Today's Planeswalker Duel Deck isn't for the squeamish! Sink your teeth the intro article and last year's decks before reading on...

One of the interesting facets of modern set design is Uncommon Gold Cards. For the last 3 or 4 years, WotC has released sets that have an Uncommon card in each of the 10 different color pairs. These Uncommons are considered "signposts" for what that color pair should want to do in draft, and they've made for pretty interesting themes for these decks as well, especially if they repeat.

One such repeated mechanic is the Black/White "Whenever you gain life, do X" or "If you've gained life this turn, X triggers at EOT." We've gotten this effect from the Black / White allies in Battle for Zendikar/Oath of the Gatewatch, M19, M21, and Zendikar Rising, so clearly it's something that WotC wants to maintain in the Black/White wheelhouse. 

Sorin, Solemn Visitor seems like a great vessel to express this little mechanic. Granting lifelink to the entire team allows for lots of triggers, and gives a mechanical identity to an otherwise relatively generic Planeswalker. It also helps that Sorin is a vampire, and vampires play well into this both flavorfully and mechanically. 

Let's see what this drainfest looks like: 

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Sorin, Solemn Visitor by Andy Hurst

'Sorin, Solemn Visitor' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Andy Hurst

Event:

Rank:

Freeform (Casual)

Market Price: $34.88

Cards

Orzhov Guildmage

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.26

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/132109_200w.jpg

{2}{W}: Target player gains 1 life.
{2}{B}: Each player loses 1 life.

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Malakir Familiar

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215975_200w.jpg

Flying, deathtouch
Whenever you gain life, Malakir Familiar gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

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Campaign of Vengeance

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/120281_200w.jpg

Whenever a creature you control attacks, defending player loses 1 life and you gain 1 life.

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Feast of Blood

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.38

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/33296_200w.jpg

Cast this spell only if you control two or more Vampires.
Destroy target creature. You gain 4 life.

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Indulging Patrician

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $1.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215377_200w.jpg

Flying
Lifelink (Damage dealt by this creature also causes you to gain that much life.)
At the beginning of your end step, if you gained 3 or more life this turn, each opponent loses 3 life.

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Cliffhaven Vampire

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.64

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/110860_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever you gain life, each opponent loses 1 life.

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Inspiring Cleric

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145706_200w.jpg

When Inspiring Cleric enters the battlefield, you gain 4 life.

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Gerrard's Verdict

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.31

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/7959_200w.jpg

Target player discards two cards. You gain 3 life for each land card discarded this way.

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Divinity of Pride

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $3.86

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/72096_200w.jpg

Flying, lifelink
Divinity of Pride gets +4/+4 as long as you have 25 or more life.

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Forsaken Sanctuary

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/171205_200w.jpg

Forsaken Sanctuary enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {W} or {B}.

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Skymarch Bloodletter

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/168465_200w.jpg

Flying
When Skymarch Bloodletter enters the battlefield, target opponent loses 1 life and you gain 1 life.

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Call to the Feast

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/144787_200w.jpg

Create three 1/1 white Vampire creature tokens with lifelink.

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Orzhov Basilica

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/243969_200w.jpg

Orzhov Basilica enters the battlefield tapped.
When Orzhov Basilica enters the battlefield, return a land you control to its owner's hand.
{T}: Add {W}{B}.

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Scoured Barrens

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215899_200w.jpg

Scoured Barrens enters the battlefield tapped.
When Scoured Barrens enters the battlefield, you gain 1 life.
{T}: Add {W} or {B}.

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Plains

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215715_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {W}.)

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Fountain of Renewal

Market Price: $0.44

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/168493_200w.jpg

At the beginning of your upkeep, you gain 1 life.
{3}, Sacrifice Fountain of Renewal: Draw a card.

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Rotfeaster Maggot

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/167895_200w.jpg

When Rotfeaster Maggot enters the battlefield, exile target creature card from a graveyard. You gain life equal to that card's toughness.

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Dark Nourishment

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145781_200w.jpg

Dark Nourishment deals 3 damage to any target. You gain 3 life.

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Cleric of Life's Bond

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221846_200w.jpg

Whenever another Cleric enters the battlefield under your control, you gain 1 life.
Whenever you gain life for the first time each turn, put a +1/+1 counter on Cleric of Life's Bond.

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Nightmare's Thirst

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/169082_200w.jpg

You gain 1 life. Target creature gets -X/-X until end of turn, where X is the amount of life you gained this turn.

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Agent of Masks

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/128831_200w.jpg

At the beginning of your upkeep, each opponent loses 1 life. You gain life equal to the life lost this way.

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Legion Lieutenant

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $1.90

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/155601_200w.jpg

Other Vampires you control get +1/+1.

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Mortify

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/182129_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature or enchantment.

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Shadows of the Past

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/122263_200w.jpg

Whenever a creature dies, scry 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.)
{4}{B}: Each opponent loses 2 life and you gain 2 life. Activate only if there are four or more creature cards in your graveyard.

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Marauding Blight-Priest

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222184_200w.jpg

Whenever you gain life, each opponent loses 1 life.

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Queen's Commission

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145717_200w.jpg

Create two 1/1 white Vampire creature tokens with lifelink.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/145717/magic-ixalan-queens-commission

Solemn Offering

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/167857_200w.jpg

Destroy target artifact or enchantment. You gain 4 life.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/167857/magic-battlebond-solemn-offering

Regal Bloodlord

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/169155_200w.jpg

Flying
At the beginning of each end step, if you gained life this turn, create a 1/1 black Bat creature token with flying.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/169155/magic-core-set-2019-regal-bloodlord

Aetherflux Reservoir

Market Price: $12.32

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/122709_200w.jpg

Whenever you cast a spell, you gain 1 life for each spell you've cast this turn.
Pay 50 life: Aetherflux Reservoir deals 50 damage to any target.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/122709/magic-kaladesh-aetherflux-reservoir

Blighted Steppe

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/105574_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{3}{W}, {T}, Sacrifice Blighted Steppe: You gain 2 life for each creature you control.

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Orzhov Guildgate

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/188501_200w.jpg

Orzhov Guildgate enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {W} or {B}.

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Paladin of the Bloodstained

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145712_200w.jpg

When Paladin of the Bloodstained enters the battlefield, create a 1/1 white Vampire creature token with lifelink.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/145712/magic-ixalan-paladin-of-the-bloodstained

Blighted Fen

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/105572_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{4}{B}, {T}, Sacrifice Blighted Fen: Target opponent sacrifices a creature.

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Death Grasp

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/107799_200w.jpg

Death Grasp deals X damage to any target. You gain X life.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/107799/magic-commander-2015-death-grasp

Sorin, Solemn Visitor

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $4.41

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/92838_200w.jpg

+1: Until your next turn, creatures you control get +1/+0 and gain lifelink.
−2: Create a 2/2 black Vampire creature token with flying.
−6: You get an emblem with "At the beginning of each opponent's upkeep, that player sacrifices a creature."

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/92838/magic-khans-of-tarkir-sorin-solemn-visitor

Soul Link

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/8027_200w.jpg

Enchant creature
Whenever enchanted creature deals damage, you gain that much life.
Whenever enchanted creature is dealt damage, you gain that much life.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/8027/magic-apocalypse-soul-link

Unmake

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.75

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/67825_200w.jpg

Exile target creature.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/67825/magic-duel-decks-sorin-vs-tibalt-unmake

Bloodthirsty Aerialist

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236557_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever you gain life, put a +1/+1 counter on Bloodthirsty Aerialist.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/236557/magic-commander-2021-bloodthirsty-aerialist

Drana's Emissary

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.55

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/104999_200w.jpg

Flying
At the beginning of your upkeep, each opponent loses 1 life and you gain 1 life.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/104999/magic-battle-for-zendikar-dranas-emissary

Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $1.00

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/110796_200w.jpg

Deathtouch
{1}, Sacrifice another creature: You gain life equal to the sacrificed creature's toughness.
{1}{W}{B}, Sacrifice another creature: Exile target nonland permanent. Activate only if you have at least 10 life more than your starting life total.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/110796/magic-oath-of-the-gatewatch-ayli-eternal-pilgrim

Bloodbond Vampire

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216035_200w.jpg

Whenever you gain life, put a +1/+1 counter on Bloodbond Vampire.

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Soul Warden

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $1.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/128953_200w.jpg

Whenever another creature enters the battlefield, you gain 1 life.

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Scion of the Swarm

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222149_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever you gain life, put a +1/+1 counter on Scion of the Swarm.

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Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/196476_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/196476/magic-commander-2019-swamp-294

The Game Plan

The goal here is to get one or more of our payoff creatures—Cleric of Life's Bond, Bloodthirsty Aerialist, Bloodbond Vampire, Scion of the Swarm, Indulging Patrician, and Regal Bloodlord—and then trigger them constantly. These creatures can all take over a game when triggered enough times, and our deck has plenty of ways to gain a couple life here and there. 

As befits Sorin, those creatures are all vampires! That makes Legion Lieutenant a fine 2-drop, as well as an incredibly potent game-changer, as it boosts a majority of our creatures. Paladin of the Bloodstained, Queen's Commission, and Call to the Feast also put some dinky lifelinking tokens into play. While they don't make a huge impact on their own, they allow for lots of lifegain triggers to happen in a turn, supercharging our payoff creatures. If we have the Lieutenant hanging around, all of a sudden those tokens don't look nearly as insignificant. 

It may not be plentiful, but we have some of the best removal around. Unmake and Mortify both present very solid, cost effective answers, and those Unmakes really answer something. No recursion for our opponents! Unmakes are especially welcome, since they have such a hard time finding a home in a deck that isn't very specifically Black/White without many colorless mana sources. Nightmare's Thirst is a fun card that depends on how the rest of your turns are going—at 1-mana this can be very potent at very low cost. Feast of Blood is pretty conditional, but we have enough Vampires here that it should be active most of the time. 

The Rares

Ayli presents a totally acceptable body on the rate—2/3 deathtouch for only 2 is great—and we get to gain some life at the cost of sacrificing some creatures. It's nice to have on-demand lifegain effects to bolster our payoff brigade, and if we end up riding the nickel-and-dime lifegain for a while, we may even be able to get Ayli's vindicate ability online. If the game gets to that point, do not expect to lose. 

This card is sort of the super version of Unmake. We can only play this in a narrow type of deck, but this just so happens to be that type, and Divinity can become absolutely absurd here. This godly creature will rule the board, and all you need to do is connect once or maybe twice to put the game out of reach.

The biggest priority for this deck is piling up lifegain triggers once the payoff creatures get in play. The Reservoir here does that very well— that is, as long as we have spells to play. It's possible (though unlikely) to get to the 51 life necessary to dome the opponent with its second ability, but that's just gravy on top. The lifegain triggers earn this Rare its spot here, and it's a welcome addition. 

My first ever sealed deck tournament was Invasion/Planeshift/Apocalypse Sealed at the Wizards of the Coast store at my local mall, somewhere back in the mid-Cretaceous period. I was a small child who opened a terrible pool, and got nuked by Death Grasp in back-to-back games for the first round. I didn't realize that the event was swiss rounds, so I thought I was eliminated and I went home cranky. I've had a pang of nostalgia for the Grasp ever since. I have a hunch that this will eventually get downshifted, since it already has in Vintage Masters, but it's a powerful enough effect that I don't at all mind it taking one of the Rare slots here, as a generic fireball that gains life is very strong. 

Unsung Hero

I'm not sure how often this effect is played in EDH or other casual formats, but my goodness can it be utterly devastating. It makes sure all of our lifegain creatures get to trigger in combat, and if you have multiple lifegain creatures, you'll be overjoyed. Keep in mind that each of your creatures will trigger this, so you have the possibility to create a giant cascade of tokens. If your board presence is anything close to parity, consider Campaign to be the mirror breaker. An excellent late-game hammer.