Commander Focus: Vito, the Dusk Rose

They let me back in. This time I’m here with another Halloween themed deck (though the first one wasn’t intentionally Halloween themed), mono-black, vampire-tribal helmed by Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose.

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

This isn’t a particularly novel deck or idea for a deck. Mostly it’s Vampire tribal, but this isn’t why I built the deck. I generally don’t feel compelled to build tribal decks. The design space is too narrow for me and the deckbuilding is too easy. The reason I built this deck is entirely in the name of the Commander himself: Vito. This was and is a very important name to me.

When I was in 5th grade my grandpa was diagnosed with lung cancer. My family and I spent days and days in the hospital at his bed-side. My cousins and I passed the time playing whatever games we had for the Gameboy Advance. He passed away soon after 5 days before my birthday and 4 days before my brother’s. His name was Vito. This isn’t a common name for me to come across. Between the release of Core Set 21 and my grandfather I’ve come across the name one other time: a coworker at my first job in my career. I don’t necessarily believe in signs, but I took this to mean I was on the right path.

The card had no greater meaning or sign to me in the same way, but seeing as how Wizards printed a card with a uniquely Italian name and one that shared the name of my grandfather I had to build the deck.

That’s why I made the deck. Here’s what I made the deck into. Prepare for a tonal whiplash.

I WANT to Suck Your Blood!

Coming in at a whopping 1/3 for 2B, Vito may not seem that impressive. Decent value for 3 mana, but a 1/3 is wimp in combat. If you know me, you’ll know that I’ve never considered a Commander’s efficacy in combat, so what else is going on with this guy. I see 3BB give all of your creatures lifelink. That’s pretty decent, sounds like the beginning of a pretty durable go-wide strategy. What’s this other line of text? “Whenever you gain life, target opponent loses that much life.” Oh. Oh that’s very good. Sanguine Bond on a stick anyone? This guy is just one half of an infinite combo that he can facilitate by giving a blocking creature lifelink. Just add Exquisite Blood and it’s game over!

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

That’s right. We’re using the best and easiest two-card combo except half of the combo we have 3 to 4 redundancies for. If we ever lose Exquisite Blood we might as well throw in the towel. The rest of the deck is mostly Vampire good-stuff with some additional Extort mechanics thrown in for good measure (the Extort also helps pull off the Blood-Bond combo).

For card draw we are running the classics of Erebos, God of the Dead, Phyrexian Arena, and Greed. We are playing almost too many removal spells and a cool Decree of Pain (bonus card draw!) that we will achieve casting with Cabal Coffers, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, and Crypt Ghast.

Ending The Game

We have Consume Spirit as a player kill spell with all that mana we are producing. This is a useful card even if you only pump one mana into X. It’ll kick off your Blood-Bond kill loop. The same can be said about the other two game-enders, but these act more as contingency plans than as ways to trigger the Blood-Bond.

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

These two cards are probably the easiest way to add a simple win condition to your deck. If a game goes on long enough, any deck with black should have enough mana pump a boatload into the X cost of Torment of Hailfire or Exsanguinate. Exsanguinate comes in at $8 and Torment of Hailfire comes in at $17. Reasonable prices considering the power of these cards.

So here’s the decklist:

It’s not a particularly novel deck idea, but I wasn’t going for something novel when I built it. I wanted something effective that felt good to play, and I think I hit the mark pretty well!
Thanks for joining us for our latest Commander deck! Make sure to keep an eye out for the next deck in the series next week! If you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at