file Help with decks for a new player

13 Jul 2021 16:10 #102688 by Kacheese
Hi all,

My friend group and I decided to take the plunge and give Vampire a try. We all went in on the following:

2x 5th edition starter set (with all 5 precons)
2x Parliament of Shadows
2x 25th Anniversary 
2x First Blood (All 5)

Some reading online suggested that we pick up 2 of everything so that the decks could be refined. I was wondering if anyone could help out with what kind of changes we should make these decks to improve them?

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14 Jul 2021 07:59 #102694 by Lönkka
I kinda remembered that Karl Schaefer had written something about this and thought it would've been in his store's pages ( www.kgs-cards.com/ ) but apparently not. :/

There might be something related at vtesone.wordpress.com/ but probably similar articles were of the WW era products.

What at least exists is the Black Chantry suggestions for First Blood double sized decks. These "How to play the First Blood: XXX deck" articles can be found somewhat inconveniently at their site through several links starting fromhere:
www.blackchantry.com/products/legacy/

(Here is one direct link: www.blackchantry.com/products/legacy/first-blood/first-blood-malkavian/ )

Another way to find all of these would be to search at Fantasiapelit site with VTES: First Blood and then locating the needed info by clicking each First Blood product:
www.fantasiapelit.com/

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14 Jul 2021 23:27 #102700 by Kacheese
Thank you for the advice Lönkka.

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15 Jul 2021 17:14 #102702 by Khormag
Hey! 

Welcome to VTES! You have definitely already got a good start with the cards you have! 

I don't think that there is one right or wrong way to make changes to decks or building decks from a scratch. This comes mostly down to the players preference and play style, which comes with experience and time. What I would suggest, is for each of you to pick a deck you like, and stick with it for a while. Then you can just start doing changes by yourself, like removing some cards you don't like, and adding something you think could be interesting or better, or if you feel like you need more of something! This way you will also learn about the basics of the deck building and how different cards  affect the game and the deck. The cards you have, should give you a pretty decent collection, so you have basically everything you need to fine tune the decks to any direction you feel like going! 

For some more general and maybe specific advices, the First blood decks can be made into a pretty decent normal sized decks by just combining two of the same decks. This should give you a pretty decent crypt and some what decent library. The library might be a bit large if you make no changes at all (even if the limit of the library deck is 90 cards, you usually want to aim closer to 70-80, because you rarely need the full 90 cards, and a bit less cards give you more consistency), but after playing a few games you should have some idea on what can be cut!

Parliament of Shadows deck is pretty great straight out of the box. Only changes I would do to the deck, is to maybe change the crypt a bit, like removing one of each of the vampires with inferior dominate and then adding some of the other ones. Charles Delmare is a good one! The library of the deck is pretty decent, you can add 2 more Zillah's Valley to the deck if you wish, it makes getting the vampires ready a bit faster! After playing a bit more, you could tune the deck towards more bleed oriented version, if you wish so, by removing some or all of the Political Actions and adding more bleed cards (Govern the Unaligned and Conditioning). The Crypt could be rounded out a bit more, if you get your hands on some more cards, either by printing proxies or bying singles! But printed proxies is an excellent way of testing stuff early, so don't be afraid to do that! You can get the pdf files for printing easily from some of the online deck builders, like Amaranth.  amaranth.vtes.co.nz/

The 25th Anniversary deck is also an excellent one. It is based on a well known archetype of Stanislava Vote & Bleed decks, which has won multiple tournaments around the world. The Crypt is pretty good as is. No changes needed there really. But in the library there are some things I would personally change. Fear of Mekhet while a great card, is not really a card you need in this deck, and can even hurt you in some cases. Also Permanent Vacation is not really that good. Removing those two should give you a pretty decent starting point for a great Stanislava deck!

The 5th edition starter decks are a bit more tricky. They all are a pretty decent starting point for a deck, but they maybe lack some definition. There is way too much to get into here, because there are so many possible ways to make changes to the decks. But try to test and see what works for you!

Some general things to considering while building decks:

As I mentioned above, you generally want to keep the deck size in check, around 70 to 80 cards.

Master cards are harder to play than other, as your master phase actions are limited by the rules, so you should probably aim for around 13-17 Master cards in a deck of around 80 cards. You generally want to have around 4 to 6 master cards slotted for pool and blood management, cards like Blood Doll, Vessel and Villein do that. If you are playing small to mid capacity (2-9) vampires, you are usually good to go with only Vessel and Blood Doll (Maybe total of 4 or 5 in a deck of 80 cards), but if you are playing bigger vampires, you usually want to include Villeins, as they allow you to gain back some of the pool you invested on the vampires a bit faster than with Vessel or Blood Doll (4-7 in a deck of 80 cards). Also include some ways of generating some blood, cards like Hunting Grounds, Jake Washington and The Coven do this (1 to 3 in a deck of 80 cards, preferably different cards). Some of the Master cards should also be cards that help you in influencing out the vampires, cards like Information Highway, Zillah's Valley and Dreams of the Sphinx do that. This is some what dependent on the size of the vampires you are playing, if you are only playing very small capacity Vampires, it might not be as important to have these accelerating cards in your deck, but in a deck of larger Vampires (Like Parliament of Shadows) it is important to include at least some!

Don't play too many action cards! The amount of actions should be tied to the amount of vampires you are expecting to play with! Around 15 to 25 is more than enough for most decks! If you are playing with bigger vampires with no ability to multiact (play Freak Drive or Majesty or other cards to unlock and do multiple actions in a turn) then include closer to 15 actions, but if you have multiple smaller vampires or you can multiact, then it is safer to play more actions! Remember that Political Actions, Allies and Retainers are also actions and should be included to this number!

Don't play too much stealth! Its easy to slot a lot of stealth into a deck, but in most cases it is not required. 12 to 15 cards of stealth is more than enough for many decks. In some cases more can be played, but remember to include some ways to cycle your hand too, if you have more stealth cards. The problem with stealth is that you can only play it if you are being blocked, so it can some times jam your hand pretty badly. Prefer some permanent ways of gaining stealth, like some Master cards (Monastery of Shadows) or then have a plan for dealing with potential hand jamming (Cards like Dreams of the Sphinx or The Barrens do this)

Remember to slot some defence to the deck! This can come in many forms. Cards that change the direction of a bleed (so called "bounces") are extremely valuable tool for bleed defence, but also for offence, when available. These allow you to take advantage of your predator trying to kill you, making their attacks with bleeds work in your favor instead! Telepathic Misdirection for Auspex and Deflection for Dominate (5-9 in a deck of 80 cards). Its also important to include some "wake" cards that allow you to react while tapped. Cards like On the Qui Vive and Eyes of Argus do this (3-10 in a deck of 80 cards). Also cards like Second Tradition: Domain and Sense the Savage Way are great for this purpose and more.

For other kinds of defence, its important to have some ways of dealing with combat in each deck, if you are not the one trying to combat. This can be done easily by playing Strike: Combat End cards, like Majesty or Shadow Body. If you are playing a slower deck, or a so called "wall" deck, and you strategy is controlling the pace of the game, then it is also important to include enough Intercept cards to be able to do that. There are many ways of Generating intercept, but it comes mainly for disciplines Auspex and Animalism. Some intercept cards can be included in any deck, if you wish to have a more of a tool box deck, just remember that its usually wise to have some kind of a plan for the combat in these types of decks!

If you have multiple cards that achieve the same thing, it is usually smart to include some of each in a deck. This is extremely important on Stealth cards and Intercept cards, where having multiple different cards that generate stealth or intercept, allow you to have much higher potential stealth or intercept value, but also makes it easier to cycle your deck, as you can potentially play multiple cards during an action.

I hope this helps!

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20 Jul 2021 20:17 #102738 by Kacheese
Thanks a lot Khormag!

That is a lot to go on. We are 5 games in now and I think we are getting the hang of it. Some players in the group have started making modifications and we have been using your advice to great effect!
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21 Jul 2021 07:35 #102742 by Lönkka
Seems like you are well on the way!

Well done and keep going.

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