It was a challenge to try to make a playable Tremere deck from Jyhad commons. As I mentioned in my last post, the Tremere have to have some sort of combat package: it helps to get your bleeds through and you won’t have to block as many actions if you torpor/burn the minions you do block. The combat options for Thaumaturgy in the basic Jyhad set are limited to:
- Blood Rage or Blood Fury
- Theft of Vitae
- Walk of Flame
- Drain Essence
Walk of Flame is a powerful card, but it (like Cauldron of Blood and Drain Essence) requires you to make it beyond the first round of combat, and that requires some form of press based combat. I found from play testing that Traps worked quite well with the overall combat package. You could drain off the opposing vampires blood with a Theft in the first round and, if all went well, burn the opposing minion with a Walk of Flame in the subsequent rounds. That makes for a fairly threatening combat package. It can’t deal with a strike to end combat, but that’s something the Tremere are notorious for having a problem with.
Having decided on a rough combat package, the next step was in selecting the crypt. The Group 1 Tremere vampires include:
- Ulegh Beg, the Watcher:(10) THA DOM AUS cel for pot, Justicar, Extra Discard
- Cassandra, Magus Prime (10) THA DOM AUS pre cel, Primogen, +1 Strength
- Lazarus (9) THA DOM AUS pot cel, Primogen, Strike for 1R
- Cardano (9) THA FOR DOM aus cel ani, Prince of Boston
- Justine, Elder of Dallas(8)THA DOM AUS obf
- Astrid Thomas (7)THA DOM aus pot
- Thomas Thorne(6)DOM tha cel aus ani
- Lydia Van Cuelen(6) tha dom aus pre, +1 Bleed
- Sabine Lafayette(5)tha pot dom aus, During untap, can move 1 bleed to another ready Tremere
- Merril Molitor(5) THA dom aus, Can treat 1 point of agg as normal once per combat
- Sarah Cobbler(4) THA dom
- Ignatious(4) tha dom aus
- Jing Wei(3) tha dom
- Dr. John Casey dom aus
- Roreca Quaid(2) tha
In looking over the original Jyhad set Tremere vampires, it’s pretty clear that the designers tried to give the Tremere access to celerity; five of the original fourteen vampires have minor celerity. If you had a mind to, you could add some celerity skill cards and add some Psyches!. That would give the combat package both a reliable press to get to the second round as well as an answer to strikes to end combat. Psyche!, however, is a card that’s in short supply when it comes to putting these decks together, so I decided against that. Eventually, I decided to go with a traditional bruise/bleed strategy. For me, it was too card intensive to both pursue a combat strategy as well as a intercept strategy, so the deck I designed was oriented towards bleeding my prey with minions that had superior thaumaturgy.
Here’s the crypt I settled on:
- Cassandra x2 (10) DOM AUS THA cel pre, Primogen, +1 Strength
- Ulegh Beg- The Watcher x2 [10- DOM AUS THA cel for, Justicar, Extra Discard
- Lydia Van Cuelenx2 [6- tha aus dom pre, +1 Bleed
- Merill Molitor 5- THA dom aus, can treat 1 point of agg as normal
- Sarah Cobbler x2 [4- THA dom
- Ignatius 4- tha dom aus
- Jing Wei 3- dom tha
- Roreca Quaid 2- tha
Lydia Van Cuelen’s inherent +1 bleed seemed important to the bruise/bleed strategy. Unfortunately, she has inferior Thaumaturgy, so I decided to include a couple of Thaumaturgy Master Discipline cards. The resulting crypt featured five vampires with inferior Thaumaturgy, which the two Master Discipline cards should adequately cover. Here’s the library I went with:
Master Cards(9): Thaumaturgy(2), Protracted Investment(2), Mob Connections, Metro Underground, Haven Uncovered(2), Chantry,
Political Actions(1): Ancient Influence
Actions(4): Govern the Unaligned(2), Cryptic Mission (2),
Action Modifiers(4): Threats/Conditioning (4),
Reaction(11): Wake With Evening’s Freshness(3), The Spirit’s Touch(2), Telepathic Counter(2), Telepathic Misdirection(4)
Combat(25): Blood Fury/Blood Rage(7), Trap(5), Walk of Flame(4), Drain Essence(2), Dead-End Alley(2), Theft of Vitae(5)
Equipment(6): IR Goggles(2), Flak Jacket(2), Phased Motion Detector(1), Sport’s Bike
As I mentioned earlier, the Tremere are challenged in that they need to have a combat package, but neither of their other two disciplines offers much in the way of combat support. I added some equipment to the deck to help round out both their combat, as well as the threat that their intercept. This gave the deck some inherent problems. Because none of the vampires could take more than one action a turn, the deck was ponderously slow in you brought up a ten cap such as Cassandra or Ulegh and spent a couple of turns having that vampire take equip actions. The only solution was to first transfer up a small vampire, such as Roreca, and have her take all the equip actions for the equipment in hand, then have the larger vampire take a single equip action to take all of the equipment off of the smaller vampire. This was not an elegant solution, but it was the best I could do.
The inclusion of Metro Underground allowed for key minions to be untapped at the end of the turn; granted, it cost a pool every time, but it was as close to multi-acting as I could get with the basic Jyhad set. The Telepathic Counters allowed for an untapped vampire to defend against bleeds while still remaining untapped to later redirect another bleed or block (and hopefully torpor or burn) an acting minion.
Still, the deck suffered. A having a strongly offensive deck, such as the Malkavian sneak and bleed deck or even the Ventrue or Nosferatu vote deck, as a predator often spelled certain doom for this fragile deck. I set out to try to change that. I tried an unusual mix (for me at least) of many intercept cards, Telepathic Counters, and bleed redirects. I included many bleed redirects in this deck (8, which is more than any of the other decks) but they are Telepathic Misdirections or Murmur of the False Wills, they are all useful in a two player game; this is a real benefit compared to most decks which have to discard their deflections when the game becomes two player.
Here are the changes I made to bring the deck to its new configuration.
-Jing Wei +2xAleph
-2xCryptic Mission +2xSpirit’s Touch
-2x(Blood Fury/Blood Rage) +2xTelepathic Misdirection
-2xDrain Essence +2xMurmur of the False Will
-1xWalk of Flame +Thaumaturgy
-Ancient Influence +Wake with Evening’s Freshness
-2xDead End Alley +Telepathic Counter
-Sport’s Bike +Pier 13, Port of Baltimore
-4x(Conditioning/Threats) +4xEnhanced Senses
Unfortunately, the Jyhad Tremere vampires do not feature midcaps that have superior Thaumaturgy. Vampires such as Aisling Sturbridge, a 5 cap with THA AUS dom, are simply not to be found in the Jyhad crypt. This necessitated the inclusion of Aleph in the crypt. Although not a Tremere, he has the right disciplines with AUS dom. His superior auspex allows him to redirect, intercept, or reduce to zero most problematic bleeds, and that takes a lot of the pressure off of the ten cap vampires to always be ready.
Although I would build the deck differently if card rarity weren’t a factor (Eyes of Argus would be amazing in this deck), this deck ended up being the best Tremere deck I’ve ever made. It does particularly well when it had a sneak and bleed predator, or one that depends on actions at low stealth. It still has the power to burn minions in combat, and, with the inclusion of Rutor’s Hand and Pier 13, Port of Baltimore, now has a multi-acting component to it that was sorely lacking for the earlier version. While it’s true that neither of those cards are Jyhad cards, they are both relatively inexpensive to obtain, and so make an easy inclusion. I’m looking forward to trying out this deck in my next play session.