Official VEKN Nosferatu Newsletter for September, 2001

Special ALL BEAST issue!

To quote The Stooges (the best thing to ever come out of Detroit, incidentally):

"I'm a street walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm.
I'm the renegade son of the nuclear A-bomb.
I am the world's forgotten boy, the one who searches and destroys!"

If this isn't a fitting description of Beast, I don't know what is.

This month, a newsletter devoted to everyone's favorite Nosferatu, Beast, The Leatherface of Detroit. Yeah, yeah, he is actually an anti-Nosferatu, but I never differentiate between the two as they are completely interchangeable in my book (and I am totally unconcerned with the World of Darkness...), but either way, Beast is one ass kicking Nosferatu. Let's have a look, shall we?

Beast, The Leatherface of Detroit: (7) POT, OBF, cel, ani. Beast cannot perform action-card actions or recruit allies. He cannot have or use equipment or retainers. As a (D) action, Beast may enter combat with any ready minion controlled by another Methuselah. +1 strength.

A 7 point vampire with 2 in clan superiors, 2 inferiors, and a special ability is fairly common. Beast, however, comes with more than that--he gets 2 very useful special abilities (built in Rush and +1 strength), but to pay for this, he also gets a significant disadvantage--he can't use any stuff or take any card related actions. This would seem like a fairly debilitating disadvantage, but for Beast, who even cares. Beast exists specifically to kill stuff, and has all the necessary disciplines, +1 strength, and built in Rush to prove it. Will it ever matter that Beast can't use a gun or play Shepherd's Innocence? Probably not, as Beast should be attacking and killing someone every single turn he is out, as he is a whirlwind of killing power. He has POT, which as everyone knows, is what makes a killing deck go. For back up disciplines, he has the Nosferatu standards of OBF and ani, both of which are useful in combat--Obfuscate for the occasional maneuver in combat (in a Pot/Obf deck) or Animalism for Drawing out the Beast (badum-bum-kat-ching!), Carrion Crows, or Song of Serenity. Add to this mix inferior celerity (the best combat support discipline out there), and Beast can even hang out with the Brujah.

How to best use Beast? Obviously, put him in a Rush deck with a lot of Potence cards, Immortal Grapples, and the standard combat support. He can work in any Nosferatu combat deck or any Brujah combat deck with equal efficiency. His built in Rush action is incredibly useful for getting a Rush deck out of a hand jam due to no Rush cards--attack with Beast's inherent attack action, cycle lots of cards, kill something, and move on. In any sort of Sabbat sealed deck environment, such as a Draft tournament, Beast should be grabbed up as soon as he is seen. This keeps him out of the hands of your opponents, and in a sealed/draft environment, he is worth putting in any deck, even if you aren't using any of his disciplines--built in Rush and +1 strength is always going to be useful in a limited environment.

So to fully capitalize upon Beast, I have come up with a fairly absurd deck as a thought experiment--I haven't actually built this, and have no idea if it would actually be any good, but it seems fairly sound. Thus, I present:

"Search and Destroy"

4x Beast (7) POT, cel
4x Theo Bell (7) POT, cel
4x Amelia (7) POT, CEL

Master Cards:
3x Celerity
3x Blood Doll
2x Dreams of the Sphinx
2x Minion Tap
2x Fame
1x Recruiting Party
1x Pentex Loves You!

Minion cards:
12x Immortal Grapple
12x Torn Signpost
14x Undead Strength
6x Increased Strength
4x Thrown Sewer Lid
2x Decapitate
2x Rampage
10x Flash
6x Acrobatics
8x Taste of Vitae

Clearly, this is a variation on my tried and true Rush deck formula, but with a twist. All three vampires in the crypt have built in Rush actions, making space for a lot of extra useful cards, as there is no need for Bum's Rush actions or Haven Uncovered master cards. Due to not having any need for Rush cards, there is a lot more room for useful cards in the deck, and your hand will never clog up with Rush cards, making for a deck with excellent card flow. The lack of need for Haven Uncovered makes space for extra useful master cards, such as Minion Tap and Pentex Loves You! (which allows Beast to bleed for 2!). The Recruiting Party is in there as a pinch long shot, just in case get a really crappy crypt draw (like 4 Amelias...) in a particular game--yeah, the 2 cost is expensive, but with the addition of 2 Minion Taps as well as the 3 Blood Dolls, it should be a wash.

Using Potence for heavy hitting strikes will do a lot of torporizing damage, the back up Celerity provides plenty of maneuvers and presses, and the Acrobatics gives access to additional strike power and the Dodge/Additional Strike that is useful against decks with aggro damage, like the Gangrel or Tsimiscee. The Increased Strength cards should always be useful with 14 Undead Strengths and the 4 Thrown Sewer Lids (just in case you run into someone with a Sniper Rifle or Cailean).

Granted, for such a promising premise, this deck has a lot of problems. First off is the obvious crypt flaw--only three different vampires. I suspect that in practice, you'll draw at least two different vampires more often than not, but occasionally you'll end up with 4 of the same one (or alternately, you might get three different!). Any math geeks out there who want to come up with the odds of any particular outcome? Then there is the speed factor. All of your vampires are 7 points, so they won't be coming out quickly, and even when they are out, you are unlikely to have more than 2 vampires out at a given time, which means only two actions a turn--not enough for a truly proactive Rush defense, and it will take you forever to oust anyone, barring a good deal of Fame use. The real weak link, however, is probably Amelia, who has a limited Rush action (she can only attack vampires younger than 4)--sure, you are likely to see small vampires somewhere, but you might just get screwed as she can't attack anyone (meaning she will always be you last choice for influencing out).

Is this deck going to be a tournament winner? Probably not--it is slow and fragile. On the other hand, as a design exercise, it is interesting in that it circumvents the greatest problem of the Rush deck--the need for dead weight Rush actions in your deck. That, and it makes total use of the might that is Beast.