Heirs to the Blood – Library Ratings

I was remiss in not getting around to something actually asked for. I would have liked to gone back and reviewed the ratings I gave Ebony Kingdoms cards at this time, as well, but too many things to do for Gen Con. I probably will never get around to vampires as: 1, it would take time; 2, it wouldn’t be that interesting; 3, value is way too dependent upon other vampires.

Reminder on the system, though maybe I changed it as thinking in Magic terms for V:TES cards is not necessarily the way to go:
1 – Play these only for humor value.  Or, don’t.
2 – Average, can cover a lot of ground.
3 – Standouts, justifications for playing a clan, discipline, or whatever.
4 – Clearly superior cards, also cards that make you want to play certain types of decks.
5 – Best in the game.

Of course, I value breadth higher than awesomeosity in a narrow range of decks, in general. Govern isn’t the best card in the game because, amazingly, not every deck plays Dominate. (Of course, it’s not even the best Dominate card, but Deflection isn’t the best card in the game, either.)

Library
Comments
Rating
The Ailing Spirit Synergistic even when there aren’t special targets, superior is quite brutal in combination. 3
Amulet of Temporal Perception Why would I want inferior Temporis that’s more expensive? 1
As the Crow Freak Drive is a 5 but is easier to play.  Tupdogs are already broken. 4
Barrenness Really annoying, combos with Scourge of the Enochians, et al, but what is it doing to help win the game? 2
Benefit Performance Not remotely Con Boon, though it won’t accidentally give others pool.  Have a hard time seeing it replace the better card. 2
The Black Beast Too limited. 1
Blessed Resilience Strong in the right deck?  I wish I knew.  Only useful in one type of deck?  Yup. 2
Blessing of the Beast In many CCGs, effects like this would be hideously broken.  For some reason, this effect hasn’t had a big impact.  Should be a 4 or a 5, but where’s the evidence? 3
Bliss Too limited.  Not remotely in the class of other Dom or Pre cards. 1
Blood Tempering An action, that costs blood, that requires a terrible discipline and an out of clan discipline, that does virtually nothing.  Amusing, but awful. 1
Brick by Brick I hardly see Stone Quills anymore, I don’t expect this to make many cuts. 2
Cavalier Probably the most overrated card in the set, though that doesn’t make it bad.  The question is whether it’s good.  Borderline – I err on the side of average. 2
Charge of the Buffalo Does this serve any sort of purpose?  Why would a vamp with Spi want to be at close?  Fortitude level is slightly interesting. 2
Cheat the Fates I don’t find getting bleeds through actually all that difficult.  I do find getting paid back on 3 blood cards occasionally difficult. 1
Clockwerx Again, what purpose is served?  It’s an interesting effect, but how does it stop a BB deck from getting ousted?  It’s tempting to rate every BB card that doesn’t address their lack of survival as a 1, but this has potential. 2
Code of Samiel Quite a bit more than a HG, but what’s the “tournament level” impact? 3
Command Performance Reminds me so much of Glutton, though Ishtarri are even better at untapping.  If you can afford it playing DoC, you probably don’t need it.  While I’m iffy on it, at the same time the number of things it can do is significant. 3
Dabbler Man, this card is cool.  I see a lot more decks for this than Cavalier, though the Cavalier decks will likely be more abusive. 3
Dagger It may not make for particularly potent decks, but there must be some efficiency in this card besides just tricks. 2
Death Seeker A rather flexible answer, though it just feeds some players’ interests in building bad !Salubri combat decks. 3
Decompose How does it help you win?  It’s a reasonable effect (read – playable). 2
Development An underdeveloped mechanic.  Currently, awful.  In the future … 1
Diabolic Lure It’s free.  It’s also interesting in that it encourage blocky Dai, but it’s fairly limited. 2
Din of the Damned Will I play it?  Sure.  Will it ever pay off? 2
Dive Bomb Multirush with broken vampires, not bad for nonbroken (and largely bad) vampires. 2
Draeven Softfoot (Changeling) Well, he’s free.  Song of Pan will likely kill him.  Would I not want him in a Kiasyd deck?  Should want him most of the time. 3
Ears of the Hare One of two types of Spiritus cards I specifically didn’t want made because they wouldn’t expand options enough yet got made.  Does actually help, though. 3
Ensconced Too limited. 1
Evil Eye Superior is harsh.  But, the number of decks that are going to play Maleficia is minuscule.  Those that do are going to be in complexland.  More of a referendum on deck complexity. 2
Faerie Wards Younger is so often a problem drawback. 2
Fanfare for Elysium Interesting, but is it as good as the alternatives? 2
Flames of the Netherworld Really mostly about the Tha version.  I just don’t find offense to be the issue with Dai-ers in combat but defense. 3
Foldable Machine Gun Serves what purpose? 2
Fractura A card to make a deck around … because its badness is an interesting badness. 1
Gift of Sleep Good, but how good?  As many metas have important allies, borderline really good. 3
Great Symposium Always play in a limited number of decks.  Does it make me want to play Kiasyd, though?  Not really. 3
Greater Curse The Mal versions are typical infernal annoyance.  The Dai version is actually a powerful effect, being far more important than, say, Vermin Channel. 3
Gremlins Why does it have to have a Dom version?  Without that, I could play it in my Con-Dom Kiasyd decks.  Anyway, kind of unnecessarily useful.  Does make me want to play Kiasyd. 4
Groaning Corpse Samedi were not designed to fight.  They have far, far better things to do.  If Carrion Crows is at least a 4, as much as I can’t see good decks coming from this, it does at least begin to give a reason to do Samedi combat. 3
Harmony Does it suck?  That’s how I look at cards like this.  Choir sucks, so is it possible to have cards that key off of Choir not suck?  Even if it makes Choir less bad, I struggle with how it makes decks not bad. 1
Hatch the Viper So cool.  So not productive. 1
Hay Ride Are actions really a BB issue?  It’s hard to say that it should never be played beyond that BB really have no game. 2
Hexe Eh, ennui setting in. 2
Hide the Heart Saving other people with cards that are useful to yourself is not weak.  I’m not much of a Telepathic Counter fan, but then, this isn’t TC. 3
Hive Mind This set did to San what The Final Nights did to Quietus – give it stuff redundant to what it already could do without addressing the real problems the clans with these disciplines have.  Similar to San’s best card – Unwholesome Bond. 3
Hunger Moon What purpose does this serve?  Waste of an interesting title. 1
I am Legion The cancelling Auspex part is where I see this having a lot of impact.  For Baali, getting one action through is a lot more important than for, say, some random clan with Obfuscate that will be more weenieish or midcappish.  Tended to think it was being overrated, but the more I think about it, the more I can see an Infernal Servitor … 4
Infernal Servitor This “guy” is just a beating, with like no particular downside. 4
Jar of Skin Eaters Explosive, but what does it have to do with winning? 1
Joumlon’s Axe Nice, solid weapon.  Which is saying something for a melee weapon. 3
Journal of Hrorsh I’m still concerned about the combo potential, but I don’t think nuking a dude is as enthralling as it originally sounded.  Still, gets chaff out of the way. 3
Knotted Cord It’s tempting to say that this is an absurd waste of a set slot, but Baali vote is so much more credible now.  Would I ever play this?  It’s questionable whether it’s better than Bewitching Oration. 1
Lead Fist It hurts, but does it matter? 2
Lily Prelude A beating.  Doesn’t like Delaying Tactics, but just scary.  If KRC is a nobrainer 5, than this can’t be too far behind. 4
Lord of Serenity Will it get burned?  Should, but it is a reason to go more blocky with Salubri, which I like as Spirit Marionetting is tedious.  Kind of borderline terrible, but I lean towards average. 2
Loving Agony Has a lot of competition.  Is it better than running out some other !Salubri strategy?  I tend to think it’s not clearly better than doing other things. 2
Maleficia A requirement card.  So, does that mean a referendum on how much one gains from the non-discipline?  Not sure it matters, since I’d go with the same rating either way. 2
Masca Assuming I’m reading this right, it’s meant for combat but doubles as stealth if you really want something to occur.  The combat benefit is sketchy and so not worth grafting Striga for.  I guess overcosted stealth makes it above terrible. 2
Member of the Entourage Really a matter of what sort of combos one can do with this or, more likely, a metagame play.  Cheap defense for a clan that can untap easily but should be better off putting in better pool defense than this in most cases. 2
Mind of the Wilds The first question is how much the inferior matters.  May disincentivize blocking.  Dependent upon so many variables.  What about free stealth in non-stealth disciplines?  I easily imagine Tzimisce with Breath of the Dragon getting use out of either.  But, there are plenty who can get some extra stealth.  I don’t see much game impact, though it is interesting.   2
Minor Curse This effect can really disrupt certain decks, OTOH, there’s a reason we don’t see them since that doesn’t lead to winning. 1
Mole’s Tunneling Stealth/evasion is strong.  Expensive stealth still sees play.  Another thing I didn’t want to see for Spiritus as it’s boring.  How much will it get played at Animalism? 2
Momentary Delay Blah, blah, blah … wake, block with second minion.  I know, more text may mean that the best uses are hard to identify, but I’m still thinking that there are less complicated things to do in one’s deck. 1
Morphean Blow Okay, can’t get too excited one way or the other. 2
New Moon Sigil Just too expensive for me to see getting virtually any play. 1
Off Kilter Frustrating to have as one’s prey.  It’s so not likely to get blocked.  Unlike a lot of new cards, actually addresses a need for the clan. 3
Olid Loa How much is lost by taking up a deck slot on this rather than a better card?  A lot. 1
Oppugnant Night Comes down to how much someone thinks rushing is a good idea in the first place.  While it will likely lead to bad decks, it’s not the reason the decks will be bad. 2
Outside the Hourglass There aren’t a lot of cards in this game that combo with themselves.  That tends to be quite strong in CCGs.  As a card I have more familiarity with, it’s proved to be quite obnoxious.  Hard to get too high on a combat card, though. 3
The Path of Harmony Still don’t have that much that costs blood.  I might play it in Ahrimanes stealth bleed, or maybe just play Life in the City instead.  Probably overrating it.  Though its clan and its lack of necessity means it will probably never be burned. 2
The Path of Service I think there are better reasons for this path, mostly in Create Gargoyle decks since Tupdogs don’t need it, and I’m not sure anyone still plays real Gargoyles anymore. 2
Penitent Resilience An interesting answer in some metas, the superior is Seduction which some like a lot, I’m not sure how much I like it when it isn’t attached to Dominate. 2
Pocket Out of Time If you want a good instance of my biases, I’m obviously biased away from combat and toward stealth. 3
Potio Martyrium I guess ludicrous cards have their place. 1
Pressing Flesh I think it does what it’s trying to do well.  Now, how important that is is less clear. 2
Psalm of the Damned Based on looking around, you’d surmise that this is pretty good.  I think it’s functional. 2
Ravager Seriously, what is the point of this? 1
Raw Recruit Not entirely sure I understand this, but it seems like a good way to prevent rescues, and of course Tupdogs are slaves.  Worse than Graverobbing in Tupdog decks? 2
Research See Development (or lack thereof of this mechanic). 1
The Rising I’m surprised I haven’t heard more about this.  I had pegged it as one of the more important cards in the set, though it is a lot of work, and there can be a lot of event hate.  Just because it may be a win more card, I’ll be more conservative. 2
Ritual Scalpel Why?  Why not something that encourages playing Nagaraja? 1
Safe Passage Small effect but not bad. 2
Scarlet Lore I have hopes for this, but for whatever reason, there’s not a lot of recursion and searching, two effects normally broken in other CCGs, being used. 3
Scobax Cheap.  I have to admit that this encourages me to actually care about Striga.  Presence reduce with no drawbacks is not trivial. 3
Scourge of Alecto I’ve discarded it.  Often. 1
Shaal Fragment Another bias, I don’t care about increased hand size.  The funny thing is that this card is possibly better because it can be stolen, but really, HoS have enough problems with competivity. 1
Shadowed Eyes Still accumulating them, still haven’t found a reason that they would be g- useful. 1
Shatter the Gate Bluffworthy? 1
Shattering Crescendo When am I going to do stuff with this?  I got hammered by it.  I think it’s superinteresting, maybe really good, maybe not. 3
Slake the Thirst Addresses no need.  Only so many slots in a deck. 1
Spirit Claws It is strictly superior to cards that get played all of the time. 2
Stiff Contempt Um, who even thinks they will successfully block Samedi?  Especially with Under My Skin, these days? 1
Striga Weaker than Maleficia and less interesting.  I’m having trouble seeing what is even desirable to do with Striga. 1
Strix One of the more interesting things to do with it.  But, still, why would you want to fight with infernals who tend to be squishy and expensive? 2
Summon History How broken is this card?  That’s really the question.  It’s so openended that it must be utterly abusable somehow.  Rarity is one thing that has prevented more visibility on what it can really do.  That Trujah have problems is another, though there are now enough Trujah with bounce to cover the biggest problem. 4
Tend the Flock There are cards you would always put in a deck for a given clan, then there are cards that you can’t get away from when playing that clan because they are so absurdly better than anything else you could do.   5
Thicker than Blood A weird card in that it, on the one hand, does address an issue with BB of getting their engine going fast enough to survive, but on the other, doesn’t address it in a way that makes me feel comfortable that it changes matchups.  It was amazing in one game where the BB deck’s predator was weenie Hack.  Better than Effective Management? 2
Threading the Path of Orpheus Maybe someone had something in mind with this, but answers to unlikely problems do not compete well with useful cards. 1
Three’s a Crowd I always found it humorous how the common BB decks had no answer for maneuvers.  Support for bad strategies doesn’t do anything for me. 1
Tinglestripe I’ve cooled on this.  It’s fine, but it was never what Kiasyd needed as they have Earth Swords if they want to fight.  It’s not like Kiasyd need combat defense either, which is what this is better for.  Combat ends, cancel Grapple, ultrarare weapon hosers – it’s covered.  If I’m going to take an action to equip, I’d rather have a gun, as either a SNS would be useful with DBR or a .44 would be better. 2
Treat the Sick Mind Untapping is good for Obeah … sadly.  The superior is funny as it makes passing around Dementation skill cards useful.  But, is this really doing anything important enough to waste card slots on?  I think it can rise to the role-player status. 2
Under My Skin Interesting how playing with this card has affected people’s views.  It’s a lot of stealth.  It’s also spread out over multiple actions which is better for a clan with Obfuscate.  I still don’t see in what way it’s necessary, but it’s likely to show up in decks for how discouraging it makes trying to block Samedi. 3
Unleash Hell’s Fury Because so many Baali decks run the fatties and decks with fatties suffer more from random screwage, this serves a desired function.  Still, a role-player even if an important one.  Easy to overrate in that people won’t notice as much when it won’t help or what could have taken up its slot. 2
Vaticination This one is a toughy for me because I have seen an interesting use for it somewhere, and I tend to think that there is a place for looking at everyone’s hand, but I generally have no interest in looking at other players’ hands or discarding cards from them. 2
Veneficti (Mage) Who costed “Baali” allies in this set?  Why can’t Salubri get any allies?  Oh, look, burn option, I might be underrating this. 4
Virtuosa I haven’t really found my DoC getting blocked.  OTOH, makes Concert Tour more relevant.  Is it playable or is it not?  I guess it is. 2
Visionquest Why is this card so weak?  I mean, really, isn’t Sanguine Instruction better?  That’s setting a rather low mark. 1
Voices of the Castle It’s fine.  Tupdogs are broken.  Yeah. 3
Warding the Beast Three incredibly sketchy effects does not make for one card I can see adding value. 1
Wider View By far the best card in the set, but, then, it’s a generic card.  Still, a generic master that competes with existing masters and beats them.  That’s hardcore. 5
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8 Responses to Heirs to the Blood – Library Ratings

  1. finbury says:

    I find it fascinating that Fractura can end up rated lower than Masca.

    On one hand, it’s true that an otherwise reasonable deck that runs Striga + Masca may be better off than any Fractura deck.

    On the other hand, I don’t think there’s one deck concept where Masca is a good choice.

    I see Fractura being something that decks get built around, but within the realms of those decks I see it as being fairly effective. Also worth noting that most of the crypt cards one would want to use with Fractura – the infernals with +1str or a hand damage special – also have cel, so the outferior is a nontrivial part of that equation.

    On a completely different note: I think Barrenness is more interesting if you think of it as something other than a double-strength Corruption. There are many effects in the game that are strong-to-OK, but aren’t quite reliable enough because of capacity restrictions. Think:
    – Banishment
    – Hostile Takeover
    – Approximation of Loyalty
    – Mind Rape
    – From a Sinking Ship
    – Psychomachia

    There’s also a bit of utility if you are playing with Reins of Power, Ancient Influence, Political Stranglehold, et al; it’s a 2- or 3-pool swing in combination with either of those.

    Third thing: I know that Research is pretty much completely useless as things currently stand, but I’ve theorized that interesting things can be done with Shalmath + Development, and I’ve heard some corroboration of that too. Is that included in your rating, or will Shalmath get all the credit for that if you write a Crypt article?

    • iclee says:

      Masca gives stealth, which is useful. Fractura does what?

      I’ve seen Rastacourere hose a deck, so it’s possible for Barrenness to do all sorts of annoying things, but what does that have to do with winning?

      It’s like how Unrest in B5 can screw over decks in that CCG, but unrest decks just cause players to lose, and then some fourth player wins.

      Relying on one vampire is problematic enough, relying on a scarce vampire is good for stealing one’s happy. Shalmath + Development is something I can see playing around with, but I have no confidence in it being successful.

  2. KevinM says:

    You rated most everything exactly as I would have, but let me disagree with a few:

    Amulet of Temporal Perception – Summon History at [tem] is pretty damn good, and you can Heidelberg the Amulet around. I’d give it whatever grade you give powerful specialized deck cards, maybe a 2?

    Hunger Moon – just another piece of the Smiling Jack puzzle, although I’d probably still give it a 1.

    The Rising – might be able to make 419 Operation good…?

    Research – certainly the Development angle of this pair is a 1, but why use it? Just use Research to thin your library. A strong 2 when used without any intention of Development’ing.

    Unleash Hell’s Fury – An easy, easy 4. Seriously, how many decks have ANY actions that can deal with “+2 aggravated intercept”? It’s almost a 5 but for the same reason the other Baali/Daimonion/infernal cards aren’t — they usually require you to be infernal.

    Vaticination – Another strong 4. +3 stealth to look at EVERYONE’S hand AND make someone discard a card?! OMFG ridiculously powerful! It isn’t a 5 because True Brujah generally suck.
    –kevin

    • iclee says:

      Point about Amulet. But, also, you have me thinking about using Agent of Power for similar things.

      The issue with Unleash is timing. For my decks, it’s a pain in the ass because I dither and because my decks aren’t redundant on offense. For decks that grind (or slay), it’s just two wasted actions before you get ousted. It’s a really good roadbump, but, then, it did cost 2 pool.

  3. Drain says:

    Very interesting post. I agree with most of the ratings, with the notorious exceptions already mentioned by Kevin: Unleash Hell’s Fury and Vaticination.

    Have to call into question two other classifications, though: Infernal Servitor and Wider View.

    Wider View I have never seen played. I’ve pondered including it in a deck but the slots are harsh masters and the cut is always made before it makes it’s way in. What am I looking at to justify a “best in the game” rating?

    Infernal Servitor’s rating took me by surprise. I could’ve envisioned it as a “3” but never a “4”. An effective cost of 2 pool for a fire-and-forget bleed for three just doesn’t seem all that good. Multi-acting makes it feasible as a “I elude NRA for bleeds once per turn”-type thing but then we’re not really using the Baali in-clans to make things happen.

    Drain

    • KevinM says:

      @Drain:
      Wider View is amazingly good if you are playing more than 2 of any particular vampire in a crypt of 12, since the chance of duplication begins to rise quickly. It’s essentially a free, unblockable, unremovable crypt draw mechanic for as long as you want it. Also, people tend to play several, and they tend to sit around and wait for the endgame and then gain 2 per turn for 2-3 turns in a row, and your plans for ousting them probably just went out the window. Oh, it’s also a trifle! :)

      Infernal Servitor isn’t really “fire-and-forget”. It’s a STANDING BLEED OF 3, until it leaves the table. It also does something very important in gaming — it is a glaring, bright light that distracts your opponent from what should be more important priorities. It also frees-up your minion(s) that bleed for less than 3 to do pretty much whatever they want. I’ve seen MANY a prey keep their key blocker untapped, just to block the Servitor, enabling my other 2-3 vampires do whatever they want.
      –kevin

  4. iclee says:

    Every CCG has a bunch of 5’s and only the worst type of CCG will see decks run them all in one deck. Wider View isn’t as good as a number of other generic masters. That it’s even considered as often as it is these days when there are so many masters that one wants in every deck is how I justify its rating.

    I don’t really believe that there are tournament cards in this game. I’m sort of iffy on the concept of tournament decks, too. The reality is is that players win this game, not decks. So, when it comes to rating cards, it’s more difficult to put things on a power scale. I’m trying to think along the lines of how Magic cards are point-valued by WotC for limited play when they are working on a new set. As for Infernal Servitor: Would I always play it in the sort of deck it can be played in (assuming no forgetting)? Yes. Does it make me want to play a clan, a discipline, or whatever from purely a power standpoint? Yes. Cards with those qualities should be above 3, now, whether I’m consistent in how I think of these things is debatable.

    I’m still going to have to be convinced on Vaticination. Of course, the best way to do that is to play with it significantly.

    • Drain says:

      Very well. You gentlemen have made your points, I’ll try Wider View in my Blood Brother deck. The crypt practically begs for it and has been giving me problems lately.

      K.Mergen: Psychological feints with the Servitors didn’t really occur to me, given how direct S&B decks tend to be. Could be an angle.

      ICL: Vaticination’s worth is kind of tied in with the presumption that True Brujah decks have a whole lot of multiaction going on. Thus it’s cost of being an action is somewhat mitigated.

      Drain

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