Official VEKN Nosferatu Newsletter for February, 2004

So in an attempt to make poor, weird, long armed Tock useful, I figured that I might as well come up with an Anti-Nosferatu based deck with Presence. And as the best possible Anti-Nosferatu with Presence to build a deck around is probably Cailean (especially as I have 6 of him now), I decided to make a Cailean deck, which would possibly justify using Tock, which was my whole plan in the first place. A few years ago, I played in a tournament against John Whelan using some sort of Cailean deck, elements of which I shamelessly lifted for this particular deck, and wanted good intercept, good combat, and potent forward momentum. Cailean is really good at intercepting stuff (ANI and Archbishop status, facilitating the highly necessary Eternal Vigilance), and his OBF/PRE combination give him good Stealth/Bleed options. Cailean's combat action clearly revolves around his ability to set range, so outfitting him with a gun, some Traps, and some Animalism support can really shut down some Rush decks, and he will do a number on decks with limited combat defense. Anyway, on to the deck:

"Cailean? This deck is all about Tock!"

6x Cailean (10) PRE, POT, OBF, ANI, dom. Archbishop. Sets range each round.
1x Christianus Lionel (6) OBF, ANI, pot. +1 hand size.
1x Josef (4) ani, obf
2x Tock (4) pre, obf, pot
1x Shannon Price (3) ani, obf
1x Dani (2) ani

1x Shanty Town Hunting Ground
1x Nosferatu Kingdom
1x Blood Doll
1x Barrens
2x The Rack
2x Information Highway

9x Lost in Crowds
5x Disguised Weapon
7x Raven Spy
1x Owl Companion
6x Cat's Guidance
6x Rat's Warning
6x Drawing Out the Beast
6x Carrion Crows
6x Iron Glare
4x Social Charm
4x Legal Manipulations
2x Majesty
4x Deflection
5x Eternal Vigilance
5x Combat Shotgun
6x Trap

Right. Starting with the crypt, contrary to the deck title, 6 Cailean seems reasonable. You are unlikely to draw 4 in your opening crypt while unlikely to end up without any in your opening crypt too (any statistical folks wanna hook me up with actual percentages?). Christianus seems like a reasonable addition, as he has two important superiors and a good special. Tock is good for back up S+B capabilities, but sadly his lack of Animalism often is problematic. Josef is mostly disposable, but he has ani/obf, which is reasonable for the deck. Shannon Price, who tends to show up in more of my decks than any other vampire these days, is a good addition, and Dani is good as a chump blocker. Overall, you want to get out Cailean and then one or two other errand runners, depending on how you are doing pool wise after you get Cailean out.

The deck has a pretty thin Master selection, due to needing a lot of other cards, but of them all, the Racks are the most important--Cailean needs a Rack. A lot. The Info Highways are good for early speed, and far more cycleable late in the game than Zillah's Valley. One Blood Doll exists for Cailean, and then a bit of pool gain and cycling. Could probably use a few more Masters overall, but space is thin in this deck.

In the main deck selection, 9 Lost in Crowds is enough stealth to get through important actions, generally speaking, and then help some mid game S+B action, but in general, you are going to be relying on the idea that folks don't *want* to block you more than anything else. 7 Raven Spy and 6 Cat's Guidance lend significant intercept. The Rat's Warning could probably be better served by being Wakes or something, but the Rat's presses are actually handy in this deck. The bulk of the rest of the deck is offense, including Traps, repeating environmental damage (and protection from weapons/presses to end) from Carrion Crows and DotBs, and Disguised Combat Shotguns (probably the best weapon for Cailean, as he doesn't need a maneuver and isn't striking more than once a round in any case) and some good bleed support (the POT/PRE Iron Glare is a very good deal for those who can use it). The 5 Eternal Vigilances are the key to the deck, as once Cailean has one of these, he can untap and block anything he wants, generally speaking, and when he blocks folks, he often mangles them horribly (barring S:CE or Assamite combat). Throw in a couple Majesties to get your old ladies car out of a bad area and some Deflections, as who can't use Deflections, and you have a pretty well rounded deck.

The strengths of the deck are a combination of reasonably strong forward momentum, good defenses, and significant combat, plus the humiliation factor that comes from being a total trump to many close range combat strategies. The deck has many weaknesses, most of which are common to decks that rely on a single vampire--that vampire getting locked down somehow, or worst of all, Protect Thine Own, which this deck can do nothing against if it comes from across table (Probably the main reason to not play this deck in a competitive situation. Sad, really). It also will have trouble coming back from early pool devastation, as it takes some time to set up. It also suffers from having a lot of dead cards once the deck gets going--after the first Disguised Shotgun is out, and after Cailean is already Eternally Vigilant, there are upwards of a dozen mostly dead cards in the deck. The Barrens helps out, but this deck spends a reasonable amount of time drawing into redundant cards.

This being said, the deck is pretty entertaining if it lives past the first 4 or 5 turns (and then doesn't get PTOed...), it certainly has winning potential.