Official VEKN Nosferatu Newsletter for February, 2002
And here we are again. This month, I have decided to live up to my previous month's threat, and post a Nosferatu deck that attempts to integrate Bloodlines cards and vampires effectively. This particular deck matches the Nosferatu with the Samedi, as they are a natural fit--the Samedi come with Obfuscate, a Nosferatu basic discipline; Fortitude, a common secondary Nosferatu discipline; and Thanatosis, a discipline that meshes well in Nosferatu decks, as their outferior functions tend to revolve around Nosferatu disciplines such as Potence and Animalism. Thematically, the Samedi mix well with the Nosferatu, as they are both creepy gruesome clans, as as far as I understand, they are kind of allies or something in the WoD background. That, and crypt wise, the Samedi's nauseous yellow background compliments the Nosferatu's purple quite nicely.
The deck I decided to put together revolves around the titled Nosferatu vampires, most of which have Fortitude (making including the Samedi an easy proposition). As I was planning on using titled vampires, a political and Traditions based deck was the obvious plan, but to back up the votes as well as make the inclusion of the Samedi moderately logical, I backed up the basic strategy with a combat function.
2x Sheldon, Lord of the Clog (9) POT, OBF, for, Justicar
2x The Baron (9) THN, OBF, FOR, 2 votes
2x Suhailah (9) pot, OBF, FOR, Prince
2x Selma, the Repugnant (8) POT, OBF, for, Prince
2x Nikolaus Vermeulen (7) POT, obf, for, Prince
2x Lithrac (5) thn, OBF, for
8x Minion Tap
3x Zillah's Valley
1x Info Highway
1x Secret Horde
1x Dirty Contract
1x Coroner's Contract
6x 5th Tradition
8x Second Tradition
1x Ancient Influence
1x Political Stranglehold
6x Parity Shift
6x Kine Resources Contested
8x Superior Mettle
1x Ashes to Ashes
6x Immortal Grapple
6x Torn Signpost
5x Swallowed by the Night
5x Forgotten Labyrinth
1x Hidden Lurker
3x Bum's Rush
2x Taste of Vitae
1x Ritual of the Bitter Rose
1x Hand of Conrad
Looking at the crypt, Sheldon, Selma and Nikolaus are all very obvious inclusions, as they have the appropriate disciplines and titles, and Nikolaus's has a very solid special ability. Suhailah is a perfect counterpart to the titled Nosferatu, as she has a good spread of matching disciplines, a title, +1 bleed, and a good special ability that isn't that unlikely to be useful. As for the Samedi, the Baron is an excellent choice as he has all neccessary disciplines at superior, 2 votes, and +1 bleed (although his other special ability will rarely every be important). Lithrac is an excellent choice for this deck, as he is cheap, has a reasonable discipline spread, and gives extra support to Blood Hunt votes (which is smomething this deck will often have opportunity to take advantage of). His +1 stealth for Bum's Rushing is even useful. It is a large and expensive crypt over all, but 8 of the 12 vampires are big enough to benefit from the Zillah's Valleys, and they are mostly going to be Minion Tapped anyway.
In the Master selection, there is the obvious inclusion of 8 Minion Taps, the card that makes it worth playing large vampires. The Zilla's Valleys and Info Highway speed the deck up. The Secret Horde is kind of a long shot inclusion, specifically put in the deck to act as a "dial-a-pool" function, so you can adjust your pool strategically so as to facilitate Parity Shifting when appropriate by banking your pool in the Horde. The two Samedi specific masters are included for flavor and general utility--the Dirty Contract is perfectly acceptable permanent rush, and the Coroner's Contract helps get a Samedi out of your crypt in a pinch, is freely cycleable, and even speed up your transfers a bit (it costs 1 pool but allows you to put 1 blood on the uncontrolled Samedi you fetch).
As to the main strategy chunk of the Library, there are 2 major functions--political/tradition based and combat. In terms of the political/tradition based aspect, there are 5th Traditions to match with the Minion Taps (creating a solid pool gain engine) and Second Traditions to provide flexible defense (and effectively add extra actions to the huge vampires). The political action cards are basic offense in the form of KRCs, pool gain/offense in the form of Parity Shifts, and neccessary pool gain from the Ancient Influence and Political Stranglehold. The combat aspect of the deck is lightly offensive, but mostly defensive--sort of a "fight back" defense against other combat and intercept decks, but leaving a possibility of pre-emptively taking out problematic titled vampires, as well as roughing up folks you intercept. Torn Signpost and Immortal Grapple are Nosferatu staples, and the Compressions allow the non Samedi to make dangerous (if expensive) hand strikes (even Suhailah with her inherent pot), while giving the Samedi a powerful strike that can potentially burn an opposing vampire in one shot. The Superior Mettle helps avoid getting killed. The Ashes to Ashes is a fun corner case card that is a very effective "get out of death free" card--it is a non strike card that ends combat, prevents all damage, untaps you, and sends you to torpor with 2 extra blood at superior. Just get yourself out of Torpor, and you are set. For basic support, I have included some Bum's Rushes for pre-emptive killing; some handy stealth cards--Forgotten Labyrinth is very powerful in a non bleed deck and Swallowed by the Night doubles as a manuver in combat; a few Tastes; a Ritual for a successful Diablere action; and the Hand of Conrad to give one of the Samedi POT quickly and easily.
Overall, this deck is moderately effective, occasionally winning games, but sometimes getting shut down by a quicker more traditional vote deck. The Samedi fit in nicely, help out with combat and general support, and don't really take much away from the deck--sure, they could be replaced with other titled Nosferatu, but I don't think it would make that much difference, as The Baron is just as effective as any other vampire that could replace him, and Lithrac is both cheap and effective in this deck. Problems include fast stealth and bleed decks with heavy stealth and/or any sort of heavy vote opposition from around the table, although all the political action cards in the deck have bribery options--KRC and Parity Shift can help another player in exchange for vote support, and Ancient Influence and Political Stranglehold often have many supporters around the table. The deck has enough stealth to get past light intercept and enough combat to dissuade rush based attackers and intercept attempts. All in all, certainly an effective casual deck, but probably not up to incredibly competetive standards.