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Evaluating New Blood: Toreador

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 Toreador deck measures up for new and established players alike.

New Blood: Toreador

Black Chantry describes it as a deck that "tries to take political control over the game." This sounds like the V5 Toreador build. Like most Toreador builds this deck is susceptible to trouble if the surrounding decks have any intercept whatsoever.  Toreador Grand Ball attempts to work around this problem, but that is either a temporary solution or a resource that has to be defended.

As a Demo of the Game

As the most straightforward political deck, this shows off both the strengths and weaknesses of votes.  There's a smattering of defensive options, in bleed reduction, a little bounce, and a little intercept.  I would have preferred a deck that just doubled-down on votes for ousting and pool gain: more Villein/Minion Tap, more Voter Cap, etc.  The small defensive package is probably better for a new player.

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.)
Conservative Agitation
This Jyhad classic finally makes an appearance in BCP products.  Stronger in the early game and weaker in the end game, this vote is not going to be the main threat.  Usually this balances out Kine Resources Contested in decks to provide an alternate damaging vote to work around the restrictions imposed by Delaying Tactics.
Domain Challenge
This is the anti-horde vote for decks that are also horde decks.  Because you can time this, you're likely to take the least damage from it while lowering everyone else's pool totals.  This will make a nice addition to Libertine Ball decks.  I don't necessarily like the include here where at least Toreador Grand Ball host and the voter are going to be locked.  This deck also isn't going to out-minion the other decks.  Good reprint and this is the best place for it, but it is a little bit of a square-peg-round-hole situation.
Dummy Corporation
Dummy Corporation is a very nice bit of bleed reduction.  It's particularly useful when you also have access to bounce.  Make the bleed big enough to sting even if reduced by the Dummy Corporation and it might get bounced.  Keep it too small and they might just eat the bleed for one.  Bleed for one?  That's a predator you want to keep.
Minion Tap
A stronger, reusable version of Villein.  While I'm not really a fan of it in this deck, this card deserves a BCP reprint.  This card is for when you need to go back to the same well over and over again.  Lutz and other large-cap vote decks love this card.  Your mid-caps are still going to prefer Villein in most cases.
Telepathic Counter
Yes, bleed reduction is worse than bounce.  Yes, the same clan that has access to this bleed reduction also has access to bounce.  While this card needed to be reprinted, I think that the Tremere deck would've been the better place to do so.  Being able to reduce a bleed and be unlocked to block the follow-up action is powerful.  Being forced to reduce because you don't have other options...not so powerful.

What's Missing?

I've been asking for My Enemy's Enemy in these decks.  This is another place for it.  Given the predominantly inferior Auspex, the free intercept is preferable to Telepathic Misdirection.  This is also the deck that would benefit from Archon Investigation, but that card really isn't demo deck friendly.  A Third Tradition: Progeny would make a great host for the Ball.  Not sure any breed card is demo-friendly, however.  An Auspex skill card gives the deck more bouncers and better reducers and we need to get skill cards into new player hands.

New Blood: Toreador 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. 
Deck Name: New Blood: Toreador Mashup
Author: Karl Schaefer

Crypt (12 cards, min=10 max=30 avg=5.17)
2x Catalina Vega        8  for AUS CEL PRE   prince   Toreador:6
2x Flávio Gonçalves     7  aus for CEL PRE   prince   Toreador:6
2x Mkhokheli            6  aus cel for PRE   prince   Toreador:6
2x Carmelita Neillson   5  cel pre AUS                Toreador:7
2x Nik Sikko            3  cel pre                    Toreador:6
2x Mateo García         2  pre                        Toreador:6

Library (73 cards)
Master (11)
2x Art Museum
1x Dummy Corporation
3x Minion Tap
5x Toreador Grand Ball

Action (8)
6x Enchant Kindred
2x Entrancement

Political Action (12)
2x Conservative Agitation
2x Domain Challenge
4x Kine Resources Contested
4x Parity Shift

Action Modifier (13)
4x Aire of Elation
4x Bewitching Oration
1x Scorn of Adonis
4x Voter Captivation

Action Modifier/Combat (6)
6x Resist Earth's Grasp

Action Modifier/Reaction (2)
2x Scalpel Tongue

Reaction (13)
4x On the Qui Vive
3x Second Tradition: Domain
2x Telepathic Counter
4x Telepathic Misdirection

Combat (8)
8x Majesty

Fifth Edition-New Blood: Toreador Mash-Up

Taking it a step further, let's take a look at what a Fifth Edition-New Blood mash-up would look like.  This mashup was particularly hard.  Both the Fifth Edition and New Blood decks are a similar design, so they don't really offer a lot to compliment the other deck.  Minion Tap does not mix well with Villein.  Honestly, I didn't even include Carmelita in the deck because why bother?  She's only got r, when the deck really wants R.  There's not even enough Auspex to bolt on to make her superior worth it.  If we were mashing several copies of New Blood with the Fifth Edition set, then we might get to a good amount of Auspex to make her worthwhile.  Without access to Wider View or other good ways to cycle through the crypt, I simply traded Min-seo for Mateo, going from no Presence to r.  Add a few other votes in, upped the Voter Captivation, and messed with the counts on some other cards, but mostly the deck is the same.  This might be the least interesting mashup thus far.
Deck Name: V5-New Blood: Toreador Mashup
Author: Karl Schaefer
Description: Well, it's a mashup.  Too much utility is missing.  Need
to work a Fifth Edition: Ventrue into the mix to spice this up.

Crypt (12 cards, min=13 max=30 avg=5.42)
2x Catalina Vega      8  for AUS CEL PRE   prince   Toreador:6
2x Flávio Gonçalves   7  aus for CEL PRE   prince   Toreador:6
2x Mkhokheli          6  aus cel for PRE   prince   Toreador:6
1x Kathy Glens        5  aus cel tha PRE            Toreador:6
1x Tamoszius          5  aus CEL PRE                Toreador:6
1x Bret Stryker       4  CEL PRE                    Toreador:6
1x Massimo Falconi    4  aus cel pre                Toreador:6
1x Nik Sikko          3  cel pre                    Toreador:6
1x Mateo García       2  pre                        Toreador:6

Library (80 cards)
Master (15)
2x Art Museum
1x Creepshow Casino
1x Elysium: The Palace of Versailles
1x Society Hunting Ground
4x Toreador Grand Ball
6x Villein

Action (6)
5x Enchant Kindred
1x Entrancement

Political Action (18)
4x Consanguineous Boon
1x Conservative Agitation
1x Domain Challenge
7x Kine Resources Contested
4x Parity Shift
1x Toreador Justicar

Action Modifier (22)
3x Aire of Elation
5x Bewitching Oration
2x Change of Target
4x Perfect Paragon
8x Voter Captivation

Action Modifier/Combat (6)
6x Resist Earth's Grasp

Action Modifier/Reaction (3)
3x Scalpel Tongue

Reaction (4)
4x Second Tradition: Domain

Combat (6)
6x Majesty

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.
Carmelita Neillson
Only the second vampire in group 6 with A, making here a precious commodity.  The big complaint for group 6 was the lack of A and she fills that gap nicely.  In lieu of any other superiors or out-of-clan disciplines, we get a very cool hand size bonus.  In decks that need to setup their combo, like vote decks (vote + push + Cap), having an extra card gives you a little more space to hold onto something for longer.
Mateo García
Not the most interesting vampire, but most decks need some weenies that can just do things for you.  A 2-cap with r is enough to host a Ball, call (and push) a vote, block a rush, or rescue someone better.  He's necessary for the new group, but no one is going to lose theirs minds over this guy.
Unfortunately, this deck has the least interesting reprints.  More Toreador Grand Ball is useful, but between this deck and one V5 deck, you're set.  Nothing else really jumps out for long-time players of the game.

Mixing It Up with KoT Toreador

We can probably update Toreador Talent Agency to add Carmelita and Domain Challenge might find some use there too.  We're probably just remixing the same old decks together in new ways.  The Fortitude group-6 vampires didn't get any help here.

Carmelita and Mateo might do some interesting Anarch things with Undue Influence, but now that Baron's have Bait and Switch, Carmelita's A is less interesting.  She might be an interesting centerpiece for a group-6 Anarch wall akin to the group-1 Malkavian concepts.  Those rely heavily on Victoria's special to extra pool gain, which would be missing here.  Her extra card works nicely in wall concepts too.

Any thoughts on how you might work the new vampires into any decks?


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