Actually Nighthawk, Arawaka maximizes her life drain if the opponent has 14 life or above. Sigma maximizes her poison if the opponent has 17 life. The Roots guy you're talking about is probably Ojibway, who maximizes his life drain if the opponent has 15 life and above. These cards were made to counter +life cards and be good in Survivor, or possibly events with life modifications. So are Azel, Greem, Owen, Glenn, etc. These cards can be ok with normal 12 pillz 12 life, but they work better the more lfie your opponent has.
On topic, the most extreme possible standard pillz and life in Survivor is 9 pillz and 15 life (when you get in the later stages). Now, if you started with 14 life like you are proposing, end result would be 9 pillz and 17 life. 2 Life's a big difference, besides, you wouldn't want Freaks, life gainers, poisoners and life drainers prominent in more modes ( unless you're using them ). ELO's already filled with them.