Mitchell the Headhunter VTES John Bolton

John Boltons art for the 1996 classic The Sabbat card
Mitchell, the Headhunter, now in print again.

Greetings fellow Methuselahs,


Since earlier, cards for Assamites, Giovanni, Lasombra, Followers of Set and Ravnos are up on VTES Legacy Singles at Drivethrucards, and now also cards for Panders, Salubri and Tzimisce are available. Totally it´s 159 cards in this April update, including many player favourites such as War Ghoul, Legacy of Pander and Neutral Guard.

Hugh Angseesing, CEO of Black Chantry Productions, why did you prioritise these clans for print-on-demand now?
- We have put clans and disciplines on Drivethrucards as they have rejoined Vampire: the Masquerade Fifth Edition and we can see which cards won’t be being reused in a future retail set – for example Vicissitude cards will instead be represented with an amalgam power for the new Tzimisce.

Are there any plans to put more “staples” on print-on-demand, so one can order a whole custom-built deck?
- More cards will be added, and this will include more staples. However, our focus is getting cards which are not available in retail up first.

A lot of VTES players live in Europe – is there any hope for a print-on-demand service on other continents than America soon?
- We continue to work with Drivethrucards to locate a print-on-demand printer in Europe, which is about 60 percent of the VTES community. Covid and rapid changes to costs have slowed that process down along with printers not being totally comfortable with the “on demand” bit, i.e. please, don’t print 1,000 Eyes of the Dead just in case…
  However, note that UK and EU buyers now should have value added taxes calculated at checkout to reduce much of the risk of ordering overseas, though I understand postage is still more than we would like.

What comes next for print-on-demand?
- Our rules director AND layout guy Vincent Ripoll are working on the next cards to go up on Drivethrucards, and that is more bloodlines cards. The process involves us looking at the card set we have chosen and checking that we have the artwork or deciding if the artwork can be refreshed. Sometimes brand new art is needed, but a card needs to sell about 1,500 copies to breakeven, so some cards might not be worth creating new art for! Then we review the card for simple changes, for example, cost reduction or perhaps added stealth, and then modernising the card text to fit current wording templates.
  About that last bit, we’d love to hear from YOU if you have simple recommendations for cards going up to be fixed. But our focus with design and playtesters is on new cards rather than updating everything that has come before!

Concerning such modifications, this time only three cards have significant funtional changes:
• Lambach (ADV): Unlocking is now optional.
• Radu Bistri: Gaining blood is now optional.
• Szechenyi Jolán, Mother of Horrors: Unlocking her is now optional and happens during the discard phase.
These changes will be tournament legal on May 27, 2022.

To make it easier to navigate the offer, a complete list with all Vampire: The Eternal Struggle Legacy Singles is available separately.

Note also that all nine Fifth Edition preconstructed decks are now available on Drivethrucards, in English, Spanish, French and Latin!

EC 2022 Helsiniki


Finally, Finland gets to welcome you to a EC. The official website is updated with information about Helsinki, Ropecon and the tournaments, and the pre-registration will begin soon. Stay tuned for that in May!

Follow the EC in social media:
• Facebook: Vampire: the Eternal Struggle European Championship 2022
• Twitter: 2022Ec
• Instagram: vtesec2022

VTES NC Spain 2022 


June 4 in Zaragoza, Spain
For details, please visit V:TES España Noticias y Eventos

June 5 in Metz, France
For details, please visit Championnat de France 2022 VTES

June 11 in Store Andst, Denmark
For details, please visit V:TES - Danish National Championship

Also, of course, keep an eye on the VEKN Event Calendar - VEKN sanctioned events are always registered there!


VTES Atlantic Cup 2022


This will likely be one of the largest online VTES tournaments this year, played on Lackey May 21-22. Learn more on VEKN Forum: Atlantic Cup 2022 and register on


VTES Modena Diablerieste


• Know anyone going to big games fair Modena Play in Modena, Italy on May 20-22? There will be VTES demo games hosted by Camarilla Italy (large Vampire LARP community) and Italian National Coordinatior Simone Zanni. Welcome to that booth, and please send curious people there!

• Karl Schaefer of KGS Cards is doing wonders for VTES. Not only does he distribute the game, but he also writes nice articles, most recently a “Evaluating”-series about the New Blood packs. Check them out!

• We have mentioned the AWESOME French-language Carnet d´un Diableriste in this space before, but we have to do it again. Last month it had unboxing-videos of the New Blood packs. Totally great – what wouldn´t we do for this content in English?!

VDB is one of the best online card utility tools, maybe the very best. You probably know that already. But now it has changed URL, so update your booksmarks, etc – now it´s at

• The Antediluvians are awakening! VTES blog Gaming with Brett S is posting again! Recently new posts are “Quick-Start Guide Update!”, “What we leave behind: A farewell to Serpentis” and “Our powers renewed: A welcome to Protean”. Great to see more original content like this again – VEKN approves, and will share!

• To finish this section: How cool is the below VTES trophy?! Found on Reddit, we really don´t know more. If you made it, or painted it, or adore it - comment everywhere :)

Ficzone VTES 2022


Speaking of great efforts to spread VTES, here´s some words from José Juan Ortiz Fuentes:

On the 2nd and 3rd of April 2022, Ficzone, the most important international film, comic book and game festival in southern Spain, took place in Granada, with around 30,000 people in attendance from different cities throughout the country.

A few Methuselahs from the city had the opportunity to attend on Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., to promote our beloved game by teaching VTES to anyone willing to give it a try.

In the morning, we had no clue of how many people would be interested in learning the game. In fact, we had brought our decks to play some games while waiting for possible Embraces to show up... We were greatly surprised when, shortly after starting our first game, the first interested group of people dropped by, followed by more and more people. By the end of the day, we had already taught 41 people to play VTES!

VTES Ficzone 2022 VTES Ficzone 2022
VTES Ficzone 2022 VTES Ficzone 2022
VTES Ficzone 2022 VTES Ficzone 2022

For these demos we used the First Blood decks, which are ideal in this type of event. We gave one of them to each participant, as well as some of this year's promo cards. We tried to spend no more than 35-40 minutes for each group of participants, getting them started with a general introduction to the game (story, background, etc.) and then playing no more than 2-3 effective turns (with vampires in play) per player, focusing mainly on the phases of the game, vampire stats (fundamentally disciplines), and having played some bleed, politics and combat.

At the end of the day, we raffled a Pact with Nephandi deck, some Nefertiti advanced promos, and a few First Blood decks.

VTES Ficzone 2022

We have to say that VTES was spectacularly well-received, exceeding our expectations by far. The participants were delighted with it, being aware of the complexity of its rules, and super happy at the end of the demo games.

So, although we were half hoarse and exhausted by the end of the event, and we will not know how many of these players will end up playing regularly with each other (time will tell), we left the festival proud and extremely satisfied with the great reception and acceptance of VTES and, of course, for having shared that day with some great people who have made us spend a memorable event that, without a doubt, we would definitely repeat.

Until next year, Ficzone!

Oh, of course we have to thank Ginés, Hugh and Arnau for having provided us with all the promotional material used (cards, decks, etc.). Without you this would not have been possible, thank you very much!

Are you also interested in demoing VTES but need some help? Have a talk with your local game store or gaming event, and with your local Prince or National Coordinator, or with Black Chantry directly!

Black Chantry logo


• The Pander, Salubri and Tzimisce cards are now up on VTES Legacy Singles at Drivethrucards - see the top of this newsletter. Next up are more bloodlines cards.

• The five New Blood introductory decks were officially released on April 17, and so they will be tournament legal on May 17. They are now available in stores all over the world.

• CEO Hugh guested long interview in Vtes México Youtube channel - practically everything anyone ever wondered about anything was answered there. Must-see-TV!

• Fall of London is not ready for print yet, but release is still mid 2022.

VTES Fifth EditionVTES Products 2021-11

Do you have opinions or questions for Black Chantry? Start a topic on the VEKN forum, or contact the company by e-mailFacebookInstagram or Twitter.


World of Darkness Unbound


Three highlights from the past month:

• Paradox Interactive are taking the Vampire Jam one step further with World of Darkness Unbound! This allows you to create your own digital game based on the Vampire: The Masquerade IP and even monetize it, as long as you follow a licensing agreement and the rules of

The Second Inquisition sourcebook for Vampire: The Masquerade is now available at Renegade Game Studios.

Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodhunt from Sharkmob was released in April, so why not go crawl some rooftops in Prague?

Subscribe to the World of Darkness News show for more news!



Upcoming tournaments for the coming month (booked so far) are in:

Spain x4
USA x3
Brazil x3
Online (International)
Czech Republic

For details about these events, see the VEKN Event Calendar.

Remember: Online tournaments are possible - just check the box "Online tournament" when you add the event to the calendar!

You can contact the V:EKN Inner Circle members using contact forms at Also follow the official V:TES Facebook page Vampire: The Eternal Struggle and the official V:EKN Twitter account @VEKN_VTES 

No one cares what you do. They care what you can do for them.

New Blood

Greetings fellow Methuselahs


The spoiler season for New Blood is soon over when this reaches your eyes, and you need a release date. It will be April 17, so the tournament legality date for the new cards from this set is May 17. One of those new cards is the lovely (and thirsty) Ameila Locke depicted above with excellent art from Ken Meyer Jr. Enjoy!

VTES Grand Prix Malmö 2022 


The European VTES Grand Prix circuit is restarting, and now a new city is added. On Saturday July 2 we play in Malmö, as a part in the big gaming event Malmö Game Week Unplugged. Hugh and Henrik from Black Chantry Productions will attend, as will hopefully absolutely all VTES players from Sweden, Denmark, Germany and everywhere else! Beautiful Malmö is the largest city in sourthern Sweden, close to Copenhagen, why not make it a stop on your summer vacation and oust some Methuselahs?

Details: Facebook VTES Grand Prix - Malmö 2022, and we will update you in appropriate channels when we know more about Malmö Game Week Unplugged and the rest of the Grand Prix season.

James Salt VTES 2021


19 proud Methuselahs turned up at Patriot Games in Leeds on March the 5th to battle for the UK 2021 (played in 2022) championship belt. No proxies, gloves off and claws out! Head organiser was UK National Coordinator Paul Jones.

VTES UK 2021

VTES UK 2021

James Salt took an impressive 3 game wins in the preliminary rounds (with a wall deck!), and he had more to give...

Standings after preliminaries:
1. James 3 gw 6.5 vp
2. Craig 2 gw 6.5 vp
3. David 1 gw 5.5 vp
4. Warren 1 gw 4.5 vp
5. Simmy 1 gw 3 vp

UK 2021 final table

Comment on the final by the organiser: “The Gangrel were able to take advantage of the trademark slow start of MMPA (multiple master phase actions) and exclusively push forward against the Blood Brothers who are forced to hunt as they enter with no blood. This allowed the Gangrel to eat through the Blood Brothers pretty quickly, and left The Ministry with very little pressure. The Ministry pushed hard in to Ravnos, ousting them before they could call any Consanguineous Boons. 40 minutes into the game the Liverpool players had been taken out and team Leeds was in a 3-way. Aksinya Daclau gave the Ministry the exact amount of trouble you'd expect her to, and allowed the Gangrel to block their prey and take advantage of it using Claws of the Dead. Pretty soon it was down to just two players, and with Smiling Jack still there from turn 1 it wasn't long until MMPA was getting outpaced.”

Congratulations James Salt, 2021 UK champion with 4 victory points in the the final (The Ministry player Simmy got 1).

James' tournament winning deck: “Wolf Wall”

3 Casey Snyder
2 Massimiliano
1 Crow
1 Hanna Nokelainen
1 Joaquín de Cádiz
1 Kamile Paukstys
1 Martina Srnankova
1 Nathan Turner
1 Ruslan Fedorenko

1 Antediluvian Awakening
1 Carfax Abbey
1 Guardian Angel
1 Powerbase: Montreal
1 The Rack
2 Smiling Jack the Anarch
4 Vessel
2 Wider View

2 Constant Revolution
8 Thing

1 Dog Pack

4 Raven Spy

2 Form of the Bat

6 Claws of the Dead
4 Form of Mist
2 Pack Alpha

6 Bait and Switch
10 Deep Ecology
2 Delaying Tactics
1 Eyes of the Beast
4 Eyes of the Wild
6 Organized Resistance
1 Party out of Bounds
2 Protection Racket
1 Sonar

We´ll see if there will be a second, real 2022 championship sometime later this year. Thanks to organiser, helpers, sponsors and of course the fantastic players!

VTES Online World Championship


Igor Breslin and Martin Weinmayer have been running the VTES Online World Championship tournaments for the last four years, but are now looking to step down. Are you interested in taking over? Or maybe help out? The VEKN, other players and Black Chantry will of course be there to support your efforts. Please mail !

By Aldo Fernández


Another issue, that we already pointed out in the previous article, is playing against combat.

Many people have difficulty playing against combat because, strategically, it can be more difficult than against other archetypes, especially since it is difficult to get help from other players at the specific moment you are being hit (after that, they will rescue your vampire or punish the Methuselah that plays combat, but your vampire will already be empty or burned, at which point you may be out of the game or close to it, depending on the deck you play and how much help you can get from the other players).

The combat strategy, which is already a different strategy from the others (since it attacks the vampire's blood and not the blood pool directly), goes in combination with the need to deal with the frustration and helplessness of having your vampires in torpor or burned and, generally, with the impossibility of being able to develop your game and cycle cards, in addition to the usually associated indifference of the other Methuselahs, either due to laziness or fear of being the next one to capture the attention of the combat deck.

Your deck usually packs some cards against bleed, political, block or ally strategies in a generic way (for example, bleed bounce/Archon Investigation, Delaying Tactics/passive votes of your own vampires, stealth or "lock" effects in the form of master and/or cards such as Mind Numb, or Entrancement/Far Mastery/Restructure, respectively), and this allows you to play the game regardless of whether you get any victory points or the game win.

These cards are normally given for granted in most decks as a basic part of either its strategy (action cards and action modifiers) or its defense (reaction cards).

However, only "strike: combat ends" cards or effects (S:CE from now on) are generally used as the sole strategy against combat, which in my opinion is huge mistake, since, when a combat deck is correctly structured and cycles properly, the S:CE bring absolutely nothing against it.

A good combat deck doesn't worry about S:CE, because it has Immortal Grapple, Psyche!, Telepathic Tracking, Dog Pack, Blessing of Chaos... (there are other cards that do the same and). They are decks, which, as we saw in the previous article, are designed to overcome these types of cards comfortably.

Also, if you do not have any vampires, you will not be able to play any cards. If you do not play any cards, your hand will always be the same due to lack of card cycling. That means that the combat player will cycle his cards and you will not, and will therefore have decisive advantage in resources and game development.

Faced with the frustration of not knowing how to play against combat, some people end up playing more combat, thinking that if they are going to get hit anyway, they will have to try to hit back even harder, which will cause the brutalization of metagames with the blooming of combat decks.

There are many ways to play against abusive combat decks (Multi-rush/Massive rush), but the best one is usually to cooperate with other players against it or to bring a deck prepared against combat.

We will see them below.
VTES Fight Club 2



This is always the best way to play against a combat deck. If your vampires' Discipline spread does not have any cards to deal with the combat deck, try to cooperate with the rest of the players to prevent the combat deck from doing and undoing as it pleases with total impunity.

Rescuing vampires who have been sent to torpor, stealing powerbase-type resources such as Powerbase: Montreal or The Rack, crossing the table with politics or with harmful cards such as Sensory Deprivation, Mind Rape or Mind Numb, is usually the best way to fight against a deck who abuses the other four.

You have to be supportive of the Methuselah that is being rushed, because although the problem for a non-rushed player is not imminent, it will be when the first Methuselah has been fully rushed, since the massive multi-rush/rush deck only has one viable strategy to play: fighting continuously.

In cases where there are two or more combat decks, things get complicated. When one of the two decks is not dominant over the other, they will split the table abusing the non-combat decks. When this happens, you have to take other strategies, because it will be practically impossible to cooperate against one single enemy and there will be too many open fronts.

Prevention cards as a helping strategy

These cards are precisely the cards that make combat ineffective, as a general rule.

It is inevitable to think of Fortitude as the generic prevention Discipline, but right now there are more cards that can prevent damage.

Prevention is the most proper and obvious way to make combat inefficient.

Cards like Terror Frenzy, Fortitude prevention cards in general, Flesh of Marble, Obedience, Mental Maze, Charismatic Aura, etc. are extraordinarily powerful against combat, and allow you to buy some time so that other Methuselahs in the game can be the target of the combat deck, which before the imminence of other dangers and the frustration of not being able to fight you, will simply decide to fight vampires controlled by other Methuselahs.

Allies as a typical strategy against combat

Allies are often a problem for combat decks, especially for the ones that spend much blood and require Taste of Vitae to fuel up and keep going.

In addition, they can prevent the combat deck from reaching the targeted vampire, and with the help of The Unmasking and the FBI Special Affairs Division, they can become a huge problem for combat decks, especially if not properly built.

We rarely find cards like Orgy of Blood in the more solid combat decks, and even if we do, that card is simply ineffective against the new and stronger ally decks (Emerald Legionnaires and Nephandi).

Gehenna events

The event pack to literally destroy vampire blood or card cycling (Slow Withering, Blood Weakness, Veil of Darkness…) is usually extremely tough in case such Gehenna cards hit the table relatively early.

Most rush or multi-rush decks will suffer a lot if these cards are on the table, and even if their players know they have to get the controller of the Gehenna events off the table, the events themselves are going to make that difficult for them, in addition to the fact that the prey and predator of the combat deck will take the opportunity to exploit that weakness to get the it off the table relatively quickly.

Although this strategy is very effective against combat, it is no less certain that you will be the target of both combat and possibly the other Methuselahs.

Varied, subsidiary strategies, or with subsidiary effects, of the main strategy

There are many cards that, at a given moment, can strategically humiliate combat, and that will often grant you not only a few turns more, but also immunity. It is always a good idea to pack some as "singles" if they fit within your strategy, like, for example, Meddling of Semsith, Ponticulus, FBI Specials Affairs Division, Golconda, Chantry, Sensory Deprivation/Nightmare Curse...

Other more situational cards can be Scourge of Enochians against a Potence weenie deck, Fear of Mekhet against a Yaroslav Pascek deck, Elysium: The Arboretum against a Eurobrujah deck, Derange, because it can keep a vampire from playing specific clan cards, etc.

Many of them are devastating against some types of combat and can be totally useless against others. However, they are cards that, situationally, at given times and against specific strategies, can be definitive, and that are already very good by themselves.

More combat: Fight fire with fire

Even though I think this is significantly the worst approach, unfortunately, I am also of the opinion that it is the one that happens the most. This is because the player who was not playing combat to begin with, and had to face a combat deck, knows no other way to deal with it than the escalation of power.

Vitiated metagames, that are turned into war zones with the impossibility of playing any other deck archetype in a solvent way due to the massive presence of combat, make the game lose a lot of interaction and, above all, interest for players, who, seeing that they do not get to play the deck they want because of the demands of the pre-established script end up worsening the metagame of the area and finally, in many cases, quitting the game.

Assume you are going to be hit

This is not a bad strategy in a healthy metagame, and instead of modifying your deck choice or the deck itself, you assume the percentage risk of being dealt a combat deck on a table as your predator.

In that circumstance you have to assume that you are not going to get any victory points. And, if you manage to scratch one thanks to other players, then that is what you take.

You can have a bad tournament and get beaten up at multiple tables, but in the long run it is a no-brainer strategy if you're in a low-combat or balanced-combat metagame.

It is important to know what strategy you have chosen against combat decks when designing your deck, because, just as you pack some bleed bounce cards against bleed decks, or some Delaying Tactics/Poison Pill or titled vampires against political decks, and cards that steal allies or punish Methuselahs for the number of vampires and minions they control, or cards to get through wall decks, you must pack those cards that protect you against combat, and also be aware that there are four more players at the table who can help you.
VTES Fight Club 2Finally, it should be noted that combat is a strategy as viable as any other, but due to the way these decks develop their own game, it makes it difficult for non-combat decks to be able to face combat decks if they have not thought thoroughly about how to stop them.

And in case you finally cannot stop a combat deck, the feeling of frustration for not having played should quickly disappear, and you should improve your deck style and your way of approaching combat decks, because combat is never the problem. The problem is usually not knowing how to face a combat deck, and the solution is always much simpler than what it seems. Understand combat and, from there, you will understand how to stop it.

Throughout my years as a VTES player, I have lost more games to Arika, Monçada, AAA, Antonio d'Erlette and his Nephandi, Lucian, or Horatio and his flesh-crafted friends than to pure combat decks.

I have played against many combat decks and I have always known how to face such games, either by means of the cards in my own deck, or by the help of other players. A different matter is whether or not I have won any victory points at those tables. However, what I have always had crystal-clear is how to deal with them.

The great key to combat is not to fear it irrationally, but to be clear about the plan that we have preconceived to face it when assembling and playing your deck, and to carry it out during the game with determination and solidity.

I hope that this article (in two parts) has been minimally illustrative for you, and remember that it is simply my reflection based on my experience as a player, which is surely nuanced by the infinite existing metagames. So, it is not a dogma of faith and it only intends to leave something in writing for those people who want to play with combat or assume that they must play against combat, always from the position that combat is one of the main strategies of the game and that, in a healthy metagame, it must be present, like any another strategy, and in the same proportion.

Did you enjoy this article? Are you, like Aldo, an experienced VTES player who want to write an article for this newsletter? Let us know! Mail !

Black Chantry logo


• As noted above, the New Blood mini-decks will be in stores in mid April. This is an introductory set aimed at new players, but yet it contains new crypt cards and some juicy reprints, some with brand new art that is revealed in the ongoing social media spoiler season - don´t miss it!

• The Fall of London set still needs some polishing. Unlike New Blood this contains more complex cards that hopefully will excite experienced players, so extra steps are taken to avoid problems. The preliminary schedule now says release in mid 2022.

• The next batch of Legacy singles for Drivethrucards (Salubri, Tzimisce and Pander) is now templated. It is now being uploaded to the site, and after a test print and physical proofreading it will be made available for you all!

• Product Director Ben Peal tells us he will have more time to work on card design for later sets now, so hopefully some new stuff (mainly for a Camarilla follow up set) can be shown to playtesters soon. Some of that art has already been delivered, and it looks FANTASTIC.

VTES Fifth EditionVTES Products 2021-11

Do you have opinions or questions for Black Chantry? Start a topic on the VEKN forum, or contact the company by e-mailFacebookInstagram or Twitter.


Hunter: The Reckoning 


Lots of things are happening in the World of Darkness right now, both around digital games like Swansong and Bloodhunt, but as hardcore VTES fans we tend to focus on the lore-related material that might have impact on VTES in the future: 

  • We are still very hyped with the sourcebooks for Vampire: The Masquerade that were announced at RenCon last month, mainly the Vampire: The Masquerade Player´s Guide and Blood Sigils. Outstar summarized these news in the March 11 World of Darkness News show.
  • The PDF version of Second Inquisiton is now available for those who have preordered the book!
  • The cover for the upcoming Hunter: The Reckoning Core Rulebook was revealed, created by Mark Kelly, also a very productive VTES artist. Isn´t it wonderful? 

Subscribe to the World of Darkness News show for more news!



Upcoming tournaments for the coming month (booked so far) are in:
Brazil x5
France x3
Italy x2
Spain x6
USA x5

For details about these events, see the VEKN Event Calendar.

Remember: Online tournaments are possible - just check the box "Online tournament" when you add the event to the calendar!

You can contact the V:EKN Inner Circle members using contact forms at Also follow the official V:TES Facebook page Vampire: The Eternal Struggle and the official V:EKN Twitter account @VEKN_VTES 

When the chess game is over, the pawn and the king go back to the same box.

Ken Meyer Jr VTES Abraham DuSableAbraham DuSable. Art in the New Blood set by Ken Meyer Jr.

Greetings fellow "Methuselahs"

Yes, I say that within quote marks this time. Because we are not bloodthirsty, power-mad, paranoid monsters. We are humans - all brothers and sisters, and it´s really time to start behaving accordingly. After a long period of pandemic, we are suddenly facing another kind of darkness. Just as if nothing has been learned from history, Europe is once again thrown into a war that most of us don´t even understand the reason for. It might feel frivolous to indulge in a game at this time, but it is what it is. Escapism. We do it, because we need it at times, because we are humans. Not monsters. Let us hope these dark clouds clear very soon. Stay safe.

By Aldo Fernández

Lately, and since I came back to the game, I realized that there is a problem with playing combat and playing against combat.

Many people ask me how to play combat decks, and many others ask me what they can do against them. The truth is that I do not have a magic formula for that, but I will try to capture my usually controversial thoughts in this article.

This article has been split in two parts: the first one explains how to play combat decks, and the second one how to play against combat decks. I hope it will be useful and you will like it.


First of all, you have to know that, on the one hand, there are combat decks and, on the other hand, decks with combat, which is not the same.

And that is the main problem for people to understand how to play combat and how to fight against it, if possible.


These are the decks that pack a significant amount of combat cards, even if that is not their main strategy, or their only strategy.

This type of decks contains 1/3 of combat cards (when taking fixed figures throughout this article, we will always talk about 90-card decks).

In other words, a deck with 25 to 30 combat cards cannot be considered a pure combat deck, but rather a deck that can fight, especially against those decks that do not have combat at all.

Let's take the Tremere toolbox deck as a classic example of a combat deck, with a fairly basic pack of what it can play, which could well be this:

10x Apportation
4x Rego Motus
10x Theft of Vitae
4x Walk of Flame
2x Blood to Water
An effective combat with cards that, without being a tremendous threat, is very annoying: 10 combo cards granting a maneuver or a press, 10 strikes that steal blood, 4 prevention cards and 6 second round cards to surprise, if possible.

This combat does not torporize or burn vampires in a systematic or constant way, but it allows us to punish the vampire or ally who blocks us or whom we block.

When vampires begin to run low on blood, the stealing of two blood goes from being annoying to being very annoying, deactivating that vampire for a turn if emptied, and forcing them to hunt.

VTES Fight Club 1b
If we analyze this deck completely, we will see that it has more strategies in addition to combat. The above-mentioned combat pack could be perfectly integrated into the following deck:

Crypt (12; Capacity min=3 max=7 avg=4.75)
1x Ehrich Weiss   3 dom tha   Tremere:3
2x Eugenio Estevez   6 dom for AUS THA   Tremere:3
1x Masika St. John   3 THA   Tremere:3
1x Valois Sang, The Watcher   6 nec tha AUS DOM   Tremere:3
1x Blythe Candeleria   3 aus THA   Tremere:2
3x Carna, The Princess Witch 7 AUS DOM THA   Tremere:3
2x Aisling Sturbridge   5 dom AUS THA   Tremere:2
1x Cohn Rose   5 aus dom pre THA   Tremere:3

Library: 90
Master (11)
1x KRCG News Radio
1x Arcane Library
1x Academic Hunting Ground
1x Pentex(TM) Subversion
5x Vessel
1x Chantry
1x Direct Intervention

Action (12)
8x Govern the Unaligned
2x Magic of the Smith
2x Rutor’s Hand

Action Modifier (4)
2x Bonding
2x Conditioning

Combat (30)
10x Apportation
4x Rego Motum
10x Theft of Vitae
4x Walk of Flame
2x Blood to Water

Equipment (4)
1x Ivory Bow
1x Light Intensifying Goggles
1x Sport Bike
1x Bowl of Convergence

Reaction (28)
4x Enhanced Senses
4x Eyes of Argus
4x Forced Awakening
4x My Enemy’s Enemy
4x On the Qui Vive
4x Telepathic Misdirection
2x Delaying Tactics
2x Eagle’s Sight

Event (1)
1x Scourge of the Enochians

As can be seen, this deck has an amount of combat cards that makes it possible for it to fight against those decks that do not fight, and, at a given moment, it has the power to face, in a timely manner, a combat deck, if you are attacked, for example, even though not consistently.

But this one cannot be considered a combat deck, because its game strategy is based on a toolbox strategy, where it blocks, bleeds and fights in specific ways.

There are many decks of this kind in clans such as the Tzimisce, the Nosferatu and the Nosferatu antitribu.

Its characteristics are as follows:

Limited number of combat cards: They do not usually contain more than a third of combat cards. Non-combat cards are not dedicated to combat. They do not usually pack Fame, Tension in the Ranks, Dragonbound and/or actions to enter combat with other minions.

Simple combat: These decks do not usually have the ability to empty and torporize vampires with ease, although they can send vampires to torpor more or less efficiently, especially those decks based on Vicissitude or Protean, which are not usually capable of emptying or burning vampires.

Their strategy is not based on combat: Combat is usually a consequence of either blocking, generally, or of taking aggressive actions that force the other Methuselahs to block them. However, these decks do not voluntarily take actions to enter combat.

They are the kings of the schoolyard: This expression is intended to denote that these decks are usually capable of intimidating all the decks that do not fight or are not combat decks, and that they cannot deal in a real and consistent way with combat decks.

Efficient combat with one or two cards: These decks do not usually have to play 4 or 5 combat cards each combat, but only a few that produce efficient combats (e.g., Apportation + Theft of Vitae, Chiropteran Marauder + Breath of the Dragon, Carrion Crows + Aid From Bats, etc.)

Their combat tends to be more efficient as the game progresses and the blood of the vampires is scarce. Since combat is not so efficient, it is difficult, as I mentioned, that they can empty or torporize vampires from turn 1 of the game.


These are the decks that purely base their strategy on combat. These decks are usually identified by a fairly typical pack of master and Gehenna event cards and by containing, almost entirely, combat cards, basing their strategy on eliminating rival vampires.

In my opinion, effective combat is one that sends a vampire to torpor empty or directly burns him or her. Everything else is ineffective for its intended uses.

These decks, and following 90-card examples, would have around 45/60 combat cards and the rest of the deck would be focused on enhancing combat, actions to enter combat with other minions, master cards, events…

If they are efficient and well built, they tend to send their rivals' vampires into torpor empty (so that, if any vampire takes actions to rescue them from torpor, they will have to pay 2 blood) or burn them directly. And that is why these decks are efficient.

The vampires that go to torpor with all the blood are usually rescued by their cross-table allies thus making the combat ineffective. On the other hand, these decks completely empty the opposing vampire or burn them directly.

This efficiency in combat, as well as the number of combat cards these decks contain is what makes the difference with the decks with combat.

VTES Fight Club 1c
Here you have the Count Germaine multi-rush deck that I have played several times to show that this strategy is viable:

Crypt (12; Capacity min=2 max=9 avg=5.5)
1x Justine Chen, Innocent   2 pre   Toreador antitribu:4
1x Lorrie Dunsirn   4 for nec POT   Abomination:4
3x Themistocles   8 pre AUS CEL FOR POT   Brujah:5
1x Clifton Derrik   2 cel   Brujah:4
3x Count Germaine   8 obf CEL FOR POT PRE   Brujah:4
3x Dmitra Ilyanova   9 obf CEL FOR POT PRE   Brujah:5

Library: 90
Master (12)
2x Fame
1x Giant’s Blood
5x Minion Tap
1x Pentex(TM) Subversion
1x Tension in the Ranks
2x Dreams of the Sphinx

Action (17)
3x Ambush
3x Fleetness
3x Harass
2x Heroic Might
3x Big Game
3x Bum’s Rush

Action Modifier (10)
2x Forced March
8x Freak Drive

Combat (50)
11x Immortal Grapple
2x Psyche!
10x Pursuit
6x Rolling with the Punches
6x Taste of Vitae
11x Torn Signpost
2x Decapitate
2x Disarm

Event (1)
1x Dragonbound

This is a deck with 50 combat cards out of 90, although 12 of them are Freak Drives and Forced March, so our deck is actually at 80 cards with 50 red cards among them.

You can see that the whole strategy of this deck is to bring out Count Germaine and start taking actions to enter combat and torporize vampires, and taking more actions of that kind on the same turn. It is a multi-rush strategy.

This deck works pretty consistently and/or burns multiple vampires per turn.

After playing the action to enter combat, we play Torn Signpost + Immortal Grapple + Pursuit in order to inflict 9 damage on the opposing vampire, with the optional and circumstantial Disarm and Decapitate.

We see this deck contains maneuvers, presses and prevention cards, which is a characteristic trait of this type of decks to make sure that they send vampires to torpor empty or burn them, in the first place, and secondly, that our vampires survive the fight.

We must always remember that people play Villein, Minion Tap, Vessel and Blood Dolls, in addition to the fact that vampires use their blood to pay many of the cards they play. Therefore, burning 9 blood consistently is more than enough to send a vampire to torpor with no blood.

Its characteristics are as follows:

Combat-based master and Gehenna cards: These decks pack copies of Fame, Haven Uncovered, Tension in the Ranks, Dragonbound.

Actions to enter combat and/or vampires with the ability to enter combat: Bum Rush, Harass, Big Game, etc. or vampires like Enkidu, Beast, Leatherface of Detroit, etc.

Vampires with combat Disciplines: Potence, Animalism, Celerity, Fortitude, etc.

The ability to empty or burn vampires in a single combat: These well-constructed decks are capable of emptying or burning vampires from turn 1.

The ability to prevent damage and use Taste of Vitae: These decks usually pack vampires with Fortitude or Protean (less effective than the former), who use those Disciplines to prevent damage, and who play Taste of Vitae to refill the vampires at the end of combat.

The ability to deal with strikes that end combat: These decks pack a considerable number of cards to counter strikes that end combat, since each action must count so that you can send the opposing vampires out of the Eternal Struggle (for example, Immortal Grapple, Psyche!, Dog Pack, Death Seeker, etc.)

Maneuvers, cards that set the range, and presses: These decks contain a high number of cards with one of these three effects to prevent the opposing vampires from escaping without ending up in torpor or burned.

Low reactive defense ability.

Low bleeding ability.


Having analyzed both strategies, that of combat decks and that of decks with combat, we are going to analyze the main errors that I have seen over the years as a player.

Construction errors. Strategy: When building the deck, if we do not know how to come up with the right proportions of the cards, we have to include in order to do what we want to do, our hand will get clogged as the game unfolds.

It does not make any sense to rely on a 5-card combat strategy and put 5 copies of each in a deck intended to block and punish blocking (that is, a deck with combat), because we will not be able to cycle our hand consistently for us to be able to play those 5 cards in each block, or because there will obviously come a time when we will block and will not have any combat cards.

Likewise, it does not make sense in a multi-rush deck that our combat is based on hitting for 1 aggravated damage.

It is very important for us to have a clear strategy to achieve our goals, and build our deck with the appropriate combat module.

Construction errors. Proportions: We should not pack 20 aggravated hand strikes in a deck with combat, because we will not enter combat 20 times and be able to cycle the hand properly. And we should not pack only 4 maneuvers in combat decks, or play without prevention cards, because we will be absolutely inefficient and unable to be a real threat with our combat.

That is, for a combat deck to be efficient, the proportions of the combat cards contained therein should be considered very carefully and thoroughly.

Game errors. Table reading: If you do not know how to play your deck, you will most likely blame your deck (which may be well constructed) for the poor results.

Combat decks are selective combat decks, where their cards are used to punish certain actions or reactions at certain times, but not in a systematic way. You have to know when to play the cards, when to reserve them, how to cycle the hand so that it does not get clogged during combat.

In combat decks this translates into the famous "back-ousting", and since we do not usually know how to face a game without bleed redirections or reactions, we end up being afraid that they get ousted, and therefore we torporize all our predator’s vampires, thus playing the game  upstream and being ousted without scoring any victory points, and giving the game win to another player.

Game errors. Inability to control the table: Combat decks tend to be extremely aggressive decks that usually get ousted cross-table in the early game, because of the fear they instill, especially to Methuselahs playing political or bleed decks.

And combat players tend to be either quite insular (torporizing every minion that comes out in front and behind them without looking at the entire table) or too aggressive (moving around the table to be feared, rather than to be respected).

Knowing that combat decks can usually go cross-table to be respected or to oust those threats that may exist in a game, we have to assume that when using a strategy with a few or no reactions at all, like ours, there are cards that terribly punish these decks: like Meddling of Semsith or Banishment. We have to know how to foresee that and play around it, either by negotiating or making cross-table decisions that, at any given moment, prevent us from being ousted from the game.

By controlling the table, we will have the capacity to keep the decks that pose a danger to us under control at the early stages of the game. For this reason, just as we can cross the table with politics, we can cross the table to balance it with combat decks.

Combat decks have great table control, and it is important to know how to play with combat or around it (that does not mean you have to indiscriminately enter combat cross-table).

In short, if our combat, both in decks with combat and in combat decks, is not adapted to what our strategy needs, is not well proportioned or is not well played, it will be usually difficult for it to work, or at least, more difficult than the rest of the strategies of the game.

Well, after analyzing combat, how should we play against combat? We will see that in the second part of this article.



Black Chantry Rules Director Vincent Ripoll answers some rules questions:

Q: Can I play Organized Resistance if I control a baron in torpor, since the card "requires a baron"?
A: No, the requirements of cards always apply to the minion playing that card, and only ready minions can play reaction cards (even if the card grants an effect to another minion).

Q: If I play Organized Resistance to unlock one of my Anarchs and that Anarch fails to block, does that Anarch stay unlocked?
A: Yes. There are two important categories of reaction cards: those that unlock minions (and usually force them to try to block) and those that "wake" minions.
The differences are:
a) "Unlock" cards leave the minion unlocked if they didn't manage to block whereas "wake" cards leave them locked.
b) "Unlock" cards allow only one successful block attempt (since the minion will be locked for successfully blocking) whereas "wake" cards allow them to block multiple times during an action (if it is being continued with a Form of Mist for instance).
c) "Wake" cards can also be played at specific moment when "unlock" cards cannot (see Glossaries on
Those differences are important, that is why one must not unlock a "waking" minion (a common misleading play).

Q: I play The Platinum Protocol using Protean (among other Disciplines). Do I have to announce on which vampire the corruption counter will be put?
A: No, because the corruption counter is put as part of the resolution of the action (if the bleed is successful) and the target of the bleed may change during the course of the action. You have to wait until the bleed is successful to put the counter of a minion of your choosing (controlled by the target of the bleed).

Q: Can I steal that minion right away if the number of my corruption counters on the minion equals or exceeds their capacity or cost of the minion when resolving The Platinum Protocol?
A: No, you need a card that explicitly says so, for example Cave of Apples.

VTES Rules QA b

Q: Ok, and what if I played Revelation of the Serpent and put a second corruption counter of the minion during the same action thanks to The Platinum Protocol, can I burn the two counters after resolution to unlock my vampire?
A: Yes. The counters are burned after resolution of the action, so after the second corruption counter is put on the minion. More about this: VEKN Forum: Timing of the oust, pool gain, VP gain and Life Boon.

Q: Does the vampire using Hunger of Marduk have the option to use the blood-stealing strike any time during the round? Specifically, if an additional strike is played, may the vampire elect to use the blood-stealing strike again? Or is the blood-stealing strike only usable once during the round?
A: The strike provided by Hunger of Marduk can be chosen and used more than once during the round. More about this: VEKN Forum: Hunger of Marduk and additional Strike.

Q: If I play Dust Up using Celerity, can I play another Dust Up using Celerity with the additional strike?
A: No, because each Dust Up using Celerity provides an additional strike counting against the limit. The first one is ok, but the second one cannot be played because of that limit (even if you don't plan to use it and just want to dodge a second time: you cannot apply only half of the effects of a card). You could still play another Dust Up using Potence though.


• SuakuOZ 5th Edition upgrades: This is an awesome series in which two experienced Methuselahs discuss how to tweak the recent VTES preconstructed decks. The lastest episode when this is written is Fifth Edition The Ministry - check it out!

• Demogames at Festival des Jeux Cannes, France: Not volunteer content, but anyway, we need this kind of efforts to show VTES for new eyes. Awesome work by Events for Games February 25-27, just look at the booth above!

• El club del dado Unboxing: Yes, one of those Spanish unboxing videos again - but can we have enough of those? NEVER!

• VDB: Currently the best VTES deckbuilding tool?

Black Chantry logo


• The upcoming New Blood mini-decks is at the printer. If all works well they will be in stores in late April. Preview art by the great Ken Meyer Jr at the top of this newsletter!

• The next batch of Legacy singles for Drivethrucards (Salubri, Tzimisce and Pander) is still worked on. Changing old cards to new wording templates is harder than you think!

• Both Anthology 1 and 25th Anniversary will be reprinted, as demand still is strong.

• The Fall of London set still needs work - it´s bounced between designers and the rules department to ensure correct wordings for the last changes, then there´s proofing time.

• Cards for later sets (Camarilla big capacity vampires, Sabbat, Hecata) are being worked on. Hopefully something will be ready for playtesting soon.

VTES Fifth EditionVTES Products 2021-11

Do you have opinions or questions for Black Chantry? Start a topic on the VEKN forum, or contact the company by e-mailFacebookInstagram or Twitter.


The big news in World of Darkness RPGs this month is the preview of Hunter: The Reckoning! Download the preview for free at (just requires an account). This was discussed when Creative Lead Justin Achilli was interviewed at the online Renegade Con. In this was revealed lots of coming stuff, including a Vampire: The Masquerade starter set, a player´s guide and a sourcebook about Blood Sorcery and Thin-Blooded Alchemy! Check out the video for more information.

Don´t forget to subscribe to the World of Darkness News show for more news!


Upcoming tournaments for the coming month (booked so far) are in:
Brazil x6
Spain x5
USA x4
France x2

For details about these events, see the VEKN Event Calendar.

Remember: Online tournaments are possible - just check the box "Online tournament" when you add the event to the calendar!

You can contact the V:EKN Inner Circle members using contact forms at Also follow the official V:TES Facebook page Vampire: The Eternal Struggle and the official V:EKN Twitter account @VEKN_VTES 

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.