Gangrel Antitribu Newsletter

V:EKN Clan Gangrel Antitribu Newsletter, September 1998

Gangrel Anti Newsletter Vol1 number 7 September 1st [o alright, the 2nd] 1998


FICTION: The Electric Rays from Space [excerpt from jol story4]


THE WORTH OF THE GANGREL ANTITRIBU: [A paper on using statistical methods 
to figure out whether cards really are over-powered.]


- "So, Fraulein Zoe, you really have no recollection of the events of a 
certain November night 3 years ago? The events that lead to your, erm, 
admission to this specialist psychiatric facility?"
- "Yes or No, Herr Doctor."
- "Excuse me?"
- "I mean whatever you want me to say, Herr Doctor."
- "Now Fraulein Zoe, when you first came here you DID have a clear idea of 
what had happened. Here, I have the tapes right here ....."
["..... it was the Electric Rays from space. THEY killed all those people 
with the Electric Rays from space, it wasn't me, i just happened to be in 
the area, and i was licking up the blood because i like blood. That's how 
they got Kennedy too, y'know ...."]
- "Well, I must have been deluded when i said all that. Thanks to all the 
electrotherapy, i feel a lot better now ..... but i can't ... remember 
much, anymore."

The Herr Doctor smiles to himself. It's true what they say, the old methods
ARE the best. And nothing else seems to work for the deluded serial killers
they send to this secret unit. One day, he will be able to tell the WORLD. 
What a pity there isn't a Nobel Prize for Psychiatry ......

The Camera moves up towards the roof, and through it, but we can still see 
the scene below, getting smaller and smaller as we zoom up through the 
clouds into the cold blackness of space .... the camera turns to survey the
curvature of the earth, cool and blue, with the stars beyond .... and 
something else ...... we drift towards it .... it's a space craft, a 
satellite, dark bronze in colour and curiously organic in form.

As we get nearer we see a dark-coloured thread-like umbilicus, perhaps 3 
meters in diameter, extending from the earth-ward side of the craft towards
the earth itself, as far as we can see. We circle the satellite and take in
its form .... it is flower-like, perhaps, resembling a demented water lily 
.... pan in through a crystalline portal and now we move through the 
darkened space craft, peering into chambers where unidentifiable living 
things twitch and writhe in liquid-filled vats, noting lights flashing over
consoles inscribed with Egyptian hieroglyphics ..... and lastly we enter a 
VERY dark room, right in the centre of the space-craft.

Here there is no light except for a single globe of brilliant whiteness 
within which we can see two delicate nine-fingered hands manipulating the 
keys of a console. Figures appear on the screen above it, but nothing we 
can read. A third hand emerges from the darkness, massive and claw-like 
compared to the others. It grasps a bronze lever, and pulls.
An invisible electric ray springs from the underside of the spacecraft and 
penetrates the atmosphere below. Sleeping in her strait jacket at its point
of impact with the earth is Zoe. Her eyes snap open. "Yes Master. It shall 
be as you command." For Zoe knows that NOTHING can resist the Electric Rays
from Space .....

Over the special hospital, miles up in the dark void of space, the bronze 
craft stabilises by means of its manouevering jets. The 
buckminsterfullerene tube of the space elevator unfolds and descends ..... 
inside the craft there is movement in the dark. A figure, o definitely NOT 
a human figure is moving, or perhaps oozing or lurching would be better 
words, towards the mouth of the elevator ..... and in, and down. The tube 
bulges, like a snake swallowing its prey, and we watch the bulge descend 
into the clouds ....

On the other side of the clouds, in Zoe's cell, another figure is pacing up
and down in the dark. There is a soft thud, and something spills into the 
room through the bars of the window. It coalesces, before Zoe's horrifed 
gaze, into That Which Abides. If Zoe had a mind to lose she would lose it 
now. As things are, she gives a soft moan and bares her neck, to which part
of the Thing attaches, like some hideous parody of a scarf .... it is 
heavy, and Zoe staggers back, followed by the shape .... they seem to dance
together, lurching around the cell. Cue music: The Dance of Death ....
Some time later, Zoe is going up and down in the world, and in and out
of it. This is the Night, in which she believes. And in the city of 
Salsburg there is much to be learned from the doings of the Canaille, 
much that will be useful to the Harbinger,the Master of the Electric Rays from Space .....

Zoe makes her way to the Mozarthaus and marches straight into the gift 
shop, just as it is closing for the night. "I want the Mozart kugeln, 
please." "Yes Fraulein, that'll be 40 Schillings, please." "No, you don't 
understand .. i want ALL of them."

Half an hour later and several hundred thousand Schillings poorer, Zoe is 
carefully unwrapping the Mozart kugeln and arranging the wrappers on a huge
warehouse floor. Lurking on a gantry high overhead is a shape, or possibly 
a sound or a conflagration of impossible colours. As the tiny pieces of 
foil accumulate its uncanny senses begin to detect patterns, and it begins 
to see strategies, and to sense the future ....


Legbiter, Prince of Wessex, Sealed-deck and Sabbat Sealed-deck
Champion of Portsmouth, Complacently Slow-Minded Minion of
Chaos and Entropy, Slayer of Fish and Fanner of the Rules-Fight Flame.
Senior Lecturer in Malkavian Taunts and Japes,
Marinus van der Lubbe International Fire-Bombing Society

Address for correspondence:


A method for objectively and quantitatively assessing the power of VTES 
clans is described, and applied to answer the question of whether the 
Gangrel antitribu are an effective clan in the jyhad on-line environment. 
It is shown that they are 5.83 times better than average, with a 
significance value at the 0.01 confidence interval. The result is discussed
in the context of ongoing debates about balance and power in the VTES 


A serious problem with much of the newsgroup discussion about card power is
that it is unscientific - not in any pejorative sense [most discussion is 
intelligent and well reasoned, if sometimes a little heated] but in the 
sense of drawing large conclusions from small and unverifiable data sets, 
usually one's own experience of play.

The first to realise the sterility of this brand of argument was Eric "King
of the Gods" Pettersen, whose excellent analysis of card power is linked 
from the jol page at, and cited as reference 7 below. In 
that article, Eric provides compelling evidence for the objective 
superiority of certain disciplines and clans over other disciplines and 
clans in the on-line environment. 

This paper is an attempt to build on Eric's pioneering work by using 
statistical methods. This has the advantage of giving a value for the 
goodness or badness of a card or set of cards, and a yardstick to determine
whether any differences seen are likely to be significant.

To exemplify the method I have chosen to assess the worth of a particular 
vampire clan, namely the Gangrel antitribu. I picked this clan because I am
the official newsletter writer for it. I analyse the available data from 
jyhad on-line to determine whether the Gangrel antitribu are better or 
worse than average. Jyhad on-line is a big data set and is freely available 
to anyone with net access, so it is 
an appropriate starting place for a study of this sort.  The cosmopolitan 
nature of its client group makes Jyhad on-line a genuinely world-wide 
sample: moreover, the data is of unusually-high quality, because it is 
guaranteed to have been thoroughly checked by at least 8 people.  It is 
true that like all groups Jyhad on-line has
house-rules, so conclusions drawn from this data set may not be applicable 
in other environments. However, the method IS generally applicable, and it 
is to the establishment of the method that this paper is principally 


Are the Gangrel antitribu any good? In an attempt to answer this question 
scientifically, i've analysed a sample of the finished games at jyhad 
on-line. The URL  is:

I used the games prefixed by JOL, omitting the story games because I played
in all of them and I like the gangrel antitribu, and omitting the jol games
because i could not easily clone the decks from them. Looking through this 
data we find that out of 27 games, 5 [jol 38, 55,  58, 62, 68] were won by 
decks containing at least 1 Gangrel antitribu. On the other hand, 6 decks 
containing Gangrel antitribus played in the games but did not win [jol 45, 
49, 54, 57, 60, 66] - though one of these gained 1 VP in jol45.

Since there are 22 different possible Clans [counting the Caitiffs and 
Panders], and 214 total decks [one table had only 6 players], we would 
expect to see a total of 214/22 = 9.72 decks containing Gangrel-antitribu 
if all decks were single-clan and if Gangrel-antitribu were averagely 
popular; or 27.18 if the distribution of vampires in crypts was entirely 
random, and if the average number of vampires activated per player per game
was 4 [the probability that NOT ONE of the vampires in your
starting crypt is a Gangrel-anti is approximately (319/330) raised to the 
power 4 = 0.873; therefore the probability that at least one of them IS a 
Gangrel-anti is 1 - 0.873 = 0.127; and 0.127 x 214 = 27.18]. The lowest 
expected figure is 9.72, the maximum expected figure is 27.178; the 
observed figure is 11: since these figures are not significantly different 
in statistical terms, it appears that the Gangrel-antitribu are about 
averagely popular.

The table size is 8 in on-line games. Thus, if winning or losing with 
Gangrel-antitribu were random, we would expect to see 11/8 = 1.375 winning 
Gangrel anti decks in the sample. Conversely, we would expect to see 11 - 
1.375 = 9.625 losing decks in the sample. The actual figures are 5 winners 
and 6 losers. We may test for statistical significance of these results - 
the null hypothesis is that the Gangrel-antis are neither better nor worse 
than random. Applying Yates' correction for one degree of freedom to the 
standard Chi-squared test [Fowler et al, 1998] we evaluate Chi-squared as:
((|6 - 1.375| - 0.5)squared/1.375) + ((|5 - 9.625| - 0.5)squared/9.625) = 
12.375 + 1.768 = 14.143

This value of 14.143 is significant at the 0.01 confidence interval [Fowler
et al, 1998]. In other words, this result would be obtained by chance less 
than 1 time in 100. Therefore, the null hypothesis is rejected and we 
conclude that in jyhad on-line games Gangrel-antitribu vampires are 
significantly over-represented in winning decks.

A few caveats need to be made here, in deference to game realities. Many 
decks are based on particular disciplines or strategies rather than clans, 
or on small vampires virtually irrespective of clan. Also, the winner of a 
game tends to bring out more vampires than any single loser, so there is a 
higher chance that ANY vampire of ANY clan is in a winner's active region 
than in a loser's. It is therefore more difficult in practice to estimate 
the "chance" number of Gangrel-antitribus. Although it is difficult to 
quantify the effect of these factors our feeeling is that they probably do 
not skew the expectations by more than about 20%: and in reality, they
would be expected to favour Camarilla/Independent vampires [because
there are more of them] and Caitiff/Panders at the expense of Sabbat Clan
vampires. Thus, the significance of the result does appear quite solid, 
though the margin of 5-6 fold advantage will need to be looked at again 
once the analysis of ALL clans is complete.


Why should Gangrel antis be over-represented in the crypts of decks that 
win on-line games? Cost of cards cannot be the answer, because as James 
Coupe pointed out on the Newsgroup, everyone is Mister Suitcase in the 
online environment. We can think of several possibilities: 

1. The Gangrel-anti may actually be better than average.

2. Unusually-good players may choose to play Gangrel-anti decks more often 
than predicted by chance.

3. The combination of disciplines, capacities and special abilities 
possessed by Gangrel antitribus may overlap with some "winning" strategies 
in Jyhad on-line.

4. There may be special features of the on-line environment other than the

At the moment it is difficult to distinguish between these hypotheses, and 
perhaps there are others which we have not thought of. What is possible 
however is to reconstruct those winning decks that contain Gangrel 
antitribus. They are appended below, with comments - for those interested 
in the method of construction it is described briefly in Legbiter's Gangrel
antitribu newsletter Volume 1 Number 1 [March 98]. In summary, the winning 
decks implement the following classical Jyhad strategies with success: 
Combat, Weenie Swarm, Bleed. Offensive Voting is virtually absent from 
these decks but light defensive voting is a feature of George Fink's deck 
from jol 62. The creative deck which won jol58 for Jason is particularly 
worthy of note.

From this data, can we say how much better are the gangrel antis than the 
hypothetical "average" clan? We can answer this question quite precisely. 
The average clan's win-lose ratio is 1.375/9.625 = 0.143. The Gangrel 
antis' win-lose ratio is 5/6 =  0.833. Thus, on the results of this data 
set the gangrel anti are 0.833/0.143 = 5.83 times better than average.
If Gangrel antis are good online, does it necessarily follow that they will
be good in Real-Space? The simple answer to this is No, because several 
power cards are banned in JOL. These include Thoughts Betrayed, whose full 
force is only apparent when played by vampires with DOM - a discipline 
difficult to find amongst Gangrel antis. Also, all the data analysed is 
pre-7/7. Subjectively we see no reason to believe that the 7/7 rules will 
make unlife tougher for this clan, but it will be interesting to analyse 
real data once they become available in order to test this subjective 

If the Gangrel-anti, or any other clan, turn out to be objectively more 
powerful using this technique, does this constitute a problem? Again, at 
least in our view, the answer is No. Complete balance is neither desirable 
nor achievable in games. In this context I cannot do better than quote 
Longwatcher's wise words concerning the Rage:Snake Eyes expansion from the 
Rageinfo list for 5th August 1998:

"You can choose your rationalization, but the *real*  reason is simple - 
game balance.  If it's shown, over time, that game balance  is *not* the 
result of the rules - then I'm sure the design team will consider 

My main concern with this argument (Although I can accept it) is that at 
least two other games I played stopped being fun and eventually lost most 
of their new players because they were more concerned with game balance than game fun.
SFB comes to mind. TFG spend so much effort balancing the different races'
ships for the few tourament players, that the regular players just stopped 
playing the game, because it no longer had that feel that they all liked. I
am still holding out hope that the actual card sets will contain cards that
make the game fun for me with the way the rules are set. however, a lot of 
the things I (emphasis on I, me, myself) liked about Rage I seem to be 
missing from Rage II. I feel like the game has been modified more to 
correct for the rules problems and complaints, then for
making the game fun. Still as I said, I have hope, otherwise I would have 
signed off this list and you would probably never hear from me again.

BTW: one of the considerations that may be affecting my choice of rules
likes/dislikes is my age. I suspect that I out-age a lot of you (but maybe 
not all) The only hint I will give is I remember seeing Neil on the Moon in 
elementary school.
Longwatcher sends"

In conclusion, we believe this study scientifically proves the Gangrel 
anti-tribu to be a successful clan in the on-line environment. The fact 
that this can be done, incidentally, conclusively refutes Ryan Dancey's 
newsgroup assertions that Jyhad is a game where the luck of the seating 
order, conspiracy with and/or mistakes by other players determines the 
outcome. Clearly, the methodology employed here is generally applicable, 
and it will be interesting to see how the other clans, strategies and 
individual cards fare when similar analyses are performed. As time allows, 
we intend to perform such analyses, and we encourage others to do so also.  
Potentially, a good deal of presently-fruitless Newsgroup argument may be 
resolvable as this analysis proceeds.


Fowler, J, Cohen, L and James, P. [1998] Practical Statistics for Field 
[2nd Edition]. Wiley, Chichester UK.


[search using Coupe, Jasper, Dancey etc for cited comments which all come
from the period July-August 1998]






I thank George Fink for Jyhad on-line, since without the data collected 
there this study would not have been possible. I also thank Gomi No Sensei, 
Jasper Phillips and Mastraacht  for insightful NG comments on the value [or not] 
of data collection as applied to the analysis of VTES. Thanks to Sorrow, 
Joss Duffin and Mike Beer for comments on the manuscript. Finally I 
congratulate George Fink, Michael Beer, Jason, Ragtag and Quicksilver 
[Michael Kelly] for their excellent deck-construction and playing skills. 
In fairness to all of them I should point out that the decks in the 
appendix are NOT the ones they started with, but reconstructed versions 
implemented using Legbiter's cloning technique described in the 
Gangrel-anti newsletter volume 1 number 1.

This paper is dedicated to Sorrow [chris boget]. May he sleep in peace, 
until Gehenna.


Michael   [jol 38] This deck is an 
intercept-guns-rush deck which specialises in out-of-turn combat.

CRYPT [12 vampires]:

4 x Zachary 7
Chandler 3
Sadie 2
Huang 1
Sarah Brando 3
Angel 2
Nik 1
Carter 2
Kanya Akhtar 2


22 MASTERS [30%]
Pentex(tm) Loves You!
Elder Library
Campground Hunting Ground
The Hungry Coyote
2 x Protean
3 x Celerity
7 x Blood Doll
Dreams of the Sphinx
KRCG News Radio
Sudden Reversal
2 x The Parthenon
Haven Uncovered
4 ACTIONS [5%]
2 x Bums Rush
2 x Arson

2 x Earth Control

6 x Wake With Evening's Freshness

3 x Earth Meld
Form of Mist
9 x Psyche
5 x Quickmeld
5 x Pursuit
2 x Side Strike
Taste of Vitae

13 EQUIPMENT [18%]
Ivory Bow
3 x IR Goggles
4 x Sport Bike
4 x Assault Rifle
Laptop Computer

Jackie Therman

jol62. George Fink's winning deck.
This deck is designed to Rush and Burn opposing minions.

CRYPT [12 vampires]:
2 x Luther 6
2 x Sadie 2
2 x Samantha 10
2 x Monique 5
2 x Leon 3
2 x Caitlin 5

LIBRARY: [67 cards]

18 MASTERS [26%]:
5 x Gangrel Conspiracy
3 x Haven Uncovered
3 x Fortitude
3 x Animalism
2 x Protean
Blood Doll
Campground Hunting Ground

7 REACTIONS [11%]:
4 x Wake With Evenings Freshness
3 x Guard Dogs

7 ACTIONS [11%]:
2 x Shepherd's Innocence
3 x Bum's Rush
2 x Tier of Souls
4 Action Modifiers [6%]:
2 x Dawn Operation
2 x Freak Drive

28 COMBAT CARDS [42%]:
2 x Shadow of the Wolf
2 x Carrion Crows
2 x Skin of Night
5 x Amaranth
6 x Bone Spur
Undead Persistence
Drawing out the Beast
2 x Skin of Rock
3 x Scorpion Sting
2 x Gleam of Red Eyes
Unflinching Persistence

3 Retainers [5%]:
2 x Raptor
Raven Spy

JOL 55   Michael Beer
Mike's deck makes good use of allies and equipment. As originally 
constructed it had fortitude, but in play it turned out not to need this 
element to achieve a win - the only fortitude cards played by Mike in this 
game were discards. Thanks to Mike for pointing this out! [This deck has an
illegally-low number of library cards. To make it legal, use the 
percentages and scale up to whatever library size is

CRYPT [12 vampires]:
3 x Caitlin 5
3 x Dani 2
3 x Navar McLaren 1
3 x Vliam Andor 2

LIBRARY [39 cards]:
8 MASTERS [21%]:
2 x Blood Doll
2 x Sudden Reversal
KRCG News Radio
London Evening Star
Campground Hunting Ground

5 REACTIONS [13%]:
Guard Dogs
2 x Cat's Guidance
2 x Wake with Evenings Freshness

12 COMBAT CARDS [31%]:
2 x Song of Serenity
3 x Carrion Crows
Scorpion Sting
Earth Meld
4 x Form of Mist
Aid from Bats

6 EQUIPMENT [15%]:
2 x IR Goggles
Ivory Bow
Leather Jacket
Sport Bike
Flak Jacket

5 ALLIES [13%]:
Renegade Garou
2 x Shadow Court Satyr
Black Spiral Buddy

Tasha Morgan
Raven Spy
Jackie Thurman

JOL 58 Jason 
In this unusual deck, the strong bleeding element is obvious and the other 
tactic is to Impersonate Setites. Corruption now becomes a viable strategy 
since the Freak Drives allow an extra action each turn.

CRYPT [15 vampires]:
3 x Igo the Hungry 1
3 x Stanislava 11
3 x Gitane St Clair 7
3 x Chandler Hungerford 3
3 x Pieter 6

LIBRARY [55 cards]:

14 MASTERS [25%]:
The Rack
The Barrens
2 x Fortitude
2 x Blood Doll
3 x Sudden Reversal
2 x Malkavian Dementia
Giant's Blood
Temple Hunting ground

23 ACTIONS [42%]:
2 x Revelation of the Sire
5 x Corruption
6 x Clan Impersonation
6 x Force of Will
4 x Computer Hacking

8 x Freak Drive

10 COMBAT CARDS  [18%]
6 x Form of Mist
4 x Earth Meld

JOL 68 Robert 
A weenie fortitude deck, specialising in swarm-bleed and pool-gain. [This 
deck has an illegally-low number of library cards. To make it legal, use 
the percentages and scale up to whatever library size is required].

CRYPT [15 vampires]:
3 x Lolita 4
3 x Roman Alexander 4
3 x March Halycon 1
3 x Roland Loussarian 3
3 x Leon 3

LIBRARY [37 cards]:

12 MASTERS [32%]:
7 x Fortitude
2 x Blood Doll
Gird Minions
Anarch Troublemaker
Elysium the Arboretum
16 ACTIONS [43%]:
2 x Rapid Healing
6 x Restoration
2 x Arson
2 x Computer Hacking
4 x The Embrace
1 VOTES [3%]:
Conservative Agitation

2 x Day Operation
Freak Drive


Pulled Fangs
2 x Unflinching Persistence
Skin of Steel