Samedi Clan Newsletter
November 2005

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.