Official VEKN Nosferatu newsletter for Jan 1, 1999

As the Nosferatu tend to be a clan that relies on combat as a means to an end, they need to make the most out of combat. In Jyhad, it is generally pretty difficult to destroy vampires, and as a destroyed vampire (rather than just a torporized one) is making the most you can out of combat, this is something one needs to consider while building a Nosferatu combat deck. Of the two basic ways of destroying a vampire, burning and diablere, burning is usually much harder to do in combat, but diablere is expensive in both vampires and actions. Fortunately, the Nosferatu have at their disposal a few cards that make the destruction of vampires easier than simple diablere:

1. Amartanth. Everyone can use Amaranth, and is in no way a Nosferatu specific card, but as they are good at sending folks to torpor, they'll get more use out if it than most. Amaranth cuts a step out of diablere, namely having to take a second action to destroy a single vampire, but does so at the expense of being a very combo related card that often jams your hand. The ability to diablerize an opposing vampire without having to spend another action makes killing vampires very efficient--send them to torpor and eat them in one fell swoop--but still has the problem of regular diablere, that you are likely to get your diablerist burned in the resultant Blood Hunt. To make Amaranth worth while, you need to either have plentiful, disposable vampires, or the voting power to back up your diablere. With a weenie combat deck, vampires tend to be cheap and plentiful, yes, but in reality, losing even one or two vamps to a Blood Hunt can set you back pretty far, as combat decks tend to have to fight a rough, two front war. Thus, Amaranth is more likely to be useful in a deck built around large titled vampires, and for the Nosferatu, these are all the strong 7, 8 and 9 vamps like Nikolaus, Selma, and Sheldon. As they all have POT, ani, and for, the basics of a good combat deck are there, and you have the vote power to make a Blood Hunt survivable. The Amaranths in this type of deck will also help to make up for the fewer actions available to a deck built out of big vamps.

2. Sacrificial Lamb. Sacrificial Lamb is possibly a strong card in the right deck, but in general, its opportunity cost is pretty high. To make the Sacrifice possible, you need to have OBF, the combat ability to ensure folks end up in torpor, and stealth to make it work (as it is not inherrently stealthy). That, and it does nothing to aleviate the need for a second vampire and a second action to destroy a vampire (like Amaranth does), but keeps you free from a Blood Hunt. Sacrifice might be worth using a couple of in a Pot/Obf combat deck (although Beast can't utilize it), and definitely worth using in some sort of Disguised Weapon/Obf deck that might be workable. As useful as it seems, I suspect that Sacrificial Lamb's requirements for effective use are simply too steep to make the card reliable. Having a few in any OBF based deck as a surprise hole card is appealing, but it seems unlikely to be a viable backbone of a combat deck.

3. Decapitate. Decapitate, in a Pot based combat deck, is very strong. Yes, you need to have 2 blood and POT for it to be useable, but a good Pot combat deck should have plenty of Taste of Vitae to refil vampires (making the blood cost of Decapitate negligible) and should have plenty of vampires with POT. The only real disadvantage of Decapitate is its opportunity cost, i.e. you need to have it in your hand at the right time or it is pretty much useless, but as opposed to Amaranth, which has _no_ other use, the inferior version of Decapitate is occasionally useful, and makes it viable to use 4-6 Decapitates in a tight combat deck without degrading the deck's efficiency much. Decapitate has all the strengths of Amaranth (destroy a vampire with only one action) with few of the weaknessess (no Blood Hunt, less opportunity cost), making it probably the best card for vampire destruction avalaible to the Nosferatu. You are (in a combat deck) planning on sending opponents to torpor anyway, so you might as well make it worth it, and Decapitate is the best way to make it worth it.

Regardless of the way you manage to destroy vampires, the possibility of outright destruction makes your combat deck that much more effective at controlling the table. Decapitate seems like the best option, as it makes for risk free and action efficient permanent vampire removal, but it is only really useable by POT based combat decks, making Amaranth or Sacrificial a better option in some decks. In a situation where you can burn with weapons (like disguised flamethrowers) or aggro damage (like in the fabled Pot/Pro Ebaneezer based combat deck), these options are not needed, but as the Nosferatu are most likely to be sucessful with simple Pot combat, one of these three cards is likely to be needed.