Over it’s lifespan of now 25 years, the backsides of VTES cards have changed quite noticeably. To give you can overview of the most significant changes, here’s a summary list:
- Originally the game was produced by Wizard of the Coast (WotC), and the first release (back in 1994) has the Jyhad card back with the deckmaster logo (trademark).
- With the name change in 1995 to Vampire: the Eternal Struggle, the card backs also change to reflect the change. So the card back shows Vampire The Eternal Struggle with the deckmaster logo (trademark).
- Another year later (1996), WotC published the Ancient Heart expansion, the card backs changed again, but ever so slightly), changing trademark (TM) to the registered use (R) addition to the “deckmaster” text. This combination is what you see on the majority of the VTES cards.
- In 2006, the new publisher White Wolf released the Third Edition, but a lack of quality control on either the publisher’s or the printer’s side led to upside-down (or left-right) change of the backside. That is, if you turn a regular VTES card to its back, the Vampire The Eternal Struggle text is on the right side of the card back, and if you turn a Third Edition card around the same text is on the left.
- The last change to the card backs happened, when Black Chantry became the latest publisher of VTES. With the ties to Wizard of the Coast severed, the deckmaster series text was dropped altogether, leaving the Vampire the Eternal Struggle text along with lone trademark ™ text in the lower right of the card back side. (I am assuming the trademark actually refers to the Jyhad tri-snake logo now).
In addition these obvious changes, there are some more (or less subtle) changes:
- For example, the Ancient Heart card back colors are more saturated, e.g. the the crypt card backs have a slightly reddish hue, which you can more easily spot if you put cards from different editions side by side.
- While technically not a card back difference per se, the first printing of the 2019 Sabbat Precons also has slightly rounder corners compared to previous expansions.
Overall, one can say, that the VTES card backs have changed quite considerably, making somewhat of an issue when players using cards from various editions with different card backs, which is the case almost all the time. While the tournament rules do not explicitly require players to use card sleeves in tournament, it is recommended by the VEKN. Section 4.1 of the VEKN tournament rules state:
If cards with distinct backs are used in the same deck (e.g., Jyhad and Vampire: The Eternal Struggle cards, or upside-down 3rd Edition cards and right-side up cards, or mis-cut cards, or cards without the Deckmaster logo) are used, in order to prevent a significant advantage, all cards from the different sets, printings, etc. must be of sufficiently mixed card type, unless they are all sleeved with opaque sleeves (recommended).
Also in major tournaments (national or continental championships) the organizers require opaque (non-transparent) sleeves for the decks used in the tournament.
|1995 — 1996
||VTES, DS, AH
||Vampire The Eternal Struggle
|1996 — 2018
||WotC, White Wolf
||Sabbat, SW, .., HttB
||Vampire The Eternal Struggle
||Vampire The Eternal Struggle (upside-down)
||LK, Anthology, SP
||Vampire The Eternal Struggle
As part of the preview for the Gehenna expansion on April 1st, 2004 White Wolf showed the card “Pox Fly” on its website.
Initially there was some irritation about the power of the card. But it was, of course, an April’s Fool joke by White Wolf corrected a few days later with an explanation. The card text was pure imagination and the artwork was later seen on Recalled to the Founder.
The card was then shown without the markings (as seen on picture on the right), but a very observant reader could spot the date “4/01” and the word “April” beforehand.
Some cards in VtES have an interesting past, where their cardtext was changed significantly or sometimes cardtext changed multiple times. For example:
- Immortal Grapple (up to the Sabbat version) restricted strikes to hand strikes for the remainder of the combat, not only for the current round.
- Majesty didn’t cost blood during prior (to Camarilla Edition).
- Pulled Fangs inflicted aggravated damage (until Sabbat War).
- Golconda initially only burned the vampire, and did not remove it from the game.
These are only a few examples, but it shows how important it is to know (or at least to check) the latest cardtext if you build a deck/strategy upon a specific card.
The first three trading games developed by Richard Garfield and produced by Wizards of the Coast were Magic: the Gathering (1993), Vampire: the Eternal Struggle (1994) and Netrunner (1996). All of these were branded as part of the so-called “Deckmaster” series. But in fact, had little in common other than being trading card games and using the tapping cards (rotating cards by 90 degrees to indicate that they’re being used). The brand name was actually never really used/marketed ever, since the buyers and players never really cared if a particular game was part of the series, but since the cardbacks had been printed in that fashion in the first editions, Wizard decided not to change them anymore. (Actually they did when the name of VtES changed from Jyhad to Vampire the Eternal Struggle (in 1995), but they didn’t change the Deckmaster label).
Due the belonging to the “Deckmaster” series, the cards of the series had (approx.) the same dimensions. A deckmaster card ..
- .. is 63 mm wide and 88 mm high (2.5 by 3.5 inches),
- .. has a thickness of less than 1 millimeter,
- .. weighs 1.814 g (about 0.064 ounces).
The VtES Player’s Kit (product code: WW2257 / ISBN 1-58846-899-2) was an introductory set for VtES beginners, and was released at the same time as the Third Edition expansion in 2006. It contained basically the material needed for 4 players to start with VtES and was sold for $24.99 (list price). The player’s kit contained a number of different items:
- Four 50-card introductory decks.
- A large turn-by-turn instruction.
- 120 blood tokens (red glass).
- A Rulebook.
The four decks are actually halved versions of the Third Edition starter decks. Each of them had 44 library cards and 6 crypt cards. The decks were pre-stacked for use with the turn-by-turn instruction to guide new players through the game.
In addition, in each of these four decks there was one crypt cards, which did not show a colored (finalized) version of a vampire, but “only” the artist sketch. One left right you can see the four “unique” crypt cards from the VtES Players Kit. All the cards from the VtES Player’s Kit are tournament legal (including the four special crypt card versions) and function in the same way as the “original” cards from the Third Edition.
As discussed on VEKN.net, a number of abnominations/vampires/werewolves have been printed both in VtES and in Rage (the card game based on Werewolf: The Apocalypse roleplaying game), which are Allonzo Montoya, Count Vladmir Rustovich, Samuel Haight, and Walks-With-Might.
Do you wonder where the Sengir Dagger derives its name from?
Back in ’94 when Wizards of the Coast and Richard Garfield were designing the original Jyhad right (after they had published Magic the Gathering (MtG) a year earlier), the word Sengir got somehow transferred from MtG to VtES.
In the first MtG edition (“Alpha“) the card “Sengir Vampire” is a black creature card with 4/4 and flying which gets a +1/+1 counter each time the Sengir Vampire is damaging another creature and moving it into the graveyard. The card has been reprinted multiple times, with M2012 being the last expansion where Sengir Vampire was included.
So what’s all this fuss about Sengir vampires, what are they exactly. Well, they don’t actually fit in the whole World of Darkness of White Wolf. The background story is completly separate.
Sengir is the name of vampire race in the MtG multiverse (allegedly similar to the similar to the Nosferatu breed). Sengir Vampires are said to be descendants of the legendary Baron Sengir on the planes of Dominaria and Ulgrotha.
Apparently the infamous Baron Sengir is the founder of this particular breed of vampires, as described in the book Secrets of Magic. He’s ruling his the Dark Barony on Ulgrotha from Castle Sengir. A whole more information on Baron Sengir can be found in the MtG Salavation Wiki.
Currently there have been nine cards published with the name “Sengir” in its title, namely: