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August 30, 2017

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Daily Dose of Ixalan – Separating the Color Pie – Volume 1 – Vampires

Welcome all to the Daily Dose of Ixalan, where I talk about anything and everything related to the upcoming set of Ixalan!

Over the course of the next four articles, I’m going to be talking about the four major creature types that will appear in Ixalan. These creature types are Vampires, Merfolk, Pirates, and Dinosaurs!

We’ve seen Vampires and Merfolk plenty of times in sets before. Pirates have been few and far between, with only 20 Pirate creatures ever printed and only two of those appear in Modern legal sets, so as you can see it’s been a while. If you’re looking for a Dinosaur from a tournament legal set, you’re out of luck. For those of you that are picky, here’s only Dinosaur ever printed on a Magic card:

oldfogey

In Ixalan, each of the four major creature types take a chunk of the colour pie. Let’s check out the breakdown for these four creature types.

Vampires – Black / White
Merfolk – Green / Blue
Dinosaur – Red / Green / White
Pirates – Red / Blue / Black

This division of the colour pie is deliberate, as you can see that each of the five colours is represented twice in the four major creature groups. We’ll delve more into the colour choices for Merfolk, Dinosaurs, and Pirates in future articles, but let me talk about the choice to have Vampires in Black and White.

Lately, creatures that have been predominantly in only one colour through history have been moved into other colours. One example of this is the white Zombies from Amonkhet. Before the Amonkhet block, there were no mono-white Zombies.

Having a Vampire in white has been seen before, but only in multicolour cards like Blood Baron of Vizkopa. There’s never been a mono-white Vampire until Ixalan. This move opens the design space and allows the set to be divided up by the colour pie as shown above. Let’s have a look at one of the brand-new mono-White Vampire cards from Ixalan. Here’s Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle.

mavrenfeinduskapostle

By itself, this is just a mere 2/2 creature for three mana. With its ability though, you’ll be able to amass a large Vampire army. The key part of its ability is that it triggers when any of your Vampires attack, not just Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle. This lets you attack with your other Vampires to create tokens, instead of attacking with a 2/2 creature that would die in combat. It’s a little unfortunate that this is a legendary creature though, as it would have been nice to stack this ability. But, if you plan your combat correctly, you should still be able to create a lot of Vampires.

While Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle can be a little bit weak in combat, don’t worry, another mono-White Vampire from Ixalan is here to save the day if it dies during combat. Let’s have a look at Bishop of Rebirth.

bishopofrebirth1

This card has a very powerful ability. It also makes me think that most of the Vampire creatures will cost three mana or less, meaning that in the early game you will be able to make some trades during combat, or force your opponent to use removal, only to return your creatures to the battlefield thanks to Bishop of Rebirth. I’m sure that this card could potentially see play in a lot of different decks if there are some creatures with powerful Enter The Battlefield triggers. Here are some of the most powerful creatures currently in Standard that you could return to the battlefield.

Banewhip Punisher
Champion of Wits
Fairgrounds Warden
Filigree Familiar
Manglehorn
Pia Nalaar
Rishkar, Peema Renegade
Rogue Refiner

Now that we’ve seen some White Vampire creatures, we can’t forget that home of all things Vampires will always be black. Ixalan hasn’t, and makes sure that we have some sweet mono-black Vampires as well. Let’s look at Bloodcrazed Paladin.

bloodcrazedpaladin

Thanks to the addition of Flash, this card has a lot more value than similar creatures printed in the past. You can play it on your turn post combat and make it a 3/3 or 5/5 if you were able to get some good trades during combat. You could also play it after your opponent uses an instant end of turn removal spell to make it a 2/2.

I think this card will be mostly used as a sideboard card against control though, in case an opponent has sweeper removal in their deck. You could also play this at the end of an opponent’s turn after they’ve used Fumigate or Hour of Devastation and get a large creature to attack with next turn. Another possible scenario is to play this card in conjunction with your own Bontu’s Last Reckoning. For five mana, you’ll be able to clear the battlefield of all other creatures and leave yourself with a large Bloodcrazed Paladin.

So, that is the new face of Vampires when it comes to Ixalan. Are you excited to see Vampires branch out into a new colour? Thanks again for joining me on the Daily Dose of Ixalan. Join me tomorrow where I continue my talk on Separating the Colour Pie, where I talk about the return of Merfolk in Ixalan.