Despite the fact (or because of it) that on Sunday is the official “Launch Event” for the VtES expansion “Lords of the Night“, I couldn’t resist taking a closer look at the preconstructed decks. Here are my thoughts on them and some advice for the draft tactics during the “Launch Event“.
Followers of Set
This is IMHO the strongest starter of the four. The deck can either bleed with Presence (“Dream World“) or Serpentis (“Revelation of Desire“) and has enough “Obfuscate” stealth cards to bring actions through, or it can use the “Corruptions” and “Temptations” to take control of opposing vampires and allies, e.g. the “Shambling Hordes” of the “Giovanni” deck.
On the defensive side the deck has “WHRM Talk Radio“, a “Dummy Corporation” and some “Ecstacies” & “Confusion of the Eye” (which also doubles as vote defense), so the bleed defense is there, but it’s not too strong. The combat defense of the deck is great. There are 7 “Strike: combats ends” in the deck, and two combat-cancel-card with “Mental Maze” as well as a “Secure Haven“.
The crypt is ok, the average capacity of the vampires is low enough, and the deck has “Nakhthorheb” as its star vampire. But with the three other clans being able to punish the Setites in combat, I would ditch the “Sundervere“, since he is on the “Red List” and can be attacked easily.
In the combined starter/booster draft I would try to get cards requiring the three-in-clans of course, hoping to gain an “Eternals of Sirius” or two and if you are really lucky a “Cave of Apples“.
There are few cards from the main deck I would ditch; “Tutu, the Double Evil One” isn’t a good ally and so the “Summoning” can go as well. If you want a tighter deck, you could also get rid of the “Revelation of Wrath” and “The Jones“.
This is more a less a straight bruise-and-bleed deck. It can hit opposing minions quite hard using either the “Shambling Hordes” or the “Harasses” to attack. During combat either the abundance of melee weapon help or the Govanni can just the Potence cards (“Slam“, “Torn Signpost“, etc.) in the deck.
The deck can also bleed quite well, with 7 bleed modifiers as well as two permanent bleed modifiers (“Camera Phone“). The deck can then use the block denial (“Call of the Hungry Dead“) and the low stealth cards (“Spectral Divination“) to bring the actions through. Quite strangely this deck has three “Reckless Agitation“, but lacks the voting power (other than by “Constanzia“) to bring the votes through.
In the draft I would ditch the more esoteric cards like “Whispers from the Dead” or “Ex Nihilo” since it dilutes the bruise and bleed abilities of the deck. I would also get rid of the “Path of Bone“. The investment of 1 pool and the average count of Necromancy cards that cost blood doesn’t justify playing the card in this deck.
During the booster draft I would try to get as much allies as possible to use as fodder in the ashheap for the “Shambling Hordes“. The in-clan-disciplines are also of priority, luckily you do not compete with any of clans for “Necromancy“, “Dominate” or “Potence“. If you want to add some more variety to your deck, start drafting “Fortitude” cards, which you can use when playing “Proxy Kissed” or when playing with 4 of your 12 vampires from the main deck who have “Fortitude“.
The crypt of the deck is rather bad. Only the high caps have superior “Dominate“, and the distribution of the disciplines among the small- and mid-caps is not great in general. Try to replace these vampires by those acquired during the booster draft.
I do not really know what to think of this one. The deck is very defensive combat-wise with lots of defensive cards especially damage prevention, but very few offensive options in combat. There is little forward motion in this deck. There a few bleed modifiers, but the deck is missing other good offensive options.
The defensive package is so-and-so, the “Raven Spies” are great, as well “Instintive Reaction” and the four untap cards (“Forced Vigiliance” & “Fillip“, but the defensive “Chimerstry” cards are somewhat bad.
What the deck is missing, is either former staple cards like “Sensory Deprivation” (to shutdown prey or predator’s key vampires) or “Traps” (for effective use with “Apparation“, or cards like “Tumnosis” or “Embraces” to fully take advantage of the “Week of Nightmares“.
The crypt is in general ok, but the vampires except the 10-cap “Lizette” lack superior “Animalism“, so I would try to exchange some of the mid- to low-caps by other Ravnos with that discipline.
From the main deck I would lose all of the ineffective Chimerstry cards like “Ignis Fatus” and “Pseudo-Blindness” as well as “Amria” or “Fata Amria“. During the booster draft try to get the Animalism cards like “Sense the Savage Ways” or “Flesh Bond“. Avoid more damage prevention via “Fortitude“, the deck already has enough.
Despite my first impressions I think I do actually like this deck. It is somewhat toolboxy, but it can attack using “Frontal Assault” and four “Clandestine Contracts“, it can bleed with “Loss” or even “Truth of Blood“, it also has some decent untaps (both active (“Flurry of Action“) and passive (“Black Sunrise“)).
The deck also has a little stealth (“Swallowed by the Night” and “Resist the Earth’s Grasp“), as well an equal amount of (low) intercept cards (“Rooftop Shadows” and “Blood Awakening“. Vital for the deck are the “Paths of Blood“, since lots of the “Quietus” cards cost blood.
Combat-wise the deck needs a little more punch, but that can be acquired during the booster draft, e.g by drafting “Strike at the True Flesh” or a “Nightstick“. The decks strength is also its strong crypt, the Assamites have the best mid-cap vampires of the four decks, “Kashan” and “Layla bint-Nadr“. I would only try replace one of the two 10-caps each by smaller clan members. Also try get as much “Obfuscate” cards as possible, on the hand to use it yourself and also to deny them from the “Followers of Set”!
The deck will be not easy to play, but played properly it can be devastating for its prey or predator.