Black power! Black power!
You've got to change the system to survive
~ Maio & Co.
I play Commander for its social and psychological aspects. I prefer games to last for a while and to be full of interesting interactions and surprising situations. Whenever I feel like playing to win, I play some other format instead. Multiplayer is all about having fun with your friends. My CMD decks tend to be slow and defensive and combos are coincidental (except in this deck).
The deck's philosophy
After playing vampires for a good while, I began to consider building a more powerful and more interactive mono-black deck. Xiahou Dun was an easy general choice for his versatility. After that, the deck kind of built itself.
The deck is heavy on artifacts that make up for black's inherent limitations, including fast artifact mana that I included to raise the power level. Atypically for my decks, there are also some intentional combos here. Producing loads of mana and drawing cards should never be a problem.
How Whip of Erebos been? The forced exile seems a bit problematic to me. Dawn of the Dead has been fantastic for me, along similar lines, so it may be worth considering as an alternative or supplement.
The lifelink part is actually the more relevant one, most of the time. That being said, I wouldn't rule out Dawn of the Dead, either.