In VtES the term Bleed Bounce describes the technique to change the target of bleed action, i.e. typically are you being bled by your predator and by using a bounce card you “bounce” the bleed to your own prey. Examples of bounce methods/cards are:
- “Dominate” based — “Deflection“, “Redirection“, “Murmur of the False Will“.
- “Auspex” based — “Telephatic Misdirection“, “My Enemy’s Enemy“.
- Other — “Lost in Translation“, “Aksinya Daclau” special ability, etc.
A problem for most bleed decks that are bleeding for larger amounts of pool (3+) is this bleed bounce technique. For bleed decks on the other hand, that are bleeding with lots of minions (“swarm bleed“), this isn’t much of problem since the prey is running out of bounce cards quite soon. Since bleed bounce not only makes the bleed action not your problem, but that of your prey, and it also quite likely taps one of your preys minion, it is a very strong technique and you see these cards in quite a lot of decks, especially tournament decks.
So if you are playing a bleed deck yourself, you should consider how you want to cope with bleed bounce. In a heads-up situation it’s no longer a problem, since there are no alternative target players for the bleed bounce left, but usually it takes some time and effort to get to this situation. In general there are three ways of dealing with the bleed bounce:
- you can ignore it.
- you can do something to avoid being bounced, i.e. active avoidance.
- you can try to reduce the effectiveness after being bounced, i.e. passive avoidance
- Ignore that a bleed has been bounced — this is usually problematic stance since you may accidentally oust your grandprey giving your prey a VP and 6 pool. On the other hand it can be viable tactic in order to get to VPs in quick succession. For accomplising this your deck must be able to bleed w/ large bleeds in a short timeframe, so the defending player might not be able to scoop up enoough bounce cards to respond. As alternative you might be able to save your grandprey when his pool is down by playing “Life Boons” or “Major Boons“. This of course only works if you’re not the acting player ousting him in the first place. E.g. you’re bleeding your grand prey, bringing him dangerously to a low pool size. When it’s your prey’s turn, he tries to oust your prey by bleeding, voting, etc. In this situation you play a “Life Boon” or “Major Boon” in order to save him from being ousted. When its your turn again, you try to oust your prey first, if lucky your grand prey as well as in the same turn.
- Actively preventing playing bleed bounce cards — another way of handling bleed bounce is to prevent your prey’s minions from playing bleed bounce card when being bled by your minions. There are several different ways of accomplishing this. “Narrow Minds” is a new Event card, which increases the cost of bounce cards by one blood, so it does not prevent that bounce cards are played directly, but may have the same effect especially in the long run.
- Tap & Bleed — only an untapped minion can play a reaction (i.e. bounce) card, so tapping your prey’s minion is the most obvious way of preventing your prey using bleed bounce. There are quite a number of ways of achieving this, e.g. “Mind Numb“, “Anarch Troublemaker“, “Misdirection“, etc.; in fact there is a deck archetype named “Tap & Bleed” which utilizes this tactics as its main strategy for ousting.
- Bounce Card Removal — there are a some cards (or special abilties) to remove individual cards from another players hands, but these are few like “Revelations“, “Precision” and “Le Dinh Tho’s” special ability. With regards to bleed bounce it is of course those cards you are trying to remove. As with Tap & Bleed this tactics usually requires an extra action (i.e. not-bleeding with this minion), but can guarantee that your prey cannot bounce this turn and is worth the effort. The means of bringing through this action are usually the same as for the bleed itself (e.g. stealth or block denial).
- Prevent Use of Bounce — another way of dealing with bounce is to prevent your prey’s minion from playing bleed bounce, but usally their limited in use or expensive.
- “Perfect Clarity” costs two blood and only prevents bounce cards being played that require “Dominate“.
- “Hide the Mind” only cancel “Auspex” bounce cards that have been played.
- Maybe the best card is “Blind Spot” since it prevents a minion from playing reaction cards at all, but it is limited to younger vampires and the number of Master Phase actions you have.
- Approximation of Loyalty requires a vampire with a capacity above 7 and it only works as against vampires below 7.
- Hall Of Hades Count requires Temporis, which is limited to “True Brujah” or the use of “Spontaneous Power” or “Agent of Power“.
- Reducing the effectiveness of bleed bounce
- There are very few ways of handling a bounced bleed after it hit the wrong target (i.e. your grandprey). Currently the only card that can do this directly is “Spying Mission“, but also it one of the most efficient. It directly saves the pool of your grandprey, while preserving a permanent bleed modifier for future use against it.
- Somewhat similar way of nullifying the effect of bounced bleed is “Change of Target, where you cancel the action and you and your grandprey are not tapped for blocking either. Even better than “Change of Target” is “Tangle Atropos’ Hand“; whereas “Change of Target” requires a successful block, “Tangle Atropos’ Hand” only requires a block attempt by your grandprey after being bounced. The combat cards “Meld with the Land” (at inferior “Vicissitude“) and “Psychomachia” (at inferior “Presence“) untap the blocking minion of your grandprey after being blocked. So these two can be helpful as they do not wasted resources of your grandprey.
- Another way of reducing the effectiveness of bounce is playing the various boon cards (e.g. “Life Boon” or “Major Boon“). This is limited to be played after or before your grandprey is being bled during your turn, since all the boon cards are master-out-of-turn cards, of course. The main intend here is to keep your grand prey alive, so you need not to worry about bounce bleed that much.
Playing against bleed bounce
There are a number of counter measures when you are the (frequent) victim of bleed bounce. The easiest way of handling bleed bounce is playing it yourself, but this assumes usually that you are playing either “Auspex” or “Dominate“. When redirecting a bleed for the second time you should always consider if you are redirecting the bleed to your prey or to your predator. Especially the later option, meaning that you bounce backthe bleed, is sometimes overlooked. There are a number of situations where you might consider the option of back bouncing a bleed, e.g.
- your predator is playing more bleed bounce than you do,
- your prey is likely to bounce the bleed back to you (since effectively he’s being bled by his predator, for example),
- your predator is way stronger than you would like to have him.
Another easy and efficient way of dealing with bleed bounce, is to use a “Direct Intervention” to cancel the bounce card. This is quite efficient since by playing a bounce card, your predator has already declined any blocks, he has to have another bounce card or another minion to play the same bounce card twice for the same action. But this reaction has to be considered carefully, since decks usually pack one or two “Direct Intervention“, it costs a pool and your next master action is gone.
Other options, with a similar explanation is the use of boon cards especially “Major Boon“, e.g if you can manage to play a “Major Boon” on your Predator, this will either force him to bleed not as hard and/or he’ll be more cautious when bouncing bleeds to you.