Official VEKN Nosferatu Newsletter for December, 2002

So this month I have my first newsletter deck that is heavily Tier 3 based (i.e. uses new CE vampires), and having just played it in the Eye of Hazimel Storyline tournament and doing fairly well (2 table wins and 7 total VPs in 3 rounds) with it, I am moderately confident that it isn't that bad of a deck.

This is basically a rebuilt version of an older Nosferatu/Samedi based Prince/Vote deck that I played for a little while (and was the deck I was using when I invented the powerful Bakija Gambit...). Whenever I played that deck, however, I always thought to myself "Hmm. This deck would probably be better if I simply took out all the Samedi and put in more useful vampires," which I did, and the deck did much better. The old version of this deck can bee seen at:

The new version I used at the Storyline tournament focuses on the strengths of the new Tier 3 vampires available to the Nosferatu, and is significantly adjusted due to the card updates in CE (significantly, the change to 5th Tradition).

"We Don't Need No Stinking Lithrac!"

2x Cock Robin (10): POT, OBF, for, Justicar
2x Ellison Humboldt (9): POT, OBF, Primogen
2x Suhailah (9): FOR, OBF, pot, Prince
1x Victorine LaFourcade (8): FOR, Prince
2x Nikolaus Vermeulen (7): POT, obf, for, Prince
2x Murat (7): POT, OBF, Prince
1x Gerard Rafin (6): POT, OBF, for

5x Minion Tap
3x Zillah's Valley
1x Info Highway
1x Protected Resources
1x Giant's Blood
1x Legendary Vampire
1x Golconda
1x Secret Horde

9x Second Tradition
6x Fourth Tradition
4x Fifth Tradition
8x Kine Resources Contested
6x Parity Shift
1x Nosferatu Justicar
1x Kindred Restructure
4x Taste of Vitae
6x Torn Signpost
6x Undead Strength
5x Swallowed by the Night
5x Forgotten Labyrinth
7x Superior Mettle
7x Freak Drive
1x Sengir Dagger

The crypt is filled with huge vampires, but with adequate pool gain and transfer acceleration, it is totally workable. Cock Robin is a pretty solid Justicar, having all three necessary disciplines and +1 strength (his extra untap is clearly something I should try and take advantage of in this deck, but haven't yet). Ellison is huge in a deck like this, as he essentially gives you 5 votes (1 for being a Primogen, and then he takes 2 from your opposition and gives them to you!) in a situation where there are permanent votes on the table. Victorine is the stand out larky vampire as I wanted an extra cheapish Prince, and her FOR is handy with the Freak Drives and damage prevention in the deck, and her special ability is theoretically useful. I considered using Calebros instead, but his built in disadvantage is actually quite a problem for this deck.

The Master selection contains reasonable pool gain, some transfer acceleration, and some extra pool manipulation--Secret Horde and Golconda are both handy for Parity Shift minded pool total adjustment. The Legendary Vampire is fantastic in this deck, as it shores up your vote block and provides some much needed bleed offense.

In the minion selection, there is heavy use of the Tradition cards--Second for untap and intercept; Fourth for pool gain and to speed up transfers; 5th to fortify Minion Tapped vampires. For the vote offense, KRC is always a must, and the 6 Parity Shifts are the heart of the deck. You can dig deeply into your pool for vampires and then just refill with the Parity Shifts. Late in the game, you often have to do kooky things like play Zillah's Valley just to store pool or make a Secret Horde for, like, 6 or something just to maximize Parity Shift usage, but it generally works out. There is some light combat and combat defense to punish folks when you intercept them or to deter rush attacks. The obfuscate cards provide enough stealth to get past casual intercept, and the Forgotten Labyrinths often get you past even heavy intercept. With so many different actions available to this deck (call a vote, 4th and 5th Traditions, bleed), Freak Drives are always going to be useful, and make up for the small number of vampires that generally will be in play (three tends to be average, although when on a roll, you can get out up to five of six). The Sengir Dagger is in there as a larky card--it is an expensive action (for Parity Shift management and Freak Driving), and with it and the potence, sometimes you might burn someone with a big aggro hit.

As to how this deck actually works, it did pretty well in the Eye of Hazimel Storyline event, so here is a quick overview of its games:

Game 1. The table was me, Assamite Rush, Gangrel Wall, Gangrel Bleed, Ravanos Bleed. I hit the ground running with a first turn Info Highway, got out 3 big vampires, and proceeded to savage my Assamite prey while slowly being bled by my Ravanos predator. Because I couldn't count to 7, I was surprised when I didn't oust my prey and instead got him down to 1 pool with a pair of timely KRC's. Sadly, at this point, my prey's deck hit high gear, torporized most of my vampires (I had held off most of his earlier rushes), and I was soon ousted (as was my prey).

Game 2. The table was me, !Salubri toolbox, Toreador political, the same Assamite Rush, and another Ravanos toolbox deck. Again, due to a timely Info Highway, I started off quickly draining my prey. The Toreador deck had a few votes early on to slow me down a bit, but eventually I got a significant vote lock (due to having a Legendary Justicar, mostly), and ousted my prey and grand prey in quick succession while the Assamite deck ousted his prey. When it cam down to the two of us, I had 6 vampires out to his 3. He quickly torporized and/or burned 3 of them, but it was too late, and after securing the Eye of Hazimel for the bleed bonus, I bled/voted him out.

Game 3. The table was me, Settite bleed, Toreador toolbox, Tremere rush. A slower start due to no Highway or Zillah's early, but having a rush predator slowed kept things at an even pace. Suhailah was the first vampire out, and accidentally got torporized by an unexpected Walk of Flame, but after pulling her out and building up some forces, I hit into my prey with some Parity Shifts and KRCs. I ousted my prey at about the same time my predator was ousted by the Toreador toolbox deck, but not before the Toreador had many of his vampires torporized. A few more turns of bleeding/voting, and again, grabbing the Eye for the bleed bonus resulted in another table win.