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Vampire: the Eternal Struggle (the game formerly known as Jyhad)

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11 Jan 2019 10:57 #289793 by Shellhead
The four upcoming starters cover the three standard strategies for winning:

Lasombra: political
Tremere antitribu: bleed (some stealth/bleed, some bruise/bleed)
Tzimisce: combat
Toreador antitribu: an interesting gimmick bleed. There are a bunch of Embraced in the library, which are cheap, small, generic vampires. And there are three copies of Palla Grande, which gives all of your vampires a +1 bleed for three consecutive turns. So bring out a lot of small vampires, then play a Palla Grande and do a lot of bleeding.

For more variety, you are either looking at variations of the three standard strategies for winning, or something experimental. Here are some past starter decks of decent quality:

Ventrue (Camarilla Edition or Keepers of Tradition): political
Barons (Anarchs): political
Malkavian (Camarilla Edition or Keepers of Tradition): steath/bleed
Followers of Set (Final Nights): stealth/bleed
Brujah (Camarilla Edition): combat
Tzimisce (Third Edition): combat

If you are able to buy a starter box, Camarilla Edition and Keepers of Tradition are the best. Black Hand and Legacies of Blood are good. Sabbat War and Final Nights are the worst. Heirs to the Blood is interesting, but more challenging for new players, as each starter contains a clan and a bloodline, and the way to play those decks is less obvious to a new player. The Baali starter deck is a hot mess, so if you are looking for interesting potential that needs serious reworking, that is your deck.

Here is a link to deck lists for all the past starters decks:

vtesone.wordpress.com/decks/pre-constructed-decks/

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11 Jan 2019 11:19 #289800 by Shellhead
My favorite part of the game has always been the combats, though the political element is often interesting. The other night, I was playing a fairly normal Tremere bruise and bleed deck, except that I loaded up on blood stealing effects, especially in combat. My predator was a new player running a classic Tzimisce War Ghoul deck, except that he only managed to get out one War Ghoul.



He sent the war ghoul after my best vampire, Rebekka the 8-cap with +1 stealth on all of her actions. She only had 4 blood, so my predator was delighted to play a Trap to prolong the combat for at least three rounds that should ensure my doom.

I schooled that war ghoul. First round, I used Movement of the Mind to go to range, leaving the War Ghoul useless while I used Theft of Vitae to steal two blood so Rebekka had six. Second round, I didn't have a maneuver, so the War Ghoul hit for four damage while I used another Theft of Vitae to steal two blood. By this point, Rebekka still has four blood, while the War Ghoul is nearly dead. Third round plays out just like the third as I play another Theft, but the war ghoul died and I was only able to steal one blood.

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17 Jan 2019 09:34 #290142 by Shellhead
Turns out that the Amaranth site is even better than I thought when it comes to proxy cards:

amaranth.vtes.co.nz

Not only do they have a database with text and even scans of every card in the game, but they have a deckbuilder feature. You can build your crypt of vampires for a deck and then build the library for your deck, and save them at the site with some brief notes about deck strategy. You can share that decklist or keep it private. They even note which cards have been banned, and all the cards use the latest official wording.

Most importantly, you can generate a pdf file that generates tournament-legal proxy cards for your entire deck, with nine cards on each page. You can print them in color or gray-scale, then put them in colored card sleeves, using other cards (even generic playing cards) to stiffen the sleeves for shuffling purposes. Even better still, you can choose to print only part of the deck, in case you already own some of the cards and just want to print the ones that you need. The site puts up a screen with the cards in your deck next to checkboxes. Uncheck the one that you don't need to print, and then it generates a new pdf file with just those cards.

There are a couple of costs to this approach. If your deck includes even one proxy card, you need to sleeve your entire deck. Legal decks have at least 12 cards in the crypt and from 60 to 90 cards in the library. And of course there are printing costs.

tl;dr You don't even need to buy cards to play this game. Just go to Amaranth and print your cards for free.
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17 Jan 2019 11:04 #290153 by Jazzbeaux

Shellhead wrote: tl;dr You don't even need to buy cards to play this game. Just go to Amaranth and print your cards for free.


I would second that, its a great site and is part of the Dark Pack - officially recognised site by White Wolf. So shouldn't be disappearing any time soon.

If you use the lower Print (to pdf) option then you can choose to use current layout for cards rather than Amaranths modified one.
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18 Jan 2019 13:46 #290222 by bendgar
I just found a 10 starter set sealed display for Jyhad for 50 bucks locally. I assume that this is a good deal?

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18 Jan 2019 15:00 #290227 by Shellhead

bendgar wrote: I just found a 10 starter set sealed display for Jyhad for 50 bucks locally. I assume that this is a good deal?


Overall, this is a decent deal, especially since the game is coming back to life again and existing players are looking for deals just like this one.

A Jyhad starter deck is much like a very early Magic starter deck, in that you are getting a random assortment of cards. 16 vampires, I think, and 60 library cards. Maybe two rare library cards, over a dozen uncommons, and the rest are commons. All vampires have the same rarity. While each of these decks should be playable out of the box, the games would be unnecessarily long and frustrating. Each starter box includes a copy of the rulebook.

The Jyhad base game had a large card set, somewhere around 420 cards, and that's the card set that these starters will use. There are 15 vampires for each of the seven clans, plus 6 or so little Caitiffs. It was a very playable game right from the start, and this set was designed by Richard Garfield. So all the basic strategies are available in this set, as well as some fairly interesting creative possibilities. You will get a lot of commons, but that's fine because most of the Jyhad commons are essential staples of the game that people still use in modern decks.

I recommend that you take these ten starters and use them to build seven clan-based decks: Brujah, Gangrel, Malkavian, Nosferatu, Toreador, Tremere, and Ventrue. The crypt for each deck can be just vampires for those clans, maybe with a Caitiff thrown in when the disciplines match. Each clan has three of the ten disciplines in this set, so you can sort out all the discipline cards and give each clan a fair share. For example, Gangrel and Nosferatu both use Animalism, so split the Animalism cards into two piles for use in each deck. There are some master cards for each clan, and then there are some generic utility cards that can go with any deck. Once you get more familiar with the game, you might use the extra cards to build three more decks based on some concept other than clan.
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02 May 2019 15:13 - 02 May 2019 15:14 #296409 by Shellhead
For the first time in maybe a month, I played Vampire last night. The weather has alternately been too nice or too nasty for a normal player headcount, so we have been playing 3-player Shadowfist lately. I missed the first game due to my long commute plus road construction.

I missed the start of the second game by 5 minutes, so I got to watch a five-player game. Two stealth/bleed decks and three political decks. After 20 minutes of what looked like a fairly stable conflict, I got up to walk around the FFG Event Center. A few minutes later, the player with the strongest of the three political decks walked by and I did a double-take. He had 7 votes in play, compared to 3 and 4 for the other two political players. What happened is that the other two political players conspired to oust him so that their decks would have a chance. The 3-vote guy was his predator, but the 4-vote guy "cross-tabled" him, meaning took action against him even though they didn't have a predator-prey relationship due to adjacent seating. Cross-tabling is frowned upon, but sometimes makes strategic sense. Default game actions don't allow a cross-table play, but vote cards make it easy and there are also some specific action cards that can target non-adjacent opponents.

We had three players for the third game. I almost played one of my recent deck designs, but instead opted to play one of the new starter decks, Pact With Nephandi. The deck features vampire spellcasters known as the Tremere antitribu, along with several Nephandi allies who are like satanic cultists. I am a second-rate deck designer, but too proud to imitate decks that others have posted online, but decided to give this Nephandi deck a try. I came very close to ousting my prey with a combination of combat superiority and bleeds, but didn't press my attack at a crucial moment. Instead, I was already planning ahead for my next prey and thwarted his attempt to regain some pool. My prey seized the opportunity and ousted his prey, reminding me why cross-tabling is usually a bad idea. Meanwhile, my predator had built up a reliable stealth/bleed offense that I lacked the intercept to stop, and I got eliminated.

Here is a Nephandus mage:
https://amaranth.vtes.co.nz/cardimages/nephandusmage.jpg?4
Last edit: 02 May 2019 15:14 by Shellhead.
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02 Aug 2019 06:18 #300396 by Jazzbeaux
News of further sets being released by Black Chantry Productions.

Firstly a 25th Anniversary Set, the Reign of Stanislava. A 120 card set, consisting of 100 cards for the preconstructed deck based around Stanislava. Then a further 20 cards which are 18 reprints and 2 copies of a new Tremere Grimgroth.

Then a set of five Clan based mini precons in a First Blood release. Each set is 55 cards, 6 crypt and 49 library with a rules card. Clans are Malkavian, Nosferatu, Toreador, Tremere, and Ventrue. These are being priced as an easy entry to the game.

More details here.

25th Anniversary

First Blood

Sam
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02 Aug 2019 10:48 #300405 by Shellhead
Those five precons are a good introduction for new players. They offer basic and sound strategies. The decks are a bit small, so players can easily customize them just by adding some cards. A proper Vampire deck has a crypt of at least 12 cards, and a library of 60 to 90 cards. I'm a little disappointed that the Brujah were left out, but 55 cards is maybe too slender for a combat deck.

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08 Aug 2019 06:52 #300554 by Jazzbeaux
But take two of the same and shuffle them together looks reasonable.

Crypt (12 cards; Capacity min=5 max=8 avg=6.333333)
==================
2x Muhsin Samir 6 aus pot DOM THA Tremere:4
2x Rutor 7 pro vic AUS DOM THA Tremere:5
2x Troius 8 cel AUS DOM THA Tremere:4
2x Zane 5 aus dom THA Tremere:5
2x Aidan Lyle 7 dom AUS CHI THA Tremere:5
2x Claus Wegener 5 aus for tha DOM Tremere:5

Library: 98 cards

Master (12 cards)
==================
2x Arcane Library
2x Academic Hunting Ground
2x Vast Wealth
4x Blood Doll
2x Chantry

Action (12 cards)
==================
12x Govern the Unaligned

Action Modifier (8 cards)
==================
8x Bonding

Combat (22 cards)
==================
8x Apportation
12x Theft of Vitae
2x Walk of Flame

Ally (2 cards)
==================
2x Thadius Zho

Retainer (2 cards)
==================
2x Charnas the Imp

Equipment (8 cards)
==================
4x .44 Magnum
2x Ivory Bow
2x Sport Bike

Reaction (32 cards)
==================
4x Enhanced Senses
6x Forced Awakening
6x On the Qui Vive
4x Precognition
4x Spirit's Touch
8x Telepathic Misdirection


You would need to remove at least eight cards to make the library legal, but looks playable.

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08 Aug 2019 08:34 #300556 by Erik Twice
I must say, I don't quite think these decks are a good idea. It seems players are better served by getting some of the other precons which may have been more complex but far better decks.

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08 Aug 2019 09:56 #300567 by Shellhead
Played last night for the first time in a month, due to long hours spent on home renovation that I finally wrapped up. I didn't arrive until 7:00, so I caught the tail end of the second game. I watched for a while, then wandered about the FFG Event Center for a while.

First game: Four players. My prey is a very experienced player who is possibly the best local deck builder. He is running some kind of Necromancy deck combining Samedi (voodoo assassin vampires) and Harbingers of Skulls (creepy ancient vampires). He had a strong defense with surprisingly good intercept (Divine Sign) and a nasty trick where he puts a thirsty vampire into permanent torpor that costs the controller 1 pool each turn. His prey was a fairly new player who has just a couple of very well-built decks. This deck featured the Tzimisce (flesh-molding vampires) and many War Ghouls, which I believe that I have described upthread. My relatively inexperienced predator was also playing Harbingers of Skulls, running what old school Magic players would call a Millstone deck. My deck was a Gangrel (animalistic vampires) rush deck, built around a few big vampires using five (!) combat disciplines.

I picked a fight with one of my prey's vampires early on, and attempted to hit him for five aggravated damage, in a game where even one point of aggravated damage is threatening. He managed to prevent all the damage with three Fortitude cards, but everybody at the table was suitably intimidated. This kept my inexperienced predator off my back for half the game, giving me the breathing room to pull out one more heavy hitter plus a weenie blocker. Eventually the War Ghouls wiped out my predator, and by then more than half my deck had been milled away, including some useful permanent cards. So I staggered into the late game fairly battered, and just couldn't quite oust my tough prey. But I did outlast the War Ghoul deck before we called the game early in hopes of one more game.

Second game: It was getting late for a week night, so we all agreed to play fast decks, meaning aggressive offense decks with less focus on defense. Switched up seating meant that my new prey was my previous predator, and my predator was my previous prey. The fourth guy was another very experienced player who finally won the game that started before I arrived but missed my first game. My deck had no particular clan or theme, just a crypt full of mid-cap vampires who all had a built-in +1 bleed. My library added additional bleeding with Dominate and Presence, but the real trick was Chain of Command, which allowed me to bring out several disposable vampires who could each try to bleed once before going back to the bottom of my crypt deck.

I bashed my way through my inexperienced prey's minimal defenses for 1 vp and the usual 6 pool gain. My predator was running a really nasty Baali (demon-summoning vampires) deck that needed to play Shatter the Gate three times to unleash a permanent 3-pool loss per turn on the rest of the players. He got it going with the help of a nasty master card featuring a vampire hunter (Millicent Smith) who could potentially cause a vampire to burn if they failed to get rid of one of those ritual cards. He got ousted by the fourth player's weenie bleed deck, but the ritual continued to ravage us for the rest of the game. I got in some big bleeds and surprisingly good defense against the weenies, but succumbed to the ritutal quickly and lost.
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08 Aug 2019 14:09 #300577 by Shellhead

Erik Twice wrote: I must say, I don't quite think these decks are a good idea. It seems players are better served by getting some of the other precons which may have been more complex but far better decks.


Since they aren't quite legally playable decks out of the box, I agree that these training decks are a worse starting point for new players than the recent preconstructed decks. Aside from tutorial purposes, these training decks are probably more useful to slightly experienced players. Each one of these training decks offers a large and solid foundation that could be quickly made into a legal deck with 6 more crypt cards and 11 more library cards. Other recent releases offer affordable additional cards to round out these decks, particularly the reprint bundles from Heirs to the Blood. A nice intermediate step after learning the game and before building new decks from scratch.
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22 Aug 2019 11:36 #301028 by Shellhead
Got in two games of V:tes last night. One of the players used to be one of the best local players, but he sold most of his cards several years ago, a few years after the last time the game went into torpor. In the past, he was a great deck designer who played an aggressive offense with a respectable defense. His play style was brilliant erratic, reminding me of the bounty hunter Jubal Early in the final episode of Firefly. He would babble non-sequiturs, overreact to minor slights, sometimes randomly cross-table people, then charge forward with brutal effectiveness. Last night, his play style was cautious and very defensive, and he played a clan that I had never seen him play before: the Gargoyles.

First game was with five players. I played my Chain of Command deck, but some early interference from adjacent players undermined my ability to get my deck up and running properly. My predator was playing the Ishtarri, a fast and tough group of vampires. Normally, they are used in aggressive bleed decks, but he made a combat deck using machine guns and presses for extra rounds of combat. He beat the crap out of my vampires and came very close to ousting me, but his prey finally swept into action with big bleeds that were hard to block. My prey was playing a minor bloodline called the Ahrimanes (bestial female vampires) that fended off my few offensive efforts. He stalled out for much of the game against his prey's extremely defensive Gargoyle deck, but finally his long-term investment in Smiling Jack the Anarch wrecked devastation on the table. I went out fast and a couple of other players hung on longer before the Arhimanes won.

Second game was four players, and we all agreed to play fast decks because the event center was closing in 90 minutes. Fast means more offensive than defensive, and no tricks to bloat up with extra pool. I picked the relatively new pre-built Toreador antitribu deck, and it did not disappoint. After bringing out four vampires, I put a card in play that allowed each of minions to bleed with +1 bleed for the next three turns. I quickly took down my prey and nearly got my new prey on the same turn. But my predator got his obscure Daughters of Cacophony (siren-like female vampires who have great difficulty intercepting other minions) deck running right, which involved whacking me for nine pool loss each turn that he pulled off his combo, in a way that couldn't be blocked unless I blocked one of his actions to set up the combo. I thought that I could outlast him if I plowed through the table with my own massive attack, but my new prey hung on one turn too long after calling a vote that stole pool from his prey/my predator. That gave my predator time to hit me with his combo a second time and end me. It was getting late and seemed obvious that the Daughters would win, so I headed out. I didn't do anything wrong, and I feel like slightly different card draws in our game could have easily left me sweeping the table. That Toredor antitribu deck is better than any deck I have ever designed.
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29 Aug 2019 11:08 #301208 by Shellhead
Our Wednesday Night group was happy to receive a visitor from Pittsburgh last night. Recruiting new players is a real challenge right now because of the limited supply of new cards, the printing costs of a DIY deck from Amaranth, and the overpriced remnants available online. Because deck design takes some work, many players tend to have a few current favorite decks that they bring every time, and then eventually create one or two new ones from time to time. So an experienced player from elsewhere is fun because it can shake up the local metagame with unfamiliar play style and decks. Carl from Pittsburgh is a very experienced player who completely understands the rules and strategies, and will be possibly be visiting on a quarterly basis due to his job.

As usual, I missed the first two games due to a long work day and long commute, but I got in the final game of the night, with six players at the table. This game is noteworthy because it highlighted the superficial resemblance of the game to rock-paper-scissors. The three primary strategies for winning are politics, bleeding, and combat. Either attack your prey's resource pool with votes or direct bleeding actions, or wreck all of his minions and then bleed him out. Defensively, you can go with voting power, intercept, direct attacks on your predator's vampires, or just ignore your predator and go all-out against your prey. Or you can try to be flexible and do some of everything with a toolbox deck, usually with mediocre results at best. Specific predator-prey combinations can be lopsided at times, like stealth/bleed predator against a combat-focused prey.

I played my newish Mummy deck, with the vampiric Followers of Set bringing out some Bane Mummies (the big bads of the Mummy: the Resurrection rpg). I also had the Spell of Life... put five copies of Spell of Life into play and bring up to five vampires from the inactive region into play instead as mummies with high strength and some bleeding ability. I could play Dream World to give all of my minions, mummies and vampires) a +1 bleed for a turn. So my goal was to spam out a bunch of cheap vampires and mummies and then bleed in overwhelming waves. My only defense was a mummy that could tap to give me +1 intercept once per turn.

Unfortunately, Carl of Pittsburgh was playing a similar idea, with lots of cheap vampires and Dream World and some pimps (Procurers) to keep his vampires flush with blood. More importantly, he was playing with some votes to give himself pool, and nobody else ran a political deck that game, so all of his votes passed. This meant that he generally had at least twice as many minions in play and my waves would always get blocked.

My prey was runing an odd Gangrel deck that relied on various global effects to harass the whole table while punishing me with stealth/bleeds. He was also built to go light on defense and focus on attacking me. The other three players had no direct impact on my game, aside from the inability to vote against my prey's pool gain. And my predator's predator put pressure on my predator, but not enough to keep me from being the first one out. Three more players were eliminated in the next four turns, so the endgame came down to Carl's 18 (!!!) vampires and pimps slowly battering down a small but feisty group of Ahrimanes. The Ahrimanes had some nasty global effects that would have been powerful except that they arrived so late in the game. Carl ran out of cards seven minutes before closing time, but it looked like he would have easily won if they played for another ten minutes, so they called it early.

Circling back to my original comment about welcoming a visiting player... of that six player game, four of us were playing familiar decks that we had played previously in recent weeks. My predator's predator was playing something new or at least unfamiliar to me, and then Carl's deck was new to all of us. There is enough depth to the game that the same deck can play better or worse against various combinations of predators, prey, and other folks at the table, but some additional variety is nice. I miss the tournaments of the late '90s and early '00s when more than half the players were unfamiliar faces. Even if they played familiar deck styles, their individual personalities, play style, and experience level made things more interesting.
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