Card: Strefan, Maurer Progenitor | Art: Chris Rallis

The Best Vampires In Commander – Drain Your Opponents Dry

The Best Vampires In Commander – Drain Your Opponents Dry

Hey folks, we are back with another installment! Today, prepare to enter the blood-curdling world of the best vampires in Commander! Vampires have been around since Homelands back in 1995! With just under 400 bloodsuckers legal in Commander, let’s go through the ones you should be playing in your vampire kindred decks.

Since there are so many vampires to explore, we’ll break them down into key sections. First off, we’ll look at the best vampires to play as your commander before exploring some of the heavy hitters that are tailor-made for the main deck. Finally, we will close on some hidden gems and vampires that deserve a shoutout in specific decks.


EDHREC can be a solid jumping-off point for finding cards to build your next Commander deck. However, going purely off EDHREC rankings might be deceptive. Just because a card has a good rating on EDHREC does not mean it is a good card for a vampire deck. Be careful when evaluating cards. Anowan, the Ruin Thief, Anje Folkenrath, and Anhelo the Painter are all amazing cards. However, they don’t do anything specifically for vampire-themed decks other than, well, being a vampire. These examples are obvious. However, keep this in mind when searching through vampires.

Top Vampire Commanders

Let’s begin with the big bad bloodsuckers at the top of the table. Broadly speaking, there are three top vampire commanders. Each one tries to do something unique. By looking at these top choices, we can understand what makes for a “good” vampire commander.

Edgar Markov

Everyone saw this one coming. Edgar was printed in Commander 2017 and reads, “Whenever you cast another Vampire spell, if Edgar Markov is in the command zone or on the battlefield, you create a 1/1 black Vampire token.” The flexibility, thanks to Eminence, is partially what makes Edgar so powerful. However, don’t miss the second line of text, which puts a +1/+1 counter on each vampire you control whenever Edgar attacks. And to top it all off, the Markov big man has first strike and haste.

So, what do Edgar’s abilities tell us about the deck we want to build? Firstly, it is aggressive. All vampires come with a friend. Something unassuming like a Viscera Seer suddenly brings a bit of pressure to the board. Speaking of Viscera Seer, with all those 1/1 vampires, perhaps Edgar can lean into an aristocrats strategy. Creatures with sacrifice effects or death triggers become more powerful. Yahenni Undying Partisan and Blood Artist come to mind for me. 

ColorNumber of Mono Color VampiresNumber of Vampires Containing That Color
Table of vampires by color

Finally, Edgar’s colors make him unique. Mardu is by far the best color for vampires. There are no mono-colored vampires in blue or green, so Edgar is the clear choice. The only other Mardu vampire commanders do not specifically care about vampires. Licia cares about life gain and +1/+1 counters. Mathas, on the other hand, has a unique “bounty counter” mechanic. A cool design, but not specific to vampires by any means. Edgar Markov is the clear choice for those who want the largest card pool of vampires.

Strefan, Maurer Progenitor

Next up is Strefan. He focuses on the life lost by the opponent. For each opponent that loses life this turn, you make a Blood token at the end step. Whenever he attacks, you can sacrifice two blood tokens to put a vampire into play from your hand tapped and attacking! While Edgar cares about small vampires, Strefan’s desire for only the biggest and baddest makes him one of the best vampires in Commander!

To enable Strefan’s blood creation, we should focus on making all our opponents lose life. Attacking is the obvious way to do so. However, we need to avoid those pesky blockers. Zulaport Cutthroat, Mirkwood Bats, or even Twilight Prophet can make that happen thanks to their evasion or extra drain abilities! Once we have a taste for blood, we can use those tokens to cheat in larger threats!

There is no shortage of big vampires to pair with Strefan! Regardless of what you cheat in, a big body with indestructible is going to cause some trouble for the opponent. Some favorites include Butcher of Malakir to make any trades hurt your opponent’s board. Nirkana Revenant can help ramp you even further ahead on mana while also being a powerful threat thanks to her activated ability. A new card to consider, too, is Vein Ripper. This six-mana flyer makes an opponent lose life whenever a creature dies, which is perfect for creating more blood tokens!

Evelyn, the Covetous

We end our trio of vampiric vandals with Evelyn. Here, we add blue to the mix. This brings us to the thievery element of vampires! Whenever a vampire enters, we exile the top card of each player’s library with a “collection” counter. Once each turn, you can cast cards with collection counters from exile. I love this take on vampires in Commander. We have seen media feature vampires as seductive and powerful, able to bend mortals to their whim. Many blue vampires capture this element.

Theft effects are mostly found in blue. Don Andres, the Renegade gives a bonus to creatures we control but do not own. Etrata, Deadly Fugitive lets us steal from the opponent’s deck using the “cloak” ability. Meanwhile, Captivating Vampire offers us a very direct theft effect by tapping five vampires. Blue offers us a new lens to appreciate vampires as it gives us access to cards not normally seen in a vampire deck. Evelyn can be a perfect commander for those seeking a change from the conventional vampire colors while still getting to play old classics.

Best Vampires in Commander for the 99

Now we can see some of the most popular vampires for the main deck. I will be focusing on the best vampires specifically for vampire decks and leaving out those that might be generically good but don’t fit synergistically with the theme. Again, let’s use the top commanders as a reference point for what makes a “good” vampire for EDH. In no particular order:

Viscera Seer

Viscera Seer wears many hats and is a staple outside vampire kindred decks. For one mana, we get a sacrifice outlet! Whether it is enabling death triggers, helping us dig deeper with that scry, or summoning an extra 1/1 with Edgar, Viscera Seer can do a lot to keep momentum going and stop dead draws! Seer also pairs incredibly well with Elenda, the Dusk Rose since we can feed it fodder to make Elenda grow.

Stromkirk Captain

This card is an anthem and a powerful keyword all in one. First strike makes combat a nightmare for the opponent. No blocks are safe! And there’s no better pairing for first strike than deathtouch! Kaya, Geist Hunter can make a great addition here by adding that lovely keyword to all your vampires! Despite her history fighting the undead, Kaya would be more than welcome alongside the Captain.

Cordial Vampire

Despite the inviting smile, Cordial Vampire is anything but. Whenever it or another creature dies, you put a +1/+1 counter on each vampire you control. This has the potential to get out of hand fast. If you have access to vampire tokens it is especially nasty. Cordial Vampire welcomes everyone to the feast. My creatures, your creatures, no matter what dies, the vampires will grow! This makes blocking tricky when you pair it with Viscera Seer or another sacrifice outlet. No matter what the opponent blocks, we sacrifice it and grow the rest of our team!

Charismatic Conqueror

This is a recent addition to the vampire family. It marries the token generation of vampires with a white hatebear twist. Whenever an artifact or creature enters the battlefield under the opponent’s control, they face a choice. They can have the artifact/creature enter tapped, or give us a 1/1 vampire token with lifelink. I love this angle of attack. We force the opponent to play on the back foot or give us a board.

This plays well at any stage of the game. Early on it can slow down mana rocks. Meanwhile, late game, it can generate a whole army of tokens as the opponent plays multiple spells, forcing them into a difficult situation. As their stuff enters tapped it leaves them open to a big attack from our vampire horde!

Clavileño, First of the Blessed

Clavileño is a card advantage monster in vampire Commander decks. Whenever you attack, a target attacking vampire that isn’t a demon becomes a demon. It gains “When this creature dies, draw a card and create a tapped 4/3 white and black demon token with flying.” Let’s break this down a little. This ability can target any non-demon vampire (so most of them). The creature gains this ability forever. And it draws you cards! This has some fantastic potential to run away with the game. Aggressive decks can often run out of gas. Meanwhile, Clavileño lets us turn cheap fodder into new threats and card draw.

Not the best, but they are pretty cool!

I couldn’t in good faith call these next few “the best” vampires. However, I think they are awesome and might be worth considering if you want to experiment or try something off the wall!

Ghalta and Mavren

This is a vampire riding a dinosaur. It’s very silly. It’s seven mana for a 12/12 that either makes a big dinosaur or a bunch of little vampires when it attacks. I adore this card. And I don’t think it is bad, it just does not fit anywhere. No commander cares specifically about vampires with green in their color identity. My only hope for Ghalta and Mavren is running them as the commander, or in the main deck of Morophon, the Boundless deck. Either way, it’s a hard sell. This card did see some play in 60-card formats as a combo with Sorin, Impervious Bloodlord, so maybe Ghalta and Marven will have a true home in a vampire deck someday. I’m holding out hope!

Sengir, the Dark Baron

Sengir is one of the oldest names in vampire lore. He appeared initially as Baron Sengir in homelands alongside his grandmother! In his Commander Legends incarnation, he gets two +1/+1 counters whenever a creature dies. Plus, whenever another player loses the game, you gain life equal to their life at the start of the turn. The Baron is a wonderful marriage of mechanics and flavor. He sucks the life force out of the player to feed you! I adore this design. Unfortunately, I just never seem to find room for him in my decks. However, that “Partner” mechanic at the bottom of his text box is begging me to pair him with something. What do you think Sengir would pair well with?

Verrak, Warped Sengir

Hey, the Sengir name shows up once again! While Verrak is a vampire, he is not asking you to build a vampire deck. Whenever you activate an ability that requires paying life you can pay that much life again. If you do copy that ability. I love this effect so much! I love the interaction with fetch lands here. You can pay an extra life to search for two lands! You turn all your fetch lands into ramp spells once Verrak is in play! This can pave the way to a big mana strategy where you can get all your favorite big vampires out and swing ahead of time!


With that, I hope you enjoyed our look at the best vampires in Commander. There is no doubt a huge selection of vampires out there. I am sure we missed some. Please let us know in the comments what your favorite vampires are. I am incredibly excited to find some new picks for my decks!

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