Wednesday, March 14, 2012


According to Webster a powerbase is defined as "a base of political support". Powerbases in VtES are master cards (unique locations) which provide some (more or less) significant advantage, but at the same time can either be destroyed or stolen by another player. Currently there are 15 different Powerbases, some of them you can see quite regularly played (Powerbase: Montreal for example, whereas other you see virtually never (Powerbase: New York). I would like to give you an quick pro/con overview of the 15 Powerbases in VtES and a rating for them (ranging from 1 to 5, 1 being the lowest score and 5 the highest).
  • Powerbase: Barranquilla
    • Pro: Can be a huge pool gain when choosing a high capacity Sabbat vampires. The pool cannot be stolen, only burned, so there's less incentive for the opposing players to take action (as compared to Powerbase: Mexico or New York).
    • Con: Titled vampires get +1 stealth when trying to remove the card.
    • Rating: 3-4

  • Powerbase: Berlin
    • Pro: Can only be removed by calling a successful referendum.
    • Con: Intercept to block political actions is normally not too useful for the Ventrue, which are typically not your wall deck. And the Ventrue decks usually have enough titles to handle referendums by other players. All these are reasons you never see this card played.
    • Rating: 1

  • Powerbase: Cape Verde
    • Pro: A versatile blood doll for the Giovanni or Laibon clans.
    • Con: The card has become a little bit less useful (can be stolen more often than it used to be) with the popularity increase of Laibon decks.
    • Rating: 3.

  • Powerbase: Chicago
    • Pro: Has a much lower profile than Powerbase: Montreal. Maybe a little bit underplayed card.
    • Con: The powerbase only gives you .5 pool/round (if you use the move/gain cycle every turn). Moving more blood to the card increases the incentive for other decks to steal the pool.
    • Rating: 3.

  • Powerbase: Los Angeles
    • Pro: Big boost for any Anarch deck, so almost always a must-have-card in an Anarch deck. Can also be interesting for a deck requiring additional discard phase actions (e.g. Ayo Igoli).
    • Con: The restriction to cards requiring an Anarch for the untap effect can be a downside, but only a very slight one.
    • Rating: 5.

  • Powerbase: Luanda
    • Pro: A versatile permanent rush card for any Laibon based combat deck.
    • Con: Can be stolen and used by other combat decks as well, since the Laibon restriction only applies to playing the card, not using it. This might be a problem when the other decks have better combat capabilities than you, so they can allow to take it away from you.
    • Rating: 4-5.

  • Powerbase: Madrid
    • Pro: A decent addition to any Sabbat vote deck. One vote is guaranteed, and it always takes an action to remove the counters, often distracting the other players from more important tasks. Also the counters are not burned when the card is used (qv.)
    • Con: It can only give a titled Sabbat vampire the extra votes.
    • Rating: 4.

  • Powerbase: Mexico City
    • Pro: A net gain of 3 pool. And the fact that the card can only be stolen by Sabbat vampires.
    • Con: Cost/gain ratio is not really good. You have a potential net gain of 3, but the incentive to steal the card is very high for the other players which may realize a net gain of 5 immediately. Only useful for dedicated wall decks.
    • Rating: 2.

  • Powerbase: Montreal
    • Pro: Initially a huge boost. Even better when you can hold on to it for the most of the game, since it's essentially free pool gain.
    • Con: Since the effect is probably the best of the powerbases, other player will want to take control of this powerbase. It may end up in the wrong hands (i.e. a wall deck). Also it let's you (and the other players) waste actions, which may distract you (and the other players) from ousting other players. The card in play may be contributing factor that a game times out.
    • Rating: 4.

  • Powerbase: New York
    • Pro: Can only be stolen by Sabbat vampires. And that's probably the only good thing I can see about it.
    • Con: The biggest problem is that moving blood from or to the Powerbase costs and MPA (unlike Powerbase: Chicago or Washington for example where this can be done during the untap phase). So on turn 1 you can move three pool to Powerbase: NY, and it takes three turns to take of the blood, all in all costing 4 MPAs for gaining 3 pool. Way too costly, unless you have multiple MPAs at your disposal.
    • Rating: 1.

  • Powerbase: Rome
    • Pro: Similar to Powerbase: Madrid you can add a significant amount on votes on any vampire (not just titled Sabbat vampires as for Powerbase: Madrid). And you can even add more counters when you're using Giovanni (even though it costs 2 blood each) in your deck. There's no limit to the counters you can add to the card, but since you have to burn the counters on the card when you're using it for votes, that's usually not such a big advantage.
    • Con: It costs an MPA to move a counter to the card, which is always an additional cost to consider plus instead of just tapping/using the card for its effect and that's maybe the biggest disadvantage.
    • Rating: 2-3.

  • Powerbase: Savannah
    • Pro: Comparable effect to that of Elysium: The Arboretum, ending combat before anything bad can happen your vampires.
    • Con: It requires a second location to make use of it, which should be one that isn't usually tapped (e.g. a Hunting Ground). But this can be problem if you only play few locations in your deck. The effect can only be used for acting vampire, which can be quite restrictive depending on the aggressiveness of your prey or predator, but it's still pretty good when you're playing an active deck.
    • Rating: 2-3.

  • Powerbase: Tshwane
    • Pro: Not direct pool gain, but nearly as good. If you play Laibon and play at least some cards costing pool (e.g. intercept locations, allies, or equipment), it's an auto-include. And it only be stolen by Laibon.
    • Con: --
    • Rating: 5.

  • Powerbase: Washington, D.C.
    • Pro: Very similar to Powerbase: Chicago, but the net pool gain is actually better, you put 2 or more counters on the card.
    • Con: Since there's either 2, 4 or 6 blood on the card, the incentive for other players to steal the pool is much higher than with Powerbase: Chicago.
    • Rating: 2.

  • Powerbase: Zurich
    • Pro: A very powerful effect, especially when you can take the action to put two pool on an uncontrolled vampire more than once a turn.
    • Con: Because the effect is powerful, other players will try to take control of the card, so the deck playing it should be able to get the Edge every turn (or at least when you need it to avert the takeover of the powerbase). Night Moves is your friend here ..
    • Rating: 3

In addition I would like to name a few tools that can enhance the usefulness of the powerbases.
  • The Tremere have very nice tool for protecting the powerbases, namely Salt of Thoth. When used on the powerbase, effectively the other players need three actions to take control (or take advantage) of the powerbase. This is often enough to deter the other players from taking actions against the powerbase at all.
  • The Church of the Order of St. Blaise (for decks using Sabbat vampires) can be used very effectively for powerbases which use counters. For example, Powerbase: Chicago to move one counter in your untap phase, in the next untap phase tap the Church to add a second counter, then use the powerbase to move the two counters to your pool.
  • Goth Band is also a nice (although rarely seen) addition, e.g. it is possible for the Goth Band to move counters from Dream of the Sphinx to one of the powerbases that uses counters (Barranquilla, Chicago, etc). Biggest problem is that the Goth Band will likely be blocked and smacked into oblivion ..
  • Guard Duty (which rarely sees play) can be used to protect the powerbases, but it is still rather weak, since it requires that the acting vampire already has at least +1 stealth.
The whole article was .. inspired by a very similar post on in 2007. In addition I have also made new versions of the 15 Powerbase cards with "random" photos from the respective cities.


ICL said...

Rome is really good. I have achieved vote lock with it on multiple occasions, being a key to such decks as !Salubri vote.

Luanda's main problem is that rush is strategically weak and rush decks are not prone to having extra master slots, rather than combat concerns.

Joscha said...

Very nice summary. I admit to your ratings. Well done.

Szabolcs said...

Thank you for this summary! I just feel I have to use some powerbases which were almost forgotten.

And it is fantastic that you got the name right: toth, unfortanetly the WW wrote it wrong: thoth

Szabolcs Toth :-)

extrala said...

Hmm, yeah, I think I have to correct the name of that Tremere card .. very sorry about it. ;)

Szabolcs said...

No problem, at least my sire's name was written correctly: Ladislas Toth

Surreal said...

Great post. I was thinking also that your blog is the best blog about Vtes in the internet and thank you for that.

Have you thought about starting post the blog on the Vekn mainpage as "main" Vtes blog or talked about that with somebody. I feel that would help more people to get involved and see this blog.

extrala said...

No, not really. I like my independence of the White Wolf/CCP (earlier) and now the VEKN. And I think I am pretty well linked on a lot of VEKN related sites, especially other VtES blogs.