Official VEKN Nosferatu Newsletter for June, 2006
Ahh, the Imbued. Since Nights of Reckoning hit the market, folks have been futzing around with Imbued decks, trying out lots of different stuff to varying levels of success. As the most obvious type of Imbued deck seems to be the "It Sucks to be a Vampire" deck (ya know, lots of debilitating Gehenna Events, Millicent Smith, Strained Vitae Supply, whatever), the current reaction to anyone influencing out an Imbued seems to be "Ahh! The Imbued! Get'em!", at which point everyone on the table turns on the Imbued deck just to get them ousted so they don't have to read all the damned Event cards every time they do anything. In casual discussion, I have been referring to this kind of deck as "Tier 1" Imbued technology--the kind of first level that was an obvious starting point. Now that we have all tried this out for a while, and discovered that everyone hates you when you play a deck like this, it is probably time to explore "Tier 2" Imbued technology, which is likely some sort of Imbued based deck that *doesn't* make everyone hate you just for sitting at the table.
To this end, I have been experimenting with Imbued technology decks that don't use Gehenna Events or cards that generate table hate, in the name of avoiding being Nergalized (Nergalization: When the whole table gangs up on you, not 'cause you are necessarily winning, but 'cause your deck is really irritating and when you are ousted, everyone else gets to play a normal game). My current idea is this deck that fuses the Imbued with the Nosferatu for some reasonable, non wildly debilitating table play.
"Tier 2 Imbued Technology Experiment 1A"
2x Rabbat, The Sewer Goddess (7) OBF, FOR, pot
1x Shahid (7) OBF, POT, for
2x Gerard Rafin (6) OBF, POT, for
2x Alonzo Guillen (6) OBF, pot, for
3x Jennifer "Flame61" Vidisania (4) Vis
2x Paul "Sixofswords29" Moreton (4) Vis, Def
4x Blood Doll
3x Angel of Berlin
2x Effective Management
2x Memories of Mortality
1x The Labyrinth
1x Slum Hunting Ground
12x Cloak the Gathering
6x Behind You
6x Hidden Lurker
4x Swallowed by the Night
10x Pushing the Limit
6x Superior Mettle
2x Rolling With the Punches
4x Second Sight
4x Strike with Conviction
3x React with Conviction
4x Taste of Vitae
2x Bum's Rush
1x The Crusader Sword
1x The Ivory Bow
1x .44 Magnum
The basic theory of the deck is to use Jen to bleed for 3 every turn, and if she gets blocked, have some Nosferatu killer, preferably Rabatt, Hidden Lurker in and kill the blocker, so that next turn, Jen can go bleed again and no one will want to block her. The Imbued bring most of the bleed offense and bleed defense (in the form of Determine) to the deck, and their Nosferatu pals provide extra stealth and combat defense.
The crypt focuses on the good G3/4 core of Nosferatu with superior Obfuscate and fortitude, revolving around Rabbat, who deserves some special attention. Rabbat is a weird vampire, having good skills, the ability to transfer a blood to your pool when she hunts, and the ability to send an opposing vampire to torpor as a strike at the cost of being Red List, unable to take D actions, and unable to block actions that don't target her (or her stuff). Being Red List is kind of a drag, generally speaking, as it means any chump on the table can pay a blood to attack you. Luckily, Rabbat comes with good combat abilities (OBF, FOR, ANI, pot) and, well, she can send you to torpor as a strike. Which makes it seem pretty unlikely that anyone will actually attack her, unless they are feeling really full of beans. She can't take D actions or block much, but if her main purpose is to stand around Cloaking the Imbued and then Hidden Lurkering in to get revenge if someone blocks them, her disabilities aren't much of an issue. Her bonus of being able to give you a pool by hunting is excellent, especially if you slap a Perfectionist on her. If she has a Blood Doll too, you are generating 2 pool a turn, Rabbat is breaking even, and she can always wait to see if the Imbued need Hidden Lurker back up before hunting. Gerard is a good mid cap with the important skills, Shahid is a good fill in with the same disciplines as Gerard, and Alonzo, while lacking POT, has a really useful special ability (burn the Edge to look at someone's hand during your untap or discard phase). The Imbued selection consists of Jennifer, who with +1 bleed and a recycling Strike with Conviction, is a hard hitting bleeder. That, and she can play Determine, to save you from some bleeds or unpleasant actions (doubling as both bleed bounce *and* vote defense. And Rush defense, too...) Her -1 stealth isn't that big of a deal, if you consider that most of the time, she will be bleeding under threat of Hidden Lurker, and if she goes out to equip or something, he Gathering can be Cloaked to avoid embarrassing accidents. All that, and she equips for 1 point cheaper. Nice. Paul is a good sidekick for Jen, as he gets to play Determine too, and with the Defense virtue, he can become a Champion and sacrifice himself to save you from some brutal 7 point bleed or something.
The Master cards are pretty straight forward, with some Blood Dolls, Angels of Berlin and Memories of Mortality to increase the utility of the Imbued, Perfectionist for Rabbat, and some general support cards, including Fame to further encourage folks not to block Jen.
In the Library, there is a good chunk of Obfuscate--Cloak for general stealth for both Vampires and Imbued (and remember, if you have two vampires with OBF, *each* of them can play a Cloak on the acting minion, so you might even get Jen through with a stealthy bleed once and a while); Behind You for maneuvers and dodges if needed; Swallowed for a bit more stealth and maneuver; and Hidden Lurker, the key to the deck. Hidden Lurker is generally derided as a weak card, and generally, it is. In this particular instance, it is probably reasonably effective due to the lack of need for any seriously long card chains to make the Hidden Lurker pay off--Jen can pretty much always bleed for 3 without playing any cards from your hand, Rabbat can torporize someone with a Hidden Lurker and pretty much nothing else (maybe a maneuver to catch someone trying to run away) or Gerard can do a lot of damage with just a single Pushing the Limit. Likely, a reasonable block deterrent after you play the first one. There is a good supply of Pushing the Limit in there as a simple combat punishment module, and a good handful of Fortitude to survive fights (especially when combined with Behind You if things go badly). On the Imbued side of the deck, there is a modest number of Conviction cards--not enough to play one every turn, certainly, but as you get to fish one out when you put someone into play and then recycle them out of your ash heap, you'll probably have enough to do what you need to do most of the time. The Determines, as mentioned, save the deck from an awful lot of trouble--you can bounce a bleed, cancel a vote card, cancel a rush card, cancel some horrible action like Sensory Deprivation or whatever. A very powerful defense for any deck that can find a way to use it. The Champion is thrown in as the only power in the deck--only Paul can play it, so it isn't that likely to hit the table, but it is such a good effect (cancel any unblocked D action against you or an Imbued and have the acting vampire enter combat with the Champion) that any chance at all to play it makes it worth having in the deck. The library is rounded out with some Tastes, a couple Bum's Rushes, and some equipment for general Imbued defense and 'cause Jen gets them on the cheap. Keep in mind that The Crusader Sword plus a gun on the same Imbued means that they are likely safe from an awful lot of abuse--use the gun to maneuver to long, and monsters can't maneuver to close as long as you are holding the Sword in your other hand.
Again, the optimal situation consists of Jen and Rabbat on the table--Jen bleeds for 3 a turn under threat of Rabbat Hidden Lurker destroying any blocker. Not a super effective strategy, but likely a reasonably good use of the Imbued that is unlikely to generate undue table hate. If you can get Paul into play, his best use is just standing around and Determine away offensive actions, and if you are lucky, Championing some stuff if needed. It'll probably have trouble against really speedy bleed decks (what won't, really) and persistent combat that kills your Imbued will probably make a mess too. But as weird deck designs go, it probably has some promise, uses the Imbued, and is unlikely to make anyone but your prey unhappy with you, and that was gonna happen anyway.