Official VEKN Malkavian Antitribu NEWSLETTER
October 2005

Official VEKN Malkavian Antitribu NEWSLETTER, October 2005
VOLUME IV, Issue XIII

1. INTRODUCTION

This time we are going to look at !Malks with superior Presence that
potentially can be used in a political deck. Malkavian and
anti-Malkavian politics has the unique flavor: there are vampires with
votes, and a lot of stealth, but only few of these vampires have
Presence, which is vital for combat protection (Majesty) and voting
support (especially Voter Captivation). Nevertheless, we can at least
try to build a pure !Malk voting deck.

2. CARD OF THE MONTH

Name: Aura Reading [Jyhad:U2, VTES:U, CE:C/PTr2, BH:PTr2]
Cardtype: Combat
Discipline: Auspex
Only usable before range is chosen.
[aus] The opposing minion's controller plays with an open hand for the
remainder of combat.
[AUS] Your hand size is increased by 2 cards for the remainder of this
combat. Discard down to your hand size at the end of combat. A vampire
can play only 1 Aura Reading at superior each combat.

This card is a wonderful tool for cycling unneeded cards and improving
your hand, if you can survive the combat. I used it even in Kindred
Spirits decks without any combat protection: your General Perfidio Dios
may get into torpor, but you would cycle Telepathic Misdirection to get
+1 intercept and some other cards you were unable to play, and replace
them with the cards needed to finish your prey. And the blocked action
also mean something!
Obviously, the value of Aura Reading grows with the number of combat
cards in your deck. The more combat cards you have, the better are your
combat abilities, and the more often you will fight. Combat cards are
most useful in combos - for instance, Unflinching Persistence +
Immortal Grapple + Disarm or Theft of Vitae + Apportation + Walk of
Flame. BTW, the first combo is a "trademark" of Lazverinus - no wonder
why you can encounter Aura Reading quite often in decks based on him.
If you plan to fight a lot, you should have a strategy of the fight -
at least, against the weaklings without any combat abilities like most
!Malks. And if you get a larger hand for the combat, your chances of
getting the needed card combinations really increase. Really extreme
guys can even use Dreams of the Sphinx to further increase their hand
(to 11 cards!) and implement the most bizarre combat strategies.
Don't underestimate the inferior ability of Aura Reading, as it may
save your life - or, at least, life of your vampire. Knowing what's
going on is very good. For instance, your Lazverinus would play
Immortal Grapple only when it would be really needed - no card waste,
and no risk of catching Coma :) After all, you may use the inferior
ability just to cycle unneeded copies of Aura Reading if you get too
many of them.
In a long run, having several Aura Readings provides two effects, one
good and one bad. The good one is the much better chance of getting the
cards you need - this is especially useful in a "combo-decks" with
Sibyl's Tongues. The downside is the much faster depletion of your
deck, which already depletes quickly enough for most combat decks.

3. VAMPIRES OF THE MONTH

Name: Alicia Barrows [Gehenna:U]
Clan: Malkavian antitribu
Group: 4
Capacity: 9
Discipline: AUS DEM OBF POT PRE
Sabbat Archbishop of Mexico City: If you control the Edge during your
untap phase, you may look at the hand of another Methuselah and discard
up to two Gehenna cards from it.

Alicia is a strange mix of Malkavian and Brujah, as she has two Brujah
disciplines at superior - Potence and Presence. Surely, this creates
some interesting possibilities - you may try to use her in a POT/PRE
Brujah or !Brujah decks. Alicia can play Sibyl's Tongues, bounce bleeds
and play Cloak the Gatherings for the remaining vamps. You can even
build an intercepting AUS/POT/PRE deck with Jeremy McNeil!
Unfortunately, Potence is the only combat discipline Alicia has, and
this isn't enough to justify using a 9-cap fatty in a combat-heavy deck
- she simply can't protect herself. Celerity could provide maneuvers,
dodges and additional strikes, Protean could provide Flesh of Marble,
Fortutude could prevent all damage and enable multiple actions per
turn. You should really think about playing Fortitude skill cards on
Alicia to use her as a combat vampire, especially if you plan to
intercept with her. Even inferior Fortitude will enable prevent +
Disarm strategy, Freak Drives and protect Alicia from Kiss of Ra.
Being an Archbishop with superior Obfuscate and Presence, Alicia is
really good for voting decks. Nine capacity is a lot, but there are no
younger vampires with the comparable stats (OBF, PRE and at least 2
votes) in the whole game. As usual, Archbishop title enables many good
Sabbat cards like Eternal Vigilance or Purchase Pact. Alicia's title is
very unlikely to become contested, as Stravinsky isn't very popular,
and Camarilla even doesn't have a Praxis Seizure for Mexico Sity!
Finally, Alicia has an ability, which is far from useless even if
nobody plays Gehenna cards. You may look at the hand of ANY player, not
just your prey, and this information cost you nothing, if you manage to
keep the Edge. In any competitive game the value of such information is
immense, especially if the player cannot cycle any cards during your
turn.

Name: Aristotle de Laurent [BH:U2/PM]
Clan: Malkavian antitribu
Group: 3
Capacity: 9
Discipline: pot AUS DEM OBF PRE
Sabbat: While Aristotle is ready, every Methuselah has +1 hand size. +1
stealth.

Aristotle is very strange. Permanent +1 stealth is very good, but he
cannot perform more than one action per turn, which isn't very
attractive for a 9-cap vampire without any votes. Again, adding
Fortitude can turn Aristotle into a monster: you'd be able to get the
second action with Freak Drive, and both actions would have +1 extra
stealth! Aristotle definitely can abuse this, bleeding and playing
politics on the same turn. But you need to find Fortitude skill card
first, and some votes to push your politics... not too reliable plan.
Like Alicia, Aristotle also has Potence, though at inferior. There is
almost no difference: he also needs some extra combat disciplines to
fight regularly, and Fortitude would be the best. Unfortunately, there
isn't any equipment providing superior Fortitude, except for Seal of
Veddartha, and it requires too much time.
The most strange feature of Aristotle is the ability providing +1 hand
size for ALL players. Using the "common sense", this ability should be
considered awful, as you gain only 1/5 of the benefit, while the other
4/5 goes to the other players. The ability of Jan Pieterzoon, which
reduces hand sizes, is much better. Moreover, the increased hand size
is the most useful in combat-heavy decks, and Aristotle is very
unlikely to get into one of them. But in VtES, such logic is often
unrealistic. One of the major disadvantages of being "common enemy" is
the isolation. Deploy Jan Pieterzoon, and don't be surprized when a
crosstable Rush deck would torporize him to get his hand size back. But
when you deploy Aristotle, a deal with a player using a combat-heavy
deck becomes quite realistic. You provide them a significant boost,
which would end with Aristotle - thus, making an alliance with you
would be much more beneficial for them than torporizing him.

4. DECKS OF THE MONTH

Deck Name: Louhi Calls for politics
Created By: Ilya Ginsburg
Description: Louhi and the Presence !Malks

Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 32, Max: 40, Avg: 9,08)
----------------------------------------------
  5  Louhi                     pro ANI AUS DEM OBF THA 10 !Malk
  3  Alicia Barrows            AUS DEM OBF POT PRE     9  !Malk
  2  Aristotle de Laurent      pot AUS DEM OBF PRE     9  !Malk
  2  Marie Faucigny            dem tha AUS OBF         7  !Malk

Library: (90 cards)
-------------------
Master (17 cards)
  5  Minion Tap
  1  Purchase Pact
  2  Dreams of the Sphinx
  3  Zillah`s Valley
  2  Presence
  1  Legendary Vampire
  2  Direct Intervention
  1  Powerbase: Madrid

Action (14 cards)
  6  Call, The
  2  Rutor`s Hand
  2  Madman`s Quill
  1  Eternal Vigilance
  3  Sibyl`s Tongue

Action Modifier (19 cards)
  4  Voter Captivation
  4  Elder Impersonation
  4  Forgotten Labyrinth
  4  Lost in Crowds
  3  Spying Mission

Political Action (15 cards)
  1  Ancient Influence
  1  Political Stranglehold
  1  Reins of Power
  6  Consanguineous Boon
  3  Banishment
  3  Kine Resources Contested

Reaction (6 cards)
  6  Telepathic Misdirection

Combat (11 cards)
  3  Aura Reading
  8  Majesty

Retainer (2 cards)
  2  Raven Spy

Equipment (2 cards)
  1  Sargon Fragment, The
  1  Ivory Bow

Combo (4 cards)
  4  Swallowed by the Night

This deck tries to play politics with a bit of intercept and bleed - a
toolbox that may confuse other players and score a GW as well as
miserably fail to get even one VP. As long as !Malks have only two
vamps with superior Presence, and they aren't amazing, building a
stable voting deck based on our clan is nearly impossible. Certainly, I
could use vampires from the other clans, but this would prohibit
Consangineous Boons and The Calls, which really help to stay alive and
get vampires faster.
You should influence Louhi first, especially if you get Zillah's Valley
or Dreams of the Sphinx - both allow you to get her in two turns. Louhi
is mean and even somewhat terrifying; nobody can predict what deck she
represents. Is it an intercept deck, stealth-bleed, voting or somewhat
else? You can bluff that you're playing Bursts of Sunlight, for
instance. Unfortunately, in this deck the only combat option for Louhi
is Ivory Bow, at least until she gets Presence to play Majesty.
Hopefully, other players would determine what kind of deck you're
playing only when you reveal the second minion (Alicia or Aristotle).
Obviously, The Call is your best friend in the early game.
In the ideal situation you will have Louhi + Presence skill card,
Alicia and Marie - seven votes total, and you may get two additional
votes from Legendary Vampire and up to four from Powerbase:Madrid. The
Sargon Fragment enables extremely good "engines" like replaying Dreams
of the Sphinx, The Call or inferior Madman's Quill. If your Louhi has
Rutor's Hand, she can play superior Quill - it should work like Palla
Grande in the !Toreador vote & bleed decks. Note that Louhi with two
Presence cards can Banish even Inner Circles!
As soon as Louhi would get Presence and Ivory Bow, she can act like a
blocker. Eternal Vigilance and two Raven Spies provide permanent Wakes
and permanent intercept with minimal card investment; these cards also
can confuse other players. If your Louhi would employ a Raven Spy as
her first action, you won't even need to bluff about playing an
intercept deck - in fact, nobody would believe you if you say the truth
:)

----------------------------------------------------------------
Deck Name: Guess what else I can do?
Created By: Ilya Ginsburg
Description: PRE/OBF/pot/for bizarre toolbox, something like "jack of
all trades"

Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 32, Max: 40, Avg: 9,08)
----------------------------------------------
  5  Jaroslav Pascek           for obf CEL POT PRE   10  Brujah
  2  Mukhtar Bey               obf pot FOR PRE QUI    7  Caitiff
  3  Alicia Barrows            AUS DEM OBF POT PRE    9  !Malk
  2  Aristotle de Laurent      pot AUS DEM OBF PRE    9  !Malk

Library: (90 cards)
-------------------
Master (16 cards)
  5  Minion Tap
  2  Dreams of the Sphinx
  3  Zillah`s Valley
  1  Legendary Vampire
  2  Direct Intervention
  1  Elysium: The Arboretum
  2  Fortitude

Action (1 cards)
  1  Heart of the City

Action Modifier (23 cards)
  4  Voter Captivation
  4  Elder Impersonation
  4  Forgotten Labyrinth
  4  Lost in Crowds
  3  Spying Mission
  4  Freak Drive

Political Action (16 cards)
  1  Ancient Influence
  1  Political Stranglehold
  1  Reins of Power
  3  Banishment
  6  Kine Resources Contested
  1  Cardinal Benediction
  3  Parity Shift

Reaction (6 cards)
  6  Telepathic Misdirection

Combat (22 cards)
  3  Aura Reading
  8  Majesty
  3  Weighted Walking Stick
  6  Rolling with the Punches
  2  Disarm

Equipment (2 cards)
  1  Sargon Fragment, The
  1  Seal of Veddartha

Combo (4 cards)
  4  Swallowed by the Night

This deck is much more funny than the previous one, and it was
especially designed for the people loving to surprise their opponents.
Besides the obvious Presence and Obfuscate, this deck uses Fortitude
and Potence! Can anybody consider the possibility of catching Disarm
fighting against the voting deck? Now you really have a chance to
surprise them... Prevent their hand damage with Rolling, play Disarm,
and voila!
Everyone knows that Jaroslav Pascek is very good. He surely can play
ALL the cards you have, and his 3 votes may be enough to push your
politics. But in this deck he also acts like a "guardian" until you get
someone else, as +1 permanent intercept is really precious. Weighted
Walking Stick is a wonderful "fear card" with him, as he strikes for 4
two times, and you may put more Sticks if three won't be enough. By the
way, ANY vampire in your deck can play Disarm after successful strike
with the Stick, not just Jaroslav!
Compared to the first deck, you lose The Calls and Consangineous Boons,
but you get Parity Shifts and Freak Drives instead. Alicia and
Arostotle have no Fortitude, but there are enough vampires with it, and
you are almost guaranteed to have at least one of them. There are
Fortitude skill cards and Seal of Veddartha to "patch the holes". In
the combat-heavy environment you may prefer to upgrade Jaroslav's
Fortitude to the superior level - superior Rollings are good, and he
would be able to Banish almost everyone.

That's all for October. I'm really sorry for the late newsletter, but I
was very busy all the time. Please don't take my Decks of the Months
too seriously - they aren't going to win tournaments, but they ARE
going to provide a lot of fun. As always, all ideas and comments are
appreciated.

Yours,
Ector