Malkavian Antitribu Newsletter
March 2007

Malkavian Antitribu Newsletter, March 2007
Volume VI, Issue III

1. INTRODUCTION

The Sword of Caine set is released, and, as usual, it contains some
great cards for our clan. One of them is so groundbreaking that the
whole newsletter is devoted to it! Writing about such cards is always
pleasant. Since they are really able to inspire a lot of new deck
archetypes, nobody can complain that the game is stagnant, and there
is nothing new in it.
You know, when I started to write these newsletters, I feared that I
would exhaust all anti-Malkavian vampires and all the good cards
quickly enough and then wouldn't know what to review next. Actually, I
have so much new cards that I have to postpone something less
important to write about something more important first! I didn't
review all Third Edition goodies yet, and now we have new cards.
Thanks a lot for WW designers for that!

2. CARD OF THE MONTH

Name: Veil the Legions [SoC:C]
Type: Action Modifier
Discipline: Obfuscate
[obf] Only usable by a ready, untapped vampire other than the acting
minion you control. The acting minion gets +1 stealth. Only one Veil
the Legions may be played each action.
[OBF] As above, and this vampire may burn X additional blood to give
+1 stealth to the next X actions your minions perform this turn. Only
one Veil the Legions can be played at superior each turn.

This card isn't just "good", or even "wonderful" - these words aren't
precise enough. It is *revolutionary*. A card that performs some job
good enough may be called "good", but a card that creates a whole
bunch of the new deck archetypes, isn't just "good". Veil of the
Legions does right that - it creates a lot of the new deck archetypes.
Yes, I know that we already had Cloak the Gathering that allowed to
increase stealth of another minion, but that changes nothing...
Veil of the Legions has two great advantages compared to Cloak the
Gathering:
1). You may raise stealth of another minion with INFERIOR Obfuscate.
2). With superior Obfuscate you may raise stealth of SEVERAL minions
with just one card.
Now let me describe the meaning of these advantages in a deck that
wants to get stealth for the minions that cannot get it themselves.
With Cloak the Gathering, you had to use a support vampire with
superior Obfuscate. Prior to Sword of Caine (and Lubomira Hradok)
minimal capacity of such vampires was 4, and they rarely could do
something useful besides Cloaks and, probably, clan-based cards like
Sibyl's Tongue. Wasn't the price of stealth too high? And you had to
add enough support vampires into your crypt to get at least one, which
made the whole idea of "support Cloakers" almost absurd. Yes, I've
built some decks with support OBF-vampires (especially Imbued), but
they rarely were tournament-worthy. In fact, you could use Cloaks only
if some of your core vampires happen to have superior Obfuscate: in
"star decks", for instance (Arika comes to mind).
Now inferior Obfuscate is enough to Veil your minions. And you may
find even 1-cap vampires with inferior Obfuscate (Basil), or play it
with Marijava Thuggee! More importantly, there are 149 vampires having
capacity 6 or less and Obfuscate, but only 40 of them posess superior
Obfuscate. Thus, you can relatively easily assemble crypts having
enough vampires with Obfuscate, and you can build such crypts for a
different deck themes, without having to invest into fatties. You can
build a Presence weenie or Dementation weenie with a lot of Obfuscated
vampires, for instance, and put a lot of Veils in these decks.
No need to invest into superior Obfuscate anymore, eh? Now let's see
what can be done with it. How many Cloaks can you put into your deck
without losing its initial goal? Not very much, I guess. Thus, even
with Cloaks your deck was still be able to demonstrate only casual
stealth - it could be enough to push a few crucial actions, but you
had to assemble the whole "combo" (action card, Cloak and the support
vampire), so the opportunity cost was quite high. With Veil the
Legions, you may Cloak a lot of minions with just one stealth card!
This is NOT a frail and unreliable combo anymore, but a strong deck
strategy instead. Field or breed a lot of minions, wait until the time
comes, then Veil them all and organize an assault on your prey. How
about Isouda de Blaise Veiling a horde of !Toreador weenies after
Palla Grande? How about Stavros Veiling a horde of Presence weenies?
What would you say about Luc Veiling some Imbued, eager to get their
Powers???
Looks like we've got two distinct branches of Veiled decks: inferior-
Veiled and superior-Veiled. First branch includes all weenie decks
that suddenly became much more powerful with Veils. Choose any weenie
theme, and if you can build a crypt having at least 5 vampires with
Obfuscate, you can use Veil the Legions in that deck. Almost any
weenie deck can benefit of this: Potence-weenie, Presence-weenie,
Fortitude-weenie, and so on. Obviously, you should benefit much more
if your weenie was designed to perform +1 stealth actions, like
voting, hunt or equipping: most casual intercept deck cannot get more
than +1 intercept, and if you play Veil, your stealth would overcome.
Can you imagine a weenie voting deck with Veils? Actually, there's no
need to imagine, I've provided one below. What about a Cryptic Mission
deck with Veils? Or maybe Reunion Kamut deck? Even if you aren't
planning to play +1 stealth actions, Veil the Legions may be extremely
useful. What about a weenie Rush based on Games of Instinct to regain
blood, for instance?
Superior-Veiled decks are going to be more tricky and complicated, but
definitely more powerful. They may be weenie decks with a support of
some heavier "stars" like Luc+Imbued, or just any deck with enough
suitable vampires. They may even have just a few Veils to organize a
"sudden burst" and oust their prey as a surprise, which is a "hallmark
behaviour" of many good decks. Would you like to see three Veiled
inferior Governs from your "peaceful" Wall predator? It's quite
possible now. Please note that a vampire playing superior Veil can
cover his own action as well (inferior effect doesn't allow this) -
so, your Luc can Veil the first action, then increase your hand, and
then play some Cloaks for the rest actions. Yes, you can play BOTH
Cloak and Veil in the "superior-Veiled" decks, and get +2 stealth on
the most crucial actions. As long as most of these actions have
inherent +1 stealth, even Second Tradition won't be enough to block
you!

3. VAMPIRES OF THE MONTH

Name: Jackie [Third]
Clan: Malkavian Antitribu
Group: 4
Capacity: 3
Disciplines: DEM
Sabbat.

Jackie is the "star" of weenie Dementation deck. Actually, it's quite
strange to see a 3-cap with a superior bleeding discipline;
traditionally such vampires were at least 5-caps. And Dementation is
unique among the bleeding disciplines, since it provides some decent
stealth as well (Deny, Confusion, Mind Tricks). So, little Jackie is
quite a serious stealth-bleeder! See my first "Deck of the Month"
below.
You may also Jackie as a "babbler", since she is the youngest vampire
with superior Dementation, and tapping a 3-cap isn't very much for
untapping some huge blocker/bouncer with Babble.

Name: Midget [BH:U2]
Clan: Malkavian Antitribu
Group: 3
Capacity: 3
Disciplines: obf pre DEM
Sabbat: Infernal. Animal retainers lose their abilities while Midget
is acting or is in combat.

Yes, I know that Midget already was my Vampire of the Month, but I
must admit that I seriously underestimated him. He is a wonderful
stealth-bleeder, better than the 5-cap "main dudes" like Persia, Uncle
George and Apache Jones, since he avoids Raven Spies. Yes, you will
pay for his untap, but his low cost and fast influence speed are well
worth paying for such "loan", especially if you have a lot of Kindred
Spirits and regain the pool you pay for his untap. Midget is a
frequent player in any Kindred Spirits team.
Obviously, he's even better in Dementation weenie that tries to
overrun its prey with a lot of actions at moderate stealth. Would you
say that Jackie is better in this deck since she has the same superior
Dementation, but no Infernal disadvantage? Not so fast. Midget can
play inverior Veil the Legions for Jackie, she cannot. And Veil really
makes this deck much better!
Actually, Midget is so good that he can be used even WITHOUT his
Dementation: he is one of the best vampires for obf/pre deck, as well.
You won't find obf/pre vampires with smaller capacity! What about the
penalty? Well, you may just keep Midget untapped to Veil the rest
vampires... He may still participate in "alpha strike", when you will
be ready to oust your prey.

4. DECKS OF THE MONTH

Deck Name: Veiled DEM-weenie
Created By: Ilya Ginsburg
Description: "Inferior-Veiled" DEM-weenie

Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 10, Max: 19, Avg: 3,58)
----------------------------------------------
  1  Eddie Gaines              dem pot          1  Caitiff
  1  Marta                     aus dem          3  !Malkavian
  2  Jackie                    DEM              3  !Malkavian
  2  Midget                    obf pre DEM      3  !Malkavian
  1  Beauregard Krueller       aus dem obf      4  !Malkavian
  1  Jeremy Talbot             dem obf          4  Malkavian
  1  Adelaide Davis            aus dem obf      4  Malkavian
  1  Persia                    aus obf DEM      5  Malkavian
  1  Uncle George              aus dom obf DEM  5  !Malkavian
  1  Apache Jones              aus for obf DEM  5  !Malkavian

Library: (90 cards)
-------------------
Master (17 cards)
  4  Dementation
  3  Sudden Reversal
  1  Obfuscate
  3  Dreams of the Sphinx
  3  Blood Doll
  1  Bleeding the Vine
  1  Pentex(TM) Loves You!
  1  Jake Washington (Hunter)

Action (27 cards)
  20 Kindred Spirits
  4  Dive into Madness
  1  Blessing of Chaos
  2  Restructure

Action Modifier (35 cards)
  11 Confusion
  5  Eyes of Chaos
  5  Mind Tricks
  10 Veil the Legions
  4  Change of Target

Ally (3 cards)
  1  Muddled Vampire Hunter
  1  Carlton Van Wyk (Hunter)
  1  Escaped Mental Patient

Event (1 cards)
  1  Unmasking, The

Combo (7 cards)
  6  Deny
  1  Abandoning the Flesh


I hate most weenie decks, even the effective ones. For a long time I
didn't believe in DEM-weenie effectiveness and had a discussion with
Peter Bakija and other players about it. I thought that the best
possible DEM-weenies had too large average capacity to go without
Obfuscate, while most of the vampires had Obfuscate anyway. Vampires
with inferior Dementation could generate only +1 stealth with Mind
Tricks (for 1 blood), and they were going to be blocked frequently,
losing the traditional weenie advantage in numbers. But Veil the
Legion completely changed the situation. We have just 4 vampires
without Obfuscate, so we're going to have A LOT of vampires able to
play the Veil. Even a vampire with inferior Dementation now can
generate +2 stealth, and most of the time one Veil would be enough,
without losing any blood.
The deck is a pretty straightforward "maddog-style" S&B that starts to
bleed very early and never stops. We have just 4 Dementation skill
cards, since there are just 5 vampires with inferior Dementation, and
you will rarely have more than one of them. An Obfuscate skill card
should allow you to get superior Obfuscate and greatly increase the
effect of your Veils. Dreams, SRs, Pentex Loves You! and Bleeding the
Vine support your "maddog" behaviour: bleed quickly, bleed for a lot
and never let your prey to survive.
This deck has no combat defense except for allies: they proved to be
much better protection for your vampires than any combat cards
available to the weenies. You have 4 such allies (counting Jake
Washington), and with The Unmasking they can block even +1 stealth
rushes. The only other defensive cards are Blessing of Chaos (disables
bleed modifiers from your predator), two Restructures (disables War
Ghouls/Ossian) and Abandoning the Flesh as a "fear card" to disable
diablerie.
The rest is the more-or-less traditional S&B package, besides for Veil
the Legion. I guess this deck cannot be called a pure DEM-weenie with
10 Obfuscate cards, but the crypt is the same, and I just cannot see
any reason of avoiding the card that can be played by 2/3 of the crypt
with a good effect. Note that Jackie and Midget are doubled here to
get full advantage of their low capacity and superior Dementation.

Deck Name:   Crusader Legions
Created By:  Ilya Ginsburg
Description: Veiled "weenie" vote

Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 11, Max: 24, Avg: 4,08)
----------------------------------------------
  1  Justine Chen        pre              2  !Toreador
  2  Midget              obf pre DEM      3  !Malkavian
  1  Smash               pot pre          3  !Brujah
  1  Jonathan Gursel     aus pre          3  !Toreador
  1  Aiyana              pre spi          3  Ahrimanes
  1  Loonar              cel PRE          4  !Toreador
  1  Tock                obf pot pre      4  !Nosferatu
  2  Victor Pelletier    cel dom for PRE  5  Ventrue
  2  Stavros             dem AUS OBF PRE  7  !Malkavian

Library: (90 cards)
-------------------
Master (16 cards)
  1  Obfuscate
  1  Creepshow Casino
  1  Powerbase: Madrid
  3  Dreams of the Sphinx
  1  Powerbase: Rome
  5  Presence
  2  Blood Doll
  1  Institution Hunting Ground
  1  Secure Haven

Action (13 cards)
  5  Charming Lobby
  2  Sibyl`s Tongue
  6  Enchant Kindred

Action Modifier (28 cards)
  12 Veil the Legions
  4  Bribes
  6  Bewitching Oration
  6  Voter Captivation

Political Action (20 cards)
  1  Crusade: Brussels
  1  Crusade: Geneva
  1  Crusade: London
  1  Crusade: Philadelphia
  1  Crusade: Pittsburgh
  1  Crusade: Rome
  1  Crusade: Toronto
  1  Crusade: Miami
  1  Crusade: Barcelona
  11 Kine Resources Contested

Combat (11 cards)
  3  Staredown
  8  Majesty

Ally (2 cards)
  2  Procurer


This is a variation of the traditional weenie vote, but with some
serious changes. First of all, it isn't a "weenie" anymore, but it has
some very efficient titled vampires that should help with pushing the
Crusades. Veils provide a serious boost to the deck, at least in the
world of +1 intercept. You have 5 vampires with Obfuscate here (2
Midgets, Tocks and 2 Stavros), so you can expect to get at least one
of them in your crypt opening. 4 !Malks allowed to include some useful
cards: Hunting Ground and Sibyl's Tongues. All vampires are Sabbat to
play Crusades, except for Victor Pelletier who has the inbuilt title
and is just too good to ignore. Stavros is a second "star" of this
deck, having superior Obfuscate and Presence plus a title - he can
Veil many vampires at once, and it would be great in this deck. You
can expect to get either Stavros or Victor, and their votes would help
a lot in your Crusade. And with all these stars, we still have average
capacity 4.08 - it's almost a weenie! Fantastic!!!
If you won't get Stavros, you have another chance of getting superior
Obfuscate with the provided skill card. Feel free to fetch it if some
of your neighbours has light intercept. Creepshow Casino is another
stealth-booster, so you can get up to +3 stealth for one action per
turn. Powerbases provide extra votes that you will need for your Voter
Captivations, Dreams provide acceleration and hand cycling, and Secure
Haven should protect your most precious vampire (usually Stavros or
Victor) against rushes. You will need Presence skill cards to get
superior Presence for your smaller vamps; if you have Midget or Tock,
you should raise their Presence first, since you need to increase
their capacity: they may eventually get superior Obfuscate, and then
they will need all blood they can have for the superior Veils.
The voting package is pretty clear: nine Crusades (trying to avoid
contest whenever possible) and a bunch of KRC. As usual, you have some
Charming Lobbies and Bribes, but this deck usually can push its votes
even without bribery, so Charming Lobby is used just to get +2 votes,
and Bribes is played only to get a tasty Voter Captivation. Nobody
prevents you from keeping your Bewitching Oration in reserve and
pretend to be weak, though :)
There are two Sibyl's Tongues here that should be used wisely. Primary
targets are Secure Haven and Powerbase: Madrid, though you may
sometimes need a Hunting Ground most. There are six Enchant Kindreds
that should speed up your deployment and enforce your pressure on your
prey: even if he manages to block your vampire, you can play Majesty,
untap and then bleed with Enchant Kindred.
Blood can be a problem in this deck, especially for a smaller vampires
that aren't usually play Voter Captivations That's why you have two
Procurers, a Hunting Ground and 3 Staredowns. Vampires with superior
Presence usually have enough blood here (thanks to the Captivations),
so you can even take some into your pool with Blood Dolls. Victor is
the best target for Blood Doll, since he uses his blood only for
Majesties here, while Stavros may need it for Veil the Legions.

That's all for March.
As always, all comments and ideas are appreciated!

Yours,
Ector