file Harbingers of Skulls Strengths But Mostly Weaknesses

13 Oct 2012 16:29 #39035 by AaronC
I would look to previous versions of the Harbingers of Skulls' classic discipline Mortis for inspiration.

It is too late to create a separate Mortis discipline. However, these powers could simply be represented as cards requiring HoS.

These Mortis paths suggest several possibilities:
From The Grave's Decay:
-Corrupt the Undead Flesh: vampires and allies damaging the HoS receive disease counters. Allies sharing a controller with an infected ally are themselves infected.
-Dissolve the Flesh: unpreventable +strength hand damage vs. vampires
These abilities would improve the wall capabilities of HoS and give the HoS an anti-ally angle.

From The Corpse in the Monster:
-Curse of Life: tap another vampire
-Gift of Life: make actions unblockable by vampires but not followed by torpor for the HoS
These abilities give the HoS a bit more delivery options, although they would still need something relevant to deliver.

From Cadaverous Animation:
-Call the Athanatos: burn a non-animal ally or retainer from any ash heap to put a unique ally into play with powerful combat abilities, including a maneuver and damage prevention, but who is obligated to rush another minion every turn.
-Muster a Corpse Army: the HoS creates a number of weenie zombie ally counters equal to the amount of blood spent, each with 1 bleed, 1 strength, and 1 life. The zombie counters are burned if the HoS's is reduced to 0 blood.
These abilities would give the HoS some more potent combat and ousting options.

According to canon, the HoS are waiting to wreak vengeange on the clans who betrayed them. The "Organization" section of this wiki suggests that the HoS conspire to perform a master stroke. Here is a possible "Week of Nightmares" type card for the HoS. The card assumes that Muster the Corpse Army is available:

Revenge of the Cappadocians (or Vengeance from Beyond the Veil)
Requires at least one Gehenna cards in play.
HoS and zombie allies receive +1 bleed when bleeding a Methuselah who controls a ready Giovanni or Camarilla vampire.

It's not perfect, but gives situational ousting "umph". An ally deck will be running The Unmasking anyway, which would cover the Gehenna requirement.
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13 Oct 2012 16:30 #39036 by ReverendRevolver
The same thing gangrel and non slave gargoyles need:

Good clan cards that make them worth playing over other clans with two overlapping disciplines.

all three need cards to gain pool HoS need a govern style one, and the others also need in clan reaction goodness.
harbingers need a good wrath ally for attrition.

but support from clan cards, to be general.
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13 Oct 2012 16:41 #39038 by ICL

In this post I will discuss major deck types relevant to Harbingers of Skulls, and why the clan struggles at being viable with any of them. My goal is to spark discussion about the clan and its strengths and weaknesses. This post is deliberately light on solutions; I hope that by identifying the weaknesses of the clan and the strengths of the archetypes, we can follow through with logical solutions - be they new deck ideas, card combinations, or even new cards.

The three even groups of HoS are very different.

Group 2 is about large vampires with annoying specials. The reason why this group is so bad (at what it seemed to be intended to do) is that the specials are all over the place. They have a common theme of "slow an opponent down", but the synergy is lacking and that's a poor strategy to begin with. The reason why this group is so bad, IME, is that it's just way too slow. Take vote, as an example. Sure, Cardinal Benediction them up, but by the time you do that, everyone else has all of their voters out as well and you probably still only have three HoS in play by the end of the game.

Group 4 is completely different and was quite the revelation for me. It's about midcaps and it's about Laibon. Laibonism gives access to Ancestor's Insight, Kduva's Mask, and other Laibon toys. Midcapness and a healthy dose of AUS means reasonable speed of set up for acting, reasonable set up for defending, and a reasonable shot at four HoS in play. Nicomedes doesn't suit the midcap HoS bleed deck archetype all that well ... except that his special is such that he "combos with every card in the game" fits in any deck.

Group 6 is short on options and Byzar has been a problem for me to find a deck for because he's more of a superstar. There's not a lot gained by having a 10 cap who can do a bunch of stuff the lower caps can't when you could just play non-HoS as support.

As for the bridge vampires, Mina has been more useful to me for Laibony decks, though I'll get to something where she may be crucial. Mordechai is just a stud and strikes me as the best "HoS", with Nicomedes being the better vampire. But, he's not exactly well-supported by his brethren either.


It's true that I haven't been able to win tournaments with midcap Laibon bleed to provide evidence of how viable this deck is, but it has been an enjoyable deck to play.

While the cards with the HoS clan symbol on them from HttB are rather absurd, Blessed Resilience is mostly a HoS card. Again, no tournament success support to show it, but I've had plenty of success with Force of Will and HoS. This card suits group 2/3 really well, which kind of seemed to be the point of existence.

Not something I tried because the capacities are daunting, but group 5/6 can anarch up and Keystone Kine or whatever. Problem is, could just do that with cheaper dudes.


I find this to be too slow and too awkward. And, of course, politics without PRE really needs justification that weak titles doesn't provide. Then, if you Baron up (or implausibly Magaji up), so what? What's the payoff for jumping through those hoops? Well, I suppose the same payoff that lots of "I make my dudes who don't really do anything Barons" decks have.


My suggestion for trying to find better things to do is to stop playing The Slaughterhouse. I don't see it being necessary to get use out of Trochomancy, but even if the synergy is compelling, I see it channeling people down narrow paths, where there should be more effort to innovate.
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13 Oct 2012 18:55 #39043 by Haze
I had a pretty decent HoS Slaughterhouse deck for a while -

I eventually took it apart because I decided it was just not good enough. anything they try to do, some other clan can do the same thing much better. Necromancy especially, that discipline is balanced for the Giovanni. they can play Path of Bone and also combine it with Dominate for maximum effect, so Necromany cards have never gotten any strong power boost in expansions. this means one of their 3 disciplines is not on par, and you could be playing :OBE: or :VAL: (or :DOM:) instead.

so I think the only options left are the so-so vampire specials. I've been interested in Agaitas's special, wondering if anyone managed to use it well. I once saw an funny trick with Phagian and Saulot where a spirit marionetted vampire is forced to pay their own blood for Trochomancy. A few of their specials seem to revolve around burning vampires, so maybe Daemonic Possession is the necromancy card they should use?

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13 Oct 2012 20:06 #39047 by Juggernaut1981
I've been disappointed with the Necromancy options for a LONG time. I really hope that the next Indie-Clan release has a LOT more roids for NEC allies and retainers because if it is something other than Shambling Hordes... it's a GIO card.

:bruj::CEL::POT::PRE::tha: Baron of Sydney, Australia, 418
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13 Oct 2012 20:15 #39048 by johannes

Because the sole mention of samedi were to explain that they were better than the HoS, maybe ? :p
(not that samedi are great ; more like they need another topic)

Uhm. Brainfart. Sorry. B-)

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