Last time I focused on the Nosferatu, so it seems only appropriate that I would turn to the Toreador today. 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 has 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, and I’ll update this post as the deck changes. So without further ado, allow me to present Demo Deck – Toreador Block, Bleed, and Shoot:
|Crypt (12 cards; Capacity min=3 max=10 avg=6)|
|1x||Demetrius Slater||4||aus cel pre||Toreador:1|
|1x||Dorian Strack||4||cel AUS||Toreador:1|
|2x||Felicia Mostrom||5||pre AUS CEL||Toreador:1|
|1x||Isabel de Leon||3||AUS||Toreador:2|
|2x||Kallista, Master Sculptor||6||pre pro AUS CEL||Toreador:1|
|2x||Masika||10||AUS CEL PRE||Toreador:1|
|1x||Ramiel DuPre||5||aus cel dom PRE||Toreador:1|
|2x||Tatiana Romanov||7||cel pre AUS||Toreador:1|
|Library (60 cards)|
|1x||Society Hunting Ground|
|5x||Flurry of Action|
|Action Modifier (7)|
|5x||Aire of Elation|
|3x||Resist Earth’s Grasp|
Piloting Instructions for New Players:
How does the deck win? While this deck is incredibly flexible and can readily adapt to whatever your opponents throw your way, it is not an aggressive deck. You will commonly want to end your turn with 1 or more minions untapped, ready to block. This can be accomplished in a number of ways including not acting, taking a successful Flurry of Action bleed (which lets you untap), untapping at the end of the turn via Metro Underground, or having Masika in play (he untaps at the end of each player’s turn). This deck has a lot of intercept, and it should be able to block even stealth decks. Once you block a vampire, you have .44 Magnums to teach them a lesson about not messing with you. You can equip these guns as an action, or if you have both the gun and Concealed Weapon in your hand, you can play them during combat, thereby saving you an action. Your primary means of ousting will be small bleeds, which can be increased by using Aire of Elation (which is best kept as a surprise until your prey is quite low on pool).
How does the deck survive? Your basic survival tool is to block actions that will harm you. The combination of your guns with Celerity combat cards like Blur and Pursuit makes for a very efficient and deadly combination. If you fight vampires that attempt to end combat as a strike, you can play Psyche! to start a new combat with the same participants. You also have Telepathic Misdirection, which is a reaction card that allows you to redirect an incoming bleed to a different player. You will want to play these to maximum effect: first try to block their bleed, wait to see if your opponents adds stealth to their action, then declare you have no block and see if your opponent increases the bleed. Finally, redirect the now enhanced bleed to your prey.
Play Test Notes:
This is not a quick deck, but it can often appear harmless: most of the time, you are just bleeding for 1 or 2 while staying untapped. It looks like a very defensive deck and that can encourage your prey to let down their guard. The real problem is what to do if you can’t find your .44 Magnums. It’s a problem faced by all gun decks, but I do wonder if this deck has the right number of guns. The new player who played this really enjoyed it, and it seemed to nicely fit her playing style, although she was also a bit frustrated by the deck until the first gun made its appearance.
How does it fit my demo deck rules?
Defense: This is certainly the first blocking-oriented deck that I’ve shown. It has more wakes and ways of uptapping than any other deck, and it has a decent amount of intercept to back that up. And, of course, Telepathic Misdirection is one of the best bleed defenses in the game.
Voting: The only defense this deck has to voting is to try to block the political action. A problem arises if the player calling the vote isn’t your predator or prey. However, I don’t think that this situation will arise often enough to warrant cards like Poison Pill or Delaying Tactics. Plus this deck has a few titled vampires, so it might be able to get favorable terms on votes called by cross table allies.
Combat: The .44 Magnums may not seem flashy, but they are one of the most efficient combat strategies in the game, especially when you back them up with a decent number of maneuvers (provided by Pursuit, Resist Earth’s Grasp, and Quicken Sight when blocking), and additional strikes (provided by Pursuit and Blur). Really, the only thing that this deck is worried about is not having enough maneuvers against Potence combat or the aggravated damage caused by Gangrel. The only way to deal with the later is by using maneuvers, or the damage prevention afforded to you by Precognition.
Pool / Blood Management: This deck has several Powerbases that will slowly help generate pool, but each of them can be stolen or interacted with by other players, meaning that they have to be defended in order to be useful. But you can also use these to help other players – does your cross-table ally need some help? Maybe you could offer them the pool on Powerbase: Chicago, or lend them Powerbase: Montreal for a turn. Other than this, the deck features Blood Dolls to help recoup the pool that you invest into your minions. Blood gain is limited to just the Society Hunting Ground.
How could it be changed by a new player?
I’ll be honest – this sort of intercept-combat deck isn’t what I usually play, so I’m likely not the most qualified person to be commenting on how to make it better. That having been said, any deck that has Auspex and is dedicated to blocking will benefit from having Eagle’s Sight, which allows your vampire to attempt to block any action. If your prey is bleeding his prey, you normally can’t block that action, but with Eagle’s Sight, you can! These should be spent very carefully, and they should almost always be used to block and hurt your prey rather than to protect yourself from cross-table threats.
The other element that these defensive decks really benefit from are master cards that passively do pool damage to other players (like the Antediluvian Awakening in this deck). Your options for this sort of card pretty much boil down to Anarch Revolt, more Antediluvian Awakening, and Smiling Jack, The Anarch. These allow you to be doing damage to your prey while also staying untapped to block. However, these cards are also dangerous – they do damage to all other players (usually including you), and other players can destroy them by taking actions, meaning that all four other players at the table might be coming at you! To mitigate the pool damage these cards will be doing to you, you’ll need some strong form of pool gain. More Blood Dolls and a way to get blood on your vampires are a good place to start.
If you really wanted to take the idea of pool damaging master cards to an extreme, you could focus on stacking Anarch Revolt (the only one of the three above that isn’t unique). In this case, you would want to have at least one of your minions be an anarch to prevent you from being hurt by your own cards. Your vampires may take an action to become an anarch, and there are action cards that accomplish the same thing. In this situation, you’ll want to be able to play multiple Anarch Revolts in a single turn which will require you to gain additional master phase actions. This can be accomplished by adding Anson to your crypt, and The Parthenon to your library.
Well, what do you think about this 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,