Official VEKN Nosferatu Newsletter for April, 2002

This month, I have put together what is probably a pretty effective Nosferatu deck. Ok, sure, it is only a Nosferatu deck by virtue of having 4 total Nosferatu in the crypt, but they are the key to the deck, and without them, the deck doesn't really do anything good.

"Prom Queen"

2x Grendel the Worm-Eaten (5) OBF
2x Agrippina (4) OBF
1x Gideon Fontaine (3) PRE
1x Lena Rowe (3) obf, pre
1x Celeste, the Voice of a Secret (3) pre
1x Delilah Easton (2) pre
1x Fredrick, the Weak (2) pre
1x Vasilis, the Traitor of Tom Cruise (2) pre
1x Angela Decker (1) pre
1x Igo, the Hungry (1) pre
1x Antoinette DuChamp (1) pre

Avg. of 2.77

8x Presence
4x Effective Management
4x Blood Doll
2x Secure Haven
1x Secret Library of Alexandria
1x Powerbase: Montreal

18x Cloak the Gathering
4x Disguised Weapon
12x Enchant Kindred
10x Social Charm
6x Kindred Intelligence
2x Patagia-Flaps Allowing Limited Flight!
2x Nosferatu Justicar
2x Rumors of Gehenna
6x Fake Out
4x Arson
2x Flame Thrower
2x Assault Rifle

Prom Queen (clearly referring to Agrippina, the belle of the ball) is essentially a Presence weenie bleed deck with stealth back up. It gets all the benefits of speed and relentlessness that come from a little vampire bleed deck, but backs it up with the incredibly flexible stealth provided by Cloak the Gathering. Agrippina or Grendel can hand out +1 stealth on every action taken by another vampire, tapped or no. If you have out Agrippina and Grendel, they can combine Cloaks (circumventing the "only one of each type of action modifier per action per minion" rule) for +2 stealth if necessary. Heck, if it is Lena Rowe acting and someone tries to block in earnest, you can play up to three Cloaks on a single action! Sure, if no one ever tries to block, you are stuck with a whole lot of unusable stealth, but if no one is trying to block, you are probably ousting your prey anyway (well, that or dead...)

The crypt is very straight forward--2 each of the two most important vampires, and then one each of all the smallest vampires with Presence. As there are only six different vampires of capacity 2 or less with Presence, I have to either double up or include 3 pointers (of which there are countless possibilities), so I chose to include the three 3 point vampires that are the best possible for the deck--Lena Rowe is a no brainer, being the smallest vampire in the game with both pre and obf; Gideon Fontaine, also a no brainer, with his superior presence; Celeste is less of a no brainer, but clearly the best 3 point vampire with only pre for the deck. Sure, she has a disadvantage, but as this is a relentless forward action deck, she will in all likelihood never be required to block, and occasionally she will get +1 bleed (and against the Toreador, appropriately enough). Many of the vampires in the crypt have disadvantages, but none of them directly affect the deck's main goal--speed bleeding. Sure, Vasilis might give someone free +1 bleed, Igo hunts at a default 0 stealth, and Angela can cost you pool if she gets burned, but none of these slow down the ability to bleed, which is really all that is important.

At this point, one might think "Why not use weenie Dominate vampires, as they can bleed better *and* have access to Deflection?", which is a good question. The answer comes in efficiency and utility. The weenie Dominate vampires (of which there are five 2 point vampires and only one 1 point vampire) are slightly costlier on average, but more significantly, come with more debilitating disadvantages--Royce gets -1 stealth while bleeding (counteracting most of the advantage provided by Cloak) and Marciana has to pay an extra blood to bleed. As the Presence vampires don't have any significant disadvantages, in terms of bleeding, that is a definite point in their favor. Dominate and Presence both have identical abilities in their free influence cards--Enchant and Govern/Scouting, so that is a wash. Dominate, significantly, has access to bleed bounce, which is a powerful effect, but requires leaving vampires untapped (or packing Wakes) to make it work. On the side of Presence, you have access to Social Charm and Legal Manipulation which can gain you pool at Superior. Given that this deck wants to bleed as quickly as possible and never have any untapped vampires if it can avoid it, I figure that Presence wins out here--using Social Charm to gain pool as you bleed effectively counteracts bleeds, just like bleed bounce, but doesn't slow you down like relying on bleed bounce tends to do.

In the Master card selection, there are plenty of Presence skill cards--getting superior Presence is important as it allows you to Enchant at superior (getting you more vampires cheaply and quickly), allows you to gain pool from the Social Charms, and in a pinch, you can give Agrippina or Grendel Presence for extra bleeding ability. The Effective Managements are a total no brainer, but you don't actually need that many, as the Nosferatu have access to Kindred Intelligence, speeding things up. Blood Dolls are always good, just as much for their ability to give blood back to vampires as take it in this sort of deck. Secure Havens are a must to keep your Nosferatu from getting killed, the Fragment allows you to cycle out Stealth if it starts clogging your hand, and Powerbase Montreal is a very powerful card that has a minimal disadvantage in this deck--if it gets stolen, you always will have the extra actions to waste to get it back. Heck, you can even *let* people borrow it as a deal maker, and then just get it back on your turn.

The Minion cards have both obvious choices, and choices bordering on sheer idiocy. The Cloaks are the key to the deck, and so 18 seems like a reasonable number. As opposed to most other action modifier stealth cards, Cloak can be played multiple times per action (given multiple vampires with OBF), so the super redundancy isn't that much of an issue. The Enchants and Socials have already been discussed, but again, Enchant at superior effectively reads "gain 2 pool", which is always going to be a good deal (although it is often tricky to get to use the superior in this deck, due to the small vampire sizes) and Social at superior gains you pool which again, is always good. The Socials could have been Legal Manipulations, but given the small vampire capacities, the one blood cost is significant, and using only +1 bleed cards lessens the possibility of irresponsible bleeding--getting bounced and ousting your grand prey. In the goofy support cards, you have Kindred Intelligence, a card often laughed at as pointless, but in this deck, is quite handy--the Nosferatu in the deck don't need to take offensive actions, so they are always available to take support actions, just like KI. Between the Effectives and Kindred Intelligneces, you can get out an awful lot of vampires right quick. The Disguised Weapons, Patagia, Fake Outs, and guns exist to keep the Nosferatu alive, although the Fake Outs can be used by an accidentally blocked Presence weenie in a pinch. If someone does rush Agrippina, she has a lot of maneuvering available, and might very well pull an Assault Rifle out of her watch, even after her opponent has picked a strike. Sure, the Assault Rifles are mad expensive, but you'll probably only ever need to buy one, the deck can afford it, and 4R with an optional maneuver is *really* scary. The Flame Throwers should probably be Ivory Bows, but I don't have any extras for the deck :-) The minor vote angle is useful for support--the Nosferatu Justicars are very easy to pass, barring heavy vote opposition, and the Rumors are very useful considering the 20 Master cards and also easy to pass--just make friends with everyone and give away extra MPAs all around. The Arsons are always useful in a deck with space for them and actions to spend, and this deck has both.

The strengths of this deck, clearly, are speed, reliable stealth, moderate pool gain, and sheer numbers. It will run into trouble in the face of heavy intercept (although the sheer number of actions probably will overcome most serious blocking decks); heavy bleed nullification (like the deck with 20 Telepathic Counters...) or bounce (although as each minion only bleeds for 2, getting bounced isn't that big of a deal, and often an opponent will suck up the bleed of 2, hoping to bounce a bigger, juicier bleed); an even faster bleed predator; and Rush combat, although the "whack-a-mole" defense certainly helps out here--whenever a minion gets torporized, pull them out as quickly as possible, and leave them around to block. That, and Agrippina with Patagia and an Assault Rifle will probably scare off most close range Rush decks, and do a good job of slowing down a long range Rush strategy, like an Assamite deck.