From the very first spoiler for Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose, I’ve had my eye on it. Being a big fan of lifegain, the process of doing damage with life gain was very appealing. Our man Panda has taken on the task of presenting a COMMANDER DECK headed by this very promising legendary. The problem, as with every commander is keeping it on the field. That withstanding, as always, if you build it with the right synergy, the deck will move as a well oiled machine; making the deck the sum of it’s parts and not a one card engine.

With Vito, the whole deal is life gain. Now, without green and white in this card, it makes life gain a tad challenging since the best cards in this respect are found there. But LIFELINK is absolutely one of the major keywords in the black wedge of the MTG colorwheel. But another keyword that is older and not as present in the meta comes to mind as quite helpful here.


Extort” means “Whenever you cast a spell, you may pay {W/B}. If you do, each opponent loses 1 life and you gain life equal to the total life lost this way.” 

EXTORT goes back to GATECRASH and fits Vito’s playset perfectly. Cards like Synicate Enforcer, Thrull Parasite, Pontiff of Blight, Basilica Shreaker and Crypt Ghast are the few that run only on swamps. This keyword is mainly used in a Orzhov deck with white and black. But it will help greatly here.

The deck also has a multitude of other cards that may not have EXTORT, but do the same type of thing. Twilight Prophet, Vampire Soverign and Shadows of the Past are just a few.

Added to them are a few cards that cause your opponent to loose life. To add insult to the injury, there are many creatures with LIFELINK that will feed VITO’S damage engine.

In the deck are the usual elements of removal and return. Newer cards like Blood Curdle and Dirge Bat work here, but older cards like Final Death and Curse of the Cabal work too.

Return cards are necessary as always to combat removal of YOUR creatures. Bond of Revival and Command the Dread Hoard are a few of my personal faves.

But the real powerhouses that follow Vito loyally into battle are Exquisite Blood and planeswalker Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord.

Exquisite Blood is essential. For this card and Vito have a synergy like none other. Exquisite Blood is an enchantment that simply gains you life every time your opponent looses life, you gain that much life. If you have it out with VITO, gaining life will trigger VITO and do damage. And so on and so on. Could be a fun loop.

And, if you’re up against a lifegain deck, Tainted Remedy will do them damage equal to all life gained.

GRIM TUDOR is always handy here to help you find one of the above cards when they’re straggling.


The Magic Tavern’s TAPPEDOUT account


Two cards I think I’d exchange somewhere are Blood Tribute and Sorin’s Vengence.

BLOOD TRIBUTE can help break down the game expecially with so many vampires in the deck. Here, if you tap a vampire therefore kicking it, you’re opponent, not only, looses half their life, but you gain that much life therefore doing that much damage. Therefore, VITO and BLOOD TRIBUTE gang up to finish your opponent off.

Another, not as devestating shot is Sorin’s Vengence. This card deals 10 damage to an oppoent and you gain 10. Of course, that deals 10 more damage to an opponent.

Sorin Markov

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