Official VEKN Nosferatu Newsletter for January, 2005
Crazy. I've been churning these newsletters out on a semi consistent basis for, what, 7 years now? Well, as they say, nothing changes New Year's Day, so here is issue 47 of the VEKN Nosferatu Newsletter.
Anyway, some months ago, when looking at the new Black Hand vampires for our Nosferatu pals, I said the following about Tock in issue 41:
"...Clearly, he'd fit into some sort of Pot/Pre/Obf deck--in fact, it was like he was specifically designed for such a strategy basis, but what, really, are you gonna do with such a deck? Tock can get together with the likes of Amadeo, Harrod, and Cailean, but overall, I'm not seeing such a deck as that handy--stealth vote rush? Stealth bleed with hit back combat defense? Certainly possible ideas, but unless you are *really* stuck on making a Nosferatu deck with both Potence and Presence in it, Tock isn't likely to see much play. **"
Right. I tried some wacky Cailean based deck (see: issue 42) that used Tock, and tried to pass it off as a deck that really got mileage out of Tock, but it was kind of a sham--mostly the deck used Animalism (which Tock doesn't get), and he was no better than any other random vampire with Obf/Pre. Which was sad, as I really wanted Tock to go somewhere--I mean, really, he might have some crazy long arms, but he is very well dressed. He is putting in the effort, so I figure so should I. After messing around with various crazy deck designs trying to capitalize upon Tock, I finally hit pay dirt, and built a deck that really makes Tock good. In fact, it makes a lot of under utilized Nosferatu good. Here is that deck:
"Tock! You're Home!"
2x Harrod (11) POT, OBF, pre, IC, +2 bleed
2x Ellison Humboldt (9) POT, OBF, PRE, Primogen
2x Amadeo (8) POT, OBF, pre, Primogen
1x Synesios (8) POT, obf, PRE, 2 votes
1x Murat (7) POT, OBF, Prince
2x Sundown (6) POT, obf, pre
2x Tock (4) pot, obf, pre
8x Minion Tap
3x Information Highway
1x The Labyrinth
1x Major Boon
8x Kine Resources Contested
2x Conservative Agitation
1x Anarchist Uprising
1x Ancient Influence
1x Political Stranglehold
1x Reins of Power
1x Disputed Territory
1x Peace Treaty
1x Command the Harpies
1x Honor the Elders
1x Praxis Seizure: Brussels
1x Crusade: London
8x Lost in Crowds
6x Elder Impersonation
4x Forgotten Labyrinth
8x Iron Glare
8x Voter Captivation
4x Bewitching Oration
2x Legal Manipulations
4x Thrown Gate
What we have here is a pretty focused Stealth Vote deck that benefits from being Nosferatu by virtue of being able to get some serious mileage out of the incredibly useful Iron Glare. By using Nosferatu with added Presence, you can sneak votes past intercept, push them through with Presence vote modifiers, gain blood and pool with Voter Captivation, and switch to pretty significant Stealth and Bleed without much effort if necessary.
Looking at the Crypt, there are two each of the good Nosferatu with Presence--Harrod is very useful with his permanent 4 votes and +2 bleed modifier (make sure to look at an uncontrolled vampire of your prey's every turn, if for no other reason that you can...); Ellison is the perfect vampire for the deck as he starts with POT, OBF, PRE and can own your opponent's Princes; Amadeo is perfectly reasonable with appropriate good disciplines; Sundown, likewise has good disciplines and a built in vote gaining special (which stays around if he becomes Prince of Brussels, unlike, say, Amadeo's Primogen vote); Tock is the 4 with the three needed disciplines. For rounding out the crypt, we have Synesios who gets 2 permanent votes and starts with POT/PRE for maximum Iron Glare action and Murat, who lacks Presence but brings pretty cheap Prince hood. The deck doesn't have a huge amount of permanent table votes (unless Harrod gets in play), but all the Presence backs it up. Cailean with his POT/OBF/PRE could have been in the deck, but I wanted to avoid another totally huge vampire, and as it is, the deck is Storyline legal for the next Storyline event (whenever that may be). It is also a really big crypt, but with the reliable Minion Tap/Voter Cap combo, it isn't that difficult to get out even 3 vampires in a given game, even if one isn't Tock.
The Master selection is very straight forward--enough Minion Taps to play them early and often, 3 Info Highways for a reasonable chance of getting one in play early, 3 Presence skill cards to bolster up your vote power and activating the devastating bleed aspect of Iron Glare, and a Labyrinth which is always useful. The only fringe Master is the Major Boon. I wanted at least 1 OOT Master for synergy with Synesios's special ability, and while a Sudden Reversal or a Direct Intervention might be more useful in that slot, this deck certainly can use some extra bleed defense.
The main body of the deck starts with a huge chunk of Political Actions. With so many vote modifiers, the deck wants to be able to regularly take Political Actions, so a lot is a good idea. Building on a base of 8 KRC and 2 Con Ag (in case of, say, Delaying Tactics), there are then a lot of wacky PA cards for many situations. There is some good pool gain (Ancient Influence, Stranglehold), some cards to shore up a good political situation (Harpies, Disputed Territory to steal, say, a Ventrue HQ, and Banishment), and some good utility cards (Anarchist Uprising, Peace Treaty, Reinforcements). The deck might be a tad more kill happy with a few of the fringe votes replaced with more KRCs or whatever, but it works pretty well as it is, and is more rounded out than a deck with, like, 22 KRCs would be. The two title cards are the Nosferatu/Anti-Nosferatu special vote cards--Tock is destined to be the Arch Bishop of London, and many vampires in the crypt can benefit from the extra capacity from being the Prince of Brussels (especially Sundown, who doesn't lose his inherent vote like Amadeo and Ellison do when they become Prince).
For vote support, there are the vital Iron Glares, some Bewitching Orations (which stack on the Iron Glares for extra push action), an Awe (I'd probably use more, but I only own the one...), and the important Voter Captivations which gain you pool, fill up your vampires, and gain you more pool. The Iron Glares are fantastic in this deck, as in a situation where you either don't need the votes ('cause you have vote lock) or you can't really use the votes ('cause everyone else has vote lock), you can switch over to be a significant bleed threat--occasionally, Harrod will accidentally bleed for 7 with a Legal Manipulations when no one expects it. Granted, to really get mileage out of the Iron Glares you probably need a skill card (as only 3 vampires in the crypt can play the superior without one), but usually by mid game, someone has gained superior Presence, which kicks the deck into high gear.
In the general support category, there is enough stealth to get most of your actions through, including enough Elder Impersonations to get around a single vampire huge intercept wall (like Lambach with the Bowl of Convergence and a few Raptors). The blood cost of the Elder Impersonations and Labyrinths are rarely an issue due to the Voter Captivations. For combat defense, we have 7 requisite Majesties and a few Thrown Gates to possibly avoid the occasional Immortal Grappling.
The strengths of the deck include strong reliable stealth and
good vote pushing abilities, and the possibility of switching
to a significant Stealth and Bleed threat on the fly. The obvious
weaknesses are a total lack of reaction ability and limited defenses
against a serious Immortal Grapple Rush opponent. A really fast
bleed predator might cause a problem too, but between the Minion
Taps, Voter Caps, and pool gaining votes, if the deck can hold
on in the early game, it can usually survive most bleed threats,
especially as they'll quickly choke on stealth cards. As mentioned
earlier, the crypt doesn't have a huge number of table votes available,
but with the Presence action modifiers, it can usually push votes
through, and between Ellison, Command the Harpies, and pinpoint
Banishment, you can often manage the table situation well.