|(Subtype for creature/tribal cards)|
325 cardsas of Alchemy: Innistrad
6.2% 62.5% 14.8% 2.8% 4.6% 6.2% 0.3% 0.6% 2.2%
Vampires are a bloodthirsty species, often a type of undead. Whilst humans are the most common victims of vampirism, other races can be afflicted as well. Throughout the multiverse, vampires can be created through other vampires turning their victims, or through enchantment.
The most defining characteristic of vampirism is their hunger for the blood and/or lifeforces of others. Other traits of vampires can include unnatural physical strength, enhanced healing powers, and/or the ability to fly, with their methods of flight being through either natural or supernatural means. Many species of 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 these creatures means that they all prefer the cover of darkness. Vampires can range from being mindless predators to sophisticated and intelligent nobles. The appearances of vampires is similarly varied, although they all have somewhat of elongated fangs, with the more feral ones have bat-like qualities.
Before the Conflux, the rare Alaran vampires were exclusively found on the shard of Grixis, where they fed on zombies. Grixian vampires range in their strength from the amount of vis they have consumed. Those who only managed to wring lifeforce from corpses are skeletal and mad with hunger, while those who managed to taste vis from the still-living soar in the skies, commanding hordes of bats and other vermin. These vampires knew that their life on Grixis ran on borrowed time and held annual meetings to discuss how to prolong their race's survival.
Vampires of Arcavios have elongated ears and are associated with Silverquill and Witherbloom. Some are even deans, such as Valentin. They are seemingly less vicious than their counterparts from other planes, with some openly stating that violence is "the last resort of the witless".
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 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.
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 archangels 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
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:
Four of the remaining five minor bloodlines are:
- Dusken, a nearly extinguished bloodline that rivaled the Maurers
- Maurer, founded by Strefan Maurer and fairly centered around Strefan's domain in Stensia's outland valleys.
- Domnathi, vampires that are consorting with demons.
- Nusfar, predatory vampires that look like children.
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 a state of perpetual balance; gain is impossible without loss, triumph without sacrifice, and no sustenance 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 choice of prey, defining guilt along with 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).
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. Afterward, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 vampires of Zendikar were created by the Eldrazi Ulamog. and differ from typical vampires in many respects, as they have a lifespan of approximately 200 years, and while they feed on blood, 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 (among them Rayami, First of the Fallen). 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. Hook-like horns grew from the vampires' shoulders, convenient handles for the Eldrazi to dominate their slave race and, for millennia afterward, physical symbols of the vampires' heritage of enslavement. 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
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 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 was Kalitas.
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 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.
As the only survivor of the first generation of vampires, Drana holds unquestioned leadership over vampire society as it rebuilds from the devastation of the war against the Eldrazi. In a desperate attempt to repopulate vampire society, Drana is trying to discover the means to create new bloodchiefs, since only a bloodchief can create a new vampire.
- 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.
- Anje Falkenrath
- Edgar Markov
- Florian Voldaren
- Henrika Domnathi
- Jeleva, Nephalia's Scourge
- Olivia Voldaren
- Runo Stromkirk
- Sorin Markov
- Strefan Maurer, progenitor of a minor vampiric bloodline, ruling a remote region in Stensia's outland valleys.
- Timothar Markov
- Lord Vaast Markov, a vampire disposed as Lord of the Approaches by Davriel Cane.
- Elenda of Garrano was the first vampire and once part of an 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 accompanied 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.
- Mavren Fein
- Vito, a fanatical priest of the Church of the Dusk.
- 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 is 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.
- The Haunt of Hightower
- Tithe-Master Zoltan Slav, part of the Orzhov Syndicate Triumvirate, and controls the finances of the guild.
- 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 plans to dominate the multiverse with his undead family. He is a native of Dominaria.
- Irini Sengir, his dwarven stepdaughter
- Anowon is the scion of a 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 three most powerful bloodchiefs: Kalitas of the Ghet family, Drana of the Kalastria family, and Rayami.
- Zagras, Drana's lieutenant, who roams the plane trying to find a way to create new bloodchiefs, with the promise from Drana that she will make him the first new one.
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 the shared characteristic race of black with Zombies. In essence, vampires became smaller in size, but larger in numbers, showing up in common and uncommon slots. They also gave the color a common creature type that represented the color pie slightly better, as zombies tended to have little agency and required the lore of necromancy responsible behind their return. 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). Ravnica also increased their Vampire population in both return blocks, though Tarkir, Theros, Kaladesh and Amonkhet had less than five per block.
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.. Vampires with blue in their cost have been seen on a few planes, including Grixis and Ravnica; there have been only three uncommon and no common partial-blue vampires. The first vampire with green in its cost was featured in Commander 2019: Rayami, First of the Fallen. In Strixhaven: School of Mages, Blood Researcher marks off the first Standard-legal, first common, and first nonlegendary green Vampire. Crimson Vow expanded the Innistrad Vampires into White while also keeping Red, and featured the first nonblack multicolored vampires, the Red/White Markov Waltzer and Odric, Blood-Cursed.
|Token Name||Color||Type Line||P/T||Text Box||Source||Printings|
|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||2/3||Flying, Lifelink|
|Black||Creature — Vampire||X/X|
|Black/Red||Creature — Vampire||3/1||Trample, Lifelink, Haste|
|White/Black||Creature — Vampire||1/1||Lifelink|
|Vampire Knight||Black||Creature — Vampire Knight||1/1||Lifelink|
- Mark Rosewater (October 22, 2018). "Are the iconic/characteristic races considered a 1 on the Beeble Scale?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (March 15, 2015). "Characteristic and iconic creatures for each color?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- 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
- K. Arsenault Rivera (November 3, 2021). "The Dolorous Weight of Pleasantries". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- 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.
- Ari Zirulnik (September 15, 2020). "The Legends of Zendikar Rising". 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Mark Rosewater (October 25, 2021). "How Trivial – Vampires". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.