Sunday, September 30, 2007

VtES Clan Newsletters in September 2007

Six clans newsletters have been posted in the "" newsgroup this month. Beside using a newgroup reader, you can also access the newsgroup by Google Groups.

Results of the local "Lords of the Night" Launch Event

These are the results of our local "Launch Event" for the new VtES expansion "Lords of the Night" in Bochum, Germany after 3 rounds (no final round played):

# Name GW VP TP
  1. Didi R. (R) 3 10 180
  2. Alexander F. (S) 1 5 156
  3. Debbie N. (R) 1 5 126
  4. Thomas K. (G) 1 4 136
  5. Jasper B. (S) 1 4 106
  6. Sebastian Z. (S) 1 4 106
  7. Sebastian K. (A) 1 4 96
  8. Rene de W. (A) 1 3 136
  9. Herman J. (A) 1 3 106
  10. Martin S. (R) 1 2 106
  11. Björn S. (S) 0 2 100
  12. Yuri N. (G) 0 2 90
  13. Ralf L. (G) 0 0 84
  14. Danny B. (R) 0 0 68
  15. Oliver V. (A) 0 0 68
  16. Michael B. (G) 0 0 64
Results summarized by clans:
  • Ravnos (R) 5 GW 17 VP
  • Followers of Set (S) 3 GW 15 VP
  • Assamites (A) 3 GW 10 VP
  • Giovanni (G) 1 GW 6 VP
Despite my initial ramblings on the starter decks, the "Ravnos" proved to be the strongest clan during our 16 player tournament. Afterwards you could see that the "Ravnos" proved to be hard to oust, and in the end the Perma-Bleed w/ Stealth proved to be decisive.

The "Followers of Set" were close behind, but the bleed defense against any of the other three clans proved to be to weak in the end. So the "Setites" got a VP, but no always the GW.

The "Assamites" and "Giovanni" always had to struggle with the excellent combat defense of the "Ravnos" ("Fortitude") or the "Setites" ("Strike: combat ends"). In addition with a lack of decent intercept against the "Setites" (early in the game) and the "Ravnos" (late in the game) the other clans proved to be stronger.

Anyhow the tournament was very much fun to play, all of the starters proved to be quite playable. Special thanks to the six dutch players, who made the journey to Bochum to participate in the "Launch Event".

Friday, September 28, 2007

Starter Review for the Launch Event

Despite the fact (or because of it) that on Sunday is the official "Launch Event" for the VtES expansion "Lords of the Night", I couldn't resist taking a closer look at the preconstructed decks. Here are my thoughts on them and some advice for the draft tactics during the "Launch Event".

Followers of Set
This is IMHO the strongest starter of the four. The deck can either bleed with Presence ("Dream World") or Serpentis ("Revelation of Desire") and has enough "Obfuscate" stealth cards to bring actions through, or it can use the "Corruptions" and "Temptations" to take control of opposing vampires and allies, e.g. the "Shambling Hordes" of the "Giovanni" deck.

(c) 2007 by White Wolf Inc.On the defensive side the deck has "WHRM Talk Radio", a "Dummy Corporation" and some "Ecstacies" & "Confusion of the Eye" (which also doubles as vote defense), so the bleed defense is there, but it's not too strong. The combat defense of the deck is great. There are 7 "Strike: combats ends" in the deck, and two combat-cancel-card with "Mental Maze" as well as a "Secure Haven".

The crypt is ok, the average capacity of the vampires is low enough, and the deck has "Nakhthorheb" as its star vampire. But with the three other clans being able to punish the Setites in combat, I would ditch the "Sundervere", since he is on the "Red List" and can be attacked easily.

In the combined starter/booster draft I would try to get cards requiring the three-in-clans of course, hoping to gain an "Eternals of Sirius" or two and if you are really lucky a "Cave of Apples".

There are few cards from the main deck I would ditch; "Tutu, the Double Evil One" isn't a good ally and so the "Summoning" can go as well. If you want a tighter deck, you could also get rid of the "Revelation of Wrath" and "The Jones".

This is more a less a straight bruise-and-bleed deck. It can hit opposing minions quite hard using either the "Shambling Hordes" or the "Harasses" to attack. During combat either the abundance of melee weapon help or the Govanni can just the Potence cards ("Slam", "Torn Signpost", etc.) in the deck.

(c) 2007 by White Wolf Inc.The deck can also bleed quite well, with 7 bleed modifiers as well as two permanent bleed modifiers ("Camera Phone"). The deck can then use the block denial ("Call of the Hungry Dead") and the low stealth cards ("Spectral Divination") to bring the actions through. Quite strangely this deck has three "Reckless Agitation", but lacks the voting power (other than by "Constanzia") to bring the votes through.

In the draft I would ditch the more esoteric cards like "Whispers from the Dead" or "Ex Nihilo" since it dilutes the bruise and bleed abilities of the deck. I would also get rid of the "Path of Bone". The investment of 1 pool and the average count of Necromancy cards that cost blood doesn't justify playing the card in this deck.

During the booster draft I would try to get as much allies as possible to use as fodder in the ashheap for the "Shambling Hordes". The in-clan-disciplines are also of priority, luckly you do not compete with any of clans for "Necromancy", "Dominate" or "Potence". If you want to add some more variety to your deck, start drafting "Fortitude" cards, which you can use when playing "Proxy Kissed" or when playing with 4 of your 12 vampires from the main deck who have "Fortitude".

The crypt of the deck is rather bad. Only the high caps have superior "Dominate", and the distribution of the disciplines among the small- and mid-caps is not great in general. Try to replace these vampires by those aquired during the booster draft.

I do not really know what to think of this one. The deck is very defensive combat-wise with lots of defensive cards especially damage prevention, but very few offensive options in combat. There is little forward motion in this deck. There a few bleed modifiers, but the deck is missing other good offensive options.

The defensive package is so-and-so, the "Raven Spies" are great, as well "Instintive Reaction" and the four untap cards ("Forced Vigiliance" & "Fillip", but the defensive "Chimerstry" cards are somewhat bad.

(c) 2007 by White Wolf Inc.What the deck is missing, is either former staple cards like "Sensory Deprivation" (to shutdown prey or predator's key vampires) or "Traps" (for effective use with "Apparation", or cards like "Tumnosis" or "Embraces" to fully take adavantage of the "Week of Nightmares".

The crypt is in general ok, but the vampires except the 10-cap "Lizette" lack superior "Animalism", so I would try to exchange some of the mid- to low-caps by other Ravnos with that discipline.

From the main deck I would lose all of the ineffective Chimerstry cards like "Ignis Fatus" and "Pseudo-Blindness" as well as "Amria" or "Fata Amria". During the booster draft try to get the Animalism cards like "Sense the Savage Ways" or "Flesh Bond". Avoid more damage prevention via "Fortitude", the deck already has enough.


Despite my first impressions I think I do actually like this deck. It is somewhat toolboxy, but it can attack using "Frontal Assault" and four "Clandestine Contracts", it can bleed with "Loss" or even "Truth of Blood", it also has some decent untaps (both active ("Flurry of Action") and passive ("Black Sunrise")).

(c) 2007 by White Wolf Inc.The deck also has a little stealth ("Swallowed by the Night" and "Resist the Earth's Grasp"), as well an equal amount of (low) intercept cards ("Rooftop Shadows" and "Blood Awakening". Vital for the deck are the "Paths of Blood", since lots of the "Quietus" cards cost blood.

Combat-wise the deck needs a little more punch, but that can be acquired during the booster draft, e.g by drafting "Strike at the True Flesh" or a "Nightstick". The decks strength is also its strong crypt, the Assamites have the best mid-cap vampires of the four decks, "Kashan" and "Layla bint-Nadr". I would only try replace one of the two 10-caps each by smaller clan members. Also try get as much "Obfuscate" cards as possible, on the hand to use it yourself and also to deny them from the "Followers of Set"!

The deck will be not easy to play, but played properly it can be devasting for its prey or predator.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Using "Lords of the Night" in "Duffin Draft"

In our local playgroups we have tried to use the "Lords of the Night" boosters for the "Duffin Draft". After a little experimentation, we decided to use actually the "Double Duffin Draft" rules (that is instead of just one booster used for drafting, two are used) and 15 starting pool.

The reason for this was, that with only one booster, there are too few coherent "decks" you can play ("Chimerstry", "Necromancy", etc. are not that common among the independent clans), you end up with one or two vampires who cannot play 80% of the cards you have in your 8 card deck. Also instead of 3 vampires in a 3rd Ed. booster, the LotN boosters frequently has only 2 vampires and 1 uncommon card instead. The reason for the 15 pool is the fact that the average capacity of the vampires are much, much higher than in 3rd Ed. With 15 pool you can play high cap and maybe a low- to midcap vampire in addition without being ousted immediately by a mere +1 bleed at +1 stealth.

We already had quite some fun with this kind of drafting:
  • A "Reckless Agitation" threatens to kill most of the table, only to be thwarted by an "Army of Apparitions".
  • The mummy "Nephren-Ka" is played, just to be converted into an animal retainer by "Set's Curse".
  • Two players are trying to steal vampires from each other, because both of them are playing "Revelation of Ecstacy".
You can find a summary of the Duffin Draft rules here! So don't open up your LotN boosters alone, share the fun with friends.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"Lords of the Night": Review of the Preview

As several other players already pointed out, the VtES expansion "Lords of the Nights" will have a huge impact on the metagame and the game itself. I dare to say: "This is the biggest expansion in terms of novelty and fresh blood for the game since the "Bloodlines" expansion".

There are several factors that contributing to this:
  • Each discipline has 3 to 5 new(!) cards, instead of just 1 to 2 as in most of the previous releases. Each of the disciplines get more versatile. If this is a good thing, I don't know right now. It's definitely more difficult to predict what a certain vampire can pull off at a given time. The previous expansions (like "Sword of Caine") had many new master cards & many new (often unique) equipment cards. This now has an end (or at least a break), the disciplines are back.
In detail the update highlights for the disciplines look like this:
  • Animalism (3 new cards) gets a "Strike: combat ends" ("Flesh Bond") & and a combined untap & intercept ("Sense the Savage Ways").
  • Auspex (0+3 multi-discipline cards) only gets multi-discipline cards - interesting!
  • Celerity (3+1) gets cheap stealth ("Resist the Earth's Grasp") & a new ousting method ("Precision").
  • Dominate (3) gets a zero-cost-burn-ally card ("Automatic Mastery") & a combined bleed & bounce card ("Murmur of the False Will").
  • Fortitude (4+1) gets at very good damage prevention card at inferior ("Armor of Vitality") and also a combat cancel card ("Hard Case") when blocking.
  • Obfuscate (5) gets "Strike: combat ends" ("Mental Maze") & permanent stealth ("Blight Appearance").
  • Potence (4) gets a Maneuver ("Slam") & Bloat ("Street Cred") & Perma-Strength ("Preternatural Strength")
  • Presence (4) gets a Mass Bleed card ("Dream World") & Mass Combat(!!) card ("Bloodlust") as well as "Strike: combat ends" which results in semi-permanent +1 bleed ("Unholy Penance").
  • No "Protean" nor "Thaumthurgy" nor "Obtenebration" nor "Vicissitude" cards, since none of the Indepenent clans has these as in-clan-disciplines.
I haven't done a whole breakdown of the rest of the Disciplines and Clans, so here's the rest of my first impressions:
  • The independent clans & their in-clan-only-disciplines get a lot of goodies, especially the Setite clan cards are amazingly strong IMHO.
  • Blood Doll is nerfed(?) by Vessel. The old Blood Management is dead, long live the new Blood Management!
  • There is significant support for Big Cap vampires. A couple of new (and sometimes power cards) are only usuable against Allies or younger vampires. So good for the fatties. Example cards are "Lost in Translation" and "Murmur of the False Will"
  • There are a lot of "Imbued-hate"-cards in this expansion like "Permanent Vacation" or "Set's Curse".
When looking at the cards, especially the Library cards, I see a huge potential and a great number of new deck ideas in this expansion. Can't wait to play with some of the new toys at the local Launch Event on Sunday.

Please feel free to enter a comment, what you think about the new expansion!

"Lords of the Night": Complete Checklists

I have now assembled with the help of many, many other players and many other websites an (almost) complete checklist of all cards of the "Lords of the Night" expansion. I have posted them on the Presence forum. Since it is technically still before the actual release date, you may consider these as spoilers:

Monday, September 24, 2007

Results NAC2007: North American Championship

More results from the V:tES North American Championship, which was played on September 21st-23rd, 2007 in Los Angeles, USA. The final NAC tournament has been played on Sunday. The standings of the final round were as follows:
  1. Ben Peal (US) -- 4 VP + GW -- Daughter of Cacophony Breed & Boon
  2. Matt Wedge (US) -- 1 VP -- Una Multi-Multi-act
  3. Kevin Mergen (US) -- 0 VP -- Dementation S&B
  4. Ira Fay (US) -- 0 VP -- EuroBrujah
  5. Ben Swainbank (US) -- 0 VP -- Lucian Madness Network + Obedience
The results (including those of the Day 1 and the LCQ) are still somewhat fuzzy. Some details on the NAC including a bunch of pictures can be found on the NAC 2007 Blog, and on the Usenet group in this thread. Congratulations to Ben Peal, for his second win of continental championship after 2001.

"Lords of the Night" Preview #15: "Marcia Felicia Licinia"

The 15th and last preview card of the VtES expansion "Lords of the Night" is the "Ravnos" vampire "Marcia Felicia Licinia".

A quite interessting vampire, she has two votes and can dodge as strike (which costs a blood) each combat, so quite usable. Her discpline combination is also quite nice, one of the few vampires with superior "Thaumaturgy" and "Fortitude", the later allowing her to multi-act via "Freak Drive" quite easily. She has potential ...

With the preview finished, the checklists are also completed. These are the bare numbers:
  • Total of 64 new vampires; each of the four Independent clan gets 16 new vampires.
  • The rule of thumb is that the vampires in the starters are Group 4, those only in the boosters are Group 5.
  • 50 Rare, 40 Vampires, 10 Uncommons, 50 Common cards are in the boosters.
  • The starter-only-card is "Vessel" -- the "new" "Blood Doll" -- but appears twice in all of the preconstructed decks.

"Lords of the Night": Preconstructed Deck "Giovanni"

Here's the deck list -- copied from the Usenet newsgroup -- of the "Giovanni" preconstructed deck of the "Lords of the Night" expansion. Boy, does this starter contain a lot of solid staple cards, but look for yourself:
Deck Name: "Giovanni" Starter Deck (Lords of the Night)
Created By: L. Scott Johnson
Description: "Giovanni" Preconstructed Starter Deck from "Lords of the Night".

Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 14, Max 38, Avg: 6,16)
2x Nunzio Giovanni nec pot 3, Giovanni
2x Primo Giovanni dom nec pot 4, Giovanni
2x Margaret Milliner dom for nec pot pre 5, Giovanni
2x Francis Milliner pre vic NEC POT 6, Giovanni
2x Guillaume Giovanni obt CEL DOM NEC POT 9, Giovanni
2x Lady Constancia AUS DOM FOR NEC POT 10, Giovanni

Library: (77 cards)
Master (11 cards)
1x Compel the Spirit (w/ new art)
1x Giant's Blood
1x KRCG News Radio
1x Morgue Hunting Ground (w/ new art)
1x Necromancy (w/ new art)
2x Proxy Kissed
2x The Path of Bone
2x Vessel

Action (18 cards)
1x Chill of Oblivion
2x Divine Sign
2x Dominate Kine
1x Ex Nihilo
1x Graverobbing
4x Harass
2x Jack of Both Sides
1x Possession (w/ new art)
1x Siphon
1x Sudario Refraction
2x Whispers from the Dead

Action Modifier (8 cards)
3x Call of the Hungry Dead
3x Conditioning (w/ new art)
1x Forger's Hammer
1x Inspire Greatness

Combat (13 cards)
3x Brute Force
2x Concealed Weapon
2x Immortal Grapple (w/ new art)
2x Slam
2x Taste of Vitae
2x Torn Signpost

Equipment (9 cards)
3x Bang Nakh - Tiger's Claws
3x Bundi
2x Camera Phone
1x The Sargon Fragment

Reaction (2 cards)
2x Eluding the Arms of Morpheus

Ally (4 cards)
4x Shambling Hordes

Combo (8 cards)
4x Murmur of the False Will
4x Spectral Divination (w/ new art)

Political Action (4 cards)
3x Reckless Agitation
1x Warrant

Sunday, September 23, 2007

"Lords of the Night": Preconstructed Deck "Assamites"

Here's the deck list -- copied from the Presence Forum -- of the "Assamite" preconstructed deck of the "Lords of the Night" expansion. After some back and forth in the "Presence Forum" the deck list is now complete (and hopefully correct):
Deck Name: "Assamite" Starter Deck (Lords of the Night)
Created By: L. Scott Johnson
Description: "Assamite" Preconstructed Starter Deck from "Lords of the Night".

Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 14, Max 40, Avg: 6,33)
2x Evan Rogers cel qui, 3 Assamite
2x Bertrand d'Anjou aus cel qui, 4 Assamite
2x Layla bint-Nadr qui CEL OBF, 5 Assamite
2x Kashan obt pre CEL OBF QUI, 7 Assamite
2x Dimitri Borodin obf AUS CEL NEC QUI, 9 Assamite
2x Thucimia for pro CEL DEM OBF QUI, 10 Assamite

Library: (77 cards)
Master (10 cards)
1x Frontal Assault
1x Haquim's Law: Judgment, The
1x Market Square (w/ new art)
2x Path of Blood, The (w/ new art)
1x Quietus
1x Tadijd
1x Underworld Hunting Ground (w new art)
2x Vessel

Action (14 cards)
4x Clandestine Contract
2x Flurry of Action
1x Haquim's Law: Leadership, The
1x Khabar: Glory, The
3x Loss
1x Song of Distant Vitae
2x Web of Knives Recruit

Action Modifier (3 cards)
2x Deed the Heart's Desire (w/ new art)
1x Mask of 1k Faces

Reaction (11 cards)
3x Black Sunrise
2x Foul Blood (w/ new art)
1x Lost in Translation
2x Nest of Eagles
3x Rooftop Shadows

Combat (25 cards)
1x Baal's Bloody Talons
3x Gemini's Mirror
2x Khabar: Honor, The (w/ new art)
4x Pursuit (w/ new art)
4x Scorpion's Touch
4x Selective Silence
1x Shadow Feint
3x Taste of Death (w/ new art)
3x Weighted Walking Stick

Equipment (2 cards)
2x Garotte

Political Action (1 card)
1x Free States Rant

Event (1 card)
1x Dragonbound

Combo (9 cards)
3x Blood Awakening
1x Provision of Silsila
2x Resist the Earth's Grasp
3x Swallowed by the Night (/w new art)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

"Lords of the Night" Preview #14: "Nephren-Ka"

The 14th preview card of the VtES expansion "Lords of the Night" is the unique "Mummy ally" card "Nephren-Ka".

His cost is somewhat reasonable considering his 5 life, his ability to prevent one (non-aggravated) damage and his ability to directly attack any minion in play. Of course, falls back in comparison to a "War Ghoul", but which "Ally" doesn't?

Although I am not a fan of the Mummy allies in VtES per se, he's not a bad ally, especially when you compare him to the other mummies (of course, the stats below are not everything, since each Mummy has his own special ability).

"Lords of the Night" Preview #13: "Giovanni del Georgio"

The 13th preview card of the VtES expansion "Lords of the Night" is the "Giovanni" vampire "Giovanni del Georgio".

I like this vampire a lot, since he can fit into a lot of decks. Besides into a "regular" "Giovanni" deck, he's also fitting into a [PRO][DOM] bleed deck, or into a "Black Hand" w/ [DOM][POT][PRO]. Also his special is great; whether to fuel up again after playing a "Shambling Hordes" or to hose an "Imbued" deck by depleting their "React with Convictions" first, before he plays a "Far Mastery" by himself to take over one of the Imbued.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

"Lords of the Night": Preconstructed Deck "Ravnos"

Here's the deck list -- copied fresh from the internat. newgroup -- of the "Ravnos" preconstructed deck of the "Lords of the Night" expansion. I am not too impressed with the starter when compared with the "Followers of Set" preconstructed. The "Ravnos" starter deck seems to be very toolboxy, and some of the more obscure "Chimerstry" cards have been reprinted.

Deck Name: "Ravnos" Starter Deck (Lords of the Night)
Created By: L. Scott Johnson
Description: Ravnos Preconstructed Starter Deck from "Lords of the Night".

CRYPT (12 cards, Min: 14, Max 38, Avg: 6,66)
2x Neel Ramanathan ani for 3, Ravnos
2x Brian Thompson ani chi for 4, Ravnos
2x Vassily Taltos aus cel chi dom for obf 6, Ravnos
2x Kiradin ani pot CHI DEM FOR 8, Ravnos
2x Durga Syn ani aus dom for CHI OBF THA 9, Ravnos
2x Lizette pot ANI CEL CHI FOR PRO 10, Ravnos

Library (77 cards)
Master (12 cards)
2x Chimerstry (w/ new art)
1x Fortune Teller Shop
1x Park Hunting Ground
1x Ravnos Carnival
2x Svadharma
2x The Path of Paradox
2x Vessel
1x Week of Nightmares

Action (5 cards)
2x Edged Illusion
2x Fatuus Mastery
1x Nightmare Curse

Action Modifier (11 cards)
4x Fata Morgana (w/ new art)
1x Forced March
1x Freak Drive
1x Heart's Desire
2x Leverage
2x Zapaderin

Combat (22 cards)
2x Amria
4x Apparition (w/ new art)
2x Armor of Vitality
3x Carrion Crows
4x Indomitability
2x Mayaparisatya
2x Skin of Night
3x Soak

Equipment (2 cards)
1x Talith
1x Treasured Samadji

Reaction (14 cards)
1x Army of Apparitions
2x Fillip
2x Forced Vigilance
4x Ignis Fatuus
3x Instinctive Reaction
2x Pseudo-Blindness

Retainer (4 cards)
1x Owl Companion
3x Raven Spy

Combo (7 cards)
1x Fata Amria
2x Mirror Image
4x Occlusion

"Ambulance" Story Part 1 & 2

"Salubrious_vampire" wrote on the "Presence Forum" why a vampire can use an "Ambulance" to continue an action:
  • Medic 1: "Look! That guy just punched that guy through a building, turned into a bat and flew off!"
  • Medic 2: "who cares about that, we need to get that guy toa hospital!"
  • Ambulance rushes off. Medics try and stabilize the vampire. Vampire sits up.
  • Medic 1: "Sir! You need to stay still. You might have some serious internal bleeding!"
  • Vampire: "I don't care about that. Now, if you excuse me, I have some computers I need to be hacking."
  • Vampire exits the ambulance.
  • Medics 1 and 2: "What the hell?"
As a followup "Jeff Kuta" wrote also on the "Presence Forum" why an "Ambulance" helps in killing an Imbued (affectionately known as "pillow facing" among VtES players):
  • Medic 1: "Look! That guy just punched that guy through a building, turned into a bat and flew off!"
  • Medic 2: "Who cares about that!. This guy showed up, waved his hands around and the other one ran away. He seems hurt badly though. We need to get him to a hospital!"
  • Ambulance rushes off. Medics stabilize the Imbued who is groggy from the anaesthetics. Imbued tries to sit up.
  • Medic 1: "Sir! You need to stay still. You might have some serious internal bleeding!"
  • Imbued: "I don't care about that. I sense something is wrong with the trip we're taking."
  • Medic 2 (baring fangs): "Dinner is served!"
  • Medic 1: "What the hell?"

"Week of Nightmares" in full motion

On Monday, September 16th the "Week of Nightmares" started in Los Angeles. This a full week of VtES tournaments, great and small. The culmination of the Week is the "North American Championship" (NAC). Also check out the "NAC 2007 blog", which is updated by Robert Goudie more than once a day. Beside some information about the individual tournaments, it also has a bunch of pictures, as well as a few spoiler informations about the upcoming "Lords of the Night" expansion.

Deck Archetypes: Tariq eats the World

This decktype known as "Tariq eats the World" is based on the special ability of certain vampires, in this case "Tariq", to diablerize vampires without having to fear a bloodhunt. So the deck is able to quickly to dispose of oppossing vampires without having to consider that a vampire is rescued from torpor.

How to win with them
This deck is straight beatdown deck using rush and/or intercept combat. Remove the vampires from your prey, in order to oust. If necessary, remove the vampires of your predator to survive ...
In order to succeed, the deck needs a way to do the following in a consistent way.
  • attack vampires
  • sent vampires to torpor
  • diablerizie vampires
The typical cycle, when it's "Tariq's" turn to act, looks like this:
  • "Tariq" attacks a vampire using his built-in rush
  • "Tariq" equips with a concealed weapon, preferably the "Rowan Ring", if not already done.
  • "Tariq" hits the opposing vampires with the "Rowan Ring", and gives the "Rowan Ring" to the opposing vampire if successful.
  • When the opposing minion goes to torpor, "Tariq" plays "Amaranth" and diablerize the vampire, thereby taking the "Rowan Ring" back.
  • "Tariq" plays "Draught of the Soul" to gain a blood and more importantly get +1 bleed against the controlling player, enabling "Tariq" to reduce its preys pool more quickly after all (or most) of his minions are gone.
  • After the first successful diablerie, Tariq will get the "Celerity" skill card, to allow him to use "Psyche" at the superior level.
Also the deck has some deal potential, since it can almost guarantee the dismissal of any vampire on the table. So the "I will dunk/eat your worst nightmare, if you agree to put 2 damage from your KRC on my prey" works quite well.

How to win against them
The deck's nemesis are both "Carlton van Wyk" and allies in general, since he can simply dodge most of "Tariq's" strike (unless he plays a "Pursuit", and can burn "Tariq" after he commited diablerie since the last turn. "Imbued" and other allies are a problem since most combat cards "Tariq" uses are of little or no effect against them.

As with other vampire star decks, a lone "Pentex Subversion" played on "Tariq" can kill this deck, especially if the deck does not pack any stealth or none of the supporting minions are equipped with weapons already.

Also consistent dodges or, better, "Strike: Combat Ends" beats Tariq, since the deck usually features only a limited number of "Psyche". A "Secure Haven" only protects one of your vampires, and even this one is vulnerable since "Tariq's" superior "Auspex" allows him to block somewhat well.

Key Cards
  • "Rowan Ring" -- to send the opposing vampire to torpor. "Ivory Bow" or "Flamethrower" are quite useful substitutes.
  • "Amaranth" -- to diablerize vampires going to torpor.
  • "Disguised Weapon" -- to get a weapon quick and reliable (without having to fear that prey or predator are blocking an equip action).
  • "Psyche" -- to foil frequent dodges and/or S:CE.
  • "Draught of the Soul" -- to give "Tariq" more ousting power, after he has diablerized a vampire.

Notable Examples & Variations
Variations of the deck include other vampires on whom also blood hunts cannot be called, i.e. "Muaziz, Archon of Ulugh Beg" or "Samat Ramal-Ra, Archon". Only that "Tariq" has the best combination of combat disciplines to perform the combo described above.

Other, more distant variations of the type are decks with a strong political backing, e.g. Nosferatu Royalty which attacks minions, uses "Burning Wrath", "Amaranth" to burn the vampire, and finally uses "Ritual of the Bitter Rose" to fill up the diablerist and his companions. The blood hunt is then voted down by the assembly of Nosferatu princes and justicar.

La Grande Vaulderie
Paris, France
June 28th, 2003
55 players

And here is the winner's deck :

Deck Name: Draught of Betrayal
Created By: Stone (Pierre Tran-Van)

Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 12, Max: 30, Avg: 5.33)
4 "Tariq" AUS cel FOR OBF QUI 7, Assamite
2 Fatima al-Faqadi aus CEL for OBF QUI 8, Assamite
1 Anwar cel obf qui 4, Assamite
1 Max Lowell cel obf 3, Gangrel Antitribu
1 Tansu Bekir cel OBF 4, Assamite
1 Juan Cali aus for 3, Ventrue Antitribu
1 Regilio aus obf 3, Nosferatu
1 Zoe AUS cel obf 3, Malkavian

Library: (90 cards)
Master (12 cards)
5 Blood Doll
1 Celerity
1 Dreams of the Sphinx
1 Fame
1 KRCG News Radio
1 London Evening Star, Tabloid Newspaper
1 Market Square
1 Underworld Hunting Ground

Reaction (16 cards)
4 Eagle's Sight
9 Forced Awakening
2 Telepathic Misdirection
1 Wake with Evening's Freshness

Combat (49 cards)
10 Amaranth
9 Disguised Weapon
7 Flash
6 Psyche!
7 Pursuit
5 Rolling with the Punches
5 Unflinching Persistence

Equipment (8 cards)
2 Flamethrower
2 Ivory Bow
2 Rowan Ring
2 Sengir Dagger

Combo (5 cards)
5 Draught of the Soul

"Lords of the Night" Preview #12: "Ambulance"

(c) 2007 by White Wolf Inc.With the 12th preview of the VtES expansion "Lords of the Night", the equipment card "Ambulance", we are near the end of the previews.

The card is a nice, new equipment, which has usuable ability (to continue an action if blocked) in the right deck, and with a pool cost it's neither too cheap or too costly. I also like the drawback, which makes you think twice when to use the special ability of the "Ambulance". A fellow player suggested to add it to an "Aching Beauty" deck, where can use it to make your prey burn twice the pool for attempting to block the same action. In some forums it was suggested to use it in "Bruise & Bleed" decks, either to bring through an action, or to get into a combat twice with the same attacking minion.

The added ability of being able to burn a incapitated imbued is also nice topping for the card, but this just an added bonus and will (usually) not the reason to include "Ambulance" into a deck.

Monday, September 17, 2007

"Lords of the Night" Preview #11: "Thucimia"

(c) 2007 by White Wolf Inc.The 10th preview of the VtES expansion "Lords of the Night" is the "Assamite" vampire "Thucimia".

The new vampire is a solid investment, with "Fortitude" she's a multi-rush candidate, she can bleed with the superior "Dementation" quite well, and - speaking of bleed - has an interesting special beside the permanent +1 handsize, too. Nothing spectacular, but she's not too shabby either.

No, I won't complain about the fattie parade in the preview anymore.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

"Staple Nine" in VtES

When I made the list of the "Power Nine" cards in VtES a couple of days ago, I got some feedback, that these weren't the really powerful cards. Instead it would be common ones everyone uses in his decks. e.g. the "Blood Dolls" and the "Weighted Walking Sticks". To some extend I agree, but on the other hand, it would be as if you were calling "Counterspell", "Plains", "Mountains", etc. in "Magic: the Gathering" the most powerful cards. In a way they are, since they form the foundation of the game, and, yes, they do often decide whether you're gonna win or lose a game, but these cards are staple cards, which put into your deck often 4+ times.

Anyhow, before posting the "Power Nine" for VtES I already a parallel list in mind, what I now call the "Staple Nine":
  1. "Blood Doll" / "Minion Tap" -- basic blood/pool management
  2. "WwEF" / "Forced Awakening" / "On the Qui Vive" -- untap as reaction card
  3. "Deflection" / "Telepathic Misdirection" -- staple for bleed bounce
  4. "Delaying Tactics" -- cancel any vote (though only for a turn)
  5. "Wash" / "Sudden Reversal" -- cancel any master
  6. "Freak Drive" -- untap as action modifier
  7. "Govern the Unaligned" -- pool gain or bleed action
  8. "Majesty" / "Earth Meld" -- untap as combat card
  9. "Kine Resources Contested" / "Conservative Agitation" -- basic PA for every vote deck
I have grouped some of these cards together, as they provide a similar (if not the same) effect.
Runner-ups would be cards like "Conditioning" or "Embrace" (and similar). And don't take this list to seriously, it's "just another stupid list"(tm).

Saturday, September 15, 2007

"Lords of the Night": Preconstructed Deck "Followers of Set"

Boy, oh boy, they sure keep me busy today. Over various intermediate stops, the contents of the first preconstructed deck of the "Lords of the Night" expansion, namely the one of the "Followers of Set", reached me. And the precon is quite a good one, a hefty S&B/Corruption deck with a fair number of very good reprints.

Deck Name: "Followers of Set" Starter Deck (Lords of the Night)
Created By: L. Scott Johnson
Description: The Followers of Set Preconstructed Starter Deck from Lords of the Night.

CRYPT (12 cards, Min: 12, Max 36, Avg: 5,83)
2 Belle Equitone ser 2, Follower of Set
2 Marla Kenyon ser PRE 4, Follower of Set
2 Renenet ser OBF PRE 5, Follower of Set
2 Halim Bey obf tha DOM SER 6, Follower of Set
2 Sundervere, the Devil Brahmin obf AUS PRE SER THA 8, Follower of Set
2 Nakhthorheb OBF PRE SER 10, Follower of Set

Library (77 cards)
Master (11 cards)
1x Dummy Corporation
1x Khobar Towers, Al-Khubar
1x Opium Den
1x Secure Haven (w/ new art)
1x Serpentis
1x Temple Hunting Ground
1x The Crocodile Temple
2x Vessel
1x WMRH Talk Radio
1x Wash

Action (20 cards)
2x Blithe Acceptance
4x Dream World
2x Enticement
1x Form of Corruption
1x Mesu Bedshet
2x Public Trust
4x Revelation of Ecstasy
3x Temptation (w/ new art)
1x The Summoning

Action Modifier (20 cards)
3x Approximation of Loyalty
2x Cloak the Gathering (w/ new art)
2x Into Thin Air
3x Revelation of Desire
2x Spying Mission
4x True Love's Face
2x Truth of a Thousand Lies
2x Veil the Legions

Reaction (10 cards)
3x Confusion of the Eye
2x Eluding the Arms of Morpheus
2x Mental Maze
3x Revelation of Despair

Combat (14 cards)
3x Ecstasy
4x Majesty
3x The Jones
1x Revelation of Wrath
3x Unholy Penance

Ally (1 card)
1x Tutu, the Doubly Evil One

Political Action (1 card)
1x Hierophant

"Lords of the Night" Preview #10: "Strike at the True Flesh"

(c) 2007 by White Wolf Inc.The 10th preview of the VtES expansion "Lords of the Night" is the "Quietus" combat card "Strike at the True Flesh".

My first is impression was, that this sadly continues the "not-so-great-cards" tradition of "Quietus" (o.k. there are a few exceptions to this). Sure, it foils damage prevention like "Rolling with the Punches" or "Flesh of Marble", but this wasn't the problem with the "Quietus" discipline in the past. Some "Quietus" card would have been nice, that didn't allow the opposing vampire to play "Strike: Dodge" or "Strike: Combat Ends". This new card is sub-standard, also since it only applies to non-aggravated damage this vampire deals, so "Baal's Bloody Talons" cannot be used in conjunction with "Strike at the True Flesh".

"Lords of the Night" Preview #9: "Abdelsobek"

(c) 2007 by White Wolf Inc.The 9th preview of the VtES expansion "Lords of the Night" is the "Follower of Set" vampire "Abdelsobek".

In the blurred pre-preview picture "Abdelsobek" looked like a big-cap vampire with his five disciplines, but he turned-out to be a mere 5 cap with five disciplines at inferior, and a usuable, though not overly powerful special. "Mylan Horseed (Goblin)" can do about the same, and is much cheaper to pay for.

"Abdelsobek" can fit into a lot of decks, he makes it into a deck featuring the "Followers of Set" (of course), but also into one featuring the "Samedi" or even "Ventrue". With his five inferior disciplines he also makes a decent "Anarch".

Friday, September 14, 2007

Being LSJ

ICL came up with this hillarious conversation in the UK forum about LSJs inner dialogue when designing the "Ravnos" vampire "Durga Syn". Read the full thread here.

[LSJ.1] Why don't you give Durga some votes?
[LSJ.2] To hard to become an anarch which would waste all of those disciplines. I'd piss off millions of anarch lovers.
[LSJ.1] You could make Orpheus happier if you gave Durga Necromancy.
[LSJ.2] Then he might notice how good Chimerstry is when you don't pay full cost for it and would want highly flexible Necromancy cards ... with no cost.
[LSJ.1] Durga seems to be lacking flight.
[LSJ.2] Does anybody even remember what any of the flight cards do anymore?
[LSJ.1] She could be a 12 cap.
[LSJ.2] Without PRE? Are you insane? Uh, don't answer that.
[LSJ.1] Durga is a good choice for one of those win in one turn decks. You know, turbo, et al. You should give her FOR, a capacity increase when she's in play, and NEC. And, the ability to play Baali cards.
[LSJ.2] What makes you think she can't win in one turn? Besides, the text box font would be so small that no one would know that she would combo with every card in the game.
[LSJ.1] Aren't people going to hate the game because of cards like this? Won't Durga doom the game?
[LSJ.2] I keep trying, but they keep playing.
[LSJ.1] Local 1111?
[LSJ.2] Should be played by !Trem with Rutor's Hands to see if it doesn't suck. But, Eric Chiang keeps travelling.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

"Lords of the Night" Preview #8: "Lost In Translation"

(c) 2007 by White Wolf Inc.The 8th preview of the VtES expansion "Lords of the Nights" is the card, that will change the meta game, the card that will create new TWDs without "Dominate", ... or not. It's the discipline-less bleed bounce card named "Lost In Translation".

At first I was a little disappointed, that the card is without any discipline requirement, thus making the access for using the card too easy. But take a look at the requirements to play the card:
1. the vampire needs to pay two blood.
2. it can only be played once during each action. So however plays the first LiT "wins".
3. it taps the reacting vampire
and most importantly
4. it's unusable by vampires when bleed a younger vampire or an ally.

With these restrictions in mind, it's costly version of the inferior version of "Redirection". So the usefulness of this card is quite restricted to decks with mid-cap or high-cap vampires (e.g. larger than 7 or 8 cap.) with no access to "Dominate" or superior "Auspex", e.g. "Nosferatu Royalty" decks or an "Assamite" high cap deck.

So I am not really expecting a huge change in the meta game or the TWD archive in the near future, but I see (and appreciate) the usefulness of the card in certain decks.

Like the card, hate the artwork ... it's green, yuck!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

VtES Tournament Schedule for Q4/2007

With the help of Hardy's invaluable list, I have assembled the list of the VtES tournaments in Germany and the Netherlands for the rest of 2007 I might want to participate in. And I am determined to play ... all of them (hurray!). All links point to the german VEKN forum:
  • September 30th, 2007: "Lords of the Night" Launch Event in Bochum.
  • October 6th or 13th, 2007: "Constructed Tournament" in Hilversum (Netherlands).
  • October 20th, 2007: "Midnight Tournament" (Constructed) during the Essen Gamefair.
  • November 11th, 2007: Draft Tournament in Frankfurt.
  • End of November, 2007: "Constructed Tournament" in Utrecht (Netherlands).
  • December 1st/2nd, 2007: German Championship 2007 in Ludwigshafen.
That's good two to three weeks interval between each of the tournaments. The only question remains what decks to play, except for the Draft (of course) in Frankfurt and the German Championship in Ludwigshafen, I have currently no idea whatsoever... definetely not those I played during the summer tournament session.

Monday, September 10, 2007

"Lords of the Night" Preview #7: "Durga Syn"

(c) 2007 by White Wolf Inc.Being home somewhat late from work today, I managed to get only a glimpse of the 7th preview of the VtES expansion "Lords of the Nights", the "Ravnos" vampire "Durga Syn" during the day, but I was delighted to see this vampire.

O.k., a fatty again, but I like the combination of her disciplines, especially the combination of her superior disciplines "Chimerstry", "Obfuscate" and "Thaumathurgy", the first two finding their match in two other Ravnos, namely "Alexis Sorokin" and "Mata Hari". And her specials are not bad as well, a decent steal equipment strike (with first strike) and well as the do-not-tap clause against allies and small-cap vampires. You can either build a fine wall deck with her, e.g. with a "Sniper Rifle" and "Draba", or some more aggressive deck using "Sensory Deprivation" (with cheap OBF stealth) and the ability to get some fine equipment like a "Seal of Veddartha" or an "Ivory Bow" using "Magic of the Smith" to get it.

Now that I come to think of it, she very much resembles the G1 Tremere "Justine, Elder of Dallas", both with her disciplines and her special ability.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

"Lords of the Night" Preview #6: "Trochomancy"

(c) 2007 by White Wolf Inc.A day earlier than expected the 6th preview of the VtES expansion "Lords of the Nights" came up, it's the "Necromancy" card "Trochomancy". As Jeroen Rombouts pointed out in the internat. newsgroup this card has written "Silver Bullet" all over it. It's good against:
1. "Shambling Hordes" -- since it requires an ally or retainer in the ash heap; ironically it's a "Necromancy" card itself.
2. "Sudario Refraction" -- also often a "Giovanni" staple.
3. "Imbued" -- to avoid recursion of "Convictions".
4. "Anthelios, the Red Star" -- to avoid recursion of Master cards.
It's pretty decent card by itself, especially since "Necromancy" didn't had any bleed modifier yet. But of course it's a new staple card for the "Harbinger of Skulls"; since they were lacking some ousting power, and have access to the most the reliable way to increase the amount of cards in ones prey's ashheap, the "Slaughterhouses", "Trochomancy" is an excellent addition to the Harbinger's milling deck technique.

Power Nine in VtES

To quote the Wikipedia: "In Magic: The Gathering, the Power Nine are nine rare cards that were printed early in the game's history and are widely regarded as excessively powerful and arguably the most powerful cards in the game." After I read the article about the P9 on the Wikipedia, I had to come up with a list of the most powerful and sought-after cards for VtES too (of course).
  1. "Direct Intervention" -- can cancel any minion card in the game.
  2. "Heart of Nizchetus" -- an incredible card drawing machine and cheap.
  3. "Dreams of the Sphinx" -- also a card drawing machine, although not permanent.
  4. "Protect Thine Own" -- burn any non-Camarilla vampire in the game.
  5. "Carlton van Wyk" -- a cheap, resilient blocker with a built-in +1 intercept.
  6. "Powerbase: Montreal" -- a pool generator with no requirements.
  7. "The Parthenon" -- two master phase actions a turn.
  8. "Anthelios, the Red Star" -- exchange any master card from hand with one from your ash heap.
  9. "The Unmasking" -- +1 intercept to all allies.
I did put those cards in this list, which make into a lot decks (also often due to a lack of requirements), and/or their effect is either very strong, or often alter the course of a whole game. I didn't put cards into it which are tied to a particular clan ("War Ghoul", "Week of Nightmares") or those banned ("Succubus Club", "Kindred Restructure"). Often the above mentioned cards (with the exception of "Anthelios") make up the most valuable cards at EBay, although they are by far not as costly as MtG's P9.

Friday, September 7, 2007

"Lords of the Night" Preview #5: "Lorenzo Detuono"

(c) 2007 by White Wolf Inc.The 5th preview of the VtES expansion "Lords of the Nights" is the Giovanni "Lorenzo Detuono". Another redlist vampire, .. is this going to be a "Red List" expansion, or what?!?! Though I kinda like the special ability (although it is somewhat costly), I do not like the concept of this type of vampires that much. This is a vampire where you need to build a deck around, in most other decks you will have to special care of him due to his redlist status. So essentially you are building a "Lorenzo"-deck, and his usefulness in all-purpose decks is diminished. In contrast to "Jamal" (#3 in the LotN-Preview), "Lorenzo" didn't have the greatest of combination of combat abilities. Yes, he has superior "Potence", but the rest is combat-wise average at best. So in order to avoid hitback, you might to include "Fast Reaction" (he has inferior "Auspex"), or might want to make "Lorenzo" an Anarch in order to play "Status Perfectus". With one of these cards another Giovanni might block an opposing minion, play "Spiritual Intervention" to end that combat, and "Lorenzo" hits back in the resulting combat with "Breath of Thanatos" where the opposing vampire is not allowed to strike back. Another possibility is to play a "Blessing of Chaos" on "Lorenzo" first to avoid the opposing vampire playing a "Majesty" or "Coma". To give him a better chance of survival also "Proxy Kissed" comes to my mind, giving "Lorenzo" the "Fortitude" discipline and thereby access to damage prevention cards.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

"Lords of the Night" Preview #4: "Target Hand"

(c) 2007 by White Wolf Inc.The 4th preview of the VtES expansion "Lords of the Nights" is "Target Hand", the first card showing use of the new "Aim" keyword. Some people in the internat. newsgroup have argued that the card is kind of weak. I would have aggreed, if the card would cost blood or would require a discipline, but being a discipline-less card I rather like the card (at least in the first place). Other already pointed out, that it combines well with "Trap" and that it can played by the usual bunch of disciplines-less minions, like vampire small caps, Imbued or other allies. Play it with a bunch of weenies, rush some poor fellow, play "Trap" + "Target Hand" in the first rurn. If the opposing minion doesn't do more than 2 hand damage and cannot play combat or press-to-end, he's quite probably going to torpor, and your weenie vampire did take just one lousy damage. I call it a bargain ...
I mean, the card isn't "uber", but there is no requirement, I repeat, no requirement.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Rant: Even the basics are missing ...

In the internat. Newsgroup Ben Peal observed that there is no news/post/whatsoever about the beginning of the preview of the VtES "Lords of the Night" expansion on the White Wolf website. For heavens sake, no wonder nobody notices the game, when even the publisher himself does not give any notice of it on its own website!!! This is what Ben Peal wrote:

"To whom it may concern,

Do you think you could put mentions of the Lords of the Night preview page on the main White Wolf website page and the main V:TES website page? Do you think you could send a message to the Princes forum about how one runs a release event? 3 weeks to go...

- Ben Peal, US National Coordinator"

Monday, September 3, 2007

"Lords of the Night" Preview #3: "Jamal"

(c) 2007 by White Wolf Inc.The third preview of the "Lords of the Nights" expansion is the Assamite "Jamal". Surly a good vampire with 2 votes, +1 bleed and a good combination of disciplines for either voting (OBF/PRE), fighting (CEL/PRO/QUI/pot) or bleeding (OBF/PRE/PRO). The drawback is, of course, the Red List status, which makes him quite vulnerable. So either you have to pack some defensive options in your deck, e.g. "Secure Haven" or "Priority Shift", or you have to have some serious hitback, to deter other minions from rushing Jamal.

As it seems most of the other previewed vampires are also fatties, whereas I prefer to play midcap vampires, sigh...

Definition of a Dance

In the internat. Newsgroup John Flournoy wrote down a nice description of the "Darby Dance" term/combo, which describes a type of an Imbued deck which uses the combination of "Vigilance" and "Leatherjacket" to untap multiple times during a turn. John's description was as following (with minor copyedits from my side):
The "Darby Dance" Imbued deck uses a bunch of "Vigilance" and equipment, including typically a "Leather Jacket" and a "Laptop Computer".
  • Imbued #1 bleeds with "Strike with Conviction" for 3 and untaps w/ "Vigilance".
  • Imbued #2 takes the equipment, untaps w/ "Vigilance".
  • Imbued #2 bleeds with "Strike with Conviction" for 3.
  • ... Repeat until all Imbued have taken the equipment, untapped w/ "Vigilance", and bled.
  • Imbued #1 finishes by taking the equipment back. At turn end, all Imbued doing the above untap from the "Leather Jacket".
  • Repeat every turn, over and over....

To futher accelerate the deck the events "Edge Explosion" and "NRA PAC" can be used, where "Edge Explosion" is more useful, since the Imbued effectively do not spend any Convictions for the Dance.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

"Lords of the Night" Preview #2: "Army of Apparition"

(c) 2007 by White Wolf Inc.The second preview of the "Lords of the Nights" is "Army of Apparition". I am not overly excited about this card, since it is passive in nature. Sure you can bring in 3 votes against a vote, or you can cancel a (D) action. In the first case a "Delaying Tactics" is usually better, in the second case I would prefer a "Secure Haven". In addition the superior Chimerstry effect only works against younger vampires or allies. The strength of the card is definetly that it combines these two effects into one card, and that it can be played by a tapped vampire.