Celerity Gun (Cel Gun) is a deck archetype in Vampire: the Eternal Struggle. This deck type has been around for a long time, since there is an abundance of small- to mid-cap vampires with superior Celerity in the early expansions. Cel Gun is a classic Rush combat deck, that is its vampire take actions to attack the opponents vampires directly, i.e. by using Bum’s Rush or Haven Uncovered. It uses the combo Concealed Weapon and .44 Magnum to equip with these guns during combat, and then uses Celerity combat cards to inflict significant damage on the opposing minion. The deck ousts mainly by inflicting damage through Fame, Tension in the Ranks and/or Dragonbound.
How to win with them
Threaten your predator into submission (i.e. he doesn’t do anything against you). Usually you should be careful what kind of predator you let live. You need to kill a Stealth-Bleed/Powerbleed deck right away. No exceptions. When playing against Vote decks, you might need to kill one or two vampires w/ titles, to reduce the ability of the vote deck to dish out damaging votes. Toolbox decks or other combat decks which combat abilities you can trump, are only a small or no threat at all. Usually it’s a good idea to show your strength by crippling one or two vampires of your predator, so he’s both intimidated and busy while defending against his predator.
After having dealt with your predator, gun down your prey’s minions next. Reduce the number of minions he has, and try to reduce his pool by utilizing Fame, Tension in the Ranks and/or Dragonbound.
Pool management is critical for this deck, since it usually has little or no pool gain. Usual source are Blood Dolls or Vessels, vampires are filled up again by using Taste of Vitae. You pay little for your 3 to 4 minions, but the guns are costly, and these you definitely need. So if have 4 vampires with an average capacity of 4, you will spend an additional 2 pool per .44 Magnum, which brings you down to 6 pool which is already really close to being ousted. So my general advice is, that you shouldn’t move a vampire to your ready region, unless you are able & willing to pay a gun for him.
Generally there are two choices, either you use all available small- to mid-capacity vampires that have superior Celerity, or you also add vampires with inferior Celerity and add some Celerity skill cards. The former version has the advantage, that you need no additional setup, but on the other hand the average capacity is increased slightly. The later variant suffers from the need to setup, and that it can use the Celerity combat cards not to it full extent, but the vampires are cheaper to influence.
Typical choices for both variants include Sarah Brando, Victor Tolliver and Jimmy Dunn, since they are cheapest vampires with superior Celerity (and without any disadvantages). Since all these are from group 2, you can go either with additional vampires from group 1 or group 3, depending on your preferences.
Group 4/5 also looks not too shabby, with Idrissa and Fairuza as 4-cap vampires with superior Celerity, and an abundance of 5 cap vampires (also with superior Celerity), of which some have useful special abilities like Michael diCarlo (potentially able to set range in combat) or Laecanus (immune to Frenzy cards).
How to win against them
If you are the predator of a Cel Gun deck, then you have two choices
- .. either try to oust the Cel Gun decks faster than it kills your minions.
- .. make a non-aggression pact to buy time for build-up.
Ousting the Cel Gun deck fast without getting hurt is not easy, since the Cel Gun deck is fast itself. It only needs to bring out these small- and mid-cap vampires, and can start attacking right away. Ask for help from your grand prey, when one of your minions is going down in torpor (and they usually will go down).
If you are playing a slower or toolbox deck, you need to convince the Cel Gun deck player not to attack. Promise a non-aggression pact for a couple of turns in order to build up. Then try to horde cards for a one or two turn oust, but make sure that the Cel Gun Deck is weakened (low on pool or does not have any rush cards in his hand) when striking. Usually the Cel Gun will attack immediately, if you decide to go after him.
Silver bullets against Cel Gun include ..
- Centralized Background Check — increases the cost of weapons by one, i.e. making the Concealed Weapon card unplayable when used with .44 Magnum.
- Peace Treaty — makes the Cel Gun pay for its weapon a second time
- Canine Horde — destroys equipment w/ first strike
- Drawing out the Beast & Terror Frenzy — preventing the gun wielding vampire to use the weapon.
When playing a combat deck yourself, it depends largely on the type of combat you are playing. If you are playing short-range combat with little or no maneuvers, you are doomed. If you are playing long-range combat yourself, or can prevent damage regularly, you might succeed against Cel Gun.
If you are the prey of a Cel Gun deck, your best hope is that you an aggressive grand predator, which puts the Cel Gun into defensive, i.e. Cel Gun is rushing his minions, rather than yours. Try to help your grand predator, i.e. rescue his minions from torpor if possible.
- Concealed Weapon — much needed to equip the weapon fast (and circumvent obnoxious wall decks).
- .44 Magnum — the decks weapon, literally.
- Psyche — the main combat card, especially to evade other combat cards like Strike:Combat Ends (i.e. Majesty, Earth Meld) or damage prevention (Rolling with the Punches, Skin of Steel).
- Fame — the main card for ousting.
Somewhat related to the Celerity Gun deck, is the Auspex-Celerity Gun deck, where instead of rushing minions, the Auspex reaction cards are used to get into combat (i.e. by blocking). This variant and especially the one using Anson and Infernal Pursuit & Ashur Tablets to cycle and retrieve cards has been more popular in the past years than the “pure” Cel Gun decks.
Notable Examples & Variations
- “Celerity Gun” by Iñaki Jimenez — basic version of the deck archetype.
- “Guns and Butter” by Colin Riggs uses also small cap vampires, sacrificing the superior Celerity to speedy influence and reducing the its vampires cost (see decklist below).
- “Marbellous by Skaffen uses Flesh of Marble for damage reduction, but requires Protean (usually inferior) in addition, which narrows down the vampires usable in the deck.
- “Weenie-Cel-DesertEagle” by Dominic Bédard — uses Desert Eagle and Flash (to compensate the missing maneuver).
- “Second Guess Corral” by Ben Peal — adds a (small) Auspex angle to give the deck a better (bleed) defense.