Well, first I was going to wait and build this deck after Innistrad was released and I got my hands on some of the new Vampires. Then, I got impatient and built it anyway. Then I was going to wait and post the decklist after I'd polished it up a bit. But, here I am, typing up the decklist as it stands... but I do have a good reason, besides my impatience. I wanted to leave myself some notes on what to cut for which new card after ISD drops. I was going to jot down some notes in a notebook, but then I figured: "Eh, might as well post it. Content is content."
Anyway, the mission statement is simple: Vampires. Lots of them. As many as I can realistically fit into the deck while still making it somewhat playable. I am cutting ubiquitous staples and good-stuff inclusions where possible to cram more thematic and flavorful stuff in. And as for the good-stuff that does make the cut, I try to at least justify most of those choices from a thematic perspective.
Slave of Bolas? Torrent of Souls? Barter in Blood? Sure, these cards definitely aren't specifically concepted as "Vampire" cards, but the names and what they do fit the flavor. Slave to Bolas might be named after a Dragon Planeswalker, but taking control of your enemy, using him, and then discarding him when you're through... definitely a classic Vampire move. Barter in Blood has "blood" in the name! What more do you want?
Okay, okay... I know there's no way in hell I can stretch the theme enough to make Skullclamp, Wheel of Fortune or Rite of Replication seem vampiric in flavor, but I do still want to win games with the deck. One mantra I try to keep in mind is "don't be a slave to your theme". Meaning, once your deck's theme starts to cost you games and actually makes the deck LESS fun to play, well, it's time to revisit your priorities.
I'm not saying winning should come at the cost of making your deck interesting - that's the last thing I want to impart. But, I feel the reverse is also true - the "theme" shouldn't completely neuter your deck to the point of unplayability.
So, by that logic, I feel the inclusion of a small number of cards that are just strictly in the deck to help me win games if more than fair, and still gives the deck enough room to make the Vampire theme felt through and through. But, to be honest, I'm hoping for a functional reprint of Solemn Simulacrum as a Creature - Vampire, because he's the one guy in my deck that is STRICTLY not a Vampire. But frankly I don't dare cut him - he's just too crucial to a deck without access to Green. The other 4 creatures that don't specifically say "Vampire" anywhere on the card all have the ability to become Vampires via their own innate abilities (Adaptive Automaton, Duplicant, Phyrexian Metamorph and Vesuvan Doppleganger).
So yeah, I fudged a little here and there, but only where it was important and felt like the right call. The only issue I have so far is a complete and utter inability to deal with Enchantments. I could easily run Chaos Warp, All is Dust, Karn Liberated and Steel Hellkite... but of those only All is Dust has a vampire-y enough name to kinda sorta fit the deck... the others are all huge misses on that end. But including one single card to deal with Enchantments and then having to rely on drawing it when needed... that doesn't sound like a good strategy to me. No, I prefer, in this case at least, to go with the strategy of "kill the player with the problematic Enchantments first, and hope that my Plan A is better than whatever it is they're doing".
Yeah, we'll see how that goes... right then, on to the list.
Garza Zol, Plague Queen
Guul Draz Assassin --> Stromkirk Noble
Gatekeeper of Malakir --> Rakish Heir
Mirri the Cursed
Sengir Nosferatu --> Falkenrath Noble
Anwon, the Ruin Sage
Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief
Fallen Angel --> Bloodline Keeper
Vein Drinker --> Falkenrath Marauders
Butcher of Malakir
Kalitas, Bloodchief of Ghet
Chancellor of the Dross
Vampiric Dragon --> Olivia Voldaren
Spells and Stuff
Rite of Replication
Wheel of Fortune
Go for the Throat
Feast of Blood
Barter in Blood
Beacon of Unrest
Torrent of Souls
Slave of Bolas
Spinal Embrace --> Cackling Counterpart
Blade of the Bloodchief
Nim Deathmantle --> Curse of Stalked Prey
Talisman of Dominance
Talisman of Indulgence
Obelisk of Grixis
Vampiric Fury needs to go in somewhere... oh dear.
EDIT: Holy shit, how the hell did I forget Blood Tribute?!