Continuing with this series. Though, I had some other idea come up, then I forgot it.
Nobody has corrected my excluding the new Gangrel cards from my last post. Seems like more interest in my old L5R posts. But, I, uh, actually completely forgot that Gangrel were included in the latest e-set. That might say something about the state of affairs with Gangrel these days.
Because there are more clans in the Sabbat, one might expect fewer clan cards per clan. It’s also important to realize that there are additional clan cards through e-sets, even if I have no particular interest in playing the e-cards.
Let’s save the unique Sabbat clans for last, note that what I mean by “Sabbat clans” is the group that came out with Sabbat and excludes bloodlines that are Sabbat since those really belong in the bloodlines batch.
Eleven cards, 2.5 are Action Modifiers! That’s like a theme! Allies, a sword, Masters, Political Action, 1.5 Reactions. How diverse. The new card, Spoils of War, is quite playable. Number of “build around” cards in Unexpected Coalition, Waste Management Operation, and Dogs of War.
The only thing that seems missing is just a straight up Action card, though the Danse Macabre set has two actions in their discipline.
Thirteen for these guys, with a shared card from The Unaligned and one from Danse Macabre. They get one of the coolest allies in the game, though it’s hard to choose something besides Earth Meld for Satyrs. Eight Masters, including a Path. While I haven’t had a lot of fortune making use of their Path, the number of decks I come up with because of it is vast. It would be interesting, if maybe repetitive, if Gangrel had a Path, giving Horrock some buddies in the realm of pay less for Protean.
Some quite terrible cards – Follow, Spiral, Conspiracy, Talons (I found only three TWDs searching Secret Library). While !Gangrel have been highly successful in recent years to where the justification to power them up didn’t exist, the point of the e-sets is to give useful cards. Marked Territory hasn’t had as much impact as it seemed like it would, but, then, we basically have one player making that much of an effort to embrace new cards.
As Sabbat are supposed to be less friendly to Kine than Cammies, I’m not just going to use my Cammie mantra of “more allies”. Nor would a Retainer make a lot of sense. Political Action, still nope. Reaction could. There’s also some crossover stuff with Ahrimanes, so I don’t actually feel like there are obvious holes, like I do with Cammie clans.
Only ten cards. No Danse Macabre cards. A clan that suffers from “too good disease”. But, I think this is an inherent problem in the game’s management. Just because you have more options doesn’t mean you will be any better in practice. Sleep of Reason is quite an interesting card, but I have yet to see it make a Dementation deck better, not even my decks built around the card.
Some pretty terrible cards, as well, so the effective number is even lower. I used to play Walk through Arcadia, but, at some point, I just decided it was inferior to playing more stealth. Malkavian Game is neither Game of Malkav nor Malkavian Prank. Cracking the Wall was coaster-on-sight. Reality Mirror has never mattered in my play, even though I keep putting it into decks. If it was something you could play in multiples, that would be an interesting card, a build around card (sort of).
I could see another Master, card typewise, but, mostly, I can just see giving them some interesting but not terribly good things to do to try to get away from stealth bleed. Escaped Mental Patient helps fill that niche, though, I see EMPs played in stealth bleed decks because you pay for them with Kindred Spirits.
Ten cards with the inclusion of Inside Dirt. Inside Dirt is totally the sort of card I’d play if it were a normally published card. While it’s possible to play Vermin Channel, there’s not really any reason to do so. Some other various sketchy/awful cards.
In terms of old cards, only Courier, Information Network, and Nosferatu Kingdom do that much good, with only the last being something I regularly see.
My Congregation of Alligators card idea would give them another Ally. If not that, some other inhuman Ally is something I can see. I can also see a Combat card, Reaction, even Political Action. Reaction might make a lot of sense for the same reason Nosferatu could get a Reaction. After all, some of the least difference between antitribu and non-antitribu for these guys.
Somebody really liked the Toreador, not because they got great clan cards but because they got great vampires. Somebody must have really liked the !Toreador, as well, as their clan cards are off the hoof.
Art Scam has seen a ton of play. Foundation Exhibit and Palla Grande are both abusive/broken. Only nine total cards, but the number gets disguised by awesome. The Art of Pain has been key to certain decks. Only their Allies are pretty bad, and Goth Band was a lot more interesting before the change.
A Political Action seems obvious. An Action Modifier sounds reasonable. A Retainer (torturer?) would make sense for what is a relatively social Sabbie clan. A crazy barber might be an Ally.
Fifteen cards but only nine that aren’t shared. Lots of Allies, lots of cool Allies, though one is awful and another kind of ridiculously good. Masters have interesting uses. As with Tremere, more magic items would make sense. An Action or Reaction representing some ritual could be a thing that wasn’t done with Thaumaturgy, like Recure of the Homeland.
As much as I’m not enthusiastic about developing the Inquisitor theme in the game, there could be some clan card that does something, like a Master that makes a !Trem into one with some useful special. Igors or the like could be Retainers.
Once upon a time, !Ventrue were considered one of the worst clans in the game. Somehow, a clan with Dominate, Auspex, Dominate, Freak Drive, and Dominate was considered craptastic. There was a legit reason for that. They had almost nothing to do that Ventrue couldn’t just do.
Then, they got a lot of quality vampires. All of the sudden, there was a reversal. !Ventrue were hot, hot, hot. They still get a lot of grinder play, though it’s funny how Ventrue have become an in thing to do when grinding.
Because they sucked, I was all over them getting something. That something? Decent clan cards. Their clan cards are horrid form. Sure, Demonstration is really annoying, but where’s the Voter Cap discipline? Framing an Ancient Grudge is techy. But, their build around cards are not the restaurant quality, more the “why bother?” level.
Mostly what I’d like to see is something that further differentiates the knights from the blue bloods. Combat card would be obvious. Ally, Retainer, Political Action not as much as that’s more up the plaza of the Auspexless gents.
One area of the game that I think gets nowhere near enough of press is how underdeveloped Lasombra and Tzimisce are. Laibon was a perfect time to expand these two clans massively. Sure, Kiasyd also have Obtenebration, but nobody else has Vicissitude. Even Gangrel/! share their discipline. I think these two clans should have around 50% more vampires, with some of them obviously being Laibon because that’s something the game has, now.
A reasonable weenie Obtenebration crypt that could take advantage of their Path would be something I’d look forward to. But, this is about their clan cards.
One problem with weenies and Lasombra is that poorly designed, open-ended cards get published like Power Structure.
A Political Action card would be obvious. A Combat card might help push towards combat. While Allies seem out of flavor for a clan that prides itself on being the top dogs, a Retainer could work.
A clan. I understand their flavor is that they are a bunch of upstarts that don’t have a real bloodline, but the game made them a clan and one of the things that people really like to do is build around clans. By the way, do you know how many clan cards they have off the top of your head?
One third of all of their clan cards are promos. Two thirds of all of their clan cards are terrible. I might have a 100% win rate with decks running Joseph Pander, like that time I ousted Hugh and The Lasombra on my way to qualifying for the 2007 NAC with winnie Auspex as my predator, but I somehow doubt other people have mastered his mojo. (I could also note that Ghouled Street Thug was in that deck.)
Yes, Legacy of Pander exists. Yes, it used to be one of the most insanely powerful votes in the game. Yes, 1-caps and other dorks violate players.
It’s still a clan. It’s actually quite easy to design cards that don’t make winnie decks better but help those who may be capacity challenged. Whether you make cards that limit how many different vampires gain a benefit or make cards that encourage building up disciplines to go into crypts with fattier vampires or whatever, there’s lots and lots of design space available.
Convergence actually has the right theme, it’s just a dumb card on so many levels.
Old Clan Tzimisce … oh, this isn’t the “what can a new set be about?” post? Equipment and Allies, two themes. Allies makes lots of sense for those who create living things from other living things, but I’m not sure why Equipment is so common.
While politically relevant, I’m just not feeling a Political Action. More Retainers, maybe. A Combat card could help when Old Clan Tzimisce, who lack the killer combat of Vicissitude are around, who are burdened with modest Thaumaturgy combat (though, Thaumaturgy is the easiest thing ever to expand upon in the game since it does everything). While they have two of the most Reactiony disciplines around, one could imagine a clan Reaction, as game redundant as that might be.
What I’m feeling is an Action card. So many Tzimisce decks are blocky. Rush, bleed, vote – nah. What we want is something else. Maybe they could have a card like “Country Real Estate Investment” where they get to have castles that they can exclude everyone else from. “Enrich My Library” that does some sort of library manipulation … maybe not.
So, the average number of clan cards isn’t that bad, though there are a good number of awful ones. What’s kind of weird is how certain Sabbies got amazing or really cool build around cards. While inhuman Allies might be a thing, it’s also weird how many non-unique Allies Sabbies get that you could build decks around where Cammies get few Allies, fewer still worth playing.
Well, next time we get into the core of V:TES, as evidenced by how much crazy support they get compared to everyone else.