So, for those who read the forums, there’s a thread on banning cards to stimulate a stale environment.  I don’t have any great desire to rehash comments made there, but I did want to take a look at one of my proposals.

I despise unique* promo cards, in case anyone didn’t already know.  I despise them for fairness reasons, but I also believe that they don’t actually promote the games they are printed for.

*  Unique does not mean the keyword, which should be obvious, but means any promo card that has not also been printed normally within one or more sets.

I have run across too many situations where distribution or power level have been problems.  Where normally published cards are fair to the extent that someone who can buy product can buy as much or as little product as they want, regardless as to how balanced the cards may be, unique promo cards are rarely that egalitarian (and don’t actually make sense if they are).

Most unique promos suck, so why bitch about the concept?  Can just make them all suck.  But, then, in what way did they promote the game?  Why bother in the first place?

On the other hand, I’m a huge fan of promo cards that are alternative versions of cards available through normal channels.  Alternate art, all art, no art, foil, hologram, autographed – all the correct way to do promo cards, even if it’s questionable whether they promote the games, either.

Anyway, enough about why I would be good with banning promos.  What about the impact such would have?

I’m including, as a rather major by the way, the 10th Anniversary new cards.  I’m not sure I’d call the 10th sets a normal channel, but even if one considers them fairly available, the cards have the typical traits that unique promos do.  Only going to note ones that I find interesting to comment upon.


Mariana Gilbert

Be a bit lazy here and not create links for these cards, generally figure people already have a good idea what they do.

Early days of exactly the sort of distribution issues I find offensive.  Anyway, 4-cap with PRE was the hotness back in the day – I would argue that Gideon Fontaine was one of the best vampires in the game up until at least Sabbat War.  Toreador tends to be a good clan to be, especially with the right Aires.

Impact wouldn’t be what it once was as group 1 has increasingly been pushed out, outside of Anson and friends.

Victor Pelletier

I way underplay “Victory Point”.  But, then, he slots in the sort of decks I don’t tend to have much interest in.  Impact should be felt as he’s just so much better than he should be.

Kisha Bhimji

One would think I would play her all of the time.  AUS/obf, 5-cap who can hunt without penalty slots into so many of my sort of decks.  Probably has too many votes for me, though.

Anyway, minimal impact.

Alan Sovereign (adv)

I’m sure I have a few decklists with him around, but I never get around to it.  Special is the sort of special I like to see, but it’s easy enough to go in a different direction to get expensive equipment in play, like Alastor.  Reasonable midcap without special.  Might be missed but not by that many.

Genina, The Red Poet

I keep putting her in decks (some of which see play).  I keep being unimpressed.  Just always sounds better on paper than in practice.  Specialized role where I’d put her about Alan Sovereign on the impact meter.

Yazid Tamari (adv)

Basic is just better.  Merging is just not worth the effort.  Minimal impact.

Lambach (adv)

Sounds like he serves a purpose.  Cool looking card.  Such a ridiculous downgrade from basic that every time I go to build a deck where he’d make sense, he wouldn’t make sense.  For everyone else into the Legion decks or whatever, really okay if he isn’t playable in tournaments.

Hannibal (adv)

Such a contrast to Lambach.  This dude is good.  Almost surprised he doesn’t see more play.  But, he came out so late, long after people seemed to be losing interest in group 2.  Seen/built very few decks with him to where I doubt he would be missed.


The obvious impact player(s) among promo vampires.  Would definitely be missed for both Nergal decks and “oh, I also play Nergal” decks.  But, I don’t see that as such a great loss considering how many decks of such I’ve seen.  May sound ironic.  If he was new, it would be more of a loss as there are so many things he can be used for.  But, he’s not new.  Most things have already been done.


Carlton van Wyk (Hunter)

Octa-libra, baby!  With Carlton gone, people can go back to diablerie as a legitimate tactic/strategy.  What?!?  What do you mean that people still diablerize?

Massive impact, even though it does seem like he gets underplayed, maybe because he’s so hard to get these days.


Solves part of the problem with Ashur Tablets.  But, really, this card should see way more play even without Tablets.  Rather significant impact, especially for Giovanni.  Not shedding tears – can’t imagine who thought this was a good mechanic as a generic master card.


All the rage these days with so many ways to only die to Carlton and cards no one plays, e.g. Sixth Tradition.  Somewhat substitutable but would be missed.

Anthelios, the Red Star

Perfect example of how bad ideas tend to appear more often in promo cards than in normal cards.  I’d be happy if all Events went away as I see them being a greater ruin on the game than Imbued.  As much as I love me allies, there’s no justification for the power of The Unmasking.

Anyway, Anthelios.  Would be missed far more in other regions than ours but would be missed quite a bit.

Codex of the Edenic Groundskeepers

I find it funny how much this sees play.  It is sneaky good even when not just used as a “don’t tap out or I murder you” threat on some dork.  But, a great loss?  No.  Bleed is just so easily come by.

The Erciyes Fragments

I would be so happy to see cards like this go away.  Way underplayed power card.  I just don’t even bother, as it feels like cheating.  I also quite hate cards that people can steal as it takes away from all of the hunting I want to do.

Major impact, but probably highly uneven as some folks just don’t seem to embrace it as a good stuff card.

Gran Madre di Dio, Italy

Another way underplayed card, though my interest is mostly in playing it to prevent someone else from doing so as it’s absurdly obnoxious.  Terrible design typical of promo cards.  Would expect little impact, as most don’t bother running it.

House of Sorrow

Johnnies (combo-oriented players) will miss this much.

Lilith’s Blessing

We played at my house not real long ago.  We played something like four games.  The only game I didn’t play LB on the first turn was the last one and that was because LB couldn’t be in my Lords of the Night only deck.

What I find scary is that people seem to underrate this card, obsessing over using it with Villein when it naturally combos with Blood Dolls, Heidelberg, Gather, babymaker cards, etc.  And, even if you don’t combo it, it provides late game recovery, which is the main reason I run it (besides enjoying the skill card aspect).

Wall Street Night, Financial Newspaper

My list of cards to comment upon aren’t all of the best cards or most played cards or whatever, though I think I noted better cards for the most part.  The thing about WSN,FN is that I’ve gotten to playing this card a lot more than other intercept locations because bleed (and, to a lesser extent, directed actions in general due to Eyes of Argus, Steadfastness, et al) is not something my decks have glaring weaknesses against.  My problem these days is more often stopping votes and tool up actions.

Going, going, …

I’m sure others have their favorites or those cards they despise seeing at tables.  I hope that my comments help put into context some of my thinking about the impact of banning all unique promos.

2 Responses to Demoted

  1. mgreen02 says:

    Dan Murdoch gets no love? I mean, I know he gets no love, but if Lambach [adv] gets love, the man Murdoch should too.

    • iclee says:

      He’s not particularly notable as a card. There are a bunch of aus/obf dudes. His special was more useful when fewer people played Giant’s Blood.

      Now, he is notable in that his card is all wrong. He should have POT, I know this from reading the book he was in. But, that has no V:TES impact.

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