The classic Nosferatu Royalty deck is a political deck based on the Nosferatu Princes and Justicar (usually from group 1/2). The decks uses political cards like Parity Shift and Kine Resources Contested to oust its prey as well as a variety of other cards that require Camarilla, a Prince or Justicar as support. The deck is quite solid since the crypt selection offers relatively cheap Nosferatu princes, who in addition all have Obfuscate to make the political actions more likely to be successful. In addition, the Nosferatu have access to two great locations, namely The Labyrinth and even more so Warsaw Station.
How to win with them
The deck’s main weapon are the political actions Parity Shift and Kine Resources Contested. Due to the nature of the Parity Shift, it is not only used for damaging its prey’s pool, but also pool gain for the deck itself. To be able to play the Parity Shift throughout the game, the deck constantly influences out new vampires or plays expensive master cards or costly equipment for its minions. For killing its prey the vampires either bleed (usually for one) or play a Kine Resources Contested as the finishing move. Sometimes also the deck sports Judgement: Camarilla Segregation, but this can backfire if your grandprey or grandpredator have not only Camarilla vampires and they no pool gain or are under pressure anyway.
For making the political action successful the deck uses Obfuscate, especially Forgotten Labyrinth, Lost in Crowds and Elder Impersonation, making it very hard to block for all decks except very dedicated intercept decks. In terms of making the actual vote/referendum a success, the deck relies almost exclusively on the titled-based votes of its vampires, with Legendary Vampire and (less often seen) Animal Magnetism as the exceptions to this rule.
Another important angle of the deck are the “Tradition” cards that require a Camarilla Justicar or Prince. Second Tradition: Domain offers an untap as well as +2 intercept for blocking; Fourth Tradition: Hospitality allows vampires to be refilled after paying the Obfuscate cards or being damaged in combat; Third Tradition: Progeny gives the Nosferatu in this deck additional minions, either for the occasional bleed or as chump blocker.
The whole deck can be moved into the direction of the Breed & Boon deck archetype by adding a couple Third Tradition: Progeny and Consanguineous Boon, giving it additional minions as well as some decent pool gain.
With the Keepers of Tradition expansion, Warsaw Station was introduced to the game, and this card alone gave all Nosferatu-based a huge boost, allowing one Nosferatu vampire two actions in a given turn, or the ability to rescue a Nosferatu from torpor without spending blood or an action. Another very useful addition is the SCHRECKnet promo card. It also the controller of the card to look at another player’s hand after a successful referendum by tapping the card.
The deck’s crypt is built on the relatively cheap Nosferatu Princes and Justicar. The capacities of the Nosferatu royalty (Prince/Justicar) in group 1/2 are 5, 7, 7, 8 & 9, which is the lowest average of all Camarilla clans in these groups. Among these Nikolaus Vermeulen excels, since his special ability to put 1 blood from him to an uncontrolled Nosferatu allows to speed up influencing additional Nosferatu or at least indirect pool recovery. So often Nikolaus Vermeulen is the first vampire of this deck that is moved into controlled region. The deck can also add other non-Nosferatu princes with (superior) Obfuscate like the Ventrue Suhailah or the Malkavian Gilbert Duane. Another option is to switch to group 2-3 and add the Malkavian Justicar Maris Streck, whose special ability gives the Nosferatu princes together with Second Tradition: Domain really decent intercept capabilities.
While G2/3 is a viable alternative to the (nearly) optimal G1/2 based crypt, the other group combinations namely G3/4 and G4/5 have only 3 Princes/Justicars each, and feature a significantly larger average crypt capacity (8.7 and 9.3). Of course, you can add vampires from other clans here as well, but then you move away from a strict Nosferatu based deck.
This is definitely the deck’s main weakness. The lack of bleed bounce disciplines makes it vulnerable to Stealth & Bleed or Powerbleed decks. Some deck variants play Second Tradition: Domain to compensate this deficit, thus providing both untap and +2 intercept to princes and justicars. Other variants do not play reaction cards at all, instead they rely on the decks ability to play Parity Shift backwards against the aggressive predator in order to compensate the pool loss and punish the predator at the same time. If necessary, the deck will even go so far, to oust its predator if pressed too hard.
The deck relies primarily on its vampire’s inherent title, and to some extent the ability to block political actions using Second Tradition: Domain.
This is where the various deck variants have their greatest differences. Some decks decide not to pack any combat cards at all, concentrating on the actions and the subsequent vote. This usually works better in a tournament environment where combat is less often seen as is casual games. The other half of the decks do have a moderate amount of combat cards. Either fight back with Potence (e.g. Thrown Gate or Pushing the Limit) and/or use Animalism for using Carrion Crows and Aid From Bats. This is usually enough to keep no-combat-orientated decks at bay, but usually they’ll lose the fight against a dedicated combat deck. With the last release, a few new options are available, namely No Trace and Mental Maze, both for avoiding combat.
How to win against them
The deck relies heavily on its titled vampires, since it almost never features any action modifiers which give additional votes (like Animal Magnetism) or which prevent other vampires from voting (like Closed Session). Therefore if these vampires are removed from the ready region, e.g. by combat or by votes, the deck will have problems bringing making the votes successful.
Bleed decks have usually an easy task going forward, since the Nosferatu do not have more +2 intercept in this deck, and lack any bleed bounce. But as bleeder you must fear the retaliation of the Nosferatu Royalties, i.e. they are playing Parity Shifts or Kine Resources Contested upstream.
A good defense against the deck is not block their political actions, since it’s quite of hard to block the political actions +1 stealth in addition to the Obfuscate stealth cards the Nosferatu can play.
Secondly, if you use Delaying Tactics against the Parity Shift, the deck cannot play another one for the current turn. This can be crucial for the Nosferatu, if for example they have lowered their pool before in order to be able to play the Parity Shift in the first place.
- Nikolaus Vermeulen — the archetypal Nosferatu princes, with his special the cornerstone vampire of this deck.
- Parity Shift — both pool gain and pool damage card rolled into one neat package.
- Fourth Tradition: The Accounting — reliable way to refill vampires quickly.
- Second Tradition: Domain — untap and intercept for princes and justicars.
- Elder Impersonation/Forgotten Labyrinth — the main cards to make the political actions successfully.
Notable Examples & Variations
There is no definitive version for this deck; the number of stealth cards may vary, the ratios of Parity Shift and Kine Resources Contested are different, and the amount of combat cards included is widely different. While checking TWDA, one could see that the French version of this deck archetype features more stealth, while the Americans are definitely including more combat cards into their deck.
- Legendary Nosferatu by Kamel Senni — strictly focused on Parity Shift with spending pool during the whole game, to make Parity Shift work almost all the time.
- Nosferoyalties by Olivier Perez — very similar version to the deck above.
- Nikolas’s Crew by Trey Morita — uses Group 2/3 instead 1/2, and has large, diversified combat package.
- The Nosferatu Is Your Friend! by Pekka Miettinen — more combat orientated with Thrown Gate as main combat card.
- Cloaka Company by Daniel Carretero Ferres.– typical version of the archetype; favors KRC instead of Parity Shift.
- Turbo Parity by Daniel Carretero Ferres — reduced to the decks basic stealth vote combination; total lack of combat & reaction cards.