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 ..
The Deck of the Month for January/February 2015 is the tournament winning deck “Heart of Stone” by Mailton Silva (BRA). The deck is a block/rush combat deck based on the group 4/5 Gargoyles. I have chosen this deck, because you don’t see Gargoyle decks winning tournaments that often if these Gargoyles are not Tupdogs, and in contrast to the typical Tupdog deck, this deck has some decent intercept to stay in the game. The stars of the deck are Chaundice and Rocia, both having a useful combat special ability.
As usual, there were quite a few interesting decks beside the Deck of the Month in January & February. In each case, the decks are not your typical tournament winning powerhouses, but rather toolbox decks with cards that are from the latest expansions or with cards you see rarely at the final table of the tournament, let alone winning it.
- Giovanni mini powerbleed with goods by Lex Pike (USA) — what’s unusual about this deck is the extensive use of Shroud Mastery in this deck, as well as the first inclusion of Funeral’s Wake in a TWD. I regard Funeral’s Wake one of the better cards in The Unaligned, and I think we’ll see that card more often in finals, and not necessarily restricted to Giovanni decks.
- Vem para mim by Tiago Deividy (BRA) — this deck is actually an golden oldie, and is based on the combined use of Free States Rant & Temptation. What I like about the deck is that it remains toolboxish, that is it also uses other cards like Enticement & Entrancement or Disputed Territory to achieve its goals. And as said above, you don’t see it very often in tournaments anymore.
- Locksmith by Marko Lindroos (FIN) — The last deck is an Imbued deck, that doesn’t do its variation of Vigilance & Leather Jacket. I think, it’s really one of the very, very few Imbued decks, that uses cards minion cards requiring a Creed other than a Power card (or a Conviction). The main card of the deck is Lock, which is used to deprive opposing minions of their blood/life. Later in the game Unity allows to retrieve those Locks, that have been burned (or blocked). In this Lock is (indirectly) assisted by other cards like Hunger Moon or Vampiric Disease. Very nice indeed and rarely seen in this shape.
After having presented six “Decks of the Month” in the past year, I have asked you to pick the Deck of the Year 2014. 158 votes have been cast in this poll.
So the winner for the Deck of Year 2014 is Giulio De Cicco (ITA) with his “Mimir” deck. Congratulations to Giulio for building and winning with this deck. Unfortunately for the winner, there is no actual prize support for this “award” other than your five minutes of fame.
- Mar/Apr 2014: Mimir by Giulio De Cicco (ITA) — a Gangrel antitribu Bleed deck feat. Mimir — 32.91% (52 votes).
- Jul/Aug 2014: Black Suit, Silver Bullet by Roberto Mautone (BRA) — a Toreador Wall deck with a plan. — 15.19% (24 votes).
- Nov/Dec 2014: Kirkonrottia ja muita uskonnollisia juttuja by Marko Lindroos (FIN) — an Imbued/Rockcat crossover — 15.19% (24 votes).
- May/Jun 2014: 419 forms of corruption by Matus Kovalcik (SVK) — 419 Operation times Form of Corruption — 13.29% (21 votes).
- Jan/Feb 2014: Crazy Magic by Jorge Verdi (ESP) — a Aus/Dem/Tha/Obf Big Cap. Toolbox deck — 12.66% (20 votes).
- Sep/Oct 2014: Miam Miam by Guilhem Marrannes (FRA) — a Big Cap Amaranth deck — 10.76% (17 votes).
Not very often, but once in a while I have the urge to prove that you can build a viable deck around a certain card. Last year, I looked at Nightstick, a card that was introduced with the Lords of the Night expansion in 2007. A quick check showed that the card is not included in any tournament winning deck (and still isn’t). Like most other melee weapons, the basic benchmark is Bastard Sword/Meat Cleaver. It offers the same damage (+1 strength), has the advantage of alternatively preventing 3 damage from a hand or melee weapon strike, and has the disadvantage of being usable only once per combat round. In that sense, the Nightstick (like Baseball Bat or Kerrie) costs the same as Bastard Sword/Meat Cleaver, and has a set of advantages which balance roughly against the disadvantage.
The real drawback of the Nightstick is the limitation of using it only once per combat round. Otherwise, the Nightstick would be a great weapon, first preventing the hitback by the opposing minion, and then hitting for +1 strength damage with one (or more) additional strike(s). Nonetheless, I really like the versatility of the card, e.g. when I was playing against a deck which used Valkyries with Trap and Flesh of Marble to kill allies or send vampires to torpor, the Nightstick was the perfect answer for this kind of deck. As soon as he used Flesh of Marble, I could use the Nightstick to prevent the damage ad nauseam, and if not I could hit the Valkyries for (at least) two each round as well.
Now what to do with the Nightstick and its limitation? Eventually I came up with a number of different approaches, which I want to show you and discuss briefly why I had chosen a particular approach.
- The very first idea that came to my mind was to use Nightstick together with Carrion Crows, using the damage prevention of the Nightstick and letting the environmental damage of the Crows do its work. Unfortunately with Animalism alone it’s not that easy. The usual means of fully utilizing this combination is using Aid from Bats, and this obviously doesn’t work when you’re using a Nightstick to strike. (In hindsight, using Trap instead might work well). Nonetheless I built a deck based on Animalism and Obfuscate using Nosferatu antitribu, but it turned out that the lack of being able to make full use of Carrion Crows (and/or some other additional damage) defeated the purpose of the deck, and after 15 years of Beast being one of the top rushers in VTES, I totally forgot that he cannot have/use equipment. So after playing the deck two times with very little success, I scraped the deck and moved on ..
- African Policing — So the second deck I build was based on Akunanse, since they could provide everything (or at least more than the Nosferatu antitribu could) I needed to make the Nightstick effective (or so I thought). You have access to damage prevention cards (via Fortitude), as well as environmental damage (Carrion Crows) and most importantly access to presses (with additional benefits) (Invoking the Beast). And make the deck complete, there’s Matata (press & +1 strength!) and Powerbase: Luanda to be able to rush, if necessary. But the deck didn’t work, and I blame mostly the fact, that the crypt average is rather high; you want two Akunanse with capacity of 7-9 plus perhaps a small-cap Akunanse. It just takes too long to have finally this set of vampires in play and the necessary setup in terms of locations and equipment for being competitive against weenie decks or big cap deck using Zillah’s Valley and Villein.
- Assamite Anarch Attacks — The next idea was to use Diversion as main combat together with the Nightsticks. Even though you cannot use the same Nightstick, you can use the Nightstick as defense when needed, or as offense when you use Diversion for damage prevention. A second premise of the deck was to eventually equip a vampire with more than one melee weapon, in order to hit with Nightstick defensively first and with the second weapon via Diversion offensively. The crypt consists mostly of Assamite vampires belonging to the Black Hand and/or having Fortitude and Celerity. Janni and Joe Boot Hill come especially handy, because both can inflict 3 damage with one Nightstick strike. The deck also uses a mixed Anarch/Black Rush technique for rushing opposing minions, Steely Tenacity (req. Anarch) and two different Black Hand contracts plus Shakar. With Crimethinc and Forced March the deck also has some multi-rush options. The deck did OK(ish), it’s greatest weakness being the lack of any defense other than rushing your predator’s minions. To address this gap I recently added two (cheap) intercept locations, namely Anarch Free Press and Market Square. It remains to be seen if these are worthwhile additions to the deck ..
- Goes To War — The last deck I built (although only virtually) has a different approach than the previous ones, in the sense it’s not a rush deck per (although it can rush via Shakar), but rather a more wallish approach. It uses Elimelech as star vampire, he combines a lot of what I wanted from the two previous decks. He has +1 strength, and can use his special ability to avoid some hitback from time to time; he can use Shakar to rush almost any vampire on the table, and has decent defensive capabilities with Auspex (shared by his crypt buddies). The deck also has an Obeah angle, mostly to fill up Elimelech (via Renewed Vigor) and untap him using Eurayle’s special ability. Eventually I decided not to build this deck for actual play, because even though it looked reasonably fair on paper, I fear that it is much too slow (even bigger crypt size than the Akunanse deck) and has too many moving parts (e.g. the Fueled by Heart’s Blood or the Shakars).
Conclusion: After playing now a couple of decks with Nightsticks, I still like the card, very much so even .. don’t get me wrong, the card is inferior to the likes of .44 Magnum or an Ivory Bow, but given the right accompanying cards, Nightsticks can be asset to your deck and game.
After having presented six VtES Decks of the Month in the past year here’s the poll for you to pick the Deck of the Year 2014 (see sidebar on the right). There is no actual prize support for this “award” other than your five minutes of fame.
The poll will be closed on February 6th, 2015 (18:00 CET).