Thanks to Sam Marsh’s Ahrimanes Clan Newsletter at least one clan newsletter has been posted in the “rec.trading-cards.jyhad” usenet newsgroup this month. Beside using a newgroup reader, you can also access the newsgroup by Google Groups.
This deck archetype is around since the Final Nights expansion and therein Week of Nightmares have been released. Another name the deck has is Ravnos P*rn due to the artwork on the Tumnimos. The deck is essentially a quite simple Breed & Bleed deck based on the Ravnos clan, which uses Week of Nightmares for enhancing its bleed capability. The deck is often based only on cards requiring Ravnos or Chimerstry only; the other clan disciplines Animalism and Fortitude are rarely used.
How to win with them
First of all the deck uses Embraces to get a sizable number of Ravnos for being able to go forward. Early only the larger number of minions are used to gain pool by hunting and playing Tribute to the Master. Other deck variants use Tumnimos instead of Embraces, both variants having its distinctive advantages.
- An Embrace can be played by any vampire, while a Tumnimos can only be played by Ravnos with a capacity above 4.
- An Embrace does not have any disciplines, while a Tumnimos have the basic level of Chimerstry and can gain another discipline (card) when put into play from your hand.
- An Embrace is a capacity 1 vampire, while a Tumnimos is a capacity 2 vampire (3 if a master discipline card is played on them).
The deck tries to stay inconspicuous until the middle game; it wants to make it prey spent pool, and even wants it to make its prey pool, so that it is able to oust its first prey quickly, and maybe even oust its grandprey in quick succession.
The main line of defense is the use of Sensory Deprivation to literally deprive both the vampires of their ability to act or react consistently. This defense is applied against all kind of decks like Rush combat, Stealth Bleed or Vote decks. The rather high cost of the card is payed by playing Ravnos Carnival before, where you get a number of blood counters equal to the number of Ravnos you control which can be used to pay action cards.
The vehicle to make these actions happen are the various action modifiers based on Chimerstry that provide Stealth. Although the amount of Stealth is rather limited compared to other disciplines like Obfuscate or Obtenebration, this is made up by the fact that all of three cards are having secondary effects which are quite versatile.
- Fata Morgana — also used a bleed modifier.
- Mirror Image — provides a Strike: Combat Ends and the option to continue an action if blocked.
- Occlusion — provides stealth that costs nothing, as well as a Strike: Dodge.
Later in the game, preferably when at least one player has been ousted, the Week of Nightmares is played. Since only one Week of Nightmares can be played, the timing of its play is crucial. With the current amount of Washes played, you’ll have to be sure that nobody is going to play Wash against it, e.g. you’ll have to observe the table very closely if another player may or may not have a Wash in his hand. Also it only makes sense to play the Week of Nightmares if the negative effect of the Week of Nightmares will not take place in the remainder of the game. So either the time limit of the game is rapidly approaching and/or the other players are low on pool (ten or less). This is needed, so the Ravnos horde with the enhanced bleed can overwhelm one or two players in a very short time (4 turns or less) in order to secure the game win. Technically sometimes the Week of Nightmares is not really needed, since the Ravnos have usually both the number of minions in play as well as the bleed capability with Fata Morgana or bleed equipment like Treasured Samadji.
Probably the most condensed & focused version is that shown in the deck list below built and played by Stefan Ferenci. Deck variations with focusing on Group 3/4 (G4/5) can also use the special ability of Paul Forrest, who can give a Ravnos +1 bleed for the current action.
Another version of the deck uses Consanguineous Boon for massive pool gain where Eldest are Kholo are used for making the referendum successful. This version has limited crypt choice since Eldest are Kholo requires Laibon Ravnos to get the full effect of the card. Luckily the Embraces or Tumnimos created by a Laibon Ravnos are belong the Laibon sect as well.
In all three areas the defenses of the deck are quite light. This is intentional in order not to dilute the offensive capabilities.
This is definitely the Achilles heel of the deck. If bleed hard early in the game, the deck’s only response is to play Tribute to the Master or to play Sensory Deprivation on the bleeding vampires. If you don’t get them quickly enough, you’re dead as a Dodo.
The decks vote defense is limited to Delaying Tactics and Eldest are Kholo (if played in the Con. Boon variant).
The defense is here is two-fold, one the hand both Occlusion and Mirror Image (which also double as stealth modifiers) are used as Strike: Dodge and “Strike: Combat Ends”. On the other hand the sheer number of vampires in play should guarantee that the deck is able to go forward, even if two or three vampires are in torpor. Safety in numbers is the motto here.
How to win against them
Beating this deck is not as it looks like in the first place. This is mostly because there often lots of Ravnos in play and the offensive/defensive qualities of Sensory Deprivation. In the early and mid-game the deck is somewhat passive, only playing Embraces and hunting. If you can try to block the action that brings the Embraces or Tumnimos into play, but you should keep in mind which of the other Ravnos can play Sensory Deprivation, this is the act you have to block (or cancel). Have in mind that there are only there different stealth cards the deck features, each of them giving +1 stealth, so the maximum stealth the Ravnos can use by playing cards is +3. If you only casual intercept, I wouldn’t bother to try to block or save it for blocking the important actions.
If Sensory Deprivation has been played on one of your vampires, you need to kill (either torporize, banish, ..) the Ravnos how played it earlier. If you cannot do it yourself (or you want to spare your resources), try to convince your counterpart (grandprey or grandpredator) to do so.
Another action you have to take is to remove any Path of Paradox being played by the Ravnos. The card although looking inconspicous it helps save the Ravnos a lot of blood, they need to bloat or pay the more expensive cards like Embrace or Sensory Deprivation.
Save a Wash for the Week of Nightmare to come, but do not rely on the illusion that the Ravnos are finished then, they are not by a long shot. The sheer number of them accompanied by the amount of stealth and the bleed modifiers like Fata Morgana can still overwhelm your defenses. After a Week of Nightmare do not ever forget to move a counter from the Week of Nightmare to a Ravnos. In a heads-up situation this might not make a difference, but on a 4 or 5 player table is certainly does. Also try to remember, that while the Week of Nightmare is in play, each of the Ravnos also has +1 strength. So when consider blocking or taking actions against them, take this into account.
When trying to oust the Ravnos as your prey, try to do so in a turn or two, otherwise the Ravnos player will go backwards with a Sensory Deprivation.
- Week Of Nightmares — the namesake of the deck archetype, used a killer card to finish off the table.
- Sensory Deprivation — the main offense action card used as defense against various threats.
- Tumnimos / Embrace — the cards providing the Ravnos Weenie horde used for overwhelming its prey.
- Ravnos Carnival — used to pay for the Sensory Deprivation and/or Embraces.
- Fata Morgana / * Occlusion — the main combo cards with Stealth.
Notable Examples & Variations
- Week of Nightmares by Stefan Ferenci — very focused version.
- Zigeunerfasching by Andreas Nusser — uses a huge number of Embraces, and neglects the stealth modifiers thereby.
- Ravnos Mass Embrace Carnival by Christian Chenard — similar to the above deck, but features a large number of master cards (40+).
- Matthew 7:15 by John Bell — uses Edged Illusion instead of Sensory Deprivation.
- For Gypsy Queen & Country by Robert Thompson — rather toolboxy variant with Animalism & Fortitude combat.
- Nosferatu — 23 (20%)
- Toreador — 21 (18%)
- Malkavian — 15 (13%)
- Ventrue — 14 (12%)
- Tremere — 13 (11%)
- I hate the Camarilla!!! — 9 (7%)
- Gangrel are no longer Camarilla. — 8 (7%)
- I have no favourite Camarilla clan. — 4 (3%)
- Brujah — 4 (3%)
- Gangrel — 2 (1%)
- Caitiff are not a clan, but they still rule! — 1 (0%)
The participation in this poll was best so far with 114 votes totals. Somewhat surprisingly (at least for me) the Nosferatu won, after a long head-to-head race with the Toreador. The Ventrue, while starting strong, lost momentum during the poll and came in only at the fourth place.
.. when the “Agent of Power” discipline card is used as a placeholder for another card, e.g. “Shock Troops” or “Legion“, then its text doesn’t apply? This includes both the unique part and the “burn next at the end of your discard phase” part. So there could be several copies of “Agent of Power” in play representing vampires, and they would not burn at the end of your discard phase by the card text of “Agent of Power“. [LSJ 20071001]
Apologies to Dionne Warwick and her song “Heartbreaker“, but this has got to be said:
I got to say it and it’s hard for me
You got me cryin’ like I thought I would never be
Trust is believin’ but you let me burn
How can I trust you when it’s your turn
And I …..
Get to my next turn and you never call
Trust should be everything or not at all
And it don’t matter what ever you do
I made no VP out of trustin’ you
Only to find any dream that I follow is dying
I’m cryin’ after the game
I could be searchin’ my deck for a card everlasting
Feeling no hate, when will we play again
Why do you have to be a dealbreaker
Is it a lesson that I never knew
Gotta get out of the spell that I’m under
My trust in you
Why do you have to be a dealbreaker
When I was doin’ what you want me to do
Suddenly the one VP I ever wanted has passed me by
This game may end
Not you and I
My trust is stronger than the universe
My soul is cryin’ for you
And that can not be reversed
You made the rules and you could not see
You made a game out of hurtin’ me
Out of my mind
I am held by the power of you
Tell me when do we try
Or should we say goodbye
Oh, why do you have to be a dealbreaker
Is it a lesson that I’ll never learn
Suddenly everything I ever wanted
My trust in you, ooh….
Here are also the answers of the questions of the fifth quiz along with the percentage of correctly given answers for each question. To avoid spoilers I have inked the answers black, so that they are “invisible” unless you mark the text below:
- B. “Pander” is the only clan in the above list.
- E. “Web of Knives Recruit“.
- E. All of the above have an Advanced versions.
- A. “Blood Shadowed Court” consists only of reprinted cards.
- C. There are 6 starter decks in the Camarilla Edition expansion.
- C. Richard Garfield is the creator/designer of VtES.
- D. The “Hell Hound” is a ghoul.
- C. “Enkidu, the Noah” is the full name.
- A. 6 Camarilla, 10 Sabbat, 5 Independent, 4 Laibon is the distribution of clans.
- B. “Basir” (Assamite) is the only unique 1 cap. vampire without being a Caitiff or Pander.
Despite the fact that I would have stopped (at least for a little while) at the 5th VtES quiz, some of the Polish VtES players came with yet another VtES quiz. And boy that was a difficult one, I only got 3 out of 10 correct answers.