When you check the Tournament Winning Deck Archive, you see quite a lot of Weenie Auspex deck variations. Weenie Auspex is a wall deck archetype which features small-cap vampires having the Auspex discipline (preferably at superior). The deck wins because it controls (at least) its prey and predator by blocking their key actions, and eventually ousting its prey either by overwhelming with its prey with its large number of vampires, permanent bleed modifier cards or by cards like Smiling Jack.
How to win with them
Weenie Auspex wins by controlling the table and usually (more or less slow) by infliction attrition damage through bleeds and/or Smiling Jack or Constant Revolution. Weenie Auspex’s first objective is to remain the last player standing, and its second objective is to oust its prey before it gets any victory points (or more precisely, before it gets more than one VP). By reaching these objectives, it has 2-3 VPs at most tables and therefore often a Game Win (or at least a tie). What helps in this task is, that Weenie Auspex looks inconspicuously at the beginning, especially for the novice player. Initially it also often applies little pressure on its prey and focuses in building up and staying alive.
Weenie Auspex as the name suggests is often a mono-discipline decks, and the use of Auspex cards is predominantly providing intercept. This quickly becomes a wall, especially if the deck manages to put permanent intercept into play by playing cards like Bowl of Convergence, Mr. Wintrop or the intercept locations like KRCG Newsradio and Channel 10. Another key element is to put cards into play like Powerbase Montreal or The Rack), which is utilized as additional reserve or invested for additional minions or equipment/weapons. Even though that these cards might be stolen, they are usually well protected by the blocking capabilities of its decks.
Weenie Auspex does not need to block anything (and it shouldn’t!), but only key actions of its predator and prey, as well as actions that will bring down the minions of its respective prey. The offense of these decks differs considerably. Some Weenie Auspex decks equip with bleed modifier retainer and equipment (e.g. Camera Phone), and will try to bleed you (more or less) slowly to death. Heidelburg Castle is a common addition here; it also helps to swap weapon/intercept equipment around. Another method is using a mid- to late-game Smiling Jack, preferably when only one or two other players are around, so the Weenie Auspex deck is able to block all removal attempts. More combat oriented Weenie Auspex decks may feature cards like Fame and Dragonbound to reduce other player’s pool.
The signature card of the deck was (and maybe still is) Eagle’s Sight, whose superior version signifies the ability to block virtually any action at the table. This, of course, isn’t true, but usually restricted to critical actions, e.g. when its prey threatens your grand prey or when cross-table another playing is playing a Parity Shift (likely targeting you) or an Anarchist Uprising which may deal significant damage to your pool.
With the release of Keepers of Tradition this has changed a little bit, because Eyes of Argus has become a staple card for the Weenie Auspex decks, providing not only intercept, but alternatively also with the ability to play reaction cards (as if untapped). Initially this trigger a reflex for Weenie Auspex players to replace most or even all untap cards like Forced Awakening or On the Qui Vive with Eyes of Argus and even cutting some intercept cards like Enhanced Senses from the deck. But this is a treacherous road to follow for a number of reasons. First of all you can only play one Eyes of Argus in an action. That is you cannot play Eyes of Argus for the untap effect and the intercept effect on the same action, so you usually need an untap card or an intercept card in addition to Eyes of Argus. Secondly, whereas most Auspex card provide intercept indiscriminately against directed or undirected action, the intercept of Eyes of Argus is only against (D) actions. So be able to block undirected actions like rescuing from torpor, hunting and, most importantly, calling a referendum, you still need a significant amount of Auspex cards other than Eyes of Argus.
Look for all vampires with capacity of 4 or below with superior Auspex to get a total of 8-9 vampires, add 3-4 vampires with inferior Auspex, but these should be really having only a capacity of 2 (or 3 at maximum). Other candidates can also be a few selected vampires with higher capacities like Sennadurek or Victoria, who have excellent special abilities.
If you want to avoid mostly doubling vampires in crypt, currently group 1-2 or group 2-3 are the best, since there are 5 vampires with capacity 4 or below with superior Auspex in group 2. Probably group 2-3 is overall best suited, because there are an additional 4 vampires with capacity 3 or below with inferior Auspex in group 3.
Beside blocking and taking (hopefully down a vampire), the other angle is obviously bouncing the bleed to its prey. Telephatic Misdirection is the first choice her, but My Enemy’s Enemy is used (to lesser degree) as well. Some players shun My Enemy’s Enemy, because in the early and mid-game, it cannot be used to redirect to the bleed to the prey. But in my opinion is made up, but the fact that the card is cost-free and can be used together Telephatic Misdirection to gain additional intercept (whereas two Telephatic Misdirections can’t). Also if someone plays Direct Intervention against your Telephatic Misdirection, you can still play My Enemy’s Enemy with the same vampire (provided you have one in your hand).
Again obviously blocking is the key here, but with the inherent +1 stealth on political actions, blocking becomes significantly harder than against (D)-actions. Also with the rise of Eyes of Argus, you might end up having enough intercept to block any (D) action, but may fail to do so against political actions (or any other undirected action). For that reasons, Delaying Tactics is vital component of the vote defense. But the card should be played lightly nonetheless. It might be better take 3 pool damage from a KRC (if it doesn’t kill you, of course), than getting killed by Anarchist Uprising or Domain Challenge in the next vote.
This is possible the main weakness of the deck, since Weenie Auspex has typically little combat defense, just enough punching power to keep the upper hand against non-combat decks. Typical weapons include .44 Magnum, Sniper Rifle, Weighted Walking Sticks and/or even only Target Vitals. Therefore a lot of (serious) combat decks can take the Auspex weenies with ease. But through persistence in rescuing its own vampires and its number of minions, you can often survive rush combat decks, especially if there unwilling or unable to diablerize the Auspex weenies.
How to win against them
Winning against a Weenie Auspex deck is a difficult task, as ousting any wall deck. If you play S&B or Powerbleed(tm) and are the predator of Weenie Auspex you are most likely doomed, since the wall deck usually is able to either block you, or just bounce your bleed to your grand-prey. You may succeed if you are persistent, but this is not an easy task to accomplish, as might as well end up killing your grand-prey. If you play S&B or Power Bleed and you are the prey of Weenie Auspex, you are somewhat likely to make a VP or maybe two. Make sure you do not take unnecessary undirected actions, since Weenie Auspex will block them. On the other hand, the Weenie Auspex deck will try to block directed bleed actions at crucial times (or when it thinks you are low on stealth) by using Eagle Sight. So in general, you have to be aware that Weenie Auspex has the ability to block directed actions against your prey.
Vote decks that are either prey or predator of a Weenie Auspex deck are a bit less f…ouled up. Usually only Forgotten Labyrinth will work to bring your votes through (sometimes even Elder Impersonation is needed). Creepshow Casino , Monastery of Shadows and other permanent stealth helps greatly, but the Weenie Auspex deck usually also plays permacept locations/equipment as a counter measure. In addition, these decks usual have a second layer of defense by playing Delaying Tactics if for whatever reasons the block attempts didn’t succeed.
Best against Weenie Auspex are the rush combat decks, because they can usually take down the Weenie Auspex deck’s minions. But for that to succeed the player of the rush combat deck has to find out, how the combat of the Weenie Auspex works, and if he can trump that combat. Equally important to putting the weenies to torpor is to diablerize them. Attempting to block the rescue attempts isn’t often good enough, since the deck can afford to take multiple rescue actions each turn.
Generally speaking, it’s always a good idea to save up some stealth cards for a few important actions rather than try to attempt multiple actions with all of your minions at little or no stealth. On the other hand, if you have an equal or superior number of minions, and if you’re not afraid of the combat package a Weenie Auspex deck, it’s an option to try to take as many actions as possible at zero stealth. The idea is to make the Auspex deck choke on intercept cards which he can’t play, and try to make him run out untap cards like On the Qui Vive. This is a similar tactics to choking a stealth&bleed decks on stealth cards by declining to block consistently.
If you know, you can’t stand up against an Weenie Auspex deck, you’re about to become the predator (or prey) of the Weenie Auspex deck, do not prevent it from getting ousted or maybe even help killing it cross-table.
- Eagle’s Sight & Eyes of Argus — the signature cards of the deck.
- Bowl of Convergence — simply the best permacept equipment money, err… pool can buy.
- Heidelburg Castle — used to move around the permacept equipment and weapons or to move bleed retainer/equipment.
- The Rack — the classic pool gain for Weenie Auspex
- Pentex Subversion — removes the key/star vampire of your prey (or your predator if he becomes an annoyance).
- Smiling Jack — the one-card finisher.
Notable Examples & Variations
- Victoria’s Secret by Otso Saariluoma — basic deck version (see decklist below; there’s a newer version of the deck where the Anarch angle is sightly expanded).
- Little brother is watching you by Stefan Ferenci — another classic version
- Network of the Insane by Balazs Sebestyen — with a Malkavian-only crypt (and higher capacities) the deck utilizes Madness Network to make use of untapped vampires before its own turn.
- Chicken Eyes by Francois Morand — uses cheap Saturday-Night Specials as weapons, and the occasional Dragon’s Breath Rounds to kill a particular obnoxious opponent vampire.
- Princespex by Martin Weinmayer — uses 2nd Tradition: Domain in addition/replacement of Auspex intercept. This requires larger vampires like Ira Rivers, but combines the untapping effect w/ the intercept. This leaves room for additional cards like the strong Parity Shift.
- Aus/Cel Gun decks are the next step up from Weenie Auspex by adding slightly higher capacity vampires and Celerity to inflict significantly more damage when blocking. Rose before Hoes by Mark Loughman is an example of a mid-cap Aus/Cel Gun deck.