The Lost Caverns of Ixalan set brought four very interesting precon decks for tribal fans and for beginner players who are just getting used to Commander or have just started their Commander journey. You can check out all 4 Commander precon lists from this set by clicking here.
In this article, we'll discuss one of these lists; the Blood Rites precon, which is focused on Vampires, and bring you a few interesting upgrade suggestions to make your deck even more fun.
Are you ready to know the power of Ixalan's Demons and Vampires?
Blood Rites: The Precon List
Commander: Clavileño, First of the Blessed
Our commander is Clavileño, a cleric that is part of the Legion of Dusk. He helped Vito in his search for the Bat God Aclazotz.
Unlike other famous commanders in precons with this tribe, like Edgar Markov and Strefan, Maurer Progenitor, Clavileño doesn't want his Vampires to stay "just" as Vampires, and isn't afraid to sacrifice them. Alongside the Demon type, Vampires that are targeted by this commander's ability create 4/3 Vampire Demon tokens and guarantee you an extra card when they die.
As we're discussing an Orzhov deck, Clavileño is a very cohesive commander. His deck uses creatures and health as a resource to create stronger tokens.
The deck's secondary commander is Carmen, Cruel Skymarcher, a card that gets counters when players sacrifice permanents. When she attacks, she returns permanent cards with a value equal or less than her power from your graveyard to the battlefield.
You probably just started smiling now reading this on your screen because, yes, you can do a lot of interesting, naughty stuff with this Vampire's effect and catch your opponents off guard.
Besides this naughtiness, this list has various other new cards that were printed particularly for this deck. Among them, we have:
As we can see, this list comes with a few classic Vampires from pre-constructed decks based on this tribe, but don't mistake them for weaker cards just because of that.
And, as every precon deck, we have a few interesting upgrades that enhance your strategy to help you defeat your opponents.
Upgrades For Your Precon!
Before going straight to upgrade suggestions, it is important to remember our commander's text.
Clavileño states that the creature gets the text, "when this creature dies, draw a card and create a 4/3 black and white Vampire Demon type creature with Flying". Which means, the creature gets this ability forever.
"Why are we putting so much emphasis on this text?"
Well, when we start suggesting cards to upgrade this deck, we will present you options to sacrifice the Vampire that has this text more freely, such as, for instance, when another player passes the turn to you.
With that, the idea is to have, during your untapping phase, your Demon Vampire token already on board, then untap it and make it able to attack as it won't have summoning sickness.
Besides that, we have to consider that our opponent may prefer taking some damage to not block your Vampire and prevent you from creating the token.
Now that our commander's text is clear, and we're all on the same page, let's start this upgraded list with...
Cards to Sacrifice
You've already understood how important it is to sacrifice your Vampires whenever you want. The following cards will help you with this quest:
Cards that Come In
Besides these options that are already present in the precon, some additions to your upgrade are:
Arguel's Blood Fast goes on the board as an enchantment that helps you with draw, but, when transformed, it becomes the land Temple of Aclazotz, which allows you to sacrifice a creature and get life equal to its resistance. It is useful and very flavorful, referencing the Lost Caverns of Ixalan lore, just the way we like it.
Cards That Come Out
To open up space for these upgrades, we can remove the cards that have less synergy:
Creatures That Go In
Did you know there is a Vampire that "tutors" other Vampires? And the craziest part: he is part of Ixalan's Legion of Dusk.
Bloodline Keeper is the most fun Lord type you can have in a deck: it gives your creatures a buff and has a second effect. In this case, its ability to create 2/2 Vampire tokens with Flying is very interesting. And precisely as it is a 5/5 with Flying, this card itself is already a good blocker.
Edgar, Charmed Groom is a fun option, as it can be targeted by Clavileño's ability, and, when it dies, besides creating a Vampire Demon token and giving you a draw, it will become the artifact Edgar Markov's Coffin, which will create a 1/1 Vampire token with Lifelink for three upkeeps before it turns into a creature again.
As a creature, Edgar will give your Vampires a buff. As an artifact, he helps you fill the board with tokens that can help Clavileño create more Vampire Demons.
It is impossible to think about Ixalan Vampires and not consider the iconic Vito, which is why we separated a slot in this deck for his two versions.
With Vito, Fanatic of Aclazotz, you'll be creating more value when you sacrifice your creatures. As for Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose, it can give your creatures Lifelink or just guarantee that, every time you gain life, the target opponent will lose that same amount of health you gained.
By the way, there is a combo with this Vito and the enchantment, Exquisite Blood, which is included in the precon list. The interaction between these two on the board guarantees that you'll always have infinite life and infinite damage to slay your opponents.
Creatures That Come Out
We separated some creatures that have less synergy or have effects we can't really reuse to open up space for these upgrades. They are:
Besides the aforementioned creatures, as these other creatures leave this deck, we have space to add some fun things that are not in the original precon list.
Enchanting Your Board
We've discussed Arguel's Blood Fast, but two other very fun additions to this decklist are:
While playing Orzhov, life is a resource, and Phyrexian Arena uses this logic well to help you have more cards in hand. As for Grave Pact, it can really boost this deck, as it will force your opponents to sacrifice creatures any time one of yours dies.
Imagine how cool it will be to have this card and a sacrifice source, such as Promise of Aclazotz, on board at the same time? Surely, your opponents win have to scramble for a removal as fast as possible!
It's worth highlighting that the original list has interesting enchantment reprints, such as Etchings of the Chosen, Radiant Destiny and Kindred Boon, besides the newly released March of the Canonized, which brings back the Devotion mechanic we saw way back in the Theros sets, but this time it will help you create creature tokens.
Mana rocks are welcome in any deck that needs acceleration, but when they come with an ability that can remove an opponent from the game with them, they bring a way more special experience.
Artifacts That Come In
Getting 10 point counters on this artifact as fast as you can with Vampire Demon token creation shouldn't be too hard.
Another artifact that goes in this upgraded list is Skullclamp, which is a great card to equip on the 1/1 Vampire tokens and guarantee two draws.
Cards That Come Out
There are no cards that take advantage of Glass-Cast Heart's token creation, and, considering draw cards, there are better things than what these tokens offer.
As for Heirloom Blade, it is a cool card, but there are more interesting cards.
Time to Draw Cards!
Fortunately for us, Black has spell options to draw more cards with additional costs that help us with the sacrifices we discussed at the beginning of this article.
For that reason, we listed:
Cards That Come In
Deadly Dispute and Reckoner's Bargain have great synergy with this deck. As they are instant spells, they can be used when someone passes so that, in your turn, you have an able Vampire Demon on board.
Cards that Come Out
Martyr of Dusk creates only one creature token when it comes in, but we already have more interesting options in this list to create tokens.
As for Bloodtracker, it needs more dedication to place +1/+1 counters and draw you cards when it leaves the board.
Let's Discuss Lands
Precon decks aren't known for their mana bases, so we added some upgrade options to help you speed up the game, even in Orzhov.
Lands That Go In
Phyrexian Tower needs no introduction, and still helps you sacrifice your creatures more freely.
Lands That Come Out
Compared to the upgraded lands, these are slower and can easily be replaced.
A Lost Sorin in Ixalan?
One of the planeswalker cards that best represents this tribe is also included in the precon's official list, but we chose to replace its version.
Card That Comes Out
Sorin, Lord of Innistrad's emblem is welcome, but its final ability of destroying creatures and/or planeswalkers and returning them to the game under your control usually attracts a hate from your opponents.
Cards That Goes In
As a result, the card that goes in to replace it is Sorin, Vengeful Bloodlord, a planeswalker version of this planeswalker with a lower mana cost. It gives your planeswalkers and creatures Lifelink during your turn and can Reanimate a creature card from your graveyard.
This is as most Ozrhov as you can be.
Final Upgraded List
You can check out the complete list below!
Secondary List: Clavileño and Demons
Whereas the main upgraded list in this article kept some interesting Vampires and Nobles, in this one, we have the following logic: "A good Vampire is a Vampire that turns into a Demon".
For this list, we have many low-cost Vampires whose objective is dying as fast as possible through your commander's effect to fill the board with the Vampire Demon tokens.
As support, this list counts with cards that help you create more tokens, and Drivnod, Carnage Dominus to double abilities triggered when these creatures die.
Final Words - Did the Vampires Conquer You?
The pre-constructed Blood Rites deck is a typical Aristocrat Orzhov deck, but it offers plenty of space and freedom for upgrades, without necessarily leaving its theme behind.
Clavileño, First of the Blessed doesn't need insane plays to do what it intends to do, and, as a result, this is a good deck option for players that want to try out a game style in which your creatures and your life are resources that you can't be afraid to use.
Tell me: which card do you believe can't be cut from this deck?
Leave your comment down below, and I'll see you in the next article!