The Ventrue antitribu Grinder deck is a toolbox deck based mainly, but not exclusively of vampires of the Ventrue antitribu clan. It can bleed, block and fight to some extent, and you can see in these three areas each of the three clan disciplines of the Ventrue antitribu, Dominate, Auspex and Fortitude. More often than not it grinds down its opponents with steady bleeding and blocking, hence the name of the deck archetype. The deck’s motto is “Patience is a Virtue“, since it is a rather slow deck, which really takes off in the late mid- and end-game, and needs to find the right spot to lunge against its prey(s). The Ventrue antitribu Grinder deck could be played for long time, since most the cards exist since the Sabbat War expansion. But the deck archetype became popular and successful in the tournament scene only in 2008-2009 sometime after the release of the 3rd Edition expansion and the Ventrue antitribu vampires that came along with it.
This deck archetype is built around the Gangrel ally Renegade Garou. The deck is around for a long time, you can easily build it with Jyhad cards only (if you don’t mind omitting Unmasking and perhaps On the Qui Vive). The deck is quite strong, since it offers both good defensive (with Raven Spy and Earth Meld) and offensive capabilities (with Renegade Garou and Form of Mist). On the other hand it’s very vulnerable when and if for whatever reason the Renegade Garous are killed or stolen by another player. Playing the deck does not result in an auto-win and making 2 GW 8 VP in the first three round of a tournaments easily, in fact it’s not so easy to play, especially surviving the initial setup is crucial.
How to win with them
The deck has two main angles:
- the first is recruiting the Renegade Garous and later attacking key minions from your prey (preferably) or your predator (if needed).
- the second is building up a solid wall with permanent intercept which other players cannot overcome eventually.
There are several options how this deck archetype can oust its prey. It can either use the “traditional” way combat decks oust, that is Fame or Dragonbound. Alternatively if the deck actually leans more to the wall type, it can use Smiling Jack. Or if anything else fails, just bled constantly with a multitude of minions, especially when playing with Jacob Fermor who gives all werewolves you control +1 bleed.
No other deck archetype is more hated than the Weenie Computer Hacking deck, at least if you’re the prey of it. As a prey of a Weenie Computer Hacking deck, you know, that you need nothing short of a miracle to survive this predator (unless you play weenies yourself). But even then you’re stuck with defending against this very aggressive predator.
One player named his deck of this type “Friendmaker” to sarcastically indicate his deck never makes any friends at all. Ever. The deck is a straight forward bleed deck based on its namesake Computer Hacking. It has generally little defense, and needs to oust its successive preys in as few turns as possible. The deck can only go downstream, and it has very little bargaining power, only relying on its own brute force approach. So if another player asks for a deal, usually the player can deny any deal (or he just lies through his teeth), since the deck needs to go forward fast and it can only go forward.
The Deck of the Month for March/April 2015 is the tournament winning deck “Paella Black Hand (Abrazo’s Pagüer)” by Txus Alutiz (ESP). The deck is a Toreador antitribu Palla Grande Bleed deck with a significant Black Hand angle. Beside the regular Palla Grande build, the deck includes Gerald FitzGerald which allows (beside Mustajib) the Toreador antitribu weenies to become Black Hand a lot faster. Combined with Palla Grande, the Watchtower Wolves Feed enables all Toreador antitribu (including the twelve Embraces) to bleed for two at +1 stealth. Not easy too stop once both cards are on the table.
Two more decks were standing out this month and are worth :
- Mercury’s Adept by Gabriele Bugliani (ITA) — a Weenie Celerity (group 1-2) with some Ashur tech and most importantly Projectile. I am really wondering how effective this card really turned out to be ..
- Baali Maleficia by Oriol Pubill (ESP) — this is an Unnamed & Hordes stealth bleed deck which includes some Maleficia cards for offense and defense.
Another classic in VTES among the tournament winning decks is the Tzimisce War Ghoul deck. As the named suggests it based on the Tzimisce War Ghoul ally, the sturdiest ally in the game with 5 life, 4 damage and the ability to prevent one damage each round of combat. This deck archetype has a long history in the tournament scene and a pretty successful one too.
How to win with them
The War Ghoul deck is basically a rush combat deck using the War Ghoul ally as rushing minion instead of vampires like Beast. The means to oust his prey are putting down your prey’s minions first, then bleeding him out using Changeling or bleed-enhancing retainers like Tasha Morgan.
Euro Brujah is a toolbox deck archetype which uses Princes of the clan Brujah w/ the Dominate discipline. The name is derived from the fact that the Princes used in this deck type (Donal O’Connor, Constanza Vinti and Volker) are all princes of European cities. This deck type has been around since the early VTES expansion Dark Sovereigns, and is quite successful every since. There are at least 15-20 decks of this archetype in the Tournament Winning Deck Archive. The popularity of this deck archetype has dwindled in the past few years, not because it has become weaker, but due to the fact that players have moved on to play decks featuring new tricks and new ideas.
In earlier times — when the Malkavians had the clan disciplines Auspex, Obfuscate, Dominate — the archetypical bleed deck was based on Malkavians with Dominate & Obfuscate. With the release of the Sabbat expansion the Malkavian antitribu with Dementation (instead of Dominate) took over this role. Although Dementation lacks some of the versatility (in areas other than bleed) Dominate offers (e.g. Deflection, or Govern the Unaligned), Dementation has its own merits. Cards like Kindred Spirits offer basic bleed capability and pool gain, while other cards can provide stealth like Deny or Confusion. Furthermore, Kindred Spirits also offers the possibility to bleed any other player at the table, not only your predator. So this gives the player additional potential for dealing and cross-table interaction. Today the Malkavian antitribu Kindred Spirits bleed deck is one of the most successful and most feared decks in the VTES tournament scene. Another name of the deck is Fast Eddie, since Eddie Gaines is the smallest vampire with Dementation which can bleed for 2 in its turn 2, showing how fast and effective this deck delivers damage to its prey pool.
Remark: Although this deck archetype often uses a mixed crypt of Malkavian antitribu and Malkavian I will often relate to this deck’s vampires as Malkavian antitribu for avoiding more complicated sentences.