Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"Heirs to the Blood": Top Crypt & Library Cards

Still in reference to the original "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 ten library and top five crypt cards of the "Keepers of Tradition" expansion, at least from my point of view:

Top Five Crypt Cards
  1. "The Unnamed" -- as the previews of "Heirs to the Blood" have been shown, this vampire of clan Baali and his abilities were hotly discussed. He has a reasonable set of discipline with Protean and Celerity as out-of-clan disciplines, but what sets him apart are his special abilties. Not only can he strike for 2R aggravated damage, but you also gain 2 pool when he bleeds successfully, easily offsetting the infernal penalty. A deck based on him when "The Unnamed" has an "Enkil Cog" and a "Homunculus" would be a force of nature.






  2. "Shalmath" -- the True Brujah vampire is best one with a built-in untap ability yet, as he can untap once every turn at any given time. "Shalmath" follows the pattern of some the big capacity vampires lately (like "Nakhthorheb" or "The Ankou"), who only have their clan disciplines at superior, but have a very good special. It remains to be seen which kind of deck is going to spawn. Probably not too wallish, since "Shalmath" lacks the proper disciplines for that. But with "Enkil Cog" he could act twice, e.g. in his turn and his prey's turn), and still be able to play cards like "Rewind Time" or "Touch of Pain" in other player's turns.




  3. "Qawiyya el-Ghaduba" -- this Salubri vampire has some similarities with "Enkidu". Both are red-listed vampires, have +2 strength and are real monsters in combat, although with a different set of disciplines at their disposal. The main difference is that while "Enkidu" has a built-in rush ability, Qawiyya has a built-in untap ability, making her suitable for a multi-rush combat deck as well. Although Qawiyya has only three relevant combat disciplines, she's has almost the same combat capabilities, Fortitude and Valeren can be used to prevent damage and Potence and Valeren to dish out damage. Only her access to maneuvers and moreover to additional strikes is somewhat restricted. With access to both "Immortal Grapple" and "Death Seeker" she also has some of the best tools against "Strike: Combat Ends".

  4. Blood Brothers Kiev Circle -- this Blood Brother Circle and their selection of disciplines is a fresh change to the pertient set of disciplines the previous circles possessed. With the introduction of Protean on four of the five vampires of the Kiev Circle, decks based on them offers a wide range of directions they can take. For example, one could built a deck which makes the vampires Anarch, play cards like "Smash and Grab" or "Skullduggery" and use "CrimethInc." untap.


  5. "Arishat", "Ariel", "Isanwayen" -- although these vampires are not overly powerful by themselves, they are vampires that can form the backbone for a deck based on these bloodlines. They all are vampires of capacity 6 and they all have their respective clan disciplines at superior. In the past of all the bloodlines only the Daughters of Cacophony ("Yseult") featured such a vampire, and other bloodlines like the Samedi or the Harbingers of Skull still lack it.
Runners-up: The Arcadian, Chaundice

Disappointments:
  • "Darlene Killian" -- this group 5 Ahrimanes is simply not a good "bridge" vampire for the Ahrimanes, due to her small capacity and her disadvantage of paying extra for allies and retainers.

  • "Toy" -- while the Samedi received an extra vampire (which the clan dearly needed), his disadvantage makes him only playable in very specialized decks, fcr example a Malkavian bleed deck which uses the Toy's slave status for good.

Top Ten Library Cards
  1. "Wider View" -- this master card is good for those decks with a star vampire crypt, which actually wants to bring out several other vampires as well. For the cost of one pool (for the card itself) and one transfer you can cycle through your crypt without spending several turns and 4 transfers each. And in the end when you have the crypt you desire you can ditch the card for 2 pool by spending 4 transfers. Another good design feature is that the card is not unique like "Information Highway", so extra copies can be played easily later in the game, without choking your hand.

    Decks: Star vampire decks with multiple or only one copy of the star. Or decks with a narrow crypt selection (like the newly introduced group 6 vampires for the bloodlines) that want to play all of their different vampires in their crypt.


  2. "Lily Prelude" -- this political action requiring Melpominee certainely beats the benchmark of "Kine Resources Contested". Although the action costs a blood, the fact that you can assign the four points of damage any way you want outweighs the cost. And if the acting vampire has superior Melpominee he can even choose a Methuselah to gain a pool. So you can "bribe" one of your so-called cross-tables buddies a bit.

    Decks: Any vote deck containing a reasonably number of Daughters of Cacophony. With this card you may see the Daughters as support clan for the Ventrue or Toreador more often.




  3. "The Rising" -- I am quit sure that this event will see some playtime in the future. It will speed games up, since it will prevent players from gaining pool in their minion phase and,even more likely, in their master phase (via "Villein", "Blood Doll", etc.). The only drawback is that it can backfire against yourself (when you don't have the edge or a VP), or making another it easier for another player to oust somebody. But in deck build for exploiting "The Rising", e.g. Malkavian antitribu Stealth/Bleed deck this card is a killer.

    Decks: Any deck that (hopes to) makes a quick VP, or can regain the Edge reliably while not relying on blood gain during the untap or master phase.



  4. "Death Seeker" -- by my opinion this card is on similar level to "Immortal Grapple" and "Psyche" to beat "Strike: Combat Ends". But furthermore it can also overcome other combat defense like damage prevention or maneuvers if necessary. This card makes combat decks based on Salubri antitribu much more efficient, when before often lots of the cards played before strike were wasted when "Strike: Combat Ends" was played by the opponent. And before HttB only "Telepathic Tracking" could help, which only could be played by "Adonai" and "Dela Eden" (the only Salubri antitribu with superior Auspex back then).

    Decks: Any Salubri antitribu combat deck.



  5. "Summon History" -- when currently looking at EBay auctions for VtES cards this action card requiring Temporis is the card with the highest prices. If these prices are reasonable is debatable, but the card has a similar effect on the VtES community as "Mata Hari" back in the days when she was introduced in "Kindred Most Wanted". The card makes decks possible which combine a multitude of permanent cards of vastly different requirements, e.g. combining "War Ghoul" deck with the "Tinglestripes" equipment. And at superior you can even move a vampire from the ash heap or uncontrolled region to the ready region, albeit without blood, but with the cost reduction a card like "Ankara Citadel" the sudden appearance of vampire is more than reasonably priced.

    Decks: Any deck wants to use (or abuse) this card. Since the inferior version of the card is already good, "Agent of Power" is a cheap means to play this card by almost any deck.


  6. "Faerie Ward" -- another very strong card requiring Mytherceria. For a reasonable 2 blood this card can cancel a (D) action against you, for example a bleed, rush or other actions like "Temptation" or "Enticement". And played at superior Mytherceria the acting vampire doesn't even untap during his next untap phase. This makes the card something like a reversed "Mind Numb".

    Decks: Suitable for any Kiasyd, because it offers a very strong defense for a reasonable price.





  7. "Code of Samiel" -- basicially this is a hunting ground for the Salubri antitribu, and with a cost of 2 pool reasonably priced. What the card makes really good is the additional (or is it the main?) feature of the card. Each time a Salubri antitribu burns a minion or sends a vampire to torpor he untaps at the of the turn. The good thing is that the effect can be used several times each turn, and not only in your turn, but in every other turn as well. Outstanding.

    Decks: Any Salubri antitribu combat deck.





  8. "Veneficti (Mage)" -- this Baali ally is one of the most cost effective allies ever. +1 stealth and bleed for two for the cost of just one pool is very, very good. Compare this to "Nephandus", which also have 2 life, 1 bleed, 1 damage and a nifty special, but Nephandus costs 1 pool more than Veneficti. In my opinion this ally is an auto-include in every Baali deck.

    Decks: Almost any deck with more than 3 or 4 Baali vampires.







  9. "Gremlins" -- this action action requiring Mytherceria is a very versatile one. You can either burn an equipment as +1 stealth action (at inferior Mytherceria), or you can bleed for +1 at +1 stealth. Combined with "Bonding" you can easily perform a +2 bleed at +2 stealth, and without even paying a single blood. Although not entirely dark-gothic-like, I really appreciate the artwork.

    Decks: Good addition for most Kiasyd bleed decks due to the card's versatility.




  10. "Tend the Flock "-- the card that says for every Baali deck (except the mono-capacity ones) gain three pool. OK, maybe the cardtext doesn't say so explicetly, but it comes down to this. A little unimaginative (even for Baali), but a very strong crypt accelerator and/or bloat card.

    Decks: Any deck with more than half the vampires being Baali of different capacity.



Runners-up: Cavalier, Dabbler. Mind of the Wilds. Oppugnant Night, Raw Recruit, Voices of the Castle, and some more .. good new stuff in this expansion.

Disappointments:
  • Spirit Claws -- while the card is good in theory, there are too few vampires who can actually play it. You need either some Protean skill cards, or if you prefer the cheaper variant, "Agent of Power", to give an Ahrimanes superior Protean, otherwise only "Sylvie Helgon" can play the card at superior.

  • Most the cards the Samedi (including those requiring Thanatosis) are getting. "Stiff Contempt" or "Decompose" are not really good, and the other cards are somewhat ok, but what the Samedi needs is a card that ousts, like the Daughters' "Harmony" or the Followers of Set "Enticement", not a card like "Under My Skin" which is good in itself, but doesn't help a clan which has problems with gaining ousting power.

  • Bliss -- why do we need a card that gives a combat ends at superior Dominate and superior Presence, when both disciplines have a card of this alone? Because it doesn't cost, so does "Autonomic Mastery" (although your minion usually got hit), and so does "Staredown". Ignorance is bliss, they say, and in this case they might be right.

5 comments:

Brandonsantacruz said...

Code of Samiel has a few added benefits:
-It's not a location and is, therefore, free from a lot of mischief.
-It's not a Hunting Ground, further limiting mischief and letting you use a real HG to give the same !Salubri blood(i.e. with a !Salubri/!Ventrue deck)
-The one blood a !Salubri gains is not optional, so you will have a harder time screwing yourself over.

On the down side, it can only help !Salubri

Martin said...

I have to defend Bliss!
When playing big cap Toreador decks or any other AUS DOM PRE deck (Mary Anne Blaire, Rafael de Corazon, Lucian the Perfect, etc.) Bliss will make you totally invulnerable to any combat deck. Charismatic Aura + Bliss means you need not to be afraid of Immortal Grapple nor Rotschreck!!! Rotschreck is still a frequently used card around here, so I am happy to have Bliss available.

As for clan Samedi: "Ousting power is for men with small penis"

Anonymous said...

Darlene Killian pays extra for allies and retainers not equipment and retainers. I p[lay Ahrimanes gun wall and I was very happy to see ani spi for minimal price, and after few games I'm fond of this vampire.

Faerie Ward ... rush cards or temptation are directed against minions not player ("you"). Other cards that affect actions against player and cards that player is controlling states separately that it can be used when targeting either player or his cards.

About F.W. I might be wrong but I think this card is far more limited than you say.

Brandonsantacruz said...

"targeting you" also implies things you control. http://groups.google.com/group/rec.games.trading-cards.jyhad/browse_thread/thread/929ffe965193fd44# Faerie Ward is a very strong card, but expensive.

smallcaps said...

pretty sure that The Unnamed is a "she".