Tuesday Night Takeover

Skemfar Shadowsage Vampires Pauper EDH

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Art:Skemfar Shadowsage by Matthew Stewart

Skemfar Shadowsage is an absolute powerhouse for only four mana and is absolutely the perfect general for a vampire deck. Mono-Black and Vampires are two of my favorite archetypes in magic, so having an awesome commander on top of an awesome deck got me very excited for this one. If you like vampires and all of the fun that comes with Mono-Black, this is the deck for you. This may be the deck for you if you would like to have nearly a Gray Merchant of Asphodel in the command zone. We are a mono-black deck in every way, and it allows us to be strong and decently quick. From recursion to re-ETB to big lifegain/damage, this deck is a blast. Without further adieu, let’s get it!

The Deck:

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Skemfar Shadowsage Vampires!

Commander (1)
Skemfar Shadowsage

Creatures (33)
Carrion Feeder
Guul Draz Vampire
Pulse Tracker
Shadow Alley Denizen
Viscera Seer
Blood Burglar
Child of Night
Creeping Bloodsucker
Dusk Legion Zealot
Olivia’s Dragoon
Vampire Interloper
Vermin Gorger
Arrogant Outlaw
Bloodflow Connoisseur
Chosen of Markov
Gluttonous Guest
Midnight Assassin
Nocturnal Feeder
Savage Gorger
Skymarch Bloodletter
Vampire Envoy
Vampire Spawn
Voracious Vampire
Bat Whisperer
Bloodcrazed Socialite
Driver of the Dead
Falkenrath Noble
Anointed Deacon
Blood Glutton
Gray Merchant of Asphodel
Twins of Maurer Estate
Vampire Sovereign
Bloodborn Scoundrels

Instants (16)
Cast Down
Crypt Incursion
Deadly Dispute
Demonic Gifts
Doom Blade
Fake Your Own Death
Feign Death
Go for the Throat
Moment of Craving
Raise the Draugr
Supernatural Stamina
Tragic Slip
Undying Evil
Wail of the Nim

Sorceries (5)
Feed the Swarm
Night’s Whisper
Read the Bones
Sign in Blood
Soul Salvage

Artifacts (6)
Blood Fountain
Ceremonial Knife
Arcane Signet
Charcoal Diamond
Wedding Invitation
Bonder’s Ornament

Enchantments (4)
Kaya’s Ghostform
Eternal Thirst
Ill-Gotten Inheritance
Lands (35)
Barren Moor
Command Tower
Evolving Wilds
Mortuary Mire
Polluted Mire
28 Swamp
Terramorphic Expanse
The Dross Pits

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Why Skemfar Shadowsage?

Skemfar Shadowsage is an extremely strong part of the deck and can be an effective game-ender. Being able to come down and deal a ton of damage to each opponent or gain a ton of life positions us to be effective against a lot of strategies and have an easy non-combat win. Skemfar Shadowsage is a lot of power for only four mana. Skemfar Shadowsage may not up the vampire count but is a huge commander for the deck and can even be a strong blocker as well.

Deck Overview:

This section contains information about cards in the deck and how they function within the deck! I also highlighted some of my favorite cards in the deck!


We have a ton of vampires to go over, so I am just going to discuss my favorites like Creeping Bloodsucker, which is an awesome way to drain our opponents and get more life back, and it’s a vampire! Falkenrath Noble is a strong and evasive vampire that can also be very good when creatures die, whether at our hands or from our opponents. This card is a great payoff. I’ve mentioned it multiple times, but Gray Merchant of Asphodel, while not a vampire, is basically a second Skemfar Shadowsage and a very effective way to end the game. Midnight Assassin may not be the best attacker, but they certainly are a very strong blocker for the deck and are able to take out pretty much everything in the format. Pulse Tracker is a great way to damage opponents, and we have a few vampires like Savage Gorger and Arrogant Outlaw which care about an opponent losing life on that turn. We also have some sac outlets which can be strong for a variety of reasons like an exile effect or for a re-ETB on a creature, the two best are Carrion Feeder and Viscera Seer.


Arguably the most important instants in our deck are Undying Evil, Supernatural Stamina, and Fake Your Own Death which are mostly used to re-ETB Skemfar Shadowsage but can save pretty much any creature from dying to single-target removal. Speaking of single-target removal, we also have some of our own, like Cast Down, Doom Blade, and Go for the Throat, which are cheap cards that can be great ways to deal with various creature threats from our opponents. It may not be a bomb against every deck but is extremely strong against graveyard strategies Crypt Incursion can be a great way to swing the game in our favor. Wail of the Nim is an awesome card that we mostly use to recover our board after a bad combat or some kind of board wipe and can also be a great way to take out small aggressive creatures from our opponents, we rarely entwine this but the option is always nice.


Our sorcery package mostly consists of strong draw spells like Read the Bones, Sign in Blood, and Night's Whisper, which are all awesome card draw for the deck. Feed the Swarm is a strong removal spell that not only can kill a creature, but we can target enchantments as well, which is something that black does not do very well. To round out our sorcery package, we have Soul Salvage which is strong recursion for only three mana.


To start off, we have some mana rocks like Arcane Signet, Bonder's Ornament, and Charcoal Diamond, which are all great ways to get ahead on mana. We also have Wedding Invitation, which is one of my favorite cards in the format, and for only two mana, we get a card, an unblockable creature, and a lifeline on a vampire. Blood Fountain is a cheap artifact that gives us some card draw but is mostly included due to the recursion it offers. It also has the added bonus of being pretty flavorful. Ceremonial Knife is another flavorful artifact that gives us a buff to one of our creatures and additional supplemental card draw.


Eternal Thirst is an extremely flavorful card that allows one of our creatures to get better and better and is also a strong piece of life gain. Oubliette is an amazing removal spell that is a pauper EDH staple, and for good reason. This card is cheap and perfect for dealing with big threats as well as commanders. Ill-Gotten Inheritance is an effective way to drain our opponents and gain some life continuously, and if needed or in the face of removal is a great way to hit an opponent for some big damage. Kaya's Ghostform is a card we almost always put on Skemfar Shadowsage to get a re-ETB and make them much stronger against single-target removal.

Land Base:

Being in Mono-Black, there are not a ton of options for non-basics since we are limited to only one color. Despite this, we do have some strong non-basics like The Dross Pits and Polluted Mire, which are both strong pieces of supplemental card draw. We also have Mortuary Mire which is a strong piece of recursion that can be a great way to get a key creature back. Beyond that, we have some basic “fetches” like Terramorphic Expanse and a few other cycling lands, and to round it all out, a ton of basics.

Strengths of the Deck:

  • We have a ton of synergies between our vampires, especially with Skemfar Shadowsage, who is one of the strongest effects that cares about creature types in the deck
  • From the deck and from our commander, we have a few sources of lifegain that can help position us better against aggressive or any creature-based strategies
  • Many of our vampires are naturally evasive, so attacking can be much easier for us

Weaknesses of the Deck:

  • Weak to creature hate, while any creature deck is weak to creature hate we don’t have a ton of ways to protect or recur our creatures beyond cards like Undying Evil which we typically want to save for Skemfar Shadowsage
  • Our commander is a key part of our deck, so we are especially weak to cards like Lignify or Witness Protection this is because we often want to re-ETB Skemfar Shadowsage and not having that option greatly hurts us
  • We have a hard time dealing with permanents that are not creatures. While we do have a couple of ways to take care of non-creature permanents, they are much less than other colors

Deck Stats:

Sample Hands:

Main Win Conditions:

We are typically a combat deck, where we primarily attack with all of our vampires. Many of them are naturally evasive with abilities like flying which can help us go over the top of our opponents and get some damage in. Skemfar Shadowsage is also an amazing damage dealer for the deck and, depending on how established our board is, can be an effective way to end the game. Overall, we are a combat deck through and through, but we can often end the game through a huge Skemfar Shadowsage trigger.


Skemfar Shadowsage is a very sweet commander and an awesome card to be the head of a vampire deck. Mono-Black and Vampires are a ton of fun to play, and I thoroughly enjoyed this deck. Skemfar Shadowsage is very similar to having a Gray Merchant of Asphodel effect in the command zone, which is very strong and, on the flipside being able to gain a ton of life, positions us very well against many creature strategies within the format. If you love vampires and a fun mono-black combat deck, this is for you! Thanks for reading to the end and for all of your support!