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Evaluating New Blood: Tremere

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.  BCP switched things up and gave us both Tremere previews, so we'll skip to that.

New Blood: Tremere

Black Chantry describes it as a deck with "a defensive stance...[and i]t weakens its enemies with persistent attrition."  This deck is heavily oriented toward defense.  I've seen smaller reaction packages in larger decks.  This deck is going to survive; is it going to oust? It has some payload, but it feels a little lacking to me.  With the Arcane Library, Blood Dolls, and blood theft, you should be able to turn the minion advantage eventually.

As a Demo of the Game

This decks offers demo players a nice mix of bleed, block, and combat.  New players will be able to experience the basics of the game.  Building up permanents, mostly in more vampires, this deck will be slow, but effective.  I don't expect this deck to be the first to oust unless it's fortunate to bounce enough bleed, but it should build a slow stranglehold over the game.  The Nosferatu may pose the most difficulty with their combat.  Chantry should help keep the ready region full.

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.)
Blood Fury
The bigger brother of Blood Rage, which we saw in the Banu Haqim starter.  Blood Sorcery has always been able to thwart Fortitude and it's nice to see more options for newer players.  This card tends to work with specific deck designs.  It's good to have it reprinted, but expect that you're going to merge these into a Banu Haiqm deck instead of a Tremere deck.
Flaming Candle
Effects that prevent vampires from blocking are strong.  The Candle is single-use, but has no downside other than the action to equip it.
The Fragment of the Book of Nod
A classic.  Typically used in blockier decks that want to be able to cycle out their hand.  Blockier deck designs work in tandem with the Fragment's steal clause.  If you're already set to block, then blocking the theft of the Fragment is just what you're already prepared to do.  As for its effect, drawing cards in a game where card flow matters is always valuable.
My experience has taught me that Melange is underwhelming.  The +bleed effect is rarely used.  It does offer more free intercept options and the superior effect might come in handy.
The Rumor Mill, Tabloid Newspaper
A cheap media location that spreads the cost between you and your vampires.  Spending 1 blood to gain 1 intercept with the hopes of getting into combat, where you're likely to lose 1 more blood, can get blood intensive very quickly.  While there's nothing wrong with The Rumor Mill, decks have to be prepared to get their blood costs back somehow.  Good to ensure that folks can go media wild, if they want.  I typically prefer WMRH or Wall Street Night to this.
Scouting Mission (also in Malkavian)
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.
Sniper Rifle
The gold standard in block equipment.  I find, however, that .44 Magnum has more general versatility.  While having one or two of these is a good idea in blocking decks, I'd prefer most guns to be usable on offense as well.  Ousting is a requirement of winning; ousting requires action.
Threats (also in Malkavian)
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 by BCP that would have been good includes.  Outcast Mage is the obvious choice.  Grimgroth is still very sad that only Thadeus Zho has seen a reprint.  While Outcast Mage is underpowered versus vampires historically, the current meta is more in their favor.  In a combat where zero cards are played, they can beat either Nephandi or Legionnaires and live to tell the tale.  As I mentioned in the Malkavian write-up, My Enemy's Enemy needs a reprint and that would offer a more variety for our Auspex reaction module.  

New Blood: Tremere 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: Tremere Mashup
Author: Karl Schaefer
Description: Strive for minion advantage.
Use the Blood Dolls and Arcane Library to get out all the vampires.
Lots of wake effects to go forward and still block.
Wish we had a Wider View (or two).
Crypt (12 cards, min=20 max=30 avg=6.17)
2x Abraham DuSable   8  AUS DOM FOR THA              Tremere:6
2x Ayelech           7  AUS DOM THA       prince     Tremere:6
2x Lloyd Brooks      6  aus pot THA DOM   primogen   Tremere:6
2x Trevon Parker     6  AUS DOM THA                  Tremere:6
2x Chrysanthemum     5  dom AUS THA       primogen   Tremere:6
2x Mason Ha          5  aus cel dom THA              Tremere:6

Library (72 cards)
Master (9)
2x Arcane Library
4x Blood Doll
1x Chantry
1x Fragment of the Book of Nod
1x Rumor Mill, Tabloid Newspaper, The

Action (10)
2x Magic of the Smith
8x Scouting Mission

Equipment (4)
1x Flaming Candle
1x Ivory Bow
2x Sniper Rifle

Action Modifier (8)
4x Bonding
4x Threats

Reaction (24)
2x Enhanced Senses
4x Eyes of Argus
6x Forced Awakening
2x Melange
2x Precognition
2x Spirit's Touch
6x Telepathic Misdirection

Combat (17)
5x Apportation
3x Rego Motum
9x Theft of Vitae

Fifth Edition-New Blood: Tremere 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: Tremere Mashup
Author: Karl Schaefer
Description: Left-focused Tremere deck.

V5 and New Blood Tremere decks are very similar.  This deck tries to eschew some 
of the blocking to focus on a more bleed-oriented design.  Use Govern, Arcane
Library, Blood Dolls, and Wasserschloss to obtain minion advantage.  Overwhlem
your prey with constant bleeds (yours and bounced).  Ideally, we'd have more
+bleed action modifiers here.

Crypt (12 cards, min=17 max=28 avg=5.67)
2x Ayelech           7  AUS DOM THA       prince     Tremere:6
2x Trevon Parker     6  AUS DOM THA                  Tremere:6
1x Abraham DuSable   8  AUS DOM FOR THA              Tremere:6
1x Inês Tristão      6  aus dom pre THA   prince     Tremere:6
1x Lloyd Brooks      6  aus pot THA DOM   primogen   Tremere:6
1x Chrysanthemum     5  dom AUS THA       primogen   Tremere:6
1x Mason Ha          5  aus cel dom THA              Tremere:6
1x Patrik Söderberg  5  dom for tha AUS              Tremere:6
1x Lauren            4  aus dom tha                  Tremere:6
1x Rosalina Cortez   3  THA                          Tremere:6

Library (70 cards)
Master (11)
 1x Academic Hunting Ground
 1x Arcane Library
 2x Blood Doll
 1x Chantry
 1x Misdirection
 1x Pentex(TM) Subversion
 2x Vessel
 1x Wasserschloss Anif, Austria
 1x Wider View

Action (16)
14x Govern the Unaligned
 2x Magic of the Smith

Equipment (3)
 1x .44 Magnum
 1x Flaming Candle
 1x Ivory Bow

Action Modifier (15)
 6x Bonding
 7x Mirror Walk
 2x Threats

Reaction (18)
 4x Deflection
 5x Eyes of Argus
 4x On the Qui Vive
 5x Telepathic Misdirection

Combat (7)
 7x Theft of Vitae

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.
Abraham DuSable
An 8-cap vampire with all of the in-clans at superior, plus F.  He does everything you want a Tremere to do and can do it multiple times per turn with Freak Drive.  His special can help cycle out unwanted Blood Sorcery and he can even hit 3-stealth on a bleed with Bonding, Mirror Walk, and any other Blood Sorcery card.  Daring the Dawn is always a solid choice when trying to ensure an action will succeed.  He'll mix well with !Ventrue for a grinder, but his lack of title will make him less useful to the Ventrue variant.
Mason Ha
He's a significant upgrade to the vanilla 4-capacity Tremere for offensive-minded Tremere decks.  At his size the lack of D isn't an issue, but the addition of T allows him to play superior Mirror Walk.  You're unlikely to get a lot of use from his c, but that does match up with Bituin and the Banu Haqim.
As for the reprints in the deck, Flaming Candle really shines.  It's never had a reprint and it appeared 19 years ago in my favorite set, Black Hand.  There are definitely useful reprints besides that.  Who doesn't need another Sniper Rifle?  I've always found Melange a little underwhelming, but it's reprint that is definitely needed.

Mixing It Up with KoT Tremere

There are a lot of Tremere with f or F in group 5/6.  Useful for multi-acting or using Burst of Sunlight as a slightly better agg-poke.  You can mix and match these Fortitude-oriented vampires with !Tremere, Ventrue, or !Ventrue.  There are interesting grinder possibilities.

The c angle is less interesting.  There are only two vampires to mix Mason with that are Tremere.  A more interesting angle might be Bituin and the small untitled c/d vampires going Anarch.  I'd imagine some kind of bruise-bleed variant.

What inspiration can you draw from these new vampires?


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