With further ado, here’s the second part of the library cards of the latest VTES expansion “Anarchs Unbound” with a brief summary review of the expansion at the end. The first part of the library card review has been posted last week.
Eat the Rich
Requires an anarch.
Choose one or more Methuselahs. Successful referendum means each chosen Methuselah burns 1 pool, plus 3 additional pool if he or she controls a ready titled vampire. In this referendum, non-priscus titles are worth 1 fewer vote each, priscus titles are worth 1 less ballot each, and burning the Edge is worth 1 additional vote.
- Comment: Much like Neonate Breach, this card has the potential to selectively deal a lot of damage to the whole table. And the reduction of the titled votes, makes vote pushing via locations, action modifiers much more effective. This really helps an Anarch deck against an established vote deck based on titles. On the other hand, if your prey doesn’t control a titled vampire, the card loses a lot of its value. Therefore the card is a reasonable supplement (in small doses) to KRC to an Anarch vote deck.
- Suitable Decks: Any Anarch vote deck (as a sideshow).
- Rating: *** (Reasonable)
Propaganda of the Deed
Requires an anarch. Only usable after a successful (D) action.
Put this card in play. You can burn this card during the referendum of a political action to get +2 votes.
- Comment: I don’t really like the card for two reasons. The first is that it requires a successful directed action, which vote decks often try to avoid. The second reason for my dislike is that it only provides two votes for later use, which is often not good enough as vote push. I’d rather spend a blood on the action modifier and get three votes in an upcoming referendum of a PA. In this the card is comparable to Loki’s Gift, which isn’t really a bad card, but lacks the necessary punch to make the cut. On the good side, you can put multiple copies of the card in play. (As side note: I like that the card says “political action” instead of referendum, as to prevent the cards use in a deck keen on diablerie).
- Suitable Decks: The card may have its uses for example in non-presence vote decks (or any other vote deck with better alternatives for vote push). I can also see the card in certain decks where the (D)-action is part of the overall vote strategy, e.g. a deck using Condemnation Mute or Barrenness.
- Rating: ** (Not worth the card slot)
The Red Question
Requires an untitled, non-anarch vampire.
Put this card on this vampire. This vampire is considered anarch (and Independent). Burn this card if this vampire changes sect.
- Comment: In the first place I thought The Red Question was an action, and as such I was very irritated that what the design intent of the card actually was compared to cards like Go Anarch (and which let’s you gain you a blood, and not cost a blood). But as an action modifier, this card is very well suited for Anarchs decks, especially for those players without access to Anarch Converts. The trick of this card really is that it doesn’t require a successful action, just attempting any action (even one canceled with Change of Target) can be used to play this. And, of course can become Anarch by doing whatever your deck intents to do, without wasting an action to become Anarch in the first place.
- Suitable Decks: Any Anarch deck which lacks Anarch Converts or wants to make vampire Anarch outside of the influence (or master) phase later in the game.
- Rating: **** (Very good, very usable).
+1 stealth action. Requires an anarch.
Put this card on another ready, non-titled vampire you control, choose a Discipline the acting vampire has at superior and untap the acting vampire. The vampire with this card is considered anarch (and Independent), and gets +1 level of the chosen Discipline. If this vampire changes sect, burn this card. A vampire can have only one Field Training.
- Comment: This is discipline proliferation mainly useful for blood line disciplines, and I am not sure if that’s really a good thing. It opens up a lot of possibilities for deck design, but may open the Box of Pandora as well. Summon History for every Caitiff? In that sense Field Training is the biggest wildcard in Anarchs Unbound. In terms of design I appreciate the consideration that a vampire can only have 1 Field Training, preventing that a vampire can get the superior version of any discipline (more or less) easily.
- Suitable Decks: May better deck designers come up with ideas how to (ab)use the card.
- Rating: ***** (Very good)
Requires an anarch.
+1 intercept, with an additional +1 intercept if the acting vampire is titled.
- Comment: Not really sure if Protection is useful for Anarch deck building. A classic wall deck (anarch or not) does not need this card, and for a non-wall deck, this casual intercept is not enough, so I don’t really see what’s the use case for this card. Maybe if your meta game has typically lots of titled vampires … Comparable cards like Legwork or Elder Intervention haven’t really seen much use outside of draft games (and for a good reason).
- Suitable Decks: Can’t really see which deck should use this one.
- Rating: ** (Below average).
Requires a ready anarch. Unique location. Hunting ground.
During your untap phase, a ready anarch you control can gain 1 blood, and, if you control a ready baron, another ready anarch you control can gain 1 blood as well. A vampire can gain blood from only one hunting ground each turn.
- Comment: This is a decent hunting ground and is the counterpart to Papillion, which is also a hunting ground providing two blood in the untap phase. I am little bit conflicted about the cost of Carfax Abbey. Compared to Papillion it should cost a pool more, but then it’s not easy to control a Baron when compared to the requirement of having a vampire with a city title. Hmm, speaking of which when controlling a Baron, you play both Carfax Abbey and Papillion. In the worst case, you have a regular hunting ground comparable to the typical clan-based hunting ground.
- Suitable Decks: Any deck where controlling a Baron (not The Baron!) is a regular occurrence. May also be suitable for deck trying to use Poacher’s Hunting Ground, since Carfax Abbey is a non-derivative hunting ground.
- Rating: **** (Very good; very decent return rate).
Put this card in play with X counters, where X is the number of anarchs you control. When an anarch comes into play under your control, or when a vampire you control becomes anarch, add 1 counter to this card. When equipping an anarch, you can use the counters on this card to pay some or all of the blood or pool cost of the equipment.
- Comment: Hackerspace looks good on paper, but I have considerable reservations on how good the card is in an actual game. As with similar cards, e.g. timing of the card is an issue. Typically you want this card early in the game (in its setup phase) and then with lots of counters (e.g. Anarchs under you control). Later in the game, the card typically becomes less useful if it’s part of your core strategy. The design team has tried to address the timing issue by adding the clause, that blood is also added when another vampire becomes Anarch (or you put an Anarch into play. This is good and we’ll see how this will turn out in reality, but general experience with similar cards (e.g. Alan Sovereign and Investment cards) have shown that these equipment based decks are typically too slow and/or require too much setup. On the other hand, a second Ravnos Carnival (blood usable for all actions) would be (too) good. (Side Note: It would be interesting to know if the card works with Descent into Darkness.)
- Suitable Decks: Anarch equipment decks may put this card to good use. An Assamite Deathstar deck could add some Assault Rifles & Hackerspace just for fun & spoils. Or combine this with vampires who can play equipment without taking an action (e.g. White Lily or Jack Dawson).
- Rating: ** (Below Average)
+2 stealth action. Requires an unmerged advanced vampire.
Untap this vampire, search your crypt (shuffle afterward), uncontrolled region and/or ash heap for his or her base version and merge him or her with it.
- Comment: Legacy is the exact reverse Epiphany, so to speak. Still no card for merging a vampire both ways (from basic to advanced and vice versa). I would have preferred such a card, since it makes merging vampires easier on the one hand, but on the other hand it’s still an action which can blocked (or be canceled).
- Suitable Decks: Decks where the emphasis is on the advanced vampire, and the basic vampire is the “sidekick” now have veritable alternative to Epiphany.
Rating: *** (Reasonably good).
I am not 100% sure if Anarch decks will get a sustainable boost by Anarchs Unbound in the long term, but the expansion at least give Anarch based deck some room for designing new or improving existing decks. The highlights of the library are in my opinion certainly Memory Rift and Guardian Vigil, but there are also some cards which support the basic Anarch deck design like Carfax Abbey or Field Training. In my opinion there’s little wallpaper in the expansion, even the weaker cards like Protection Racket or Hackerspace may be of use in specially designed decks. So overall, I think the design team as well as the playtesting groups have done a very decent jobs to bring this expansion to the VTES community.
For an non-profit product the artwork is really outstanding. I really appreciate the level of the artwork of the cards. I think, just because of the artwork this expansion could have hit the store shelves without any need to sell itself short (when compared to earlier expansions (and especially the very early ones)).
Ratings are from * to *****. 1 star indicating a weak card, 3 stars a reasonably sound card, and 5 stars a powerful card.