? Well then I think you'll enjoy this week's deck.

Orzhov Vampires is a midrange deck that specifically metagames against Mono-Black by playing three maindeck and one sideboard Blood Baron of Vizkopa. Protection from white and black and lifelink is already great so occasionally having a 10/10 flier is pretty absurd. The game plan here is to interact early and play five-drops on turn three. Sounds easy? It is!

Interact Early




Once again, we're playing four Thoughtseize and four Fatal Push. These, combined with two Legion's End, a Grasp of Darkness and six planeswalkers that can kill things give us a ton of ways to make sure we don't fall behind in the early turns. Not to mention all of our 'walkers are only three mana!


Five-Drops on Turn Three



Let me introduce you to Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord. The card is sick. If there were no limits I might play eight of them. Our best hands play a couple spells in the first two turns and then on turn three we Sorin a Champion of Dusk or Blood Baron of Vizkopa into play. Sometimes your opponent will scoop right then and there, but in any case you're in a really good spot going forward.







Spoilers down here!

It was really nice to get to showcase some of the power this deck has and put up a really solid 4-1 result. We got beat pretty bad by Bant Field, but with some timely Duress and Blood Baron of Vizkopa to finish things off, I don't think the matchup is that bad.

The life gain subtheme shined bright against our Mono-Red opponent and Blood Baron of Vizkopa really shut the door against Field of the Dead and the Knights deck we played in round five! Our turn-three five-drop plan worked out great.

I'm a bit disappointed we didn't get to show off how strong this deck is against Mono-Black Aggro, but you'll just have to take my word for it. It's our best matchup!


Matchup Guide


Vs. Control/Nexus: Take out all the removal and bring in Noxious Grasp, Duress, Collective Brutality and the fourth Blood Baron of Vizkopa. Just take their important cards with our copious hand disruption and beat 'em down till they're dead.

Vs. Ramp: This matchup is similar to Control and Nexus, but we want Virulent Plague for the Zombie Tokens. Legion's End stays in as well for the Zombie Tokens and occasionally for Westvale Abbey/Ormendahl. Blood Baron of Vizkopa doesn't care about the Zombies, so just slow them down and get the beats going.

Vs. Mono-Red Aggro: Lose the Thoughtseize and bring in the second Kaya, Collective Brutality, Murderous Rider and the fourth Blood Baron of Vizkopa. So many of our cards gain us incidental life so this one seems pretty easy.

Vs. Mono-Black Aggro: Get those Dark Betrayals in there along with Collective Brutality, the second Kaya, Infernal Reckoning and obviously the fourth Blood Baron of Vizkopa. Take out Thoughtseize and two Champion of Dusk. This should be a cake walk as we just need to resolve a couple removal spells and a Blood Baron to coast over the finish line.

Vs. Green Elf Decks: Blood Baron of Vizkopa isn't great here. Get those out and bring in Noxious Grasp, Murderous Rider and Collective Brutality. You might want Blightbeetle as well if they're on Walking Ballista/Voracious Hydra shenanigans. These decks can be a pain as their creatures are a bit bigger than ours and our removal doesn't always line up very well. Keeping them off the board as much as possible is the best plan of action. Also, Gifted Aetherborn is great at trading for big green boys.

This deck was an attempt to "next level" the metagame by going over the top/through some of the best decks with Blood Baron of Vizkopa. I wanted it to be my secret weapon with which I could spike one of the many MTGO PTQs last week. Unfortunately I didn't get paired against Mono-Black at all in those events and lost some close ones to Gruul Monsters and Bant Field of the Dead, but I still think the deck was a solid choice.

Going all in on a meta call was really fun and I felt like a real Pioneer out there. I highly recommend trying a deck like this for your next big tournament. As of writing this, the new bans haven't been announced so I'm not sure where this particular deck will stand going forward, but I assume some form of this archetype will still be good.

Happy pioneering out there, friends! See ya next week!


Kevin Poncelet