OFFICIAL VEKN MALKAVIAN ANTITRIBU NEWSLETTER
NOVEMBER 2004

OFFICIAL VEKN MALKAVIAN ANTITRIBU NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 2004
VOLUME IV, Issue II

1. INTRODUCTION

In the previous newsletter, I claimed that Malkavians antitribu have
only one tournament-viable strategy (Stealth-Bleed), and the fact is
pretty bad for the game. Surely, each clan has its strengths and
weaknesses, but if the weaknesses are so huge that only one deck
strategy is playable, this situation must be fixed. Would the game be
interesting enough if Brujah could play only rush decks, Ventrue could
play only voting decks and so on? I really hope that LSJ is reading
this... since I'm going to explain the reasons of this situation now,
and I've got a few ideas about fixing it.

This newsletter is all about COMBAT. To my mind, the primary reason of
non-stealth-bleed decks' weakness is the complete inability to survive
combat with the other vampires. Since combat is the important and very
appealing part of the game, and it increases interaction between
players, the rules make avoiding it difficult enough, which is right.
Any deck wants to do something, and when your minion gets intercepted,
combat ensues. Likewise, any deck wants to blocks something, entering
combat as well. And there are rush decks that attack opponent's
minions directly.

Now, for God's sake, tell me, why Malkavians antitribu cannot do
ANYTHING in combat? Surely, our clan wasn't designed to be
combat-oriented, but why we cannot even run away from combat? Is it a
vicious curse that weakens our legs? I'm aware only of our dementia,
and if the designers really tried to simulate the World of Darkness in
the card game, the madmen should be quite dangerous combatants (at
least some of them). This should be simulated via creating some really
dangerous combat cards based on Dementation, or some really dangerous
anti-Malkavian vampires, or both. And it would be great to have a
"combat ends" card to run away from combat, even if it wouldn't be as
effective as Majesty or Earth Meld.

2. HERE WE ARE

Let's assume that a combat deck usually tries to send opposing vampire
into torpor or at least leave him or her without blood. From the
defender's perspective, combat strategies can be roughly divided into
three categories:

A). Single-strike combat. This strategy tries to torporize opponent's
vampire with just a single strike, usually accompanied with the other
combat cards. The most powerful example is Immortal Grapple/Disarm
strategy, but there are also Protean-based Claws, Vicissitude-based
aggravated strikes and so on. To avoid the carnage, we can use dodges
(except for the Immortal Grapple) or maneuvers. Escaping through these
cards won't be easy, however, since the combat-oriented decks should
be prepared for them. Theoretically, we can use 10 Dodges and 10 Fakes
Out (or more), but in practice this would make our deck pointless.
This might be reasonable if your metagame is filled with "aggravated"
decks, but in the other case you'd be forced to discard these combat
cards to find something useful. Keep in mind that these cards won't
save you from all kinds of combat strategies anyway.
B). Multiple-strike combat. The most effective multi-strike strategy
uses Blurs and Pursuits, usually with a good ranged weapon like .44
Magnum. Most such strategies use Celerity, though you may eventually
encounter Black Metamorphosis, Imposing Phantasm or even Octopod. What
can we do against this strategy? Maneuvers are generally useless,
since our opponent can strike at any distance, and we can dodge only
the first strike. If we could stay at close range we could play
Personal Scourge, but this is unreliable as most popular weapons have
inbuilt maneuver. If only we had a "combat ends" card, it would be a
saviour...unfortunately, we don't have it. The only hope is Ivory Bow;
if you manage to get it, it would be quite effective unless the
opposing minion can prevent 1 damage. If you don't have the
Bow...welcome into torpor, fellow!
C). Multiple-round combat. The most "weird" strategy is usually based
on "not usable on the first round of combat" cards or constant
damage-dealing cards like Carrion Crows or Weather Control. To be
effective, such decks generally have to stay at long range and use
"healing" cards like Theft of Vitae or Taste of Vitae. They also need
presses or Traps to continue combat for several rounds. The best
defense against such decks is a press to end combat, though it
wouldn't be too effective against other combat strategies.
Nevertheless, we have Deny, which is a versatile card that can be used
to increase stealth, especially with a "classic" crypt based on
superior Dementation. Unfortunately, this card is Rare, and in most
cases it isn't as useful as Swallowed by the Night (Common), which
provides stealth for all our vampires or maneuver for the most
important ones.

Now, let's browse our "combat arsenal".

3. CARDS OF THE MONTH (poverty isn't a vice, you know...)

The following cards can be used by vampires of our clan, and, to be
quite frank, I don't like the cards at all. Maybe, similar cards would
shine for another clans, but Malkavians antitribu cannot use them
effectively enough. I'm wasting time describing these cards just to
describe the reasons of their relatively low popularity in Malkavian
antitribu decks.

Name: Disguised Weapon
[Jyhad:C, VTES:C, Sabbat:C, SW:C, CE:C/PM2]
Cardtype: Combat
Discipline: Obfuscate
Only usable before range is chosen if you have a weapon card in your
hand.
[obf] Equip this vampire with that weapon (and pay cost to equip as
normal).
[OBF] As above, but usable when choosing a strike.

This is probably the best combat strategy available for our clan. Get
Ivory Bow, or Flamethrower, or .44 Magnum and shoot! If you manage to
play this when the opponent  already declared his strike, he will be
unable to dodge, even if he has the card. Unfortunately, this strategy
requires too many slots in your deck, and the deck still would not be
as effective in combat as Celerity-based Concealed Magnum decks, since
we have no additional strikes.
There are other problems as well. How many Disguised Weapons and how
many weapons would you like to use? I tried four D.W. and six weapons
in a stealth-bleed deck, but didn't got a chance to disguise anything
in several games. By the way, any "stealth & something" deck has very
little free space, since it has to contain stealth cards and primary
strategy cards (i.e. bleed cards in a stealth-bleed deck).
Does anybody want to dump stealth and play bruise and bleed with
Disguised weapons? You can try if you wish... but IMHO this strategy
is still much weaker than the other combat strategies, and it's also
very fragile. Ivory Bow is unique, so you cannot use many copies of
it, and it's very likely to be contested; moreover, if somebody
torporize a vamp with the Bow, it would attract diablerie.
Flamethrower is very expensive, and Magnums aren't too dangerous
without additional strikes.
This card is excellent when Cailean disguises Mark V rifle, but our
clan lacks support needed to use it effectively.

Name: Coma
[Sabbat:U, SW:U, CE:U, BH:PM3]
Cardtype: Combat
Cost: 3 blood
Discipline: Dementation
[dem] Strike: opposing vampire goes into torpor.
[DEM] As above, and that vampire does not untap as normal during his
or her controller's next untap phase.

What a mad card! You pay three blood AND take all damage inflicted by
the opposing vampire just to send him or her into torpor. Guess what
are your chances to avoid being torporized yourself? Even if you were
hit for a mere two damage, you've lost five blood total. Your opponent
lost two blood needed to rescue his vampire from torpor and an action
(or two actions, if you played Coma at superior). Is there anything to
celebrate?
Things are better if you can do something with the torporized vampire.
If you have votes or allies with votes, you can just diablerize the
vampire  - preferably with the vampire that played Coma to restore
blood on the vamp. If you don't have enough votes, you can sacrifice
Yorik or even Claven to get rid of the torporized vampire - this is
usually worthy if the vampire is really dangerous (Theo Bell or Beast
are the worst - die, stupid bullies!) Yet another way is Sacrificial
Lamb, but you are unlikely to play it with the same vampire, since it
also costs three blood...  Obviously, Coma is most effective when you
are blocking your predator - the torporized vampire is less likely to
be resqued by his owner or the owner's ally.
Coma is a pure defensive card just because it's a very expensive
strike that can be dodged. Your enemies have many different ways to
avoid it - playing Immortal Grapple, maneuvering to long range or
simply draining blood from your vampire (for instance, a Tremere can
maneuver and play Theft of Vitae on the first round, and you won't be
able to play Coma on the second). Coma itself is very ineffective,
though it becomes better if you have votes and can diablerize the
victim.
Note that Obtenebration-based Entombment is similar to Coma, but
Entombment has a wonderful support, since you can play it after Arms
of the Abyss or gain a second strike for it from Black Metamorphosis.
Alas, Coma hasn't any support at all.
Most of the time Coma is used as a "fear card" - you play Coma once,
and this should make other players fear it for the remaining rounds of
the tournament :) Unfortunately, the card will hardly scare the
professional players...

Name: Voice of Madness
[SW:U, CE:U]
Cardtype: Reaction
Cost: 1 blood
Discipline: Dementation
Only usable when this vampire successfully blocks an ally or younger
vampire.
[dem] Tap this reacting vampire. Combat does not occur.
[DEM] As above, and the acting minion burns 1 blood or life.

This card has too many requirements to be really playable. Your
vampire must be older than the opponent's, and (s)he must block the
enemy. The most dangerous rush vampires are Theo Bell, Beast, Jeremy
MacNeil (adv) etc. that can rush even without spending any cards.
These vampires' capacity is 7 or 8, so you need at least 9-capacity
vampire to play Voice of Madness against them. Now recall that our
clan tries to avoid using huge vampires. We prefer having two small
vampires (Claven and Uncle George, for instance) to one Vasantasena,
since it's much easier to torporize one vampire than two, and it's
much easier to bounce his bleed. But you're planning to use Voice of
Madness, which should protect your vampire, right?
Well, even if you get a huge vampire, you will still be unable to use
many Voices, since this would require a host of Wakes or Forced
Awakenings. Large vampires usually do something, so your vampire is
likely to be tapped during opponent's turn. If the Beast would rush
you, you would have to play Wake card and Voice of Madness. Look, you
have to spend two cards just to counter an action that doesn't require
cards at all! Obviously, this cannot last forever, and very soon
you'll lack Wake or Voice, and your "giant" will be torporized. And I
even didn't mentioned that you might need intercept to block +1
stealth rush action provided by Haven Uncovered, Alastor, Nose of the
Hound and many other cards!
An additional problem hides in the cost of this card. One blood isn't
very much, but if you plan to use many Voices, this becomes a problem.
If you plan to use extra Telepathic Misdirections for +1 intercept,
this only increases the problem, since the card also costs 1 blood.
All in all, Voice of Madness sometimes can save your vampire, but it's
very unreliable.
After all, just try to compare this card to Obedience! Your untapped
vampire can play Obedience for free and stay untapped to play further
Obediences or Deflections. If your vampire is a target of the rush,
(s)he doesn't have to block the action, so you aren't forced to
include intercept cards. And if you can play Second Tradition, you may
untap a vampire, block, play Obedience, and the vampire will remain
untapped. Pitiful enough, Voice of Madness is just a pale shadow of
Obedience.

Name: Escaped Mental Patient
[Sabbat:U, SW:U, BH:PM2]
Cardtype: Ally
Clan: Malkavian antitribu
Cost: 2 pool
Mortal with 1 life. 1 strength, 0 bleed.
Escaped Mental Patient can enter combat with any minion controlled by
another Methuselah as a (D) action. The Patient can make a hand strike
at +1 damage, aggravated. Burn him at the end of combat if he does so.

Yet another "fear card". Patient is played to prevent your vampires
from rushes, because the Patient can block the attack and send the
attacker into torpor. Most of the time this won't prevent +1 stealth
attacks (unless The Unmasking is in play), but it really can prevent
an Immortal Grapple deck from attacking you if the player currently
has no maneuvers. The Patient's aggravated strike is still a hand
strike, so Immortal Grapple doesn't prohibit it.
Unfortunately, Escaped Mental Patient is almost guaranteed to die in
combat unless your opponent will refuse to kill him. And your opponent
can avoid his aggravated strike quite easily, especially when you are
rushing with the Patient. When you rush, you declare strike first, and
if you declare aggravated strike, a simple Dodge would be enough to
prevent the strike and destroy your Patient. Things would be radically
different if you play Rotshreck, though, since the card will send
opposing vampire into torpor, and your Patient will SURVIVE, because
his strike never resolves. Likewise, a vampire with Fortitude can
prevent Patient's damage unless you play Rotshreck. Looks like the
Rotshreck is essential for any deck using Patients, and it works
nicely with Ivory Bow as well.
Clearly, any ranged strike would kill the Patient, though you could
use Fakes Out to maneuver back to close range. The Patient cannot do
almost anything against a Magnum/Blur strategy, since the Magnum
provides a free maneuver each combat.
In most cases, Escaped Mental Patient isn't worth paying 2 pool. A
Master card that could send any vampire into torpor would probably
worth 2 pool and even more, but the Patient is too fragile and
unreliable. To my mind, Muddled Vampire Hunter is much better, since
it has a decent chance to torporize a vampire with low blood and
survive, and even if the opposing vampire has a lot of blood, losing
four blood would be quite painful to him. Muddled Vampire Hunter works
without any support (Rotshrecks etc).
Nevertheless, Escaped Mental Patient has some advantages, and with a
proper support it may prove itself even more dangerous than Hunter.
Unlike the Hunter, Patient is not unique, so you can recruit an army
of them and use the army to torporize unwanted vampires. The price is
steep, but it can be reduced with Charisma and Sunset Strip,
Hollywood, and if you manage to get both cards, you will be able to
summon Patients for free! This idea is used in my Deck of the Month,
which is very funny, but definitely not tournament-viable.

4. VAMPIRES OF THE MONTH

Name: Muriel Foucade
[Sabbat:V, SW:U]
Cardtype: Vampire
Clan: Malkavian antitribu
Group: 2
Capacity: 5
Discipline: aus DEM
Sabbat: +1 strength.

Superior Dementation on a 5-capacity vampire is very good, but lack of
Obfuscate really hurts. She certainly can play Confusion, Mind Tricks
or Deny to get stealth without Obfuscate, and if
Dementation-only-based weenie deck did exist, Muriel would become its
primary vampire. Unfortunately, there are just a few weenies with
Dementation, and the cheapest vampire with superior Dementation costs
five (except for Midget, which ends up being even more expensive).
Obfuscate-based stealth cards are the most powerful, and most vampires
with Dementation have Obfuscate. Thus, if you're going to use Muriel
in a stealth-based deck, you should pack some Obfuscate skill cards.
They never hurt, since the majority of cheap bleeders (Persia, Uncle
George, Yourik, Claven) have only inferior Obfuscate.
Muriel's +1 strength (on a five-capacity vampire!) would be highly
appreciated if only she had at least one combat Discipline. It's
possible to create a "weenie rush" deck based on cheap vampires with
+1 strength (Hadrian Garrick, Parmenides etc), a lot of Potence skill
cards, Immortal Grapples and Disarms, and Muriel Foucade would shine
in that deck too.
If you are familiar with vampire "points" you should notice that
Muriel is underpowered. A vampire of her capacity should have five
points, and Muriel worth only three points for Disciplines plus 1.5
points for +1 strength equals 4.5 points. To my mind, +1 strength
should cost 1.5 points only for the vampires able to benefit from this
ability - e.g. vampires with combat Disciplines like Potence or
Celerity. Muriel's ability should be priced at 1 point, so she has
only 4 points instead of five.
As you can see, Muriel has potential to be used in different decks,
but she needs some support to be effective. Wise Methuselah usually
prefer ready-to-use vamps.

Name: Ruth McGinley
[CE:V, Anarchs:PAG]
Cardtype: Vampire
Clan: Malkavian
Group: 3
Capacity: 6
Discipline: aus cel obf DEM
Camarilla primogen: Ruth gets first strike when striking with a gun.

Ruth is a Camarilla Malk, but she's quite useful in most
anti-Malkavian stealth-bleed decks, since she has a "classic"
stealth-bleed combination of Disciplines (obf and DEM). Unfortunately,
her capacity is six, and that means she has to compete with stars like
Dolphin Black and Artemis. Ruth can offer a vote and an interesting
ability, but in a stealth-bleed deck all these tricks aren't as
valuable as superior Obfuscate.
To abuse Ruth's ability, you should give her a good gun - preferably a
"peacemaker" able to kill the opposing vampires, leaving them without
a chance to strike back. You should use a gun with inbuilt maneuver to
have greater chances against Immortal Grapples. Surely, you can use
maneuver cards, but they aren't as reliable as inbuilt maneuvers.
Unfortunately, the gun selection is limited, and in most cases you'll
have to choose between cheap and effective .44 Magnum and expensive
but powerful Assault Rifle. If you prefer aggravated strikes, you can
use Dragon's Breath Rounds + Saturday-Night Specials instead, and if
your Ruth is going to intercept most of the time, Sniper Rifle may be
the best.
Ruth would be great in a Malkavian Disguised Weapon/Celerity based
deck. Camarilla Malkavians have many good vampires with Celerity
except for the Ruth (Zoe, Victoria, Quentin King III (adv) and even
Leandro himself), while our clan can offer only The Colonel and
Artemis. Camarilla Malks can use their stunning Justicar, Maris
Streck, to make Ruth an Alastor with an Assault Rifle just for 2 pool!
And Ruth would be able to attack any vampire as +1 stealth action!
Unfortunately, poor Malkavians antitribu can use only her
Disciplines...

5. DECK OF THE MONTH (JUST FOR FUN!)

In the previous newsletter I offered an exercise to my readers just to
prove that the only viable anti-Malkavian deck is stealth-bleed. I
even claimed that creating anti-Malkavian rush deck requires superior
Dementation. Here's my own attempt to make the exercise... not exactly
a rush deck, but it can rush, not exactly an intercept deck, but it
can block, and not exactly a bleed deck, but it still can bleed. This
deck is absolutely insane, and it should prove my level of Dementation
:)

"Freedom to the Mental Patients!", by Ilya Ginsburg

Crypt [12 vampires] Capacity min: 3 max: 9 average: 6.67
------------------------------------------------------------
4x Maris Streck           9  AUS OBF ani dem dom  justicar  
Malkavian:3
2x Korah                  7  AUS DEM OBF ani      priscus   
!Malkavian:2
2x Marie Faucigny         7  AUS OBF dem tha      archbishop
!Malkavian:3
2x General Perfidio Dios  5  AUS dem obf          bishop    
!Malkavian:3
2x Yorik                  3  dem obf                        
!Malkavian:2

Library [90 cards]
------------------------------------------------------------
Master [16]
  1x Barrens, The
  5x Blood Doll
  1x Charisma
  1x Hungry Coyote, The
  1x Information Highway
  6x Rotschreck
  1x Sunset Strip, Hollywood

Action [12]
  3x Call, The
  2x Pulse of the Canaille
  1x Revelations
  6x Sibyl's Tongue

Action Modifier [17]
  3x Cloak the Gathering
  3x Elder Impersonation
  3x Faceless Night
  3x Lost in Crowds
  5x Spying Mission

Political Action [6]
  2x Banishment
  4x Parity Shift

Reaction [13]
  7x Telepathic Misdirection
  6x Wake with Evening's Freshness

Ally [8]
  8x Escaped Mental Patient

Combat [8]
  8x Fake Out

Equipment [3]
  2x Ivory Bow
  1x Laptop Computer

Event [2]
  1x Blood Weakens
  1x Unmasking, The

Combo [5]
  5x Swallowed by the Night
------------------------------------------------------------

Obviously, the focus card of this deck is Escaped Mental Patient. If
you control at least one of them, your enemies would better think
twice prior to playing hostile actions against you. If you have Maris
Streck, she can burn a blood to give +1 intercept to your Patient, and
he can block most actions. When you get The Unmasking, your Patients
will always have +1 intercept (+2 with the Maris' ability when
needed), and you will get some time to prepare your insane plans.
Paying 2 pool for each Patient is too much, but you have Sunset Strip,
Hollywood and Charisma to reduce the cost. Play Sibyl's Tongues to get
one of these cards or both. One pool for a Patient is affordable, and
free Patients are amazing! When you have several Patients, you can
send some of them to finish most unwanted vampires. Rotschrecks make a
good combo with the Patients - they send an opposing vampire to torpor
and your Patient survives. You can also play Rotschrecks when your
vampire shoots with Ivory Bow, with the same results.
If you manage to send a vampire into torpor, you should benefit from
this somehow, and this deck simply diablerizes its victims. To enable
diableries, one should have plenty of votes, and the crypt tries to
get as many votes as possible. If you manage to get Maris Streck,
Korah, Marie Faucigny and General Perfidio Dios, you will have nine
votes which is brilliant even for the best voting decks! With a little
help (or even without it) you will be able to diablerie each
torporized vamp... and get some blood for your vampires since this
deck usually torporizes without dealing damage.
Pool gaining and blood management are the primary troubles of this
deck, since its vampires are large enough, and it also needs pool for
Patients, Bows, master cards etc. Parity Shifts are invaluable, and
you should always hunt for Maris Streck since she is the only vamp
able to play the card. The Calls offer some acceleration or generate
some pool (unfortunately, only Korah is able to play the superior
version). You should use your Blood Dolls wisely, and The Hungry
Coyote allows decent bloating sometimes - just remember that you can
use Sunset Strip to increase stealth of the hunts!
Sibyl's Tongue is an amazing card that enables bizarre "combo-decks".
I'm going to cover it in detail in the future. This deck can use it
early to influence Yorik and fetch Information Highway, but the most
common sequence is searching for Sunset Strip first and for The
Unmasking second. Charisma is an obvious third choice, but sometimes
you will need Parity Shift, Ivory Bow or The Hungry Coyote first. You
can use Maris Streck's second ability to look at the top five cards of
your library and play Sibyl's Tongue to shuffle the library if the
cards were unwanted. Seems like Maris Streck was designed especially
for this deck, eh?
The rest of the deck is pretty straightforward. Use Fake Outs to
return to close range when your Patient is in combat or to stay at
long range with Ivory Bow. Bleed with Pulses of the Canaille and
Laptop Computer (use Marie to get the Laptop for free, if possible).
Use stealth cards to avoid being blocked.
I guess I should say a few words about Blood Weakens. This event is
harmful to the "true" combat decks that rely on playing several cards
in a single combat (maneuver, modifier, strike, press etc.), and it's
truly devastating for an intercept-combat deck that needs some cards
to intercept and some other cards to fight. Obviously, Blood Weakens
can harm you, if you're trying to play several stealth cards in a
single action, but the blocker is going to play several intercept
cards as well (beware the intercept locations!) The profit from Blood
Weakens would be minimal in a stealth-bleed deck, but this deck really
wants to fight, and Blood Weakens actually harms only opponent in
combat. Only one combat card of this deck (Swallowed by the Night) is
affected by the Blood Weakens, and if your vampire commit diablerie,
which happens quite often, (s)he will be immune to this effect.

This deck is nothing but a joke, though you definitely can enjoy
playing it and even win. It's too unstable to be a serious
tournament-caliber deck. But if you're looking only for a fun, try it!
By the way, after playing this deck for a while you would feel that
Sunset Strip, Hollywood is virtually crowded with escaped mental
patients :) Does anybody have the same feeling related to the real
Hollywood? :)

6. SWEET DREAMS

Now imagine you're LSJ himself, and you can create any cards you like.
Wow! You look captivated for a moment, you recall the powers you ever
wanted... and then you realize that you have to maintain balance
between clans, balance between disciplines, and balance between
strategies. Soon enough you'd have to abandon your dreams, as I did
while writing this newsletter.
But there's still a work to be done, since Malkavians antitribu still
have only one playable strategy. To my mind, just a few cards would
enable many different strategies for our clan. I did my best to design
these cards according to the nature of Malkavians and balance them,
and I really hope that the "true" LSJ is reading this...

Name: Run Away Like a Mad
Cardtype: Combat
Cost: 1 blood
Discipline: Dementation
Only usable before range is determined.
[dem] Set the range for this round of combat to long. Skip the
Determine Range step on this round. This minion gets an optional
maneuver to long range on the next round of combat and can perform
only dodge strikes during this combat.
[DEM] As above, with an optional press, only usable to end combat.

This is an alternative "combat ends" card based on Dementation. The
picture is clear - a Malkavian is trying to run away, so s(he) can
only dodge, but the distance is long. This card is good against
Immortal Grapples, and its superior version can help against
multiple-round combat decks. This card, however, is much weaker that
S:CE cards, since the opposing minion still can perform long-range
strikes. The running Malkavian can only dodge these strikes, if s(he)
has needed cards or abilities.
This card is expected to become a remedy against primary rushers
(Beast, Theo Bell etc) that usually prefer to fight at close range, as
well as against Grapples. It can be combined with Dodges to get
relatively good combat defense, and Marie Faucigny can use her ability
to dodge enemy strike. The card definitely isn't too powerful (just
compare it to Majesty or Earth Meld!), but it really enables decks
with intercept component, voting decks, decks based on Sibyl's Tongue
and many others.

Name: Freddy Krueger
Clan: Malkavian antitribu (group 3)
Capacity: 5
Disciplines: AUS dem obf
Card Text: Freddy cannot perform (D) actions. Once each combat, before
strikes are chosen, you may discard a card that requires Dementation
from your hand to get him +1 strength and make his hand damage
aggravated for the current round of combat.

Freddy is very funny, and his abilities mostly correspond to the
cinema character. Obviously, Freddy is mad and sneaky (he has
Dementation and Obfuscate), it's really hard to escape him (as he has
superior Auspex), and he prefers acting at his own hunting grounds. He
also has an enormous arm that can deal aggravated damage sometimes.
This vampire is going to serve as a blocker, and he also can bounce or
reduce bleeds. Freddy is a constant threat to any attacker, especially
with Sport Bike and IR Goggles.
This vampire isn't very good in stealth-bleed decks, since he cannot
bleed, but he enables other strategies like intercept decks (he would
be great in Escaped Mental Patients deck!), voting decks (he would
protect vampires with votes) and so on. Our clan really needs such
vampire to play something different from stealth-bleed.
I tried to make Freddy useful but not overpowered. He has four points
of Disciplines, and he also has a great ability and a serious
disadvantage that would combine into another +1 point. Freddy's
ability requires a decent number of Dementation cards in your deck,
which prevents from destabilizing the game too much.

Name: Madman's Fury
Cardtype: Combat
Cost: 2 blood
Discipline: Dementation
[dem] Strike: strength+1 aggravated damage. If this strike
successfully resolves, send this minion into torpor after the
resolution.
[DEM] As above, with an optional maneuver to close range.

The philosophy of this card is very simple: if our allies can do this,
why this should be denied to our vampires? Each Escaped Mental Patient
can strike for +1 strength aggravated damage, and he is not unique -
just a common mortal madman. It would be only logical if our vampires
could do the same, going into torpor after the strike resolves.
This card should replace Coma as the best defensive "fear card"
available to our clan. Firstly, Madman's Fury cost only two blood
which is crucial when all your vampires have low blood. Secondly, it
deals aggravated damage which enables Rotschreck to torporize an
opposing vampire and save yours. Thirdly, this card can be played
afted Immortal Grapple, since it's a hand strike. At last, this card
potentially can even burn an opposing vampire with low blood,
especially when played by a vampire with +1 strength like Muriel
Foucade or Freddy Krueger.
If you consider this card overpowered, just look at the combat cards
available for the other Disciplines. Burning Wrath can deal strength+2
aggravated damage for three blood, Wolf Claws and Chiropteran Marauder
allow strength aggravated damage for one blood, and none of these
cards torporizes the vampire played it. Burst of Sunlight has similar
effect, but it can be used at long range, a minion playing it can
prevent its damage, and it costs no blood at all!


Oh, this newsletter is way too long, I know. I really did my best to
entertain you and fully describe the poor state of anti-Malkavian
combat abilities at the same time. The next one will be much shorter,
I promise. Any feedback is appreciated!

Yours,
Ilya Ginsburg (Ector@mail.ru)