Samedi Clan Newsletter by Emmit Svenson Volume II, Issue III November 2005 Table of Contents I. Introduction: Legba, Open the Gate! II. Lifestyles: The New Blood III. Focus on Samedi: Troglodytia IV. Focus on the Library: Little Mountain Cemetery V. Focus on Thanatosis: Transfusion VI. Card Design Contest Results: You Suck VII. Pimp My Deck!: The Red Poet's Society VIII. Featured Deck: Ma-king Christ-mas! Ma-king Christ-mas! IX. Parting Words I. Introduction: Legba, Open the Gate: Papa Legba, ouvrir le portail, vos enfants attendant. Papa Legba, ouvrir le portail large, vos enfants attendant! Papa Legba, ou les enfants sont? Papa Legba, nos sommes ici. Papa Legba, ouvrir le portail large pour que nos pouvons passer! Papa Legba, open the gate, your children are waiting. Papa Legba, open the gate wide, your children are waiting! Papa Legba, where are the children? Papa Legba, we are here. Papa Legba, open the gate wide so we children can pass! --Invocation to Legba The gate is open. The Lwa stand revealed. Legacies of Blood brings us the first new Samedi vampires, clan cards and Thanatosis cards since the release of Bloodlines four years ago. I may swoon. The Salubri Antitribu may deserve the title of Most Improved Bloodline because of this set, but if so, the Samedi are a close second. Our favorite dead guys got four all-new vampires and an advanced version of an old friend on top of the promotional vampire Genina. Even better, the Samedi also got two new clan cards and four new Thanatosis cards, only one of which is combat-only. That's an enormous increase in strategies for the clan, including bloating, swarming and minion stealing, plus improvements to their blood management, rush and bruise-bleed abilities. All of which means a lot of work for this newsletter's author. So let's get this party started right. - - - II. Lifestyles: The New Blood The new Samedi aren't just the same zombies in new shrouds. Group 3/4 has a different flavor than 2/3, as an overview of their disciplines shows. Group 2/3 features seven Samedi: Lithrac, George Fredrick, Jorge de la Muerte, Jack Dawson, Genina, Reg Driscoll and the Baron. All share three disciplines: Fortitude, Obfuscate and Thanatosis. All except George Fredrick have superior Obfuscate, all except Lithrac and Jack Dawson have superior Thanatosis, and three of them have superior Fortitude: George, Jack and the Baron. As I've said before, it's a discipline set well-suited to taking many actions a turn, at stealth. Group 3/4 shares Genina with 2/3, and adds four others: Abebe, Macoute, Tangine and Troglodytia. All have Thanatosis and all have Obfuscate, although superior Obfuscate is rarer, appearing only on Genina and Tangine. Necromancy is much more common: only Genina doesn't have it. Since two Samedi in this group lack Fortitude, you might say that the Samedi disciplines are FOR OBF THN in 2/3 and NEC OBF THN in 3/4. That's slightly misleading, however, since most of the 2/3 vamps have Necromancy and most of the 3/4 vamps have Fortitude, including superior Fortitude on two of them. In general, however, this crypt is better at Necromancy options and not as good at Freak Driving. The next most common discipline after the Samedi four in 2/3 is inferior Celerity on Jorge, Jack and Genina. Inferior Auspex appears on Reg and Genina, and the Baron's inferior Dominate sees a lot of use, especially when he mingles with the Giovanni. Not many decks use Jack's inferior Quietus or Reg's inferior Presence. In 3/4, Troglodytia has superior Auspex, which matches Genina's inferior. Like the Baron's Dominate, that's an important factor for the clan, the only way to use bleed bounce in the group. She also has inferior Potence--praise Legba and the design team!--as does Tangine. Tangine also has inferior Animalism, which might come into play fairly often if she teams up with the Nosferatu. Both Animalism and Potence have more synergy with Thanatosis combat than Celerity, so that's a boost for the new group. With seven Samedi in 2/3 and just five in 3/4, 3/4 may not be full yet. But I suspect the design team is trying to gradually match the contents of the odd and even groups, so I kind of expect them to leave off at four Samedi in Group 4 followed by three Samedi in Group 5, and alternate thereafter so that every pairing except 3/4 has seven Samedi. - - - III. Focus on Samedi: Troglodytia Troglodytia (Legacies of Blood, Uncommon) 10-cap Samedi, group 4 obf pot AUS FOR NEC THN Independent: When any Methuselah plays a master card, you may look at that Methuselah's hand (after the replacement card is drawn). +1 strength. A moment of awed silence, please, for the largest Samedi in print. In the old World of Darkness RPG, Troglodytia was the founder of the Samedi Bloodline, an offshoot of the dwindling Cappadocian clan. Long after the diablerie of their antediluvian by Augustus Giovanni, ancient remnants of the Cappadocian clan reemerged as the Harbingers of Skulls, her Cainite cousins. Her discipline spread makes sense in that context, since she has all the Harbinger disciplines at superior (AUS FOR NEC), but has one of the Samedi disciplines at inferior (obf). What really sets Troglodytia apart is her special. No, not the +1 strength, though that's a tasty tidbit indeed. Her ability to look at other Methuselah's hands after they play and replace a master card is just amazing. Decks have to play their masters, so you'll get frequent peeks at other people's hidden resources, information you can share with your allies as you choose. If you've got a strategic mind, you can use the intel you get from Troglodytia to help your grandpredator and grandprey craft effective plans against your predator and prey. Her power is particularly good if Troglodytia is part of an intercept deck, since she'll be finding out what cards your opponents have right before you have to decide whether to attempt blocking their first action. That includes critical information such as what combat cards they have, what kind of stealth and what kind of bleed modifiers, and what action cards they might attempt later, and you learn all that exactly when you need to know it. She'll be useful in many kinds of Auspex + Fortitude wall decks, in the company of Salubri (how 'bout in Salut Minion Tap/Renewed Vigor mania!), Salubri antitribu, Ventrue antitribu and of course the Harbingers. Finally, tucked away in her sidebar where, overwhelmed by her many other awesome qualities, you might not notice it, is a little square with a fist inside. Yes, Troglodytia the Burninator has the long-sought combination of pot/THN, which puts the fabulously lethal combination of Trap/Immortal Grapple/Withering at her disposal. Whether she's rushing or blocking, the Burninator will need only a few rounds of +1 strength hand strikes before she can polish off her opponents with Compress, accompanied by the table's excited shouts of "Finish Him!" Alternately, the Burninator can hand strike with Dead Hand for extra first-round damage and play Taste of Vitae, or hand strike with Creeping Infection and follow up with prevention and a Disarm to gain bonus bleed while sweeping the field clear of blockers. You can mix and match her combat to your metagame. My complements to the designers who, faced with the challenge of designing a big-cap Samedi that could follow the Baron's act, came up with a vampire every bit as powerful but completely different in focus. Here's to the Troglodytia/Soul Gem/Daring the Dawn/Possession decks to come! - - - IV. Focus on the Library: Little Mountain Cemetery Little Mountain Cemetery (Legacies of Blood, Common) Action Requires Samedi +1 stealth action. This acting Samedi and all younger Samedi in your uncontrolled region each gain a blood from the blood bank. This crypt machine card for Samedi is huge for the clan. It seems to represent a change in design goals away from creating the bloodline as support for other clans, and towards making Samedi viable in single-clan decks. It permits the Samedi to pursue a bloat strategy, a valuable defensive option for the clan. Little Mountain Cemetery resembles the Ventrue antitribu card Recruiting Party and the superior Sanguinus use of the card Unwholesome Bond, but has an added limitation in that it affects only younger clanmembers in the uncontrolled region. It also has the added benefit of giving the acting vampire blood. Recruiting Party doesn't see too much use, partly because it has no inherent stealth and partly because !Ven decks tend to use Govern the Unaligned as their crypt machine option, but some very strong Blood Brother decks can be built around Unwholesome Bond, which suggests that the Samedi could get lots of mileage from Little Mountain Cemetery. Crypt machine cards, named for the highly efficient Dominate weenie decks based on Govern the Unaligned, serve two main purposes over the course of a game. Early on they serve to put vampires into play at an accelerated rate by putting blood on them without using up transfers. Later in the game the blood put on uncontrolled vampires that match vampires already in play can be transferred into the Methuselah's pool, making these cards an effective way to bloat. To use Little Mountain Cemetery to its full potential, the uncontrolled region should be full of Samedi who are younger than the acting vampire. You can maximize your gains by transferring your largest Samedi out first and by moving additional Samedi from the crypt to your uncontrolled region. Effective Management is an okay way to do this, but the Samedi have a better option: Coroner's Contact, which allows you to select which Samedi you want to grab from your crypt and effectively provides an additional transfer to that Samedi by costing a pool and placing a blood on the uncontrolled vampire. Other masters to include in a Little Mountain Cemetery deck include Information Highway, which makes transferring out your first, oldest Samedi go faster and also accelerates bloat later in the game, a discipline master to make your second-biggest Samedi able to Little Mountain to all the vamps in your crypt, and Kaymakli Nightmares, which allows you to take excess blood on your uncontrolled vampires back to your pool all at once. - - - V. Focus on Thanatosis: Transfusion Transfusion (Legacies of Blood, Common) Action Modifier 1 blood Requires Necromancy or Thanatosis [nec] Only usable after a successful action. Add 1 blood to a ready vampire. [thn] As [nec] above, but add 1 life to a ghoul or 1 blood to a ready vampire. [THN] Only usable after combat if this vampire is still ready and successfully inflicted any damage on the opposing minion. Put a transfusion counter on the opposing minion. If the minion now has 3 of your transfusion counters, burn them all to take control of that minion. Only one Transfusion may be played at superior each turn. Transfusion's outferior (inferior Necromancy application) is nearly as good as its inferior. In fact, in Giovanni decks it can be much, much better. In any deck that uses The Path of Bone--Giovanni Shambling Horde and Masquer/Breath of Thanatos decks both come to mind--outferior Transfusion becomes effortless blood gain. In fact, this card is a good reason to start including the Path of Bone in Giovanni unblockable power bleed decks, which tend to spend the blood off their vamps quickly and are much more dangerous when they don't need time out to hunt. Even without the Path, Transfusion is a handy way for weenies like Nedal or Cristobal to feed blood from hunting to larger vampires, or to concentrate blood on a single vampire who can then recruit a Horde or slap down Govern + Conditioning. Handy things to notice about the card are that any ready vampire is a valid target, so you can feed your crosstable allies blood to allow them to block or apply pressure with vamps who would otherwise have to hunt. Also, you can order playing Transfusion with the effect of Perfectionist and similar cards, so you can either give blood away from a full vamp first so it has room to gain blood, or you can gain the blood on an empty vamp first so you can then give it away via Transfusion. The inferior Thanatosis version doesn't add a whole lot of utility, but it does enable all printed Samedi to use the card to shuffle blood around. The ability to add blood to a ghoul might occasionally save Gregory Winters for another turn, and perhaps a Ghouled/Putrescent Servitude deck might make use of it. Still, it's the blood shuffling application that is so useful, particularly in a clan that can use Fortitude and Obfuscate (and Hag's Wrinkles!) to take a great many successful actions. The card is ridiculously easy to cycle, and gives any Samedi or Necromancy deck extremely versatile blood management options. As Antero pointed out, it's a card that makes living with Inferior Thanatosis easier. The superior Thanatosis use is much harder to apply. Since it is an action modifier, your minion must be blocked or enter combat as an action to use it. Your minion must then survive the combat with one blood, and inflict damage, but not too much, lest the minion you're planning to steal be torporized or even burned. And then you have to do all that twice more to the same minion in future turns. Torpor + Graverobbing is an easier combo to achieve. Still, with a potential payoff as enormous as a stolen Arika or Salut, it might be worth the effort to make it work. Using a pot/THN Samedi would make sense, since the combination of Immortal Grapple and the Withering makes S:CE and discipline-based damage prevention useless. Tangine might be more appropriate than Troglodytia, since Trogdor's extra strength might put your prospective recruit in the dirt. On the other hand, Troglodytia can use AUS to defend your pool in ways Tangine can't. Next, you'll need a way to enter combat with your chosen minion turn after turn as an action, preferably at stealth to cut down on chumps blocking. Dirty Contract, formerly a card in search of an application, fits this bill exactly. Then you need combat offense (not too much) and defense (not too little). Immortal Grapple and the Withering, obviously, then something for maneuvers (Tangine's inferior Animalism permits Drawing out the Beast, her superior Obfuscate permits Swallowed by the Night, Trog's superior Fortitude permits Unflinching Persistence, both could Rigor Mortis) and something for prevention (probably equipment for Tangine, though you might try something with Shared Strength or Martyr's Resilience or a Fortitude master, definitely Fortitude prevention for Trog). Extra Transfusions are easy to cycle, so include plenty. You can even use them to keep the minion you're stealing healthy. In addition to all that, you need a full offensive and defensive team around you. Tangine goes well with Nosferatu and their antitribu, Trog with all the AUS FOR teams. If you get it working, let me know! - - - VI. Card Design Contest Results: You Suck The winner of last issue's contest is Chris Berger, by virtue of being the only person who bothered to enter. So well done there, Chris. His prize is a copy of the first issue of this newsletter signed by the author. It's sure to be a valuable collector's item. Incidentally, if you find this newsletter interesting, you may want to seek help. You may also want to have a look at the Lasombra's archive of old Samedi newsletters, accessible through his Samedi clan page at www.thelasombra.com/ClanPages/samedi/index.htm. Some material in the older newsletters might be outdated, but rereading them was certainly helpful to me. The January 2005 issue (Volume II, Issue I) is a must-read. Congratulations again to Chris, who next plans to run unopposed for Cook County dogcatcher. As for the rest of you, no more contests for you in this newsletter! Only secret contests where I bet how many of your pool counters I can feed to the cat before you begin to suspect. - - - VII. Pimp My Deck!: The Red Poet's Society A reader who actually paid attention while reading the last Samedi newsletter pointed out that I hadn't included that issue's featured vampire, Genina, in the featured deck, and asked to see an example of how I would use her. Flattered and humbled to find that someone actually cares, I was inspired to create this newsletter's newest feature, Pimp My Deck!, where you can see the Samedi decks I've been playing recently, learn from my experiences and my metagame and, most importantly, offer advice on improving them. I've been playing and tweaking this deck for over a month. It is built to use Genina's Chimestry, Obfuscate and Thanatosis to good effect. The basic idea is to have Genina put a couple of Mass Realities into play so that your Zip Guns are as fearsome as Assault Rifles. To defend those Mass Realities and the other actionable cards in the deck (Powerbase: Montreal, the Rack), I've included lots of Wakes, Draba, plenty of permanent intercept equipment and some Hag's Wrinkles to make equipping more efficient. The deck has surprising offensive lunge capability due to bleed bonus equipment, a handful of bleed actions and the bleed bonuses of the Baron, Reg and Jorge. Several times I ousted prey that didn't realize I could generate bleeds of five at heavy stealth. The deck's combat deserves special mention, since it uses Ashes to Ashes. AtA is a delightful foil to nearly all combat, with blood stealing and Amaranth being two notable exceptions. Use it whenever you're blocked--it's especially satisfying to use when your Force of Will bleed is blocked--then rescue your newly untapped vampire from torpor. Rapid Healing, Humanitas and Genina's stealth special make leaving torpor easier. Furthermore, your vampires can play Sleep Unseen as an action modifier, and then until their next untap they can play Ashes to Ashes even when blocking, since Sleep Unseen stops nearly all diablerie attempts. On the whole, the deck has been an average performer, winning only its fair share of games and victory points. It has strong pool defense, but its permacept and Draba have always faltered in the long run against heavy stealth bleed. On the other hand, it gives rush and intercept combat decks fits. On the other other hand, its knockout bleeds can be deflected all too easily. A metagame that sees more deflection than mine would find more Spying Mission indispensable. So Pimp My Deck! For basic credit, write in and say how you would integrate Legacies of Blood cards into the deck. For super bonus credit, take a tweaked version of this deck to your local storyline tournament and report back on your win! Deck Name: The Red Poet's Society Created By: Emmit Svenson (Name by Doctor Tom) Crypt: (13 cards, Min: 16, Max: 33, Avg: 6.46) ---------------------------------------------- 2 Salbatore Bokkengro for pro CHI 4 Ravnos 1 Lithrac for thn OBF 5 Samedi 2 George Frederick nec obf FOR THN 6 Samedi 1 Jorge De La Muerte cel for nec OBF THN 7 Samedi 2 Reg Driscoll aus for pre OBF THN 8 Samedi 3 Genina, the Red Poet aus cel for CHI OBF THN 8 Samedi 1 Baron dom FOR NEC OBF THN 9 Samedi 1 Vedel Esbreno chi for 3 Ravnos Library: (90 cards) ------------------- Master (14 cards) 1 Barrens, The 5 Blood Doll 1 Coroner`s Contact 1 Creepshow Casino 2 Dreams of the Sphinx 2 Humanitas 1 Powerbase: Montreal 1 Rack, The Action (16 cards) 4 Computer Hacking 3 Force of Will 6 Mass Reality 3 Rapid Healing Action Modifier (19 cards) 1 Cloak the Gathering 1 Elder Impersonation 1 Faceless Night 5 Freak Drive 5 Hag`s Wrinkles 1 Lost in Crowds 1 Spying Mission 4 Sleep Unseen Reaction (9 cards) 9 Wake with Evening`s Freshness Combat (15 cards) 5 Ashes to Ashes 3 Undead Persistence 7 Zip Gun Equipment (11 cards) 1 Bloodstone 1 Blood Tears of Kephran 1 Bowl of Convergence 1 Cooler 1 Flaming Candle 1 IR Goggles 1 Laptop Computer 1 Leather Jacket 2 Sport Bike 1 Seal of Veddartha Combo (6 cards) 5 Draba 1 Swallowed by the Night - - - VIII. Featured Deck: Ma-king Christ-mas! Ma-king Christ-mas! In the spirit of the holidays, I present a Samedi deck that I would call toyboxy rather than toolboxy, since it packs all the new Samedi toys into one deck. (Won't they be impressed? I am a gee-nee-us!) There's lots of presents for the Samedi to unwrap in it too, and lots of Hag's Wrinkles to untap them afterwards. You won't play all the Coroner's Contacts in the deck. They're there to get Troglodytia into your ready region quickly, and to pull Samedi out of your crypt to boost the power of Little Mountain Cemetery later on. Houngan and Perfectionist and Transfusion give you excellent blood management. Does it work? Well, altogether, that and this, with all its tricks...yes. Yes it does. On its first outing I sat in front of True Brujah power bleed and behind a Tzimisce agg damage wall. Tough seating for a deck with no bounce, right? Troglodytia's power was crucial to my victory, showing me when my allies and I could block safely, and in one case, when the wall played Rotschreck, that I could take further actions safely. Not every game will go as well, I'm sure. But for a deck I built just to get familiar with the new set, it works awfully well. Try it on your own playgroup: It's time to give them something fun they'll talk about for years to come! Deck Name: Ma-king Christ-mas! Ma-king Christ-mas! Created By: Emmit Svenson Crypt: (13 cards, Min: 16, Max: 33, Avg: 6.23) ---------------------------------------------- 4 Abebe nec obf thn 4 Samedi 3 Macoute obf thn FOR NEC 6 Samedi 3 Tangine ani nec pot OBF THN 7 Samedi 2 Genina aus cel for CHI OBF THN 8 Samedi 1 Troglodytia obf pot AUS FOR NEC THN 10 Samedi Library: (90 cards) ------------------- Master (17 cards) 4 Blood Doll 8 Coroner`s Contact 1 Dreams of the Sphinx 2 Houngan 2 Perfectionist Action (20 cards) 1 Chill of Oblivion 7 Computer Hacking 2 Divine Sign 5 Little Mountain Cemetery 1 Putrescent Servitude 4 Reanimated Corpse Action Modifier (24 cards) 2 Cloak the Gathering 2 Faceless Night 4 Freak Drive 7 Hag`s Wrinkles 2 Lost in Crowds 2 Spying Mission 5 Transfusion Reaction (5 cards) 5 Wake with Evening`s Freshness Combat (10 cards) 1 Creeping Infection 4 Dust to Dust 5 Spiritual Intervention Equipment (12 cards) 2 Blood Tears of Kephran 1 Flaming Candle 1 Flak Jacket 1 IR Goggles 1 Ivory Bow 1 Laptop Computer 2 Leather Jacket 1 Seal of Veddartha 2 Sport Bike Combo (2 cards) 2 Swallowed by the Night - - - IX. Parting Words Thank you for reading the Samedi Clan Newsletter. I hope you found it useful or amusing or both. I'd love to see any comments or suggestions you may have. Please post them to the rec.games.trading-cards.jyhad newsgroup.