Traditionally associated with black mana, Vampires are one of the most popular creature types in Magic: The Gathering. Often characterized by their ability to siphon life from other players, Vampires have appeared in various forms across Magic’s planes, from the black/red Rakdos vampires of Innistrad to the white/black Orzhov conquistadors of Ixalan.
Along with most appearances of Vampires in Magic, powerful legendary Vampires have also been printed. As legendary creatures can distinctly be used to spearhead Commander decks, they are quite popular. Let’s examine the strongest legendary Vampires from Magic’s history.
Updated May 16, 2023, by Chris Stomberg: Vampires are among the oldest creature types in all of Magic, with Sengir Vampire being the first Vampire card ever printed all the way back in Alpha. The popularity of Vampires in fantasy canon has led to many, many printings of Vampires across the years, and there’s no sign of that stopping any time soon. New Vampires are printed with the release of just about every set, so it should come as no surprise that there are a number of awesome, powerful Vampires to add to this list quite often. All that being said, let’s take a look at what the most recent sets have brought to the table.
22 Timothar, Baron Of Bats
A card that appears within one of the Crimson Vow Commander Decks, Timothar, Baron of Bats evokes the iconic transformation from a Vampire into a bat. A mono-black Vampire for six mana, Timothar is a 4/4 with a ward cost of discarding a card, making him quite troublesome for opponents to remove.
Whenever a nontoken Vampire under your control dies, you can pay one mana to create a 1/1 Bat token with flying, exiling the Vampire in question. Whenever one of these bat tokens deals combat damage, it is sacrificed in exchange for returning the exiled Vampire to play. This makes permanently dealing with a Timothar player’s Vampires a huge headache, as they can effectively transform into bats instead of dying.
21 Felisa, Fang Of Silverquill
Released as part of the Silverquill preconstructed Commander deck alongside Strixhaven, Felisa, Fang of Silverquill is a legendary Vampire capable of making great use of +1/+1 counters.
An Orzhov (white/black) 3/2 with flying and mentor for four mana, whenever another creature under your control dies, you create an amount of 2/1 flying Inkling tokens equal to the number of +1/+1 counters on that creature. Felisa’s mentor ability allows her to put counters on other creatures, making her a solid commander choice for those looking to play an aristocrats deck that utilizes counters.
20 Vona, Butcher Of Magan
Orzhov is often regarded for its powerful options when it comes to removal. Vona, Butcher of Magan is a legendary Vampire that encapsulates this sentiment.
A 4/4 for five mana with both vigilance and lifelink, Vona can tap itself at the cost of seven life, destroying any nonland permanent. As this ability can be activated each turn, Vona can remove many problematic permanents. Thanks to her combination of vigilance and lifelink, she can also help mitigate the required life payment.
19 Anowon, The Ruin Sage
A mono-black Vampire for five mana, Anowon, the Ruin Sage provides a universal effect that, while a detriment to most players, has little to no effect on Vampire players.
This is because, at the beginning of Anowon’s controller’s upkeep, each player sacrifices a non-Vampire creature. While this can be taxing for many decks, especially those with few creatures, Anowon’s controller will often only control Vampires.
18 Cormela, Glamour Thief
Unlike many of the Vampires on this list, Cormela doesn’t lend herself towards a Vampire strategy. Instead, she comboes with a Grixis (blue/black/red) instants and sorceries deck by providing additional mana.
Three mana is a lot to generate every turn, and Cormela’s access to the haste keyword allows her to provide it the same turn she comes down as long as you have an extra generic mana lying around. It should be noted that Cormela nets you an additional two mana every turn as her ability costs one generic mana to activate, but this is a still a huge boon.
The icing on top is that she allows you to return an instant or sorcery from your graveyard to your hand if your opponent decides to remove her, so you’re likely getting value here no matter what. That’s what we want out of our Magic cards.
17 Anje Falkenrath
Released in Commander 2019, Anje Falkenrath is the perfect Commander for those seeking to play a madness deck. Madness is a unique mechanic that allows you to play spells as they are discarded, often for a discounted cost.
Anje is an affordable Rakdos (red/black) commander for three mana that can tap and discard a card to draw a card. Then, if the discarded card had madness, Anje untaps, even if the card wasn’t cast. This allows Anje to reliably cycle out unwanted and dead cards from your hand and replace them with new draws.
16 Mathas, Fiend Seeker
Mathas, Fiend Seeker is a three-mana legendary Mardu (black/red/white) Vampire that perfectly fits Commander players who enjoy playing politically.
A 3/3 with menace, during each of your end steps, you can put a bounty counter on any creature. When that creature dies, every player besides its controller gains two life and draws a card. This allows Mathas’s controller to incentivize other players to use their removal spells while you conserve your resources, making for fun and unique political negotiations at the Commander table.
15 Drana, Liberator Of Malakir
Drana is much easier to cast than most of the Vampires on this list thanks to only costing double black, and she comes with an incredibly aggressive ability to boot. Providing +1/+1 counters to your entire board can get out of hand very quickly, especially if you’ve got a board with three creatures or more.
The counters Drana drops also apply to herself which allows her to present a threatening presence even in the worst case scenario where she’s the only creature on your side of the battlefield. Lastly, the combination of flying and first strike makes blocking Drana an absolute pain for the opposition.
It’s not often that flying creatures have a high amount of toughness to begin with, so it’s usually the case that opponents are forced to spend removal on this relatively low cost creature. In other words, Drana is perfect for clearing the way for bigger and badder Vampires on this list.
14 Evelyn, the Covetous
Printed as part of the Grixis (black, blue, and red) Maestros faction of Streets of New Capenna, Evelyn, the Covetous is a creature that puts a unique spin on the Vampire archetype due to her many colors. A 2/5 for five mana with flash, whenever Evelyn or another of your Vampires enters the battlefield, you exile the top card of each player’s library with a collection counter on it.
As Evelyn allows you to play lands and cast spells from among these exiled cards, this creature effectively turns each Vampire you cast into an alternate form of card advantage that grows proportionally in power based on the number of players within a given game. This makes Evelyn a highly underrated Vampire commander who lets you use Vampires to steal your opponents’ spells.
13 Anhelo, the Painter
Another Grixis Vampire printed as part of the Maestros faction, Anhelo, the Painter headlined the Maestros Massacre preconstructed Commander deck. An efficient 1/3 with deathtouch for three mana, while Anhelo’s ability may not synergize with other Vampires, it can provide you with serious value.
This is because the first instant or sorcery you cast gains Casualty 2, meaning you may sacrifice a creature with power two or greater as you cast it, copying it in the process.
Anhelo’s effect allows you to reliably copy the most impactful spells in the game as long as you have expendable creatures at your disposal, making it a great option for those looking to play a spell-slinging Aristocrats deck.
12 Anowan, The Ruin Thief
This is the second iteration of the character of Anowan. While Anowan, the Ruin Thief is a Vampire, this card is the premier commander for Dimir (blue/black) Rogue decks. For four mana, this Vampire Rogue provides each of its controller’s Rogues with +1/+1, also causing them to mill opponents equal to the damage they deal.
Anowan also draws you cards when creatures are milled in this manner. Seeing as Rogues tend to come alongside some form of evasion, Anowan can easily convert the damage dealt by these hard-to-block creatures into card advantage.
11 Verrak, Warped Sengir
Printed in Dominaria United, Verrak, Warped Sengir is an efficient Orzhov Vampire that allows many of your already powerful activated abilities to pack even more of a punch. A respectable 2/2 with flying, deathtouch, and lifelink for three mana, Verrak’s ability states that if you’d pay life to activate an ability, you may pay twice that much life to copy the ability at hand.
There is a wide range of great cards with useful activated abilities that require you to pay life, such as the previously mentioned Vona and the ever-excellent Yawgmoth, Thran Physician. However, one of the most notable appeals of Verrak is its ability to double the value of each of your fetch lands, as these lands require you to pay one life to search your library for lands to put into play.
10 Henrika Domnathi
Henrika may not be the flashiest or most powerful Vampire on this list, but she does provide fairly consistent value thanks to one of her three abilities triggering at the beginning of combat on your turn. Unless an opponent is holding up instant speed removal, Henrika is either going to immediately replace herself by drawing you a card or double as removal by forcing an opponent to sacrifice a creature.
In the best cases, Henrika can do both and then also transform into a considerably sized lifelink, deathtouch, flying creature that provides a mana sink to buff herself and, potentially, other creatures on your side of the battlefield. That’s a whole lot of action for four mana value.
9 Lord Xander, the Collector
Though it may be rather mana-intensive, Lord Xander, the Collector is a highly impactful Grixis Vampire capable of depriving opponents of their resources in three different ways.
First and foremost, when this seven-mana Vampire Demon enters the battlefield, you may immediately have the target opponent discard half of the cards in their hand, rounded down, removing several potential answers they may have to your game plan.
Secondly, whenever Lord Xander attacks, it mills the top half of the defending player’s library, putting them on a quickly dwindling clock against losing through mill. Lastly, suppose an opponent chooses to remove Lord Xander. This can be costly, as when this creature dies, the target opponent sacrifices half of their nonland permanents, serving as a mini one-sided board wipe.
8 Yahenni, Undying Partisan
Yahenni, Undying Partisan is an aggressive, low costed mono-black Aetherborn Vampire from Aether Revolt. Costing three mana, Yahenni is a 2/2 with haste that receives a +1/+1 counter whenever a creature under an opponent’s control dies.
Yahenni can grow in size rather quickly when paired with plenty of removal spells. Yahenni can also be paired with self-recurring creatures and creatures with potent death triggers, as at the cost of a sacrificed creature, Yahenni can bestow itself with indestructible.
7 Olivia, Crimson Bride
The bride within the key wedding of Innistrad: Crimson Vow, Olivia, Crimson Bride is a potent Rakdos Vampire capable of recurring your creatures from the graveyard.
A 3/4 for six mana, whenever Olivia attacks, you can put any creature from your graveyard directly onto the battlefield, tapped and attacking. While a creature recurred with Olivia is exiled if its owner doesn’t control a legendary Vampire, this card is a great means of recurring several cards from the graveyard, potentially subverting high mana costs and cheating impressive creatures into play.
6 Olivia Voldaren
Since her first printing in Innistrad, Olivia Voldaren has been one of Magic’s most iconic legendary Vampires. A 3/3 Vampire with flying for four mana, Olivia can deal one damage to any target creature for two mana, turning that creature into a Vampire, and putting a +1/+1 counter on Olivia in the process.
Furthermore, Olivia can gain control of any target Vampire at the cost of five mana. Between these two abilities, Olivia is capable of stealing many powerful creatures from your opponents.
5 Vito, Thorn Of The Dusk Rose
Printed in Core Set 2021, Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose is a Vampire who totes exceptional synergies with both Vampires and non-Vampire creatures alike.
A 1/3 for three mana, Vito is a mono-black Vampire that states whenever you gain life, target player loses that much life. As numerous Vampires have abilities that cause you to gain life, Vito can deal significant damage. He also combos off of Exquisite Blood, which causes you to gain life equal to the amount of life your opponents lose.
Even in the circumstance that you have little access to sources of lifegain, Vito can provide all creatures under your control with lifelink at the cost of five mana.
4 Elenda, The Dusk Rose
Elenda, the Dusk Rose is a vital figure in the lore of Ixalan and Rivals of Ixalan and is an incredible Orzhov Vampire for four mana. A 1/1 with lifelink, you put a +1/+1 counter on Elenda whenever another creature dies, allowing her to grow into a noteworthy threat.
Additionally, when Elenda dies, an amount of 1/1 Vampire tokens with lifelink are created equal to her power, allowing all of her might to be spread wide. If she isn’t answered quickly, there’s no doubt that Elenda will cause problems for your opponents.
3 Kalitas, Traitor Of Ghet
Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet is a multifarious legendary Vampire capable of accruing a great deal of value over a game. A mono-black 3/4 with lifelink for four mana, Kalitas exiles any non-token creatures when they die, then immediately creates a 2/2 zombie token.
This greatly hinders graveyard-based strategies and can help to put substantial numbers on one’s side of the battlefield. In case one seeks to bolster Kalitas’s power, at the cost of three mana, you may sacrifice a Vampire or a Zombie to put two +1/+1 counters on Kalitas.