Last updated on November 21, 2022
Edgar Markov | Illustration by Volkan Baga
We recently returned to Innistrad in Midnight Hunt and Crimson Vow and got an influx of vampires and other fun tools to add to our new vampire decks. Edgar Markov has been a favorite Commander ever since its first release in Commander 2017. My question is, do any of the new toys fit in anywhere, or are the old cards still the old guard?
Time to get into this Edgar Markov EDH deck. Let’s get into it!
Malakir Bloodwitch | Illustration by Shelly Wan
Anowon, the Ruin Sage
Champion of Dusk
Drana, Liberator of Malakir
Edgar, Charmed Groom
Elenda, the Dusk Rose
Florian, Voldaren Scion
Forerunner of the Legion
Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle
Nullpriest of Oblivion
Patron of the Vein
Vampire of the Dire Moon
Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose
Yahenni, Undying Partisan
Path to Exile
Etchings of the Chosen
Blade of the Bloodchief
Coat of Arms
Door of Destinies
Caves of Koilos
Path of Ancestry
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Vault of Champions
Vault of the Archangel
Edgar Markov pulls its weight just about everywhere. Eminence allows it to pump out tokens multiple times every turn. Its ability to come out and swing in the same turn with a little bit of combat protection thanks to first strike allows Edgar to immediately start buffing up your board, including itself.
Edgar can get expensive quickly as a 6-drop, but even leaving it in the command zone is reasonable to grow your board.
Every creature in this deck is a vampire, so you’re hitting Edgar’s triggers and getting those sweet buffs on everyone you put on the board. There’s a good mix of abilities at play here, from anthems to token creatures.
The typical plan for Bloodline Keeper is to get it out on turn 4 and then transform it on turns 6 or 7. If you get a good first hand then you can get it out and transformed on turn 3, allowing you to bolster your early board and start creating more vamps each turn. It’s a nice 5/5 that grows with Edgar, but more than likely you’ll turn it as a token creator.
Captivating Vampire is another nice anthem that allows all your Vampire tokens to be put to good use stealing your opponents’ stuff.
Cordial Vampire makes every token you throw at your opponents each combat potentially become another anthem.
Drana, Liberator of Malakir pumps up all your attacking creatures (of which there will be many, and often) each time it manages to get in some direct damage.
Florian, Voldaren Scion gives you some much-needed library filtering. Once it’s out you might not want to play a land before combat unless you need to in case you end up not getting anything you need at that moment but don’t want to exile a card for nothing.
Indulgent Aristocrat is a great 1-drop on turn 1 or 2 that makes all your tokens anthem fodder. Putting this one with Cordial Vampire gives you a 2-for-1 bonus.
Patron of the Vein comes out with some targeted removal, makes your opponents’ yards a “no creature” zone, and works as an anthem. This makes asymmetric board wipes much worse for your opponents.
Vampire Nocturnus grants some situational blocker avoidance if the top card of your library is black. Your vamps will be flying a lot since more than half of the deck has a black pip in the corner.
The only planeswalker in the deck is Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord. This is mostly for lore reasons since having Edgar without Sorin just feels wrong. But its +1s are easy to use and pay for and getting a larger vampire out for only three mana with its -3 isn’t a bad trade-off if nothing else.
Your suite of interaction is more in the realm of targeted destruction and board wipes since you can get back online pretty quickly after one. Some notables in that group are Path to Exile, Damn, Kaya’s Wrath, and Olivia’s Wrath.
There are also some combat tricks and protection with Akroma’s Will and Teferi’s Protection.
Some additions that I thought would be interesting to play with are Crackling Doom to get rid of at least some of the big nasties at the table and New Blood if you want to make one of those big nasties your own.
Your typical wincon in this deck is going to come from combat damage. Your board state will get very large very quickly so swinging with 10+ creatures on the medium-powered side won’t be uncommon. There are couple other cards that have some potential to win games very quickly.
Malakir Bloodwitch becomes an instant win card if your board state is big enough to knock everyone out at once.
Yahenni, Undying Partisan can become a beater to take out one or two players if you give it indestructible before casting a board wipe. It’s even better if it’s done before combat so that you can swing with it the same turn.
The Mana Base
This deck is heavy on the black side with white coming in second and red mostly there as almost a splash color. The entire mana base is made up of dual and tri lands to make sure you aren’t hurting for any specific color. These include the full suite of shock, check, tango, fetch, bounce, Battlebond, and pain lands.
Some notable utility lands include Cabal Coffers, Mortuary Mire, Unclaimed Territory, Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth (helps with black need), Vault of the Archangel, and Voldaren Estate. You also have the usual gambit of mana rocks to help push you into turns early.
Florian, Voldaren Scion | Illustration by Justine Cruz
The strategy of playing with Edgar Markov is very similar to playing a Rakdos deck: fast and aggressive. Markov being Mardu () is a nice bonus since it gives you the ability to throw some nice white cards here and there, but their usefulness only extends back to the original strategy.
With vampires you go wide and not exactly tall, focusing instead on getting tokens and creatures out for value rather than building up a few strong creatures. Then you have the nice problem of deciding if you want to swing them all at one opponent to take them out, or spread the love and try to set your opponents back a bit farther.
Losing tokens and even creatures is fine since you tend to hold back your generators and anthems to be used on subsequent turns.
Combos and Interactions
There are a few little nasty things you can do to your opponents in here.
Get Exquisite Blood and Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose out and gain some life and then just have them trigger back and forth forever. As soon as one of your opponents is done, move on to the next.
Have Indulgent Aristocrat and Cordial Vampire out and sacrifice a token creature with Aristocrat to add a +1/+1 counter all around, then add another thanks to Cordial.
Have Indulgent Aristocrat, Animation Module, and Ashnod’s Altar on the battlefield, control at least three vampires and an additional creature. Sacrifice that extra creature (maybe a vampire) to pass around +1/+1 counters on all your vamps. Each of those counter trigger Module.
Pay one colorless and resolve the first of these triggers to create a Servo token and then immediately sacrifice it using the Altar to get back two colorless. Repeat as necessary with the other Module triggers for a bonus of three colorless mana to loop infinite colorless mana, infinite Servos, infinite +1/+1’s on your vampires, and infinite LTB/death/sacrifice triggers for whatever may like them.
Have Elenda, the Dusk Rose, Animation Module, and Ashnod’s Altar on the battlefield plus at least one other creature. Sacrifice that other creature to the Altar to get two colorless mana and trigger Elenda’s ability to get a +1/+1 counter. This counter triggers Module for which you’ll pay the one colorless to make a Servo token. Repeat this process with the Servo token for infinite colorless mana, infinite +1/+1s on Elenda, and infinite LTB/death/sacrifice triggers.
New Blood | Illustration by Howard Lyon
The deck currently costs around $950. That’s a chunk of change to pay for what I’d consider a very well-tuned vampire deck. Here’s something I have a bit of internal contention with: should you play Edgar Markov budget?
Edgar by itself is already a $90+ card. On top of that you generally want to play other anthems that boost those abilities which also aren’t exactly cheap (Coat of Arms and Door of Destinies are both upwards of $15, Urza’s Incubator goes for over $40, and Vanquisher’s Banner is over $10). And most of the exceptional vampires aren’t exactly nice to the wallet either (Bloodline Keeper and Elenda, the Dusk Rose both go for over $20, Olivia Voldaren is more than $15, and Twilight Prophet comes in at around $30).
But none of those have anything to say about the price of the mana base at $275. This is where I’d suggest making any changes and cuts. Any of the nonbasic lands in the deck can be traded out for a cheaper dual land variant or a basic if done in a balanced manner. But what you’re sacrificing to save money is a big part of the deck’s strategy: aggression.
Removing the lands that either increase the value or that you can drop untapped and use for multiple colors means that you may not be getting Edgar Markov or some of the other main set pieces out early. But that’s a decision I think anyone playing a deck like this needs to ask themselves.
Except Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord. You could easily drop Sorin out of this and add in one of its cheaper brethren (or even a different vampire entirely) and be fine. Bloodlord was just the best one for this build.
Yahenni, Undying Partisan | Illustration by Lius Lasahido
Edgar Markov is a very fun commander to play with. It’s in the colors that the best of vampires come from and you have a wide range of modes to work it into a deck or playstyles. Looking back at my initial question of whether our dip back into Innistrad really helped to make it even more powerful you’ll find that some inclusions did sneak in, but mostly in the way of reprints.
I had quite a number of cards that I set aside to include that didn’t make the cut when it came to taking Edgar in the anthems direction. The nice thing about it is that it can become an enabler of just about any of the vampire tribe’s mechanics, so playing around is highly suggested. Get your money’s worth out of dear old Edgar!
What changes would you make with the deck? Which of the more recent cards do you think should have made the cut? Let me know in the comments below or in Draftsim’s Discord.
That’s all from me for now. Stay safe, stay healthy, and wash your hands!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: