Animal Style

My intention with “classic” posts was to find all of these sorts of long, opinionated posts I’ve made to gaming forums in the past and bring them into the view of those who may have never paid attention to the Babylon 5 CCG, Wheel of Time CCG, V:TES newsgroup, The Path of Blood,, UK V:TES, Conan RPG, etc. forums of the world.  Looking for such, though, is incredibly time-consuming.

Here is a post I just made that is in the vein of those sorts of posts of yesteryear.

masika66 – In your opinion, what is the best Clan with Animalism and what is the best tactics to win with an Animalism-based Clan?

Answer really depends upon what the question really is.

If the question is “which clan is the best that happens to have Animalism as a discipline?”, then an argument could be made for Gangrel based on number of wins, maybe Nosferatu based on number of wins.  But, it’s not due to Animalism that I’d explain their success.

If the question is “which clan makes the best use of Animalism?”, then there’s an argument for Guruhi, which were awful pre-Nana, but which are taking the V:TES world by stiff breezes.

If the question is “which clan is most dependent upon Animalism for its success?”, there might be some TWDA evidence to suggest a particular clan, I have the sense it might be any of Ahrimanes, Guruhi, or !Nos.  Clans like Tzimisce, Ravnos, and Nos just have such strong things to do that don’t depend upon Animalism. 

Once you stop thinking in terms of clans, weenie Animalism is, of course, the best Animalism strategy, but that’s become so boring.

In terms of what to do with Animalism clans, some thoughts:

Ahrimanes – Intercept combat, tedious but surprisingly, IMO, successful. Animalism retainers are popular.

Akunanse – Similar to Ahrimanes, possibly put in even more of a support role.  Though, I don’t think Tunnel Runner sees as much play as it could.  Probably because people didn’t rush out to pick up EK.

Gangrel – Well, there’s synergy between environmental damage and dodges/damage prevention, but, as we’ve seen with Ahrimanes, people still play Majesty over Staredown, so I think the biggest kick these days from Animalism for Gangrel is Deep Song.  Does sort of depend upon what grouping you are using.  Group 1/2 has Second Tradition for intercept and Dominate for win.  While there are plenty of other group 1/2 builds, other groups lack such things and are pushed into other areas.

!Gangrel – Omaya wall, Aksinya untaps to bounce.  The existence of City Gangrel makes it harder to field a heavy !Gangrel Animalism crypt.

Guruhi – Some like Eze, but really, the new Anson is what elevated Guruhi.

Nosferatu – If playing group 4/5, I see transients being more common.  If any other grouping, I see permanents being more important.

!Nosferatu – Group 2/3 I see being more akin to group 4/5 Nos what with Dominate, even if Nos would be more Tradition-al.  With some of the vicious beaters in this clan, Deep Song is again another favorable action.

Ravnos – I’ve been thinking of intercept/combat Ravnos being a great metagame choice for a long time – annihilate weenie Auspex, weenie Animalism, Imbued; able to interact with heavy stealth decks; strong table control elements; under the radar.  But, I just don’t see it.  Even with the Week of Nightmares inspired breed decks seemingly on the outs, people still don’t seem all that enamored with a grinding defensive build.  Maybe I just don’t pay enough attention anymore, but I’m still inclined to believe people would rather figure out things to do with Mata Hari or Dementation than make much use of Animalism.  Note that Ani/For is really easy to find a crypt for, so a very fighty build is possible, too.

Tzimisce – They don’t need Animalism, but they often use it, anyway.  They can also focus more on it.  I’d tend to expect a tight mix of Carrion Crows, retainers, and a few strong transients of the Cats’ Guidance ilk.


2 Responses to Animal Style

  1. Brandon says:

    Yeah, group 2 Gangrel didn’t really need the animalism in order to win. Stanislava and the other PRO dom Gangrel took care of that. You CAN play Canine Hordes, Army of Rats, Underbridge Stray, Alpha Glint, or Beast Meld, but you don’t have to. I kinda like the Deep Song + Earth Meld tap and bleed version, but plain old stealth + “I bleed you for 8” still works fine.

  2. KevinM says:

    After I read this post, I almost replied, “I think that the G1/2 Gangrel Royalty deck is probably significantly better than weenie animalism” but then I realized that if it is, it’s probably because of the dominate. Sigh.

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