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Evaluating New Blood: Malkvian

Black Chantry is releasing a new set of demo decks, New Blood.  Like First Blood, there are five decks with the same clans as the Fifth Edition boxed set: Malkavian, Nosferatu, Toreador, Tremere, and Ventrue.  Let's take a look and see how the first of these decks measure up for new and established players alike.

New Blood: Malkavian

Black Chantry describes it as a "toolbox that mixes bleeding and political actions." Malkavians playing politics?  This is atypical unless Lutz is involved.  Here, we have an a nice mix of bleed and political actions.  With easy access to stealth, we should expect most of them to succeed.  With most clans having access to bounce and with such a plethora or titles, however, will the bleeds hit the right target or will the referenda actually succeed?

Well, not everything should succeed.  Real games are often full of failure, bounced bleeds, and torporized vampires.

As a Demo of the Game

This deck is a really nice demo of the game.  It features politics and bleed.  It has stealth to make things successful.  The reaction package is typical: bounce.  Some of it can be used for intercept, but Malkavians rarely like combat, so that's an option best left for something that must be blocked.

This deck should stack up well agains the other starter decks.  With at least transient intercept in every deck, the Malks may get blocked, but their stealth package is good and the payload is solid (for the demo games).

Evan Klein (discussed below) has a troublesome special for a demo environment.  It's something that I expect experienced players to struggle with.  As such, I would probably tell players checking out the game to ignore his special until they have more experience.

For New Players

This deck offers quite a few new cards for players that have gotten into the game with BCP.  (We'll talk about the brand new vampires in a bit.)
Conceal
Very solid card. Being able to remove a key piece of equipment or a key location can be critical to long term success.
Forgotten Labyrinth
Perfect for stealth voters.
Malkavian Justicar
The bonus votes make this easier to pass. After it passes, having extra votes in Fifth Edition's vote rich environment will help too.
Scouting Mission (also in the Tremere)
Yes, this is Govern the Unaligned's little brother. This is generally considered weaker and rarely played. Perhaps more useful in a modern Law Firm deck or in a deck with smaller vampires, so that you don't need to worry about refilling their lost blood.
Secure Haven
The ultimate defensive option for decks that want to keep someone alive. Anyone building the unnamed will surely pick up this deck just for this card.
Telepathic Vote Counting
Vote cancelation has never wowed VTES players in the same way that vote push does. Push might get you by more than one vampire's votes, but cancelation is only going to solve one problem. With the increase in transient votes from cards like Protected District, the ability to cancel a referendum and call it again later may have more appeal than it used to.
Threats (also in the Tremere)
Yes, this is Conditioning's little brother. This is good much for the same reasons as Scouting Mission. I do like it for Giovanni powerbleed decks that spend so much blood in general.

What's Missing?

There are a few cards that haven't been reprinted that would have been good includes.  Muddled Vampire Hunter is a classic.  A well-timed rush can open doors for the deck or, left unlocked, Muddles is an excellent deterrent for vampires with low blood.  I would have like to see My Enemy's Enemy in this list, but given the decks overall lack of blood demands, perhaps the Tremere deck is the better spot for it.

New Blood: Malkavian Mash-Up

With the First Blood decks, BCP released a How-To-Play download for it, which included instructions on making a "real" deck by putting two copies together.  While I expect BCP will do the same, here's my first cut at the mash-up. To be honest, I'm not entirely, or rather, not at all thrilled by what you can do when mashing two copies together. My mashed up version relies more heavily on voting because the bleeding isn't as strong with these decks.
Deck Name: New Blood: Malkavian Mash Up
Author: Karl Schaefer
Description: A probably not good enough deck.

Blood Dolls are too slow for this deck and we really need Govern the Unaligned 
to bring up extra bodies more quickly.  I suspect that test runs will prove that
more Parity Shift is worthwhile.

Yes, two The Barrens.  You can get rid of the second one easy enough.  You need
to be able to cycle through the deck properly, so getting this resource early
enough will be critical.

Secure Haven goes on someone without OBF (maybe).  You (hopefully) have enough
No Trace to handle other problems.

Crypt (12 cards, min=18 max=30 avg=6.0)
=======================================
2x Alexander Silverson   8  pre AUS DOM OBF   prince   Malkavian:6
2x Jason "Son" Newberry  7  pre AUS DOM OBF            Malkavian:6
2x Andi Liu              6  aus obf pre DOM   prince   Malkavian:6
2x Donny Kowalczyk       6  obf dom cel AUS   prince   Malkavian:6
2x Evan Klein            5  aus dom pre OBF            Malkavian:6
2x Dr. Stephen Norton    4  aus OBF                    Malkavian:6

Library (73 cards)
==================
Master (9)
----------
2x Barrens, The
4x Blood Doll
2x Elysium: The Palace of Versailles
1x Secure Haven

Action (5)
----------
1x Conceal
4x Scouting Mission

Political Action (15)
---------------------
2x Anarchist Uprising
7x Kine Resources Contested
2x Malkavian Justicar
4x Parity Shift

Action Modifier (25)
--------------------
3x Cloak the Gathering
3x Elder Impersonation
4x Faceless Night
2x Forgotten Labyrinth
3x Lost in Crowds
2x Old Friends
4x Telepathic Vote Counting
4x Threats

Reaction (15)
-------------
4x Deflection
4x Eyes of Argus
4x Telepathic Misdirection
3x Wake with Evening's Freshness

Combat (4)
----------
4x No Trace

Fifth Edition-New Blood: Malkavian Mash-Up

Taking it a step further, let's take a look at what a Fifth Edition-New Blood mash-up would look like.
Deck Name: V5-New Blood: Malkavian Mashup
Author: Karl Schaefer
Description: Ask Ben Peal, the original is already good.
That being said, I've added a little safety by bringing in No Trace and Secure
Haven.  The Elder Impersonation will ensure actions succeed. I reduced the
stealth a little, but left all Faceless Night. That card is too good for
follow-up actions.

Running the double The Barrens again.

Swapped in two votes.  The Justicar vote to increase random vote counts for you and
Anarchist Uprising.  You want the table to have less pool all around.

I dropped everyone from the crypt without Dominate in favor of the new vampires.
Upped Alexander to ensure that the early Govern chain works as intended (greater 
chance at least).  Use Gilbert Duane (G6) instead, if you have him.  With
3x Alexander Silverson and 2x Donny Kowalczyk, I'd love a second Wider View to
compensate, but we don't have one.

I never really liked Revelations here, so I dropped them.  If you love them,
certainly add them back.

Crypt (12 cards, min=17 max=31 avg=6.0)
=======================================
3x Alexander Silverson   8  pre AUS DOM OBF   prince   Malkavian:6
2x Donny Kowalczyk       6  obf dom cel AUS   prince   Malkavian:6
1x Jason "Son" Newberry  7  AUS DOM OBF pre            Malkavian:6
1x Andi Liu              6  aus obf pre DOM   prince   Malkavian:6
1x Gelasia Fotiou        6  obf pre AUS DOM            Malkavian:6
1x Colette               5  dom AUS OBF                Malkavian:6
1x Evan Klein            5  aus dom pre OBF            Malkavian:6
1x Sully                 4  aus dom obf                Malkavian:6
1x Ashley                3  dom obf                    Malkavian:6

Library (77 cards)
==================
Master (13)
-----------
 1x Asylum Hunting Ground
 2x Barrens, The
 5x Blood Doll
 1x Dreams of the Sphinx
 2x Life in the City
 1x Secure Haven
 1x Wider View

Action (12)
-----------
12x Govern the Unaligned

Political Action (2)
--------------------
 1x Anarchist Uprising
 1x Malkavian Justicar

Action Modifier (25)
--------------------
 4x Bonding
 3x Cloak the Gathering
 2x Conditioning
 2x Elder Impersonation
 4x Faceless Night
 2x Foreshadowing Destruction
 3x Lost in Crowds
 3x Spying Mission
 2x Threats

Action Modifier/Combat (3)
--------------------------
 3x Swallowed by the Night

Reaction (20)
-------------
 5x Deflection
 5x Eyes of Argus
 5x On the Qui Vive
 5x Telepathic Misdirection

Combat (2)
----------
 2x No Trace

For Established Players

Let's start with the new vampires.  They're attractive to new players, but may be the real gem for established players, especially those with large collections.
Evan Klein
A 5-cap with O and d. At this capacity superior Obfuscate is more important than superior Dominate. The ability to ensure that the action succeeds is more important than the 1 pool loss difference between inferior and superior Dominate. His a is unlikely to see much use, unless he blocks. Another Malk with r offers us some interesting possibilities. We don't really need Presence for combat ends, since he can play No Trace
Jason "Son" Newberry
What more could you ask for in a 7-capacity Malkavian vampire? He has all of the in-clan disciplines at superior, +1 bleed, inferior Presence, and a corner-case special. This guy is going to be a terror going forward. Like Evan, r offering some interesting possiblities, but combat ends isn't one of them.
As for the reprints in the deck, Conceal really shines.  It's never had a reprint and it appeared 15 years ago in Lords of the Night.  There are definitely useful reprints besides that.  Who doesn't need more Eyes of ArgusNo Trace is also a good one.  It's in the Keepers of Tradition reprint sets, but this is a more economical buy.

Mixing It Up with V5 Malks

With Evan Klein and Jason "Son" Newberry, we now have six vampires in group 6 with r.  With the reprint of Malkavian Justicar and the Malkavian Rider Clause promo, BCP is begging us to do something with that.  I leave that as an exercise for the reader.

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