Greasefang, Okiba Boss | Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty
9, Jun, 24

Vehicles and Vampires Unite in Interesting Double-Combo Deck!

Article at a Glance

For those who have played Pioneer at all over the past few months, you know just how strong the Vampires core is. Thanks to the printing of Vein Ripper, Vampires strategies got an enormous boost. Not only is Vein Ripper a huge Flier that a lot of decks can’t kill, but even those that can need to sacrifice a creature in order to have their removal spell work.

Obviously, Vein Ripper and Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord remain the stars of the show for the Vampires archetype. General Rakdos builds are still by far the most popular shells for this package. However, we have seen some other decks make use of Sorin and Vein Ripper, too.

Some players have utilized Sorin and Vein Ripper in Golgari Fight Rigging decks. Other players have tried adding this combo to Modern to maximize Bloodghast as a recurring threat. Today, we’re going to focus on an interesting archetype from a recent Magic Online Pioneer Challenge that meshes two combos together. This deck is none other than Mardu Greasefang, and the inclusion of Sorin and Vein Ripper adds a whole new element. Before we talk about the role of the Vampire package, it’s important to refresh ourselves on what Mardu Greasefang is all about.

Greasefang Combo

Greasefang, Okiba Boss

Mardu Greasefang is a cool deck that is designed to abuse the power of Greasefang, Okiba Boss and Parhelion II. The main goal is to get Parhelion II into the graveyard, then slam Greasefang when the coast is clear. From there, Greasefang can return Parhelion II to play with Haste and Crew the large vehicle itself. This enables a huge attack for 13 damage in the air.

Since Greasefang was printed, the most popular color combination by far for Greasefang decks has been Abzan. After all, playing green as a support color gives the deck a lot of nice tools to work with. First and foremost, you get another elite Vehicle to pair with Greasefang in the form of Esika’s Chariot. Esika’s Chariot doesn’t quite pack the same punch as Parhelion II, but unlike Parhelion II, casting Esika’s Chariot is a legitimate backup plan.

Outside of Chariot, the deck also gets access to cards like Grisly Salvage that help dig for Greasefang while fueling your graveyard at the same time. So, what does red add to the table that green doesn’t?

Unsurprisingly, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker is at the top of the list. Fable acts as a discard outlet for any massive Vehicles you draw and is naturally a strong card on its own. The same can be said for Bloodtithe Harvester, which pairs nicely with Fable. By themselves, these two cards aren’t quite enough to justify abandoning green. When factoring in Sorin and Vein Ripper, though, playing red becomes a lot more appealing.

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Intriguing Overlap

Vein Ripper

We all know how good Vein Ripper is when you can put it into play early with Sorin. The problem is that, in some games, Vein Ripper will end up rotting in your hand if you don’t draw the support for it. This is a huge part of the reason why Bloodtithe Harvester and Fable are so strong in Rakdos Vampires. Both cards allow you to pitch away excess Vein Rippers you don’t need and filter through your library. On top of that, Bloodtithe is a Vampire to pump with Sorin, and the Treasures you make with Fable’s Goblin Shaman token can enable you to hard cast Vein Ripper in no time.

All of these points stay true in Mardu Greasefang. Beyond being able to put huge vehicles into the graveyard for Greasefang, your rummage effects give you the luxury to sculpt your hand depending on the matchup.

From the opponent’s standpoint, even if they know you’re playing Sorin and Vein Ripper in your Greasefang deck, it can be hard to disrupt both gameplans. Hate pieces like Unlicensed Hearse and Rending Volley do absolutely nothing against Vein Ripper. Meanwhile, clean answers to Vein Ripper such as Blot Out are extremely inefficient against Greasefang, which usually needs to be removed at Instant speed to prevent a large attack.

The fact that you get to decide which avenue to victory you want to play towards is what makes it tough to disrupt this deck. I’m a bit surprised to not see any copies of Voldaren Epicure to lean heavier on the themes present. Voldaren Epicure is a Vampire as well, making Sorin a bit more reliable.

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Strengths and Weaknesses


As we mentioned, a lot of the deck’s strengths lie with its versatility. Unlike traditional Greasefang decklists, this shell is less vulnerable to graveyard hate. Part of the reason Abzan Greasefang has faltered in recent months is because Izzet Phoenix is so popular. As players look to minimize Treasure Cruise, Greasefang decks naturally get hit with a lot of splash hate. Mardu Greasefang gets to lean heavier on the power of Fable and Sorin, so graveyard hate is less concerning.

The main issue that this deck can run into, though, is that it can be a bit inconsistent. With full playsets of both Parhelion II and Vein Ripper, two cards that are quite expensive and difficult to enable without Greasefang or Sorin, respectively, this deck naturally has a lot of air in it. As such, you’re a bit weak to multiple pieces of counter magic or Thoughtseize effects.

For example, it’s easy for mono-black Waste Not decks to mess with your ability to execute either of your combos. Your opponent may be able to disrupt your prominent cards like Fable and leave you with a bunch of individually useless cards in hand. Factoring in this deck’s weakness to Sheoldred’s Edict and Go Blank, and the matchup seems like a nightmare.

Ultimately, Rakdos Vampires is more consistent than Mardu Greasefang. The presence of Greasefang does help you beat opposing combo decks faster, which is nice. Against decks like mono-green Devotion that have don’t interact much, attacking with a quick Parhelion II is certainly a recipe for success. This deck has its tradeoffs, but if you’re looking for something unique that can catch your opponent off-guard, Mardu Greasefang has you covered.

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