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.