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Evaluating New Blood: Nosferatu

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 Nosferatu deck measures up for new and established players alike.

New Blood: Nosferatu

Black Chantry describes it as a "builds a strong defence with many animal helpers [that] slowly gnaws at its prey" This sounds like a typical Nosferatu build. Like most Nosferatu builds this deck is susceptible to trouble if the permanents don't get into play or are removed from play. Because the deck focuses on permanents, it will be slower to set up than decks using transients, making it weaker in the opening. but stronger in the endgame.

As a Demo of the Game

As a demo of the game, this is almost a complete opposite of the Malkavian deck we looked at.  This is a defensive-minded deck.  The deck features nice permanents, like Preternatural Strength and intercept locations and retainers.  It also has permanent sources of pool drain for your prey's pool.  It is setup to defend its own pool and these resources.

This deck hits the harder bits. Combat tends to have a lot of steps, so any deck that wants to force the issue via rush or intercept and has combat cards to play is going be harder to demonstrate. There's nothing wrong with this, in general, but this deck features non-standard combat steps with Immortal Grapple. With Strike: Combat Ends present in three of the five decks, having Immortal Grapple is a necessary evil.

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.)
Owl Companion
This amazing retainer gives everyone a view of you opponent in combat's hand. Knowledge is power and in this game that you can use that power to gain advantage over your opponents.
Potence
Skill cards are not the most sexy cards, but new players need to have access to them. In most cases, I think build-a-bear decks are not worth it, but skills cards have their uses. (I should probably blog about that.)  Realistically, we should get all of the skill cards into the BCP card rotation.
Rat’s Warning
Getting bled?  Unlock and then decide.  This card works perfectly with Protected District.  If you actually want to get into combat, the press works well with either Carrion Crows or Preternatural Strength.
Tier of Souls
This card has seen a card text update to also take life from allies.  This change makes the card make sense.  It's bounce-proof bleed boost, which is nice.  The action can double as a rush in some circumstance, which can be good or bad.  Expect to need stealth if you want the action to succeed.
WMRH Talk Radio
One of the cheaper media outlets and one of my favorites. WMRH has a drawback if you fail to block, but you could fail to block twice and be no worse off than if you had played London Evening Star. Since you're putting this into a deck that wants to block, you should expect failures to be low. Even if you do fail, you're paying the cost over time, unlike the Evening Star, which is also beneficial.

What's Missing?

There are a few cards that haven't been reprinted that would have been good includes.  SchreckNET is a promo that hasn't been reprinted.  It offers another way for this deck to obtain hand information, and if nothing else, cycles easily as an action that provides an unlock.  Hugh mentioned during a VTES Mexico interview that because SchreckNET doesn't exist in the current (V5) World of Darkness that is why the card is unavailable to reprint in this set.  Kindred Intelligence is another clan card worthy of a reprint.  Given the smaller size of the g6 Nosferatu, being able to bring more of them into play is a good idea.

I would have like to see Pack Alpha in this list, but given my complaints about the combat complexities, it's hard for me to really want this for a demo deck.  Conquer the Beast hasn't seen a reprint since 1995.  The superior is a superior Trap, but instead of automatic presses, it gives you all of the power to control whether the combat continues.  (I don't even own any copies and I really wish I did.)

New Blood: Nosferatu 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: Nosferatu Mashup
Author: Karl Schaefer
Description: This version accentuates what the base deck is doing.

More permanents, more combat, more reactions, etc.

Crypt (12 cards, min=23 max=28 avg=6.17)
=======================================
2x Cedrick Calhoun     7  pot ANI DOM OBF              Nosferatu:6
2x Nathaniel Bordruff  7  ani DOM OBF POT              Nosferatu:6
2x Dowager, The        6  aus pot ANI OBF   primogen   Nosferatu:6
2x Larissa Moreira     6  pot ANI OBF       primogen   Nosferatu:6
2x Lenny Burkhead      6  obf pot pre ANI   primogen   Nosferatu:6
2x Horace Radcliffe    5  obf ANI POT                  Nosferatu:6

Library (72 cards)
==================
Master (9)
----------
6x Blood Doll
1x Fame
1x Labyrinth, The
1x WMRH Talk Radio

Action (12)
-----------
1x Army of Rats
4x Creeping Sabotage
3x Deep Song
2x Preternatural Strength
2x Tier of Souls

Ally (2)
--------
2x Underbridge Stray

Retainer (5)
------------
1x Murder of Crows
1x Owl Companion
3x Raven Spy

Action Modifier (3)
-------------------
1x Lost in Crowds
2x Spying Mission

Action Modifier/Combat (2)
--------------------------
2x Swallowed by the Night

Reaction (19)
-------------
4x Cats' Guidance
6x Forced Awakening
3x Protected District
3x Rat's Warning
3x Warrens, The

Combat (20)
-----------
4x Carrion Crows
4x Immortal Grapple
8x Roundhouse
4x Taste of Vitae

Fifth Edition-New Blood: Nosferatu Mash-Up

Taking it a step further, let's take a look at what a Fifth Edition-New Blood mash-up would look like. These two decks work great together. I focused on the I vampires, but you could go the other way too. The mix of decks also gives you a lot of different reaction options. I just don't like Instinctive Reaction, so maybe it's less good until you get more permanent intercept. Most decks with Animalism want to feature Sense the Savage Way, but that's not useful for this grouping because of their size. Falcon's Eye offers an additional piece of transient intercept if you can get your hands on it. Even a couple of copies would help supplement the reaction package.
I didn't want this deck to get too big. If the removal of the Instictive Reactions is making it harder to block, consider adding the Tier of Souls to boost your bleed output to become more aggressive. I didn't include this card, which I like, because I wanted to focus on the pool drain effects.
Deck Name: V5-New Blood: Nosferatu Mashup
Author: Karl Schaefer
Description: Mostly like the original V5 with some additional reliability.

Make the combat package more reliable with Carrion Crows and Immortal Grapple.

Crypt (12 cards, min=16 max=25 avg=5.33)
========================================
1x Cedrick Calhoun    7  pot ANI DOM OBF                  Nosferatu:6
2x Dowager, The       6  aus pot ANI OBF       primogen   Nosferatu:6
2x Larissa Moreira    6  pot ANI OBF           primogen   Nosferatu:6
2x Lenny Burkhead     6  obf pot pre ANI       primogen   Nosferatu:6
1x Horace Radcliffe   5  obf ANI POT                      Nosferatu:6
1x Wauneka            5  ani aus obf POT                  Nosferatu:6
1x Aunt Linda         4  obf POT                          Nosferatu:6
1x Ryan               4  ani obf pot                      Nosferatu:6
1x Baixinho           3  ani obf                          Nosferatu:6

Library (79 cards)
==================
Master (13)
-----------
2x Blood Doll
1x Fame
1x Guardian Angel
1x Haven Uncovered
1x Labyrinth, The
1x Rebel
1x Slum Hunting Ground
1x Smiling Jack, The Anarch
2x Vessel
1x Warsaw Station
1x WMRH Talk Radio

Action (14)
-----------
1x Army of Rats
5x Creeping Sabotage
6x Deep Song
2x Preternatural Strength

Ally (2)
--------
2x Underbridge Stray

Retainer (5)
------------
1x Murder of Crows
4x Raven Spy

Action Modifier (2)
-------------------
2x Lost in Crowds

Action Modifier/Combat (2)
--------------------------
2x Swallowed by the Night

Reaction (22)
-------------
6x Cats' Guidance
2x Forced Awakening
2x Guard Dogs
2x On the Qui Vive
4x Protected District
2x Rat's Warning
4x Warrens, The

Combat (19)
-----------
4x Carrion Crows
6x Immortal Grapple
5x Roundhouse
4x Taste 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.
Cedrick Calhoun
A 7-cap with D, but p.  He has a vote drawback, but that's easy to avoid, given that he has no title and group 6 Nosferatu don't make the best voters anyway.
Nathaniel Bordruff
Another 7-cap with D, but i this time.  He's got a rush special, which is always nice for decks playing combat cards.  Being able to ditch extra red cards whenever you want can be critical to success.
There are a lot of useful reprints in this deck. More Preternatural Strength? Yes, please. A nice amount of Creeping Sabotage and Protected District to add to any V5 deck. Immortal Grapple is usually needed in quantities of 8+, so more to add to the Nosferatu or Brujah decks.

Mixing It Up with KoT Nosferatu

The new vampires work nicely with Alonso Petrodon, who also has D.  They could be part of a stealth bleeder, featuring Malkavians.  Dominate adds a lot of power to this grouping, though I wonder if they'll really feel like Nosferatu decks.  Stanislava (with D) represents a large portion of the Gangrel wins, but those decks never feel like Gangrel decks to me.  In the same way, I expect these two to provide winning strategies, but it will be Chicago by Night Nosferatu deck instead of traditional Nosferatu.  Nothing's wrong with that, it's just a different flavor.

Outside of the Dominate, most of my ideas revolve around Nathaniel and his enter combat special.  Will we get a Beast and Theo redux with Nate and Theo? The latter set has Dominate on both vampires for extra ousty goodness.  A few Conditioning and Deflection in an otherwise fighty deck to improve the ability to oust and to survive.

What ideas come to mind when you see these new Nosferatu?

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