Un des archétype principal à Vtes est celui de combat. Dans le méta-langage, on appelle ce type de deck «Rush deck» ou encore «multi-Rush» en l’honneur de la carte Bum’s Rush qui est généralement très présente dans ces decks. Contrairement aux decks qui se concentrent plus sur des stratégies de bleed-stealth ou encore de votes, l’achétype combat peut ne pas sembler très efficace pour éliminer sa proie. En effet, un deck fortement orienté sur le combat ne fera pas directement mal au pool de sa proie directement, mais devra trouver des stratagèmes indirects pour y arriver. Bâtir un deck efficece orienté vers le combat n’est pas chose facile, mais pas non plus impossible.
Le concept est d’endomager les minions de sa proie pour l’affaiblir tellement qu’elle ne pourra pas se défendre contre votre éventuelle stratégie de poussée (entendre bleed ou tout autre façon de faire mal à son pool directement).
À priori, non. Ça ne sera pas la façon préconisée. En fait, Quelques cartes pénalisent les methuselah dont les Vampires perdent leurs combats. Première, il y a Fame et Tension in the Ranks qui sont des masters pénalisantes pour celui qui ne sait pas se défendre. Plus avancé dans la partie, Dragonbound aide à faire mal à sa proie.
Pour entrer directement en combat avec des minions, une panoplie de choix sont possibles, malgré le fait que certaines sont préconisées. Par contre, cette stratégie nécessite aussi que les minions du prédateur soient gérés et cela implique que le Methuselah qui joue le deck de combat se batte sur les deux fronts. L’équilibre entre attaquer sa proie et attaquer son prédateur n’est pas évidente à garder. En ce sens, cet archétype est plutôt difficile à bien jouer et nous aurions tendance à penser, à tort, qu’il n’est pas efficace. Mais un bon deck de combat, bien bâti, peut tout aussi bien performer que les decks des autres archétypes. Ceci étant dit, je déconseille aux nouveaux joueurs de débuter avec cet archétype, car il faut avoir une connaissance avancée du système de combat pour pouvoir appliquer les tactiques efficacement.
Voici les disciplines rechercheées
D’abord il faut savoir que ce que nous souhaitons en tant que combattant, c’est envoyer l’opposant en torpeur. Il y a trois grandes tactiques de combat quand on veut jouer offensivement et un panoplie de variantes et particularités. Voyons les grandes tactiques:
- Frapper fort avec Potence
- Frapper plusieurs fois avec Celerity
- Frapper en aggravé avec Protean ou Vicissitude
- Faire du domage environnemental avec Animalism
Désavantage d’un Rush Deck
The first point to address when designing a Rush deck is that in a consistent combat deck you will need a lot of combat cards, so you will probably not have a great deal of space in your deck for other ways to oust your prey, like Bleed modifiers or damaging votes (such as Kine Resources Contested,) and as a result, your main method of ousting your prey (and hence road to victory) will be by destroying their vampires. Hopefully, by destroying their vampires, they will be forced to spend more pool to get out more vampires, which you will then kill, eventually ousting them by bleeding what little pool they have left.
Another result of the large amount of combat cards that you will need in a Rush deck is that your defenses are limited, and your best defense will be a good offense — namely killing your predators vampires as well. As this is both your main offense as well as defense you need to be sure that every action you take and every combat you get into will (at least theoretically) end with your opponent in torpor or burned to make it worth your time. A Rush deck that revolves around hitting opponents for 3 damage once per combat or shooting them with a Magnum for 2 damage and then letting combat end will probably not be particularly effective, as most vampires can survive such a hit once or twice and still act effectively.
Thus, a good Rush deck should use either aggravated damage to send its opponents to torpor in one shot or either big regular damage strikes (5 -7 points per strike) or multiple smaller ones (2 or 3 points per strike, with multiple strikes per combat.) Aggravated damage has the advantage of sending opponents to torpor quickly, allowing you to avoid too much damage in return as well as having the possibility of burning them, but tends to send vampires to torpor with most of their blood on them so getting out again won’t be all that difficult. Regular (non aggravated) damage has the advantage of reducing your opposing vampire’s blood to zero and sending them to torpor that way, making it more difficult to get them out of torpor as well as costing your prey or predator more pool in the long run, but has the disadvantage of using more cards and requiring larger card combinations to be effective than aggravated damage does.
1. Les disciplines qui frappent
Begin to build the Rush deck the same way you would build any sort of deck; by picking some sort of theme, be it a particular clan, or a particular set of disciplines, or a particular type of combat, and go from there. Some clans are particularly good at combat, and some are not, so be sure to pick an appropriate clan or set of disciplines to build your deck around. The main (effective) damaging disciplines for combat are Potence, Protean, Thaumaturgy and Quietus which have the following strengths and weaknesses:
Good for big close range strikes fueled by Torn Signpost, Fists of Death and Undead Strength that can torporize opponents quickly and without any blood left. Also can be used for a « Pitch » deck, a deck that relies on long range Potence strikes like Thrown Sewer Lid and Thrown Gate. It has plenty of Presses to continue combat but few maneuvers, making it difficult to get to close range to hit opponents if that is your plan, unless backed by another discipline.
Celerity is a natural match for Potence, allowing plenty of maneuvers to get to what ever range you wish to fight at, be it close or long, as well as multiple strikes to make every round count, making the Brujah a premier combat clan. Obfuscate can provide maneuvers and presses (although not as well as Celerity,) and Animalism can provide some back up as well (mainly from Drawing out the Beast.) This makes the Nosferatu good fighters, but generally not as good as the Brujah in this arena. One of the best cards in the arsenal of any Potence user is Immortal Grapple, which will be discussed later in this article.
Protean is all around good for combat, providing many maneuvers and presses, as well as Wolf Claws type cards for making your hand damage aggravated. Combined with the Gangrel’s (the only main Protean users) Fortitude to prevent damage and Animalism (again for Drawing out the Beast and Scorpion Sting) for a bit of back up makes Protean a very strong combat discipline. Add to this that aggravated damage can burn an opposing vampire and Protean becomes a very powerful combat discipline.
Thaumaturgy has very powerful strikes, but most of them are only usable on the second round of combat, meaning that the vampire using them needs to get through the first round of combat before causing major (torporizing) damage. Luckily, Thaumaturgy provides Theft of Vitae which is a good first round strike to steal one or two blood from your opponent and use it to mitigate any damage you take. However, in the basic set Thaumaturgy has few maneuvers and presses, both of which are needed to fight effectively, but Apportation from the Sabbat set fixes this problem. The Tremere have a problem in making a Rush combat deck, though, as their two non Thaumaturgy disciplines are primarily non combat oriented and won’t really help them in a fight. As a result there is a long history of players trying to make a good Thaumaturgy and Fortitude or Thaumaturgy and Celerity deck.
Has a lot of good ranged strikes, like Taste of Death and Blood Sweat, but no maneuvers to make them worthwhile. Luckily, the Assamites have Celerity as well, meaning that they can maneuver to long range and Blur unpreventable damage upon their foes, followed by aggravated strikes to burn them. Quietus strikes are generally expensive in terms of blood, making them somewhat difficult to use.
Combat sans discipline Saturday night special + Dragon breath rounds .44 Magnum + celerity
Choisir la Crypt
Once a basic design has been decided upon the Crypt is the next thing to build. For most Rush decks it is usually best to build a Crypt out of the smallest possible vampires with the appropriate disciplines. This is because a Rush deck will probably not have much room for Blood gaining, as well as because smaller vampires are quicker to get out. If you are using standard (clan) discipline combos then this won’t be much of a problem, but if you are trying to build a deck around a weird combination of disciplines like Potence/Fortitude or Thaumaturgy/Celerity, then your average vampire age will increase dramatically. In any combat deck crypt superior disciplines become very important, as the difference between superior level and Inferior level damages on most strikes can become quite pronounced and can make the difference between torporizing your opponent in one strike or not at all. Squeezing as many superior disciplines on as small a vampire as possible in to your crypt is usually a good goal to work towards.
The Main Deck
The main Deck needs to be built to be fluid and consistent, and to avoid jamming up as much as possible, since combat decks tend to cycle cards at a very high rate. The best way to avoid hand jamming is to have a very high percentage of needed combat cards and as few other card types as possible, although you will need a good supply of cards to get into combat. As a Rush combat deck, your main way of getting into combat will be through Bum’s Rush or Ambush actions, as well as Haven Uncovered Master cards (which are interchangeable with Contracts in an Assamite deck.) A good percentage of « get into combat » cards in a Rush deck is about 10% Rush/Ambush and 5% Haven Uncovered, so in a 90 card deck you should be using about 9 Rush/Ambush and 4 or 5 Haven Uncovereds to provide enough opportunities for fighting. When choosing between Bum’s Rush and Ambush cards for your deck keep in mind that Bum’s Rush cards are somewhat better than Ambush cards. Although Bum’s Rush cards reduce your hand size by one, they can always be used to attack the vampire of your choice.
Along with the Haven Uncovereds you should use you Master cards for Pool gain (Blood Dolls, Minion Taps, Hunting Grounds); defense cards (Major Boon, Archon Investigation); hand cycling (The Barrens or Fragment of Nod); and a few Skill cards if you can fit them in. Try to keep the total Master card percentage fairly low, in the 10-15% range, since if you cycle your hand at a high rate and you have too many Masters you will eventually end up with a Hand full of Masters and be unable to fight effectively. The remainder of the Rush deck should revolve around appropriate combat cards and perhaps a small smattering of non combat cards, like Praxis Seizures (for vote defense and surviving Diablere) or bleed defense, but every non combat card you add to your deck increases your chance of drawing a useless card in a fight. Sure, bleed modifiers and intercept cards can be helpful, but if you regularly draw Conditionings when you need Torn Signposts your combat ability will suffer.
The bulk of your combat cards, which will probably compose around 50-75% of your deck, are dependent on what sort of combat you wish to excel in, but try to be consistent. The more focused your combat ability, the better your deck will work. Most combat disciplines have multiple means to the same end, namely killing things, and you should generally pick one angle and go with it. For instance, Potence can provide either close range hand attacks (Torn Signpost, Undead Strength, etc.) or ranged combat (Thrown Sewer Lid, etc.). If you try to utilize an even spread of both ranged and close in attacks you will occasionally benefit from your flexibility, but more often you will end up with ranged attacks to use at close range or hand attacks when stuck at long range. The better plan is to pick a good focus for your combat selection and try to excel at that. Again, using Potence as an example, if you plan on always fighting at close range you can load up your deck with Torn Signposts, Undead Strengths and Immortal Grapples, and then plan on using Drawing Out the Beast to insure close range combat, or pack plenty of Flashes for maneuvering to close range. If you plan on ranged combat (making the archetypical Brujah « Pitch » deck,) then you should pack plenty of Thrown Gates, Sewer Lids, and Flashes. The exact amount of each combat card to use is up to personal choice and experience. For instance, in a 90 card close range Potence combat deck, 10 Undead Strengths and 10 Torn Signposts are not unreasonable. Again, each discipline has multiple combat options, and it is in your best interest to pick one and go with it, rather than dabbling in all directions.
Les faiblesses d’un deck de Rush
There are multiple weaknesses to a Rush deck, but they are not crippling and can be dealt with. The first main weakness of combat decks as a whole is that combat is very easily stopped with a minimum of cards. The bane of any combat deck is a Strike: Combat Ends card (or S:CE for short,) such as Majesty or Form of Mist. These S:CE cards will stop any fight in its tracks, saving your victim as well as wasting a good portion of your cards (a single Majesty will nullify a handful of your cards as well as all of your effort,) and S:CE cards are fairly common and easy to employ for many clans.
In the face of many S:CE cards you may feel that playing a Rush deck is completely futile, but there are ways to handle the dreaded S:CE. In Potence’s arsenal is Immortal Grapple, one of the most powerful combat cards in the set. Immortal Grapple is played after range is determined but before strikes are picked, and once an Immortal Grapple is played, both combatants may only use Hand Strikes for the remainder of combat. This means that your opponent cannot play a S:CE card or use Dodges, Weapons of any sort, or any non Hand Strike (like Thaumaturgy or Quietus Strikes.) If you are playing a close range Potence combat deck packed with Torn Signposts and Undead Strengths, then after Immortally Grappling your victim you will pummel him into torpor and take little damage in return. To make sure your Immortal Grapple cards will be useful you need to insure close range, so pack plenty of maneuvers (probably Flashes,) or use other cards like Drawing out the Beast and Storm Sewers (both of which are powerful cards in a Nosferatu combat deck.)
Celerity has Psyche!, which can be used to start a combat over after your opponent plays S:CE, nullifying their S:CE. However, relying on Psyche! becomes a game of who has more of which card in their hand. Psyche! is a very good addition to any long range combat deck (like the « Pitch » deck,) which cannot rely on Immortal Grapple, as well as being available to clans without Potence. A less satisfying solution to S:CE is a permanent attack opportunity such as Haven Uncovered, which allows multiple attacks on the same vampire in a turn.
A great weakness of the Gangrel is that they have no access to any good anti-S:CE cards, and will suffer immensely in the face of a heavy S:CE deck. They can use Scorpion Sting to avoid Dodges, which helps them somewhat, and Dog Pack is a specific anti-S:CE card (but it is expensive and fragile,) or they can dabble in out of clan disciplines to gain access to Immortal Grapple or Psyche!
Less dangerous to a combat deck, but still a concern, are Dodges and Fortitude damage prevention. Dodges can be dealt with in the same way as S:CE, as well as by pressing into new rounds of combat (making Trap a great friend of Rush decks.) Fortitude can be a large problem, but big or multiple strikes will usually score some damage against any but an all Fortitude deck, and Skin of Steel type cards can be combated with presses again. Skin of Steel will stop all of your damage for a strike or a round, but will cost your opponent a blood to use, and if you can keep pressing they will eventually run out of either blood or Skin of Steels.
A second weakness to a Rush deck is its inability to defend itself other than by killing threats. Because of the great number of combat cards needed to make a consistent Rush deck there is little room for intercept, bleed bounce, or untapping cards. When building your deck you will inevitably come to the decision of whether or not to include Wake with Evenings Freshness (WWEF) cards, and in a good pure Rush deck I would leave them out. WWEF cards are very useful if you can intercept or bleed bounce your predator, but in a Rush deck you won’t have enough of these cards to make using untap cards worthwhile. Remember again that every non combat card you add to your deck increases the possibility of drawing a useless card in a fight (which is your main purpose,) making your combats less effective, and if you are killing reliably you won’t need to use intercept or Bleed Bounce.
The most overwhelming strategic problem of the Rush deck is that killing vampires does not directly work towards your goal of ousting your prey. If you kill your prey’s vampires they will have to pay more pool to get out new ones, but if you are only torporizing them rather than burning them they may get out of torpor, and then you are no better off than before. Add to this that you may very well have to spend a great deal of effort killing your predator’s vampires in defense, and ousting your prey will seem to be a very lengthy job.
A way to deal with this is to keep your crypt full of small vampires (2’s, 3’s and 4’s,) to insure that you have a lot of vampires to attack with every turn. This will also help you bleed your prey quickly after all of his vampires are dead. Another way is to make sure to burn your prey’s vampires, so he must pay more pool to continue acting in the game. Aggravated damage can burn vampires, as can Diablere, but if you are going to rely on Diablere you should probably use Amaranth cards to save yourself some time. You will also need to either resign yourself to having your vampires burned in a Blood Hunt or protect them with voting power by using titled vampires or Praxis Seizure/Justicar/Crusade cards.
An additional small problem to consider is that if you are constantly in combat your vampires will take a lot of abuse. Against non combat decks, you will take limited damage, but if you are in a fight with another combat deck you may get seriously mangled. Fortitude can help a great deal here by preventing damage as well as providing maneuvers and presses, making the Gangrel in a great position for combat. Clans with Celerity can use Dodge and Additional Strike cards, but this won’t help you if your opponents are relying on S:CE (but then you won’t be taking much damage in return.) Capitalizing on long range combat can also help you avoid damage, as well as using Steal Blood strikes (if you are the Tremere, usually). The Taste of Vitae card is a great help to combat decks, as you can refill your vampires very quickly in a fight, so these are useful in most big strike combat decks.
I have avoided discussing the use of weapons in Rush decks, as weapons tend to be fairly ineffective and should be avoided in most Rush decks. They are very expensive for what they do, and should probably be only used in defensive roles or in weird specialized combat decks.
Even with all of their potential problems, Rush decks can be very effective if designed well. Rush decks are especially effective if introduced into a play group that is not expecting combat, as your deck will be unhindered by combat defense and will shake up your play circle as everyone struggles to build decks that can deal with a new combat threat. Along with changing the local play dynamic, good Rush decks will push other players to come up with new plans for their previously powerful decks. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing the Ventrue you just Immortally Grappled say « What do you mean I can’t play my Majesty? » as you pummel them into nothingness. With practice, experience and imagination, you will eventually design Rush decks that are just as effective as Stealth and Bleed or Vote decks, and a lot more fun to play.