Lasombra starter: Parliament of Shadows

So here is the second in-depth article about the new starter decks, we will now talk about the darkest lords of all: the tenebrous Lasombra!

Before you read the following, keep in mind what we said in the preview article: those starters are great by any standard in the history of VTES. But now, let’s examine it in detail.

So, what is this deck about? Well it’s obviously a big-Cap titled Lasombra voters deck. Let us see what it has in store for us…

I) The Crypt

The grouping is G4-5, as could have been expected, and it includes 3 brand-new vampires.

It has been a very long time since we had the possibility to build this kind of deck! Since G2 in fact. Until now G5 didn’t have enough serious voters. G3 only had a few bishops, an infiltrated Marcus Vitel and an Independent 11-Cap with 2 votes. As for G4, it gave us Prince Giangaleazzo, Archbishops Antón de Concepción and Luca Italicus, and Cardinal Melinda Galbraith, and sure you could try something with them. I did, with Nehemiah, and… Just forget I mentioned it.

I have also tried for a long time to play our dear Melinda. Really, I have. But, merged or not, she has inferior Obtenebration, and that’s a reaaally big problem for such a big vampire, especially when the discipline itself doesn’t give stealth half as good as Obfuscate cards. So yeah, she’s out, and so is her Camarilla counterpart Montecalme.

So who do we have in this starter?

As is customary for classic starting decks, there are six vampires, in 2 copies each.

Let’s make the suspense last for a bit and talk about the old vamps first:

  • Antón de Concepción is a bit expensive at 9 for an Archbishop title, if you don’t use his ANI; his special can come in handy though, especially against Immortal Grapple.
  • Carolina Vález, who comes with a brand-new art, is as expensive; her immunity to damage from allies and retainers can be very useful in the current meta, and of course she can be played in Obt/Pre decks.
  • Now Luca Italicus is very expensive for two votes, and his special is marginal at best. But he will have one use: Govern down on the 9-Caps, who will themselves Govern down on the ones below.

My regret here is to have no Giangaleazzo. But then the reasons for that become clear when we discover the new guys. Get ready for:

Charles Delmare
Cap 8
Group 5
Sabbat cardinal: Charles gets 1 optional press each combat.

My, what a great vamp! He’s a Cardinal for 8, he has (as he should) all disciplines at superior, an out-of-clan Cel which might see some use some day, all that would be enough for auto-include. But he doesn’t stop there: he also has an optional press. Of course this will be useful in combat decks (who said “Dark Steel”?), but it can also help him survive one, especially against weenie Ani. Really nice.

Next we have:

Lord Leopold Valdemar

Great art by Ginés Quiñonero!

Cap 8
Group 5
cel dom obf OBT POT
Sabbat priscus: Leopold can strike, ranged: steal 2 blood.

Ok, so now a Priscus for 8 is good too. His included strike is good both offensively and defensively, and will probably give some weird ideas to some weird people (present company included). His two out-of-clan inferiors might see some use (Cel again…). But there is a but, and it’s a big one: inferior Dom. We’ll come back to that in an instant, after we see:

Cap 8
Group 5
FOR OBT POT aus dom
Sabbat Archbishop of Guadalajara.

Certainly the least of the three, as he has absolutely no special. The FOR can be useful in the right decks. But then, here’s that inferior Dom again!

And do you notice something else? They’re all 8-Caps! That means that the Govern down ladder stops there.

Something else? Well, Giangaleazzo is also an 8-Cap with inferior Dom! That means that if you play him too you’ll have 3 of them with Dom, and 4 with the same capacity… In my opinion that’s a design mistake. But then no grouping of voting Lasombra has ever been perfect, why did I think it could change?

Yes I’m a bit disappointed, but there are still things to be done here. As it is, the deck is playable, although probably with the worst crypt of the 4 starters. Any new player will discover the power of stealth Dom vote.

But there are some changes that I would make to the crypt:

  • Out goes Luca Italicus
  • Out goes at least one Anton
  • In comes Bruce de Guy instead; yeah, he’s not a Lasombra, but he has all the right disciplines and an incorporated Private Audience lite (nowadays most voters susceptible to pose a vote lock problem are Camarilla, so it will be useful). And he has FOR like Percival, that could mean Freak Drive (in which case maybe Luca would come back in).
  • Giangaleazzo would bring 2 votes for 8 but our usual Govern ladder problem. Also he’s not Sabbat, and wouldn’t go well with Bruce. So, meh…
  • I do like Valdemar’s special. But maybe I’d like even more to be able to Govern down on a Priscus. To that effect I think I’d rather include Omme Enberbenight in the mix. Or maybe one of each, getting both would still be better than getting 2 Valdemar.

Sure, those 2 out-of-clan intruders won’t boost the Power Structure, but it’s a card I’d rather play when I make lots of Embraces (there’s certainly something to be done here, better than we used to with the G2-3 crypt).

So I would probably play something along the lines of:

2x Bruce de Guy (possibly 3)
2x Carolina Vález
1x Antón de Concepción (or none)
3x Charles Delmare
2x Percival
1x Omme Enberbenight
and maybe 1x Lord Leopold Valdemar

All in all it would make for a pretty good crypt, it you don’t rely too much on the clan toys (Power Structure and Elysian Fields for instance).

II) The Library

There will be no new Library card in these starters, so we are in familiar waters. Let’s see what we have here!
Master [13]
1 Information Highway
1 Jake Washington
1 Monastery of Shadows
1 Papillon
1 Political Hunting Ground
1 Powerbase: Madrid
1 Power Structure
4 Villein
2 Zillah’s Valley

Action [8]
6 Govern the Unaligned
2 Under Siege

Political Action [15]
1 Anarchist Uprising
1 Ancient Influence
2 Banishment
8 Kine Resources Contested
1 Neonate Breach
1 Political Stranglehold
1 Reins of Power

Ally [1]
1 Mylan Horseed

Action Modifier [24]
2 Blanket of Night
4 Conditioning
4 Seduction
4 Shadow Play
4 Shroud of Absence
4 Shroud of Night
2 Tenebrous Form

Combat [6]
3 Oubliette
3 Shadow Body

Reaction [10]
4 Deflection (NEW ART)
2 Obedience
2 On the Qui Vive
2 Wake with Evening’s Freshness

All in all a pretty good list for that type of deck: it does what it’s supposed to do!

Of course there are some tweaks to make. If you don’t own any cards I strongly advise to buy 2 starters, that will allow you to double Information Highway (great name!) and the Zillah’s Valleys, to augment Villein and Deflections, and make some changes to the stealth. I’d also go down on the Combat Ends.

As reprints go, we get the goods, even without the insane Rares that some other starters have. Jake Washington, Monastery of Shadows and Papillon are always welcome. Power Structure hasn’t been published for a long while so it’s nice to see it there. And of course Villeins are still pretty hard to find, so cheers for that!

I personally love Powerbase: Madrid, it is too often underestimated. I would have liked Elysian Fields here for the newcomers.

Under Siege is a bit surprising in the deck – most of the time you’ll prefer to avoid blocking – but it’s good to have in a collection.

Oubliette is most of the time strictly better than Shadow Body, although I can understand the choice to reprint both.

On the Qui Vive of course is great. What I don’t understand is why there are only 2 of them: OTQV has completely wallpapered Wake with Evening’s Freshness, and I thought I had seen the last of those. Oh, well…

I could also do without the Seduction, or at least most of them. And of course, if you have them, I recommend the 2 usual auto-include: Dreams of the Sphinx and (sadly) Pentex Subversion. Heart of Cheatin… err, Heart of Nizchetus is also an option.

I might also ditch all Combat ends in favor of more Obedience, as while acting they already have 4 Shroud of Absence.

So the deck I would play if I could tweak it a bit with what we get in the starters might look something like:

Master [19] (6 Trifle)
2 Information Highway
1 Monastery of Shadows
1 Papillon
1 Political Hunting Ground
1 Powerbase: Madrid
1 Power Structure

6 Villein
4 Zillah’s Valley
2 Dreams of the Sphynx
(1 Pentex Subversion
if you have it)
Action [6]
6 Govern the Unaligned

Political Action [15]
1 Anarchist Uprising
1 Ancient Influence
2 Banishment
8 Kine Resources Contested
1 Neonate Breach
1 Political Stranglehold
1 Reins of Power

Ally [1]
1 Mylan Horseed

Equipment [1]
Heart of Nizchetus
Action Modifier [22]
2 Blanket of Night
4 Conditioning
2 Seduction
6 Shadow Play
4 Shroud of Absence
2 Shroud of Night
2 Tenebrous Form

Reaction [15]
6 Deflection
4 Obedience
5 On the Qui Vive

Of course, we’ll be awaiting eagerly for a good Sabbat vote on the level of Parity Shift or Reckless Agitation, which will motivate us more to play Sabbat vote. But seriously, the best reason for playing Lasombra is that they are just so dark and classy!

Hope you enjoyed this review, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy playing this deck. But wait till you see the others!


11 thoughts on “Lasombra starter: Parliament of Shadows

Add yours

  1. Hello. Great series and great blog. I am enjoying almost every read… we are a 5 player group based in Madrid and we are considering a comeback using the new 4 preconstructed… but as you can imagine, we have a problem as we are 5. We don´t think it is a good idea to repeat one of them, to avoid contesting. Have you considered a list that could match these four in a balanced game? I mean, a list that does not abuse the advantage of being customized and still is in a similar tier to these new precos… I myself have a big collection and could build almost any deck for my pals. If you have any design that could be used, I would greatly appreciate if you share it. Thanks and good job!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Pritoos, thanks a lot for your appreciations. 🙂 It’s so great to see the motivation that those starters bring in old and new players, we’re very excited about the future of the game!
      As a matter of facts we have planned to do a “5th starter” list. 🙂 If you can wait a bit it will be published before you get your decks!


  2. Trying this deck, with some problems as cannot block as much as I want to use Deflection. Being a primary political deck, wont be good to add Antonio Delgado? If you get a ref passed, He can be ready to block and delfect instead keeping the Qui for more dramatical moments.


    1. Zeta, Antonio Delgado is Group 2,so you can’t mix him with this Group 4-5 crypt!
      This deck won’t block most actions, and in our modified version you should have enough OTQV and Deflections to bounce the big bleeds. If your meta is bleed-heavy, feel free to add a few of each and try it with those changes!


  3. Yeah, sorry about the grouping…not tournament contest, so with the friends we goes without grouping rules (and still we are friends). Problem is haven as your predator a Toreador antitribu with embraces. I think I will be adding a Gran Madre de Dio, to at least slow down them a bit.


    1. Well I think it’s a pretty bad idea. The grouping is there for a reason ! It has nothing to do with tournaments or not, but with the balance of the game. Of course weenie decks are all-powerful without grouping, but even if you have some limits between friends, some decks will have a big advantage over others.
      I suggest you try the grouping rule with your friends, you’ll see that if anything it forces you to make strategic choices and to hone your deckbuilding skills. It is frustrating sometimes, for sure, but the alternative is way worse.
      This being said, if I had access to all the Lasombras I would for sure include Gratiano instead Valdemar, and maybe Delgado over some other 9-Cap.


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