One of your local player had build a combat orientated deck around Dark Steel, Power of One and Hell for Leather. The deck had its moments during a few games, but ultimately lacked the performance to make it viable in its current state. The basic idea was to hit the opposing minions hard in combat using Dark Steel, Torn Signpost and Immortal Grapple. Perhaps once in a while you could weaken the enemy by playing Power of One when the opponent dared to block, killing minions like Carlton van Wyk or even Ponticulus right away. The icing on the cake would be playing Hell-For-Leather to inflict two pool damage (possibly in addition to a Fame). The crypt choice was based around Jacko and a couple of low-to-mid-cap Lasombra. And that was the problem, in my opinion. A lot of his vampires didn’t have superior Obtenebration and superior Potence, so making full use of Dark Steel was the exception not the rule. I was discussing with him what could be done about the deck in general and the crypt selection in particular. In fact, I was boasting that there had be a decent crypt with reasonably sized Lasombra vampires with both Potence and Obtenebration, if not with the group 2/3 Lasombra then for sure with the group 4/5 Lasombra. Boy, was I wrong ..
It turned out, that there’s isn’t a decent mid-range crypt for a Dark Steel-centered deck. In group 2/3 you have Talley, the Hound (capacity 6) and then there’s nothing, until you look at 9 cap vampires like Alvaro. Group 3/4 is even worse, the smallest vampire with POT/OBT having capacity 8 (Giangaleazzo and Conrad Adoula). The best you can get are three vampires of group 4/5 with Otieno (6), Lord Vauxhall (7) and Badr, Shadow of Granada (8). But even that is not really optimal, since none of the vampires has a special ability that’s really useful for a combat oriented deck, and then the capacity of these vampires are just too high for this kind of combat decks.
Compare this with the wide crypt selection you have when you’re playing Animalism deck based on Carrion Crows, the card that is probably best comparable to Dark Steel. There are a lot of 4 to 5 cap vampires with ANI, the group 3/4 vampires with Stick (3), Bobby Lemon (4), and Beetleman (4) standing out. Granted you don’t have the maneuver as with Dark Steel, but then it damages the opponent on close and long range, and it doesn’t require two superior disciplines.
I won’t advocate a change to Dark Steel, the card is generally fine. And what would you change? If you could deliver the two environmental damage on inferior Potence/Obtenebration and adding the maneuver on superior Obt/Potence, on the other hand, is probably too good for the small cap vampires. What it would need to make Dark Steel more viable for deck, is a couple of vampires with POT/OBT; either of lower capacity or having decent combat orientated specials.