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"Princes Just Say No"

[Strategy & Tactics] [Crypt] [Library] [Improvements]

This deck has performed consistently well. In casual games, it usually succeeds in being the last one standing (sometimes next-to-the-last), and it has swept the table more than once. It evolved from an even less focused deck, which I kept tweaking after each use until I thought I had something playable in a tournament. I won second place with it at Praxis Seizure 2000: Dallas.

"Princes Just Say No" is not a pure intercept deck, but it was inspired by a Duelist article, which suggested that an intercept deck can usually wind up being the last one at the table, but only by outlasting everyone else, and then finishing off your prey, thus gaining a maximum of 2 Victory Points per game. I.e., intercept decks usually lack enough "forward pressure" to actually oust your prey except in the endgame. I decided to make a deck that had intercept attributes (i.e., being able to prevent my predator and prey from doing things), but also had enough bleeding power and harassment effects to oust my prey, rather than just waiting for everyone else to oust each other.

Its performance at Praxis Seizure 2000: Dallas was inconclusive; I did oust my prey in three out of four games I played, and I succeeded in ousting two Methusalahs in one game. However, I never did actually score more than 2 Victory Points in a game, and in the two games where I did survive until it was down to two players, I got ousted first both times. I'm not sure if this is because the deck is still too weak, or because of mistakes I made in play. (I know of several errors I made during a couple of games, which if I had not made, would probably have allowed me to live longer, if not actually win more VPs.)

Strategy & Tactics

This deck makes use of Princes so you have untap/intercept (with 2nd Tradition), pool gain (with Minion Tap/5th Tradition), and votes. The primary disciplines are Dominate and Presence, with a little bit of Auspex. If you can get out minions such that you have at least one each of superior Auspex, Dominate, and Presence (and at least one, preferably two of them are Princes/Justicars), then you're good to go. The deck is a little heavy on Master cards, so Anson is very helpful. (In earlier incarnations of this deck, I had more Masters, and two Ansons in my Crypt, and even thought about including three. But he's just a little too expensive for what he brings to the table in the way of Disciplines, so I cut back on the Masters instead.)

Block political actions (unless you're lucky enough to have vote-lock), and don't let your predator or prey equip or recruit anything that gives them intercept (nor do you want your predator getting a bleed booster, of course). Don't worry about weapons, though -- this deck is designed to avoid combat. I let my prey equip with a Sengir Dagger and an Ivory Bow -- no problem. The only combat effect that can badly hose you is Immortal Grapple (and Obedience and/or Elysium can save you from those).

The best part is that if you have the right cards in your hand, you don't need to worry about tapping out, and you can laugh at Misdirections, Anarch Troublemakers, and Mind Numbs (and sometimes at Sleeping Minds -- but you need a Wake, since Sleeping Mind does foil The 2nd Tradition). Play your cards right, and a single minion can hold off a weenie horde single-handedly, at least for one round. Untap with 2nd Tradition or WwEF, use Majesty at superior to end combat and untap, then keep bouncing them to your prey with Deflection, sending them home with Obedience, or blocking and untapping with more Majesties.

Best-case scenario is if your predator is a sneak-&-bleeder, and your prey has no intercept. Worst-case scenario is if your predator is a stealth voting deck, and your prey is an intercept-Immortal Grapple combat deck. Lots of vote decks on the table is also bad. (Especially if your grand-predator is a vote deck, since he'll want to put some damage on you as well as his prey/your predator, but you can't block him.)

An Immortal Grapple combat deck can be troublesome -- Obedience will save your vampires from Rush attacks, but if it's your prey, you can only try bleeding if he's tapped out. A devoted political deck can also outvote you -- cut deals. An intercept deck will make it hard to bleed your prey, but you can afford to put up an intercept/bleed-bounce wall and wait for opportune times to pull off big bleeds. (Smiling Jack and Anarch Revolt will ensure that time is on your side.)


CRYPT

Size: 12

1× Rake (Brujah Prince: 6) -- aus, pot, cel, PRE
2× Gilbert Duane (Malk. Prince: 7) -- AUS, DOM, OBF
1× Jost Werner (!Tor: 6) -- ani, AUS, PRE
1× Tatiana Romanov (Tor. Prince: 7) -- cel, pre, AUS
1× Anson (Tor. Prince: 8) -- aus, dom, CEL, PRE
1× Violette Prentiss (Ven: 4) -- dom, PRE
1× Ranjan Rishi (Ven: 5) -- for, DOM, PRE
2× Sir Walter Nash (Ven. Prince: 7) -- DOM, FOR, PRE
1× Emerson Bridges (Ven. Prince: 8) -- pot, DOM, FOR, PRE
1× Democritus (Ven. Justicar: 10) -- aus, cel, for, DOM, PRE

Average Crypt Size: 6.833
Smallest Initial Crypt: 21
Largest Initial Crypt: 33

Disciplines (inf/sup/total)
Auspex: 3/4/7
Dominate: 2/7/9
Presence: 1/9/10

LIBRARY

Size: 89

MASTER (20)

Dominate
Presence
Minion Tap ×3
Blood Doll ×2
Information Highway ×2
Elysium: The Arboretum
Uptown Hunting Ground
The Rack
Misdirection ×2
Sudden Reversal ×2
Anarch Troublemaker
Smiling Jack the Anarch
Millicent Smith -- Puritan Vampire Hunter
Anarch Revolt

ACTIONS (11)

Legal Manipulations ×4
Govern the Unaligned ×2
The Fifth Tradition: Hospitality ×3
Mind Numb ×2

POLITICAL ACTIONS (4)

Kine Resources Contested ×3
Conservative Agitation

ACTION MODIFIERS (13)

Bewitching Oration
Seduction ×4
The Sleeping Mind ×2
Bonding ×2
Conditioning ×2
Foreshadowing Destruction ×2

REACTIONS (32)

Redirection ×3
Deflection ×6
Telepathic Counter ×2
Obedience ×6
The Second Tradition: Domain ×7
Wake with Evening's Freshness ×4
Dread Gaze
The Spirit's Touch
Enhanced Senses
Elder Kindred Network

COMBAT (9)

Majesty ×8
Read Intentions

Improvements

This deck could still stand some tweaking. I keep switching between Jost Werner and Didi Meyers -- the deck has big problems if it has no Dominate. On the last round of Praxis Seizure 2000: Dallas, I was in bad shape because I drew no Ventrue in my starting crypt, and the only vampire with Dominate was Gilbert ... whom my grand-predator brought out first. On the other hand, not being able to get any actions through can also be a problem, and Jost's inherent stealth is an asset. (I'd happily trade either him or Violette for a second Ranjan Rishi, but I only have one Ranjan.)

When I found out that Sleeping Mind doesn't stop Wake with Evening's Freshness or Forced Awakening, I decided it was mostly useless. I misunderstood the Elder Kindred Network, so it should be discarded also. Mind Numb seems to be of limited utility in this deck, since you won't have enough minions to follow up. I also never had enough Minion Taps. (More 5th Traditions would also be nice, but I only own three.) Finally, the Auspex cards usually ended up being discarded, with the exception of Telepathic Counter. And when you get down to a two-player game (as this deck often will), all those Deflections and Redirections are useless.

So, my recommendations for changing this deck are:

  1. Replace the Elder Kindred Network with another Dread Gaze or Bewitching Oration.
  2. Replace Enhanced Senses and The Spirit's Touch with Telepathic Misdirections.
  3. Replace the Sleeping Minds with Bondings.
  4. Replace the Redirections with Telepathic Counters.
  5. Trade the Mind Numbs and Read Intentions for something else (possibly another Misdirection or two, or another political action).
  6. Replace Millicent Smith and The Rack (and possibly Anarch Revolt and one of the Sudden Reversals) with more Minion Taps and Blood Dolls.
  7. A little permanent intercept would be helpful; add a KRCG News Radio or Rumor Mill.
  8. Any extra slots, I'd probably fill with more Wakes or Forced Awakenings (I unfortunately don't own any of the latter). Remember that if you untap with a 2nd Tradition, you can't use any of the bleed-bouncers or reducers!

If you have any recommendations, please feel free to e-mail me.