It’s finally time for me to finish this initial series of demo decks. The Tremere took a little extra long for a couple of reasons not the least of which is the awkward crypt that they have available to them in group 1 and 2. But I’ve now tested this deck a number of times and am quite pleased with it. If there are any updates, I’ll make sure to note them on this page. 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. But, without further ado, allow me to introduce to you my Demo Deck – Tremere Blood Magic.
|Crypt (12 cards; Capacity min=3 max=8 avg=5.83)|
|2x||Astrid Thomas||7||aus pot DOM THA||Tremere:1|
|1x||Blythe Candeleria||3||aus THA||Tremere:2|
|1x||Jing Wei||3||dom tha||Tremere:1|
|2x||Justine, Elder of Dallas||8||obf AUS DOM THA||Tremere:1|
|1x||Lydia Van Cuelen||6||aus dom pre tha||Tremere:1|
|2x||Merrill Molitor||5||aus dom THA||Tremere:1|
|2x||Muaziz, Archon of Ulugh Beg||7||aus dom for THA||Tremere:2|
|1x||Sarah Cobbler||4||dom THA||Tremere:1|
|Library (60 cards)|
|1x||KRCG News Radio|
|3x||Govern the Unaligned|
|Action Modifier (8)|
|4x||Wake with Evening’s Freshness|
|7x||Theft of Vitae|
|3x||Walk of Flame|
Piloting Instructions for New Players:
How does the deck win? Incremental progress in both success and failure is the ethos of this deck. Your main ousting strategy will be large bleeds afforded to you by your Dominate cards, but since you lack access to stealth cards your actions are likely to be blocked. While you do have some nasty combat options that might make people think twice about blocking you (like Walk of Flame), they are difficult to consistently pull off. Instead, this deck uses Theft of Vitae to move blood from the enemy vampire to yours, which you can transfer back to your pool using Blood Doll, or spend to power your other cards. So if your bleed is unblocked you deprive your prey of pool, and if it is blocked, then you gain some blood and possibly pool. Either way, you are one step closer to winning!
How does the deck survive? As mentioned above, moving a steady flow of blood from minions back to your pool with Blood Doll is a potent way to make sure you have enough pool to stay alive. The deck also has a few ways to gain intercept, meaning that you should be able to block at least some actions. Lastly, you have access to the Deflection reaction card which allows you to change the target of a bleed to another player. You will want to play these to maximum effect: first try to block the bleed, wait to see if your opponent adds stealth to their action, then declare that you do not block and see if your opponent increases the bleed with an Action Modifier. Finally, redirect the now enhanced (and stealthed!) bleed to your prey and let them deal with it.
Play Test Notes:
I’ve actually won a number of casual (not demo) games with this deck, and a returning player from Jyhad days won a very tense game against veterans at a recent gaming convention. Who knew that Dominate would win games? That having been said, I do think this deck is somewhat tricky to play. It requires you to wait for the right opportunities, and your actions are pretty dependent on what’s in your hand. It is also very important to set up your pool recursion engine as quickly as possible and then engineer ways to get the right vampires into combat. New players seem to enjoy the deck, although some lament the relative lack of defensive capabilities (it can be difficult to wall up, especially if your predator is acting with any kind of stealth). Personally, I wish that the deck did more with Thaumaturgy than just fight, but I’m not sure what else to include in the deck. At various points, I’ve had Cryptic Mission, Biothaumaturgic Experimentation, and Seeds of Corruption (prior to the ban) in the deck but they were all ultimately removed.
How does it fit my demo deck rules?
Defense: Given that the Tremere have Auspex as a clan discipline, one might expect that the defense in this deck would be significant. Unfortunately, the group 1 + 2 Tremere crypt offers no small or mid-cap vampires with superior Auspex outside of the difficult to aquire Aisling Sturbridge. So while the deck does include some Auspex cards, I expect that they will usually be played at inferior. The deck supplements these with Sport Bike, KRCG News Radio, and Guardian Angel to provide a little more intercept. It also features the mighty Deflection. But the deck’s real defense is gaining more pool than it loses, which is accomplished by moving blood from your minions to your pool using Blood Doll, superior Govern the Unaligned and Scouting Mission, and the frequent use of Arcane Library.
Voting: This deck might have a rough time with politics. It features very few titled vampires (4 Primgoen) and will find it difficult to regularly block political actions. Really the only ace this deck has against politics is Poison Pill.
Combat: Thaumaturgy combat is interesting. It isn’t super scary like Potence or Celerity guns, rather its a glacially slow slide towards victory. I actually don’t think that Thaumaturgy combat holds up all that well against dedicated combat decks. At best it breaks even against guns (stealing two blood, then burning two to heal). There are some tools (like Guardian Angel, Precognition, and Chantry) to protect against aggro-poke, but the deck really has no viable defense against Potence combat except to maneuver to long and pray.
Pool / Blood Management: This deck is really set up to very carefully manage both blood and pool through the use of Blood Dolls and Theft of Vitae. It can also gain pool through superior Govern the Unaligned / Scouting Mission and Arcane Library is an extremely easy way to gain pool each turn.
Equipment / Location: Time for me to break my own rules, sadly. This deck has no way to handle locations or equipment. Unfortunately, the Tremere really don’t have good ways to permanently handle either. That having been said, there are a number of ways to temporarily deal with weapons including Blood Fury and Blood Rage. While these were initially included in the deck, I found that I either held on to them for too long, or they were discarded without effect, so they were taken out. This does mean, however, that the deck is left with no real ability to handle weapons or locations, so watch out!
How could it be changed by a new player?
Although I actually think this deck is quite solid as is, there are a couple of obvious changes I’d make. First, all of the Scouting Missions should be replaced by additional Govern the Unaligned – the trade off of one blood for +1 bleed or another counter being put onto an uncontrolled vampire is always a good one. Second, space for Mirror Walk should be found as it is the only stealth card that the Tremere have access to. The only reason that it isn’t in this deck is because I don’t have a lot of extras sitting around. If you envision yourself making a lot more decks with Thaumaturgy, you should certainly consider buying a few of these. Another card worth considering is Magic of the Smith, which allows you to tutor up and equip a specific equipment card – it’s an extremely good card for any deck that uses equipment.
One way to personalize the deck would be to change the crypt itself. The Tremere in group 1 and 2 are really focused on superior Thaumaturgy, but they have precious few mid capacity vampires with superior Auspex or Dominate. The major exception is Aisling Sturbridge who is somewhat difficult to procure. The Tremere Antitribu (Tremere aligned with the Sabbat) have a number of great options that help address these weaknesses. If you want more defensive options, Richard Tauber, Ayelea’s Puppet and Hannigan provide cheap access to superior Auspex. But if you’d rather go for the quick kill, Kurt Strauss, Reverend Blackwood, and Bryan Van Duesen provide superior Dominate. Any of them would be excellent additions to this deck.
The other thing to consider is what basic combat package you want to use. Thaumaturgy offers a plethora of combat options, but I think they boil down to three main strategies. The most popular is the one currently used by this deck – stealing blood with Theft of Vitae, preferably at long range to avoid the hit back. Another strategy is close-range combat which mostly centers on Blood Fury and Blood Rage. If you go with these, you’ll likely want to include cards that increase your strength like Biothaumaturgic Experiment and Depravity. Finally, you can go with Burst of Sunlight – although it does deal aggravated damage to you as well, there are a number of cards to help you mitigate the damage that you take. For the first two strategies, as long as you have a way to reliable press to continue combat, you might want to also consider a few cards that can’t be used on the first round of combat like Walk of Flame or Cauldron of Blood. Finally, if you think you might face other combat decks, Thaumaturgy does have some damage prevention in the form of Rego Motus. This card is on the expensive side for VTES, so you may want to consider playing with proxies before committing to purchase it yourself.
Well, that completes all of the Camarilla clans. I’m cooking up some decks for the Independent Clans (no ETA on those), and I’m continuing to playtest and refine my current demo decks. In particular I’m thinking about completey changing (again!) my Gangrel demo deck. As always, I’ll keep you all updated on my progress. In the meantime, please post comments below telling me what you think of this Tremere Demo deck and if you have any suggestions on how to make it stronger. Thanks!
Until next time, may your bleeds never be bounced, and your votes always pass,