Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ebony Kingdom: Top Five Crypt & Library Cards

It's a little bit late for this article, but since "Heirs to the Blood" is nowhere to be seen (at least officially), what the heck here it is ... In reference to the "Legacies of Blood Top Ten" list made by Greg Williams in January 2006, I would like to show you a similar list, namely the top five of the "Ebony Kingdom" expansion, at least from my point of view:

Top Five Library Cards
  1. "Bamba" -- the long awaited card that let Laibon put progeny into play. In my opinion a well-balanced card when compared with the other progeny cards like "Embrace" or "Creation Rites". It has a resonable cost, and can be played more a lot of vampires (i.e. requires only Laibon, not Magaji), but on the other hand is restricted to vampires with capacity of 4 or more. Most interestingly other than other cards of this kind "Bamba" keeps the sect of the creating vampire, making "Bamba" an ideal candidate for an "Eldest are the Kholo" based on Laibon Ravnos.

  2. "My Kin Against the World" -- even outside theLaibon clan this card will get some playtime, especially since most of its effect can be used by non-Laibon clan. The card is especially good, if you have multiple minions which have at least two reasonable actions, e.g. Ventrue Lawfirm (Bleed/Vote) or most Rush decks (multi-rush actions). The only potential problem I see is probably, that this is one of the "win-more" cards.

  3. "Powerbase: Luanda" -- a very nice tool, that is perma-rush, forLaibon based rush or wall combat decks. As with other powerbases the location can be stolen, but this shouldn't be a big problem. When another player (tries to) get "Powerbase Luanda, you can either defend it (when playing a wall deck) or you can get it back, effectively having a rush action against that player.

  4. "Unholy Radiance" -- a very strong vote card, since it acts both as action modifier and reaction card, although it requires three Orun. This can be a good addition to decks like Weenie Laibon Vote (based on Kholo titles), if not for the clumsiness of getting the Orun cards in the first place (see below).

  5. "Exile" -- the superior version is sort of a "Banishment" variation, but instead of a successful vote it requires a number of "Orun" cards (and a successful action).The reason for choosing "Exile" over "Brutal Influence" is that "Exile's" inferior version is also good without playing Orun infact so good, that it will find its way into certain decks like "Tap and Bleed" decks, although it works only against younger vampires and allies and costs two blood.

Top Five Crypt Cards
  1. "Nana Buruku" -- even without a title her two specials -- +1 handsize and especially the two master phase actions -- make her smoking hot. For a reason she was one of the two main vampires in the NAC 2009 TWD deck.

  2. "Cesewayo (Adv)" -- the specials of both the normal and the advanced version point to superstar wall deck. Merged he's a monster with 4 votes and two great special abilities comparable to the Camarilla Justicars or even Inner Circle Members.

  3. "Umdava" -- a good addition to the dynamic duo of Akunanse magaji, "Uchenna" and "Nkule". With her superior Presence she might also fit into a Guruhi vote deck.

  4. "Arriette Sylla" -- Arriette is good news for the Weenie Potence decks, since she's the smallest vampire with superior Potence (besides "Tupdog").

  5. "Elizabeth Conde" -- together with "Sonja Blue" she's the smallest vampire with superior Celerity and Fortiude making her a very solid 5 capacity Ishtarri.

Disappointments
  • The advanced vampires (or at least 3 out 4) are somewhat underwhelming. Their special ability on the advanced version are not top tier quality, not to speak of the merged abilities (or lack of it) compared to the vampire's capacity.

  • Also the overall quality of the library cards is not satisfying and in fact I had a hard time determining even five top notch library and crypt cards for the "Ebony Kingdom" expansion. This maybe is an effect of the relatively low number of 40 new library and 20 new crypt cards, but looking at the "Twilight Rebellion" expansion with a silimar size I didn't have that problem.
Summary
The "Ebony Kingdom" expansion tries to boost the Orun/Aye mechanism heavily with 10 library cards mentioning Aye and 8 library cards Orun (out of 40 library cards total). As initially regarding the "Anarch" trait, the Aye/Orun mechanism has the problem that you have to put considerable effort into your deck putting the Aye/Orun cards into play. While "Static Virtue" and "Nkishi" are nice, what's missing are cards with effects similar to "Seattle Comitee" or "Twilight Camp" (for becoming an Anarch). Something like "Tap this card to put an Aye or Orun from your hand or library on a Laibon you control with no Aye or Orun".

And then the question always is: "Is the bonus provided by the Aye/Orun based cards worth the effort". This question remains to be answered ..

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Bitter & Sweet Story?

cheers,
-jakob

extrala said...

Yes, Bitter & Sweet Story is one of the better cards in the Ebony Kingdom expansion. But in my top five list the card didn't just make the cut.

Weirdling Library said...

IMHO Brutal Influence is much better than Exile. Remenant of Endless Storm is another better card.
Mapatano Utando, Impundulu, Guinea-Bissau Carnival, Familial Bond, Dusk Work, Despiral, Blood Shield and Bestial Vengeance are also great cards.
Ok. there are some weak cards in this expansion, there are more weak cards than decent ones but it isn't bad expansion.

extrala said...

Brutal Influence is quite good, but Exile has an effect you can use with having Aye or Orun. That was reason for me choosing Exile over Brutal Influence.
Remenant of the Endless Storm is way too expensive for my taste. Guinea-Bissau is similar to Festivo del Estino and nobody plays that one.
Impundulu is decent, but Gregory Winter and Young Bloods offer a very similiar effect, so nothing outstanding.
Despiral looking good initially takes IMHO way too many actions .. why not use Heart of the City or similar cards in the first place?
Blood Shield is kinda ok, but only if you play multi-round combat, e.g. with Trap and/or Telephatic Tracking.
Bestial Vengeance is much weaker than Carrion Crows since it delivers damage only at close range.
Dusk Work .. I don't know, you can tap the three Aye also for blocking later. So why waste a cardslot? Maybe worth it in the right deck, but the card is average at best.
Familial Bond looks promising, but I have to play it myself (or played against me) to see if the card can meet the expectations.

Raziel said...

You forget about Well-Marked - imo one of the top 5 best laibon cards atm. It make Laibon wall decks so much better it's not even funny.