The following article has been cross-posted from Information Highway.
Welcome to another starter deck review… well, sort of. A good amount of people were asking about which deck they should play if they wanted to complete a table of 5, with only 4 Black Chantry Sabbat starters. Being the kind human beings we are, we figured we would help you out!We wanted to keep the theme of the other starters intact and only choose between one of the remaining 4 Sabbat clans, which are !Brujah, !Nosfe, !Malkavian and !Ventrue. But which one?
!Malkavian is infamous for their midcap stealth and bleed deck. While it is indeed a powerful deck (that’s also relatively easy to pilot), it can be very frustating to play against so we decided against it.
!Nosfe, as well as !Brujah to a lesser extent, have seen very few competitive success and it was our initial intention to provide a deck that was as close as tier 1 as possible.
And, would you look at that, it so happens that a !Ventrue deck is tier 1!
Before we hop in, I just wanted to be clear about this list. It’s meant to be a watered-down version of a !Ventrue deck, in order to have a comparable power level with the other starters. It should also be noted that another archetype named Prince Grinder is very close to this one. It basically plays Camarilla Ventrue Princes and trades Auspex cards for Second Tradition: Domain (the absolute best Wake + Cept Card) as well as some numbers of Parity Shift (arguably the best vote in the game).
I/ The archetype
!Ventrue Grinder is a toolbox deck, which means it aims to do a little bit of everything. It uses Dominate to oust its prey as well as helping its development, Auspex to wall and Fortitude to survive combat, along with Weightened Walking Stick (WWS for short). It’s a resilient deck that has no really atrocious match-up, which makes it both pretty popular and successful in big tournaments. This is absolutely the kind of deck that I would encourage competitive players to play: I ended up playing the Prince Grinder version at both 2018 French National Championship and Day 2 of 2018 European Championship.
Most of the time, the deck game plan is mostly patient influencing of vampires with Superior Govern The Unaligned, while blocking (or at least threatening to block) important actions on the table. When the window opens for an oust, the common Dominate kill command of Govern + Conditioning, alongside some numbers of Daring the Dawn for unblockable bleeds, should easily put down a prey that was already weakened from all the bleed bounces.
Finally, prevent is the way !Ventrue Grinder handles fights, with usually 15 to 20 Fortitude cards, that also often double as very valuable press. Some numbers of WWS (often 4 or 5) complete the module and allow the deck to punish non-fighting decks that they succeed in blocking. The goal here is to grind opponents’ ressources, rather than just being really scary in combat, like Eurobrujah for example.
!Ventrue Grinder has a great crypt with some very strong vampires, the core being Owain « Don’t call me an hunting Ground » Evans, « Your Friendly Neighborhood» John and Blackhorse « Yes, I’m that good » Tanner.
As we’ve seen earlier, appart from GTU at superior early, wait for a window and oust your prey, it can be pretty hard to pinpoint an exact gameplan for !Ventrue Grinder. It’s especially pretty hard when starting out to know precisely what to block and what to let go through as, while the deck can most certainly wall, it’s by no mean a true wall. It can be tempting to intercept everything you can when you hand is full of reactions, only to find yourself wishing you kept some of them when you only have combat cards in hand.
Overall, the deck rewards patience and careful planning, which is very rewarding to play. Let us know how you like it!
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