Skip to main content

Let's Build: Ventrue Stickmen

The Let's Build series was inspired by this blog post that gives advice on how to build a workable unnamed deck using only cards printed by Black Chantry Productions.  The goal of this series is to build solid decks using only cards from the BCP card pool.

The Deck Type

The Ventrue Stickmen is a type of "grinder" (a deck that wears opponents down over time).  It is efficient in actions, combat, and defense, making the deck a solid choice for all occasions.  The deck tends to have answers for most situations and is the classic jack-of-all-trades toolbox.  The offense is more opportunistic than outright overpowering.  The defense is geared to handle the big threats.  The combat package is designed for survival and slow-grinding of opposing minions.

VTES One has an excellent rundown of the archetype.  In particular it focuses on the Ventrue antitribu version, but does make particular mention of the Ventrue Princes variant that we're attempting to emulate.  Black Chantry released an excellent how-to-play article for First Blood: Ventrue. The deck is essentially a mini-grinder and makes an excellent starting spot.  Also note that the article describes a solid deck that you can build by mashing to First Blood: Ventrue sets together.  However, both the solo First Blood: Ventrue deck and the combined deck offered by BCP are very vote heavy compared to standard grinder designs.

The $64 Version

We set the minimum percentage of cards for including a set at 10%.  Here's what you'll need to build the following deck:

  • First Blood: Ventrue ($9): 43/55
  • First Blood: Ventrue ($9): 24/55
  • 25th Anniversary ($24): 14/120
  • Pact with Nephandi ($22): 11/89

The Deck

Deck Name: Let's Build: Ventrue Stickmen ($64 variant)
Author: KGS Cards (Karl Schaefer)

Crypt (12 cards; Capacity min=3 max=8 avg=5.6)
==================
2x Lodin (Olaf Holte)           8 aus pro DOM FOR PRE     Ventrue:5
2x Graham Gottesman             7 obf pre tha DOM FOR     Ventrue:5
1x Mustafa, The Heir            6 cel dom FOR PRE         Ventrue:4
2x Victor Donaldson             6 for pre DOM             Ventrue:5
1x Antonio d'Erlette            5 dom for pot THA         Tremere antitribu:4
1x Emily Carson                 5 for pre DOM             Ventrue:5
2x Joao Bile                    5 pre DOM FOR             Ventrue:4
1x Keith Moody                  3 DOM                     Tremere antitribu:4

Library: 80 cards

Master (13 cards)
==================
2x Blood Doll
2x Dreams of the Sphinx
1x Giant's Blood
1x Misdirection
1x Pentex(TM) Subversion
1x Sudden Reversal
1x Uptown Hunting Ground
1x Ventrue Headquarters
2x Vessel
1x Wider View

Action (13 cards)
==================
13x Govern the Unaligned

Action Modifier (14 cards)
==================
3x Bonding
4x Conditioning
2x Daring the Dawn
1x Foreshadowing Destruction
2x Freak Drive
2x Seduction

Action Modifier/Reaction (1 cards)
==================
1x Murmur of the False Will

Political Action (4 cards)
==================
1x Anarchist Uprising
1x Ancilla Empowerment
2x Parity Shift

Combat (18 cards)
==================
4x Indomitability
2x Rolling with the Punches
3x Target Vitals
4x Unflinching Persistence
5x Weighted Walking Stick

Ally (1 cards)
==================
1x Carlton Van Wyk

Reaction (16 cards)
==================
7x Deflection
2x On the Qui Vive
7x Second Tradition: Domain

Analysis: What's missing? What could be better?

Well, a third Lodin for starters.  Almost every version of this deck has at least three copies.  Some better support vampires.  The crypt is usually filled out with Ventrue antitribu that have FOR and/or DOM.  Unfortunately, we have to look elsewhere, since BCP has no Ventrue antitribu that we can use.  Getting a third First Blood: Ventrue would solve the Lodin problem, but eliminates some of the need for 25th Anniversary.  We still don't get any better support vampires.  Adding First Blood: Tremere gets you Claus Wegener for support plus an Ivory Bow and a .44 Magnum.  That's a big ask for three cards.

Another missing aspect is presses.  We need more presses.  There are some Trap in Pact with Nephandi, but those can be dangerous.  We don't really have any other options, but more First Blood: Ventrue.  Each one bringing diminishing returns.

This version has more votes than traditional Stickmen decks and some Freak Drive that many decks do not.  They are added in part to make 25th Anniversary worthwhile; however, Parity Shift is a solid addition to any deck that can play it and so is Freak Drive.

The Lots of First Blood Version

This design simply tried to stay around the $64 mark set by the first one and comes in a little cheaper at $58.  The First Blood: Tremere set would not have qualified for that deck's usability threshold.  Here's what you'll need to build the following deck:

  • First Blood: Ventrue ($9): 43/55
  • First Blood: Ventrue ($9): 22/55
  • First Blood: Ventrue ($9): 9/55
  • Pact with Nephandi ($22): 13/89
  • First Blood: Tremere ($9): 4/55

The Deck

Deck Name: Let's Build: Ventrue Stickmen (Lots of First Blood variant)
Author: KGS Cards (Karl Schaefer)

Crypt (12 cards; Capacity min=3 max=8 avg=5.625)
==================
3x Lodin (Olaf Holte)           8 aus pro DOM FOR PRE     Ventrue:5
2x Graham Gottesman             7 obf pre tha DOM FOR     Ventrue:5
1x Mustafa, The Heir            6 cel dom FOR PRE         Ventrue:4
2x Victor Donaldson             6 for pre DOM             Ventrue:5
1x Claus Wegener                5 aus for tha DOM         Tremere:5
1x Emily Carson                 5 for pre DOM             Ventrue:5
1x Joao Bile                    5 pre DOM FOR             Ventrue:4
1x Keith Moody                  3 DOM                     Tremere antitribu:4

Library: 79 cards

Master (13 cards)
==================
2x Blood Doll
1x Dreams of the Sphinx
1x Fame
1x KRCG News Radio
1x Misdirection
2x Sudden Reversal
1x Uptown Hunting Ground
1x Ventrue Headquarters
2x Vessel
1x Wider View

Action (13 cards)
==================
13x Govern the Unaligned

Action Modifier (13 cards)
==================
3x Bonding
6x Conditioning
3x Daring the Dawn
1x Seduction

Political Action (1 cards)
==================
1x Ancilla Empowerment

Combat (18 cards)
==================
6x Indomitability
2x Rolling with the Punches
3x Target Vitals
2x Unflinching Persistence
5x Weighted Walking Stick

Ally (1 cards)
==================
1x Carlton Van Wyk

Equipment (3 cards)
==================
2x .44 Magnum
1x Ivory Bow

Reaction (17 cards)
==================
8x Deflection
3x On the Qui Vive
6x Second Tradition: Domain

Analysis: What's missing? What could be better?

The crypt is better than the previous version.  We still need better support vampires.  Keepers of Tradition 2 is barely helpful in that regard.  The biggest holes are the ones typically filled by Ventrue antitribu and Victor Pelletier.

But the master package is worse. Fame is a rare, almost unheard of inclusion.  KRCG News Radio is used more often in this deck type and helps to make up for the less than usual amount of Second Tradition: Domain.  The Ventrue Headquarters in this build is almost purely defensive.  A second anti-horde vote might be useful (we only have access to Ancilla Empowerment with these sets), but usually you want one copy of Ancilla Empowerment and one copy of Anarchist Uprising to prevent being stymied by Delaying Tactics.  Still, swapping a Govern the Unaligned or Seduction for another Ancilla Empowerment is fine.

There is an equipment package this time and most variants of this deck include some type of weapon permanent, so that's more akin to the traditional build than the previous variant.

While this version is slightly cheaper and has a better crypt,  I prefer the first version myself.

Other Cards from BCP

Either deck could benefit from Scourge of the Enochians in Keepers of Tradition 2 ($24) and a Heart of Nizchetus in Anthology 1 ($22).  Adding Keepers of Tradition 2, Anthology 1, and First Blood: Tremere to the $64 variant gives you the best possible card pool for building your own Let's Build: Ventrue Stickmen variant at a total cost of $119.

Some of the most traditional cards that appear in the deck have not been reprinted by BCP: Anarch Troublemaker and Hidden Strength.  Both of those cards appears in the upcoming Fifth Edtion: Ventrue set.  It will be interesting to revisit this deck type once that set is released.  Perhaps some of the new Ventrue will help fill in the gaps.  Though it does appear so far that all of the vampires are group 6, which eliminates the ability to use Mustafa, The Heir and Joao Bile.

Hopefully this will give you some ideas for your own deck.  Feel free to let us know what you think of these decks, what different choices you would have made or where you think these versions could be improved.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Understanding Basic Crypt Construction

I wanted no land – I didn’t like that Magic had about 40% boring resource cards in the deck. -- Richard Garfield   And so, VTES players have a different problem, we have two decks to optimize.  So, let's tackle common crypt construction issues and ideas. 

Let's Build: V5 Toreador with Fortitude

It's our great pleasure to provide the final Toreador spoiler for the new Fifth Edition boxed set.  Without further ado, let's meet Catalina Vega with artwork by Mitch Mueller.