Article for the V:TES CCG by Mike Nudd, originally published in Scrye 8.6
V:TES CCGVEKN Interview
Scrye 8.2 - Ventrue antitribu
Scrye 8.3 - Tzimisce
Scrye 8.4 - Lasombra
Scrye 8.5 - Brujah antitribu
Scrye 8.6 - Final Nights
Scrye 8.7 - Voting Strategies
Scrye 8.8 - Combat Strategies
Scrye 48 - Bloodlines
Scrye 49 - Harbingers
Final Nights brings four new vampire clans to the world of Vampire: the Eternal Struggle. Inspired by the Vampire: the Masquerade role-playing game, the four clans add new flavour, and offer a myriad of new strategies for the enterprising player. Each of the Assamite, Giovanni, Ravnos and Setite clans are considered Independent, and although they are markedly different, they each are more than a match for their Sabbat counterparts.
The Assamites are secretive middle-eastern warriors that are employed as assassins and bodyguards by the other vampires of the World of Darkness. Their use of Celerity make them fast and deadly in combat, and their access to Obfuscate gives them stealth to push their attacking and equipping actions through. The Assamite clan’s true strength, however, lies in their unique discipline Quietus, which provides them with a wide range of damage-dealing and combative effects. Disease, Erosion, Thin Blood and Wave of Lethargy can all be used to cripple an opposing vampire in combat, and there are also many deadly strikes to choose from, many of which are either unpreventable or aggravated. Succulent Vitae helps Assamite hunt, and Foul Blood stop their opponents from doing so. Getting Assamites into combat is not an issue thanks to the master Contract, or the action Clandestine Contract. Assamite vampires are even more deadly if they equip with a weapon such as a Bang Nakh or a Garotte. The only problem the Assamites have is in regards to their lack of damage prevention and hence if you wish to play them effectively, always pack plenty of cards with allow them to dodge, as well as the mandatory Leather Jacket and Taste of Vitae cards. The vampires themselves offer a wealth of possibilities. 6 of the 24 vampires have Thaumaturgy, and 8 have Auspex – it should be quite easy to mix either of these disciplines into your Assamite deck.
The Giovanni are both Necromancers and businessmen, and are perhaps the closest-knit of all the vampire families. Their access to Dominate is useful for bleeding, but their most interesting use of Dominate is the card Thoughts Betrayed, which at superior can be used to stop your opponent from playing strike cards in combat. Potence offers the Giovanni a plethora of deadly combat cards, including the much- revered Immortal Grapple. Necromancy offers Jar the Soul, which taps enemy vampires, or the Puppeteer, which allows you to take control of them. Possession reclaims a vampire from your ash heap, and you can retrieve cards from your ash heap using Compel the Spirit or Whispers From the Dead. The most versatile Necromancy card of all is perhaps Spectral Divination, as it offers both stealth and intercept in one go, depending on your requirements. Ex Nihilo is the most powerful card, as it provides not just permanent stealth, but immunity to damage in combat. Playing the Giovanni requires very careful timing, as they do not excel at any one particular strategy. One simple option is take on a ‘bruise and bleed’ attitude, using the Giovanni’s ability to deliver high damage using Potence to scare opponents into letting your bleeds through, where your use of Dominate bleed modifiers can count. One other advantage the Giovanni have lies in their access to a large number of different allies and retainers, and hence overwhelming your opponents with hordes of minions in another option.
The Ravnos are the tricksters and gamblers of the Kindred world. Their access to Animalism make the Ravnos a clan to be reckoned with in combat, and their use of Fortitude means that they are quite resilient and hard to take out. These two disciplines are complimented by the unique power of Chimerstry, which through deception and illusion, gives the Ravnos a wide range of additional strategic options. Mirror Image, Fata Morgana and Red Herring can all be used by Ravnos to evade blocking minions. Alternatively, the Ravnos can enter combat safely backed up with the myriad of combat options offered. The most amusing is Illusions of the Kindred, which forces the opposing minion to fight with a vampire taken from the bottom of your crypt instead of your real vampire. Blocking other minions is not a problem as Ignis Fatuus and Draba can be used to reduce their stealth. The key advantage of the Ravnos, however, is their ability to neutralise enemy minions using the Sensory Deprivation, Reality and Sensory Overload. Since the Ravnos have stealth of their own, these actions should normally get through (you can always use a Daring the Dawn to be sure), and in the case of Sensory Deprivation, it should be very hard for your opponents to remove your Ravnos from play.
The Followers of Set, or ‘Setites’ are quite rightly feared for their ability to corrupt, cajole and manipulate their enemies to their doom. As well as using Obfuscate for stealth, and Presence for bleeding, the Setites can use Blackmail or Mind Numb to tap enemy vampires. Alternatively they can take control of them quickly through Temptation or Form of Corruption, or more slowly through successive Corruption actions and/or Venenation action modifiers. Lure of the Serpent or Set’s Call can be used to permanently steal allies and retainers. Serpentis also has many other uses - Form of the Serpent offers additional stealth, and The Jones, Tongue of the Serpent and Skin of the Adder all help in combat. Mark of Damnation makes targets of other minions, and Heart of Darkness can be used to cancel the effects of aggravated damage. Overall, however, the Followers of Set are quite weak in combat, and you will find much greater success in using stealth and strike: combat ends tactics to avoid contact with your opponents’ minions. Besides, if you play the Setites well, eventually all the minions on the table will be yours to control anyway. The Followers of Set are weak when it comes to intercept, but since many of the Setite vampires have Auspex, it should be quite easy to get around this problem.
In addition to providing cards for the above four clans, the Final Nights set includes one vampire for nearly every other clan, one new card for nearly every other discipline, as well as an assortment of new masters, political actions, equipment, allies and retainers. The Ventrue Jan Pieterzoon is perhaps the best of the other vampires provided, although he will be the focus of much wrath as when he is in play all Methuselahs must reduce their hand size by one. Club Zombie is yet another intercept-giving master, and Dreams of the Sphinx is the most versatile and useful master card ever printed. King of the mountain is an incredible Fortitude card, which at superior forces an opposing minion in combat to take the damage that he himself has dealt. The new Thaumaturgy action modifier Perfect Clarity is also a card to be reckoned with, as it prevents the play of both Deflection and Redirection, and it also stops all Dominate-based and Presence-based combat defences. The protean card Mythic Form is yet another ‘must have’ card for Gangrel players (although the blood cost is very high). The most amusing and unexpected card is Crimson Fury, which at superior burns an acting minion when it attempts to commit diablerie on the reacting vampire.