An Imbued deck is a deck archetype where the Crypt consists of Imbued hunters instead of the usual vampires. The library cards in the deck are often generic ones or specific for the Imbued (taken from the Nights of Reckoning expansion). Currently this deck type is quite popular and successful, and one can expect to see an Imbued deck in the finals of larger tournaments nowadays.
Often there are only nuances of differences between different Imbued decks, which one can easily see if you check Lasombra’s tournament winning deck archive and compare those decks. The main reason for this is the limited card selection the Imbued decks have; the Nights of Reckoning expansion consists only of 20 crypt and 40 minion cards.
A typical Imbued deck looks like this (a.k.a. (Build-your-own-Imbued-deck-toolbox)):
- Master cards (15 to 20 cards)
2-6x Memories of Mortality
1x Fortschritt Library
4-6x Angel of Berlin
1-2x Church of Vindicated Faith, The
0-1x Rose Foundation
1x Milicent Smith and/or Society of Leopold and/or Pentex Subversion
- Action (1)
- Ally (2 to 5)
1x Carlton van Wyk
1x Vagabound Mystic
1x Gregory Winter and/or Ossian and/or Wendell Delburton
- Event (5 to 10) — Unmasking and Edge Explosion are mandatory; therefore often doubled; the Fortschritt Library is used to fetch an Event card when needed.
- Equipment (5 to 10) — the rest is often Laptop Computers, Flak Jackets, Sniper Rifles or .44 Magnums.
1x Ivory Bow
1x Crusader Sword, The
1x Heart of Nizchetus
- Power (10 to 20)
- Conviction (20) — somewhat equally distributed between the 3 different Convictions available.
- Reaction (3 to 13)
0-5x On the Qui Vive
How to win with them
Imbued usually have a build-up phase where they try to get their resources like equipment and Powers and secure their position. During the middle game, they start to put constant pressure on their prey, by bleeding and/or by intercepting their preys action. Most opposing decks fold under the constant pressure, since the Imbued have due to the cycling of the Convictions almost permanent intercept/stealth/bleed modifier. Also the permanents either in Master, Event or Equipment cards are a strong basis to draw upon.
Many cards do not effect the Imbued. This is a curse and a blessing at the same time. On one hand Imbued are immune to cards like Obedience or Disarm, and Combat decks cannot draw blood from an ally using Taste of Vitae. On the other hand, cards like Ancient Influence and Reins of Power are real killers against Imbued, since their prey gains pool, while the Imbued loose big time.
- You some need build-up time. Try to lay low in the first, maybe even the middle phase of the game, and try to generate some pool via Church of Vindicated Faith and Travis special ability. Tool-up your Imbued with Powers and equipment, and try convince people that you deck is utterly harmless (this usually only works for player who haven’t experienced the Imbued yet).
- Conserve convictions whenever possible, e.g. check, if you can spend the React with Convictions or if you need them to fend off take-over attempts by Far Mastery, Entrancement or similar cards).
- When influencing out a new Imbued to the ready region always take a Conviction from your Library. You need to get the Convictions in your Ash Heap as fast as possible. On the other hand, if you have one or more Convictions in your hand in your discard phase, you should discard that conviction, especially if you have more than one Conviction in your hand. The only reason not to discard a conviction is when you have something in your hand, that you currently definetly do not want to play, e.g. a card that is already in play and that you do not want to contest, or card that you cannot afford in the next turns.
- Your only runs a limited amount of Determine and you can only use the Champion Power on an Imbued only once per turn. So you should always check if you really need to cancel or particular thread or if this only a distraction from the real thread on your opposing players next action/turn.
How to win against them
- The key to winning against the Imbued is to put constant pressure on the Imbued, since they if left alone for a turn or two, they can recover very quickly. Also depriving the Imbued of their permanents (Events, Master, equipment) is very effective, e.g. stealing the Church of Vindicated Faith using Disputed Territory.
- Know thy enemy. A lot of players do not know what the Imbued are capable of, and equally important what they are not capable of. Know the limitations of their cards. Determine needs a Visionary virtue and an untapped Imbued and costs a Conviction. So if the only Imbued with the “Visionary” creed does not have any Conviction left, you can safely ignore any thoughts that the Imbued might cancel your political action or bleed with Govern the Unaligned. Champion is kind of problem here, since the Imbued does need to intercept for using Champion, but a particular Imbued can only do it once per turn and it costs them two Convictions.
- The Imbued use only a few cards outside from what’s already on the table. Concealed Weapon, Angel of Berlin and Determine are often the only cards the Imbued play on another player’s turn. So often you can calculate what’s gonna happen if your minions acting on your turn. The Imbued are also quite predictable) when it comes down to stealth or intercept. They usually only have strong base stealth (usually +2 stealth on equip and Power actions), but almost never can boost their Stealth to greate amounts. Therefore a Sport Bike and an intercept location like KRCG News Radio are sufficient to block an Imbued, 2nd Tradition: Domain also does a great job.
- Try to put constant pressure on the Imbued deck and make him spend his convictions. Sure they can recover them, but on the other hand, the Imbued player can only put one Conviction on an Imbued per turn. Edge Explosion is a problem here, since it allows two Convictions on an Imbued per turn.
- Intercept the actions to acquire Powers and Equipment if possible; the first also prevents the untap after a successful Power action.
- The term “pillowfacing” describes the action where an incapacitated Imbued is killed by a vampire. Pillowfacing is necessary throughout the whole game, especially the key Imbued like Jennie “Cassie247” Orne and Travis “Traveler72” Miller need to be eliminated.
- If you are prey of an Imbued deck, and a Memories of Mortality hits one of your vampires, try to persuade even your prey to remove the card when you go to torpor (or at least to leave it alone), since your “good meatshield” against the “evil Imbued” deck. Maybe that statement is even true.
- If you are the predator of an Imbued deck, and a Memories of Mortality hits one of your vampires, you should be sure that the Imbueds (or their Allies) cannot burn your vampire when you put that vampire into torpor during your influence phase. After the Imbueds turn, your grand prey than should be able to rescue your vampire from torpor.
- If the Imbued are frequent in your local metagame or you expect them to see at a tournament, put the Events Uncoiling and/or Break the Code in your decks. These two are killer cards against the Imbued, the Imbued decks _need_ their main Event cards like Unmasking and even more so Edge Explosion. This is also the reason the Imbued decks have started to put Not to Be in their decks.
- Generally pool gain is a problem for an Imbued deck, especially early in the game, since the Imbued cannot use cards like Vessel, Minion Tap, Con Boon or Voter Captivation. Later on with the help of Travis and The Church of Vindicated Faith they try to secure a steady income to their pool. So if you hit their pool hard, either by bleeding or voting the Imbued is going to have trouble.
- Travis “Traveler72” Miller — the pool gain machine.
- Jennie “Cassie247” Orne — saves valuable convictions when saving other Imbued from the incapacitated region.
- Unmasking — provides the permanent +1 intercept for all allies, the basis for the wall part of the Imbued deck.
- Edge Explosion — event for receiving more than one Conviction per turn.
- Champion — used for threating to block everything regardless of stealth/intercept.
- Vigilance — (almost) free untap for an Imbued.
- Memories of Mortality — used either for killing specific vampires or to by-pass blocking vampires easily. Hard to get rid for the affected vampire/player.
Notable Examples & Variations
- Darby Dance — uses Leather Jacket, Vigilance and/or NRA PAC for multiple actions and untap during one turn. See this blog entry for more details.
- Concealed Stakes & Grenades — this variant packs 10-15 Flash Grenades and an equal number of Concealed Weapons. Since the Imbued do not care about the negative effects of the Flash Grenade on vampires, it can use it freely to use Strike: Combat Ends and more importantly prevent the untap of the opposing vampire during their next turn. Sometimes Wooden Stakes are added for use with Strike with Conviction to put opposing vampires in torpor. A more detailed description is given in this Imbued Newsletter.