OFFICIAL VEKN GANGREL ANTITRIBU NEWSLETTER VOLUME 5 NUMBER 10 OCTOBER 2002 ********************** IN THIS ISSUE ........ FICTION: Dead Wren STRATEGY AND TACTICS: Modular Families, a multi-resource approach to scientific deck-building. DECK: The Appliance of Science: Gangrel anti-tribu Modular Family deck. ********************** FICTION: Dead Wren [inspired by an off-the-cuff remark by Reyda, who has built a deck which does this, near enough]. Stravinsky didn't so much watch as take in the street; with the eternal patience of the dead he absorbed every facet of its existence, the impact of every raindrop, the outline of every piece of dried chewing gum. And after some hours, he became aware of Wren, slinking through shadows on her way to rendezvous with SynnerG - invisible to the outward eye, but her aura bright and glittering to him. Letting her pass, he emerged from the doorway behind her, and followed, whistling. "Hi, honey! Didja know that Fishermen used to take a Dead Wren with them, to avoid ill fortune? Well, i got this friend, see, he's a REALLY old fashioned fisherman, and a bit down on his luck ... so i thought of YOU." She slowed, stretched and seemed to fade ... Stravinsky blinked, focussed, took in the fact that a tattoo'd man had replaced the slight female figure he had been tracking. "Hah! A thousand faces, all the more fun when i smash them!" shrieked the Archbishop. Darrel grinned wolfishly as the Tzimisce's form warped into the hideous Zulo state and advanced, flourishing a weighted walking stick and surrounded by a suddenly-materialising flock of Carrion Crows. The Gangrel's form was also changing but more subtly: cold marble was the texture and resilience of his flesh. Almost ready for battle - Darrel's arms extended, and each was seen to carry a grenade, or bomb. Bang! Bang! Bang! you're dead, thought Darrel, licking the blood from the pavement. Such a lot of it, and so very tasty. Hmmm. [editor's note: hmmm too. i wonder if this works: superior Flesh of Marble, first two strikes disguised bombs or grenades, third strike disguised White Phosphorous Grenade. You choose to reduce all of the damage you take to one non-aggravated damage from some source, eg your normal grenade. Thrice hmmm]. STRATEGY AND TACTICS: Modular Families, a multi-resource approach to scientific deck-building. If there's one topic which is of perennial and universal interest to the CCGamer, it is How to Build the Better Deck. In rec.games.trading-cards.jyhad we have been lucky enough to have accumulated over the years a tremendous array of tools which both new and experienced deck-builders can apply towards this end - amongst which may be mentioned David Davila's ELDB thingy, Ethan Burrows' modules concept, and Happy Families. In this article i want to outline a new way to integrate these resources, which i think casts some quite interesting light on the kinds of choices one makes whilst building a deck. i'd better preface my remarks by admitting that i haven't tried this to see if it will work, so this is me putting a prototype before you, thinking aloud, what you will. i'm fairly sure the concept is sound, however. To fix ideas and to make this post reasonably on-topic, let's think about a specific kind of Gangrel-antitribu deck that one might wish to build, and then let's use the available tools to help us to build it scientifically. As we saw in the last Newsletter, Sebastian Goulet is a tasty new addition to the clan. As a group 3 vampire he can't be in the same crypt as a group 1, but that's no problem, since all the other !Gangrels are group 2. So let's build a !Gangrel-antitribu deck with two elements or modules: a dominate-bleed-deflect module occupying about half the deck, and an auxiliary flexibility module to ameliorate the inevitable deficiencies of a one-trick pony deck. In making this choice we of course accept that we'll be diluting the basic module, and it's a matter of balance how much we are going to dilute it by: i'm suggesting 50%. So let's choose the crypt. Initially we want Gangrel-antitribus with dom or DOM. The ELDB fishes out the following for us: Sebastian Goulet 9 cel DOM OBF pre pro 2 specials Genevieve 10 dom PRO ANI aus FOR Priscus special Caitlin 6 dom PRO ANI aus Shane Grimald 4 dom ani pot Let's fix on three of each of these: if we are short of a vampire or two in our collection we can substitute Iliana or Greger Anderssen but not Zebulon - he is a group 1 vampire. Now let's design a 45-card Gangrel antitribu dominate module: 9 master cards, 36 minion cards, which will either be disciplineless [and could include clan-specific cards] or require dominate. The aims of this module will be to get out our big hitters, and to use them to bleed and deflect. Absolutely nothing fancy here! The fancy stuff will come later, with the other module. 9 MASTER CARDS 2 x Dominate Twisted Forest Pentex Loves You! Blood Doll Campground HG 2 x Zillah's Valley ToR3 36 MINION CARDS 4 x WWEF 2 x Change of Target 10 x Govern the Unaligned 4 x Scouting Mission 8 x Bonding 2 x Seduction 4 x Deflection 2 x Redirection So, that's a module which has a decent chance of delivering some stealthy bleedy pain, and of deflecting similar stealthy bleedy pain that the other miscreants might be trying to deliver to YOU. There is also enough votiness in the crypt here to give you a CHANCE of being able to influence the politics a LITTLE bit. However, this module/crypt is NOT going to protect you from rush-combat or from "serious" votes; additionally, it is not VERY stealthy, so a Tremere or Tzimisce deck is going to hurt you lots. These considerations will influence the form of our second module, which is going to use the Happy Families formula to add a bit of flexibility to cover these potential deficiencies. For this module we will again pick 9 master cards, and 36 minion cards. Now we do a bit of vampire counting: There are twelve vampires in our crypt, and all of them can use Dominate, !Gangrel antitribu and disciplineless cards. 9 of our vampires can use protean cards 9 can use animalism cards 6 can use auspex cards 12+9+9+6 =36 So if we choose 9 masters, the other cards should be distributed in the following way: 12/36 x 36 = 12 cards should be disciplineless, or require dominate, or require Gangrel antitribu. 9/36 x 36 = 9 cards should require protean 9/36 x 36 = 9 cards should require animalism 6/36 x 36 = 6 cards should require auspex. Which is really as far as "science" can take us. The very important [but NOT all-important] "Art" of deck-building resides in the choices you make right now, and it is to this stage that you should return if your deck doesn't work properly when you try it. You need to think objectively about why your deck failed, and re-tool your modules based on your conclusions. Done in by masters? Have more, or some, Sudden reversals. Lack of Pool-gain? More blood dolls, minion taps, Hungry Coyote. Politics a problem? Delaying Tactics or DI. Rush-combat? Flesh of Marble, Absorb the Mind, Earth Meld, Rapid Change, Wolf Claws. Too little forward momentum? Increase the main dominate module, reduce the auxiliary one, say 60-40. All that said, here is what i would build, given that mix, as a prototype: 9 MASTERS: Protean Animalism Auspex Path of the Feral Heart Minion Tap Blood Doll x 2 Gangrel Conspiracy x 2 9 PROTEAN 2 x Rapid Change 2 x Wolf Claws 2 x Earth Control 3 x Flesh of Marble 9 ANIMALISM 3 x Carrion Crows 3 x Aid from Bats 3 x Rat's Warning 6 AUSPEX 2 x Aura Reading 2 x Enhanced Senses 2 x Spirit's Touch 12 "UNIVERSAL" 2 x WWEF 1 x Deflection 2 x Graverobbing Palatial Estate 3 x Delaying Tactics 2 x Absorb the Mind DECK: The Appliance of Science [Gangrel anti-tribu Modular Family deck] And here all of that is, written out all neat and tidy. CRYPT [12 vampires] 3 x Sebastian Goulet 9 cel DOM OBF pre pro 2 specials 3 x Genevieve 10 dom PRO ANI aus FOR Priscus special 3 x Caitlin 6 dom PRO ANI aus 3 x Shane Grimald 4 dom ani pot LIBRARY [90 cards] 18 MASTER CARDS 2 x Dominate Twisted Forest Pentex Loves You! Blood Doll x 4 Campground HG 2 x Zillah's Valley ToR3 Protean Animalism Auspex Path of the Feral Heart Minion Tap Gangrel Conspiracy x 2 72 MINION CARDS CENTRAL MODULE 4 x WWEF 2 x Change of Target 10 x Govern the Unaligned 4 x Scouting Mission 8 x Bonding 2 x Seduction 4 x Deflection 2 x Redirection 9 PROTEAN 2 x Rapid Change 2 x Wolf Claws 2 x Earth Control 3 x Flesh of Marble 9 ANIMALISM 3 x Carrion Crows 3 x Aid from Bats 3 x Rat's Warning 6 AUSPEX 2 x Aura Reading 2 x Enhanced Senses 2 x Spirit's Touch 12 "UNIVERSAL" 3 x WWEF 2 x Deflection Shadow Court Satyr Palatial Estate 3 x Delaying Tactics 2 x Steal the Mind Hmmm, i'll build this in real life and let you know how it goes. ******************* And that's it for October, see you all in a Month's time!