Cybelotron is quite a new decktype in VtES which emerged during this year’s tournament scene, although the earliest incarnation was created/played successfully by Erik Torstensen in 2005. In Magic the Gathering terminology this a combo deck, it mixes a Call the Great Beast deck with components of a Turbo deck in a new way. Johannes Walch & Ben Peal finally brought it into its current, streamlined version. Ben’s elaborate explanation, that came with the deck, of the deck’s inner workings greatly eased up writing this article.
How to win with them
The core of the deck are the vampire Cybele, the Daimonium card Call the Great Beast (or other cards that actually burn the vampire like Antediluvian Awakening) and the Soul Gem of Etrius. Basically the deck works like this (after Cybele has been influenced out):
- Put a skill card on Cybele to increase her capacity by one (which skill one doesn’t really matter). If you have a Minion Tap on your hand, you can move some of the blood (4-5) from Cybele to your pool, since she’s gone anyhow in the next minion phase.
- Cybele uses Magic of the Smith to equip with the Soul Gem of Etrius.
- Use Truth of a Thousand Lies (instead of Freak Drive as in the Turbo decks).
- Cybele plays Call the Great Beast, burns and the effect of the Soul Gem triggers influencing out a new Cybele.
The second difference to a Turbo deck (other than the Freak Drive usuage) is that the burn-reincarnate cycle ends here and cannot be repeated the same turn, since Cybele cannot increase her capacity during the minion phase. The Great Beast gets superior Obfuscate and Serpentis plus a third discipline (depending on the actual deck flavor) as it’s disciplines, so it can use all/most of discipline-requiring cards of the deck.
Nonetheless after the cycle – which gained a second vampire and possibly approx. 4 pool with the Minion Tap – the deck then bleeds with both vampires, both at +2 bleed and considerable stealth if necessary. If there are more Truth of a 1k Lies available, they can also be used a +2 bleed modifiers, of course.
The next turn on the Great Beast a Minion Tap is played (gaining 5-8 pool), if the burn-reincarnate cycle cannot be repeated, otherwise a Golconda can be played on him (gaining 10 pool). In the next master phase the second master phase action should always be a new skill card on Cybele in order to be able to trigger the Soul Gem effect again in that turn. Take note that Golconda does not actually trigger the Soul Gem effect because Golconda does not burn the vampire, instead it removes the vampire from the game.
In this situation, where Cybele already has the Soul Gem, she can bleed before untapping with the Truth of 1k Lies and then playing a new Great Beast. In a turn this gives the deck a potential bleed for 9 (3+3+3), if the base bleed modifiers are used only, or up to 13 (3+5+5) if Truth of 1k Lies are used as bleed modifiers, too. Remember, Truth of 1k Lies can the only be played once during a turn, either as the bleed modifier or the untap effect. The good thing is with the Soul Gem you’re kind of immune against Archon Investigation, since if Cybele is burned by the Archon Investigation, she reincarnates via the Soul Gem. Some variations use other bleed modifier cards like Sense the Sin or True Love’s Faith in addition to Truth of 1k Lies.
Antediluvian Awakening can be used to lower the pool size of each player, and – if no other player burns a vampire for the Antediluvian Awakening, it can be used as burn effect for Cybele similar to the Great Beast’s burn effect.
Bleed & Vote defense
Since the deck is a (more or less) pure combo deck, it neglects any direct defensive option, instead choosing to generate pool by playing Golconda and Minion Tap; in desperate situation it may even choose to rush an opposing minion with the Great Beast and hit him with a Conflagration or the +2 strength of the Great Beast.
There’s virtually no combat defense at all, but since the vampires are expendable/replaceable (by Golconda” at best, Antediluvian Awakening at worst) this is not as worse as it sounds.
How to win against them
The combo can broken by playing a Sudden Reversal on the skill card or a Direct Intervention against the Truth of 1k Lies. Intercepting is hard, since except for the bleed actions, all other actions of the deck start at +1 stealth, and the deck has considerable stealth (Obfuscate) cards to offer.
One of the weak points of the deck are the two Soul Gems the deck has. If both of them are destroyed (or even better stolen), the deck has a serious problem. So stealing the card with a vampire’s special ability or destroying it with Canine Horde works wonders. Unfortunately you cannot take the Soul Gem when one of your vampires diablerize its bearer (i.e. Cybele) according to the Soul Gem’s card text.
If you can generate enough pool damage faster as the Cybelotron predator’s deck gains pool (especially in the first few turns), it’s not too hard to oust the deck, since the deck has no defense other than pool gain. So instead of playing a Sudden Reversal or Wash against Master discipline card, you can also choose to play it against the pool gaining cards like Minion Tap or Golconda.
- Cybele — theoretically it could be any other 10+ capacity vampire who could play this role, but her specials (especially the extra master phase action), make her stand out.
- Great Beast — not only used for bringing out a new vampire, it also triggers the Soul Gem’s effect by burning Cybele after she has called the Great Beast.
- Golconda: Inner Peace — massive pool gain, and even required to bring out a new Great Beast (since the Beast is unique).
- Soul Gem of Etrius — as in most Turbo (or similar decks), the motor that keeps the deck going forward.
Notable Examples & Variations
Since this is actually a variation of the Turbo & Great Beast decks, there are few variations to this, but the deck made it to three appearances in Lasombra’s Tournament Winning Deck Archive (and making it to the finals in the Dutch ECQ 2007):
- Cybelotron by Andrew Kashpar (2007) — adds Nergal as a vampire, and Obeah as its third discipline for the Great Beast.
- Cybelotron by Ben Peal (2007) — version with streamlined the library and made focus on the “core” business of the deck.
- Cybelotron by Johannes Walch (2007) — this version introduced the mono-Cybele-crypt, making it more similar to a Turbo deck.
- Summon the Serpent by Erik Torstensen (2005) — the original deck design but without the mono-Cybele-crypt, instead bringing new Followers of Set into play similar to a Turbo Baron deck.