Official VEKN Nosferatu Newsletter for August, 2004

Yeah, ok, I'm a total slacker and have been completely forgetting (and by "forgetting", I mean, "not doing") to do a Newsletter for a while, but now that I'm done doing most of the wacky summer stuff I had to do (including winning a tournament with a primarily Nosferatu deck--woo hoo!), I can get back to newsletter writing.

So this time around, I'm looking at a bunch of new cards in the Gehenna set, specifically in terms of how they are going to provide help (or lack thereof) to the Nosferatu in the long run. I'm probably going to skip over a bunch of cards that someone is going to think is Nosferatu gold, but I'll try to cover all the significant cards that really are going to help out. Or look like they are going to help out, and really aren't so much.

First off, the obvious Potence, Animalism, and Obfuscate cards:

-Stunt Cycle: A really good Potence strike, but as I have mentioned elsewhere, probably not for the reasons that people seem to think, especially for the Nosferatu. Stunt Cycle is just like the old stand by Sewer Lid with a bonus--you can prevent some damage. On the down side, folks with Celerity can pay a blood to ignore you. In a Celerity based pitch deck, this is going to be pretty good on the offense--you get to avoid some unpleasant long ranged damage, maybe hit for 3 or 4, maybe cost them a blood, and then Blur for some nice mundane Sewer Lids or Gates. The Nosferatu, however, without Celerity, are going to have trouble using this card as a main line offense, as Celerity is really common, and most of the guys you are going to be worrying about fighting come with Celerity already. For the Nosferatu, Stunt Cycle is likely best employed as a weapon of opportunity in a not so combat oriented deck--throw a few in to an intercept based deck for an unpleasant surprise, relying on Swallowed by the Night (or Guard Dogs or something) to maneuver to long. If they cancel the strike with Celerity, no big deal, as you weren't really concerned with killing them anyway, but it'll still prevent some damage, and you are still likely 'causing some damage with Carrion Crows. In a Rush type deck, however, I'd still stick with Sewer Lids for purposes of surprise long range punishment, and leave the Stunt Cycles as defensive technology.

-Instinctive Reaction: Finally, a nice, utilitarian, free intercept card that you can use with inferior Animalism, meaning that little Dani or Clarissa can block something as soon as they hit the table. Sadly, it only works on your predator, but, hey, most of the stuff you want to block is something your predator is doing anyway. I wouldn't likely use a lot of these for a Nosferatu intercept based strategy, instead continuing to rely on Raven Spies and Cat's Guidance, but a small handful will certainly help out early in the game before you get flocks of Raven Spies into play, and they certainly will be a helpful splash of intercept surprise in any Nosferatu based deck. Not a really earth shattering card, but certainly a useful tool. And heck, if you have ANI, you can use it to block, maneuver to long, and fling an opportunistic Stunt Cycle.

-Sleep Unseen: Theoretically, a handy card for a deck that is afraid of combat. If you keep a constant stream of these in play, you can keep your vulnerable vampires from getting Rushed (or Sensory Deprived or whatever). Sadly, it costs a blood every time you use it. And the Nosferatu usually *like* getting in fights. My instinct is to leave this card for the soft Malkavians and instead rely on defensive (well, or proactive) combat. If you really wanna avoid getting Rushed, Secure Haven is probably a better option.

The less obvious, not particularly Nosferatu specific cards:

-Bravo: The Nosferatu often like Rushing folks and getting into fights, and Bravo gives you a blood for doing so! Sadly, it only works if the action is successful, and much of the time, Bum's Rush and the like get blocked, meaning the Bravo isn't going to do much good. I really wanted to like this card, but if you are going to be using an Archetype for Nosferatu Rush decks, much like in most other situations, Perfectionist is the way to go. Yeah, it doesn't work if you get blocked either, but at least it is good for any other action too, like hunting or bleeding. So to sum up? Bravo? Not so good. Perfectionist? The best Archetype, Nosferatu deck or no.

-Aura of Invincibility: This card certainly has some possibilities for the Nosferatu political deck that, historically, has been fighting an up hill battle vote wise, due to the lack of Presence. If you get out an early Prince (say, Calebros, fickle Prince of New York) and can call an early vote with an Aura of Invincibility rider on it, you can get a quick vote lock--say Calebros on his first action declares himself Nosferatu Justicar (ya know, to get that NYC monkey off his back) with the Aura of Invincibility--he gets 4 votes to pass the Justicar vote, and when it passes, you'll end up with 4 votes on the table (3 for the Justicar, 1 for the first counter on the Aura). A very strong early ramp up, and an easy way to secure vote lock. Once you get the ball rolling, it just keeps rolling (get out someone like Nikolaus on your next turn, giving you, effectively, 6 votes on the table with 12 pool worth of minions). Yeah, it has a significant disadvantage, but if you can secure the early vote lock, it shouldn't be that big of a deal. That'll show those Presence dorks.

-Games of Instinct: Yeah, yeah, only the Nosferatu-Antitribu can use this, but we Nosferatu types like to stick together. This being said, I'm not so impressed with this card. Yeah, it comes with a built in Taste of Vitae (which is great!), but it is easy to block (so the Taste aspect won't come up much) and requires you to attack an older vampire (which is a significant drag!). Maybe in a very Rush heavy Nosferatu-Anti deck, you could slip a couple in without losing too much functionality, and with a touch of Obfuscate for stealth, it might actually pay off, but I'd shy away from relying on them too heavily--the opportunity cost (you only can get an older vampire) is often more of a problem than one would initially think.

-Dragonbound: A great deal of discussion has revolved around this card and how useful it is in a Rush deck, which the Nosferatu excel at. If you get the triple threat of Tension in the Ranks, Fame, and Dragonbound in to play, you can oust your prey in no time at all without ever even bleeding. This, in theory, seems pretty strong, but the minus one hand size is a pretty severe cost, especially if you are relying on the non situational Bum's Rush to get into fights. As most effective Nosferatu based fight decks tend to be of the weenie Immortal Grapple type (as opposed to the huge vampire Multi Rush type, that can rely on permanents for damage dealing, like Assault Rifles, or Lazvernus's +2 hand damage), the loss of hand size still strikes me as more of a hindrance than the increase in ousting power is a bonus. That, and as a Rush deck, you are often accidentally set to torpor yourself, at which point the Dragonbound starts biting back. I'd still tend to push the Fame or Tension angle in a weenie POT Nosferatu Rush deck before working on the Dragonbound, and I'd likely save the Dragonbounds for different deck type.

-Leadership Vacuum: Not a bad, if highly situational, ousting mechanism for the Nosferatu Rush deck. Perhaps finding a master slot for one of these in your deck is worthwhile, as if you have Rush impunity, you can easily control the existence of titled vampires in your prey's ready region, and dunking a Justicar into torpor is going to result in a lot of pool loss, right quick. As opposed to the Dragonbound, this card is never going to hurt you, but it is highly situational, so it might end up just getting discarded a lot. But if you have an opportunity to use it, it likely will be very effective.

-Robert Carter: A nice, cheap way to boost the Nosferatu's lack of bleed capability. Yeah, he is likely short lived, and yeah, you are making the vampire carrying him around rather vulnerable, but with a Hunting Ground to circumvent the blood cost, Robert Carter can help turn the Nosferatu into a significant bleeding threat, which is something they often have trouble with.

That's it for now. Hopefully, you might have some new useful ideas for using Gehenna cards in your Nosferatu decks. If you are interested in going to check out my multitudes of old newsletters, feel free to check out: