Following up on the classic post from presence.vekn.org, might as well go through the rest of the sets. With extra commentary since there are so few and GF I write less than a 1,000 words.
Lords of the Night
It’s obvious that a Follower of Set is the best crypt card. It’s not as obvious which one. I am reminded, by the way, of just how much Lords of the Night was a FoS set. Anyway, Nakhthorheb is most people’s choice and I don’t disagree. The two others that come to mind are Renenet and Halim Bey!!
A comment on Durga Syn. Durga Syn has never been good, so bad in fact that I don’t recollect ever seeing her in play. Yet, DS was given mad props when she was spoiled. Again, the most common reaction with new cards is overestimating them as people only consider their ideal uses and forget to compare against what is currently available. DS was thought to be some sort of Imbued killer, completely overlooking both that there are better things to do than build a deck around hosing another deck and that Ravnos could already annihilate Imbued if you did things like played a Trapparition archetype. Then, with this CCG, fat vampires are nearly universally overrated, no doubt because people forget that every card choice competes with every other card choice and there are almost always better fatties, nevermind better anything else. Of course, DS’s craptasticness means I really want to build a DS deck at this very moment, a feeling that may pass once some other idea percolates.
Target: Vitals. Completely game changing card. Now, everybody can beat. Strong set with a number of quality cards. Resist Earth’s Grasp would be #2. Preternatural Strength, Camera Phone, … too many solid cards.
Putting aside Anarch Convert since it’s only the most played crypt card in the game and the only serious contender to Tupdog’s throne as best crypt card in the game, I’d say there’s not much in the way of standouts, but Jacob Fermor would be the one who sees significant play. Sean Rycek might be more good stuff, which brings up an interesting point. I’m arguing in favor of the cards that see the most play because it follows that people play the best cards. But, V:TES is not a game in which playing the best cards matters a whole lot. The reality is that a lot of multiplayer CCG decisions are based on coolness over efficiency, a marked difference from two-player CCGs where efficiency often rocks the casbah.
The only good 60 card set. TR is what every 60 card set wants to be and is way better design than a number of larger sets, e.g. KMW. I’m still amazed at how many interesting cards the set produces without having anything that’s obviously overpowered and with so little that’s obviously underpowered (even if some cards suck). Constant Revolution should probably see more play, seems like it’s beginning to see serious play in winnie Auspex builds (finally).
I play Failsafe a fair amount these days, ironic since I was one of its greatest detractors – http://presence.vekn.org/viewtopic.php?t=2330&start=0 – “I expect virtually no constructed use of Failsafe. There’s already an absurd level of competition for master slots. What exactly are people going to start taking out of their decks under the theory that they will be at 1-2 pool at some time in the game?” Then I argue in subsequent posts in that thread about how it’s inferior to other plays. What I failed to realize and most others seem to ignore because they don’t build the sorts of decks I do is how synergistic it is with infernal. Where others do silly things like bloat like mad with Cybele, I play real Baali decks, decks that intercept and Majesty … er … Anyway, not trying to argue that the card is good, I just thought this bit of history was amusing.
Monkey Wrench I see as being way underplayed. That any doofus can whip out kill is nontrivial. Some might argue Revolutionary Council, which I see being an unnecessary card in decks built around it – winnie Assamite stealth vote/bleed is not actually weak. Maybe somebody would like to mention Twilight Camp; okay, I’ll mention Twilight Camp, not for goodness but for nongoodness. While I think I found a deck archetype, my LA storyline deck, that gets meaningful use out of them, I still find it incredibly hard to slot them over other good stuff masters.
Power of One ist our vinner. Undue Influence, Power of One is Kindred Spirits with meaningful stealth, if kind of expensive. Is it obviously the shiznit? Not so much, but it’s popularrific.
Keepers of Tradition
The fun of making these picks for recent sets is that they are more controversial as there has been less time for people to figure out what’s best. Few people argued much with my picks for oldtime sets in the original Pinnacle post. Yet, I don’t see any controversy here, Dmitra Ilyanova is the clear best vampire, seeing an absurd amount of play. Not to say there aren’t other strong vampires, especially at the high! end, what with inner circle members and justicars. It’s impressive that Brujah get so many quality vampires for a change, as a side note.
Now for the tough pick. That is, now for the tough pick that isn’t Villein, the better Minion Tap, only one of the best cards e-e-e-ver. Ashur Tablets? Broken, stunningly gamechanging in ways that pain me even if there are tons of cool things to do with them. Enkil Cog is a lot of people’s favorite, but its love is analogous to how people overlove fat vampires. Deep Song, Eyes of Argus – absurdly good, too good. I am increasingly believing that these two cards make the game less fun. The former makes it far too easy to do efficient combat decks to where Animalism is the combat terror in the game. The latter is another defensive tool for only the best defensive discipline in the game, though, maybe, the idea that more bleeds will end in combat because of it is what was intended.
Nana Buruku – proof that extra master phase actions is broken, except that had been proved by Anson over a decade ago.
I play other cards, like Well-Marked, far more often than Bamba, but, really, Bamba was the obvious best card in the set by an absurd margin when the set was new, and nothing has suggested a rethink.
Heirs to the Blood
From the easy, to the really difficult. The thing with bloodlines is that which ones you favor has such a massive impact on what you think, and that far too few players play bloodlines often enough to show value to where the bloodline player in a particular group is likely to be the driver of what works.
I could argue Al-Muntathir since he makes the clan viable. But, from a success standpoint, it would probably have to be The Arcadian over Isanwayen. The unnamed may get the most decks, but there’s only one deck in the TWDA (five for The Arcadian). Scout is cute, but I think people way overplay group 5/6 DoC; the Obfuscate isn’t necessary as I’ve never had problems getting my actions through with them.
By the way, for anyone who read The Ash Heap, which seems to have a broken link for the forums, may recall that my list of top Legacies of Blood vamps were mostly those with Dominate and Obtenebration, which I got criticism for. *sigh* Analysis is analysis. You can love your 10 cap Assamites with no bounce disciplines or whatever all you want, but there’s “I like” and then there’s analysis. The former is unrelated to elephants, making it irrelephant, to anyone else; the latter is why I have a blog.
As boring as it is, Wider View is clearly the best library card. It cheats by being a generic card in a set that is focused mainly on narrow effects – esoteric clans often with unique disciplines. I could comment on other strong cards, but I did a set review not that long ago and don’t think much would change my views. It is good to see people making use of Summon History, since it should be broken.
Oh, one thing I missed in the previous post, Cybele should be ranked above Mata Hari. Forgot which set Cybele was in.