Hi, and welcome to the second instalment of this series dedicated to prepare you to win the next EC in Paris. In case you missed it, you can find the first part here.
You’ve done your homework, you’ve picked up your plane tickets, you’ve learned how to say “I would like to buy one baguette, please” in french and you even mustered the courage to say hi to Emma, the cute girl from accounting, as you passed by. Things are looking good buuuuuut there is a slight problem: you still don’t know what deck to play. Well, you’re in luck, as today we’re going to talk about some simple and powerful decks that would be good candidates for your day 1 experience.
Before we roll right in, I want to preface that playing the deck YOU want, is more important than playing one of the following decks, just because they would be « better ». Again, V:TES is a game that rewards player skill, so a T2 or even T3 deck that you know and feel good playing with will, most of the time, yield better results than just playing a T1 deck. I know that I will be playing some slightly “non-meta decks” at the EC, but that’s because, after extensive tests, I find that I’m personally having great success with them. Your experience will probably differ, so don’t hesitate to try out stuff while you can!
Please also note that the decklists presented below are from the Bibliodèque, and are mainly an example of what an archetype looks like. Feel free to ask around or dive into the TWDA for other builds!
I/ The Elephant In The Room: Stealth Bleed
I figured I might as well start with the most obvious choice for a newer player. A stealth bleed (often abreviated SB) is a deck with a mostly straightforward game plan : bleed as much as possible, with as much stealth as possible in order to make interaction minimal. Usually, they play small to midcap vampires (from capacity 1 to 6), which means they are also fast and effective. While there is a surprisingly high amount of different decks that fit this archetype, they tend to mostly follow this formula, which means you can just play the one you prefer. Yeaaaaaah!
Weenie DEM is probably the most basic SB deck in that it does just one thing with basically no other plan: play vampires that have access to Dementation and … well, bleed with them. It plays a LOT of Kindred Spirit which means it actually gains a good amount of pool. Also, basically no card costs blood so its damage is always going to be confident. Finally, the fact that you only rely on a single discipline makes it very straightfoward to play. It should however be noted that, as opposed to the next four SB I will talk about, it doesn’t have a way to bounce bleeds, which might be a problem if your predator is another SB.
!Malkavian is basically an improved version of wennie dem, at the cost of having bigger vampires, which means the deck is typically slower and also, overall slightly less consistent. You gain access to Auspex and Obfuscate, which gives you better tools to light cept (not actually recommended, but can save your life sometimes), to bounce (which helps you kill your prey too) and well, better stealth. Overall, while it’s less agressive, I think it’s more rewarding and probably better to learn the game.
Kyasid and Lasombra both use Dominate (which, let’s be honest, is basically on the top three discplines of the game) along with admittedly weaker stealth with Obtenebration and Mytherceria, which should still be way more than enough to prevent getting blocked by non-dedicated intercept decks. Lasombra use the polyavence of the very powerful Nocturn ally, while Kyasid have access to more toolbox elements with their Mytherceria cards. Overall, two strong decks, that will also teach you a very important aspect of the game: blood management, as most bleed cards, push and stealth cards this deck play do cost blood.
Finally, Giovanni Powerbleed typically plays way less stealth than other decks and relies more on broken Giovanni cards (Sudario mostly) as well as very efficient vampires (Isabel being the queen). It also typically is a little bit more toolboxy. While it’s clearly harder to play, it can be extremely explosive and is very rewarding to play.
II/ Expanding the starters and “Classics are classics for a reason”
Chances are you already know those two following decks and … well, they’re just good decks honestly. Palla Grande and Nephandus both are install decks that are stable and mostly rely on tons of minions, aka swarm, to oust their prey, often after assembling an ousting force that should be enough to sweep the whole table in a few turns anyways. We already made two articles about them as they were some of the Sabbat starters so if you’re interested, you should go read those.
Nothing really to add there, those decks are resilient, stable and very potent in late game.
III/ A vote of confidence
I need to be honest with you: playing well a vote deck is very difficult for a beginner. Vote decks, while they are indeed powerful and fun, require both good table talk and appropriate ressource management. As such, if you’re very new to the game, I really wouldn’t recommend you play them. However, if you really want to, I would like to recommend Maris Lutz, which I think is probably the best vote deck alongside Stanislava, although it has a similar problem: contest can be very painful.
Maris Lutz is an efficient deck, with an easy game plan: vote and kill your opponent, while simultaneously putting into play very big and good vamps that won’t be as expensive thanks to Villein and Parity Shift. Do note, however, that while Maris Streck’s ability is incredibly broken, it is very difficult to use well.
IV/ “I know I can play a harder deck (and also, I want to fight)”
Finally, I just want to talk about two good decks that, while they are clearly harder to use, are also very good and consistent: Weenie ANI and Prince Grinder.
Weenie Ani is the only true fight deck I will be talking about in this article, as I feel it’s one the easiest fight decks to play and this type of decks might just be the hardest to win with, especially as a newer player. The fact that the Weenie ANI fight module is basically spamming Aid from bats + Carrion Crows, as well as having the catch-all option of Deep Song, which is both an ousting tool and a rush tool, makes is very consistent. It’s also a deck that can be very polyvalent, with several differents versions (more cept with Cat’s Guidance and Raven Spy, more rush and fight, anarchs with Anarch Revolt and Groundfighting, Ashur with Nana Buruku, etc). If you like this kind of deck, investing in a weenie ani deck will always be a good idea.
Prince Grinder is a toolbox deck that rely on Dominate to do the heavy lifting. It also has a small combat module of Weighted Walking Stick and Fortitude. It’s very similar to the !Ventrue Grinder deck we already talked about, but trades Auspex for the two very good Camarilla Prince cards: Second Tradition: Domain and Parity Shift. It also has a better passive vote defense with good amount of titled vampires. Overall, I think it’s slightly easier to play, while both Prince Grinder and !Ventrue Grinder should be similar powerlevel-wise.
And that’s it! I’m sure there are lots more decks you can have success with as a new player, but those were the ones that immediately came to my mind. Next article will be about how to improve and test your deck for a tournament and hopefully should come faster than this one. In the meantime, feel free to listen to more french tunes!