Occasionally, I wander into less philosophical areas to speak about. I was doing some V:TES deckbuilding searching on Cardinals and got kind of interested in the data.
If we take a look at a table of Cardinals in the game by Clan and group, certain features readily pop out. Of course, there are two advanced version Cardinals not included in the totals and I did include Sascha Vykos even though it would need to be merged to achieve Cardinaldom. If that seems wrong, I can understand.
The absence of three clans – !Brujah, !Gangrel, and Pander – means what? Does it matter? Pander reasonably don’t have any on thematic grounds. The other two also have some thematic sense with being either rebels or being flavorfully apolitical. On the other hand, if we pull in Archbishops and Prisci, there are some interesting numbers as well, like how few (6) !Toreador and !Ventrue have any of these three titles while !Brujah jump ahead in total numbers (7) and !Gangrel don’t (5).
Getting off topic as I wanted to focus on Cardinals. Why? Just kind of interesting to examine one minor slice of a CCG and see where it leads.
There are five library cards a Cardinal can play that an Archbishop can’t. I’m less interested in the ones a Priscus can’t play, but the list is longer for them. In general, I’ve found that Titled Sabbat cards are a pain to get much use out of. There’s not nearly as much of a concentration of titles within a given clan and the payoffs are lower to where mixed clan is less interesting. Sure, Cardinal Benediction is always a way to Cardinal-up! But, eh.
I’ve put this card in decks. I may have even passed one. I just don’t recall all that clearly. I just can’t get that excited by it, even in theory. Which is good, since Protect Thine Own was one of the dumbest cards ever.
Seems simple enough: put a bunch of Creation Rites in play or otherwise create a horde of dudes, invigorate them. In practice, even when I put this card in a deck, possibly even when I equip it, I don’t recall ever using it. With The Hungry Coyote, stimulating a horde is rather easy. The hoops here are tiresome hoops to jump through for payoff. Probably need stealth, which you don’t with The Hungry Coyote due to there being no single key action. Need to get it into play. Need to have nothing better to do with your Priscus/Cardinal. Blah.
I do recall having this in play. It’s far more complicated than it seemed at first. The lack of control is really annoying. The unhappy face when having only one ready minion is … unhappy. It has all of the disadvantages of being a hunting ground: targetable by anti-HG plays as rare as those may be; not stackable with other HGs. I probably should try it in a more wallish build – Tzimisce would be obvious. I see it being a cut above the two cards above.
Now, we are talking. This is one of the most efficient ways to self oust in the game. Wait … Doh! I have actually seen Hazmat in play, if memory serves correctly, though it was out of an Ahrimanes deck. I may have hired him, right before being ousted, or may not have.
I’ve also put this card in one or more decks. And, I never considered playing it. What the-?!? Why are Cardinalistic cards so awful? Does point out why people aren’t so bothered by the distribution of Cardinals in the game. Far more want to have Cardinals for their votes than for specific card plays.
Thanks to secretlibrary.info, by the way, for card text.
I didn’t actually intend to get sidetracked on Card-inals (my super awesome, totally not pretentious way to define cards that require Cardinals). Getting back to the vampires.
Only one group 3 Cardinal. Well, group 2 kind of made a mess of things since the grouping rule wasn’t foreseen when group 2 was being published. Lasombra and Tzimisce do relatively well for Cardinality out of group 2/3 – “well” being kind of a stretch, but oh well. Makes sense – helps define them as leaders of the Sabbat.
If we look at discipline crossover to get “Friendly Clans”, Ayalea is Lasombra friendly, making for a coherent strategy of putting out fat dudes with titles that aren’t that important. At least DOM/OBT mitigates the lack of necessity in being a Cardinal (can upgrade fairly easily, could just live life as an Archbishop/Priscus). There are a few other friendlies. I’ve certainly seen Velya’s PRE used and I have a tournament winning deck with Melinda, but I never really thought about a group 3/4 AUS/PRE Cardinal deck running all three. Did have something like that that was Third Edition only, so obviously sans Velya.
Then, there’s unfriendliness (to one own’s clan). Radu, Radu, Radu. I can’t say you are the worst of the bunch, but you sure try hard. I can squint and see some sort of AUS/DOM deck use maybe with !Ventrue if it were a !Ventrue vote deck and not a grinder. Except, !Ventrue vote seemed to die as a played archetype ages ago, even the stealthy kind.
The worst? !Nosferatu for the lose! It’s just such a pain to play these gigantosaurs lacking AUS or Dom.
I don’t know that a lot can be said about the capacity distribution of Cardinals. For instance, how !Toreador seem to get young-uns just doesn’t seem to really matter, certainly not as much as the general lack of (meaningful Sabbat) titles.
Does any of this matter much? Wouldn’t say so. I hardly notice given how much less important Sabbat title breakdowns are to Camarilla title breakdowns. Nor do I feel much of a thematic sense of how the Sabbat is put together. I’m still far more likely to build a clan focused deck that has a mishmash of titles when I’m running some Cardinal or another. Even Radu kind of ends up getting used for reasons that are highly questionable, though when you build Third Edition only decks where you want to run cards you never see, like Gurchon Hall, you kind of lack more exciting choices.