Here are some more notable things about the latest VtES expansion “Heirs to the Blood” which are worth mentioning:
- The Rising is a card that originates from the Build-Your-Own-Storyline event “What Lies Beneath“, which took place in Melbourne, Australia in March 2009.
- Toy is the first non-Gargoyle slave.
- A number of prominent VtES players are depicted on both crypt and library cards:
- A whole lot of cards requiring disciplines (including those requiring Maleficia and Striga) are drawn from Vampire Dark Ages books, namely the “Dark Ages Companion” (WW2804) and the “Storytellers Companion” (WW20003).
Still in reference to the original “Legacies of Blood Top Ten” list made by Greg Williams in January 2006, I would like to show you a similar list, namely the top ten library and top five crypt cards of the “Keepers of Tradition” expansion, at least from my point of view:
Top Five Crypt Cards
- “The Unnamed” — as the previews of “Heirs to the Blood” have been shown, this vampire of clan Baali and his abilities were hotly discussed. He has a reasonable set of discipline with Protean and Celerity as out-of-clan disciplines, but what sets him apart are his special abilties. Not only can he strike for 2R aggravated damage, but you also gain 2 pool when he bleeds successfully, easily offsetting the infernal penalty. A deck based on him when “The Unnamed” has an “Enkil Cog” and a “Homunculus” would be a force of nature.
- “Shalmath” — the True Brujah vampire is best one with a built-in untap ability yet, as he can untap once every turn at any given time. “Shalmath” follows the pattern of some the big capacity vampires lately (like “Nakhthorheb” or “The Ankou“), who only have their clan disciplines at superior, but have a very good special. It remains to be seen which kind of deck is going to spawn. Probably not too wallish, since “Shalmath” lacks the proper disciplines for that. But with “Enkil Cog” he could act twice, e.g. in his turn and his prey’s turn), and still be able to play cards like “Rewind Time” or “Touch of Pain” in other player’s turns.
- “Qawiyya el-Ghaduba” — this Salubri vampire has some similarities with “Enkidu“. Both are red-listed vampires, have +2 strength and are real monsters in combat, although with a different set of disciplines at their disposal. The main difference is that while “Enkidu” has a built-in rush ability, Qawiyya has a built-in untap ability, making her suitable for a multi-rush combat deck as well. Although Qawiyya has only three relevant combat disciplines, she’s has almost the same combat capabilities, Fortitude and Valeren can be used to prevent damage and Potence and Valeren to dish out damage. Only her access to maneuvers and moreover to additional strikes is somewhat restricted. With access to both “Immortal Grapple” and “Death Seeker” she also has some of the best tools against “Strike: Combat Ends”.
- Blood Brothers Kiev Circle — this Blood Brother Circle and their selection of disciplines is a fresh change to the pertient set of disciplines the previous circles possessed. With the introduction of Protean on four of the five vampires of the Kiev Circle, decks based on them offers a wide range of directions they can take. For example, one could built a deck which makes the vampires Anarch, play cards like “Smash and Grab” or “Skullduggery” and use “CrimethInc.” untap.
- “Arishat“, “Ariel“, “Isanwayen” — although these vampires are not overly powerful by themselves, they are vampires that can form the backbone for a deck based on these bloodlines. They all are vampires of capacity 6 and they all have their respective clan disciplines at superior. In the past of all the bloodlines only the Daughters of Cacophony (“Yseult“) featured such a vampire, and other bloodlines like the Samedi or the Harbingers of Skull still lack it.
Runners-up: The Arcadian, Chaundice
- “Darlene Killian” — this group 5 Ahrimanes is simply not a good “bridge” vampire for the Ahrimanes, due to her small capacity and her disadvantage of paying extra for allies and retainers.
- “Toy” — while the Samedi received an extra vampire (which the clan dearly needed), his disadvantage makes him only playable in very specialized decks, fcr example a Malkavian bleed deck which uses the Toy’s slave status for good.
Top Ten Library Cards
- “Wider View” — this master card is good for those decks with a star vampire crypt, which actually wants to bring out several other vampires as well. For the cost of one pool (for the card itself) and one transfer you can cycle through your crypt without spending several turns and 4 transfers each. And in the end when you have the crypt you desire you can ditch the card for 2 pool by spending 4 transfers. Another good design feature is that the card is not unique like “Information Highway“, so extra copies can be played easily later in the game, without choking your hand.
Decks: Star vampire decks with multiple or only one copy of the star. Or decks with a narrow crypt selection (like the newly introduced group 6 vampires for the bloodlines) that want to play all of their different vampires in their crypt.
- “Lily Prelude” — this political action requiring Melpominee certainely beats the benchmark of “Kine Resources Contested“. Although the action costs a blood, the fact that you can assign the four points of damage any way you want outweighs the cost. And if the acting vampire has superior Melpominee he can even choose a Methuselah to gain a pool. So you can “bribe” one of your so-called cross-tables buddies a bit.
Decks: Any vote deck containing a reasonably number of Daughters of Cacophony. With this card you may see the Daughters as support clan for the Ventrue or Toreador more often.
- “The Rising” — I am quit sure that this event will see some playtime in the future. It will speed games up, since it will prevent players from gaining pool in their minion phase and,even more likely, in their master phase (via “Villein“, “Blood Doll“, etc.). The only drawback is that it can backfire against yourself (when you don’t have the edge or a VP), or making another it easier for another player to oust somebody. But in deck build for exploiting “The Rising“, e.g. Malkavian antitribu Stealth/Bleed deck this card is a killer.
Decks: Any deck that (hopes to) makes a quick VP, or can regain the Edge reliably while not relying on blood gain during the untap or master phase.
- “Death Seeker” — by my opinion this card is on similar level to “Immortal Grapple” and “Psyche” to beat “Strike: Combat Ends“. But furthermore it can also overcome other combat defense like damage prevention or maneuvers if necessary. This card makes combat decks based on Salubri antitribu much more efficient, when before often lots of the cards played before strike were wasted when “Strike: Combat Ends” was played by the opponent. And before HttB only “Telepathic Tracking” could help, which only could be played by “Adonai” and “Dela Eden” (the only Salubri antitribu with superior Auspex back then).
Decks: Any Salubri antitribu combat deck.
- “Summon History” — when currently looking at EBay auctions for VtES cards this action card requiring Temporis is the card with the highest prices. If these prices are reasonable is debatable, but the card has a similar effect on the VtES community as “Mata Hari” back in the days when she was introduced in “Kindred Most Wanted“. The card makes decks possible which combine a multitude of permanent cards of vastly different requirements, e.g. combining “War Ghoul” deck with the “Tinglestripes” equipment. And at superior you can even move a vampire from the ash heap or uncontrolled region to the ready region, albeit without blood, but with the cost reduction a card like “Ankara Citadel” the sudden appearance of vampire is more than reasonably priced.
Decks: Any deck wants to use (or abuse) this card. Since the inferior version of the card is already good, “Agent of Power” is a cheap means to play this card by almost any deck.
- “Faerie Ward” — another very strong card requiring Mytherceria. For a reasonable 2 blood this card can cancel a (D) action against you, for example a bleed, rush or other actions like “Temptation” or “Enticement“. And played at superior Mytherceria the acting vampire doesn’t even untap during his next untap phase. This makes the card something like a reversed “Mind Numb“.
Decks: Suitable for any Kiasyd, because it offers a very strong defense for a reasonable price.
- “Code of Samiel” — basicially this is a hunting ground for the Salubri antitribu, and with a cost of 2 pool reasonably priced. What the card makes really good is the additional (or is it the main?) feature of the card. Each time a Salubri antitribu burns a minion or sends a vampire to torpor he untaps at the of the turn. The good thing is that the effect can be used several times each turn, and not only in your turn, but in every other turn as well. Outstanding.
Decks: Any Salubri antitribu combat deck.
- “Veneficti (Mage)” — this Baali ally is one of the most cost effective allies ever. +1 stealth and bleed for two for the cost of just one pool is very, very good. Compare this to “Nephandus“, which also have 2 life, 1 bleed, 1 damage and a nifty special, but Nephandus costs 1 pool more than Veneficti. In my opinion this ally is an auto-include in every Baali deck.
Decks: Almost any deck with more than 3 or 4 Baali vampires.
- “Gremlins” — this action action requiring Mytherceria is a very versatile one. You can either burn an equipment as +1 stealth action (at inferior Mytherceria), or you can bleed for +1 at +1 stealth. Combined with “Bonding” you can easily perform a +2 bleed at +2 stealth, and without even paying a single blood. Although not entirely dark-gothic-like, I really appreciate the artwork.
Decks: Good addition for most Kiasyd bleed decks due to the card’s versatility.
- “Tend the Flock “– the card that says for every Baali deck (except the mono-capacity ones) gain three pool. OK, maybe the cardtext doesn’t say so explicetly, but it comes down to this. A little unimaginative (even for Baali), but a very strong crypt accelerator and/or bloat card.
Decks: Any deck with more than half the vampires being Baali of different capacity.
Runners-up: Cavalier, Dabbler. Mind of the Wilds. Oppugnant Night, Raw Recruit, Voices of the Castle, and some more .. good new stuff in this expansion.
- Spirit Claws — while the card is good in theory, there are too few vampires who can actually play it. You need either some Protean skill cards, or if you prefer the cheaper variant, “Agent of Power“, to give an Ahrimanes superior Protean, otherwise only “Sylvie Helgon” can play the card at superior.
- Most the cards the Samedi (including those requiring Thanatosis) are getting. “Stiff Contempt” or “Decompose” are not really good, and the other cards are somewhat ok, but what the Samedi needs is a card that ousts, like the Daughters‘ “Harmony” or the Followers of Set “Enticement“, not a card like “Under My Skin” which is good in itself, but doesn’t help a clan which has problems with gaining ousting power.
- Bliss — why do we need a card that gives a combat ends at superior Dominate and superior Presence, when both disciplines have a card of this alone? Because it doesn’t cost, so does “Autonomic Mastery” (although your minion usually got hit), and so does “Staredown“. Ignorance is bliss, they say, and in this case they might be right.
The long awaited card database long-awaited (CSV) for VtES (including the latest expansion “Heirs to the Blood“) is now available. The file is needed for updating some card utilities like Anarch Revolt Deck Builder (ARDB).
The VtES CSV file should be downloaded directly from this link: http://www.white-wolf.com/vtes/downloads/vtescsv.zip. The link on the White Wolf download area for VtES is pointing to an old version of the file (pre-“Heirs to the Blood“).
As reported last week (“Strong Sales“) the next VtES expansion “Heirs to the Blood” is selling very well. Whereas Potomac Distribution reported last week that their share of HttB booster displays are sold out, yesterday White Wolf reported that their share of HttB starter displays are sold out as well. In the German VEKN forum the European distributor Walch & Nusser also reported that their lot of starter displays are sold out, but claimed to have approximately 100 starter displays on back order. In addition The Lasombra posted in the VtES Usenet Newsgroup that he also has no longer any starter displays to sell.
There are some notable things about “Heirs to the Blood” worth mentioning:
- For the first time in ages, not only L. Scott Johnson and Robert Goudie are named as designers in the rulebook, but also Ben Peal.
- The artwork of the card Channel 10 in “Heirs to the Blood” has changed insofar, that the image is only a portion of the version in the 10th Anniversary set.
- Also on Channel 10 the quote is attributed to “Cock Robin” (Nosferatu Justicar) while the original Channel 10 attributes the quote to “Calebros” (Nosferatu Prince of New York).
- The card “Cavalier” has been issued an errata by LSJ. The card text ends now with “A vampire can have only one archetype”.
- The card background on “Shaal Fragment” should be the one for equipment, not combat.
Here’s some information on the distribution of the cards in boosters of the VtES expansion “Heirs to the Blood“. As in the previous expansion “Ebony Kingdom” and “Keepers of Tradition” the distribution of the cards is pseudo random at best, or in other words you can easily recognize the printing pattern.
The common cards are in distinct order with the individual cards having a distinct successor and predecessor card in the seven slots for common cards:
Morphean Blow –> Masca –> Hide the Heart –> Gremlins –> Din of the Damned –> Striga –> Oustide the Hourglass –> Virtuosa –> Penitent Resilience –> Lead Fist –> Voices of the Castle –> Development –> Under My Skin –> Tinglestripe –> Lily Prelude –> Slake the Thirst –> Flames of the Netherworld –> Faerie Wards –> Foldable Machine Gun –> Loving Agony –> Tend the Flock –> Scobax –> Shatter the Gate –> Dagger –> Hive Mind –> Death Seeker –> Benefit Performance –> Mole’s Tunneling –> Visionquest –> Groaning Corpse –> As the Crow –> Dive Bomb –> Brick by Brick –> Scourge of Alecto –> Maleficia –> Off Kilter –> Stiff Contempt –> Safe Passage –> Pocket Out of Time –> Diabolic Lure –> Three’s a Crowd –> Psalm of the Damned –> Momentary Delay –> Mind of the Wilds –> Greater Curse –> Gift of Sleep –> Jar of Skin Eaters –> Vaticination –> Evil Eye –> Shattering Crescendo –> Wider View –> Ears of the Hare –> Ravager –> Oppugnant Night –> Hexe –> Lord of Serenity
The same thing basically applies for the distribution of vampire cards. Initially I couldn’t make a single series out of it, because I couldn’t distinguish the positions of the two vampires with U2 rarity (“The Horde” and “Grotesque“), and I never saw a booster that had “The Horde” and “Grotesque” in the middle middle position of the three vampire cards. After a reader’s comment to this post, I was able to complete the series.
Unfortunately, and this upsets me quite a bit, the same pattern also applies to the rare cards as well. I bought two booster boxes and the set of rares (even which ones where duplicate) were exactly the same! Even worse the order of the rare card in the booster display was the same. The rare of the last two booster displays in the bottom of the box where “Research” and “Blood Tempering” in both boxes. To make matters worse a french player I know had exactly the same composition of rare cards in the booster box he bought as I had.
The rares in one box were (here in alphabetical order):
1x The Ailing Spirit — 1x The Black Beast — 1x Blessing of the Beast — 1x Bliss — 2x Blood Tempering — 1x Cavalier — 1x Charge of the Buffalo — 1x Cheat the Fates — 1x Clockwerx — 1x Code of Samiel — 1x Dabbler — 1x Decompose — 1x Draeven Softfoot (Changeling) — 2x Fanfare for Elysium — 1x Fractura — 1x Great Symposium — 1x Harmony — 1x Hay Ride — 1x Hunger Moon — 1x I am Legion — 2x Infernal Servitor — 1x Knotted Cord — 2x Member of the Entourage — 1x The Path of Harmony — 1x Portio Martyrium — 1x Scarlet Lore — 1x Shadowed Eyes — 1x Spirit Claws — 1x Research — 1x Thicker than Blood — 1x Threading the Path of Orpheus — 1x Unleash Hell’s Fury
Thanks to floppyzedolfin for putting these lists together.
Here are the reprinted cards with new cards from the new VtES expansion “Heirs to the Blood“:
Salubri Antitribu/Ventrue Antitribu Starter: