Gangrel Antitribu Newsletter


EDITORIAL: Bloodlines, or ancient hearts done PROPERLY
FICTION: The Worst Time of Year for a Journey
DECK: Rafastio Ghouls A-go-go

EDITORIAL: Bloodlines, or Ancient Hearts done PROPERLY
i'm one card short of a full Bloodlines set as i write these words but
i'm already very, VERY impressed with Scott's work on this set. Great
ideas which will take a long time fully to explore, terrific artwork
and the typically-laconic rules-sheet is both a model of clarity and
very funny. Here i just want to point out that i think Scott may
actually have pulled off the INTENTIONS of the Ancient Hearts set
which were [i think] to make big vampires, allies and other permanents
more competitive against weenie swarms. Additionally, i think he may
have effectively rebalanced the non-camarilla vampires with the
camarilla princes through the judicious introduction of cards that
resemble the second and fifth traditions but aren't them.

FICTION: The Worst Time of Year for a Journey
Talaq pulled the leather coat closer around his frame and looked up
and down the windswept street. A mortal hurried by, and as he waited
for her to get out of sight he reflected upon how BORING it is to be
immortal. All one's friends long dead, all the news the same endless
repetitions of past follies, the only beings with whom one has
ANYTHING in common certain warped and ancient vampires. Monsters like
Legbiter, who thinks he can buy me, but quite honestly i would hang
around the old viper for free, just for the sake of a decent
conversation - that's how pathetic a tart i've become. He hawks and
spits after the mortal as she turns the corner, and then rapidly
crosses the road and pushes open a dingy door. A flight of steps,
mouldily carpeted and smelling strongly of cat's piss leads up into
the gathering gloom.

Several flights later he finds the right landing and traces out the
number of the appointed flat. A sluttish-looking female in a
threadbare dressing gown opens the door. "You're early". Ignoring her
words, Talaq enters the flat and hangs his coat on the back of a
kitchen chair. "Go into the bedroom, shut the door and shut up". The
woman seems about to snap back but something about the Immortal's
purposeful bearing prevents her from doing so, and she obeys.

As Talaq makes his preparations another figure emerges from the gloom
below and circles the block of flats. By the Beard of the Prophet, i
hope this isn't another of Number One's "diversions". i've NEVER liked
whacking women. Ah well, if there's a chance it's going to
inconvenience the Infidel Legbiter it'll be worth it i suppose. Making
sure she is unobserved, Fatima begins to climb towards the flat
window. Ah, better than expected - opposition! Silently she removes
the previously-sabotaged window pane and climbs in. Readying her gun
she waits for Talaq to show himself.

But it isn't Talaq who comes out of the kitchen. There's a whirring
and a buzzing and round the corner comes a little child's robot, in
the form of Santa Claus. "Bomb" is the thought that springs into
Fatima's mind, as she empties the clip through the chipboard wall that
separates the kitchen from her hiding place, simultaneously
back-somersaulting out of the window. As she does so the last rays of
the evening sun bathe her and her sanity cracks. Burning, screaming
and falling for what seems like an eternity she eventually hits the
earth and then worms her way into a storm drain where, after much
scrabbling in the dark, she finds a place to lie up, a charred foetus
gibbering slightly to itself. The woman in the flat is also screaming
as Talaq cautiously looks out of the window and lights a cigarette.
Then he gathers up his coat, and as the woman's screams subside into
sobs he leaves the flat, and descends the stairs once more. Forgotten,
the robot rams again and again into a pedal bin, reciting its tinny
mantra until its batteries run out:

"Hohoho, aren't we jolly? ....
Hohoho, aren't we jolly? ....
Hohoho, aren't we jolly? ....
Hohoho.... aren't ....we... jolly? ....
Ho...ho......ho................ "

DECK NAME: Rafastio Ghouls A-go-go [allies swarm/combat deck]
CREATED BY: Legbiter

The deck i'm featuring this month had its first outing at our pub game
on Wednesday the 5th of December at the Northcote Hotel, when we were
[in order of play]:

Me, playing this deck obviously, bleeding
Matt whose second name i can't remember but it's not Green, playing
weird Setite intercept shit [and actually getting it to work, for a
nice change!], bleeding
Mark Baxter, playing a Toreador vote/bleed deck, bleeding
Rob Treasure, playing an Assamite + aus and for deck [Nose of the
Hound, anyone?], bleeding
John Keech, playing a Tremere intercept/combat deck. 

i've had my beady eyes on the Rafastio ghouls for a bit now, always
had a thing about misty-eyed women in dressing gowns doncha know,
especially if they bleed for anything and have some kind of combat
angle. So i built a swarm-bleed with combat bolt-on deck around these
allies and some others, including Shadow Court Satyr with Sadie there
to recruit him, which is why this deck is in the !Gangrel NL and not
the Tremere or !Tremere letter where it probably would fit better,
really. If i had more SCS's i would probably replace Sadie and
Thelonius or Richard Tauber with 2 copies of the cheapest !Gangrel
with thaumaturgy, Luther or Pieter or somebody, how the hell should i
know? O wait, i'm the official NL person so i should know, but i
don't, sorry.

i guess the point and trick of this deck is that allies CAN recruit
allies. Even Jake Washington can recruit allies. Usually they don't,
because most allies are [a] crap, and [b] clan-specific - Rafastio
Ghoul and to a lesser extent Talaq being the shining exceptions
[Akhenaten doesn't fit in this deck because he can't do thaumaturgy
stuff]. So i was aiming for surprise and an exponenial growth kinda
thing, eventually a vampire-less active region that could still win
the game, and actually all that ALMOST happened. But what REALLY
happened was:

Going first wasn't the best since it meant i wasn't going to get
minion advantage right at the start. Never mind, Creepshow casino and
two vamps on my second turn, one of whom becomes Charismatic. Aisha to
the left of me, Justine Elder of Dallas to the right ... hmmm ....
let's try out the intercept, bring out my first Ghoul. Sure enough,
despite Creepshow tappage i get blocked to my right and beaten up
rather by a walk of flame, but in the meantime i've stolen two blood.

Get some more minions out, regroup and over the next few turns bring
out a string of Rafastio ghouls, 2 or 3 anyway. Some more of my
actions get blocked and i manage to torporize Justine. i'm not being
bled for much because John is trying to fight off Rob, and i'm
Tributing OK so the swarm aspect is going just fine. i get shut down
rather by an Edge Vitiation and Sadie acquires an extortion card when
she is on no blood .... i fail to read the Vitiation card and don't
realise it is burnable until near the end of the game. Arguably, as
we'll see, a crucial piece of serendipity. Apart from Rob [to whom
i've spoken about the concept before, on the phone] nobody has read my
deck yet, they mostly think it's some rather feeble dom/tha
bleed'n'biff shit, though John is BEGINNING to see what it's meant to

i'm in something of a doldrums of the table because Rob is kicking the
unliving shit out of Mark, or John whenever he thinks Mark has
subsided a bit, but then up pops Mark for some more big ol' bleeds and
a bit more kicking. Matt has got tooled up nicely and is steaming
through Mark and there isn't [i wrongly believe] much i can do about
it, so i kill John a bit more, and vice-versa.

Now Mark is on 3 pool and John is on no minions, and Mark goes for the
kill on Rob who is on 2-ish pool. Rob wakes and erases all Mark's
minions. Matt erases Mark and now looks AWFULLY strong. Rob gets
through John but isn't on a lot of pool and walls up while i burn
through Matt and Rob kills all his minions, excellent use of Psyche!
and Al-Ragheadi's special. No collusion here BTW, Rob needs me because
i keep Rob alive against the Setite stealth-bleeds by offering
Marciana's intercept ability whenever he needs it [curious how she can
keep on providing Juicy Tips whilst in her coffin, but hey].
Additionally, Rob has seen me drop Rotshreck and Burst of Sunlight and
knows that to kill me he will have to be able to devote his Undivided
Attention to me.

Now it's the endgame, both of us on 1 VP and low pool and with
dangerously-depleted libraries. Rob has a .44, Heidelberg and the
Market square, plus three vampires. i have Sadie, Talaq, 3-4 Rafastio
Ghouls and the Shadow Court Satyr with Burst of Sunlight on him. That
one bleed on the SCS has Rob REALLY worried. Really tense play because
Rob never knows when i am going to pull the Burst/Rotshreck trick [i
get Fatima with a Burst [at the cost of a ghoul] and someone else with
an Arabic name, call him Al-Ragheadi, with the full combo], but
eventually i get Rob since although he has famed Sadie [and i'm on 2
pool] his only attack cards are [a] Ambush [but she's not tapped], and
[b] Clandestine Contract [and he only has 1 pool].

Completely rivetting game, a candidate for the Best Ever as defined by
Matthew Green a while back in a thread about agitation etiquette, both
Rob and i agree about that and compliment each other on our nasty,
NASTY decks. i made a lot of mistakes but the most serious  of these
actually contributed to my winning, because in effect i used Matt as a
bulldozer to get to Rob - i didn't mean it to happen that way, but the
fact that it did has taught me a new lesson about this Great Game.

Here's the deck as i played it and apart from the comments above i've
noted some other points where i think improvements could be made, and
i've suggested what they might be.

CRYPT [12 vampires]: 
Dr John Casey 3 tha
Blythe Candelaria 3 THA
Sarah Cobbler 4 THA
Heinrick Schlempt 2 tha
Brooke 3 tha
Magdalena Schaeffer 2 THA
Roreca Quaid 2 tha
Sadie 2 [cute gangrel-anti, likes BAAAD faeries]
Thelonius 4 tha
Jing Wei 3 tha
Richard Tauber 4 tha
Marcianna Giovanni, Investigator [cute cat and special]

LIBRARY [90 cards, and you'll need 'em].
Charisma x 2
Creepshow Casino x 2 [replace one by a haven uncovered]
Jake Washington (Hunter) x 2 [replace one by a haven uncovered]
Memories of Mortality x 4
Rotschreck x 2
Tribute to the Master x 6 [maybe reduce to 4, add 1 Elder Library and
1 Barrens or DoTS]
Bum's Rush x 7 [reduce to 5; add one trap and 1 computer hacking]
Rave x 3 [replace by 2 computer hacking and 1 Clapped-Out Old Hippy,
really he's called Mystic Vagabond i think]
Nephandus (Mage) x 2
Rafastio Ghoul x 11
Shadow Court Satyr (Changeling)
Succubus x 2 [bit pricey, discard if you can't get Charisma onto a
Talaq the Immortal x 3 [only need 1 really, if i had 2 more Rafastio
Ghouls i'ld put them in]
Burst of Sunlight x 5
Fake Out x 9
Theft of Vitae x 24
Trap x 5


Alright, that's it for another year. Have a great Christmas, and see
you all in the new year for more vampy card-flopping fun! In fact i'll
see some of you on Sunday for the Portsmouth tourney. Huzzah!