The news summary for this week with regards to VTES:
After the release of the latest VTES expansion “Anarchs Unbound” (AU), most of the programs used for VTES deck building and playing need an update. If there are more tools and utilities for VTES which are currently used by you, please let me know in the comments!
- Official Cardlist: updated with AU; some of programs require the latest cardlist on VEKN.net
- Anarch Revolt Deck Builder (ARDB): updated with DM/TU via CSV Import from VEKN.net
- Fragment of Elder Library Database (FELDB): version 2.6.6 updated with AU
- Secret Library (SL): Secret Library not yet updated with AU.
- Sutekh: Version 0.8.7 updated with AU
- LackeyCCG: updated with AU; installation instructions on VEKN.net.
- Regarding the inventory list of FELDB, I would always recommend to make a backup copy of the inventory files of FELDB before updating the program. In the past, FELDB updates always are potentially damaging to the inventory files.
- I am not sure if the update of ARDB works with a partial CSV file (only AU).
(To the tune of “Rawhide!”, as sung by the Blues Brothers)
Shambling, shambling, shambling
Shambling, shambling, shambling (etc.)
Shambling, shambling, shambling,
Keep those zombies shambling!
Your rivals will be scrambling to hide!
Don’t try to get to know them,
Just rush and Lucky Blow them,
Make more zombies from old ones as they die.
Bring ’em out! Take ’em down! Chop ’em up!
Bring ’em back! Fake ’em out! Box ’em in! The Horde!
Bring ’em back! Chop ’em up! Fake ’em out! Take ’em down! Box ’em in!
Bring ’em o-o-o-ut . . . The Ho-o-orde!
— Clan Newsletter Samedi Feb. 2002
With further ado, here’s the second part of the library cards of the latest VTES expansion “Anarchs Unbound” with a brief summary review of the expansion at the end. The first part of the library card review has been posted last week.
Eat the Rich
Requires an anarch.
Choose one or more Methuselahs. Successful referendum means each chosen Methuselah burns 1 pool, plus 3 additional pool if he or she controls a ready titled vampire. In this referendum, non-priscus titles are worth 1 fewer vote each, priscus titles are worth 1 less ballot each, and burning the Edge is worth 1 additional vote.
- Comment: Much like Neonate Breach, this card has the potential to selectively deal a lot of damage to the whole table. And the reduction of the titled votes, makes vote pushing via locations, action modifiers much more effective. This really helps an Anarch deck against an established vote deck based on titles. On the other hand, if your prey doesn’t control a titled vampire, the card loses a lot of its value. Therefore the card is a reasonable supplement (in small doses) to KRC to an Anarch vote deck.
- Suitable Decks: Any Anarch vote deck (as a sideshow).
- Rating: *** (Reasonable)
Propaganda of the Deed
Requires an anarch. Only usable after a successful (D) action.
Put this card in play. You can burn this card during the referendum of a political action to get +2 votes.
- Comment: I don’t really like the card for two reasons. The first is that it requires a successful directed action, which vote decks often try to avoid. The second reason for my dislike is that it only provides two votes for later use, which is often not good enough as vote push. I’d rather spend a blood on the action modifier and get three votes in an upcoming referendum of a PA. In this the card is comparable to Loki’s Gift, which isn’t really a bad card, but lacks the necessary punch to make the cut. On the good side, you can put multiple copies of the card in play. (As side note: I like that the card says “political action” instead of referendum, as to prevent the cards use in a deck keen on diablerie).
- Suitable Decks: The card may have its uses for example in non-presence vote decks (or any other vote deck with better alternatives for vote push). I can also see the card in certain decks where the (D)-action is part of the overall vote strategy, e.g. a deck using Condemnation Mute or Barrenness.
- Rating: ** (Not worth the card slot)
This week was somewhat quiet with regards to VTES, but you can still feel (and read) about the aftershock of the ban of Anthelious the Red Star from VTES Tournament play.
Two weeks ago, the latest expansion for VTES named “Anarch Unbound” has been published by the VEKN. The expansion consist of 24 crypt and 18 library cards. I’d like to make a quick review for the library cards. although maybe review of the new cards is a not entirely the correct headline for this post, maybe “first impressions” would be more suitable. I haven’t been part of any design team or playtesting group working on this expansion, so (more or less) this is the first time I can read the new cards in detail and form an opinion on each of these.
Some general comments on “Anarch Unbound” in advance:
- I am not quite sure if I like that this expansion is “Anarch-only”. Let me briefly explain why. I have played the Anarchs quite extensively (e.g. bleed or combat decks), but an all-out Anarch expansion means, that then we have no new library cards for non-Anarch decks for about two years (assuming the next expansion will be released in the next 12 months).
- I like the combinations of three-way discipline library cards have more coherent disciplines combinations, in the past a lot of tha/ser, nec/ani or any similar combinations of disciplines which you don’t find often in a larger number of vampires, especially not very often in small or mid-cap vampires.
- Also more vampires with an inherent Anarch trait are a good thing. in my opinion. One of the issues with Anarch decks was they were often initially slowed down by the need to make its vampires Independent and Anarch, before becoming effective. This has been seriously improved with the advent of Anarch Convert, but still was a disadvantage when compared to other sects/traits/titles like the Camarilla or the Black Hand. Another significant step is the introduction of an action modifier (“The Red Question”) which can be used to make a vampire an Anarch.
- Even though I don’t discuss any crypt cards in this post, I would like to mention, that I also like the fact, that the merged version of a given vampire (basic plus advanced) usually have a significant boost, e.g. being a small/mid-cap Baron. I am not sure if we’ll see merging of vampires more than in the past, but the designer’s intent has become quite apparent by these new crypt & library cards.
First Strike was always somewhat iffy in terms of handling its effect in a VTES game. I think most of it comes from the naming “First Strike” implicating that it is resolved/handled first in any combat (which is not true; see below). Maybe a better naming would have been “Fast Strike” (or something along that line).
From the VTES rulebook section 6.4.5. “Strike Effects”:
First Strike. A strike done with first strike is resolved before a normal strike. Thus, if the opposing minion is burned or sent to torpor by a strike done with first strike, his strike will not be resolved at all. If the opposing minion was striking with a weapon that is stolen or destroyed with first strike, then the opposing minion simply loses his strike altogether. If both minions strike with first strike, then the strikes are resolved simultaneously. A strike done with first strike will still not resolve before a combat ends effect (which always resolves first), and a dodge still cancels the effects of a strike done with first strike (see below).
And here’s a summary of various scenarios that are relevant for handling First Strikes in a combat:
- .. vs. Dodge — according to the rules (under section 6.4.5 — Dodge) a Dodge is handled before First Strike, that is the First Strike effects are evaded by the vampire using the Dodge.
- .. vs. Strike: Combat Ends — also according to the rules (under section 6.4.5 — Strike: Combat Ends) S:CE is handled before First Strike, that is the combat ends before the First Strike is resolved.
- .. vs. another First Strike — in this case, both First Strikes are handled at the same time, similar to the case when both strikes are “normal” strikes (exception are the environmental damage effects (if any; see below).
- .. vs. environmental damage — the environmental damage is always handled during normal strike resolution (regardless of who actually played the First Strike). For example, if one of the combatants goes to torpor (or is burned) by damage effects of the First Strike, the effects of the environmental damage are not resolved.
- .. vs. Rötschreck — Rötschreck is played when strikes are chosen, that is before the strikes resolve. Therefore the effect of Rötschreck kicks in before the sequencing of First Strike and the “normal” strike takes players.
- .. vs. Nightstick/Forearm Block — the prevention effect of Nightstick/Forearm Block is not there yet, when the First Strike is resolved. Therefore the First Strike’s damage cannot be prevented by using these cards.