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.
In VTES, the basic strategy of a Powerbleed deck is to bleed his prey successfully with as few actions as possible, but with high amounts of damage in each action at the same time. This can be ranging from +2 bleed (Govern the Unaligned) to +7 bleed (Govern the Unaligned plus Command of the Beast plus Conditioning) actions. On the other hand, these bleeds are usually at no or low stealth. Instead the decks uses cards which don’t allow other minions to block these bleed actions. This technique is called block denial. This lack of decent amounts of stealth differentiates these decks from the Stealth & Bleed (S&B) bleed decks. This article mainly covers the Giovanni Powerbleed deck archetype since this is the most prominent and successful type of the Powerbleed breed and most of the principals also apply to other Powerbleed variants.
How to win with them
The key to winning with Powerbleed is to bleed consistently and always with the aim not only to land a successful bleed for 1 or 2, but a bleed for 5 or more. There are are a large variety of cards, but Dominate is the first choice since besides having a large number of bleed modifier cards, it also offers with Seduction one of the crucial block denial cards. The second choice of discipline is driven by the need for the second block denial card.
The crypt is then chosen by the question if a particular vampire features these two disciplines: a vampire below 5 should have both disciplines, between 5 and 6 at least one at superior (and the other at least inferior), and 7 and above both disciplines at superior.
The Toreador Grand Ball (TGB) deck archetype has been around for quite some time now. Essentially a TGB deck is a political deck, which uses the namesake Toreador Grand Ball to make the political actions like Kine Resources Contested, Banishment and Parity Shift unblockable. Another alias for this decktype is AAA or Triple-A for the three main vampires it features, namely the Toreador Anson, Anneke and Alexandra.
How to win with them
The TGB deck initially lulls the table into the belief, that it is utterly harmless and it won’t do anything. In a way this is even true, but only until the deck has had its required setup. Then the first (and maybe second and third) TGB hits the table, and the vampires start inflicting pool damage by calling unblockable political actions.
The main action to keep the deck alive is Parity Shift; if you have an aggressive Stealth Bleed or Combat deck as predator, then you need to take down the aggressor first, and then turn to your prey. The deck is also a master of deal negotiation, because with the help of Parity Shift and/or Anneke’s special ability the player is able to deal damage quite effectively cross-table or block critical actions cross-table. The description of Erol Hammer’s TGB deck was “Survive and make a deal with someone who can oust”, and that exactly is this deck archetypes strength: it has table control. Each of the AAA trio of vampires has it’s own superior asset:
- Anson provides a second master phase action,
- Anneke can block cross-table, and
- Alexandra can untap another Toreador (during its player’s minion phase).
The Deck of the Month for July/August 2015 is the tournament winning deck “Anu Gets A Blood” by Bram van Stappen (BEL), who won the Last Chance Qualifier to the French National Championship 2015 with this deck. The deck is a rather untypical ally bleed deck build around Anu Diptinatpa and the Procurer ally. The Procurers together with Anu’s special ability to spent a blood to give a minion(!) an extra +1 bleed, serve two purposes. The first is to bleed for one with Anu’s help, and the second one is to provide Anu with an extra blood (hence the deck’s name) for future bleed modification. If you dare to block, the third angle of the deck is kicking in: with Concealed Weapon & Flash Grenade the minions are able end combat and to tap down an opposing vampire easily for the next untap phase. The deck list lists very inconspicuous, but it’s fast, and puts a lot of pressure on its prey with a horde of minions.
As usual a couple of other decks were quite interesting in these two months.
- The Malk Trollbox deck by Samir Sardinha (BRA) shows nicely that a Malkavian antitribu deck can be something different than just a Dementation Bleed deck (with or without Obfuscate). The deck is toolboxish wall using Auspex/Dementation for blocking, including a total 20(!) combo cards which gives the deck a lot of flexibility.
- The Gangrel antitribu small/midcap bleed decks have become quite popular since the release of The Unaligned. But that’s actually not that surprisingly because the expansion had a plethora of useful library and crypt cards for the Gangrel antitribu in general (and the City Gangrel in particular). The on the latest example is the deck Loving you was like loving the dead as played by Desso Alastor (BRA).
- The last deck on the list is Brandon Haas’ (USA) deck “Laying the Foundation“. At first, glancing over the crypt, I was thinking that this might be a variation of a typical Weenie/Midcap Animalism deck. But there’s more to this deck, it’s actually a decent bleed deck. In the first place, it conserves a lot of pool with Founders of the Ebony Kingdom and has some multi-act (and other) capabilities with Guruhi Are the Land to tool up, before it starts bleeding in earnest.
The Tupdog deck archetype has emerged after the Legacy of Blood expansion — containing the namesake of this archetype, the non-unique Gargoyle Tupdog — was released in late 2005. Since that time this deck archetype has won numerous tournaments including the South American Continental Championship 2014, the Italian ECQ 2013, and national championships in Brazil (2007 & 2013) and Norway (2007). The deck is a rush combat deck /w some added bleed capabilities based on the Tupdog vampire. It is quite a unique deck type, since Tupdog vampires burn after a round of their existence, and new Tupdogs need to be influenced out every turn to keep the deck’s main engine going.
How to win with them
The Tupdog is quite a unique vampire type. It can just act for a turn, but has several distinctive features:
- they are non-unique vampires, i.e. you can have multiple Tupdogs in play.
- they are burned at the end of the next minion phase. So they have one turn to act, and may block one (or more) time(s). On the other hand, for every Tupdog burned this way, another vampire is moved from your crypt to your ready region.
- they are Tremere antitribu slaves, i.e. they act freely (especially take directed actions only if you control a ready Tremere antitribu.
- they have both superior Visceratika and superior Potence, which is quite powerful for 1 cap vampire, and Visceratika cards costs the Tupdog one less blood to play.
- the Tupdog has a built-in Rush ability, so cards for attacking other minions (e.g. Frontal Assault, Bums Rush, Haven Uncovered, etc.) are usually not needed.
Ahrimanes Bleed & Block deck is one of the best VTES toolbox decks around. It has won numerous tournaments around the world, including the EC 2006., the UK National Championship 2006, the Czech National 2007 and the French National 2013. It draws its strength from the ability to intercept all almost anything while being able to put pressure on its prey by bleeding it and/or intercepting its prey’s actions.
How to win with them
Despite the fact that most players consider this deck a wall deck, its approach is quite toolboxy when you look at the actual deck lists. The deck can intercept, fight and bleed. Not as good as dedicated decks in these respective areas, but comparable to some degree at least
The deck’s main strength is its ability to intercept consistently. The Ahrimanes have access to permanent intercept like Raven Spies or Guardian Angel as well as transient intercept in the form of Cat’s Guidance, Speak with Spirit, etc. More importantly the deck can also block crosstable (with Falcon’s Eye), i.e. it can block his prey’s bleed or tries to oust its prey in turn with any other (D) actions.
While the deck has some combat abilities, it lacks any decent damage prevention; it can only go to long range to avoid combat. The deck does not hit very hard, nor does it feature aggravated damage, but it offers consistently damage for 2-3 per round, often with Aid from Bats and Carrion Crows. So the deck usually doesn’t put an opposing vampire to torpor immediately, but by prolonged combats or repeatedly battling the same vampires. Nose of the Hound or Charge of the Buffalo is often used in addition, especially if the opponents vampire are hard to block (i.e. they are playing block denial or running high amounts of stealth).
The Deck of the Month for May/June 2015 is the tournament winning deck “It’s A Friendly Deck, Don’t Trust The Setites” built by Randal Rudstam (SWE) and played by Jens Johansson (SWE), who won the Finnish ECQ (RopeCon) 2015 with this deck. The deck is a Followers of Set political deck, and even though it contains only one new Followers of Set crypt card, Sarrasine (ADV), he is one of the key vampires in the deck), it uses a larger number of library cards from the Danse Macabre and The Unaligned expansions.
In general, a whole lot of decks lately have been using cards from The Unaligned and Danse Macabre. One reason why this post has been released very late, was that were a couple of equally interesting decks in the May/June period around. Most of these candidates are also using a variety of different cards from latest VTES PDF-expansions. And I just couldn’t decide, which deck to chose. So in a sense Randal’s and Jens’ deck is only “primus inter pares” among those 5 decks.
- Anarch Gangrel Pre Bleed played Peter Ducai (CZE) uses a very wide variety of Anarch-based cards and is build around Brunhilde and the Valkyries.
- Danilo Torrisi (ITA) has won a tournament with his Serpentis Vote deck, which also uses Velvet Tongue, but otherwise uses the well-known Cybele /Undele /Ashur Tablets module for card recursion.
- Weenie Fortitude Soaked played by Bram van Stappen (BEL) is a Weenie Swarm bleed deck, but with nasty Rush/Fortitude/Molotov Cocktail twist.
- A different kind of deck is the Matasuntha Multi-Rush as played by Milán Horváth (HUN). The deck is similar to the Enkidu Multi-Rush decks with its use of smaller cap vampires as support, and one star vampire (Matasuntha) for the heavy-duty work. The main combat angle is the +2 strength of the vampire and Psyche. Quite interestingly the deck really focuses on the rush aspect and does not use the Auspex/block capabilities of that the deck could provide potentially.
Created with Secret Library v0.9.4c. (Oct 8, 2015 18:55:47)
In general, a Turbo deck is deck archetype which burns a copy of the same vampire, reincarnates via the Soul Gem of Etrius, and repeats this sequence of actions over and over again. The main purpose is that the last action is a big bleed, and this will — repeated multiple times in a turn — kill every prey, even sometimes more than one in a given turn.
How to win with them
There are several boundary conditions for this deck which need to be met:
- need to equip with the Soul Gem of Etrius.
- need to increase the capacity by at least one.
- need to (nearly) empty the blood from the vampire.
- need to multi-act.
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.
The Palla Grande deck has won numerous VTES tournaments in the past and the essence of this deck archetype is still untouched since the early tournament wins. The deck is basically a Breed & Bleed deck based on Toreador antitribu vampires and the master card Palla Grande, which gives all Toreador antitribu in play +1 bleed while the card is in play (which is usually three turns). Early on the deck tries to build up, generating pool and bringing new vampires via The Embrace into play. After the initial build-up, that can last several turns, the deck then puts a Palla Grande into play, giving all of its Toreador antitribu vampires the above mentioned extra +1 bleed, and tries to overwhelm its prey with a superior number of vampires.
From time to time, I overhaul the VTES decks I have ready to play. I do this mostly to make room for new decks, and be able to construct new decks without “borrowing” cards from existing decks. There are usually 20 to 28 decks ready to play and these include typically 6-8 decks, which I consider “under construction” in the sense that after the initial deck idea and build these decks need a constant review and update after playing them in order to make them work effectively. Although sometimes a few run-of-the-mill cards are missing (like Unmasking, Villein or Dreams), because they are in a lot of decks I play, these decks are typically 70-90 card decks which I can just grab and play in our regular playgroup or take to tournaments.
This last category of decks I usually disassemble during the deck overhauling, and make some mental notes why they didn’t turn out to be tournament material, or at least as good as I think the idea behind it was initially. This time I want to share some the sentiments about the decks and why the deck failed most of the time. Usually during this time of the year I do the final travel preparations for the VTES European Championship and prepare the decks for the EC, but since this year I can’t attend the EC (because of job obligations on that weekend), I have time to deck reworking earlier than usually and share some thoughts on the decks.
- Assamite Anarch Attack — the deck is one of the Nightstick decks I was experimenting earlier this year. The deck uses various Contracts, Shakar and/or Steely Tenacity to get in combat, and Nightsticks (& other melee weapons) and Diversion to beat down opponents. So you can see, it has various angles with Assamite and Anarch and Black Hand tech. The biggest issue is that the combat is too ineffective for a rush combat deck with mid-sized vampires. With this rush setup (and only little block/intercept capabilities, you need to beat down opposing vampires in the first (or at least second rush) attempt. And in this, the deck fails. Simple Strike: Combat Ends or Damage Prevention is often good enough for the prey/predator to survive combats. In addition, the deck suffers from the many limitations of its cards, e.g. White Lily can’t use Steely Tenacity (at qui), so she’s the one that needs the Shakar. But with Shakar you can only rush younger non-Black Hand, and so on … And since there’s little other defense (read: no significant amount Dominate/Animalism/Auspex) in the deck, the deck is often ousted, before it can do the same to it’s prey.
- Hell-for-Leather Aggro Poke — this deck was an attempt to make good use of Hell-for-Leather, a card I have used in other Anarch combat deck sin the past, but in these decks, Hell-for-Leather was always only 1-3 times included. Now I wanted to play a deck with 10+ copies of the card. I often shy away from aggro poke deck, because you often need to play damage prevention as well to be able to afford the card inflicting aggravated damage, and you need to have a more or less reliable way to poke the other vampires to torpor. Hence, choosing Janey Pickman as main vampire and a random assortment of smaller vampires as side-kicks. The deck works reasonable well, since it also has a decent wall angle, but the whole approach was too toolboxish, and far worth I often encountered allies deck, against the deck can do very, very little. I remember on time, when I was up against Ossian and after a second ally hit the table, I was sure, I couldn’t oust my prey.
- Funeral Chainsaw — I wanted to make good use of the new Funeral Wake card,. Initially I build/played a Followers of Set/Giovanni ally crossover deck with a random assortment of mummies and wraith. Turned out not to that good, missing the right cards for the right clan more often than not. Because the wraiths turned out to be more fun to play than the mummies, I decided to turn the deck into a Talbot’s Chainsaw wielded by Tye Cooper or Ambrosio, the Ferryman. The basic idea is solid, and once Tye or Ambrosio have equipped the Chainsaw, the rush actions and the untap provided by Funeral Wake (to block afterwards) is pretty. The issue with this deck is the setup. Most of the games, I was either looking for the equipment or the ally, and when I had both in play (or at least in my hands), I was already so low on pool, that I really didn’t have a chance to survive my predator, let alone oust my prey.
- Uta & Malgorzata — This is a Tremere antitribu toolbox where I wanted to use Uta’s Rush ability and Malgorzata pool gain ability combined with the usual Tremere anitribu and Sabbat goodies. Unfortunately, it took very often too much time, until I had Malgorzata (1st) and Uta (2nd) in play. Once setup with the equipment and other permanents, it’s quite good at blocking and applying pressure both its prey and predator. But during this time, your prey often is free to do whatever it pleases. Also Malgorzata’s special ability is not that good, if you can’t constantly get new vampires in your uncontrolled region, a few Effective Managements help, but it usually takes 2 to 3 terms in the mid-/late-game to be able to use Malgorzata’s special ability.
- Evermore — This Nosferatu antitribu is an evolution of Ben Peal’s 2005 Nevermore deck with the addition of some never cards like Under Siege and Abbot. The deck works reasonably well most of the time (a Raven Spy and a weapon is available early most the time), but seriously lacks punch for removing pool, thus painstakingly slow in ousting its prey.
- The Unnamed — As the name of the decks suggests, this is a star vampire deck, namely the Unnamed .. if not disturbed early on, the deck can generate a fair amount of blood and can also inflict serious pool damage when bleeding with the Unnamed and the Infernal Servitors. The problem I have with the deck is that I am probably not suited well to playing these kind of active superstar decks. I think I worry to much what might happen to the Unnamed when he’s getting blocked, etc., so I am probably not as aggressive as the deck needs to be.
- Royal Meat Grinder — This deck was my attempt at the Grinder-style deck with the G4/5 Ventrue. The deck is effective as it looks like, but because I have played my fair share of Ventrue antitribu Grinder decks, I was bored with this deck, very fast. Next, please!
So what’s the typical reason why a deck fails? I think, that there are basically two reasons for one of these decks to fail. Either it has too many moving parts, that is the number of cards I need in hand (or in play) is too large, and I cannot pull off a certain card combination early in the game (or not often enough in a given game).
The other reason is, that the deck lacks proper ousting power. Especially with the rise of Villein as a household card in many, many decks you have to remove more pool than it used to be 4 or 5 years ago. And if your deck doesn’t have the means to stop the Villein and/or remove the pool, you’re simply screwed.
Mage Ally decks have been around in the VTES tournament scene for quite some time, either featuring Nephandus, Talaq, The Immortal or Thadius Zho, or all in one deck, since these are cards from earlier expansions like Ancient Hearts or Sabbat, but with the 3rd Edition‘s Antonio d’Erlette and his special ability this decktype got quite boost. The deck is a toolboxy deck, since it can rush & intercept and bleed & block deck, and later in the game excels with strong permanents, with which it can dominate the table.
How to win with them
The deck is a somewhat typical ally deck, but with a twist due to Antonio d’Erlette’s special ability. Since the recruitment of the Nephandi is happening quite fast and cannot be blocked (if Antonio’s special ability is used) the deck is usually quite fast from the start.
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.
The Speed Shamblers deck archetype has had considerable success during the years 2006 to 2008 in the VTES tournament scene. With Amiel Feldman being the chief author of the deck, Olivier Perez has been the foremost player using this deck. Olivier’s tournament score card is quite impressive with tournament wins in the German and French ECQ 2006 and runner-up during the French Nationals 2007. With the rising popularity of Animalism combat decks and the ban of Memory of Mortality in 2008, the performance of Shambling Hordes decks in general have suffered quite a bit since then, but there not an unusual sight in VTES tournaments today.
The deck archetype is basically a Rush combat deck with the Shambling Hordes as its main weapon. The speed factor is due to the small deck size of 70 to 80 cards, and the recursion/tutoring technique from the Liquidation and Sudario Refraction.
The Malkavian ’94 deck is one of the earliest and still one of the most successful VtES deck archetype in existence. The name derives from the fact that the deck is around since the introduction of VtES (then known as Jyhad) in 1994. Since then it has seen little need for modification. The Malk ’94 deck archetype is also known as Malkavian (Obfuscate/Dominate) Stealth Bleed deck, which describes the type of deck more closely.
How to win with them
Here’s a short instruction manual for the deck — extracted from a TWD deck description:
“Keep it simple. Get out a bleeder as quick as you can and keep bleeding. If you bring out a vampire and you are bleed, bounce the bleed. If you get bounced and you are going to take out someone else’s prey, play Spying Mission.”
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.
The Ventue Lawfirm deck archetype is along with the Malkavian Dominate/Obfuscate Bleed deck of the oldest existing (and successful) deck types in VtES. Lately the Ventrue Lawfirm has seen a tremendous comeback due to the new crypt choices that came along with the “Keepers of Tradition” expansion. The name derives from the Ventrue appearance as politicians and lawyers, and their ability to set and push a political agenda.
How to win with them
The deck has three angles with provide you with the necessary flexibility to adapt to the table dynamics in most cases. The deck can
“Weenie Animalism” decks, as the name of this VTES deck archetype suggests, are decks based on small (sometimes also mid-cap) vampires with the Animalism discipline (preferably in the superior version). The deck can be played as rush combat as well as intercept combat deck, but both use the same combat package consisting of a large number of Carrion Crows and Aid from Bats combat cards.
How to win with them
The deck’s strength lies in its cost efficient minions (and therefore often a sizable number of vampires), and a very effective combat package. There are quite a number of low to mid-cap vampires with superior Animalism, and Animalism on its own has some very efficient combat cards (see also Crypt Composition section below). Most notable in this deck archetype is the combat package consisting of Carrion Crows and Aid from Bats, of which the decks incorporates 10 to 20 each.
So the question is how to get in combat, so can you use all those Animalism combat cards? There are generally three ways of doing this:
- by bleeding consistently,
- by rushing other minions,
- by blocking other minions.
Inspired by the Bibiliodeque project launched on VEKN France, I want to update the existing posts on Deck Archetypes from the previous years. These updates will include basics like spell checking, a (hopefully) consistent formatting and updated deck links as well as content-related updates. I plan to post one updated Deck Archetype each week, starting with the Weenie Animalism deck as the first update on Tuesday.
Let me know, if you have an ideas for additional articles for certain deck types ..