Today, I present my first deck in my demo series. If you need to re-familiarize yourself with the guidelines I used when building these decks, you should check out the first article in this series. This deck features the fast, brutal, and charismatic members of Clan Brujah. It’s gone through a number of iterations, but what is presented here is the version that I currently carry with me. As I run more demos and collect more feedback, the deck will undoubtedly change still more. So without further ado, allow me to present Demo Deck – Brujah Bruise and Bleed:
|Crypt (12 cards; Capacity min=2 max=9 avg=5.75)|
|2x||Anvil||6||dom pre tha CEL POT||Brujah:1|
|2x||Bianca||6||pot pre CEL||Brujah:1|
|1x||Crusher||9||for CEL POT PRE||Brujah:1|
|1x||Hector Sosa||4||pre POT||Brujah:1|
|1x||Rake||6||aus cel pot PRE||Brujah:1|
|2x||Tura Vaughn||8||dom CEL POT PRE||Brujah:1|
|1x||Uma Hatch||3||cel pre||Brujah:1|
|1x||Vasilis, The Traitor of Don Cruez||2||pre||Brujah:2|
|1x||Volker, The Puppet Prince||5||pot CEL||Brujah:2|
|Library (60 cards)|
|1x||KRCG News Radio|
|Action Modifier (4)|
|2x||Change of Target|
|3x||Wake with Evening’s Freshness|
|4x||Taste of Vitae|
|3x||Resist Earth’s Grasp|
Piloting Instructions for New Players:
How does the deck win? While this might look like a combat deck, it’s actually a bleed deck. Where other decks use stealth to prevent their bleeds from being blocked, you use fear. After you kick the snot out of another vampire, players will think twice before blocking you. If one of your bleeds is redirected to another player (something that vampires with Dominate or Auspex might do to you), you can play Change of Target to help mitigate the damage you might accidentally do to your cross-table “ally.”
How does the deck survive? This deck mostly relies on an active defense: you don’t wait for trouble to come to you, you find trouble and stomp the crap out of it. Bum’s Rush will allow you to enter combat with any player’s troublesome vampires and potentially remove them. You also have a few ways of getting a small amount of intercept, but you shouldn’t rely on regularly blocking. In combat, your biggest fear is having the opposing minion dodge your strike or simply end combat with you. The only way you have to deal with this is to play Immortal Grapple (which forces both minions to punch each other for a turn), but you don’t have many of these cards, so be careful when you use them.
Play Test Notes:
I’ve only play tested this deck once, and it was really hard for me to judge its effectiveness because my prey kept putting Unleash Hell’s Fury into play, meaning that my bruise-and-bleed engine kept running head long into agg damage with no ability to strike back. Even still, the deck performed reasonably well. New players seem to love vampires with strength bonuses (so I’ve added a few more against my better judgement), and they disliked Black Cat (because they kept expecting equipment to show up). Finally, they felt that their combat package was somewhat impotent if they didn’t have a Torn Signpost in hand. While I would love to simply add more, I only have so many copies, so I’ve added a few more strike cards to help compensate for this. Players also really wanted to focus on Potence combat, so I swapped one Presence discipline card for a second Potence discipline card.
How does it fit my demo deck rules?
Defense: Well, Brujah aren’t really known for their ability to block, but I do want all these decks to be able to meaningfully interact with every aspect of the game, and that means that each deck should have some reaction cards to allow them to do stuff on their predator’s turn. Consequently, the deck includes a few Wake with Evening’s Freshness, and Elder Intervention along with KRCG News Radio gives the deck a limited ability to block actions. Given the options Brujah have for intercept (which include Rooftop Shadow and Legwork), I think this is as good as I’m going to get.
Voting: This deck actually includes a lot of titled vampires. Admittedly, most of them (5) are Primogen, but there are a few (2) Princes as well – it’s such a shame that none of the group 2 Brujah Princes have presence. This gives the deck some slight ability to interact with votes. If those prove to be insufficient to garner favorable terms, then the deck has a Poison Pill waiting.
Combat: As one might expect from the Brujah, they have a strong and card-intensive combat package based around increasing your strength, and beating the enemy into submission. The trick here is figuring out how many maneuvers to put in to keep it competitive with ranged combat packages. It’s been pretty tricky for me to figure out, because you want both close and ranged combat to stand a fighting chance. Give one or the other too many maneuvers, and the other becomes helpless. Right now, I’m happy with how many this deck has. Finally, this deck desperately needs some damage prevention when it goes up against the Gangrel’s aggravated damage, which is why the deck includes a few Sideslips.
Pool / Blood Management: Pool gain is pretty much limited to successful Legal Manipulations and Blood Doll (which helps players learn about the importance of returning blood back to your pool). Blood gain is very much centered on Taste of Vitae, meaning that the deck might need a hunting ground or other way to refill on blood.
Equipment / Location: This deck only features a single card to deal with each of these card types, but they are pretty effective. Fast Hands helps keep gun decks in check, and Rampage should help deal with pesky locations.
How could it be changed by a new player?
This deck should probably be taken in one of two different directions. Both of these work off the same theme (bleed heavily with Presence, and do major damage to any blockers) but they differ in how they approach combat. The first is to basically ditch all of the Potence cards and focus on Celerity for combat and Presence for bleed. A deck like this would include vampires like Black Cat, Brachah, and Volker, The Puppet Prince, all of whom are cheap vampires with superior Celerity. You could also look to include some of the group 2 Sabbat Brujah (called Brujah Antitribu) like Sarah Brando, Rigby, Crusade Vanguard, and Julian Sanders. There are a lot of Toreador with the same discipline combination that would be excellent in a deck like this as well. In this case, the combat package would be replaced with concealed .44 Magnums, along with Celerity combat cards like Pursuit, Blur, and Psyche!.
The second option leaves the Potence combat alone, and instead changes the crypt to include some of the fantastic Brujah Antitribu like Hugo, Sela (who has +1 bleed), and Jacko (who gets a free additional strike). Another strong vampire to consider is Theo Bell, who comes with a built-in ability to enter combat with enemy minions. His presence means that you will never have too many combat cards in hand. But he’s a little bit difficult to acquire (and he’ll cost more than most VTES cards), so I’d advise printing him out and playing with him a little before putting down money to purchase him. Putting the focus on Potence and Presence also allows you to include some dual-discipline cards like Iron Glare, and the print-and-play cards Show of Force and Esprit de Corps.
Once you figure out which deck you want to build, the library will certainly need to change – if you focus on Celerity (for example), most of the Potence cards should be removed. In addition, Elder Intervention should just be removed: the deck defends itself much better by entering combat with your predator’s minions than by blocking them. If you really want to continue to have the option to block, you may want to consider Guardian Angel which gives you intercept against bleed actions and allows you to prevent 1 damage each combat. Another good defensive card to consider is Archon Investigation, which is an out-of-turn master card that you can only play if somebody is bleeding you for 4 or more. It instantly destroys the vampire who is bleeding you, but it costs you 3 pool. It is an extremely potent weapon against decks that want to bleed you heavily. And finally, I think all decks should include one Sudden Reversal, which allows you to cancel a master card as it is played.
Well, what do you think about this first demo deck? How would you change the deck to make it stronger? Post your comments below – I’d love to get your feedback!
Until next time, may your bleeds never be bounced, and your votes always pass,
EDIT: This deck was edited on 11/02/15 based on comments. A few more rush cards were added, the combat module was simplified, the vote defense was changed, and Zephyr was added to provide some slight multi-acting or to increase defense.