Standard Rotation Watch: Orzhov Vampires

by Affinity Games

This is part 2 of our Standard Rotation Watch Series, and this time we’re taking a look at the strongest deck in Standard: Orzhov Vampires.

Will Orzhov Vampires Survive Rotation

Orzhov Vampires is probably the strongest aggro deck in Standard right now, and I think it’s the deck to beat before the rotation hits.

Its last hurrah in rotation is attributed to the new cards brought by Core Set 2020, supplemented by its tribal synergy.

Here’s your typical Orzhov Vampires decklist.

Orzhov Vampires Decklist by Holymadness
Arena Super Cup Qualifier - Single, 1st Place

Creatures

4 Knight of the Ebon Legion

4 Skymarcher Aspirant

2 Vicious Conquistador

4 Adanto Vanguard

4 Legion Lieutenant

2 Sanctum Seeker

4 Champion of Dusk

1 Vona, Butcher of Magan

Enchantment

4 Legion's Landing

4 History of Benalia

Planeswalkers

4 Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord

1 Gideon Blackblade

Lands

7 Swamp

7 Plains

4 Isolated Chapel

4 Godless Shrine

Sideboard

2 Despark

3 Duress

2 Mortify

3 Noxious Grasp

2 Plague Mare

3 Tocatli Honor Guard

What Cards Rotate Out?

Most of the Vampires that are crucial for this deck are going to rotate out next month.

It loses:

  • Legion Lieutenant
  • Legion’s Landing
  • History of Benalia
  • Adanto Vanguard
  • Sanctum Seeker
  • Champion of Dusk
  • Vona, Butcher of Magan
  • Skymarcher Aspirant
  • Vicious Conquistador
  • Isolated Chapel

It loses 21 of its 25 creature list, so it takes quite a hit next month. Now, a lot of the current lists don’t run History of Benalia anymore because they would rather run more copies of Gideon Blackblade.

The reason why this deck is so strong is because the deck allows you to do something each turn. Even when hit by a massive board wipe, the deck is able to come back up and continue to deliver lethal blows.

Adanto Vanguard is their most decent 2-drop because of its ability to get bigger when it attacks and evades removals quite easily thru its Indestructible ability.

Legion’s Lieutenant is naturally their emblem, and brings with it a “KILL ME” sign the moment it comes into play. This card basically increases the deck’s damage output and makes the creatures tougher to kill.

Lastly, it loses its WB land, Isolated Chapel, and relying on the Scry lands after rotation is out of the question because it always enters the battlefield tapped. This is crucial because Orzhov Vampires relies on open mana during the first three turns.

Against midrange decks such as Temur Elementals, Naya Midrange, and variations of Flash, they just curve out faster and put the pressure better than their opponents. Each unanswered Vampire on the board is just too problematic.

Control decks don’t really have a bout against Orzhov Vampires because they’re just usually dead by turn 5 when handled properly.

What Cards Do They Need To Survive Rotation?

To make this deck viable in next rotation, it needs replacements for what it loses, mainly:

  • An emblem that gives off a +X/+X, specifically similar to Legion Lieutenant. The bigger the bonus, the more viable the deck is.
  • New 1 and 2-drops that allow the deck to retain its curve.
  • A new 4-drop or 5-drop that closes out the game quicker.

Verdict: Will The Deck Survive?

At this point, the Vampire shell loses its creature base too much that the deck probably doesn’t survive rotation. And I’ll give you three reasons:

  1. It loses more than 90% of its creatures, so you’d need at least 20 more new Vampires to make the deck viable and to retain its power level.
  2. It loses their mana-base, and the scry lands are not enough at this point to solidify their mana-base after rotation.
  3. In total, the deck loses 50% of its cards in both mainboard and sideboard. That’s just a bad percentage of losing in my opinion.

Play the deck while you still can, either on Paper or on Arena.

Check out Day9TV’s Ranked Run with Orzhov Vampires:

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