Ebony Kingdoms Ratings – Vampires

Something I used to do consistently was rate every card in new CCG sets.  I did it in preparation for writing articles for Scrye Magazine.  I did it when I was a playtester to identify cards that needed more attention.  I did it for the fun of analysis and for the fun of arguing with people later.

Cards I rated above the norm, besides the obvious need to playtest strong cards, might be interesting if others didn’t think they were that good.  Then, playtesters don’t tend to gravitate towards testing cards that suck, so it’s important to identify them and hope for improvements.

I don’t playtest for companies like I used to – I don’t have CCG companies asking me to help them design expansions or have them putting me in a game’s credits anymore.  But, I love me some ratings, so here I am.

My system is to rate a card from 1 to 5 (number or stars).  I always liked InQuest Magazine’s system where 2 was an average card, 1 sucked, 3 was strong, 4 was “tournament”, and 5 was best-in-game level.  As long as one keeps in mind that these ratings center around 2 and not 3, then it should intuitively make sense. 

Unfortunately, so many cards for Laibon decks aren’t going to have a significant impact on the game, so there would be lots and lots of 2’s.  To avoid such boring ratings, I have two ratings for some cards.  The first is how the card helps Laibon decks and the second the impact overall.

Also, this is just a first pass.

Crypt Bitmap

Clan Stars
Aisata Swanou   Akunanse ***/**
Kamiri wa Itherero (ADV)   Akunanse **
Nestor Kaba   Akunanse **
Socrate Cidibe   Akunanse ***/**
Umdava   Akunanse ***/**
Batsheva (ADV)   Guruhi ***/**
Fode Kourouma   Guruhi */**
Lucian, the Perfect   Guruhi ***
Nana Buruku   Guruhi ****/***
Ngozi Ekwensu   Guruhi ***/**
Abu Nuwasi   Ishtarri **
Elizabeth Conde   Ishtarri ***/**
Jibade el-Bahrawi (ADV)   Ishtarri **/*
Luanda Magere   Ishtarri *
Undele   Ishtarri ***/**
Abiku   Osebo **/*
Arriette Sylla   Osebo **
Cesewayo (ADV)   Osebo ****/***
Mamadou Keita   Osebo **/*
Titi Camara   Osebo ***

Aisata – Great special, it’s a built in The Barrens.  Inferior Abombwe isn’t that bad when there are other Akunanse who have it to where the deckbuilder has enough reason to include skill cards.  So, why not higher on both ratings?  Outside of the special, Aisata is filler.  Another Akunanse with Presence would have been more interesting.  While not that bad, inferior Abombwe is still meaningful on a vampire with such a high capacity.  The average rating for general play is because, really, Akunanse are mediocre, and Aisata isn’t elevating them to another level, just adding marginal value.

Kamiri (adv) – Doesn’t do much for me.  High caps with no bounce discipline and no Presence are highly suspect.  But, when merged, Kamiri should be killing the Carltons and Nephandi of the world left and right which isn’t entirely dumb.  Even without the base version’s ability, one assumes Kamiri will be dropping Carrion Crows or have Murder of Crows/Duma Rafiki/whatever to blow up allies when blocked.

Batsheva (adv) – Why three stars in Laibon decks when her special is virtually useless and her merged ability isn’t worth going to the effort of merging?  I have found base Batsheva to be one of the Laibon I have played the most.  The out of clan Obtenebration is significant.

Fode – The only one I think is worse for Laibon decks than in general play.  5 cap with one superior discipline and no special is asking to never be played, even in a clan with few options, but a 5 cap with POT in group 4 will slot in Potence combat decks.

Lucian – Bleeding is easy.  Bleeding with Dominate is like watching TV – it will make you fat with how little effort it takes.  No title is significant.  Sure, nowadays, that has the advantage that going anarch is easy, but with his disciplines, there’s not a lot of need for that.  Having said all of that, I do find his special to be valuable and while you don’t need all of his disciplines at the same time, a lot of those disciplines rank among the best in the game and certainly cover the most commonly played.

Nana – Poor Nana, saddled with the terrible Guruhi discipline spread.  Even with the best special the game has come up with for a vampire, she’s no Anson.  Well, to be fair, Anson is ridiculous, she’s not close enough to Anson for me to be kinder.

Ngozi – Major problem with Guruhi is difficulty getting actions through.  Can load up on combat but that takes space away from useful stuff.  Special is a major deterrent.

Elizabeth – I know that people like to salivate over Forced March at double superior and Diversion, but besides the former (and I don’t care about the latter), what?

Jibade – So waiting for a strong Ishtarri ally.

Luanda – I come across lots of people who play CCGs, mostly on forums, who don’t seem to think bad cards exist.  I’m probably being too generous with many of these ratings depending upon where one thinks the average in the game resides.  Plus strength and CEL, plus strength and any level of Protean – both intimidating, but where’s the effective deck?  PRE + Orun = voting, which is okay, and being a threat in combat has some deterrent level, but it’s just not synergistic like plus bleed on a vampire with PRE, a title on an 8 cap with PRE, etc.

Undele – I am of the belief that people overrate the special.  It’s strong but not absurd.  Inferior Presence and being a 9 cap forestall my worship.

Abiku – If I ever become known for something with this game, it’s likely to be my love for hunting, yet what’s the incentive to block this vampire in the first place?  Where’s the payoff for hunting?  Sure, you could load Abiku up with cards that give plus blood to hunts, but that’s better done with others.  I keep trying to find a reason to like Aus/Pot.  I keep failing.  I’ve won a tournament with Matthew Romans – the natural BFF for Abiku – that makes one person in the Tournament Winning Deck Archive.  Filler for Osebo at best.

Arriette – Ah, a weenie Potence lover’s … uh … sweetie.  There is a weenieish Laibon Potence deck that seems plausible now, Fode, I’m sure, is excited.  She’s okay.  Minus bleed is harsh; putting effort into removing it is less so but still meaningful.

Cesewayo (adv) – I’m no fan of superstar decks, but I can respect the discipline spread in combination with really solid specials on both versions and a title to help with silly stuff like bloodhunts and not taking random vote bleed damage.  Merged means taking even less of that crap.

Mamadou – Horrid discipline spread.  Easy to overrate special.

Titi – For all that Aus/Pot leaves me cold, Aus/Cel is entirely reasonable since there are so many crypt options to build a tight deck.  Obviously slots into such a deck while being filler for Osebo, filler that can bounce without Lost in Translation.


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