This deck works with few but letal combo that makes you remove a player or win the game, the rest of the list are cards that makes the deck faster or your opponents slower. The commander's ability of dealing damage as you gain life is powerful, but not enough to conclude a match with a normal lifegain deck, so I changed the idea of the deck. There are lots of cards that make ridiculous things with the commander's ability in one turn, not throught the whole match, so I decided to fill my deck with combos with Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose. I fill this kind of deck takes full advantage of the commander's passive ability.
- (Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose or Marauding Blight-Priest) + (Exquisite Blood)
You need to deal 1 damage to a player or gain 1 life with these pieces on the battlefield to win the game, for this purpose Nightmare's Thirst and Erebos's Intervention are perfect as they are instants spell that can make you gain life before one of the combo pieces is removed.
- (Bolas's Citadel) + (Sensei's Divining Top) + (Aetherflux Reservoir)
The first two pieces works togheter and makes you draw a card paying 1 life as long as you have life and make you easier to find the last combo piece or other cards. With Aetherflux Reservoir you can cast Sensei's Divining Top as long as you have cards in your grimoire each time gaining more and more life until you spend 50 HP to kill players doing 50 damage each.
- (Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose) + (Blood Tribute)
Casting Blood Tribute with the commander in ther battlefield and tapping a vampire as Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose just remove a player, no matter how much life he or she has and gives you half of the target player's life which can sustain you to go on through the match or to activate Aetherflux Reservoir.
- (Alhammarret's Archive) + (Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose) + (Exsanguinate)
Doubling the life gained, doubles the damage by Vito, casting Exsanguinate with x = 5 deals 30 damage to target player which can be deadly. Alhammarret's Archive is also useful because it let you draw double cards and gain double life making easier to find and activate Aetherflux Reservoir.
- (Yawgmoth, Thran Physician) + (Ob Nixilis Reignited)
Proliferate the Planeswalker to use its final ability: it deals 2 damage to target player each time someone draws a card.
- (Bolas's Citadel) + (Sensei's Divining Top) +(K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth)+(Crypt Ghast or Basilica Screecher)
This may a difficult combo to complete, but with the first two pieces it can happen to have these cards onto the battlefield beause they let you draw a card and at cast again Sensei's Divining Top at the cost of 1 life point. Each cast you can extort it by tapping one Swamp or 2 life thanks to K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth. This way you can keep doing this as long as you have cards in the deck because the extort ability refunds your HP spent until there are 3 opponents alive otherwise you pay more life than the life gained, anyway this can be considered a player removal.
There are other cards that make the deck work better and do other little combos such as:
- (Phyrexian Arena) + (Alhammarret's Archive)
Each turn you draw three cards and lose 1 HP.
- (Yawgmoth, Thran Physician) + (Nest of Scarabs)
Paying 1 life you can put -1/-1 counters until there are creatures on the battlefield, you can also proliferate to create an army of scarab which can have life link thanks to Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose or Whip of Erebos.
- (Yawgmoth, Thran Physician) + (Ophiomancer)
Each upkeep you create a token which you can sacrifice to draw a card paying one life, in a 4-players match this means drawing 4 new cards for your next turn, without taking account of Alhammarret's Archive. The token has also deathtouch so it can protect you from big creatures.
- (Liliana of the Dark Realms) + (Dread Presence)
The Planeswalker guarantee you to have a Swamp in your hand each turn so that you can trigger Dread Presence ability, mostly used to draw cards. This combo repeats the effect of Phyrexian Arena.
- (K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth)+(Crypt Ghast or Basilica Screecher)
K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth makes possible to use the extort ability without paying mana, but life. Against 2 opponents at least this is still convenient because you regain the life spent while other players suffer 1 damage. This way you can benefit from the extort ability for each spell you cast. Creatures with extort can also help conclude the game with the Exquisite Blood combo as they let you gain life as you cast a spell.
- Imp's Mischief is useful to protect from counterspells or removals;
- Withering Boon prevents deadly creatures from even entering the batlefield;
- Pilfering Imp reveals target opponent's hand and makes him discard a nonland card of your choice, ideal versus control decks;
- Phyrexian Reclamation can return creatures from your graveyard to your hand as long as you have HP to spend.
- Elixir of Immortality is the last hope when all has gone wrong, put your graveyard in the grimoire so you can search your deck for finisher cards and play them again.
In the list there are:
- 5 tutors which help looking for the cards you need more;
- several ways to remove creatures and earn time to let you finish the game;
- cards that make draw cards, enhancing the deck speed;
- methods to return creatures from graveyard so that you can play them again;
- creatures with life link that let you sustain your HP costs;
- creatures that slow the opponents or do something as they enter the battlefield and can be sacrificed by Yawgmoth, Thran Physician, Diabolic Intent or Village Rites.
I love this deck and the idea of spending your HP as a resource don't worrying about your life and your opponents' life.
Decks with lots of counterspells may be the greatest threat for this deck, because they just need to counter the right cards, to protect from these decks I added Imp's Mischief, Pilfering Imp, Bloodhusk Ritualist and Elixir of Immortality.
The Exquisite Blood combo may be too easy and not satisfying at all, but this can be easily solved by removing Exquisite Blood, Marauding Blight-Priest, Nightmare's Thirst and Erebos's Intervention and replace them with cards that slow the opponents or help you find the cards of the other combos, such as another tutor.
I am not a MTG pro-player, I made this deck with the objective of not exceeding 200€ budget and play it with friends against similar budget decks, in fact it can be easily improved, for example with better, but expensive tutors, anyway if you have any question or suggestion to improve it I'll be happy to read it. I hope you enjoyed my deck!