Six clans newsletters have been posted in the “rec.trading-cards.jyhad” newsgroup this month. Beside using a newgroup reader, you can also access the Usenet Newsgroup by Google Groups.
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
- Didi R. (R) 3 10 180
- Alexander F. (S) 1 5 156
- Debbie N. (R) 1 5 126
- Thomas K. (G) 1 4 136
- Jasper B. (S) 1 4 106
- Sebastian Z. (S) 1 4 106
- Sebastian K. (A) 1 4 96
- Rene de W. (A) 1 3 136
- Herman J. (A) 1 3 106
- Martin S. (R) 1 2 106
- Björn S. (S) 0 2 100
- Yuri N. (G) 0 2 90
- Ralf L. (G) 0 0 84
- Danny B. (R) 0 0 68
- Oliver V. (A) 0 0 68
- 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”.
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.
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.
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, luckily 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 acquired 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.
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 advantage 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“)).
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 devastating for its prey or predator.
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.
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!
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:
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:
- Ben Peal (US) — 4 VP + GW — Daughter of Cacophony Breed & Boon
- Matt Wedge (US) — 1 VP — Una Multi-Multi-act
- Kevin Mergen (US) — 0 VP — Dementation S&B
- Ira Fay (US) — 0 VP — EuroBrujah
- 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.