These are not the vampires you are used to in magic, flavorful legends or crappy but cool looking cards. This is the most popular new tribe in magic. Not only are Vampires popular they are one of the top decks in this early Alara-Zendikar standard metagame.
The deck seeks to hit hard early and then use its removal and disruption elements late game to assure a win. I would not really call Vampires a pure aggro deck as the deck does have a late game unlike most aggro decks where if they don't win by turn 4 or 5 their chance of winning drops significantly. Here are the most popular card choices with a little explanation on why the card works in the deck.
Here is the Dallas 5k List:
4 Gatekeeper Of Malakir
3 Malakir Bloodwitch
4 Vampire Hexmage
4 Vampire Nighthawk
4 Vampire Nocturnus
4 Tendrils Of Corruption
2 Grim Discovery
2 Mind Sludge
4 Sign In Blood
4 Marsh Flats
4 Verdant Catacombs
1 Malakir Bloodwitch
3 Marsh Casualties
2 Mind Sludge
Here are the worlds vampire lists:
4x Marsh Flats
4x Verdant Catacombs
4x Gatekeeper of Malakir
3x Malakir Bloodwitch
4x Vampire Hexmage
4x Vampire Nighthawk
4x Vampire Nocturnus
4xSign in Blood
4xTendrils of Corruption
4xGatekeeper of Malakir
4xTendrils of Corruption
4xSign in Blood
Here are the links to the Star City Games Vampires lists:
9th Frank Giaquinto: magic.tcgplayer.com/db/deck.asp?deck_id=...
9th Eric Gosse: magic.tcgplayer.com/db/deck.asp?deck_id=...
5th Ted Renner: magic.tcgplayer.com/db/deck.asp?deck_id=...
Vampire Lacerator- Beats early and if you have your opponent at 10 or less his drawback does not exist. Run 4.
Disfigure- With all of the black creatures running around this is a far safer choice maindeck than doomblade. It kills most of the things you would kill with doomblade, but it can hit anything and it can be used as a combat trick to take down something bigger with one of your smaller guys. Run 3-4.
Quest for the Greavelord- Some love it some hate it. I'm in the love it camp, but I think most of the pros say sideboard at most. I run 2 main deck and that is it. Against any deck that isn't white this is such an annoying card for your opponent. It forces them to make horrible decisions. You kill stuff and your opponent kills stuff so one way or another a 5/5 zombie is going to come into play sooner or later.
Duress- Strong discard that can take out mass removal, a planeswalker, key card, or a single removal card. It has been tried in maindeck, sideboard, and not even used. I really can't say if this card belongs in the deck yet because I have won with it and without it and others have too.
Deathmark- In this meta game this basically says destroy target creature for B. It's really good vs. Jund and loves to kill baneslayer angels. It's a great sideboard card.
Pithing Needle- With some planeswalkers and luminarch ascension decks running around this can act as a catch all card to stop those sorts of things. It's a sideboard card in certain metagames.
Vampire Hexmage- Kills planeswalkers on sight, messes up quests, prevents an early beat blitz from RDW and Boros Bushwacker. This also gets mean when you have a nocturnus on the field 4/3 first strike, flyer? yes please! Run 3-4.
Bloodghast- Another great beater for the early game and can get some extra damage through late. His resistance to non exile removal also helps and his hastiness late game. There's little reason not to run this guy. He even randomly wins games vs mill. The only drawback is he can't block and against some decks will get eaten by bigger creatures. I'd still run 4 no matter what.
Doom Blade- Please sideboard this only. Maybe if your metagame has no jund or no vampires then you should main deck this, but the chances of that are very slim. I'd bring this in vs any non-black deck.
Black Knight- First strike and protection from white says it all. If you are against white bringing 3 of this in off the sideboard can work great. He's immune to path to exile and celestial purge so he can keep on beating throughout the game without getting picked off.
Sign in Blood- Draws two cards which is nice. You lose two life, but you can always get that back. The Pros say run 4.
Marsh Casualties- This ended up in some sideboards. It stops hordes of tokens for BB which is nice. Run this only if your metagame merits it.
Grim Discovery- Took awhile but finally earned it's stop here after the Dallas 5k. This thing offers insane card advantage. Bring back an important creature that died and a fetch land. The fetchland can then be used to revive your blooghasts a few more times and thin out your deck, and possibly change the top card of your library to a black card. Running 2 seems to be the trend.
Gatekeeper of Malakir- Yes I know he costs BB but there is usually not a reason to play him without the kicker cost. So most agree that he is a three drop. This guy kills something when he comes in to play and it doesn't target. That there is reason enough to run him as he is the only thing that can kill something with shroud or protection from black. Run 4.
Vampire Nighthawk- Another card that sparks a little debate for being a little too slow. In my experience run 4. It gains back some lost life which is huge vs. some of the hard hitting aggro decks. It flies which in this metagame is great because there aren't a whole lot of flyers right now. It has deathtouch so it can kill something and gain you some life back. In a way it's a little like Kitchen Finks was.
Mind Sludge- Are you playing a deck that wants to go into the late game like most of the metagame? Wait until they tap out and wreck their hand if you are playing control. Against Jund just let it fly and watch 'em cry. If you have a superior board position this card can spell Good Game. Main deck 2 and Sideboard 2.
Liliana Vess- She can take out a card, and best of all tutor a black card to the top of your deck to active nocturnus. Sideboard card at most. I don't think it has much value, but some are sideboarding it for some matchups.
Eldrazi Monument- Ted Renner ran it as a one of maindeck, but I really don't think this card is necessary because bloodwitch or mind sludge seems far better for 5 mana.