Vampire is a creature type. The first card with the subtype was Sengir Vampire in Alpha. Like Zombie, Vampire is a characteristic race for the color black. In the Innistrad block black and red Vampires are a supported tribe, while black and white have long supported vampire themed decks and eventually the race was introduced to mono-white in Ixalan.
Storyline[edit | edit source]
Vampires are a dangerous type of undead. Whilst humans are the most common victims of vampirism, it can infect other species as well, including hounds and even dragons. Throughout the multiverse, vampires can be created through other vampires transforming their victims, or through enchantment.
The most defining characteristic of vampires is their hunger for the blood or lifeforce of others, despite not having any blood of their own. Other traits of vampires can include unnatural physical strength, enhanced healing powers and the ability to fly, with the method of flight being through either natural or magical means. Many vampires are highly sensitive to sunlight and therefore only go out at night or in the shade, but this is not always the case. Regardless, the secretive and predatory nature of the creatures means that they all prefer the cover of darkness. Vampires can range from being mindless predators to sophisticated and intelligent nobles. The appearance of vampires is similarly varied, although they all have at least two elongated fangs and the more feral ones have bat-like qualities.
Alara[edit | edit source]
Before the Conflux, the rare Alaran vampires were exclusively found on the shard of Grixis, where they fed on zombies. After Grixis rejoined with the rest of the plane, vampires were known to be seen flying over neighboring lands like Jund.
Dominaria[edit | edit source]
Sengir Vampires[edit | edit source]
Sengir Vampires are said to be descendants of the legendary Baron Sengir of Dominaria and Ulgrotha. While they are most common on the latter, others have been found across the multiverse. On Dominaria, they were found in Aerona and in the pits of the Cabal in Otaria.
Over the centuries, the Sengir bloodline has degenerated; while they were once as attractive and human-seeming as their progenitor, Sengir vampires are now hideous, misshapen creatures with pointed ears, long claws, and feral eyes, often with visible red veins all over their bodies.
Krovikan Vampires[edit | edit source]
Krovikan Vampires stalked the streets of the plague-ridden city of Krov during the Ice Age, led by their queen Garza Zol. These vampires have a pale appearance, with porcelain-like skin and blood-red eyes.
Vampiric Dragons[edit | edit source]
Innistrad[edit | edit source]
The vampiric bloodlines that govern the Innistrad province of Stensia reap the benefits of the isolation in the region. The chain of mountains called Geier Reach, which dominates the province, separates the valleys from each other and makes them easier to be monitored and controlled. The suffering humans of Stensia have an irrational loyalty to their oppressive home, but strictly speaking, have few options; they are trapped in the narrow mountain passes and attached to their customs and lives of herding and gathering.
Thousands of years ago, before there were vampires on Innistrad, Edgar Markov was an alchemist in the land that would become Stensia. Famine was sweeping the land, and the old alchemist Edgar searched for a solution that could help the starving families feed themselves. The answer was a brutal one: to undergo a blood ritual that would cause some of the people to feed on blood. It would provide sustenance to those few, reducing demand for the failing crops, but it would also cull the overall population, reducing the number of hungry mouths to feed. Thus were vampires born on Innistrad.
The eyes of Innistrad vampires have black sclera and gold, silver, or red irises in the middle.
Innistrad vampires have a particular weakness against weapons cut from living wood, although normal weapons can also be used. They are unable to cross streams that show the reflection of the moon, and water blessed by Avacyn or her archangel burns them like acid. Within silver or a silver-backed mirror, they appear as they would have as humans. If they fail to drink about five liters of human blood in a moon's cycle, they shrivel to dust.
The Four Bloodlines[edit | edit source]
Not all vampires are created equal. Among the existing vampiric bloodlines, some are more common but prestigious whereas some are rare but less respected. There were originally twelve bloodlines, which originated long ago in a ritual that had something to do with the Markov progenitor, Edgar Markov. Three of these bloodlines have died out completely. Five others are relatively minor, having sired fewer vampires. Each bloodline has a special affinity to certain abilities innate to the vampiric form.
The four major bloodlines that remain are:
Two of the remaining five minor bloodlines are:
- Dusken, a nearly extinguished bloodline that were rivals to the Maurers
- Maurer, founded by Strefan Maurer and fairly centered around Strefan's domain in Stensia’s outland valleys.
Ixalan[edit | edit source]
Uniquely, some vampires on Ixalan are mono-white and part of the Legion of Dusk. They originate on the continent of Torrezon, which is under their control. Expedition forces have crossed the sea to Ixalan to reclaim an artifact stolen from them - the Immortal Sun. With it, they hope to bestow immortality without the drawback of drinking blood to their followers. The first of their kind, Elenda of Garrano, allegedly achieved this state due to a deal with Aclazotz on Ixalan and then spread her teachings among her native kingdom before leaving them behind again.
The vampires on Ixalan live lives heavily clad in ritual and taboo and they are viewed as holy by the population of their homeland; they view the increased strength and speed they receive from drinking blood proof of their blessed state. Their belief is that everything exists in state of balance; gain is impossible without loss, triumph without sacrifice and no substenance without death. They undergo what is referred to as a Blood Fast, in which they starve themselves for a period of time. When this is over, they enter a state known as the rapture, in which they revert to an animalistic trance and attack anything in sight. Ixalan vampires feed only on the blood of the guilty; meaning heretics, criminals and rebels against the state. Of course, other vampires are more liberal in their choosing of prey, defining guilt along their own parameters.
Unlike the Vampires of Innistrad, Ixalan vampires are apparently unharmed by the Sun. They have pale skin and pointy, bat-like ears. By transforming the lower half of their body into black smoke, they are able to achieve flight (which they refer to as the Exaltation).
Kaladesh[edit | edit source]
Mirrodin[edit | edit source]
Mephidross Vampires[edit | edit source]
Mephidross Vampires are named after the Mephidross on Mirrodin. The warlord Geth kept what he believed to be the only Mephidross Vampire as his personal bodyguard until it was defeated by Glissa. Afterwards, Geth created a new vampire from a Moriok named Yert, who then established himself as the new prime predator of the Mephidross. Like all of the creatures on Mirrodin, Mephidross Vampires are partly metallic. It's most prominent feature is that it has fangs on his hands rather than his mouth.
With the return to Mirrodin in the Scars of Mirrodin block, it was revealed that whole clans of vampires live in Mirrodin. Often, these are former Moriok clans that willingly turned into vampires to survive the Nim Onslaught. Like the Mephidross Vampire, they have characteristic fangs on their pointer and third fingers. How long these Clans existed and how Geth did not notice them when they lived in the Mephidross is unknown.
Rath[edit | edit source]
Skyshroud Vampires[edit | edit source]
Ravnica[edit | edit source]
Moroii[edit | edit source]
The Moroii from Ravnica are psionic vampires, draining the youth and mental abilities of their victims for sustenance. They are employed by House Dimir as assassins and spies (although they employ traditional blood-drinking vampires as well). They are unaffected by sunlight. Some look like Humanoid bats while others, such as Szadek and Mirko Vosk, could pass as humans.
Orzhov vampires[edit | edit source]
Shandalar[edit | edit source]
Shandalar is known to have vampires, some of these Bloodlords having an influence within the corrupt city of Lesh. Vaasgoth is a name associated with a few Shandalarian vampires although it is unclear if this is a familial house, faction or place.
Tarkir[edit | edit source]
There are 2 species of vampires on Tarkir:
- The native Kheru vampires - This species of vampire looks vastly different than other known vampire species. They have giant tongues and their fangs look more like tusks. They are members of the Sultai Brood and live in the jungles.
- The vampire planeswalker Sorin Markov created progeny when he entered Tarkir in his search for Ugin. While in the old timeline, his vampiric spawns were left behind, in the new timeline, they were sacrificed to break Ugin's hedron cocoon.
Zendikar[edit | edit source]
Zendikari vampires are associated with black mana since their existence is predicated on draining the life from others to fuel their own existence, on putting their own lives ahead of everyone else's. Philosophically, they do not constrain themselves with artificial rules of morality, but believe that the strong can and should take what they need from the weak. Bred to a life of decadent corruption, the vampires of Zendikar feed on the energies in the blood of living creatures—energies that are particularly strong in times of terror and pain. To members of other races, they are a fearsome mystery, the stuff of nightmares, hunting their prey like beasts through the jungle or reclining on thrones made of skulls in their moss-draped cities.
The Bloodchiefs[edit | edit source]
The vampires of Zendikar were created by the Eldrazi Ulamog. and differ from typical vampires in many respects. Normal Zendikar vampires have a lifespan of approximately 200 years. They feed on blood, but it does not have to be blood from a sentient race.
A few thousand years after the imprisonment of the Eldrazi by The Three, the noxious creative force of Ulamog became an infection that took hold of the people who dared to live in Akoum's mountains despite the tectonic instability of the region. They became a sort of cult devoted to an imagined deity of the mountains, established a temple near the site of the prison, and began performing rituals inspired by their growing madness. The cultists avoided the notice of the increasingly reclusive Nahiri and over time and multiple generations, their rituals actually proved effective in loosening the bonds of the Eldrazi prison. Though the titans themselves still couldn't escape, teeming hordes of their broods sprang into existence. This swarming host devastated Zendikar.
During the rampage, the cultists underwent a transformation. Only twelve of them survived the initial wave of spawn emerging from the prison, but those twelve became the first vampire bloodchiefs, the progenitors of the vampire race. Whether they were originally human, kor or a race of their own, they became something entirely new - and utterly enslaved to the will of Ulamog. The Eldrazi took the plane's vampires as a race of servants, adapting their very anatomy for servitude. Hooklike horns grew from the vampires' shoulders, convenient handles for the Eldrazi to dominate their slave race and, for millennia afterward, carnal symbols of the vampires' heritage of persecution. The vampires, forced to conspire in the campaign of destruction against their own homeworld, had their identity and tribal memory erased forever.
After Nahiri enforced the Eldrazi prison all on her own, no more broods came to life. She trusted the people of Zendikar to deal with them and left the plane. The vampires remained, now free of Ulamog's yoke.
The five families[edit | edit source]
The later Zendikar vampires are divided into five families, each presided over by a bloodchief, a powerful, immortal vampire. Each bloodchief is the progenitor of their entire family, as when a bloodchief drains blood from a sentient creature, that creature will become a vampire with the tastes and passions of of the bloodchief imprinted on them. Whenever a vampire fully drains the blood of a living creature without destroying the husk, that creature does not become a vampire. Instead, it becomes a null, a faceless zombie that is stronger and much faster than typical zombies. If nulls are left without orders, they will hunt and kill living things that they can find.
- Kalastria - The wealthiest and most powerful family, who refer to themselves as Highborn. The head of the clan is Drana.
- Nirkana - Notorious assassins who are feared by all. (Vampire Lacerator, Nirkana Assassin Nirkana Cutthroat)
- Ghet - The poorest and least powerful of the families. The head of the clan is Kalitas.
Civil war[edit | edit source]
When the Eldrazi finally broke free again, the vampires became locked in a brutal civil war. On one side, desperately battling to remain free, were those who held to their traditional ways. On the other side were those whose legacy reached back into the deepest recesses of Zendikari history. Bound once more to their ancient masters and creators, the Eldrazi, these vampires hunted their kin into the wild swamps in an effort to extinguish the very idea of freedom and rebellion.
The Ghet recently seized holdings outside of Malakir, including the port city of Nimana, and threatened to turn all of the vampires of Malakir into thralls of the Eldrazi. Drana struck back, retaking control of Malakir and driving Kalitas and his traitors away from the city. But Drana's victory was short-lived, and she and her remaining people were driven from the city by ever-growing hordes of Eldrazi.
Legendary Vampires[edit | edit source]
Dominaria[edit | edit source]
- Crovax the Cursed was once a mortal man from Urborg, but following his defection to Phyrexia he became the insane vampiric evincar of Rath. He was able to absorb the life force of his victims directly, although he also enjoyed consuming the rest of the body. Like other evincars, he was known to keep vampire hounds as pets.
- Mirri the Cursed, in an alternate reality, was the vampiric Evincar of Rath instead of Crovax.
- Garza Zol, Plague Queen was the vampiress that ruled over Krov. She allied with Heidar following the thaw, but later had him murdered by one of her assassins.
- Shauku, Endbringer was an ancient and mysterious Jamuraan vampire. She was revered by cultists calling themselves the Agents of Shauku, although it is unclear whether she was simply worshipped by them or actively led them.
- Kazarov Sengir
Innistrad[edit | edit source]
Ixalan[edit | edit source]
- Elenda of Garrano was the first vampire and once part of a order of warrior-nuns that protected the Immortal Sun. When the Sun was stolen, Elenda followed its thief across the sea and eventually returned changed, before leaving again. Reawakened after Orazca was rediscovered and not pleased with the current state of the Church.
- Vona, the Butcher of Magan. A powerful war leader during the Apostasine War, she accompained the Legion of Dusk to Ixalan and was part of the group that reached Orazca. Vona struggled with the champions of various other factions for control over the Immortal Sun.
Ravnica[edit | edit source]
- Szadek is the Parun and guildmaster of House Dimir. An ancient and powerful entity, over 10,000 years old, Szadek and his guild are widely believed to be merely a myth amongst Ravnica's populace. Szadek's hunger is for the minds of his victims, with the first thought he consumes being the memory of his attack.
- Mirko Vosk a high ranking member of House Dimir in charge both with retrieving memories as well as implanting identities and other information in the minds of others. When the Izzet League began their research into the Implicit Maze, Mirko was assigned to gather as much knowledge of the maze as possible, leading him to cross paths with Jace Beleren. Ultimately, his presence as a Guild Champion was proven redundant by Lazav's participation in the maze.
Ulgrotha[edit | edit source]
- Baron Sengir is the mastermind of the Sengir clan of Vampires and the self-styled lord of Ulgrotha. One of the most intelligent and dangerous vampires, he ultimately he plans to dominate the multiverse with his undead family.
- Irini Sengir, his dwarven stepdaughter
- Grandmother Sengir
Zendikar[edit | edit source]
- Anowon is the scion of powerful vampire family in Malakir. He is an expert on ruins, runes, and ancient languages. He is ruthless and murderous, but has managed to keep this side of himself a secret from most of the races on Zendikar, and is thought by most to be nothing more than a renowned mage and benevolent scholar.
- The two most powerful bloodchiefs on Zendikar are Kalitas of the Ghet family, and Drana of the Kalastria family.
- In the 2 years since the Eldrazi have awoken, Kalitas and possibly the vampires of Ghet have become Ulamog's thralls.
Game mechanics[edit | edit source]
The most defining characteristic of vampires is their hunger for the blood or lifeforce of others. This has been represented mechanically in a number of ways within the game. The two most notable are the addition of +1/+1 counters for sending other creatures to the graveyard, and the 'bloodied' mechanic of Zendikar, where Vampires get bonuses as long as an opponent has 10 or less life.
For most of Magic's history, vampires and demons have occupied a similar position card-wise. Both were large, flying, expensive-to-cast 'iconic' black creatures that showed up as rares a few times in each set. This meant that vampire cards had to compete with demon cards for a limited amount of card slots in a set, and they often lost out to the slightly more iconic demons. Meanwhile, vampires were becoming more and more popular amongst movie-goers and readers of fantasy fiction. In order to solve the demon/vampire dilemma, and 'cash in' on the popularity of vampires, they were shifted from big iconic creature status, to the role of a characteristic race of black. In essence, vampires became smaller in size, but larger in numbers, showing up in common and uncommon slots. To achieve this, vampires were given a vampire lord in Magic 2010, followed by a heavy tribal theme in the Zendikar block, despite the fact that Zendikar was not actually a tribal-based block. This seems to have continued with the Scars of Mirrodin block, on a plane that was previously noted for having only one vampire (Mephidross Vampire).
Vampire tokens[edit | edit source]
|Vampire||White||Creature — Vampire||1/1||Lifelink|
|Black||Creature — Vampire||1/1|
|Black||Creature — Vampire||1/1||Lifelink|
|Black||Creature — Vampire||2/2||Flying|
|Black||Creature — Vampire||X/X|
|Vampire Knight||Black||Creature — Vampire Knight||1/1||Lifelink|
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Mark Rosewater (March 15, 2015). "Characteristic and iconic creatures for each color?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (September 05, 2011). "C'mon Innistrad, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (September 18, 2017). "Just for Ix(alan), Part 3". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Sam Stoddard (September 12, 2017). "Developing a Tribal Set". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (February 13, 2006). "Interview With Some Vampires". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana (February 18, 2009). "Sketches: Wretched Banquet". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast. "Tricksters, rogues, and forbidden magic!". The Official Magic: The Gathering Tumblr. Tumblr.
- Aaron Forsythe (February 17, 2006). "Sengir, Start to Finish". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Creative Team (November 02, 2011). "A Planeswalker's Guide to Innistrad: Stensia and Vampires". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Doug Beyer (January 11, 2012). "Sorin's Homecoming". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Blake Rasmussen and Alison Luhrs (August 2, 2017). "Magic Story Podcast: Vampires". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Plane Shift: Innistrad
- Blake Rasmussen and Alison Luhrs (August 30, 2017). "Magic Story Podcast: Ixalan". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Flavor text of Axis of Mortality
- Flavor text of Bloodcrazed Paladin
- Doug Beyer (March 16, 2011). "Six Secrets Behind the Sets". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Doug Beyer (December 15, 2010). "Everything* Dies". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana (November 07, 2005). "The Moroii". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- James Wyatt (January 2019). "The Art of Magic: The Gathering - Ravnica'" . Wizards of the Coast
- Bloodlord of Vaasgoth
- Matt Knicl (July 9, 2014). "The Bard and the Biologist". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Adam Lee (September 24, 2014). "Sorin's Revelation". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Doug Beyer (March 27, 2015). "Sorin's Restoration". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- James Wyatt (2016). The Art of Magic: The Gathering - Zendikar, p. 48
- James Wyatt (May 13, 2015). "Stirring from Slumber". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Doug Beyer (March 29, 2010). "The Eldrazi Arisen". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Creative Team (September 09, 2009). "A Planeswalker's Guide to Zendikar". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Creative Team (October 21, 2009). "A planeswalker's Guide to Zendikar: Guul Draz and Vampires". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Ken Troop (September 16, 2015). "Memories of Blood". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Tom LaPille (October 23, 2009). "Vampire Weekend". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (Monday, October 19, 2009). "Care for a Bite?". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
[edit | edit source]
- Magic Arcana (February 18, 2010). "Visualizing Vampires". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Monty Ashley (November 09, 2011). "Visualize More Vampires". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.